It’s been so long since I’ve posted! I was simply too wrapped up in classes and extracurriculars to comment on awards season- but don’t doubt that I wasn’t obsessing over it it. These past few months have reaffirmed my belief in the emotional impact visual storytelling can have. To save time (and space) I’ve made a list of my top 6 tv/film faves from the past few months in no particular order.
1) True Detective – Everyone was talking about the brilliant HBO character study that confirmed Matthew McConaughney has pulled a bigger career 180 than Ben Affleck. I had been looking forward to this miniseries since the project was greenlit. A creepy serial killer, McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, and a character study spanning 20 years- what’s not to love? The cinematography was beautiful and unnerving and the acting performances felt so natural. I loved how the story was told through present day interviews to show the psychological toll the case had taken on both detectives. Ultimately, it was more a show on personal demons than outward evil. Not to spoil anything, but I thought it was brilliant that they chose not to let McConaughey’s character, Rust, die. It might have seemed like a happy ending that didn’t fit with the tone of the show, but on the other hand it seemed crueler to make Rust have to face the world every day for a little bit longer. All he wanted was to be reunited with his deceased daughter and taken away from the confusion and pain of the secular world. I’m curious to see how the anthology drama will handle next season with a completely new cast and storyline. No matter what happens, those eight episodes were near perfect.
2) Brooklyn Nine-Nine- This freshman comedy just finished its first season on a high note. Andy Samberg’s Jake Peralta was sent off on an undercover mission but not before declaring his feelings for Amy Santiago. A lot of people were surprised when Samberg an the show itself took home Golden Globes in January, but I was thrilled. I love that Samberg can play the crazy, goofy bro we saw on SNL but also have sweet moments of real chemistry with his costars. I’ve never seen an ensemble comedy know its tone and characters so fully and completely right off the bat. Not to mention, it’s really, really funny.
3) The Mindy Project- I had previously lamented how The Mindy Project hadn’t quite figured out what it wanted to be, but thankfully the show discovered it’s at its best when it centers on Mindy’s love life with the backing of a workplace comedy. The show returns for the second half of its second season in less than a week and I’m thrilled. The relationship between Mindy and Danny has grown so much this season and their chemistry feels so natural and exciting. That kiss on the plane? Amazing. It’s a bold move to already address the tension so early on in the show, but I feel like it’s not going to take the boring, traditional route that Nick/Jess did on New Girl.
4) Captain Phillips- The film based on a true story about a Somali pirate attack was one of the last Oscar-nominated films I watched before the awards show. Perhaps it was knowing that everything turns out okay, but I couldn’t get past the first 20 minutes. I could feel the tension on the ship, but I wasn’t fully invested. When I finally pressed on and got to the second act of the film when the pirates take Captain Phillips hostage in the lifeboat I was so anxious. What I thought was really interesting about this story and the way it was told was that the pirates, particularly Barkhad Abdi’s character, weren’t one-dimensional villains. You understood that they wished they weren’t having to do this. You understood that they felt like victims too. By the time Tom Hanks was rescued and being checked over by the medical team, I was crying right along with him after all the intensity.
5) Parenthood- The Braverman clan written by Jason Katims is still bringing the raw emotion. Katims does understated, real emotion so beautifully. The fact that he can make me genuinely care about whether an elementary school student gets held back is amazing. He doesn’t conjure up crazy scenarios, but rather takes everyday topics from the lens of how it would feel if you yourself were actually going through these things. I care about Victor’s education because Julia and Joel care. I care about Zeek and Camille selling their house because they care. The best storyline has been Joel and Julia’s divorce. It’s messy and a little unclear why they’re separating, but that’s because the characters themselves haven’t looked into their deeper issues, so why should we? All I know is it feels a little too real.
6) Late Night with Seth Meyers- I was initially let down by Seth Meyers’ turn as a late night host. His monologue felt like an awkward version of Weekend Update and the segments about pie charts and venn diagrams. The set takes some getting used to (please get him a couch instead of those uncomfortable chairs). If you’re looking for a social media savvy host with a penchant for creative games and viral videos, stick with Jimmy Fallon. But if you want your talk show host to actually be good at talking, try out Meyers. I love Jimmy Fallon and his energy, but Seth has an incredible way of getting his guests to give compelling answers and open them up. His interviews have been some of the best of all the late night hosts (this could just be because he interviews a lot of the SNL cast). I don’t think he’ll ever make the jump to 11:30, but I’m excited to see where he takes Late Night. He’s clearly a gifted comedy writer and while the show isn’t perfect yet, it could be in the next couple years.