Totally Trivial Tuesday

I am apparently a very low-class person, and I think I am okay with that. I am more comfortable in a sports bar, having a beer and eating burgers, than I am at a fancy restaurant. If I am with friends and there’s a choice as to where to go, I would almost always pick a brewery, sports bar, a diner, or a (not overly expensive) steakhouse over any place where the posh congregate. I don’t mind restaurant chains.

I have Amazon prime, and a lengthy collection of movies on my watch list. Whenever I place a movie on the list, I would really like to watch it at that time, but am too busy. This week, I have allotted some time for myself to watch a movie or two. This time is so precious that I invariably  squander it, because none of the movies that I know I wanted to watch at one time seems special enough to spend my hard-won 2 hours on. So I watch nothing, and instead fart around on the web or work on a grant annual report, so the time wouldn’t be a total loss.

As per me being low-brow: I will watch all sorts of movies. I like drama and comedy, especially indie, but I also like science fiction, action, and thrillers; I think of my taste as the amalgam of an educated middle aged woman and a teenage boy. I don’t expect every flick to move me or educate me; there is nothing wrong with some escapism. Occasionally, when I approach a movie with no expectations whatsoever, I actually end up more moved than when I watch overwrought grown-up movies that take themselves far too seriously.

There are certain actors that I simply like and will watch any movie with them in it. Most of these are not particularly good actors, but watching them do anything on the screen cheers me up. There are actors who just grate my cheese, and them being in a movie is generally a deterrent more than an an attraction.

a) An incomplete list of attractors (people whom I will watch in anything because they are so darn adorable):

Mark Wahlberg (also, Research Wahlberg is a hilarious twitter feed); yes, I will probably go see the new Transformers, solely because he’s in it; I just watched Daddy’s Home with him and Will Farrell and it’s as silly as you think, but I enjoyed it

Sandra Bullock

Charlize Theron

Jeff Bridges

Channing Tatum (I want to adopt him)

Reese Witherspoon (mild attractor)

Drew Barrymore (mild attractor)

Adam Sandler (mild attractor)

Chris Pratt (mild attractor)

b) An incomplete list of repellents:

Leonardo DiCaprio (seriously; he only started looking like an adult once he hit 40; I haven’t watched “Titanic” because I just cannot with his baby face in that role)

Zach Galifianakis (I don’t know why, but I can’t shake the impression that he’s just an awful person)

Nicole Kidman (mild repellent)

James Franco (mild repellent)

Blogosphere, who are the actors you always looks forward to seeing? Or avoid seeing as much as possible?

Books and entertainment of note:

The Handmaid’s Tale (the show) is bloodcurdling.

The Good Fight (spin-off of The Good Wife) is awesome. I never realized how glad I would be to be rid of the Florricks.

The Expanse (2nd season) is even awesomer.

Becky Chambers’s “A Closed  and Common Orbit,” the 2nd book in the Wayfarer series. This is sci-fi with a lot of heart and just beautiful, uncluttered, compelling writing, asking what it means to be a person.

Scalzi’s “The Collapsing Empire.” I haven’t read it yet; I’m saving it for an overseas trip in a couple of weeks.

Charlie Jane Anders’s “All the Birds in the Sky” just got a Nebula; not sure if I should buy it or not, as even a hint of magic sends me running in the opposite direction.

Clarissa has some very interesting book reviews (Russo, Strout, Hannah, Ng),  especially books on neoliberalism and on fluidity and the collapse on the nation-state, such as Bauman’s (also here).

Dear readers, tell us about actors you like/hate, shows/books/movies that you enjoyed or hated recently?


  1. Your views on Nicole Kidman might change if you watch Big Little Lies – she was pretty amazing in it – as was Reese Witherspoon.

  2. We are very not up to date, but my husband and I just finished watching Orphan Black, which was amazing — best sci-fi show I’ve seen in a long time. I did read Binti, and enjoyed that too (I think you recommended it a while back!). Haven’t been able to watch Handmaid’s Tale yet (reproductive issues are a little too close to home right now), but am looking forward to it in a year or two — I was fascinated by the book in grad school. Good to know that The Expanse is worth it — we watched the first episode but it was a little gritty/violent for our taste and haven’t watched more, but maybe will revisit. I’ve been enjoying escapist YA fantasy with The Demon King and sequels by Cinda Williams Chima. Have also been loving watching the Moana songs on youtube with my toddler and can’t wait to see the movie once we have time to sit in one place for an hour and a half at a time when we are unlikely to fall asleep.

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys! etta, it’s not that I don’t appreciate Nicole Kidman as a good actress, I really do; it’s that when I hear “Nicole Kidman is in this movie!” it for some actually makes me internally say “Nah” and I am less likely to watch it/more likely to avoid it.

  4. I’ve done the “find every movie with this person and watch it” thing, but unless it’s say, Barbara Stanwick, I end up watching such gawd-awful movies I can’t finish. The last person I tried this with was Donald O’Connor of singing in the rain fame. Boy could he not pick decent movies to be in. I think some of it is how good the person is at picking out films to be in, not just their acting ability. Michael Caine makes any movie he is in better, but he will also take any job offered him, so it often isn’t worth it (just saw a trailer for his latest with Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin– three amazing actors, one terrible script).

    My DH is into Nicholas Cage movies even though Cage plays the same person in every movie and has made many terrible movies (in addition to a few good ones).

    Truth be told, however, the last movie I actually sat down and watched was Frozen. I cannot sit still to watch a show for even 90 minutes these days. (The last thing I actually watched was Yuri! on ice, but that comes in 20 min increments if you skip the intro/outro.) I have had my netflix disk out for 2 years. TWO YEARS. I should probably just give up and give it to DH/the kids (we have a three disk subscription).

  5. I love “All the Birds in the Sky,” but if fantasy with magic repels you, it might not be a great fit. I’ve heard it discussed as a hybrid between scifi and fantasy, which gets some of the feeling right. Unlike other hybrids where the core of the world runs on science – just a different kind of science (thinking of, say, the Lady Trent series, or some Charlie Stross) – Anders is halfway writing a classic fairy tale, but with scifi trappings.

  6. Most of your attractions are my repellents 🙂

    But I also *loved* The Good Fight. My other favorites right now are Madam Secretary and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Very much looking forward to new seasons of Orphan Black and Orange is the New Black. I rarely watch a whole movie, for the reasons you state above, though I will make it through a specific list of films watching in the same 30-45 minute increments I’d use for other TV.

    Currently reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am. Mostly I do literary nonfiction and poetry…for work.

  7. I thought I loved The Good Wife until I watched The Good Fight and then realized it made The Good Wife look like crap 🙂

  8. “This time is so precious that I invariably squander it, because none of the movies that I know I wanted to watch at one time seems special enough to spend my hard-won 2 hours on. So I watch nothing, and instead fart around on the web or work on a grant annual report, so the time wouldn’t be a total loss.”

    Yup, that is me and my Netflix watch list right there.

    Guilty pleasures: Paul Rudd + Historic drama/romance. I guess I am still waiting for a baby-faced/ageless knight in shining armour to complement my tough working girl life.

  9. I’m sure I could make a longer list if I really thought about it, but my fave is Kevin Spacey.

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