Hello, friends! Happy Friday. I cannot believe one week from today it will be Christmas Eve. December is flying by.
I have been streaming a lot recently. I decided to bite the bullet and pay for Apple TV+ and HBO Max, so that has opened up a slew of new possibilities. Before I get into this week's picks, let's talk about a few things coming up:
- Wednesday, December 22 - We are just a few days away from season two of Emily in Paris. I'm excited for the fashion and the views of the City of Light.
- Friday, December 24 - The star-studded film Don't Look Up comes to Netflix. Fun fact: some of the scenes were filmed at my alma mater, Wheaton College!
- Friday, December 31 - The sixth season of Queer Eye will hit Netflix on New Year's Eve! This time the Fab Five are headed to Austin, TX.
- Friday, February 18, 2022 - This one is far out, but I've been waiting so long I had to mention it. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will be back on Amazon Prime!
This week I have two shows and two movies to share with you.
1. The Sex Lives of College Girls (HBO Max) - This show is produced by Mindy Kaling, which is reason enough to watch. It's about four young women who get assigned as roommates for their first year of college. The school is supposed to be in Vermont, a nice nod to Kaling's alma mater, Dartmouth, which is on the Vermont / New Hampshire state line.
There's Leighton, an up tight blond from New York City who is a legacy. Her father went to the school and her brother is already there, a few years ahead of her.
There's Whitney, who is best known for her famous mother (a senator). She's the star freshman on the women's soccer team and she also happens to be having an affair with the assistant coach.
There's Bela, whose sole goal is to get onto the writing staff of the college's comedy magazine. She's also anxious to leave her high school nerd reputation behind and hook up with as many guys as possible.
Lastly, there's Kimberly, a small town girl from Arizona who is having so many realizations about life on a daily basis. My favorite moments with her were the scenes at her work study job. She works at a coffee shop on campus with two other students, Lila and Canaan, who school her on the realities of life outside her hometown bubble.
I was instantly addicted to this show. I watched one episode on a Sunday morning and wound up watching the entire season over the course of that same day.
The cast is amazing. In addition to the four leads, there are some fabulous love interests. Gavin Leatherwood plays Nico, Leighton's older brother and Kimberly's crush. Midori Francis plays Leighton's girlfriend, Alicia (you may recognize her as Lily from Dash & Lily on Netflix).
To me, this show is perfect. It's already renewed for a second season. I am positive I'll wind up re-watching season one while we wait.
Also, I just learned last night that the actress who plays Kimberly, Pauline Chalamet, is Timothee Chalamet's sister!
2. Mare of Easttown (HBO Max) - I am late to this one, but since I didn't have HBO at the time it premiered, I'm just catching up now.
Kate Winslet plays Mare, a detective in the small town she grew up in. Everyone knows everyone, which makes her job both easier (built in trust) and harder (decades of baggage).
Mare is under tremendous pressure to solve three cases - two missing girls and one girl who was murdered. The county sends one of their detectives to help her, Colin, played by Evan Peters (X-Men, WandaVision, American Horror Story and Pose).
In addition to her job, Mare is grieving the loss of her teenage son, caring for her grandson, preparing for her daughter to leave for college and adjusting to her ex-husband's engagement. It's. . . . a lot.
Winslet is amazing in this role. She won the Emmy in September and it's easy to see why.
The show is seven episodes. I watched it in two sittings. In the final three episodes, the pace really quickens. You won't be able to turn away.
3. The Unforgivable (Netflix) - I will watch anything with Sandra Bullock, which is how I found myself hitting "play" on this new Netflix movie. Bullock plays Ruth Slater, a woman released from prison after 20 years for allegedly killing a police officer. Once she's out, the only thing she wants to do is find her little sister, who was put into foster care after her arrest.
Based on the trailer, I thought the movie was going to be much more violent than it actually was.
Ruth winds up working in a fish factory alongside a guy named Blake (played by Jon Bernthal, who just played Rick Macci in King Richard). Their relationship is the one hopeful part of the story.
Viola Davis has a cameo here, but I wanted so much more of her. She plays the wife of an attorney helping Ruth pro bono. Given Davis plays an attorney on How to Get Away with Murder, she could have easily taken on this bigger role!
I hate to say it, but this movie isn't memorable. If you have extra time and are looking for something to watch, Bullock does give a strong performance, but as a whole, the movie just doesn't have a lot of heft.
4. Mix Tape (Netflix) - A friend recommended this Netflix movie about a young girl getting to know her deceased parents through a mix tape they made. I'm enamored with Rob Sheffield's memoir, Love is a Mix Tape, so I was already on board with this concept.
Gemma Brooke Allen plays Beverly, a middle schooler living with her grandmother (played by Julie Bowen) after the death of her parents. She's cleaning their basement ahead of the impending Y2K doom in 1999, when she finds this tape with her parents favorite songs. She heads to the local record store to try and track down these tunes.
Eventually she brings two classmates into the quest with her, and with each new song they learn, they seem to think the universe is giving them signs from Bev's parents. Their sisterhood is the best part of the movie.
The final scene is beyond precious. Bev and her besties form a band and they play her grandma's favorite song at their New Year's Eve party. I have to say, it's strange to see Julie Bowen as a grandmother. Does this mean I'm getting old?
I thought this would be such a fun movie to re-watch with my 10-year-old niece. The first 30 minutes are slow, but don't give up on it.
There you have it! This week's streaming suggestions.