The general consensus for this movie seemed to be “meh,” but I really enjoyed it. It’s a blend of juicy things I adore in films – a period drama, a behind-the-scenes take on a Hollywood legend, and some glamourous looks. I’m also so fascinated by famous couples of this mid-century era who also worked onscreen together. The Last Movie Stars about Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward fit that bill for me this year, but Being the Ricardos also inspired me to watch Amy Poehler’s Lucy and Desi for more insight into the couple’s dynamic onscreen and off.
2) CODA (2021, Watched 2/17/22)
People who think this movie wasn’t gritty or artistic enough for all of its critical praise need to take a step back. Whoever said that every movie up for Oscars had to tell a depressing story? It reminds me of when Jon Stewart hosted the ceremony in 2008 and noted how dark and gory every nominated movie was, sans Juno (“Thank God for teen pregnancy!”). CODA was a sweet, uplifting movie about a family dynamic that’s rarely represented onscreen or even considered by most people IRL. Movies are supposed to help us empathize, learn, and relate, and that’s what CODA did for me.
The third season of this premiered this year, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet, and the first two particularly stick out to me because I binged them throughout a snowy weekend. The show follows a couple’s quest to have children, which soon becomes an adoption journey. If you love sitcoms that have you laughing one minute and crying the next, Trying is a satisfying and quick watch available in the US on Apple TV.
The general gist I knew about this book before reading it was “The Godfather, but women.” My Italian grandfather grew up in Brooklyn with guys who either ended up in the Mafia IRL or pretended to be in the Mafia in movies, and strangers regularly tell my dad he resembles Al Pacino. So, this book felt like it would be somewhat familiar territory.
In The Family, Antonia and Sofia are the daughters of two best friends recruited by the mob in the mid-twentieth century in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood. The girls are inseparable until Antonia’s father disappears, causing new feelings about this society that has sucked in their families. Antonia becomes disillusioned with this lifestyle, while Sofia is determined to prove her worth to the men in charge.
The book has a slow start, but once the girls grow and begin following their own, separate paths, the story just envelops you and refuses to let go until it ends. Family dramas taking place over decades are my catnip in fiction, and this was no exception.