Summer Movie Reviews

Summer has been a busy blur and I'm glad I haven't spent my days in front of the computer or television. (Although I'm kind of sad about that one. I'm waaay behind on my TV shows.) I have been cooling off at the movies though. Gotta love that AC on a 90 degree day! Here's what I've seen the past two months.

The Beguiled I hadn't seen the original or read the book (both are now on my list), so the story was new to me (and yes, I know it was whitewashed, but that's a blog post for another day). I loved it. It was very Sophia Coppola and I've always been a fan of her movies. The cast was incredible and it wasn't exactly creepy, but definitely unsettling. It's short too, only 94 minutes, which is a huge plus in my book. I'm over long movies. I don't have the attention span anymore.

The Big Sick I've been following Kumail on Twitter for years and years and love that his career is finally taking off. He and his wife wrote this movie about their love story and it's really touching and sad and funny. It's nice to see a more realistic rom-com. I've always been a fan of Zoe Karan and thought Holly Hunter's performance was perfect.

Dunkirk It's stressful! But it's not a typical war movie and it's not very gory, thankfully. I thought it was an original way to tell this story (one I had never heard of) and I liked that there wasn't much dialogue. I recommend seeing it in IMAX! I was surprised Harry Styles had such a big role, but I couldn't understand a thing he said. I'm pretty sure his accent changed as the film went on. There could have been more of Tom Hardy's face too. 

Detroit This was probably my most anticipated movie of the summer, so I was a little bummed that I found it good, but not great. I like the way Kathryn Bigelow tells stories and I was enthralled by this one (another that I didn't know much about), but it verged on torture porn for me, and the shaky camera work made me feel sick. I gotta hand it to the cast though. The acting is top notch! 

An Inconvenient Sequel I knew going in that I'd be walking out of the theater angry, but it honestly wasn't as scary as the first one, and even felt optimistic and hopeful at times. I thought Gore did a great job breaking it all down and love that he's still as impassioned as ever, even after setbacks. I appreciate everything he's doing with The Climate Reality Project, but could have done without the personal side of documentary. 

I also took my kids to a couple of those dollar days at the movie theater. We saw Trolls and Sing, which were both really cute. And yeah, I know they're on Netflix, but when it's only $1, you just have to take it all in on the big screen. Plus, the AC.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the summer movies I've seen so far. They all get two thumbs up from me. I'm still dying to see The Glass Castle, Ingrid Goes West, Whose Streets? and It. What have you loved this summer?


I Don't Know What To Say, But I Won't Shut Up

I'm having a hard time with things right now, as most people are. This blog is all about pop culture and entertainment - the fun, frivolous things in the world. This week, I wrote about my party and my high school reunion. Two things that truly don't matter.

Since Trump took office, I've avoided writing political posts on all forms of social media, besides Twitter. Thank God for Twitter. I'm fully aware of everything he's done since day one. I'm an informed citizen and care about what's going on in our nation. I have contacted my representatives, signed petitions, and donated to causes I believe are moving this country forward. 

Just because I don't rant doesn't mean I'm in the dark or blissfully ignorant. I have discussions with friends, family, and Jacob. (Poor Jacob. I bring up a new topic every day, and every day he listens thoughtfully and adds insightful opinions. I love him.) Honestly, I'm exhausted by rants because with this presidential circus, they are aplenty. I'm running out of ways to say I concur in the comments section of a blog post. "Preach!" and "Amen!" don't add much to the dialogue.

I couldn't go about my day without saying something about Charlottesville though. After watching the events unfold Saturday morning, it felt insensitive to post pictures of my kids or cats or food while Nazis marched in the streets of the USA. Nazis, guys. It doesn't matter which new term they call themselves, they are actual Nazi assholes. So I posted two sentences on Facebook:

"Please let this be the turning point. I feel like I say that every day
with this administration, but how can we just let this go?! 💔"

I didn't know what else to say. I still don't know what else to say. Seth Meyers said it beautifully, so I shared that video as well.

That seems harmless enough, right? Not to some friends of mine. One, who constantly posts how much he loves Trump, tried to start some shit with me in the comments. And then I got a few messages. I wish the old saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say..." worked online, but it doesn't. I expressed my opinion (kinda? It was just a simple statement, but people get really offended these days!), so someone had to tell me it was wrong. And then I'm back at feeling like I shouldn't post to begin with.

I don't always know how to articulate my feelings of anger, sadness, embarrassment, and hopelessness, but trust that I know right from wrong and if I feel compelled to say something, I will. We cannot be silent.

If you don't know much about Elie Wiesel, look him up.
I first heard of him on an episode of Oprah. Shameful, I know.


Jacob and Christina's High School Reunion

It's been twenty years since we walked the halls of good ol' BHS. Whoa. That still hasn't really sunk in. 

We don't look too old, do we?
Thank God for filters.

I couldn't attend our ten year reunion because I had strep throat, so I sent Jacob down to the local watering hole to report back to me. He's a guy, he wasn't super into high school (he's really smart and hated the drama, so he went to community college during our senior year), and he came home without much news. Boo. So, I was sort of excited to go to our reunion last Friday night at a sports bar. There were other events throughout the weekend (a family barbecue and formal night at the casino), but I wasn't interested in hanging out with these people that much. And even though we know what everyone is up to because of social media, I wanted some face to face time with old classmates.

I had great time! I didn't take a single picture and I'm bummed that a few people I really wanted to see didn't show up, but I was surprised by a few others. My middle school best friend moved to a different district in high school and we completely lost touch, but she was there and we talked about old times and current times and it made my night!

Then there was this guy who I was close with senior year. I sent him a Facebook friend request a few years ago and it went unanswered. I could see that he logged on just about every day and honestly had hurt feelings about it. Sure, we hadn't talked in nearly fifteen years, but we were really good friends at one point. A few months ago I cancelled my request and sent him another one. I know, I know! Stalker alert! But he accepted right away and we had been interacting since then, so I assume he just didn't see the first request. Anyway, he was there and we talked for a long time and had a blast. 

I think I spent too much time talking to my current friends, but that's ok. I also caught up with an old neighbor and a few girls I was close with in high school. One was very judgmental and talked a lot of shit. I couldn't tell if she had too much to drink or if she was regressing (because it's what we used to do), but it was awkward. We're adults now!

I think I spent most of my time with my my high school bestie. We went our separate ways after graduation (she got married and became a mom right away while I went off to college) and though I see her all the time (it's a small town) and we're friendly and supportive online, I wouldn't say we're actual friends. We decided to start hanging out again, so that will be fun.

Since Jacob and I graduated together, I didn't have to worry about him. I saw how uncomfortable other spouses were and totally understood! I'd be bored too. We walked in together, chatted with a few people at the door, and separated. We checked in with each other every once in a while, but enjoyed talking to our old pals on our own for the most part. We got a lot of "Wow, you guys are still together?" and "You were high school sweethearts, right?" from acquaintances. But no. We were friends, but didn't start dating until after high school. I was with the same guy all through school and he was nothing like Jacob, (and didn't show up). Since we're coming up on seventeen years together, I'll let it slide. 


Show Me The '90s

Earlier this month we hosted a '90s themed party at our house with friends, family, and neighbors. And on Friday we went to our twenty year high school reunion. It's been a crazy, nostalgia filled couple of weeks.

Let's cover the party today. Jacob and I hadn't hosted anything major since our housewarming party nearly seven years ago. I was in the mood to throw a backyard barbecue with our friends and drink like we used to. So we picked one of the only open dates on our busy summer calendar, got a babysitter, and started planning. After posting about Zima a few times on Facebook and finding out it was coming back for the summer, I couldn't resist...we had to have a '90s party!

We got Zima, a keg (filled with local red ale, not Bud Light as we would have back then), and a couple of fifths. We had Surge, Arizona Iced Tea, Kool Aid Burst, and Capri Sun. On top of burgers and hot dogs, we ate Doritos, Pringles, Teddy Grahams, string cheese, Handi-Snacks, Gushers, Fruit by the Foot, and Fruit Roll-Ups. All the classic lunchbox items. And I slaved away in the kitchen on a 90 degree day making M&M cookies and Rainbow Chip cupcakes with pop culture toppers.

We had a candy buffet filled with treats invented in the '90s (and a few other things, like Ring Pops, candy necklaces, and Pop Rocks, because those were just childhood staples). We snacked on Wild Berry Skittles, Hershey's Hugs, Hershey's Kisses with Almonds, Winterfresh Gum, Bubble Tape, War Heads, Cry Babies, Crispy M&Ms, Peanut Butter M&Ms, Sour Patch Watermelon, Caramel Apple Pops, Sour Straws, and AirHeads. It was the decade of sour sweets! Gross.

The decorations were all over the place and pretty ghetto, but isn't that what the '90s were all about? We made banners with pictures of '90s movies, albums, tv shows, and video games. We used bulletin board letters to hang up slang words and phrases all over the house. I taped all these Dawson '90s problems memes to our refrigerator. We also had old Seattle sports logos and '92 and '96 presidential election buttons hung up.

We had a few activities sprinkled around too. There was a wall full of heartthrobs and bombshells so you could place a heart sticker on your former celeb crush. I made MASH, fortune tellers, and music trivia, and had a table full of resurrected '90s toys that my kids currently own. (Except for the Pogs; I got those on Ebay.) The "photobooth" was pretty fun too! I found an inflatable Zima on Ebay, props on Etsy, and the backdrop on Amazon. 

We also had a best dressed contest. I was thrilled with the effort everyone put into their outfits! One friend even shaved his beard into a goatee! Only a handful of people arrived without a '90s inspired ensemble. I had an accessories station with chokers, Hard Candy nail polish, body glitter, butterfly clips, temporary tattoos, scrunchies, and glow sticks, so they could get into the spirit.

Nolan wore a Pokemon shirt and hat from his own closet and I got Milo a Nirvana tee from Old Navy. (There were three other Nirvana tees that night!) Jacob wore an old shirt from high school, but it didn't really scream '90s to me. Thankfully he added a wallet chain. I went with a look straight from my high school days: black tank top over a white baby tee, flare jeans, and Adidas. I put gold butterfly clips in my flipped out hair. I wore a black choker with an alien charm (why were aliens so big in the '90s?), a yin-yang mood ring, a thumb ring, and a puka shell bracelet on one wrist and scrunchie around the other, natch. Plus, lots of black eyeliner, a brownish lipstick, and black nail polish. I made myself Warren's Empire Records name tag and was so dissapointed in some friends who didn't know what it was. Come on, guys!

After eating junk food and playing with water balloons and lawn games, all the kids left around 8:00. The adults hung out, sang along to my amazing '90s playlist, and played beer pong. When we started getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, we came indoors. Some of us played '90s edition of Sing Star, which was absolutely hilarious, and others settled in the kitchen with card games. The party didn't stop til 2:00 in the mornin' and I paid for it the next day.

I was kind of bummed because we didn't get the best turn out. Everyone was really excited, but because it's summertime and people have packed schedules, tons of friends couldn't make it. We were also up against the Lady Gaga concert that night. We had about forty guests throughout the night though, and Jacob and I had a blast. It's always kind of weird to mix friends, but our families, high school friends, Jacob's co-workers, and our neighbors all seemed to get along well. Oh! And my BFF and his boyfriend flew up from Sacramento just to come to the party! That was the best part of the whole thing.

Long live the '90s!


What I Read in July

It's once again time for Erin's Book Challenge! I was able to pull ten books from my TBR list and had so much fun talking books with fellow participants (via the challenge's Facebook group). Erin will be doing another challenge this winter, so join in the fun! Here are the categories and what I chose to read for each one, along with a short review.

Read a book that is at least 200 pages
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch Everyone has been raving about this book, so while it's not my preferred genre, I had to give it a shot. It hooked me from the very beginning, but I slogged through the middle. I kept at it because I wanted to know how it would turn out, and it's not a bad book by any means, but it was a little too sci-fi for me. My husband will probably love it. ★★★

Read a book that starts with the letter B
Beartown by Fredrik Backman What a great book! It's a slow build and quite gloomy, but it's not just a story about hockey. I read somewhere that it's like Sweden's Friday Night Lights. It's so well-written and there are A LOT of characters (the boys on the team, their parents, coaches, siblings, the board, fans, townsfolk, etc), which usually annoys me, but it didn't with this one. There are so many amazing ones! I've heard that it's a departure from Backman's other books though, so be warned if you've loved his others. ★★★★★

Read a book that has a yellow cover
The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg Super quick and interesting enough, but I didn't love it. I have a hard time with stories when the characters don't communicate and I didn't feel attached to a single one of them. I liked that it was nonlinear though and loved the writing. ★★★

Read a book that has a picture of an animal on the cover 
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson It's kinda weird to say I loved this book, but I did! It's informative while also being entertaining and even funny. I thought it was a little disjointed at first, but the last few chapters (which were the best) brought it all together. ★★★★

Read a book that was published in 2017
It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany It's important to talk about friend or acquaintance rape and I liked that the book explored both points of view. One specific improbable storyline annoyed me and the dialogue was poorly written, so while it was hard to put down, I was a little disappointed. ★★★

Fun fact: I didn't know going in that it was set in my college town! (I just found out the author graduated from my alma mater in 1994 and has lived there since.) Everything was really accurate, except for mentioning that the main character went to WWU football games because the program a few years after I graduated. Whoops!

Read a book with a compass or cardinal direction in the title
Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home by Laura and Lisa Ling I followed this story as it unfolded in the news, but loved reading Lisa and Laura's firsthand alternating accounts. It's not particularly well-written, and the sisterly love got pretty cheesy, but I couldn't put it down and the whole story is fascinating. They are incredibly lucky to have had all their connections. I would love to read Euna Lee's story. ★★★★

Read a book from this list of the most commonly banned books in America
The Witches by Roald Dahl Super cute! I never read this as a kid, but bought a Dahl box set for my kids and wanted to read along. They might still be too young for this one though. I want to watch the movie now too! ★★★

Read a fictional book about mental illness
72 Hour Hold by Bebe Moore Campbell Well written story told from the perspective of a mother of a teen daughter with bipolar disorder. It's heartbreaking, but very realistic, relatable and compelling. The ending felt rushed though. ★★★

Read a book with a non-human main character
The Bees by Laline Paull I don't know what I was expecting from a dystopian novel about bees, but I was pleseantly surprised. It's odd, but original, and I was interested from beginning to end. ★★★

Read a book a Disney movie was based on
The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot Cute enough. I haven't seen the movie because I can't stand Anne Hathaway, and she narrated this audiobook so that was disappointing. Mia is a cute character who got less annoying as the story went on, but this is still a book for a very young audience. ★★

I'm linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books!