1. Peep Show
A bit of a cult classic, Peep Show is one of those programmes I’ve caught odds and ends of over the years but never really watched properly. Over the last few weeks I’ve been working my way through it, and although I wouldn’t put it up there as one of my favourite TV series of all time, it is pretty funny and great for half an hour of entertainment before I go to bed. Peep Show follows flatmates Mark (David Mitchell) and Jeremy (Robert Webb) as the dysfunctional pair attempt to navigate their way through everyday life. They’re both weirdos, but in a very ordinary way, and it’s sometimes a bit worrying how much I can relate to Mark (I too have very little to say to my closest friends).
2. They Came Together
I hadn’t heard of this film until it popped up on my Netflix homepage, but it took about 5 seconds between reading “Amy Poehler & Paul Rudd” and deciding to watch it. A satirical take on the ever-popular rom-com, They Came Together pokes fun at all the predictable, formulaic elements which make up the majority of romantic movies; think of it as the Scary Movie of the romance world. It’s never going to win any awards, but its silly, slapstick style of humour makes it an easy watch and there are some genuinely funny moments in amongst the more tired old gags. Molly (Poehler) is a cutesy, ditzy sweet shop owner who is struggling to keep her business afloat because of a huge corporate candy business moving in across the street. Joel (Rudd) works for said evil corporation and they end up hating each other before falling in love and… I’m sure you can see where this is going. The film has pretty terrible reviews on Netflix but I think that’s because the sort of people who leave Netflix reviews are a bit stupid and don’t understand that this is meant to be a spoof (surely the name alone is a bit of a giveaway…?!) If you don’t take it too seriously, it’s definitely worth a watch!
3. Dinner Date
Dinner Date is my ultimate guilty pleasure TV show. It’s terrible and I love it. It’s sort of a cross between Come Dine With Me and Blind Date, and I highly suggest watching it on ITV Be whilst you’re eating your dinner every weekday. In each episode, one singleton has to choose three menus they like the sound of, then over the next three nights they go round to the house of each menu’s creator for a blind date. At the end, they pick the date they liked the best and then they get to go on a proper date in a restaurant. It’s great for many reasons, mostly because: the people are always weird and awkward; everyone seems to dress like it’s 2003; usually at least one of the dates say “I have never cooked a proper meal before”. At the end they do a little update of what’s happened one month on, and my favourite update so far was along the lines of “she chose #3, they exchanged numbers but never met up again. The week after, she went on a date with #2 instead”. BRILLIANT.
Last week I went to the cinema to see Birdman, which features Michael Keaton as a washed up Hollywood star trying to prove himself as a serious Broadway actor at the same time as struggling with his own personal problems. Whilst this is technically a very good film with good performances and good production and all that, I just found it a little bit… boring? I’m not sure that’s the right word, but it just seemed to be lacking something for me. I did enjoy the slightly dark comic relief brought by Edward Norton’s character, but overall I just found myself waiting for something more to happen and it never really did. Reading up on it after watching, I did quite like the idea that some critics have put forward that it’s a modernised retelling of Macbeth, with Keaton’s Riggan as Macbeth and his Birdman alter-ego as Lady Macbeth. Interesting!
5. The Theory of Everything
I haven’t been to the cinema in months, then two trips in one week… madness! Yesterday Laura and I went to see The Theory of Everything which tells the story of Stephen Hawking’s relationship with wife Jane, beginning in 1960s Cambridge with him as a PhD student. The whole thing was beautifully filmed and I loved the costumes, especially in the early section of the film with all those sixties dresses and perfectly coiffed hairdos. The story, which covers the couple’s 30 year marriage, manages to be both heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time with the themes of love and endurance nestled inbetween the frustrations and impossibilities of everyday life. The film reminded me a lot of A Beautiful Mind which used to be a favourite of mine, will need to give it a rewatch soon!
I had vaguely heard of the story of Joyce McKinney but didn’t really know much about it before watching Tabloid. In this documentary, McKinney herself is interviewed – along with other people involved in the case – to uncover the “truth” (and I use that term loosely) behind the bizarre woman who was briefly a tabloid sensation in the late seventies. Accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a young Morman man, former beauty queen McKinney claimed it was all for love and the events reported in the newspapers at the time were exaggerated or entirely fabricated. The documentary looks at McKinney’s warped relationship with the press over the years and even by the end you can’t quite decide if she’s a victim of tabloid manipulation or if she herself is the fame-hungry manipulator. Either way, it’s a very bizarre story (which just gets weirder with the introduction of cloned puppies…) and fascinating viewing.
What have you been watching lately?