Weekend Screens: Valentine’s Weekend

None of these were romantic really, but the title of this post is factually accurate. This is what I watched during the ~weekend of love~ while I lay in bed cursed with the fatigue and agony of my fibromyalgia. It’s a lot of Netflix.

Lupin (Netflix)

This French-language heist show does race so well, in that it feels like a nod to Black people, where the moment is held just one second longer than it needs to be, so the white people see something’s up too… and then we move on, leaving them to sit with it. The central character j’adores the Arsene Lupin novels – and embodies the stories of this ‘gentleman burglar’ in his decades-long revenge plot. I had the thought that it’s not enough somehow for me to recommend to someone as a Show to watch, but it is good! If it was a movie or a two-part series I think it may have packed more of a recommendable-punch. I enjoyed it though, and look forward to watching Part 2 when it releases. (Yes, it ends on a cliffhanger. Like it literally is as if they stopped in the middle of one season. Which they did. Part two is “coming soon”.) I am now listening to the Arsene Lupin novels on Audible!

Space Sweepers (Netflix)

This futuristic sci-fi dystopia film is exactly what I’ve been drawn to lately: Just total otherworldliness. In space. I need to not be in 2021 reality. The main cast is Korean and speaks Korean but there’s a Tower of Babel situation happening in this reality and everyone has translator earpieces so they speak in their own language but are understood, except that the Tae-ho character is actually speaking Spanish into the mic as well somehow. The wider cast is a lot of small speaking parts and most of them are in a different language than we just heard. (Netflix captions credit Arabic, Danish, Korean, English, German, and Chinese.) It’s great! A true space adventure – deals with the whole elites-going-to-Mars thing, corporations controlling mass media, as well as poverty even in a galactical landscape, and there’s a strong sense of found-family as they come together to take care of this adorable kid-slash-hydrogen-bomb.

Good Trouble (Freeform)

Good Trouble stays diverse and woke and thought-provoking! It also stays like… it’s the same storylines over and over continuously. Somehow still watchable when your head’s in that The Coterie world though. The girls are all problematic but it’s one of those shows where that’s the lesson —for US to learn, though, because the girls never do. I caught up on completing the second season so I’d be in time to watch season three when it comes out now, and it covered: Sisterhood, roommate shenanigans, stand up comedy hustle, Black Lives Matter protest organisation, grieving the death of a child, side-gig artist hustle, AND! Priscilla from Pandora (who thirst trapped me into the show) is a new character!

Grown-ish (Freeform)

I’ve been thinking a lot (in these un-creative hairstyle days of lockdown) about how Grown-ish gave me the spark to try out different hairstyles and discover what more was possible with my hair (Hashtag representation matters) and I’ve been seeing promos for this show coming back soon too. I stopped watching during the ‘okay but did Ana break the girl code or not since she slept with Zoe’s ex-situationship’ episode and never really came back. Until now. I enjoyed the fashion and dilemmas and just allll the chaos that is possible for the writers to play around with when you have a cast as wild and diverse as this. The moments for Us (POCs) were also excellent – Is Vivek super comfortable or actually approporating our culture? Did Sky unknowingly start dating a white dude, thinking he’s black? (RodNae or Rodney?)

Silk Road (2021)

This Nick Robinson (ft. Alexandra Shipp, Black girls gettin it!) movie is basically an English language Hollywood edition of the Gijs Blom Silk Road movie I’ve been wanting to see for years. Something about it isn’t as thrilling as another true crime ‘how did he get caught woah that actually happened’ vibe. But not in a way that it’s clear what they could have done differently.. They told the story well, and many moments have stuck with me since I watched it. It just wasn’t Woah.

Carmen Sandiego: To Steal or Not to Steal (Netflix)

This technology is so cool and thrilling to me! I was so excited to get into this, but ultimately found it underwhelming. The cuts between your selection and the film starring are so sudden it breaks the experience, and also I seriously don’t like that there’s a wrong answer. Like how you gon tell me to go back and start again because I got stuck in a hole half way through. I should get to the end (however rocky or unfavourably) and want to do it again with different choices, not be told forever to re-choose because of lack of options in the future. Super disappointing in that regard. But they’re cool kids and it’s a fun show in general. The dope part of this film was the overall Netflix Carmen Sandiego vibe, so I would recommend just watching the show.

We Could Be Heroes (Netflix)

This reminded me so much of The Society of the Secondborn Royals! It’s fun and sweet and empowering and silly. There’s a girl who can sing notes that make things float, and a boy who can stretch his body like spaghetti (He’s called Noodles) and there’s an overall vibe of “The adults are kinda useless at this job. We have to save them ourselves.” Priyanka Chopra Jonas is fantastic in it, and one of the kids is in a wheelchair (“Not because his legs are week but because they’re so strong that his bones can’t cope”) and I wish I had the heart to google if he is actually disabled, but forgive me, I shan’t, I will just hope and imagine that the casting team did not fail in this regard.

The Big Day (Netflix / Conde Nast India)

The Big Day shares the wedding story behind six couples getting married in India. The third episode features a gay couple, two men who marry in both Germany and India so that their families can attend their weddings. It’s surprisingly revolutionary in the interview snippets they give us – There’s some really powerful quotes from the women especially, the brides who have deconstructed what each ritual symbolizes and discarded the ones they don’t connect with. Those decisions, and the clear message and thought behind them conveys a sense of hope for the modern society and the place women have carved out for themselves.

It’s awesome, and very empowering to watch, I imagine especially if you’re a young woman in India right now. —It does seem to be made for an Indian audience, though; There’s room left where they could have provided brief explanations or context, and also so much more detail shared! It feels like there’s so much wasted footage that we as an audience would have deeply appreciated: Show us what that mom chose for her invitation boxes! Show us the final looks where all the environmentally-friendly and ethical products showed up! Give us all that you have right in front of you! It felt too brief. There was definitely enough footage and enough story to give one episode to each wedding, too.

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