- The Hunt, Andrew Fukuda
- Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
- Delirium, Lauren Oliver
- Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver
- Avengers, Joss Whedon
- Metropolitan, Whit Stillman
- Tiny Furniture, Lena Dunham
- Submarine, Richard Ayoade
- Snow White and The Huntsman, Rupert Sanders
It's the beginning of June and we're halfway there, ooooh, living on a prayer! If I never hear that song again, I think I'll be okay. After five months, I've hit the halfway mark of the Fifty Fifty Challenge -- on May 24th, with Ernest Cline's Ready Player One.
This should've been a cause for massive celebration but I didn't want to overdo it, as cranking through an arbitrary challenge shouldn't be lauded too highly. Oh screw it, this is the biggest thing I've accomplished so far in 2012 so I'd better break out that half can of champagne I've been saving. I've watched 29 movies and 21 books so far this year, and I don't have a day job or any other life obligations, so I was clearly Mr. Super Productivity.
This month was a struggle though. I think after watching the greatness that was Avengers (twice), I decided to give it some space to breath and settle, because otherwise its awesomeness would have annihilated all the other things I tried to consume afterward. Seriously, if you didn't like Avengers, our friendship is over. And if you can care deeply about which female Avenger might make it into the sequel, we should be BFFs.
Actually here's what likely killed my reading and watching productivity: the start of the NBA playoffs. With at least two postseason games on every night, plus my beloved Celtics battling hard every other day, I barely had the strength to get up off the couch, much less crack open a book or get out to the theater. Even Netflix, just a remote shrug away, lay out of reach. Cheering on your favorite basketball game is draining. Like oh so tiring.
I'll admit I thought about letting May pass by with just a handful of things consumed but achievement me (hate that guy) kicked in and didn't want to break my streak of at least four movies and books per month. So over the past few days I crammed in Tiny Furniture, Submarine, and both of the books in Lauren Oliver's Delirium series. This must be what it feels like to push through that last fifteen miles of a marathon. You hit the hump and just keep on churning. I feel so accomplished and better about my life already.
There's a lot that's been said about Lena Dunham and her semi-new show, Girls. I won't repeat them here but just Google it. Basically there was hype, then backlash, then more backlash, then ardent defenses, always misogyny, then everyone who wanted web traffic added "Dunham + Girls" somewhere on their sites. Now that's all quieted down and it's just finding ways to illegally stream the episodes because who can afford HBO? At the end of the day, Girls is good, and so is Dunham's Tiny Furniture. I can't decide if I would have liked it pre-Girls but I think I would have because neurotic movies that go nowhere are often favorites of mine. Now I just want Dunham to remake The Truth About Cats & Dogs. Can we get a petition going for this?
If you're feeling weird about the all white world Dunham depicts in Girls, feel better about yourself by watching The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, created by and starring Issa Rae. Start here with this episode about interracial dating. It contains the line: "Everyone knows you're supposed to ease into interracial dating. You know, make your way up the color scale. But you've jumped straight past brown and yellow and gone straight to white." Issa Rae won't be getting her own cable show anytime soon because TV is racist but YouTube is colorblind!
Speaking of all white worlds filled with privileged people, Whit Stillman's Metropolitan kind of bored me. I'm majoring in Stillman's movies for Fifty Fifty -- on the strength of watching Damsels in Distress last month -- but even though this is his most highly acclaimed work, it didn't connect for me. I guess it could be because I'm not a preppy white person from the Upper East Side whose social life revolves around tuxedos and debutante balls, but I don't think that's it.
I mean, my favorite TV show ever is My So-Called Life and I have nothing in common with any of those characters. (Except possibly Krakow. Who is kind of an honorary Asian, although his parents would then have to be engineers or doctors, instead of a behavioral psychologist and a Freudian psychiatrist.) This whole "this isn't something I relate" to thing that people talk about all the time is way overrated. I have nothing in common with fast talking assassins either but I really like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs. I thought some of the enjoyment of consuming stuff was to become exposed to things that you can't understand at all. If you can only like what you relate to, that's a pretty narrow band of stuff to seek out.
On the list of things I can't relate to, I started Fifty Shades of Grey earlier this month but may not make it past 54%. I think it's my Kindle, it just refuses to go any further. I think Amazon pre-installed a safe word. "Help."