Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Watching and Thinking and Listening to One Week Before I Move?

Happy Wednesday! In a week and a day, I get to get OUT of my parents apartment. Still not moving into my real apartment, but at least moving somewhere new. I’ll be sleeping on the floor and camping out in the empty upstairs apartment where my friends will be living. Still better than being at my parents. I need MY OWN SPACE.

I’ll start!

Reading: Nothing! My brain is not working. It’s hot, I’m at my parents, I can’t seem to focus on anything. Oh, and also, all the books are packed, both theirs and mine. I may have to restart the DCIB Book Club just to kickstart my head.

Watching: My Dad and I watched The Poseidon Adventure and Airport. And started The Towering Inferno, but it was so bad we couldn’t continue. Although I did get to see Paul Newman 15 minutes in say very seriously “I need a pair of dikes”. That’s a giggle.

Thinking: I will never have a home! I’m just gonna wander aimlessly in temporary locations for the rest of my life!!! My parents have boxed up almost everything they own for their move and are starting to take a few things to the new place, so their apartment feels more like a railway station than a home. I go over to my friends’, and they are boxing up for their move. Everything I own is either in storage or the back of my car. In a week, I get to move the back-of-the-car stuff to an empty apartment, and even that seems just impossibly glorious. Not to carry my most precious possessions in the back of my car! Can you imagine the WONDER?

Listening: Courtney in a comment just reminded me of “Goriye”!

Question for you: It’s a friend’s birthday this week and for our movie night movie, she requested “The Yellow Thermos Movie”. What are your personal nicknames for movies?

When I was in college, I called DDLJ “The Best Movie Ever” which my friend and I eventually abbreviated to “TBME”. Since then, there’s also “The ET movie”, “The Dwarf Movie”, and of course “The Movie Where Shahrukh Kisses the Wrong Girl”.

40 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Watching and Thinking and Listening to One Week Before I Move?

  1. Here in Finland, it has been something like 30 degrees inside, until today when there was a storm with thunder, wind and rain. It was so nice! I usually hate summer because the days are hot and dry here (unlike the humid ones that I prefer and were in Asia), but when it rains I learn to like it once again. But yeah, more of an Autumn lover here (Winter is too icy and Spring is hayfever and allergy time) because it is the only one I can enjoy fully.

    If you need some brain relaxing then I wholly recommend the ‘Adventures of Moominvalley’ series that can be found on YouTube for free (link below). It is a very wholesome show, and though I personally prefer the Finnish dub, it is still good. I’ve been on a bit of a nostalgic Moomin binge at the moment, mainly because it calms me in these hot summer months.
    Also, the soundtrack for the 90s show is WONDERFUL! Made by Sumio Shiratori, it brings such a nice mood if you need your brain to unwind by listening to pretty music.

    You can watch the whole English dubbed 90s series here, it’s a link to the official playlist (or first episode, really).

    And I am going full-blown recommendation that you read the books if you want to get into reading once again. They are small books but are filled with such mystery, character and atmosphere and themes that would seem hard to think that were explored when they were written. They are a very good summer read kind of books. Very relaxing and immersive.

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  2. Thinking: THE SCHOOL YEAR IS OVER!!!!! Well, pretty much. Graduation is later today, which I am working, but the last day was technically yesterday so I am officially done with this hellish year. I am going to sleep for the next week.

    Reading: I just finished Hot British Boyfriend, which is about a high school senior who, after being publicly rejected and humiliated by her crush, signs up for her school’s study abroad program to England meant for honors students, which she is not. She catches the eye of a charming local, but also gets in with her roommate’s friend circle, which includes one of her dorky classmates (who is Indian!) It’s a really fun, sweet story about friendship and passion, and the two romances that develop are delightful. Now I’m reading Vox, which is about an alternate America in which women are only allowed 100 words per day. This is the opposite of delightful. Very anxiety inducing. Interesting, but a little bit close to reality, at least in some parts of the country.

    Watching: Namastey London was next on my “clearing my Netflix list” list. It was another one that was fine. Katrina is lovely and sweet and I was rooting for her happiness the entire time. And Akshay was also fine. His character wasn’t completely gross. He does have one big pro India speech, and his performance was a little stunted. I couldn’t get behind Akshay and Katrina as a couple though, which obviously is a huge problem in a romance. Katrina has a Caucasian love interest, who’s name is Charlie Brown, which feels wrong in a way I can’t explain. But literally every single white person in this movie is so obviously racist it hurts. So the main problem with this movie is that you kind of have to root for Akshay and Katrina because every other suitor Katrina has sucks, and even though Akshay and Katrina aren’t great together, of Katrina’s options, he’s the best. Not the best set up for a love story, imo.

    Listening: I rediscovered Nazm Nazm and wow, what a comforting song

    I came up with nicknames for some of my favorite Bollywood movies in order to get people to watch them. Or not watch them.

    Chennai Express – “Stupid Ridiculousness”
    Student of the Year – “High School Musical Knockoff”, or “Skinny Gays”
    HSKD – “Best Romcom Ever”
    KKHH – “90s Nostalgia”
    Ram-Leela – “Visually Stunning Romeo and Juliet”
    BKD – “HSKD’s Bratty Younger Sister”
    War – “Buff Gays”
    Hasee Toh Phasee – “I Promise This is a Really Lovely Romance If You Can Get Past the Fact that the Heroine Uses Drugs to Deal with Her Mental Problems”
    Dilwale – “We Loved Chennai Express, Can We Please Watch This, You Would Like It”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Congrats on surviving the school year!!!!!

      Namestay London is a funny one. I love Kat’s confident character, and her parents are cute, but the plot is so strange. They pull it off I think, I can believe Kat comes to appreciate Akshay, but like you said, it feels partly just because he’s the only decent person.

      I love your nicknames! Especially “We Loved Chennai Express, Can We Please Watch This, You Would Like It”. I have called Dilwale that sometimes also. And other times “I know you hated it when you first saw it, but believe me it’s not that bad!”

      On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 10:36 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I don’t know, I still can’t get behind the whole “marrying someone and then learning to love them” idea, even if it’s a huge part of the culture.

        The thing with Dilwale too, is that while it holds up on its own, you’d have to go through so many movies to really appreciate everything it’s doing. Same with Chennai Express. But the ending of Dilwale makes NO SENSE if you haven’t seen DDLJ, which is also true for HSKD and why I made my roommate watch DDLJ first. I don’t want to make my friends watch 20 movies just to get some one off jokes in the comedies.

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  3. Oh I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve played Goriye since it came out! I’m ashamed to say that in a album full of original desi rap songs, this is my favorite and it’s not even in the movie!

    Continuing with my Cary Grant exploration and from there have now gotten into Hitchcock. I’m realizing that I had certain set ideas about him/his films which aren’t true at all. Probably didn’t help that his only movie I’d seen was The Birds a few years back, and that just felt weird! Now that I’ve seen more, I’m surprised his films have such a range – suspense (of course), comedy, romance – sometimes all in the same film, and I’m very much enjoying them. In particular, I absolutely loved The Lady Vanishes because it has all those elements meshed so well, and the first half hour is like a screwball comedy! It reminded me a lot of something like Teesri Manzil. If you haven’t seen it, I think you’ll like it.

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    • I love The Lady Vanishes! My family and I just rewatched it. If you like that kind of Hitchcock, check out Young and Innocent too. And The 39 Steps! Mr. and Mrs. Smith was his only straight up 100% comedy and it is kind of sucky. But his earlier films all mixed comedy and suspense and were delightful. The original The Man Who Knew to Much and Murder are good too. Sabatoge and Foreign Correspondent start out light and then get DARK.

      The Indian director Hitchcock reminds me of the most is RGV! I finally watched some of his early stuff, and it’s all fun stories of silly young couples caught up in big conspiracies.

      On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 6:58 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I watched 39 Steps, liked it! Seen all the Cary Grant ones and Dial M for Murder. I seem to like most kinds of Hitchcock, my favorites as of now are Notorious, Lady Vanishes and North by Northwest – very different films. So I’ll probably get to most of his movies, he has a lot! What are your favorites?

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        • Well, now I have to pull up his filmography!

          The Man Who Knew Too Much (original), Young and Innocent, 39 Steps, and The Lady Vanishes I think of as all kind of the same, early British low budget fun black and white suspense movies with romance and humor mixed in. Of his later stuff, Rear Window and North by Northwest are probably my favorites.

          On Wed, Jun 23, 2021 at 10:02 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. I saw Mental Madhilo. I heard many good things about this movie so when it finally appeared on eintusian I knew I must watch it. Unfortunately I didn’t love it. It was ok, but not as good like other telugu cute rom-coms e.g Chi La Sow. I found it too slow. The best part, and the reason I managed to finish it, was Nivetha Pethuraj. She is stunning and a very good actress. I have already seen her in terrible Chitralahari (she was the only thing I want to remember from that movie).

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    • Yes, it is not as good as Chi La Sow. Vivek Atreya directed Sri Vishnu in this movie and Brochevarevarura. He repeated other actors too in Brochevarevarura including Nivetha Pethuraj. Latest from Nivetha Pethuraj – she found a bug in food she ordered and posted about it on Instagram. It is over the news all over.

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      • I was thinking if I wasn’t too harsh with this movie because it was fresh, and had some nice stuff (I especially liked how the movie show us both pov). But the truth is I checked my watch constantly and couldn’t wait when the movie will be over.

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  5. Moving is very discombobulating and it must be hard not to have any undisrupted fallback. Even if you’re sleeping on the floor in the part of the new house that won’t be yours, you should still do a bit to make it feel like home – posters on the wall or hang curtains or something. Sounds like you need a refuge for a while.

    Reading: Fascinated by this article about a backlash to some K-dramas based on characters that were seen as racist or insensitive.
    http://m.koreaherald.com/amp/view.php?ud=20210621000779

    It brings up so many interesting questions about local creators and who the audience is and how that has shifted with the growth of transnational streaming and how expectations have shifted with it. They use two examples, one character that used Black American costume elements to signal cool gangster, which sparked backlash and accusations of racism and cultural appropriation, and another where Indonesian viewers objected to the depiction of Indonesia in a sports sequence. Korean creators now have to contend with expectations and sensitivities that likely aren’t very present in their domestic audience because the shows have become an export product. It’s also interesting to me that both sides seem to have adopted the US playbook – the objectors rallying online protests and the creators in their response statements. What does it mean when US cultural discourse and sensitivities are being adopted by online audiences elsewhere, at the same time that Hollywood as a cultural industry is losing power and the cultural products being subjected to criticism are more and more likely to come from outside of the US? Is the balance of power between creators and the international audience different for a smaller country like Korea with a smaller domestic audience vs. a bigger country like India? Don’t have answers but it’s fascinating to watch.

    Listening: still on a Tiny Desk kick. This Alicia Keys concert brought me joy this week.

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    • The one upside of my parents moving at the same time as me is that I am inheriting some of their furniture. So I will be moving into temporary housing with my floor bed and boxes of clothes, and also a wing chair and a coffee table. That should be homey, I think.

      I am fascinated by these international standards as well! Especially the inability to think about meaning translating when it goes overseas. Something that if it were done by an American would have one meaning, means something else when done by a non-American. To take an opposite example, if I am in India and an Indian man shakes my hand and grabs my shoulder when he meets me, I know he is being DEEPLY disrespectful to me and stereotyping me as a loose white woman. But if I am in America and an American man casually shakes my hand and grabs my shoulder on meeting me, it means nothing. Or, colorism versus weight. There are so MANY articles about how Indian films have this great open view of female beauty, because the actresses are of average weight. But those articles are blind to the skin color pressure Indian women feel thanks to the artificial paleness of the movie stars.

      On Thu, Jun 24, 2021 at 10:00 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Oh yes, body image is a good one. In the very small sample size of K-dramas I’ve watched so far, pale skin and thinness are definitely coded as attractive, but at the same time the female body is almost never exposed or objectified. Desirability seems like it’s coded through fashion, and a certain youthful innocence. Sexual contact is almost Pakistani levels of non-existent, except for the odd passionate, perfectly framed kiss. I wonder about how that plays in some of the same markets we’ve talked about for Indian film – South Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Australia, etc. There’s a certain commonality with family plotlines, unabashed romance with not much shown onscreen, unexpected plot twists, pop music soundtracks…but the actual aesthetics are totally different. How does that map onto local values and preferences?

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        • How about age as another factor? Or independence? That’s another thing that doesn’t factor in the same way in the West. Speaking only for Indian films, which I know, in terms of representation there is whether a woman is over 30 and unmarried, whether she lives independently of family, whether a man is divorced or not divorced, caste, education, all of these other stereotypes and prejudices that don’t transfer to the West. And SHOULDN’T transfer to the West, I mean, it’s a good thing that we are so removed we are blind to them. But at the same time, if you are going to be critical of a product beyond just sitting back and enjoying it, maybe you should try to understand what the product is saying?

          In Korea, I have no idea if there are prejudices against older unmarried women, or certain careers, or living alone, or any of the rest of it. But I am sure there are. And I am sure the K-Dramas are addressing those very specific touchstones in a way outsiders are blind to unless they have really REALLY dug into it. What K-dramas are playing into Korean stereotypes? Which ones are breaking them? I DON’T KNOW!!!!

          On Thu, Jun 24, 2021 at 1:06 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Right, and how does the prevailing online media discourse raise visibility around certain aspects – which might be side comedy bits or otherwise secondary to the main plot – while totally missing some of the elements that might be pushing the envelope for the domestic audience?

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          • YES! Again, dragging this back to the area I know, complaining about romance in Hindi films from the perspective of Western feminism, while ignoring the massive human rights issues around “love marriage” in India is just SO BLIND.

            On Thu, Jun 24, 2021 at 1:35 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • And…how much does that push on the local creators to change what they do depending on how much they need the international audience vs. being from a big enough domestic market that they can safely ignore outside pressure? (Though not sure anyone is really immune now, thinking about big Hollywood stars walking back criticism of the Chinese government, which is obviously in a different category than consumer criticism but is outside pressure forcing a response based on economics.)

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          • This is why I hate Shaandar. It pandered to the Western audience with the body image stuff that has no meaning in India, while ignoring the freedom to love and marry stuff that DOES have meaning in India. No, not ignoring, that would be better, putting it in as a much more minor point. One of the heroine’s being full figured should be almost ignored, let’s hear more about the hero’s parents dying in the Sikh Pogram, or the whole idea of children being forced into a marriage as a business deal.

            On Thu, Jun 24, 2021 at 1:39 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • For what it’s worth, the series has nothing to do with Ray’s movies. Most people are not aware that he was a prolific author who wrote many short stories and novels for children and teenagers. For most Bengali kids, he is the beloved creator of some of their favorite fictional characters, much before they are exposed to his movies. Ray is based on 4 such short stories, each about 7-8 pages long. I was/am skeptical because knowing Netflix and from the trailer, it looked to be all dark and edgy, while the stories are simple and quirky tales of human and social behavior. I watched Abhishek Chaubey’s one, and I was pleasantly surprised that he kept it light and wholesome, following the tone of the story. Hoping the same for the others!

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        • I read an interview with one of the makers, and he said Netflix wanted the stories to be dark. Not surprising because Netflix always wants their stuff depressing. And that’s the reason I never watch their original movies and series. But this one looks good and I decided to give it a chance. Forget Me Not was kind of dark, but also rewarding in some way.
          I can’t wait to watch Abhishek Chaubey’s episode. It was Manoj Bajpayee’s acting in the trailer that made me want to watch the series. I’m also very curious how Harsh Kapoor and his part will be.

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          • Yeah, there’s a reason I cancelled Netflix and didn’t miss it! I’d have watched this anyway since I read the stories as a child. Knowing the story Forget Me Not is based on, I can see how it can be turned dark, I’ll watch it next.

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  6. Hi Margaret! Just checking in after a really long time! I see you have a new feature, the DCIB book club and I love Ms. Marvel! Have read the first ten or so volumes and need to keep going, especially to get in the mood for the tv show. So what’s new with you? You’re moving somewhere…away from Chicago? What are your newest obsessions?! My pandemic obsessions have continued…cross-stitching a lot still, finally reading more in all genres. My viewing obsessions have been Peaky Blinders, Great Pottery Throw Down, Mare of Easttown, lots of British comedy panel shows like Taskmaster and 8 out of 10 Cats. Haven’t seen that many movies over the last year or so, way less than usual, partly due to the limited number of interesting releases and to dwindling interest in Indian cinema. I’ll never stop watching Indian films, but I’m just being more selective in what I watch. I did watch season two of The Family Man and enjoyed it as a time pass. The only Indian films I’ve watched since the beginning of the year are AK vs AK (loved it and it’s meta-craziness, that and Ludo were two of my faves of 2020), Indoo Ki Jawani (weird but I still really like Kiara Advani and I think she has interesting performances in her future), Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar (the film that may have pulled me back into watching Hindi films and helped to keep my love of Parineeti and Arjun barely alive), and also watched Sherni today. I really liked Sherni a lot and I think the director’s work and his activist directing style (in Newton too) are really interesting. Especially in contrast to all of the right-wing propaganda that Akshay Kumar is putting out. Fun to see Vijay Raaz in a good guy role and Vidya was wonderful as usual. This was one of those “take your medicine” films that is also perfectly acted and beautifully filmed.

    I need a big masala romance popcorn film to renew my love of Indian films and it doesn’t look like we’ll get one anytime soon. Been thinking about watching some oldies but goodies.

    I did read a silly Bollywood set Harlequin Presents romance by Tara Pammi called Claiming His Bollywood Cinderella. Lots of fun because the author is clearly basing the hero’s family on the Kapoors and other Bollywood dynasties. I have the next book in the series to read. Also kind of liked Sara Desai’s The Marriage Game. An OK romantic comedy that had pretty obscure Bollywood references that went beyond the superficial SRK references usually found in books of its kind.

    So that’s my first Wednesday recap in forever! Hope you are well and hopefully I’ll rekindle my love of Indian films and come back more often!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!! I’ve been thinking about you, especially with the book club! Nothing to stop you from reading all the books and commenting on old posts….

      During the pandemic, my friends and I started talking half joking about getting a place together, and then seriously. It was super stressful in a million different ways, but we finally bought a two flat in our IDEAL location (Albany Park neighborhood in Chicago, 90% first generation immigrants, walking distance from a train, and a river runs through it. All good!). The only downside is that it currently has tenants (boooo, tenants!), so the move has to happen in irritating stages as they move out. My lease was up in May, so I am at my parents’ now with everything I own in storage, on July 1 I can move into the empty unit at our building but it won’t be “my” unit, so I’m just camping out and leaving my stuff in storage. End of July, my friends’ move into that unit and I move downstairs and hire painters and clean and stuff. And finally mid August, my stuff arrives from storage. Not leaving Chicago, not changing my life dramatically, but yes changing my life dramatically! Home ownership! Albie gets a yard! The car gets a garage! A permanent bond with my friends as lasting as marriage!

      Emily I think also watched Peaky Blinders, so troll through the comments and you can find her ideas on that. I am trying to get myself to watch Mare of Easttown because it looks soooooooooo good, but it came out in the middle of the whole “EVERYTHING I OWN HAS TO GO TO STORAGE FOR 3 MONTHS” craziness and I just couldn’t focus. It’s on my list for “someday when I have a home and a TV again”. My parents and I have been working through QI. Actually, working through it and then back to the start and through it again and so on. We have watched a QI episode almost every night of the whole pandemic and there just aren’t that many episodes! I think we are going through for the 4th time now. Are any of the other panel shows as good as QI?

      I watched Sherni last week and I have been trying to psych myself up to reviewing it. Because yeah, it’s gonna be a lot of “well, nothing good ever happens because politicians ruin it” in the review. Also, PATRIARCHY. Also, MISOGYNY. But Vijay Raaz! Vidya! AND Neeraj Kabi!

      I don’t care if you rekindle your love of films or not! Just come back! DCIB is changing into “a place to talk Indian movies, and also just hang out at Margert’s virtual apartment”. We’ve got the book club, a few weeks I changed it into a “movie” club instead with old American classics, we’ve got the watchalongs on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, and just a lot of general check in posts like “how is your favorite way to eat cheese?”

      On Sat, Jun 26, 2021 at 5:13 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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