Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Watching and Thinking and Listening to During My Hard Week?

Happy Wednesday! Today I tuck away all my stuff so my friends’ can finish painting their apartment, and then drive to the lake house. I’m debating whether I want to come back into the city this weekend to finish off some stuff (mow the lawn, etc.) or if I want to just be out of town and not think about things for two weeks.

I’ll start!

Reading: I started a funky comic book on comixology, “Faith”. Highly recommend it, very pleasant. Not as good as Ms Marvel, but then nothing is.

Watching: I went over to a co-workers house to co-work on Monday and it just turned into watching Jodha-Akbar. Still so pretty! And I also just finished going through all of NewsRadio which is such an odd mixture of experiencing entertainment/super super sad. Like watching a SSR movie.

Thinking: Ugh, there is SO MUCH to do! And I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have to do it all at once. All I need to do right now is move stuff to the basement storage of the new place so it is out of the way, and nag the roofer to make sure he comes over. And pay our utility bills. I don’t have to change the names on the utility bills, or redesign the garden, or organize the basement, or ANY of that.

Listening: Did you know the BBC has an app? I didn’t! Of course I don’t listen to the news or anything icky like that. But you can listen to Agatha Christie dramas! For free! Right on your phone!!! And probably also some interesting programs on Indian film and stuff. But why listen to that when you could listen to British actors play out murder mysteries from the between the wars era? So many flirty maids and accented humble gardeners!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09h3v95

Now, question for you! And this is kind of a depressing one, so I’m sorry. NewsRadio has this horrible tragic horribleness that overshadows the happiness of the show so much (the star was killed by his wife in a murder-suicide between the 4th and 5th seasons) that it is really hard to watch it and enjoy it. What are the real life tragedies that, for you, make it really hard to enjoy the pure entertainment related to them?

I already mentioned SSR. On the American side, anything with Heath Ledger has kind of a twingey sad feel to it now. But somehow, not Robin Williams. Maybe because he was so much older? Or because his work already had that slightly melancholy edge so it doesn’t feel out of sync?

40 thoughts on “Wednesday Watching Post: What Are You Reading and Watching and Thinking and Listening to During My Hard Week?

  1. Reading: The weirdest romance ever called Dirty Letters. It’s about this boy and girl who were pen pals as kids, through high school, lost touch in college, and then reconnect as adults, so of course the letters talk a lot about sex. It’s weird. The girl stopped writing to the guy after surviving a horrible accident that killed her best friend, and the guilt spawned into her turning agoraphobic. She tells this to the guy when they reconnect, but the guy is a famous singer who performs under a stage name so she doesn’t know he’s famous. But he lives in California, and she lives in Vermont, so he hires a private investigator to go out to Vermont, essentially stalk her, and report back. The girl tells a story about how the first time she pleasured herself was when she was thirteen with a vibrating kids meal key chain. And her name is Luca. This while thing is making me uncomfortable, and I haven’t even gotten to any real sex scenes yet.

    Watching: I watched Hum Saath Saath Hain, and I’m surprised I liked it. Nothing happened, but in a comforting way. I can see why this was so popular, it’s the perfect thing to put on in the background and half pay attention to while you’re doing other stuff. The over the top 90s acting is still something for me to get used to, and after so much of nothing happening, the drama they tried to throw in about the family business felt like too much. But overall a nice movie. My favorite couple was Saif and Karisma, hands down.

    Thinking: I’m so BORED! My friend’s bachelorette party was last weekend, and after all that excitement, I feel like I’ve literally done nothing since. We have so many leftovers so there’s no use for me to go grocery shopping. It’s too hot and humid to go outside. And my roommate still works so I can’t bug her to entertain me.

    Listening: Jason Mraz’s most recent album, and I didn’t realize he was like a full on reggae artist? Bizarre. He has this one song called Hearing Double where every word in the song, he says twice in a row, and I immediately skipped it because it was so unsettling.

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    • That is so weird! And now it is in my head too.

      Hum Saath Saath Hain is a very pleasant movie. Nothing really happens, and all the sons have a big portrait of themselves over their beds!

      If you are bored, you can join our watchalongs. Or, start thinking now about what you want for your birthday watchalong in a few weeks.

      On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 11:52 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I was actually waiting for you to bring that up, the bachelorette party that I went to last weekend, that wedding is August 6, which is not only a Friday, but the Friday before my birthday. And it’s in Cape May, so my family is scheduling a beach vacation around the wedding so I don’t have to travel on my birthday/birthday weekend. So in short, I can’t make my own birthday watchalong. So don’t plan on setting that aside for me.

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        • You still get to pick! We can reschedule for the next weekend or the weekend before. Or just pick something you want all of us to watch without you 🙂

          On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 1:46 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I think maybe the weekend after. The movies I’m trying to decide between right now might be hate watches for other readers of the blog, and I’d hate to subject people to watching something they don’t even like without my being there.

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          • Let me know when you decide! Both on date and film 🙂

            On Sat, Jul 17, 2021 at 4:26 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Films like Lassie and Sounder and the thousands of others since then where I know the dog is gonna die, make me turn them off before the end. And those damn African safari movies with elephants dropping all over the place, even Tarzan with the hunting parties that all look like Vincent Price. I can’t even watch heart-wrenching Humane Society commercials. I probably missed some good flicks over the years but animal suffering stays in my head a long time before I can work around it.

    And on another note, so far I’ve spent my Wednesday unpacking boxes and boxes of books I brought from my old house to this new one. I donated most of them but there seem to be so many left. Soon as I get the book cases out of the basement, I’ll start organizing them by…something. I only tell you this Margaret, so you don’t kill yourself trying to do it all at once. I’ve been here two years and I’m still not done moving in.

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    • It hit me recently when I was watching an old 1930s movie that the adorable dog actor was dead now. And then I thought “wait, everyone in this film is dead now”. But somehow the dog was what stuck with me.

      Thank you! That is a good reminder. I just have to get settled with a bed and a sofa and my TV and everything else can wait.

      On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 12:09 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. Still at the bottom end of my Christopher Lee spiral. My god he has a lot of movies. It’s funny because usually at this point (30 odd) I’m very familiar with an actor’s particular habits and tics, and you can read their attitude towards whatever they’re doing, but I can’t figure it out with him. Although obviously in the later Draculas the disdain is just clearly visible on his face.

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    • He must be such a good actor that he can act interested in almost everything. Or else, he really was interested in every role (except Dracula)

      On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 12:45 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Well, he’s said that that was his attitude, which is commendable. Aside from that, the only thing I’ve noticed about his acting is that he was very much influenced by Conrad Veidt, and Boris Karloff to a lesser degree.

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        • Anil Kapoor also said in an interview something similar. He shows up on set everyday saying “this movie is great! It’s gonna be a hit! Everything’s great!” even if he thinks it’s gonna be a failure. Because why have a bad attitude?

          On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 1:50 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yes, Christopher Lee said “Just because the movie is terrible doesn’t mean you have to be terrible in it” which is more pessimistic but it’s a good attitude. With Shashi, sometimes he’s going for it regardless and sometimes he clearly thinks it’s all extremely stupid, which is amusing but not admirable.

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  4. I think if I were to go back to Glee now, I’d be hit very hard by how many of those young, young people have met a tragic end in the few years since it aired.

    I’ve finally bought a pair of Bluetooth headphones and have been listening to my entire music library on shuffle. Turns out, it’s really not that extensive. I feel like every ten tracks or so, I have to skip a Christmas song. And I only own, like, four of those albums.

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    • Uff, Glee is a hard one. Especially because they were playing young, so they feel more vulnerable somehow?

      I have the same experience when I do shuffle all. But then, that is because I have about 500 Christmas songs, which really is a quarter of all my songs. I really really like Christmas music.

      On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 1:17 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  5. Watching: started a new Korean show, Mr. Sunshine. My first historical. I like it, the leads are all strong and it’s got a great set-up in the main character, a former slave boy who escaped to the US as a child and comes back as a US captain at a time when Korea is being gobbled up by Japan, Russia, and France, with the newly imperial US close on their heels. Lots of interesting class stuff,
    intrigue compounded across languages and cultures, rebel spies, and a good romance. Otherwise: going to see if I can convince my family to watch Sherni with me this weekend, maybe I’d I use Black Widow as a bargaining chip.

    Reading: Having and Being Had by Eula Biss. I’m a Eula Biss fangirl, I love how her mind works. This one I’m not as crazy about as her other two books (like On Immunity, so good and so relevant all over again now), but it’s short little essays, sometimes just a couple of pages, that go down easy, about what my attention span can handle at the moment. With my kids I’m reading National Velvet, which I adored as a kid and has great writing but is kind of challenging to read aloud, and The Neverending Story, which I’d only ever known in its 80s movie version and turns out to be a lovely book translated from German.

    Listening: a request – can you do one of your singer posts sometime? In need of new tunes.

    Tragic overshadows: Liam Neeson, because his kids were still young when they lost their mom. Jennifer Hudson. Rent and Waitress because of what happened to their creators. Not that I can’t enjoy watching any of them but the shadow is there.

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    • Sherni does have tigers! But otherwise is very very slow, be warned.

      I just can’t get into K-Dramas and at this point I am starting to feel guilty about it because it seems like everyone else is. I mean, I’ve tried them, in the vast experience of my life. I watched one that was really just a sitcom (My Little Baby, guy has to raise his baby niece, very cute, love story with college girlfriend who lives next door). And I watched one straight up standard one that I remember almost nothing about. Which is kind of the problem, I watched all 20 episodes or whatever it was and I just have this flash of a big ending where she storms the lobby of his building and a bunch of scarves. But I am NOT going to feel guilty!!! I just don’t like them somehow, too light or too dry or something or other, and that’s okay.

      My Mom adored National Velvet when she was a little girl. When I was growing up, there were two shelves that were Mom’s childhood favorite books. The hardcovers she had saved up to buy for herself when she was a little girl. And I eventually worked my way through almost all of them, because Mom and I had very similar little girl tastes. National Velvet was one of the last ones I read because it is sloooooooooooow. You have to really relax into it and just wait for something exciting to happen. Unlike, for instance, The Witch of Blackbird Pond which was also on the shelf and was super swoony and exciting and interesting. I am very impressed that your boys are putting up with it as a read aloud and hopefully it picks up fast enough for them to like it. And then you can watch the movie! With Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor! And then you can watch Black Beauty, with Mickey Rooney playing the exact same role 50 years later!

      I literally have never seen Rent or Waitress for that exact reason. It’s double sad, it’s just sad in general, and also sad because you watch it and think “boy, what a great thing, I can’t wait to see what they do next! Oh wait, they will do nothing next, because they are dead, this is the one beautiful thing they will ever create. Gosh Darn It!” Jennifer Hudson, yeah, that one is sooooooooo sad I just can’t think about it at all. Like, I don’t know how she gets out of bed in the morning let alone keeps making movies. Living in Chicago, I think about it all the time, every time I see something about Englewood I think “Jennifer Hudson, SO SAD”. And Liam Neeson, with his whole “I make silly happy movies because I just want my sons to smile again” ethos? UGH! I’ll be happier watching his films when he starts making sad films again because then I’ll figure his sons are okay. Anyway, thank you, I’m glad to know it’s not just me that immediately thinks of these horrible stories related to these particular people.

      On Wed, Jul 14, 2021 at 10:39 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Oh please don’t feel guilty about K dramas! I know those series are great and probably I would like it if I gave it a chance but I don’t have energy to start a new obsession. Almost everyone who watches K dramas now stopped watching/talking about Indian stuff and I feel so lonely. Nobody recommends new films or laughs at bad stuff 😞

        Liked by 1 person

          • You me and Angie! We will be the few who last. And Albie Dog because I am holding him hostage.

            On Fri, Jul 16, 2021 at 11:54 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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            Liked by 1 person

          • Not going to guilt you about K-dramas! I don’t consider this a new passion, for the record. I enjoy the shows I’ve watched, they fill that space in my life of chill time to myself before I go to bed when I can get swept up in another world for a while. Some things about them are kind of like the Pakistani dramas – they’re very chaste, there’s a lot of meaningful gazing, there is usually a family subplot. There’s a stretch in the middle where they tend to drag a bit. They have a new vocabulary that’s interesting – different historical periods and perspectives, different rules of romance, snow instead of rain at key romantic moments, quality fight scenes of all kinds. The North Korea/South Korea relationship in CLOY was interesting to see and some of the responses from North Korean defectors. But generally I don’t find all the stuff around the dramas that interesting. The actors are good but most of the leads are too young to have much of a filmography to explore, even if I were devoted enough to subscribe to a special channel which I’m not. The bios of the actors tend to be very similar, nice middle class kids who did well in school and went on to study at university. For the men, there is the two years of obligatory military service, the women tend to be younger and have just a few shows or movies under their belt, sometimes awards. The sites I’ve found with commentary are mostly the glossy fan type coverage.

            India is such an interesting mix of industries with all the languages and regional differences and changes the film industry is going through, I find that part fascinating and I’m lacking that dimension in any of the other industries I’ve dabbled in. But then, there has been less of that to talk about in the past year, just dumb ginned up controversies, and not much in the way of releases that get everybody motivated to go see something new and compare how different films are doing and all the buzz around the films themselves, so I’m roaming a bit in search of something to fill that space. I do suspect I’ll run out of content before too long, once I’ve watched everything interesting, easily accessible, and that features characters older than early 20s!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Phew! I will review Toofan and Mimi and hopefully there will be some kind of fashion disaster for us to all talk about, and joy will return. Harsh’s dumb instagram is keeping me going, but it’s not enough.

            On Fri, Jul 16, 2021 at 9:17 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I want entry into your exclusive club! I only watched the one K-drama CLOY and didn’t feel like exploring others even though I liked it. I understand people going from Indian stuff to K-drama because frankly, it’s been a while since I’ve been excited by anything coming out of the Hindi industry. Even things like Sherni, Haseen Dilruba which are supposedly good. Though I understand the South industries are putting out good stuff.

            Liked by 2 people

          • See, I did come out of CLOY with enough of a crush on the leads to watch more. Especially Hyun Bin, he’s a beauty. I liked Memories of the Alhambra a lot more than I expected and also checked out his take on Rush Hour, Confidential Assignment. He’s good and very nice to look at, but not enough depth or range to turn into a lasting obsession – more on the order of ARK for me. And I’ve liked all the female leads but again not so much that they get added to the list with Sai and Mahira, where I would track and watch almost anything they’re in.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, I’ve been watching that happen, and I honestly can’t blame people that much, because how many new movies have I really liked from India recently? Mostly non-Hindi ones. It’s the conservatism that is really driving me away.

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          • Yes, that’s true, there’s not much to watch recently. Everything looks half baked for me not only in hindi but also in other industries. The only movies I enjoyed 100% this year were Maara, Uppena and Haseen Dilruba.

            Liked by 1 person

      • P.S. I meant to say, it is worth watching the movie versions of Rent and Waitress. Keri Russell is great and you would like most everything about the story. And Rent is based on La Boheme, but he gave it a less tragic ending so it leaves you with hope. And the music is fabulous. The shadow of what else both creators could have done is there, but they both left behind these extraordinary beloved gems, which is more than a lot of people get to accomplish in their longer lives.

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      • P.P.S. Thanks for the warning about Sherni – and I forgot it’s on Prime anyway and my mom doesn’t have Prime, so we watched Bobby Jasoos instead. That was nice! I’d had it on the list forever, it was perfect as a weekend family movie. I loved this lively running around in disguises version of Vidya, and how had I never noticed Ali Fazal before? Yum.

        And that’s so interesting you remember National Velvet as slow. I didn’t, I must have been really into the family dynamic and the idea of having all those horses. (The little brother is good comic relief.) But now that I’m reading it with my son, it does take a long time to get to the racing bits.

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  6. Are you planning on watching Toofan? Totally understand if you are not. I am so worried that it is going to disappoint me because my expectations are far too high for it! I love Rakesh Omprakash Mehra. I loved Bhaag Milka Bhaag and even his weird movie, Aks. Shankar Eshaan Loy are probably my favorite music composers, the story is written by Farhan, and the dialogue is written by the writer of Gully Boy. There is no way this movie is meeting my expectations!!!

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      • Oh good! I’m obviously going to watch this movie, but maybe I will wait until you watch and review it. I have also shared my concerns with my sister and cousin and they have promised to tell me how disappointed I will before I watch it. As you can tell, I am setting myself up to being disappointed. I hope I am wrong!!!

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        • I am always ready to be disappointed by Farhan-Acting movies, and I almost never am. on the other hand, his hair does look terrible.

          On Fri, Jul 16, 2021 at 12:08 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I am unabashedly in love with Farhan (with short hair though!!!) and so far I have loved all the movies he has acted in that I have watched. I am not a fan of his long curly hair in this movie but thought he looked great with the short hair. But more importantly, and maybe a but unfortunately, my crush on Farhan is not as superficial as my crush on Hrithik so I go in expecting to be disappointed too because actually being disappointed might break my heart.

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          • But, Farhan is so short! So very very short!

            On Fri, Jul 16, 2021 at 12:15 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • He looks like the same height as Shah Rukh. Am I wrong? See pic below where they both seem to be wearing flat sneakers.

            But even if he is short, it tracks because my first crush was young Aamir!

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          • Maybe he is just less determined to hide it than SRK? I can picture more times he has been distinctly shorter than the heroine. Or just carries himself more like a short person, with that kind of cocky confidence?

            On Fri, Jul 16, 2021 at 12:21 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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