Last Friday I had my follow-up with my surgeon, who gave me clearance to ditch the binder I’d been issued and slowly go about my business. Emphasis is, of course, on slowly. I got a little too confident maneuvering in the kitchen and between reaching a bit further than I ought to have and the fact that I can’t wear a bra, I pulled my muscle a bit. It doesn’t help that I am still swollen and bruised – so my skin is extra sensitive. My nurse checked on me yesterday and didn’t think I did any major damage – just a bit of strain. So I took it easy today and have been focusing on a huge Mix CD project for my friend Liz. Oh, Liz. You have no idea what you got yourself into.
My mom speculates that my nerves are zinging with heightened sensitivity, and I think she may be correct. I have a particular sensitivity to my stomach regardless of major surgery, but add that on top of everything and I am a squirming mess. I just need to find a project that will keep me amply distracted and safe and not bored out of my mind. I would love to say that this is the perfect time to tackle the pile of books I have to read, but alas, most of my books are in stacks because we did not finish erecting my renovated bookshelf in time before my surgery! Yup. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Ah, well. Time to review the titles I got through in my Netflix queue this week!
Synopsis: Happy takes viewers on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy.
Opinion: I’m pretty indifferent to this documentary; it was edifying in a generic, scratch-the-surface kind of way to open up the discussion of the scientific study of how people generate happiness. I wasn’t surprised by some of their findings, but still came away feeling more informed than I had been before I began
Rated: Three stars
Synopsis: This gastronomic documentary profiles three distinctive restaurants based in very different locales: Chicago; Tucson, Arizona; and Balltown, Iowa.
Opinion: We all know I’m a sucker for a solid food documentary, and Spinning Plates is no different. This film made me hungry and pulled on my heart-strings while filling my head with knowledge. I appreciated that the filmmakers decided to profile 3 types of restaurants – not just A list Alinea or only hometown legend Brietbach’s Country Dining. I’ll not say much more other than if you’re a fan of food documentaries that profile both the establishment and the humans behind them, watch this.
Rated: Four stars
In Your Eyes
Synopsis: Two strangers on opposite ends of the country have a telepathic bond that lets each one see what the other sees, a deep connection that leads to love.
Opinion: I confess, this was not actually in my queue. Mister J put it on and I found myself sucked in despite myself. I was particularly drawn to the very accessible character of Rebecca, portrayed by a new favorite Zoe Kazan. The juxtapose of settings reminded me a lot of The Good Son, but otherwise the similarities stop there. I think overall it is a quirky cute movie and I actually gave a damn what happened to our two main characters. Give it a watch.
Rated: Four stars
With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story
Synopsis: Explore the life of comic book legend and pop culture icon Stan Lee from his Depression-era upbringing through the Marvel age of comics.
Opinion: Geek girl that I am, I honestly did not know too much about Stan Lee before watching this, aside from the friction with Jack Kirby and the longevity of which he has endured at Marvel. I think the biggest surprise of all is the 60+ year marriage to his wife Jane and how, uhm, bombastic? passionate? their relationship can be. I, for one, do not get my jollies by arguing – especially with a significant other – but apparently the Lee’s do! Hah! The evolution of Marvel is the stuff of legends and I’m pleased this documentary was 85% Stan and only about 15% other people talking about Stan and Marvel.
Rated: Four stars
Dear Mr. Watterson
Synopsis: Nearly two decades after the last original “Calvin and Hobbes” was published, this documentary examines the comic strip’s enduring legacy.
Opinion: Unlike the Stan Lee documentary, this is one which features everyone but the aforementioned Watterson, a known recluse who famously opted out of merchandising his iconic comic characters. Whether you agree with his decision or not, this documentary focuses on how Calvin and Hobbes not only influenced a wide variety of people – from the average student to Watterson’s peers – but the comics industry as a whole. I really enjoyed it, and my inner 8 year old was particularly happy.
Rated: Four star
Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)
Synopsis: An eccentric efficiency expert and his good-tempered wife raise 12 lively children, although their quirky methods often lead to raucous misadventures.
Opinion: I’ve never seen the remake, and only became intrigued by the original film when it popped up as a suggestion by Netflix. My mom prompted me to watch it with her one evening and upon seeing that Myrna Loy portrayed the matriarch of the Gilbreth family, I became enthused to watch it. As I get older, I find myself a touch more critical of older films due to their less-than-savory take on women and social issues. Cheaper by the Dozen had such a moment with a Planned Parenthood representative that made me roll my eyes. Regardless, the core story of actual scientist Frank Gilbreth and his industrial engineering psychologist wife Lilian is endearing as lovingly narrated by their daughter based on the book of the same name, penned by two actual Gilbreth children.
Rated: Three stars
What have you been watching as of late?