Fave Movies of 2021

Please bear with me as I attend to the vestiges of the #AMonthofFaves blog event, by finally getting to this topic.

FRI | Dec. 24 – #AMonthofFaves – On the Screen or in Your Ear (shows, movies, audiobooks, podcasts faves, etc.)⁠


It turns out I only gave one movie five stars on Letterboxd, and that was…

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E is for Ella Enchanted #AtoZChallenge #PandemicAlphabet

Just like with my letter A (Anne of Green Gables) and B (The Baby-Sitters Club) posts, you may be wondering again (again!) if I mean Ella Enchanted the Newbery Award winning book by Gail Carson Levine or Ella Enchanted the movie starring Anne Hathaway.

And, yes, again I am talking about both.

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A is for Anne of Green Gables #AtoZChallenge #PandemicAlphabet

I could not for the life of me figure out what to write about for this year’s Blogging from A to Z Challenge, though I got some very good suggestions from friends (bucket list, books, pop culture, things you would want on a deserted island). I didn’t want to rehash topics I have done before, but I also couldn’t think of new topics either–or enough things to fill the topic suggestions. Everything just seemed so overwhelming, and I realized that all I wanted to do was NOT and just sit on the couch and watch TV or something and then *boom* my topic was so obvious: comfort watches and reads for these here pandemic times. This topic also seemed like a good fit because last year I did devote one of my blog posts to book recommendations, so this seems like the perfect time to do a blend of books and visual media as well as a deep dive into why I would recommend the things I do.

One of the other struggles I had with the suggested topics was that I couldn’t come up with anything for A. When I was doing some light journaling to figure out what I might write about for comfort watches/reads that would start with A–because SERIOUSLY WHAT ON EARTH STARTS WITH A–my brain literally went “Anne of Green Gables, duh,” and honestly, if it could pull the perfection that is Anne of Green Gables out of the ether, then the rest of the challenge is going to have to be easy breezy, right?

I like to think so.

“Akilah,” you may be thinking, “when you say Anne of Green Gables, are you talking about the fantastic book by L. M. Montgomery or the fantastic movie starring Megan Follows?”

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It’s Monday & I have consumed some media

I’m finally home after my five-week (!) Eastern time zone adventures. There may be a lot to say about that some other day, but I have read some books and watched some TV & movies, so let’s get into that first. Also, if anyone is on Letterboxd, give me a shout so we can follow each other. (Or, you know, sign up and then we can follow each other. Either works for me.) My username over there is englishist.

First, the books:

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Adventures in Moviegoing: A Wrinkle in Time #SOL18

I just got back from seeing A Wrinkle in Time, which I enjoyed very much. Or as Mrs. Who would say:

Daaaaaang. — Tyler, American

Before I get into my mini-review and to keep this slice of life-y, I had an adventure at the kiosk when I got to the movies. First, the one machine’s touchscreen was all wonky and I could tap some things but not others. Then, the next two machines were out of printer paper. Plus, when I swiped my MoviePass, it didn’t work. After I had finally given up and gotten into the regular line, I remembered that I hadn’t checked into the theater, and that’s why my pass wasn’t working. So I checked in, went to a working kiosk, and finally got my tickets and right on time for the show.

(I normally would go through the regular line because I do not believe in self check-outs. However, since I hadn’t been to that theater with my MoviePass before, I wanted to swipe it on my own first to see what would happen. This is just who I am.)

A Wrinkle in Time

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#AMonthofFaves: Favorite Book to Movie or TV Show

Today’s topic is TV! (Also movies, I guess.) The prompt:

#AMonthofFaves: Favorite Book to Movie or TV Shows – what were your favorites (and / or least favorites); did you both watch the movie and read the book; which was better?

Let’s start with the favorites:

Big Little Lies

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It’s Monday & I’m Never Going to Finish All the Books on My Shelf

No, seriously. I still have ten left in the stack that I want to get to before the move, and I don’t think it’s going to happen. Also, reading them is starting to feel like work now–probably because I am trying to read them in a specific order. It might be time to start jumping around the stack.

This past week, I read:

Dear Bill, Remember Me? and Other StoriesDear Bill, Remember Me? and Other Stories by Norma Fox Mazer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The best stories were the title piece, the first story, and “Chocolate Pudding.” But these are all honest, real, and raw and, as someone who will likely be a spinster, I appreciated the last story a lot.

View all my reviews

Two weeks ago, I saw:

Love and Friendship

I forgot to mention that I went to see Love & Friendship, which is based on the novella Lady Susan by Jane Austen. I am not a huge fan of Austen’s books, but I think they translate really well to screen. I should state up front that I’m also not super into period pieces. However, I liked the humor in this, and I loved how Lady Susan was always ten steps ahead of everyone else. This movie is very talky-talky, so if you don’t go in much for that, you might not like it. I am generally a fan of talking movies, though, so this worked for me.

Also, I haven’t read the book but the movie kind of makes me want to and, as I said, I’m not a huge fan of Austen’s books, so it definitely has that going for it.

I do have to say that I don’t get the title at all. It didn’t seem to match the movie. Maybe I’m missing something, though. I think Lady Susan would have worked just fine. I mean, it is all about her and her machinations after all and not really all that much about friendship and Love & Friendship is so darn generic (I kept mistakenly calling the movie Love & Acceptance, for example). Ugh. Anybody else who saw it have an opinion on the title? (ETA: Duh, the title is meant to be ironic. But still, generic and bland, especially given the rest of the movie.)

As of today, I’m reading:

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire


I was feeling kind of slumpy (and it’s almost time for The Cursed Child), so I decided to reread Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (I mean, it’s only been a little over a year since my last reread of Prisoner of Azkaban, so. It might be time is what I’m saying.) I’m about 1/3 of the way through, and I can tell you right now that the beginning of the book needed way less Quidditch. Also, there’s a lot of great foreshadowing and framing in all of the opening scenes when they head to the World Cup and before they get to Hogwarts. You know, minus the Quidditch match descriptions.

My plan was also to sign up for the Potterhead July Blog Festival, but I (a) totally missed the sign up AND (b) will be moving in July so it’s probably not the best time to commit to anything. I am looking forward to reading the posts, though.


Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

Daniel José Older is one of my favorite people on Twitter, and my colleague highly recommended his book, so I finally decided to read Shadowshaper. I’m listening to the audiobook, and Anika Noni Rose narrates. I’m digging it so far.


Stepping to a New Day by Beverly Jenkins

I’m participating in a blog tour for Stepping to a New Day by Beverly Jenkins at the beginning of July. I’ll be starting this one later today.


Hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children's lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.
Hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children’s lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.


Happy reading, everyone!


Movies Based on Books: Gone Girl

Gone Girl

The best thing for me about watching movies in the theater is observing audience reactions—especially one that’s based on a pretty popular book. I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (my Goodreads review) about a month before going to see it whereas the friend I went with had read it more than a year ago. The women sitting behind us clearly hadn’t read it AT ALL, and so we all had different reactions to what happened.

See, the crazy was fresh in my mind, and my friend remembered that there was a lot of crazy, even if she couldn’t remember anything beyond the big stuff. Those other women, though? Gasps and exclamations throughout. Lots of “OMG” and “What the…?” Me, I was just like, “Yep, everybody in this story is still crazy.”

As for how I felt about the movie, I thought it was a pretty solid adaptation. All the main points were hit and some stuff was condensed for the movie, but, all in all, I had the same reaction to the book as I did to the movie–mainly that everyone was terrible except for Go and Boney, and they were the only two I felt anything for. Oh, and I thought Tyler Perry was awesome as the lawyer. I liked that character more in the movie than the book.

There were two changes that I didn’t particularly care for:

  1. In the book, Nick drinks pretty constantly, and I don’t think that was emphasized as much in the movie.
  2. I was really, really upset by something that happened at the very end.

[SPOILER]I hate, hate, HATED that Nick physically assaulted Amy at the

First, the point was that he didn’t and wouldn’t. Second, it just brought up all kinds of icky “she deserved it” feelings/commentary that should not have entered the conversation. My friend is a DV advocate, and she had very mixed feelings about it, and we both agreed that it just should have been left out altogether—especially since it wasn’t in the book. We know he’s frustrated; we know he feels powerless. Even her non-reaction was troublesome. Ugh, that whole part annoyed me. Just…let’s not.


Now that that’s out of the way, this movie also crystallized something else for me:

I really hate sex scenes. The nudity didn’t bother me at all (except during that one scene, which is supposed to be bothersome because it’s the height of effed up). But I seriously do not need to see people have sex, even if they are fully clothed. I mean, after about two seconds, I get it. They’re having sex. Okay. Can we move on now?

(I feel the same way about sex scenes on TV. And I grew up watching soap operas! Which, again, I always felt those sex scenes went on too long, and those are just people rolling around with sheets strategically covering their bodies and soft music playing. Seriously, though: WE GET IT.)

(I realize I may be in the minority on this.)

So, yes, that’s my big takeaway from Gone Girl: I hate sex scenes. Also, you know, I still like Go and Boney the most. (I was going to say love, but really. Neither version leaves a lot of room for love at all.)

In conclusion: A great adaptation, which left me feeling pretty much exactly the same as the book did.

Movies Based on Books: Think Like a Man

(source: IMP Awards)
(source: IMP Awards)

I was flipping channels one Saturday and came across Think Like a Man on VH1.

This is an odd little movie that is also a typical (fun) rom-com. Most of the weirdness comes from the fact that the movie is based on the self-help book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man by Steve Harvey, and, in the movie, the women are reading the book and Steve Harvey makes appearances throughout discussing the points in the book. Those appearances are played as interviews on talk shows, but it’s so meta and breaking the fourth wall that it feels like a huge commercial for the book.

Which it is, I guess. The book plays prominently in the story. Not only do the women carry the book around with Harvey promoting it in the background, but the men also read and discuss it. I mean, if the point is to show what happens to women who read the book and the men they’re involved with, then that makes perfect sense. It’s still weird.

The premise of the book is that a man gives women advice on how to get and keep a man instead of women going to other women for advice about how to get and keep a man. So, I feel as though there is a better way that could have been handled in the movie. By, I don’t know, having the women befriend a man who still gives them the advice from the book or something.

What I’m saying is I found those parts of the movie really jarring because they took me out of the movie as a movie and made me think of the movie as a commercial.

(I watched this with my daughter, and she didn’t have this problem at all. She just went with it. So I’m guessing most average viewers wouldn’t care either. Maybe just people who study stories for a living.)

That said, the actual characters are a lot of fun. And there are lots of good-looking people being good looking and also making out. I found myself rooting for almost all of the characters and their relationships, so the romance part was nicely handled. It also helps that there’s a happily married man to balance out all of the wacky single people shenanigans. (And Kevin Hart’s character is bitter and going through a divorce, which adds a bit more of fun.)

Plus also, I love Meagan Goode’s haircut in the movie. And looking at Michael Ealy is always a good time. As is looking at this guy who I don’t remember from anything else, but is super cute and adorable.

All in all, I enjoyed the movie. The characters were all likeable, and I think it helps a lot that they all wanted to be happy. Also, the movie was funny, so it wasn’t a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.