This summer was filled with so many pleasant surprises and, while I didn’t get around to watching as much as I normally do, I found more pleasure in the few that I did, especially when it was something I normally would not have given much of a chance. Out of 25 movies and 21 different shows, here’s what made an impression.

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Highlights of the Month

Barton Fink

barton-finkAfter watching Hail, Caesar! and falling into a Wikipedia rabbit hole, I realized that there were more Coen Brothers films than I had previously thought. I loved most Coen Brothers films and the prospect that there was more out there was exciting. Barton Fink was the first I jumped into and I’m glad I did.

My knowledge going in had been limited to the few consistent, sweaty, humid, and neurotic looking images of John Turturro as the eponymous Barton Fink. I was so pleasantly surprised to see John Goodman, despite him being a Coen regular, as I wasn’t expecting him. In my eyes, he was everything about the film and I can’t quite figure out why he wasn’t in more imagery for the film, other than not wanting people to be confused as to who “Barton Fink” was. Goodman must have been a bigger name and face than Turturro at that point in ’91 as well. I feel, at the bare minimum, some of that mystery might have helped me jump into the film before I did. Setting that aside, I enjoyed it a great deal and can’t wait to jump into Miller’s Crossing next.

 

Weiner

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After the latest Anthony Weiner scandal, I decided now would be a pretty good time to jump into the new documentary following him during his previous scandal revelations and campaign for mayor of New York. As someone who enjoys following politics, I was surprised watching the documentary and seeing how well-connected and apparently successful he was as I had dismissed him as the politician formerly known as Carlos Danger. I enjoyed watching the process of how his team intended to handle the crisis and the media and especially how his now ex-wife Huma Abedin rationalized and handled it in front of the cameras.

Zootopia

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While the few adult in-jokes had made the rounds on reddit and imgur in gif form for a while, there was so much more to love in Zootopia than it lets on initially. It has a great cast of voice actors, beautiful animation and world building, a great message, and a fantastic cameo by Peter Mansbridge. I often dismiss animated films, especially when they are animated animals, as hokey family entertainment that comprimises to much to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. I’m glad that didn’t feel the case for Zootopia and I am looking forward to future stories in the universe they have built.

Honourable Mention

Big Brother (US)

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Season 18 of Big Brother has been my summer guilty pleasure. Most summers I tune in to see which group the producers have pulled together for a summer in the Big Brother House, but I never end up sticking with it throughout the whole summer. This year changed that, with more twists that are approaching the unbelievable, like a contestant being able to battle back (twice!) to reenter the house. Let’s see if I make it to the final and my boy, Paul “Friendship” Abrahamian, makes it all the way.

The (Almost) Full List

Movies

  • Barton Fink
  • Weiner
  • Genius
  • Eddie The Eagle
  • Magic Mike
  • Knocked Up
  • Carol
  • The Fault In Our Stars
  • Demolition
  • Batman v Superman
  • Mr. Right
  • Kill Your Darlings
  • How To Be Single
  • The Fundamentals of Caring
  • Zootopia
  • All The Way
  • Hello, My Name Is Doris
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment
  • Grimsby
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • Idiocracy
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Lymelife
  • Edge of Tomorrow

TV Shows

  • The Office
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm
  • It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia
  • Anthony Bourdain Part’s Unknown
  • Parks and Recreation
  • True Detective
  • One Punch Man
  • Felicity
  • Dragon Ball Super
  • Catastrophe
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • Archer
  • Adventure Time
  • Rick and Morty
  • The Simpsons
  • Orange Is The New Black
  • Modern Family
  • Bored To Death
  • Big Brother
  • The Killing
  • Peaky Blinders