Author Archives: Emma

The Power of FaceTime: Process Post #8

I’m an introvert. And so, I’m someone who usually prefers time to myself. So, if i’m being honest, self-isolating hasn’t been the most difficult thing for me to do. However, as the weeks go by, I have begun to get restless. As much as introverted people enjoy their time alone — that does not mean that we are all recluse. Some of the things I have enjoyed doing during my self-isolation is reading and watching movies, but I’ve also been FaceTiming my friends and family. I think I’ve used the FaceTime app on my phone more in the past couple week than I have in the however many years I’ve had an Apple device! (like 8 years?)

I live at home with my parents, but I have three older brothers who live with their significant others. Two of them live in Vancouver, while the eldest and his wife live in Toronto with my baby niece. And so, in order to talk to one another regularly, we’ve been having makeshift family dinners in order to connect with one another during quarantine (at about 3pm because of the Toronto/Vancouver time difference and because my niece eats at 6’clock). In some ways I would actually say that the virus is bringing us closer, as ironic as it might sound. I see the two brothers who live in Vancouver quite often — but I’m definitely not able to talk to the oldest as often. Although, through the power of the internet, we’re all able to check in on one another and make sure everyone is doing well — and it’s of course awesome to see my baby niece walking and “talking” (she has about two words in her vocabulary “light” and “hi”).

Alongside my family, I’ve been trying to stay in touch with my friends as well. One of my best friends and I would always meet up at SFU on Wednesdays, during a break we both had between classes. And so, even though we’re not in school, we’ve been facetiming at the same time! It’s not only nice to see my friend, but it still feels like I’m maintaining a part of my old routine.

So while I’m doing a lot of reading and watching a lot of movies, I’ll be honest and say that those are things I would always do during my free time. So, during this time, I’m also trying to keep in touch with those around me — and I’d suggest you all do the same!

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Movie Series to Marathon Now: Self-isolation Recommendations

If you haven’t already, now is the time to revisit your favourite movie series — or discover new ones you haven’t seen before. And if you can’t think of any films, I’m here to give you EIGHT series that you can marathon — as well as the number of hours it will take you to watch them all. Since these are all quite long lists, I will be linking the Rotten Tomatoes collections to make linking much easier for me. So, you’re interested in watching any of these films — just click the links and you’ll find every one!


1.) Star Wars (25hrs)

To me, this is one of the obvious ones. Although, there are a couple ways that you can watch these films. There is release date order — and timeline order. If you have never seen a Star Wars film in your life — I would suggest watching in release date order (option A). However, you also have the option of watching them chronologically (option B). Which would be when each film takes place over the timeline of all Star Wars films.

Option A.) RELEASE DATE ORDEROption B.) CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
Episode 4: A New HopeEpisode 1: The Phantom Menace
Episode 5: Empire Strikes BackEpisode 2: Attack of the Clones
Episode 6: Return of the JediEpisode 3: Revenge of the Sith
Episdoe 1: The Phantom MenaceSolo: A Star Wars Story
Episode 2: Attack of the ClonesRogue One: A Star Wars Story
Episode 3: Revenge of the SithEpisode 4: A New Hope
Episode 7: The Force AwakensEpisode 5: Empire Strikes Back
Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryEpisode 6: Return of the Jedi
Episode 8: The Last JediEpisode 7: The Force Awakens
Solo: A Star Wars StoryEpisode 8: The Last Jedi
Episode 9: The Rise of SkywalkerEpisode 9: The Rise of Skywalker

I’ve chosen to not include the many animated TV shows, because that would just further complicate things (this article places each show in the chronologic order). However, if you’re watching on Disney+ I would suggest adding in the live action show The Mandalorian (in option A it would go between Solo and Ep.9, and option B between Ep. 6 and 7). It’s not necessarily essential to the overlying plot of Star Wars, but the show is so good (and that’s not just because of Baby Yoda!)

Image from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

2.) The Lord of The Rings (9hrs 18mins or 18hrs 3mins)

To me, the first series that comes to mind when I think movie marathon is Lord of the Rings. Similarly to Star Wars — you also have a couple viewing order options:

Option A.) RELEASE ORDEROption B.) CHRONOLOGIC ORDEROption C.) SHORT CUT
LOTR: The Fellowship of the RingThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two TowersThe Desolation of SmaugThe Two Towers
Return of the KingThe Battle of the Five ArmiesReturn of the King
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey The Fellowship of the Ring
The Desolation of SmaugThe Two Towers
he Battle of the Five ArmiesReturn of the King

Having seen all three painfully long Hobbit movies in theatres, I don’t think they’re necessary viewing. They’re nowhere near as good and impressive as the LOTR, but they do provide context to the story as a whole so if you don’t mind the extra 9 hours— watch them. 


Thankfully the rest of the movies on this list don’t have complicated viewing orders — so you would just watch the following series in release date order!


3.) Harry Potter (21hrs 52mins)

Another series that comes to my mind almost instantly when I think of marathoning is Harry Potter. And one of my favourite things about watching them one after the other is that way in which you not only watch the story develop — but the actors grow! It’s also cool because the movies were being filmed as the books were coming out — so no one really knew the fate of their characters! 

4.) The Hunger Games (9hrs 8mins)

A personal favourite of mine — but definitely not one that many people think about. The Hunger Games is (i think) one of the very few successful YA book adaptations, especially with the second movie Catching Fire (which is one of the best book-to-movie adaptations I’ve ever seen). The Hunger Games are very close to my heart so I find it very difficult to not just ramble on and on about them, so just watch them. 

Image from The Hunger Games

5.)The Twilight Saga (10hrs 11mins)

Now, the Twilight movies are nowhere near as good as the other movies I’ve mentioned in this list. However, they are extremely entertaining. And so, I still decided to include them on this list (and they also have the best soundtracks ever, so listen to those afterwards!)

6.) Blade Runner & Blade Runner 2049 (4hrs 39mins)

Now I will admit that this is less of a marathon and more of a double feature. If you have only seen Blade Runner 2049 I would highly suggest watching the original one and then follow up with the sequel. And if you’ve only ever seen the original — watch 2049, the only thing you’ll be disappointed about is the fact that you didn’t see it in theatres!

7.) MCU / X-MEN (50hrs 3mins or 24hrs 26mins OR 74hrs 29mins)

So, I kinda lied when I said that none of the other series on this list would have complicated viewing orders — but I wanted to save the biggest marathon for last. Yes, every single movie in the MCU. I’m sure there are many people who did this before Endgame came out last year. However, if you weren’t one of those people — now’s your time! Similarly to my first few picks on this list, you have a 2 options for watching these films. 

Option A.) RELEASE DATE ORDEROption B.) CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
Iron ManCaptain America: The First Avenger
The Incredible HulkCaptain Marvel
Iron Man 2Iron Man
ThorIron Man 2
Captain America: The First AvengerThe Incredible Hulk
The AvengersThor
Iron Man 3The Avengers
Thor: The Dark WorldIron Man 3
Captain America: The Winter Solider Thor: The Dark World
Guardians of the Galaxy Captain America: The Winter Solider
Avengers: Age of UltronGuardians of the Galaxy
Ant-ManGuardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
Captain America: Civil WarAvengers: Age of Ultron
Doctor StrangeAnt-Man
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2Captain America: Civil War
Spider-Man: HomecomingSpider-Man: Homecoming
Thor: Ragnarok Doctor Strange
Black Panther Black Panther
Avengers: Infinity WarThor: Ragnarok
Ant-Man & The WaspAvengers: Infinity War
Captain Marvel Ant-Man And The Wasp
Avengers: EndgameAvengers: Endgame
Spider-Man: Far From HomeSpider-Man: Far From Home
Image from Marvel’s The Avengers
CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
X-Men: First Class
X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
X-Men: Apocalypse
X-Men: Dark Phoenix
X-Men
X2: X-Men United
X-men: The Last Stand
The Wolverine
Deadpool
Deadpool 2
Logan

However, if you want to spice things up — you can add the X-men films onto your marathon. They aren’t part of the MCU, and don’t coincide with any of the events in those films — but this is the order in which you can watch those:

However! These films are not simple either! There are some alternate timelines in these films and thus different viewing orders because certain movies aren’t included in each timeline. if you want to know more, and perhaps watch the films accordingly, I would suggest reading this article (because I don’t have the time to explain the different timelines because it is confusing). 

And lastly, as you might’ve noticed, I didn’t include the many Marvel TV shows that have happened on various networks (Netflix, Hulu, FX). I didn’t include them because it’s somewhat unclear if they are all canon or not — so, if you want to watch those too, I’d suggest reading this article as it places them all in the MCU timeline.


So there we have it! Plenty of movies to keep you occupied throughout the rest of this quarantine! Some of these are nice and simple marathons, and some will take DAYS, so prepare yourself! and stock up on snacks while you can.

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A Spoonful of Vanilla Helps the Medicine Go Down! Peer Review #3

For my third (and final!) peer review I am going to be looking at the blog of Christina from A Spoonful of Vanilla

A Spoonful of Vanilla is a blog filled with recipes everyone and anyone can try at home — giving us recipes that are also vegan and gluten free ones too! With a simplistic and minimal theme, what really stands out and draws you in are the photos. The baked goods she makes stand out against the white background and almost beg you to try and make them yourself. And while each photo is of a different baked good — they all fit together cohesively to push the aesthetic of her blog as a whole. And that is seen even more so when you look at her instagram — made easily accessible through both the side bar and icon in the upper left corner. Her Instagram is filled with just as many photos of delicious looking treats. Baking is inherently visual, and so I think instagram is a great social media app to use alongside the blog. Because If you see a photo of a delicious looking cake on instagram, and the caption says: “there’s a simple recipe for this in the link in my bio” — I’m going to click the link! I also think this minimalistic theme makes it look very professional and clean — two things you definitely want from a baker!

One of my favourite features of this blog is that on each recipe you can easily adjust the serving size — which would make it about 100% easier to double or halve the recipe if you wanted to. And if you’ve tried to halve a recipe, you would probably know that it’s not as easy as it may seem! Each recipe also clearly shows the amount of servings it will make, the difficulty of the recipe, prep time, baking time, and then the complete time in which it will take you to complete the recipe! I really appreciate that this is at the top of the recipe — because it helps to know right away if you even have time to make something, or if it is easy enough for an amateur like me to do! 

Alongside her recipes Christina also sells her baked goods. This is easily noted by her “orders & pricing” tab at the top of her blog. And she clearly states that she works in a peanut-free kitchen— which is great. However, this feels much more like a blog — with a business on the side. Rather than a baking business — with a blog on the side. A suggestion I have is altering the bio on the right sidebar. And perhaps saying “I’m a baked based out of Vancouver, BC etc etc.” Which I think would put the business aspect front and centre! I also think adding an about me page could similarly help and make the site feel more personable — thus making customers feel like they know who’s making their cookies!

Other than that Christina has an extremely cohesive blog. It is clear that it’s about baking, and the mix of visuals and text are perfectly balanced. One of my hobbies I’ve begun to adopt in the last few weeks of quarantine is baking, so I’m hoping to try some of Christina’s recipes soon! 

you can find a spoonful of vanilla and Christina’s recipes here

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4 New-ish Movies To Watch At Home: Self-Isolation Recommendations

Self-isolation might be hard for some, but it is necessary. I myself am someone who actually prefers to stay in, but I will admit that i’m starting to get a little bit of cabin fever (sorry, not a good time to make jokes about fevers). However, one of the many ways I am keeping myself entertained is by reading a lot of books and watching a lot of movies. Because sometimes you just want to completely block out the real world and get lost in a fictional one that is much brighter and better than the one we are living in right now. And so, this is the first instalment in *drum roll*….. Self-Isolation Recommendations! I tried way too hard to try and think of a title that rhymed, but this the best I could do (if you say it fast it kinda rhymes).

I have to admit, one of the things that hit me the hardest this past week was the closing of movie theatres. For me, one of the many ways that I try to escape from the real world is to sit in a dark (often cold) theatre and fully immerse myself in a film. However, I will admit that the closing of theatres does make a lot of sense. Seeing as they are also riddled with germs and who knows what else. But, because of these theatre closures and general fear because of the impacted economy, a lot of movie release dates are getting pushed back (ie: No Time To Die, Mulan etc.). OR, they are being released to streaming and VOD early. And while it is sad that a lot of these films weren’t able to get the full run in theatres that they might’ve deserved — it’s nice to have some new content to watch while we are all stuck at home.


1.) The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man was just released in theatres on February 28th. It performed quite well in the box office and received rave reviews — especially highlighting Elizabeth Moss’ performance. This film is a modern retelling of the classic H.G Wells story of the same name, where a woman’s ex-boyfriend “dies” and he proceeds to become invisible and terrorize her everyday life. I would exercise caution when watching this as we all might start to go slightly crazy from being cooped up at home for so long, and I don’t think police want us to start calling them and telling them there’s an invisible man in our living room.

2.) Emma

Emma — which is a movie I quite like the title of — is an adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel. Released in theatres on March 5th, it follows Emma Woodhouse described quite simply as “handsome, clever, and rich.” And while she is all of those, one of her favourite things to do is to meddle with her friends and family’s love lives and do some matchmaking. In a way Emma is the reversed Bachelor, whereas she picks who each of her friends should marry. And if you decide to watch this film, might I suggest you start a Jane Austen film marathon — she does do a very good job of making just a simple touch of the hand extremely sensual *insert Pride and Prejudice Mr.Darcy hand flex* — which might be exactly what some people need in these trying times of zero human contact.

a still from the 2020 adaptation of Emma

3.) The Hunt

Now, a film which is quite different than Emma is The Hunt. While this film was released on March 11th, it actually has an interesting back story because it was originally meant to come out on September 27th, 2019. The film was hit with extreme backlash because of it’s subject matter — seeing as it is about people who hunt literal human beings. Though it was announced that the film’s released date would be pushed back indefinitely because its original release date was close to the horrible Dayton and El Paso mass shooting which happened in early August. However, finally being released in March the producers said no changes were made to the cut of the film and it is the exact same thing that would’ve been released in October. This is yet another film that I would exercise caution when watching because if we are stuck isolating for much longer and we start to run out of food — this is not what I want people to first think of!

4.) Onward

And now, finally, one for the kids. Disney and Pixar’s latest collaboration is Onward, a tale of two brothers who try and bring their late father back from the dead using what little magic they have. This film was initially released in theatres on March 5th, however it’s now available to rent online and will be on Disney+ on April 3rd. This film also stars the voices off Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, so it seems that Disney either has a limited number of actors willing to work for them — or they make Marvel actors do at least one other movie with them.

a still from the animated film Onward

So there we have it! 4 movies that are (relatively) new and super easy to watch at home! I will be honest right now and say I haven’t watched any of them, but I can’t wait to! So sit back, (try and) relax, and enjoy the show(s)!

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The Force Is Not So Strong With This One – Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review


With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker coming to dvd, digital download, and Disney+ this week, I decided to finally post the review I wrote for the movie 3 months ago. I never posted it because I felt very frustrated by the movie, but alas… here are my feelings.

The time has finally come, the final instalment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy and (apparently) the last film in the Skywalker saga has been released and i am here to talk about it. I myself am a big fan of the Star Wars films, and have been thoroughly enjoying the sequel trilogy since it’s debut with The Force Awakens back in 2015. Written and directed by J.J Abrams TFA was able to bring old and new fans of the Star Wars movies together, enjoying the return of old characters and introductions of those who were new. That was then followed by the second movie: The Last Jedi written and directed by Rian Johnson. This movie was met with both extremely positive and very negative reviews back in 2017, pretty much dividing the Star Wars fandom by those who either loved or hated The Last Jedi. I myself was indifferent to The Last Jedi, and most certainly didn’t feel the extreme love or hate that others did. Though i was very excited to see what J.J Abrams would then do when he ultimately returned to write (alongside Chris Terrio) and direct the final film in this trilogy.

The Rise of Skywalker picks up about a year after the end of the last film. With Rey training with Leia, Finn and Poe flying with BB-8 to gain first order secrets, and Kylo Ren seeking out the rumoured now-alive Palpatine. Though as the movie begins to gain way, it feels as though all character and story development from the last film has been ignored. Ultimately sending the story downhill.

Rise Tico, played by the wonderful actress Kelly Marie Tran, has been almost completely pushed to the side lines. Almost never leaving the rebel base or saying more lines than i can count with one hand. She actually had a pretty major role in The Last Jedi – having saved as well as kissed one of the main characters (Finn), she also said a line that could pretty much encapsulate the entire franchise: “that’s how we’ll win. not fighting what we hate. saving what we love” Yet in this film she has a screen time of 1min 16 seconds, and her interactions with Finn (wherever they are) feel as though they are between co-workers, rather than romantic interests.

Rose Tico in The Rise of Skywalker (Lucasfilm)

While I can admit that there are certain moments where i felt a sense of nostalgia and excitement as a Star Wars fan, i couldn’t help but immediately be caught off guard by them as well. As much as i loved having Billy Dee Williams back as Lando Calrissian and seeing him command the Millenium Falcon again — it felt forced. There was no real reason he was there, other than to please fans and make us feel nostalgic. But there was also no explanation as to how or why he was where he was. How had the resistance never come into contact with him before now? does he know about Han? We witness Leia training Rey, because as we know from TLJ, Luke is now one with the force. Although, if Leia is strong enough with the force to train Rey, why did she not train her son herself rather than send him off to Luke? And why did we not know more about Leia’s force abilities until now? Then, with the return of Palpatine, there is no explanation as to how he survived, or how such powerful force users such as Luke Skywalker (or even Kylo Ren for that matter) never sensed him until now. While it was cool, it would’ve been cooler and made more sense had it been introduced sooner or been established well and properly. This makes it quite obvious that there were no prior plans to have Palpatine return, and thus makes the entire trilogy feel like each writer/director was blindly moving the plot forwards with no clear idea of how it would ultimately end.

Poe, BB-8, Chewie, and Lando in The Millenium Falcon (Lucasfilm)

Instead of nicely concluding the saga, it felt as though Abrams and Chris Terrio (co-writer), tried to write the screenplay by piecing together all of the different fan theories and predictions they could find on the internet, resulting in a weird mish-mash of fan-service and retconning. While I have no problem with catering to fans now and then, it only works when the plot lines actually make sense and line up with one another. In this instance it felt like the writers wanted to please each different group of people watching. Their attempt to fix the divide that The Last Jedi made only resulted in many more upset and frustrated fans. I would much rather the plot make sense and be not what i wanted, instead of it be a weird mess full of plot holes and questions left unanswered.

All in all i found The Rise of Skywalker to bring me joy at parts but then completely take it away. Like giving a baby a piece of candy, but only letting them have one bite. Each time i thought it was getting better it ended up getting worse. Adam Driver as the interesting and complex Kylo Ren/Ben Solo is what ultimately saves this movie for me, playing one of the best Star Wars characters we’ve seen. Although this ending (and his to be specific) left me unsatisfied and frustrated, and as a Star Wars fan — i think it’s safe to say the original trilogy is the best and only trilogy.

For The Love of Pinterest: Process Post #6

I remember when Pinterest first became a big thing. It was very much connected to Facebook and 12 year old Emma loved to use it to make collections of all her favourite overly saturated dance photos, or funny Hunger Games memes. If you don’t believe me… here’s my old Pinterest account. Then, as Facebook began to become “uncool” — Pinterest became the holy grail for middle aged white moms everywhere. Utilizing its (not so) funny crafts and DIYs for dinner parties and book club gatherings everywhere. Needless to say, I stopped using Pinterest for a bit.

However, I began to avidly journal about 2 year ago, and one of my favourite things to incorporate into my journals is pictures! I started by using apps like Tumblr to collect photos I liked, and then printed them from word docs. However, I really wanted a place where I could find similar photos, but have the ability to organize them easily. And then I remembered! Pinterest!

Seeing as I love using Pinterest for monthly journal spreads, an aspect of the app that I love is the fact that you can now merge boards. And by doing so create collections of multiple boards all together. I do this after a month is over, and then add said monthly board to a collection of all the boards from that year. This allows my boards to be much less cluttered. And I also don’t have the confusion of having multiple February boards at one time.

I am now an avid Pinterest user, I not only use it for my journal, but I have a variety of boards that I constantly add to just for fun. I would definitely say I’m proud of the state of my current Pinterest account, and whenever I find myself bored I end up on the app — pinning away. And in order to get a feeling of the visual vibe of my blog, I have made a not so eloquent emma board (although it is very new, so don’t judge the lack of pins). To me, I find that Pinterest allows for you to easily organize many ideas — visually. You can easily write down a list of things you would like to incorporate into your bedroom design, but Pinterest allows you to do that through visuals!

Going Online: Process Post #7

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you are aware of the coronavirus that is causing much mayhem across the world. As of Friday March 13th it was announced that all in-person courses at SFU would be going online! Now, while this is something that most definitely had to happen, but I am also frustrated for a couple reasons. First of all, I genuinely enjoy the classes I have this semester and enjoy going to class because of the lectures my profs do, and, I am terrible at committing to online courses.

The first time I ever took an online course was in Grade 10. I did a special dance program when I was in high school called the “Pre-Professional Dance Program” (or as me and my friends called it: PPDP) which pretty much meant I got to leave school one blog early to go to dance class. My high school worked on a 4 block day timetable, which would then switch a the end of the semester (very similar to university). The class that PPDP would take the place of was gym class. Thank goodness. As well as one the two electives I got to choose each year (also fine because the only elective I cared to take was drama) However, PE 10 is a course that is required (at least in BC) for one to graduate high school. As is the dreaded Planning 10 class — which students often end up taking online so they don’t have give up an elective. Although, because of my PPDP, I was forced to take these two classes online. Yes, Gym online.

To be fair the gym course was easy enough, I did about 10 quizzes (which were all open book) and I just had to prove that I was getting enough daily physical activity (which was also easy seeing as I was doing about 20 hours of dance a week). However, the Planning 10 course is a whole other story. First of all, even if you did the version of the course that was in class, it’s boring. But put all the information in online power points where I can easily change the tab and watch tv on Netflix? even more boring. I procrastinated the hell out of this course, and (somewhat) luckily there was no completion deadline on it — so I could take however long I needed. Although when they say that I don’t think they mean almost 2 years. Finishing Planning 10 online was one of my greatest achievements, mainly because I don’t think anyone (including me) thought I could do it.

I was of course scared when I decided to then take another online course in University, especially seeing as there was no way they’d let me take 2 years to complete it. But with my determination, I was able to complete it and get a solid mark along the way. However, that was one course, and a course that was intended to be online. Whereas all the courses I am taking right now (3 to be exact) were not made to be taught online, and couple of them are bound to be quite difficult for me to now comprehend via my laptop rather than two and a half hour lectures.

My main goal for the 4 weeks is to try and stay organized. I still have assignments that are due and final exams to prepare for, but the only way for me to not become overwhelmed is to prepare myself. One of the ways I hope to do this is maintain the schedule I already had. I had class on Monday, Wednesday, & Fridays — so I will do my school work on those days.

But with all this being said, I completely understand the decision for us to switch to online courses. While we might not realize it yet, the situation we are all in the middle of is quite serious. Social distancing is one of the best things we can do not only for ourselves — but for others. As an introvert myself I don’t find this too difficult — but if you are someone who usually loves to be out and about 24/7, think about it first.

I Am Sorta Okay With This: An “I Am Not Okay With This” Review

Netflix’s latest series is I Am Not Okay With This, which follows teenager Sydney as she navigates high school, the realization that she has a crush on her BFF (who happens to be dating the school’s bully), and slowly comes to terms with her newly discovered superpowers. Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Charles Forsman (which is by the same author who also wrote the graphic novel that inspired the beloved Netflix series The End of The F***ing World).

I will start by being very honest and saying that I initially had no interest in checking this series out. While I was intrigued when I read the synopsis, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities it had to pretty much every other teenage girl coming of age story. One of Sydney’s first voice over lines in the trailer is literally “my name’s Sydney, I’m a boring 17 year-old white girl.” And one of the posters even shows her covered head to toe in blood, looking very similar to Carrie. That being said, I was interested to see where the story would take itself, and i will be honest and say I really like the metaphor of super powers and puberty (as weird and specific as that may be), while it may be slightly over done. And I was also excited to see Sophia Lillis and Wyatt Oleff acting together once again — as they were both in the 2017 version of Stephen King’s It. It almost seems like Sophia can only do roles that require her to be covered in blood at one point?

The only word I can think to use to describe this series is meh. There are good parts, cringe-y parts, and parts that had me laughing so hard my mom came upstairs to ask me what exactly is so funny? But for the most part it felt like almost every teen show. With the underlying themes of mental health, most specifically depression and suicide — i don’t think they were handled as well as they could’ve been. This is not necessarily a spoiler but it is revealed that Sydney’s father had committed suicide about 1 year before we meet her here. And throughout the story we learn more about him and what it is that pushed him to do it. I think they could’ve handled this topic a bit better personally, and felt wary of the way they made suicide feel like the only option and truly brushed over the deeper details of it all. I think it is extremely important to handles topics like this with care because they are so important to be talking openly about and destigmatizing — especially because I know many teenagers are watching and therefore learning from it.

On another note, there is something I’ve noticed in a lot of recent teen tv series and even movies. There will be a story set in modern times, with phones and current dialogue referencing memes and tik tok and things like that — but for some reason the costumes, sets, and even just colours of the show will make it look like it’s set in the 80s. I’ve also noticed this in The End of the F***ing World, and while I have not watched Sex Education I know that was something a lot of people noticed there as well. I think Netflix knows how much everyone loves the look and feel of the nostalgia in Stranger Things, so they try to give us all that same feeling with other shows. The only problem is Stranger Things ACTUALLY TAKES PLACE IN THE 80S! So it makes sense. Here, I can help but be confused when a character pulls out an iPhone and starts texting because I was so sure it took place in the past. For me, I think there’s a fine line between a film or a tv series being timeless and it trying so hard to pull nostalgia strings. An example of a timeless film is La La Land, which for me could really take place in any time period — even though they have modern technology. Whereas this show, and others, make me confused and feel like they’re trying way too hard.

Speaking of trying too hard. I hate to admit it to myself, but i am no longer a “teen.” But I still think 20 is too early to not be able to relate to teens AT ALL. Wyatt Oleff’s character, Stanley (yes, same name as his It character) is one of the most pretentious and annoying characters I have ever witnessed in a TV series, and I truly fear any teenager that acts like him (no offence). I have nothing against appreciating old technology. I have a record player, i love it, i listen to music on it. But, not only does Stanley Barber listen to his music only on his record player (which he then plugs his earphones into?) he also claims that VHS is the best platform there is… which is just… top tier pretentious in my books. To me, (i’ll admit: a slightly pretentious young adult), i think everyone knows that VHS is just a bit too much. However, there are also moments where I did enjoy Stanley as a characters, along with the others as well. But I’m someone who really has to have a connection to characters and really become invested in them in order to really love a tv show of film — and that didn’t really happen for me here.

This was an extremely easy show to watch, and especially binge. With there only being 7 episodes and each of them being approximately 20 minutes long — I was able to finish it all in one night. It clearly draws inspiration from other coming of age films, and TV shows without it feeling too much like a copy (I definitely see the Carrie similarity as a nod rather than a rip off). However, in the last few episodes it was made very clear that there was no way everything would be wrapped up in a pretty bow at the end, and I’m guessing there’s going to be a second season. That being said, I didn’t love the ending. I think with where the story was going they still could’ve left it ~ambiguous~ without leaving me very underwhelmed and with about 1000 questions piling up in my brain.

So, at the end of the day — i AM okay with this…. sorta.

I Am Not Okay With This is now streaming on Netflix

DISTRIBUTRICE: Peer Review #2

For my second peer review I will be talking about Yelyzaveta Panchenko’s site: www.distributricee.com

Upon first glance her blog is very beautiful. I love the colours and her choice of font. I also think she does a very good job of utilizing the “above the fold” concept. Because not only does she have an interesting header photo that intrigues me, but there is the “explore all new trending” at the bottom — which makes me want to scroll down.

Although, this header image really makes me want to click the “follow me” button — but when I click on it, nothing happens. I would suggest having this button go straight to either the About Me page, or a social media platform. And speaking of social media platforms, they are easily accessible from the upper right corner of the blog. With there just being Instagram and Facebook. However, the Facebook is private/for just friends — and the Instagram has no connection back to the blog. I would suggest connecting these platforms more. So for instance, making a “fan page” on Facebook — rather than using your personal page. And posting the link to your blog in your instagram bio. This will make it very easy for people to connect you to your blog as well as your blog to your instagram and vice versa — no matter what platform they are using.

When it comes to the personality of the blog, I find it difficult to imagine who exactly is writing these posts. While I know the name of the author because I’ve been given it to complete the assignment — and it can be found in small writing on each individual post as well as through Insta or Facebook — there is nothing on the About Me page. Even if you want to make this blog anonymous, make that clear (and then maybe remove the connection of prior mentioned social media). Or there is of course the possibility of using a pseudonym. And then, while each individual post does shows the author’s name … it says Elis — which not the same name as that on facebook. Even just making the most simple decision of choosing a consistent online name can help make your brand much more successful. And I would also suggest adding an image, which can also make it much more personal than the ominous grey human silhouette.

Another suggestion would be to make the process posts as well as peer reviews individual posts, rather than pages where new words are added each week. I would then suggest putting them both under one category of Academic or PUB 201. In the long run this will be much easier. Because as you write more process posts and peer reviews, there won’t be any necessary scrolling to try and find the one that you want. This will also put all of the school related content together, making it completely separate from the rest of the blog. And even with regular blog posts, utilize the categories rather than have each one show as being “uncategorized.”

over all the posts of DISTRIBUTRICE have a clear motive, and it is done in an incredibly efficient way through their writing style and interesting and informative topics. My only suggestion would be a more connection within the social media presence and an extra personal touch, and then all will be well!

Live From My Blog It’s A “Saturday Night” Documentary Review!

I have a very weird and distinct memory of the first time I was exposed to the iconic sketch comedy show, Saturday Night Live. I was on a family vacation to Victoria with my parents and my oldest brother. And for some reason, I have a vivid memory of hearing the words “it’s by **** in a box” over and over again. This was in 2009, so I was about 9 years old and in my humble opinion far too young to be hearing the usually crude words of songs by The Lonely Island’. But nevertheless, this was (probably) the first time I witnessed Saturday Night Live. Something, that would turn out to be one of my favourite things. And so, it is no surprise that I would immediately want to watch the documentary Saturday Night, which follows the cast of SNL‘s 34th season through the weekly creation of an episode of SNL (with this week’s host being John Malkovich). Showing us how they get from the initial pitch meeting on Monday, all the way to the live show on (you guessed it) Saturday. 

This documentary was shot by James Franco (yes, the well known actor who played Tommy Wise in The Disaster Artist) while he was studying film at NYU (it’s also worth it to note that he had hosted the show once before this). And, it also happens to be one of the most difficult movies to find online. I think that’s partly because it was a school assignment first and foremost. While it was filmed in 2008, it didn’t premier at the SXSW film festival until 2010, and then didn’t get widely released until 2014. In the end I finally found it, on Youtube of all places. 

That being said I was so eager to watch this because it not only highlights one of my favourite eras of SNL, but because there is literally nothing else like it. SNL is relatively secretive of its process — I did the NBC studio tour last time I was in New York and they won’t even let you take a photo of the hallway. and while past and present cast members have told stories about the show and talked about the creative process, it’s unprecedented that Franco was able to do this film because there’s nothing else out there actually showing us the writers in the moment. If you don’t know, SNL starts on Monday with a pitch meeting in Lorne Michael’s office. Then everyone writes as many sketches as they can on Tuesday, then they do a table read of all those sketches on Wednesday, then they narrow it down to less sketches, practice those, have the dress rehearsal at 8:30 on Saturday, narrow it down to even less sketches, and then have the live show at 11:30pm. It’s a lot. And so, I was extremely excited to be able to see all of that in this documentary. Although, that’s not exactly the case. 

The main issue with the documentary is it feels like a school assignment. It’s messy and the production value isn’t amazing. It often goes between colour and B&W— which I at first thought was going to be used to differentiate between the creative process and various talking head interviews — but it was ultimately just used randomly and (I think) for no apparent reason. 

The other problem I have is it often finds itself too In the moment, and I can’t help but think that someone who has little to no knowledge of SNL would end up being confused. I could tell it would be like this from the second it began. We of course start on Monday, the day of the pitch meeting, and we get a little interview with cast member Will Forte (2:18)— who is a consistent voice throughout the film. Franco says to Forte “So, the pitch meeting” to which Forte begins to explain what exactly the pitch meeting entails — that is before Franco cuts him off abruptly saying, “we know what it is, but how do you feel?” To me this shows that this movie isn’t really going to try and educate the people watching. What if the viewer actually doesn’t know what the pitch meeting is? They might not know that the pitch meeting is where each writer AND cast member introduce themselves to the host of the week and pitch something to them. We are not told this, and the footage we get of the pitch meeting itself doesn’t exactly convey it either.

Another similar moment is when we take a peek at the SNL Digital Shorts (57:18). We suddenly cut to footage of the song “Jizz In My Pants” and a title card comes up reading “SNL Digital Short.” To me, I thought this would give us insight into how the digital shorts are developed and shot, as well as a bit of information about how it was Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schafer of The Lonely Island who popularized them in the first place. Although, we instead got clips of the song/video they (supposedly) wrote that week and an interview with Andy Samberg (which didn’t relate to the digital shorts at all)

And speaking of interviews, there was little to no skill of interviewing cast members, writers, producers, and even people they talked to in the SNL standby line. Not only did they not explain what the standby line is (it’s a line that begins 24 hrs before the live show that you can stand in for the chance to see the live show or dress rehearsal) but there was an excruciatingly awkward interview with one man in line. Long story short they kept mishearing what the man was saying and to me it read as quite unprofessional and sloppy. 

Although, with all that negativity there were some positive aspects as well. For starters, it does do a good job of portraying the ups and downs of working at SNL. On Tuesday night we see many different writers and cast members slaving over their sketches trying to get them done. A couple of my favourite moments being John Mulaney and Bill Hader laughing hysterically at one other over office supplies jokes, the testing of multiple fart sound effects to figure out which one is the best, Seth Meyers going to the producer’s office on the morning of the table read to ask if he should write a sketch (which ended up making it to air), and everyone talking about how normal it is to go to sleep at 8am on Wednesday morning. 

It also shows the ways in which certain sketches start as a little idea, and grow into something greater. As well as the way in which a sketch can seem amazing at the table read on Wednesday, get developed further and brought to fruition — only for it to be cut 30 minutes before the live show at dress rehearsal. 

I also really enjoyed the interviews that they did with Lorne Michaels (the creator of SNL), as well as Steve Higgens (long time producer). While I commented earlier on the low quality interviewing skills, the words that they were able to get out of these two SNL legends were definitely high quality. I especially liked the bit where Lorne talked about how the cameras being present definitely had an impact on the ways in which the cast members acted throughout the film —which I think is quite true. It put an interesting thought in my mind of documentaries as a whole, especially because I know that I would act differently if I knew someone was filming me. For instance during the part of the film that chronicles the writing process, we get a shot of head writer Seth Meyers taking a nap — and then we are shown him again once he has woken up gets back to writing. To me, I could feel the slight tension of Meyers wanting to go back to writing in private, but he was far too polite to tell the crew to maybe leave him alone for a bit. And despite the fact that Bill Hader has spoken a lot about the extreme anxiety he experienced while doing SNL, he doesn’t show any signs of that here, (and while I do acknowledge that anxiety is not always visible — he has spoken about the way that it affected his work) whether that be because they edited stuff out, or he tried to act differently for the documentary as a whole.

In my mind this was going to be the perfect little look into the process of SNL but it rather felt like someone “vlogging” their week at SNL. Showing us the highlights of the week, but leaving out the more nitty gritty parts of the show and the more “boring” parts of how it all gets put together. To me, this is sad, because I want to know every single thing about the show. I know there are books that talk about the show, and another documentary called Live From New York! But I think neither of those really achieve the idea that I have in mind. Going through each step of the week (pitch meeting, writing, table read, revisions, set design, costume design, rehearsals, dress rehearsal, the live show — and even more) while also giving the history of each element. I don’t know if there could be anything that is like that because a.) it would be about 10 hours long if it was a film, and b.) I think Lorne Michaels is very selective about who is able to chronicle the ways in which he makes SNL work. For instance, it is very clear that James Franco was a friend of the showing having hosted before he filmed this — and he has since hosted 3 more times. 

Although, I know I will probably come back to this film from time to time, just to enjoy the chaotic energy that exudes from the whole cast. and that odd joy mixed with stress that each of the cast members seem to be harbouring throughout their creative process. While they’re staying up until 8am the next morning writing sketches that will probably never see the light of day — they’re still doing it. They love their job even though it drags them through the mud a bit, and it is entirely worth it when you see the end product.