eighth grade movie

July/August 2018 Favorites

I feel like I’ve fallen in love with a million things since my last favorites post, so it’s hard to choose only a handful to share with you rather than write a five-page, thesis driven report on everything you should be checking out.

In lieu of that however, I’ve tried to narrow it down to some of my tippity top favorites—which is a thing, right?

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The Mortified Podcast

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This is a continuation of the “Mortified” series of both books and live events where people share their embarrassing childhood journals.  Each week, the podcast takes on a theme and stories that fit into that theme are shared. For example, this past week’s episode was called “International Affairs” which featured stories about experiences overseas. No matter which episode you watch or listen to, or which format you find them on, they are guaranteed to make you laugh and/or cringe and more than anything relate. (find it here)

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M-W Word of the Day

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While I like to consider myself as someone with a relatively high vocabulary, I’m always anxious to improve. The way I see it, the more words I know, the more easily I’ll be able to convey exactly what I’m trying to say. So, every day, as part of my morning routine, I check my email and read the word of the day, its definition and its usage in a sentence. Is this a little nerdy? Yes, and I love it.  (find it here)

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Movies

Eighth Grade

As far as I’m concerned, absolutely everyone should see this movie. It is so honest and beautiful and hilarious and sad. It’s about a time in all of our lives that was so awkward and important, and it offers a rare look back to see how far we’ve come since then. (find it here)

Three Identical Strangers

This movie had a pretty limited release which is absolutely heartbreaking because it is one of the most mind-blowing things I’ve ever seen. And while I’d like to tell you all about it, it is truly one of those films that you have to watch without any prior information. So please, do yourself a favor and don’t do any research on this film other than how you can get your eyes on it as soon as possible! (find it here)

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

This movie is absolutely adorable. It’s the romcom we’ve all needed for a long time. I watched it one night when I was feeling a little down and it gave me so many warm fuzzies,  I watched it again the very next night without even an ounce of shame. (find it on Netflix)

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TV

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Before watching last year’s award show circuit and seeing Jessica Biel nominated left and right for her performance on this show, I hadn’t really heard anything about it. Needless to say, the minute it was released on Netflix, I went into full blown FOMO mode and made myself sit down and watch the first season. Being the scaredy cat that I have always been, I only watched one or two episodes at a time because I was so nervous about what was going to happen, but when I got close to the end I gave into the binge and let me tell you, it was worth it! I haven’t got a chance to watch any of the second season yet, but it’s definitely on my list! (find it Netflix)

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Red Oaks

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Taking the hardest of left turns, I bring you Red Oaks, a show I found completely by accident on Amazon Prime. It follows a cast of characters that work at a tennis club in the 80’s. One thing that particularly drew me to this show was Craig Roberts, who I loved in The Fundamentals of Caring. While set in a completely different pair of shoes, you again find yourself rooting for him, which is kind of the theme of the show in my opinion. Over the course of the three seasons, there’s never really any cliffhangers or monumental events that make you gasp, but you still find yourself gripped to the characters who are easily tangible and relatable people who you just want to succeed and be happy. (find it on Amazon Prime)

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Making It

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This show is honestly my dream come true. A DIY competition show—which alone would’ve stolen my heart—that is hosted by Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler!! It is the greatest gift my DVR could have ever been given. (find it on Hulu, or Tuesdays at 10 p.m. PST on NBC)

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Books

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This was released as a movie in March, but I waited to read the book first and I was so glad I did. Not only do you get a lot more detail, but in many ways (in my opinion) you get a better story.  While I enjoyed both adaptations, the movie and the book are drastically different in terms of minor plot points. I feel like the movie focuses more on video game references while the book’s major focus is the 80’s generation as a whole. (find it here)

Strange Fire by Tommy Wallach

In a recent conversation with my sister I made a comment that I thought Tommy Wallach might be my favorite author, which made me wonder why he hadn’t released any new books lately. This sent me on a Google hunt which informed me that not only had he released this book last October, but that it was the first in a trilogy, the second of which is coming out this November. Cue the happy dancing. This book was much more sci-fi than his first two (both of which you should read, by the way, they are: We All Looked Up and Thanks for the Trouble) but the characters were just as rich and the story was equally gripping. I can’t wait for book #2! (find it here)

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Seeing as it won a Pulitzer Prize and all, I realize it wouldn’t be new information for me to say, “hey, this is a great book!” But I never read this book in school and really only did so now because it’s on the list of Time’s Best 100 Books that I’m working my way through, and I’m SO glad I did! I listened to the audiobook read by Sissy Spacek and she was fantastic. Highly recommend! (find it here)

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Music

As always, here’s a few iTunes adjectives to peak your interest

Don’t Smile at Me by Billie Eilish: “nudges things along nicely with its minimalist beats and lifting-yet-sinister lyricism.”

Greetings from the Neon Frontier by The Wild Feathers: “full of wistful highway anthems built on breezy three part harmonies.”

Sweetner by Ariana Grande: “a gorgeous pastel album about love, happiness, strength and womanhood.”

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Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

 

Why I Almost Didn’t See Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade” and Why I’m Glad I Did

One of the most talked about films in theaters right now is Bo Burnham’s directorial debut, Eighth Grade. Having been a fan of the comedian for a number of years now, when I learned his name was attached to the already intriguing project, it made the decision to see it pretty easy. So, this past Monday, as I packed up my stuff at work, I checked the showtimes nearby and decided to spend my open afternoon doing just that.

Walking into the theater for the 4:00 p.m. showing, I fell in step behind a couple and then discovered my assigned seat was directly beside them. We shared a laugh and made a few comments about the associated odds, and then slowly got quiet. They leaned into each other and talked low, and I opened the book I had in my purse.

As time went on, other people began to shuffle in. Some alone, like the girl my age in a slouchy cardigan, and the one probably younger than me with a blonde bun piled on top of her head; an older woman carrying a large popcorn and a colorful shawl, and a man about my dad’s age wearing a red shirt and glasses, who took a seat in the very front row. Others arrived in pairs, like the couple already stealing bites of each other’s food, the boy in the baseball hat that walked in laughing beside the one with long brown hair, and a pair of girls carrying identical ICEEs and whispering.

The man in the couple next to me leaned in to his girlfriend. “What do you remember about eighth grade?”

“Not much,” she replied.

He paused and then said, “I remember my dad taking me out of school for a week…” and then continued the story too quiet for me to hear.

I sat reading my book, listening to the mumbles of surrounding conversation, my mind wandering to where I was in eighth grade. I thought of the week I had pneumonia and how when I came back a number of my fellow classmates told me they thought I died. I remembered having crushes on boys that my best friend and I gave code names and wrote about in notebooks that we passed back and forth between classes. I thought about my hair and what a nightmare (at least I thought) it was, and how I refused to take it out of a bun unless it was flat-ironed. Also, the pink pants, but I tried not to harp on those, it was the early 2000s.

After a while, people started to get restless, and when I looked at my watch, I understood why. Before I could form an opinion on the matter however, a theater employee walked in to inform us that the movie would not be playing. He offered his sincerest apologies and assured us we would get a refund and a coupon. Glancing around at each other, we all stood up, most of us shrugging and exchanging short anecdotes like, “well that sucks.”

As we stood in line for our coupons, I got the same feeling I always get after I walk out of a movie. That sense of camaraderie with my fellow moviegoers, knowing we’d just gone on the same journey together, even though in this case the journey was much shorter than we might have preferred.

On my way back to the car, I glanced at my phone. Since I’d spent a good amount of time looking over the showtimes earlier in the day, I remembered something about a 5:15 showing at a theater down the road. I tucked my coupon in my pocket and picked up my pace. I had 15 minutes. I could make it.

Hustling to the line at the second theater, I waited patiently, alternating my gaze between my feet, the ticket window and my watch. In a look back a few minutes later, I recognized a few of the faces getting in line behind me. A girl with a blonde bun piled on top of her head; a boy in a baseball cap followed closely by a boy with long brown hair; a man about my dad’s age with a red shirt and glasses. Each of them held a gift certificate in their hand, waiting patiently while trying not to look at their watches.

Once I was in the new theater, I again took a seat by myself, again noting the couples, groups and other singles that filed into the theater one after the other. My instincts were to feel self-conscious. I was here alone after all, and eighth grade me would have died at the thought. But as the lights went down and the conversations I wasn’t a part of began to fade out, I realized how far gone I was from eighth grade me. And as I watched the movie and laughed and cried and cringed with everyone about the things we all went through at that age, I was reminded how far we’ve all come since then.

Without going through what we did, the movie might not have been as funny, and it might not have made us (or hey, at least me) cry. We wouldn’t have cringed or “aww-ed” or wanted to hug the hell out of Kayla (the main character played by Elsie Fisher) because we wouldn’t have understood how much better things get. How much more we were going learn and experience and discover. We wouldn’t know that eighth grade is ugly but life is beautiful. That life becomes beautiful because eighth grade is ugly, and how it repeats this cycle throughout every stage that follows.

So as credits began to roll and the lights came back up, we all looked around at each other and smiled. We were filled with that feeling of camaraderie, but this time it wasn’t only because of what we’d gone through today, it was because of everything we’d gone through since the day we stepped foot into eighth grade, and every step we’d taken after. We knew were in this together, and that unlike our eighth grade selves, we weren’t afraid to admit that that mattered.