Technically, June 20th is the first day of summer, but June 1st always feels like the official start for me. Graduations are over, Memorial Day is behind us, and patio season is here!
To me, summer is all about beach/back porch reading with a beverage, $5 matinees with my sister, and a few good TV shows. So, with that in mind, I’m switching up the format a bit for the summer, with book/movie/TV recommendations each week. I’ll still have a Summer TV page up with listings, but I’ll focus more on one or two shows in my posts. My friend, Shannon, has a similar format on her blog (https://endlessshannonigans.blogspot.com/), so hopefully she won’t mind if I borrow some inspiration from her for a few months.
UnReal returns for season 2 on Monday, June 6th at 10/9c on Lifetime, and I’m about to pee myself with excitement! This was hands-down one of the best shows I watched this year. (I binged the first season when it hit Hulu in February.) I can’t say enough about this smart, sexy, addictive show. You can still catch the entire first season on Hulu, which I recommend because you should see it from the beginning, but if you’re low on time, Lifetime is replaying episodes 5-10 this Sunday before the premiere. Take it from someone who used to work for a reality TV production company…this show nails the details.
If you’re trying to decide which superhero franchise to spend your money on this weekend, go with Captain America: Civil War. This week I saw both Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse, and while both have plenty of wow moments and A-list casts, Civil War is the better film overall. Everything about Civil War just kind of works, even though it shouldn’t–who knew the new Spider-Man would be so charming and fit right in?!
Apocalypse, on the other hand, was my least favorite film of the recent trilogy. I loved X-Men: First Class, and X-Men: Days of Future Past was hella fun, mixing old and new cast members, but Apocalypse was seriously underwhelming. The core cast, with the exception of Jennifer Lawrence (who looks like she just needs a break from all movies), is still acting their faces off, but for some reason I just couldn’t get excited about the younger versions of Storm, Scott, and Jean. (Halle Berry was probably rolling her eyes at that Aladdin-like introduction to Storm.) I get that some of these things are pulled directly from the comics, and that in the land of comic books anything goes, with various storylines overlapping or even going in completely different directions, but for the casual viewer, it’s a little confusing. For example, I kept trying to figure out if this Angel was supposed to be the same character that Ben Foster played in X-Men: The Last Stand, because if so, it made no sense. And I kept trying to do the math in my head…if these kids look like this in the 80’s, would they really look like Famke, James, and Halle by 2000, when the first X-Men came out? Clearly, I was not fully invested in the story, or these ridiculous thoughts wouldn’t have distracted me. It didn’t help that the amazing Oscar Isaac looked silly, instead of scary. (It made me want to go home immediately and watch his epic dance in Ex Machina.) All that being said, it’s still worth a cheap matinee, if only for Fassbender’s scenes, and Quicksilver’s fun, slow-motion sequence.
I’ve heard a lot about Curtis Sittenfeld over the years, so I finally decided to read her debut novel, Prep, recently. I figured I would start with her first novel and work my way up to her recent best-seller, Eligible. Prep is a little over a decade old, but I feel like I found it at exactly the right moment. If you’re a woman and you haven’t read it, you MUST. (I say this because it’s a coming-of-age story that almost any woman will relate to.) Although I didn’t go to boarding school, I felt like I relived my high school and college years through this novel. It’s full of so many things: those casual occurrences with the opposite sex at that age that are so rare and exciting, but ultimately don’t really mean anything; those teachers that aren’t mentors, but make an impact on you in a negative way instead; moments when you’re embarrassed by your family, and the ones where you completely connect with them in your own little family bubble; the complicated, messy feelings of jealousy you have towards your best friend at that age, that feel like a betrayal because they happen to also be the person you laugh with and love the most; those moments when you “just miss” and opportunity, but you can’t see it until years later–how you replay it in your mind, and you can actually see where you should’ve gone left, when you went right. I had to stop and pause every 20 pages or so because memories of my own similar experiences kept rushing back. Sounds intense, I know, but it’s well worth it.
Here’s to a fun, relaxing summer!