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sweetcookieface

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  1. sweetcookieface

    Pen15

    I just learned about this show over the weekend, and ended up binge-watching most of it in a day. The two leads are pretty amazing - I honestly forget that they're not actual 13-year olds because their speech patterns, body language, etc. are so spot on. I had seen Maya Erskine in supporting roles on "Insecure" and "Casual," but I have a whole new appreciation for her after seeing this show. I generally don't enjoy crude humor and more explicit content, so there were a couple of plots that I had a hard time watching, but I thought there were a lot of hilarious moments that perfectly captured the awkwardness of junior high - and plenty of poignant ones. I skipped some episodes here and there, but I think my favorites were "AIM" (brought back memories with the chat rooms, etc.), and "Anna Ishii-Peters" (probably the most emotional episode - I liked that it explored a different dynamic between Maya and Anna). I also liked the show's take on casual racism and "othering" in "Posh" (e.g., Maya, as the one non-white kid, being forced to be Scary Spice). The show really doesn't shy away from the fact that junior high school kids - even the awkward, unpopular ones that we're inclined to root for - can be assholes sometimes. (Case in point: I found Maya insufferable at points, and Maya and Anna were pretty rude/unwelcoming to the other unpopular girl in the thong episode.) Oh, and the final episode reminded me a bit of Romy and Michelle (in a good way).
  2. sweetcookieface

    Friends From College

    I enjoyed both seasons of the show (despite the critical thrashing the first season took), and found it eminently bingeable (I watched season 2 in one day). I think Max (Fred Savage) is my favorite as well. The biggest laugh-out-loud moments for me each season involved him - the montage in the Season 1 finale of him being oblivious while his colleagues rolled out a competing Wolf Trials book, and the Season 2 montage of him procrastinating while trying to write Boy Horse (I especially loved him encouraging the nerdy tech guy to just sit down and write it for him). A couple of people have mentioned the wide age range for the characters. I think Cobie Smulders is the youngest of the lead actors (she was born in 1982). At the other end of the spectrum, Greg German was born in 1958! (I know he didn't go to school with the rest of the crew, and his character is maybe meant to be older, but still!) I'm assuming most of the characters are meant to be around 41 or 42. I feel like a horrible person for saying this, but I can barely look at Nick with those teeth. I think slightly crooked teeth can be cute and give someone character, but his are pretty extreme. I do enjoy the character, although I think he's kind of an asshole (or, at minimum, very clueless). I especially thought his treatment of Merrill was pretty cruel - first showing up four hours late (not to mention high and with a friend) to her dinner party, then inviting a female friend (and one he has feelings for / has a history with) to her grandma's party and breaking up with Merrill at said party. I wonder if the show will get renewed for Season 3 and, if so, where it will go. I feel like it will start to get repetitive if they keep reshuffling the relationships. I think I might prefer Ethan with Sam over Lisa, but think both pairings kind of work. I'm curious what others think. Also, I'm wondering... was Sam supposed to be the prettier/more popular one back in the day? I kind of get that sense with their dynamic, although I can't remember how their respective college roles were described.
  3. sweetcookieface

    S04.E09: I Need Some Balance

    Yeah, not to pile on, but I'm also feeling underwhelmed by this season. I can't think of any episode I've truly loved, and only three songs have been memorable for me (Trapped in a Car, Don't Be a Lawyer, and What You Missed While You Were Popular). I think each of the previous seasons has had some sort of arc, while this one just feels like it's spinning it's wheels. I thought this episode was just so-so, although I kind of enjoyed the Cats motif. I thought Funky Cat and Itchy Cat (Fred Armisen!) were particularly good, although I was almost too grossed out by the latter to watch. One thing that I've noticed a bit more this season is that the jokes and callbacks sometimes feel a bit forced. I felt that way about Valencia's "I'm so good at spinning" line, and Rebecca commenting on Jason: "And I know he's not a murderer." I'm still not feeling New Greg. His delivery vaguely resembles Old Greg's, but his expression just seems... blank? I'm rewatching some old episodes and I really feel like Santino's Greg was the most interesting/complex character on the show -he did a great job of playing snarky, bemused, insecure, bitter, lovestruck, cocky, etc.
  4. sweetcookieface

    2019 Awards Season

    Huh, I've seen all of these save for Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody, neither of which I'm that keen on checking out. I'd say Roma was the best of the bunch - just an incredible artistic achievement. In the next tier I'd put A Star Is Born (basically a glorified melodrama, but really well done); Black Klansman (great, compelling story, if a bit conventionally told); The Favourite (witty with impeccable costumes and sets, although not necessarily my favorite Lanthimos movie); and Black Panther (taking superhero movies to the next level). Of the rest, I thought Crazy Rich Asians was perfectly fine, but a bit overrated; enjoyed A Quiet Place's unique concept and thought it was well executed, but wouldn't rank it among my favorites of the year; and found Vice compelling with terrific performances from Bale and Adams, but thought some of Adam McKay's directorial flourishes (e.g., breaking the fourth wall and comic interludes) were a bit overdone and distracting at times. Honestly, my three favorite movies this year were probably Roma, If Beale Street Could Talk, and Eighth Grade, although I can't point to anything this year that's as obvious a favorite for me as, say, Moonlight. Here are some of my initial thoughts re: the various acting categories: Best Actor: Having just seen Vice, I might have to root for Christian Bale, although I thought Bradley Cooper also impressed in a less showy role. Ethan Hawke was also fantastic in First Reformed. Best Actress: Olivia Colman by a mile. I also really liked Viola in Widows, but that doesn't seem to have generated much buzz. Best Supporting Actor: My favorite two performances in this category would probably be Brian Tyree Henry in If Beale Street Could Talk (or in Widows for that matter) and Nicholas Hoult in The Favourite. Unfortunately, neither seems like a real contender. Best Supporting Actress: This seems like a pretty stacked category. I'm pulling for Regina King, but would also be ok with Amy Adams, or either of the two "supporting" performances in The Favourite (Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, with the former getting a slight edge in my book).
  5. sweetcookieface

    S04.E08: I'm Not the Person I Used to Be

    I just rewatched the pilot and noticed that this episode contained a callback to it: When Rebecca first meets Greg and goes to a party with him, and it quickly becomes apparent that she's only there for Josh, Greg says: "If you were into him, I'd totally get it - he's good looking, built like a brick, he knows magic..." :)
  6. sweetcookieface

    S04.E08: I'm Not the Person I Used to Be

    This mostly sums up my feelings. Greg was my favorite male character on the show – I thought Santino had the funniest facial expressions, delivered his lines with the perfect mix of snark and bemusement, and had incredible chemistry with Rebecca. I actually see some similarities in the new actor’s portrayal – e.g., he speaks with a similar intonation – but his Greg comes across a lot blander and more understated. Maybe he'll grow into the role. I just rewatched a bunch of Season 1 episodes and was thinking the same thing. The beginning of the show had such an incredible run of songs - "West Covina," Sexy Getting Ready Song," "Feelin Kinda Naughty," "I Have Friends," "Face Your Fears," "Settle for Me," "Sex with a Stranger"... and those are just from the first four episodes! This season, the only standouts for me have been "Don't Be a Lawyer" (had this stuck in my head for weeks), "Trapped in a Car," and now George's song - "While You Were Popular." (I thought the other song this episode - "Nice to Meet You" - was sweetly charming, although I don't know that it will stick with me.)
  7. sweetcookieface

    S04.E07: I Will Help You

    I thought this was a pretty unfunny, clunky episode. It didn't help that it focused on characters I find uninteresting (e.g., Nathaniel), super-annoying (Naomi), or bland (Valencia now that she's "nice"). That said, I did laugh at a couple of points, both mentioned above - the fitted sheets struggle and the crullers ("Oooh, don't do it - it's a trap!"). I was thinking the same thing - how is staying with Hector's mom worse than crashing at the Y or at his unstable ex-fiance's house?! I also wondered how Rebecca fit into Valencia's dress. But I actually didn't think it was flattering at all. I thought the black dress she wore at the actual award ceremony was way cuter on her - and more in line with her usual style. So, in the preview for next week, was that Greg returning? I may be in the minority, but of Rebecca's love interests, I thought he worked best as a foil. There was a snappiness to their exchanges that I enjoyed - and I just found the relationship believable in a way that I don't with Nathaniel. Who knows what the relationship will look like with a new actor though. Speaking of recasts... was that a different actress playing Audra Levine?
  8. sweetcookieface

    The End is Here: Best and Worst TV Finales

    I see only a passing reference to it above, but I think The Americans had one of the best series finales in recent years - and probably of all time. It was suspenseful, emotionally resonant, and just intellectually satisfying. There are so many iconic scenes - the standoff with Stan in the parking lot; the entire montage set to "With or Without You," culminating in Paige getting off the train; that final call to Henry; Elizabeth's dream sequence; Philip and Elizabeth returning to Russia and wistfully staring out on the horizon, with the latter noting "We'll get used to it"... I could go on and on. I love that the show tied up major loose ends in a way that felt satisfying, but believable, and left the audience with just the right amount of mystery (the most notable example being Renee's affiliation). I'm probably in the minority in that I disliked Breaking Bad's finale - I found it too pat, too over the top, and too fan-servicey. The Americans finale, by contrast, felt earned. I honestly couldn't ask for a better finale - it ended up being one of the best episodes in one of the best TV series in modern history.
  9. sweetcookieface

    The Annual Primetime Emmys Topic

    Ugh, I have such mixed feelings, but mostly disappointed. On the drama side, I was rooting for The Americans – HARD. I’m thrilled for the writing award (for one of the best finales of all time) and for Matthew Rhys (IMO, the glue of the show). But I’m pissed that they missed out on the Best Drama award – not just because it’s the show's last opportunity, but because the final season was incredible. There’s no way this past season of Game of Thrones should have won over The Americans, and I say this as a diehard GoT fan who thought the last season was mostly very good. And on the comedy side, Atlanta got the shaft. Again, I actually enjoy Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (the Best Comedy winner), but it’s not nearly as funny, innovative or memorable as Atlanta. And I feel the same way about most of MMM’s other trophies. That it won Best Directing over Hiro Murai’s “Teddy Perkins” is a travesty. There are a couple of other people I was rooting for – e.g.,, Issa Rae for Best Comedy Actress, Bryan Tyree Henry for Best Comedy Supporting Actor, Yvonne Strahovsky for Best Drama Supporting Actress – but I always knew those were long shots, and I was generally ok with the winners (especially Thandie Newton – I didn’t make it far into S2 of Westworld, but her performance was always a standout).
  10. sweetcookieface

    The Americans Retrospective

    Apologies if a thread already exists for this, but now that the show's over, I thought it would be helpful to have a place where we could discuss the show across seasons. There's plenty to discuss, but to start things off, I"m wondering how people would rank the various seasons. It's possible my ranking could change since Season 6 is so fresh, but right now mine looks something like this: Season 4: For a long time, I went back and forth between Seasons 3 and 4 as my favorite. But ultimately I had to go with 4. I think the dramatic tension in this season is unmatched (except perhaps for Season 6). My favorite storyline was the Martha plot (including the blistering fight Philip and Elizabeth have in the aftermath of her extraction), but I also loved the Young Hee storyline, William, the fallout from Paige's confession to Pastor Tim, and the tragically beautiful sendoff for Nina. It's a really impressive stretch of episodes. Season 6: Perhaps this is too fresh to accurately assess, but I loved the white knuckle tension in the second half of this season. There was significant character development for Philip, Elizabeth and Paige, leading to some truly dramatic moments (Philip warning Kimmy not to leave Greece; Elizabeth going rogue; Paige getting off the train). The season finale - which was near perfect as both a regular episode and series finale - nudged this slightly above Season 3 for me. Season 3: Right up there with Seasons 4 and 6 for me. The highlights are "Stingers" and "Do Mail Robots Dream of Electric Sheep?", but it's a uniformly strong batch of episodes, with several disturbing and memorable moments (Philip performing dental surgery on Elizabeth, poor Annelise getting folded into a suitcase). And I may be in the minority here, but I enjoyed the Kimmy plot (it helps that the actress is great and Matthew Rhys brings the perfect amount of goofiness and sleaziness to the role). Season 1: I suspect if I were to do a rewatch I'd find a fair number of mediocre episodes mixed in, but I still love Season 1 for hooking me on the show with a pretty impeccable pilot, and several other standout episodes like "The Clock," the two Gregory-focused episodes, and the cliffhanger of a finale. Season 2: I'd rank Season 2 quite a bit lower than the other seasons. I was very surprised to hear that Alan Sepinwall considers this his (possibly) favorite season because it's the one I rewatch the least. I didn't like the whole Larrick plot, I found the resolution of the murder mystery to be contrived in a way The Americans usually avoids, and I just don't remember many standout episodes. I put on a random S2 episode the other day and had completely forgotten that they had a new handler named Kate - one of many characters/plots that fell flat. Season 5: Maybe my opinion will change upon rewatch, but there just wasn't a whole of momentum (which was frustrating given how few episodes there were remaining in the show), nor were there many memorable scenes. The clear standout episode for me was "Dyatkovo." I kind of enjoyed Tuan as a character, but the various agents/assets that were introduced this season were pretty flat (Pascha's parents, wheat guy, the computer woman Philip struggled to honey trap). And as much as I love Oleg, his scenes in Russia felt pretty disconnected. Plus, the Mischa plot never went anywhere. What do others think?
  11. sweetcookieface

    S14.E19: Live Top 11 Performances

    I'm somewhat surprised to say that my favorite performances of the night were Kyla and Spensha. (I missed the first couple of performances though.) Kyla's talent is undeniable - her performance basically jolted me out of my seat and commanded my attention. It was like a professional was suddenly on stage after a bunch of amateurs. I just hope she doesn't run into the problem encountered by a lot of big voiced singers, where they end up doing a lot of classic soulful tunes, but nothing that really conveys how they would fit into today's music market. And Spensha's performance was the first one by her that really sounded confident (and, for that matter, the first one that sounded country to me). Maybe her nerves really were impacting her previous performances. She looked absolutely gorgeous to boot (love that dress). Of the others, I admire Jackie F's ambition, and thought it was a dramatic, entertaining performance, but I'm not sure all the notes landed. Christiana was good - not at the level of Hotline Bling or last wk's performance, but thankfully not the trainwreck some of her other performances were; she still has one of my favorite voices in the competition. Britt was nice and smooth, but I didn't think it was the most memorable performance. Britt has another one of my favorite voices in the competition, but I'm not sure that song really did her any favors. This was my favorite performance of Jackie V (that nasally tone/twang from previous wks was less evident here), but that's not saying much. Caleb bored me, as usual. Deshawn gave a good solid... karaoke performance.
  12. sweetcookieface

    S14.E14: The Live Playoffs, Night 1

    Sheesh, Alicia's team is stacked! All the other teams have some fairly obvious fodder, but the only one I kind of see on Team Alicia is... Jackie? (Not that she's bad - she's just not as memorable as the others). If I had to pick three more to join Britton, it would be Kelsea, Christiana and a toss-up between Terrance and Johnny. Kelsea wasn't even on my radar until this performance, but I thought she nailed it and I realized I how much I love her voice. I didn't love Christiana's version of "Hey Ya," but she still has my residual love for "Hotline Bling" - I think she's another one with a unique voice and the ability to wow with creative arrangements. I loved Terrance's audition, but all his performances kind of sound alike for me, so I could see it getting old. And I also enjoy Johnny, but not sure how memorable he'd be if he didn't sing in Spanish.
  13. sweetcookieface

    Casting Wishlists

    I see that a lot of my dream cast members have already been mentioned - even some of the more obscure picks like Maya, Kooan, Kristine and Amy (I just watched the episode with her hair dress, lol). But one contestant I never hear about and would love to see back is Epperson (S6). I remember really liking him during his original season; the standout look was the Western inspired one (he and his model Matar were great together). But I also rewatched the unconventional material challenge and thought his outfit - a bold, kimono like dress - was gorgeous. (Of course, he was just safe.)
  14. sweetcookieface

    S06.E09: Posen on the Red Carpet

    Fabio's dress was definitely polarizing (I wasn't sure what the judges would think), but I loved it. It's not a dress anyone could, or would want to, wear, but I think it has a cool, easy, minimalist vibe and would have a lot of impact, especially on the right wearer and with the right styling. (I do agree though that the color was a bit meh.) Also, for a challenge that was all about a signature technique, I would have rewarded him since it was so clearly Fabio.
  15. sweetcookieface

    The Annual Academy Awards Topic

    That's a fair question. I guess I'd offer Kumail Nanjani's comments about representation as one example of being critical in a way that's compelling without being passive aggressive. And, I actually liked Frances McDormand asking all the female nominees to stand up and be acknowledged - it was a way of recognizing achievement in the face of adversity, without making other nominees feel shitty.
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