If you're following me on Instagram (and if you're not, why aren't you?), you already know that I spent several days in the mecca of all things cool, the bastion of badassery, the place where Frozen takes on an entirely new meaning. Yes, ladies and gents, I was in New York! There's a point to this story, I promise.
While en route to the The Big Apple (that's what you call it, right? Right guys?) I forked over nine of my hard earned dollars to watch Chris Rock's newest movie, written and directed by Mr. Rock himself. In the movie, one of the running bits is Chris (in character) asking his friends and family who their Top Five hip hop artists are; it's been a while since I've done a One Two Three post, so I figured we'd change it up a bit today and I'd recommend a few of my favorite movies, books, and music of late!
This is by no means a comprehensive list, even of the most recent releases, so please don't take this to mean that I dislike anything out nowadays. You should all know by now that I like...everything.
1. Top Five
Besides the fact that this movie is the first one Chris Rock has done in a while that has gotten critical acclaim (at least, to my limited knowledge!) - this movie is just straight up funny. Rock is an aging comic who is sick of hamming it up for audiences with dumbed down flicks. Rosario Dawson is fantastic as a reporter interviewing him for a review of his character's new film (and refusing to accept canned responses), and even Gabrielle Union shines (literally - she's got bling) as his superficial fiancee who, turns out, has her own issues. The only negative thing I will say about this movie is that it's awkward to watch while on a cross-country flight next to an older couple - there are a couple of sex scenes that are pretty vivid! But, even those scenes are hilariously written and add to the point of the movie. See this one.
2. What if
The roomie and I decided to watch this one night after engaging in a trailer-viewing-marathon that left us slightly befuddled as to which movie we'd actually picked (we actually watched another one with this same actress a previous night that was slightly less cute and more sci-fi weird), but after the first couple of scenes, we were hooked. I love Daniel Radcliffe as an actor, and this movie shows his ability for comedic timing (up against the likes of Adam Driver, no less) and Zoe Kazan is one of my favorite new actresses. Such a cute film!
I don't know how to describe Birdman without giving away key points, so I'll just say this - I'm not a huge fan of Michael Keaton, and even I think he should win a lot of awards for this one. The cinematography is inventive, the cast is wholeheartedly compelling, and the story has you wondering where it'll lead until it finally climaxes at an explosive plot point. If you haven't yet, see Birdman before the Oscars so you can form your own opinion.
1. Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel
I will admit, I haven't started this one yet - but my stepdad read it and has been telling me all about how fantastic it is (including giving me his copy for Christmas), so I figure it's got to be great. That and about thirteen other people have recommended it to me too.
2. And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie
I think I've read this book before, but not recently enough that I remember the major (or any) plot points, so when my work book club chose this as February's book pick, I was excited to pick it up again. Also it gave me an excuse to finally go to SFPL and get myself a darn library card! So far I'm about halfway through, and it really reminds me why Agatha Christie is known as one of the most engaging mystery writers of our time.
3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
I went on a self-imposed Spending Fast (ok it was more like a Spending Juice-Cleanse-Where-You-Drink-Smoothies-All-Day) for January and the one thing I was itching to buy was this book. I know, I know - it seems silly to buy a book about minimalizing your lifestyle, but sometimes people can phrase things in a different way or present them to you in a new fashion so you'll actually comprehend and, god help me, remember the points. So far here's what I'm taking away from it: if something in your life doesn't give you joy, thank it for its time, and let it go. I'm definitely working on that part...even going so far as to sell some of my belongings on Poshmark.
1. Style, Taylor Swift
I signed up for the SF Half Marathon this coming July, so I'm in dire need of new running music. While I love all of T.Swift's newest album, this song in particular has gotten me hooked - she sounds like a completely different artist, and I really like the shift. She's branched out but does so in a way that pays homage to the new genre (pop vs. country) without mocking or stereotyping it. It's great!
2. Geronimo, Sheppard
This song makes me happy whenever it comes on. I just think of popsicles and cowboy boots and picnics and flowy shirts. Basically, I think of a crazy music festival - except one that sounds fun and not overwhelming and anxiety-inducing. Props to Sheppard for that sensation.
3. Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran
There was a period a couple of months ago where I kept playing this song on repeat, even watching the music video (gorgeously done, if you ask me) on repeat on YouTube. Think about current loves, think about past loves, think about the love you're looking for - this song just gets under your skin.
Do you have any favorite movies, books, or music you've discovered lately? Share your suggestions in the comments!