Monthly Recap: July 2021

I know I am (probably) saying this every month but how on earth did another month just pass? It feels like yesterday when the year began and it's August already. 

What's even more "concerning" is that I barely had time to do a thing this month and yet it flew by anyway. Sure, I work 5-6 days a week but I'm not full-time, so I really can't explain where my time is going. I haven't even been consistent with my workouts because I'm usually exhausted about a 5-hour waitressing shift and have no energy to lift weights, and when I do, I still don't have enough energy to challenge myself. But at least I'm happy with the job. It pays well, everyone is nice, and the other day I got told my coffee was excellent which is always a pleasure to hear and totally made my day week. 

I didn't doodle as much as I did in June though — I did an ugly one to manifest a shiny Kabuto on Pokemon Go and it worked though! —, but I'm still trying to squeeze a bit of German studying into my day. And when I don't feel like studying, I listen to German music while driving to and from work.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, which I started in June, was okay. I quite enjoyed reading it and it does address serious issues of race and white privilege, but the writing is too simplistic, the dialogue too atrocious, and the characters too stereotypical for me to say I loved the book. 

The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby is rather short and simply written, but it's filled with beautiful images and poetry. It gets emotional, and the title is a powerful metaphor about the human spirit and mind triumphing over physical disabilities.

The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe was, I don't know, weird. I think I liked it, but I'm not even sure I understood what it really is about. I will read it again in the future, that's for sure. 

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is a great dystopian novel. I hate that people always about Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World when this one came first and it's also great. It handles themes of totalitarianism, individualism vs collectivism, alienation, hopes and dreams, as well as many others, very well, and does show how a society entirely built on logic and rationality can’t really satisfy the human spirit.

I'm currently reading Madeline Miller's The Song of Achilles and Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, but I'll be talking about those next month when I've actually finished them. 

I did very poorly here. I watched a few episodes of Mom, but at least I finally watched season 3 of Ozark. This one was a real struggle for me. I don't know what it was with this season, maybe the plo, the too many twists, but I wasn't a huge fan and it took me a while to finish it — it did get a bit more interesting at the end though. I actually watched the last 3 episodes this morning so technically I finished it in August. Anyway, the cast is great as usual, and Tom Pelphrey is so freaking good. 

As you probably guessed, I didn't even watch a lot of movies in July, only 10. Actually, that's not as bad as I thought. 

Why Did You Kill Me? (2021) 

Plot: The line between justice and revenge blurs when a devastated family uses social media to track down the people who killed 24-year-old Crystal Theobald.

I was expecting this documentary to be a lot better, not sure why though since it's a Netflix original. It isn't particularly compelling, we don't get to know Crystal at all, and it's difficult to feel sorry for some of these people, like Crystal's drug addict mother. Not only the woman was high when the murder happened so she wasn't that reliable as a witness, but she didn't even cooperate with the police. No matter what kind of issues you've had with the police in the past, if someone kills your daughter the least you could do for her is to help them catch the person who did it. Rating: 2/5

Dracula (1992)

Plot: The centuries-old vampire Count Dracula (Gary Oldman) comes to England to seduce his barrister Jonathan Harker's (Keanu Reeves) fiancée Mina Murray (Winona Ryder) and inflict havoc in the foreign land.

It's preposterous to title this film Bram Stoker's Dracula because it is not like Stoker's novel at all. At the beginning, I was wondering why Keanu Reeves was in a Coppola movie, pretty sure he had something on the director. Turns out this film was perfect for Reeves as it's a good as his acting. Rating: 2/5

Late Night (2019)

Plot: A popular TV host (Emma Thompson) hires a new writer (Kaling) to keep from getting replaced in her late-night show. 

I don't know why I was expecting this film to be bad but I actually enjoyed it. A lot. Sure, the plot is predictable and the characters stereotypical, but Mindy Kaling is wonderful (I could watch her all day long, honestly) and she has nice chemistry with Thompson, who yet again does a good job in the role of the villain. Rating: 3,5/5

Black Widow (2021)

Plot: Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises.

I have a soft spot for Marvel flicks so of course I was looking forward to this one, even though it meant sitting through a movie starring Johansson. Sadly, the film was a mess. The plot is meh, the villain is your typical weak Marvel villain, there are so many close-ups of Johansson's butt in the first 30 minutes it's unreal, and some of the characters don't even age. It does, however, deal with some serious themes, and Florence Fugh is an absolute treasure. Rating: 2,5/5

Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar (2021)

Plot: Lifelong friends Barb (Annie Mumolo) and Star (Kristen Wiig) embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time…ever.

I read such positive reviews about this one so of course I had very high expectations. Unfortunately, the film didn't quite meet them. Barb and Star are such quirky and fun characters to follow, I loved the performances from both actresses, and Jamie Dornan is amazing (I loved the musical numbers), but I wasn't always engaged with the film and I got quite bored every now and then. Rating: 3/5

Kicking and Screaming (1995)

Plot: A bunch of guys hangs around their college for months after graduation, continuing a life much like the one before graduation.

After wasting 30 minutes checking Netflix's suggestions for every genre, I ended up watching this early film by Noah Baumbach that I didn't even know existed. All I can say is that I was not a huge fan of it. But again, I haven't loved everything I've seen from him so I had to see it coming. Rating: 2/5

Text for You [SMS Für Dich] (2016)

Plot: A young woman (Karoline Herfurth) tries to ease the pain of her fiancé's death by sending romantic texts to his old cell phone number, and forms a connection with the man (Friedrich Mücke) the number has been reassigned to.

This was mentioned a couple of weeks ago in a Thursday Movie Picks and it sounded interesting and plus it has actors I like so I gave it a shot. And I really, really enjoyed it. It is quite predictable, clichéd, and cheesy, but it is also sweet, entertaining. I even almost cried. And Nora Tschirner is just delightful. Rating: 3,5/5

Three Identical Strangers (2018)

Plot: In 1980 New York, three young men who were all adopted meet each other and find out they're triplets who were separated at birth. But their quest to find out why turns into a bizarre and sinister mystery.

I'm pretty sure I read about this one of Mettel Ray but I forgot pretty much everything about it so I was really blown away by how dark the story of these triplets ended up being. As for the documentary, it is very well made, and I highly recommend checking it out. Rating: 3,5/5

3 Idiots (2009)

Plot: Two friends are searching for their long-lost companion. They revisit their college days and recall the memories of their friend who inspired them to think differently, even as the rest of the world called them "idiots".

My friend Sid from Twitter suggested me this film probably years ago but, despite it being on Netflix, I couldn't really bring myself to watch it because of the title and the preview Netflix has for it. Well, I should have not let appearances fool me into thinking this was a dumb movie because it is not. I'm no Bollywood expert but this is easily one of the best I've seen. The story is compelling from start to finish, the characters are lovable, the musical numbers are fun to watch and the songs are so catchy, and, most of all, it handles a very serious topic with such sensitivity. If you can only watch a Bollywood movie, please let it be this one. Rating: 4,5/5

Chernobyl 1986 [Чернобыль] (2021)

Plot: A story about a heroic fireman who worked as one of Chernobyl liquidators.

I don't know how historically accurate this film is as I wasn't born yet in 1986 and I haven't read about it much. But I'm pretty sure there were plenty of stories to be told about that period, about real people who were there when the disaster happened and I don't really understand why they had to write a fictional story around the events. Actually, I get why they did it. They needed the hero who risks his life to save the woman he loves and the son he didn't even know he had, but still. It's just fucked up that they did this. Also, the film is so damn boring, and reading subtitles usually helps me to stay focused from start to finish but it didn't with this one. Rating: 1,5/5


  1. Why Did You Kill Me? was so bad. True Crime Youtube is better put together than that is.

    1. It doesn't surprise me. The majority of Netflix original content is bad.

  2. Are you enjoying The Song of Achilles? It's so well loved but it doesn't sound like my usual read so I'm hesitant!

    1. I just finished reading it this morning and I highly recommend it. It is quite devastating though.

  3. Loved reading The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly. It stayed with me for a long time, and the film is beautiful too. I really enjoyed Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, but I agree - it was boring when the plot wasn't crazy as hell.

    1. I need to rewatch The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly as I don't remember much about it, but I remember liking the leading performance.