Watched This Week, Vol. 1

Welcome to Watched This Week, a new series where I plan to recap my week in viewing every Friday!

As you may have noticed in last year’s wrap-ups, my viewing has been all over the place; I still watch a decent amount of classics (and plan to watch a whole lot more of them this year), but I watch a lot of films that aren’t reviewable on the blog, too. Watched This Week will give me a place to discuss the films I don’t write about in full — mostly new releases and stuff I discover in an insomnia-driven streaming stupor, haha.

Today’s post will cover everything I’ve watched so far in January. On to the films!

little women
(Image via the Los Angeles Times)

Little Women (2019)

  • About: The four March sisters come of age during and after the U.S. Civil War.
  • Viewing method: Theater
  • Thoughts: I really enjoyed this newest adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s famous novel. I thought the cast did a great job with the material and didn’t at all mind that Greta Gerwig took a few liberties with the story; the film feels fresh and energetic. And more than anything, I loved watching the fond but complicated dynamic between the March sisters. It’s been too long since I’ve seen any of the previous adaptations for me to rank them, but this one does land among my top films of 2019.
uncut gems
(Image via The New York Times)

Uncut Gems (2019)

  • About: New York City jeweler Howard Ratner is always on the trail of the next big deal, but his latest bet involves increasingly high stakes.
  • Viewing method: Theater
  • Thoughts: I had high expectations for this after seeing many people describe it as an intense, stressful, edge-of-your-seat viewing experience. Unfortunately, I didn’t get that from it. Sandler’s performance is fine, but not as good as he thinks it is, and though I’m a naturally anxious person, I felt very little of that while watching. I did find the film engaging and appreciated the hopelessness of the story, but on the whole, I was a bit underwhelmed.
adoring
(Image via The Movie Database)

Adoring (2019)

  • About: A group of pet-owners learns about love, life, and loss through interactions with their furry friends.
  • Viewing method: Theater
  • Thoughts: This film is exactly what I expected it to be — a sweet, sometimes sad, incredibly cute ensemble story about pets and the people who care for them. I laughed a lot and cried a lot. (I’m not a movie crier, but animal movies always get me.) We have a young artist rescuing an abandoned kitten, newlyweds who find their honeymoon interrupted by the wife’s overprotective dog, a man desperate to keep his daughter’s cat when she moves away, a man with a secret pet pig, a food delivery worker forming a bond with a stray dog, and a woman training her dog to become a guide dog. It’s silly, but in a very fun way, and I loved every one of the stories.
seoul searching
(Image via Variety)

Seoul Searching (2015)

  • About: A group of foreign-born Korean teens spend the summer at a Seoul camp designed to teach them about their heritage.
  • Viewing method: Netflix
  • Thoughts: This is one of those random Netflix discoveries I just put on for something to watch while folding laundry, haha. The premise is very interesting; I didn’t know camps like this existed and seeing that experience play out was enough to hold my attention. The film obviously wants to be a John Hughes-like teen comedy, but also offers more depth, with its exploration of cultural issues. It gets a bit lost at times in the quest to do both, but I enjoyed the variety of characters, and the soundtrack is great.
judy
(Image via Classic FM)

Judy (2019)

  • About: Judy Garland arrives in London to perform a series of sold-out shows, hoping to revive her career and create a more stable life for her children.
  • Viewing method: FandangoNOW
  • Thoughts: My expectations going into Judy were low, and I’m sorry to say it didn’t exceed them. Renee Zellweger’s performance is good if you separate it from who she is trying to play, but I didn’t buy her as Judy Garland, except for maybe one or two small moments. Her singing voice isn’t bad at all, but she honestly sounds more like Lady Gaga than Judy. In most cases, I think biopics about singers should just be dubbed, especially if the voice is as iconic and unique as Judy’s. (I try not to compare films directly, but every time Renee sang, I couldn’t help thinking how impressive it is that Taron Egerton managed to successfully do his own singing in Rocketman.) And Darci Shaw as young Judy… bless her heart, but her performance came across as though she’d never seen a Judy Garland film in her life — maybe not even a clip. Jessie Buckley, Rufus Sewell, and the hair/makeup/costumes were the highlights for me. I also did enjoy the part where Judy meets two fans outside of the stage door and joins them for breakfast at midnight; if the whole film had focused on that night and Renee hadn’t sung, I may have loved it.

I also watched a few oldies this week, which I won’t discuss here since I’ll be reviewing them soon:

  • The Violent Years (1956)
  • Pot o’ Gold (1941)

5 thoughts on “Watched This Week, Vol. 1

  1. I’ve heard of most of the films you watched, but I can’t say I’ve been interested in seeing any of them! But if there was one, it would be the one with the pets and their owners, which like you said sounds both sweet and sad. And I will say that, in that particular photo of Judy Garland, Renee does look quite a bit like her…but that’s just ONE photo. Maybe I’ll check out the preview trailer to see how she looks ‘in-motion’!

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    1. I wouldn’t expect anyone to look identical to Judy in the role — thank god they didn’t give her a CGI Judy face haha — and they did do a good job with the costumes. My problems were more with her voice (spoken and sung) and mannerisms. Nothing about it screamed “Judy” to me; she could’ve been playing any struggling mid-century singer in their late career.

      Let me know what you think if you watch the trailer! Many people seem to consider Renee the highlight of an otherwise bland biopic, so it could be a problem with me rather than with the film haha.

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      1. Just watched the trailer…most of the time she looks like any singer, but there are a few fleeting moments when she DOES look like Judy…maybe it’s the hair, I don’t know. But watching the trailer, I think I’d be most interested in ‘Wizard of Oz’ parts of the movie. In fact, it’s too bad they couldn’t make a whole movie about that.

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        1. That part was very brief! There were flashbacks to her childhood as an actress, but only one scene on the Oz set, if memory serves. That recreation of the yellow brick road looked very cool, though.

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