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Hold on to your hats! It’s time for the August 2018 entertainment review. Here’s a quick recap of the books, TV, movies and online content that captured my attention this past month. Be sure to share YOUR favorites in the comments.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin – If you knew the date of your death, how would you live your life? That’s the question at the center of this sprawling family drama. The Immortalists probes the line between destiny and choice, reality and illusion, this world and the next. It is a deeply moving testament to the power of story, the nature of belief, and the unrelenting pull of familial bonds.
Delicious by Ruth Reichl – Ruth Reichl was Gourmet’s editor in chief and a restaurant critic for the New York Times. She’s is the author of several best-selling memoirs, but this is her first novel. If you’re a foodie and you love a good story, this is the book for you. And you should also check out Reichl’s earlier books (which are non-fiction and filled with yummy recipes.)
Black KKKlansman – Spike Lee’s latest movie, BlacKKKlansman is based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, a black Colorado Springs police officer who went undercover in the late 1970s to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. Stallworth’s story is so wild you can barely believe it—but certainly not wilder than the virulent resurgence of white supremacy in this country, so extreme it goes beyond the reach of satire.
Crazy Rich Asians – Crazy Rich Asians is good escapist fun. The clothes! The houses! The jewelry! The shots of Singapore! It’s a playful romantic comedy and an occasionally over-the-top luxury fantasy. And within that context, it manages to fold in a few serious elements that hit close to home, in America’s new era of hostility toward immigrants. At its core it’s both thoughtful family drama and a love story. And what else could you ask for in a movie?
Call Me By Your Name – I’m super duper late to the party on this one, but I finally watched it this month. I loved the story, the gorgeous Italian countryside, and the hunky Armie Hammer. But dang it was S.L.O.W. – even for a foreign (independent) film. You’ve been warned.
Dietland (AMC) – In keeping with my theme of sharing TV series that nobody but me watched, I give you Dietland. Based on Sarai Walker’s best-selling novel of the same name, Dietland offers a darkly comedic look at the war of the sexes. The 10-episode series explores a multitude of issues women face today — including patriarchy, misogyny, rape culture and unrealistic beauty standards — by following Plum Kettle’s journey to self-awakening. If you missed it, you can watch the full season at this link.
Ozark (Netflix) – I loved season one of this dark, gritty series and am currently working my way through season two. If you loved Breaking Bad, this series is in the same vein. Ozark stars Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde, a financial planner who relocates his family from Chicago to a summer resort community in the Ozarks. With wife Wendy (Laura Linney) and their two kids in tow, Marty is on the move after a money-laundering scheme goes wrong, forcing him to pay off a substantial debt to a Mexican drug lord in order to keep his family safe. While the Byrdes’ fate hangs in the balance, the dire circumstances force the fractured family to reconnect.
A Little Salty – Two popular bloggers, Bailey from The Whole Kitchen Sink and Jen from Beauty and the Bench Press have combined forces in this new podcast series. They share their real-life take on all things health and wellness covering topics like weight loss, health, the Paleo diet and Whole30, all wrapped up with a dash of sass and a sprinkle of sarcasm.