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Happy fall, friends. It’s time for the September 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.
First We Make the Beast Beautiful – A New Journey Through Anxiety – The Chinese believe that before you can conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful. Sarah Wilson, bestselling author, journalist, and entrepreneur has helped over 1.5 million people worldwide to live better, healthier lives through her I Quit Sugar books and program. And all along, she was managing chronic anxiety.
In First, We Make the Beast Beautiful, Wilson directs her intense focus and fierce investigative skills on her lifetime companion, looking at the triggers and treatments, the fashions and fads. She reads widely and interviews fellow sufferers, mental health experts, philosophers, and even the Dalai Lama, processing all she learns through the prism of her own experiences.
Wilson offers readers comfort, humor, companionship, and practical tips for living with the anxiety such as:
As a person who struggles daily to manage anxiety, I found this book both helpful and soothing. One of the biggest “aha moments” for me was about all of the anxiety we put on ourselves for feeling anxious. It sounds ridiculous, but just accepting that you are a high-strung person can eliminate a good portion of the “anxiety about the anxiety.”
The Anti-Anxiety Diet: A Two-Week Sugar Detox That Tackles Anxiety (For Good) – As a companion to First We Make the Beast Beautiful Sara Wilson has published a 99¢ companion e-book full of recipes and meal plans to improve gut health (which has a direct connection to anxiety.)
If you’re eating more than six teaspoons of sugar a day (which isn’t very much) it’s no wonder you’re anxious. Anxiety has a LOT do to with lifestyle choices, including what you put in your mouth.
While scientists know that anxiety is a chemical imbalance in the brain, recent studies have linked this condition to sugar consumption and inflammation in the gut.
The Anti-Anxiety Diet is a simple, 2-week jumpstart plan for eliminating sugar from your diet. Packed with delicious, easy-to-prepare recipes, photos, and detailed meal plans, it shows you how to replace the bad stuff (sugar) with the good stuff (whole, unprocessed foods), to soothe—and ultimately tame—the anxious beast. For 99¢ it’s a bargain for the recipes alone.
We Are Never Meeting In Real Life – On a lighter note, sometimes you just have to laugh, even when life is a dumpster fire. With We Are Never Meeting in Real Life., “bitches gotta eat” blogger and comedian Samantha Irby turns the serio-comic essay into an art form.
Whether talking about how her difficult childhood has led to a problem in making “adult” budgets, explaining why she should be the new Bachelorette, detailing a disastrous pilgrimage-slash-romantic-vacation to Nashville to scatter her estranged father’s ashes, sharing awkward sexual encounters, or dispensing advice on how to navigate friendships with former drinking buddies who are now suburban moms, she’s as deft at poking fun at the ghosts of her past self as she is at capturing powerful emotional truths.
Juliet, Naked – I feel like I’m the only person who saw this sweet sleeper of a film but it’ll probably be on the streaming services soon and it’s definitely worth watching. Annie (Rose Byrne) is stuck in a long-term relationship with Duncan (Chris O’Dowd) – an obsessive fan of obscure rocker Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke). When the acoustic demo of Tucker’s hit record from 25 years ago surfaces, its release leads to a life-changing encounter with the elusive rocker himself. Based on the novel by Nick Hornby (which guarantees a great sound track,) Juliet, Naked is a comic account of life’s second chances.
Night School – Paul dragged me to see this and today I see that it was the number one movie of the weekend grossing $28 million. Apparently lots of people saw it and liked it … I just didn’t happen to be one of them. I’m not a Kevin Hart fan and I hate slapstick comedies. I just don’t get the humor of someone throwing up on someone else’s face. I thought Tiffany Haddish was good but the writers didn’t give her enough to work with in this thin story. Teddy Walker (Kevin Hart), is a successful salesman whose life takes an unexpected turn when he accidentally blows up his place of employment. Forced to attend night school to get his GED, Teddy soon finds himself dealing with a group of misfit students, his former high school nemesis and a feisty teacher (Tiffany Haddish).
I only saw a few movies this month because of my travel schedule (and the disappointing summer releases). It looks like there are a bunch of really good movies being released in October. I’m super excited to see the reboot of A Star is Born with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga when it’s released next week.
I’m already OBSESSED with this song:
The previous Star is Born movie starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson was released in 1976 and I have probably seen it more than a dozen times and I know every word to every song. It was recently re-released on Netflix with some new footage and I’m definitely going to watch it again before I see the new version.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime) – Watching this show win eight Emmy awards reminded me that I hadn’t finished watching the series. I’ll admit I’m sure I am their prime demographic (Jewish, middle aged, liberal) but it exceeded all of my expectations. It’s such a refreshing breath of fresh air in today’s troubled times.
It’s the late 1950s and Miriam “Midge” Maisel has everything she has ever wanted — the perfect husband, two kids and an elegant apartment on New York’s Upper West Side. Her seemingly idyllic life takes a surprising turn when she discovers a hidden talent she didn’t previously know she had — stand-up comedy. This revelation changes her life forever as she begins a journey that takes her from her comfortable life on the Upper West Side as she makes her way through the city’s comedy industry on a path that could ultimately lead her to a spot on the “Tonight Show” couch. The series was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino (“Gilmore Girls”).
The Shop (HBO) – HBO Sports is collaborating with LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s digital media company, Uninterrupted, to present the unscripted series The Shop, exclusively on HBO. Offering unfiltered conversation and debate with some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment, the show will air periodically throughout the year. You can watch the first episode now on HBO.
The series features a lineup starring four-time NBA MVP LeBron James and Maverick Carter. Among the headliners on the first show are rap icon Snoop Dogg, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, three-time NBA champion Draymond Green, two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker and Peabody and Emmy winner Jon Stewart (who seems oddly out of place and still manages to contribute.)
The series will visit barbershops around the country to gather distinguished individuals who can speak honestly on sports, music, pop culture, world events, business and other culturally relevant topics. I’m eager to see the next episode.
The Brett Kavanaugh hearings – I can’t let this month go by without documenting this touchpoint in the history of our very imperfect democracy. Over 20.4 million people watched the hearings live and I was one of them. I spent more consecutive hours watching TV that day than I had on any day since 9/11. As I’m writing this post, we are still a week away from learning the findings from the FBI investigation, but regardless of your politics, this was one of the most compelling things I’ve ever seen on television.
Ozark (Netflix) – I know I wrote about Ozark last month. But we finished season two and it just kept getting better and better as the episodes went on. It’s dark and it’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but I could NOT stop watching.
While the end of summer always makes me sad, I’m happy that some of my favorite TV shows now have new episodes including: Saturday Night Live, The Good Doctor and This is Us. And I’m looking forward to checking out a few new shows including Murphy Brown, New Amsterdam and A Million Little Reasons. I’ve also got the new Jack Ryan series from Amazon on my list and I still really, really, REALLY neeeeeeeed to watch The Handsmaid’s Tale on Hulu.
You can see all of my previous entertainment reviews HERE.