Most of my days are spent watching television shows and movies with my Dad. After every viewing, we discuss these things from the technicals to the artistry behind the craft. We’ve been doing this since as far back as I can remember. I was as young as four years old when we started doing this and before, I would just ask questions and he would answer but as I grew older, read more and actually worked in the industry and engaged with it, it had turned into a full-on discussion. I am still learning from him but he is also learning from me.
I consider movie watching and television watching as part of my job. I refuse to create in a vacuum. I have to see how other people tell stories so that I can become better at telling my own.
Of course, I love The Leftovers. Season 2 was just the best television I’ve seen in 2015. It was epic in scope and style and it just went so much further than its first season and I loved the first season of The Leftovers.
At the start of 2016, though, on the recommendation of a good friend, I started watching Mozart in the Jungle and I caught the first season and I loved it.
I’m a huge fan of Gael Garcia Bernal and I love classical music and the show is funny and charming and it hits all the right notes (see what I did there?). I love to see how other artistic industries work and while this may be a fictional take, it tells me more about the lives of people who work in symphonies than I had known before. It’s interesting to me, how other people live to engage in the art form that they love and are passionate about. It has different demands from the film or theatre industry and it’s just really interesting to me to see it unfold.
I remember crying in about two or three episodes of Mozart in the Jungle (season 1) because I could relate to the stories and the drama that was being presented. I’m not a musician, but I’m an artist and those feelings resonated with me.
I am now watching David Simon’s Show Me a Hero. I don’t know much about the show. I saw a friend post on FB that he watched the mini-series and the moment I saw that it was created by David Simon of The Wire, I knew I wanted to see it even if I didn’t know anything about it. I loved The Wire and after watching the first episode of Show Me A Hero, I knew I was going to like it as much.
Of course, I am getting back on track with my regular shows — The Good Wife, Arrow, The Flash, Shameless — but I’m also checking out new shows like Angie Tribeca, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and the new mini-series of War and Peace with Lily James. I love Lily James.
I saw the first season of Transparent and while I can recognise that it’s good, I don’t think it’s a show I feel like continuing because I’m just not in the mood to watch a show about people running straight into drama. The characters of that show seem to be intelligent and self-aware people but they all just seem to gravitate towards bad decisions and don’t seem to be making any real effort in cleaning up their lives. I can understand that but I don’t know if that’s the kind of show I want to watch.
It’s just not my cup of tea, at the moment.
I have been watching a lot of movies too. I loved Brooklyn. It was so romantic and it was so enjoyable, watching this beautiful coming-of-age story. It had a sheen and a restrained sense of fantasy to it that I resonated with strongly. I was moved by Spotlight and The Big Short and The Revenant took my breath away.
But I am very disappointed with Carol. I read so many good reviews and heard so many people talk about how good this film is and I was just completely disappointed. The movie didn’t engage me at all and I thought it was horribly directed and it was unworthy of Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. I felt more in a 30-minute episode of Mozart in the Jungle than I did in the whole movie of Carol.
I really don’t get what all the hype is about for this film. I felt it was so badly made. I’m waiting for my more discerning friends to see it so we can discuss because I’m afraid they might like it and it might be another case of Melancholia all over again (I hated Melancholia but people seem to adore that film).
But all of this is a learning experience for me. It is giving me more tools and techniques for the eventuality that I start directing my own films or plays. If not, it will make me a better writer, for sure. There’s so much to learn. There’s so much to watch and to enjoy.
This is going to be a very interesting year of getting better. I’m just not going to get better physical, in the terms of my medical condition, but I’m going to get better as an artist as well.
Exciting times indeed.