For this, my very first “Joie” post for this “year of joy,” I want to focus on two things – the joy I get from movies/television and my plan to broaden my “food base.”
First off – movies and TV. Like many people, I found a lot of comfort during the “plague year” of 2020 in streaming services. Ever since I was a tiny li’l Diva, I’ve loved movies. My mother took me to a showing of Gone with the Wind at age five. I only remember poor little Bonnie Blue and that pony from that viewing. (Yes, I know the movie has major, major problems, as does Mitchell’s novel. I was five. Back off.) I’m pretty shameless in my tastes and whether I curl up with a film noir classic, a cartoon, a “fighty-fight-fight” action blowout, a drive-in “B” movie that was never supposed to be any good (I’m a long-time MST3K fan), or a Golden Age musical depends almost entirely on my mood. I have a circle of friends who are never at a loss to provide suggestions and my “to be watched” list is incredibly long and deep.
At some point during the last year, I decided to dig into a host of movies that I’d never seen and knew that I should have. I mean, I’ve written books about TV and movies. It was past time to see the “whole thing” of some things instead of just key scenes. And we’re fortunate enough to be living in a Golden Age of TV where there are just SO MANY GOOD THINGS to watch! Well-crafted shows and movies give me joy, even if the piece itself is dark. (As examples, Apocalypse Now and the first two Godfather movies aren’t splatter-graphic violent and they are incredibly well structured, with unforgettable characters.) In the last few weeks, I’ve devoured all six seasons of Schitt’s Creek, which is plumb-delightful and the eight episodes of Shonda Rhimes’s Netflix series Bridgerton, which is frothy fun. Both of these shows also have some interesting things to say – they are thoughtful entertainment, not just mindless fluff. As someone who’s written thousands of words and made scores of presentations on the work of Joss Whedon, I like sharp dialogue, so Archer can be a real go-to for me. Then last night, I gave in and watched (deep breath to get the whole title out) Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), which I thought was a delightful, psychedelic mess, much like Harley Quinn herself. (Want to know how you can tell the film was both written and directed by women? One line – “Hair tie?”)
Movies and TV. Love ’em. And I miss going into a packed theater with my butter-flavored popcorn to react along with hundreds of other people to a movie. That shared experience – I really miss that.
Second “joy producer” for this post – one of my goals for 2021 is to stretch my taste buds. I am helped in this endeavor by friends who cook and bake with gleeful abandon as well as a book club that chose Ruth Reichl’s Garlic and Sapphires for this month, which details Reichl’s time as the restaurant critic at the New York Times. As a child, I hated – HATED! – Brussels sprouts. (To be fair, I only had them boiled, which — ick.) After eating a few roasted versions, I changed my mind. So I picked some up at the grocery and this week, that’ll be my “food stretch.”
Look for joy, Divas!
See you next week!