“This famous linguist once said that of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words in all of history, 'cellar door' is the most beautiful,” Karen Pomeroy, Donnie Darko’s teacher, says in the 2001 “Donnie Darko” film after class one afternoon.
It seems only appropriate to name a column acting as a culmination of all my monthly favorites after this phrase.
January 2021 was a good month for some heavy media intake on my end. After being quarantined for my second time, I made it a goal to watch and discover as many things as I could while I had the extra time on my hands.
Whether it was an Adam Sandler rom-com (“50 First Dates”), or arguably the greatest movie of all time (“The Shawshank Redemption”), there was always something playing in room 204.
So here, in no particular order, are my January picks for movies, music and TV.
“BoJack Horseman” (2014):
A washed-up 90s sitcom star, “BoJack Horseman,” living in modern day Hollywood seeks to reclaim his beloved reputation, as well as his pride, by writing a book on his life with author Diane Nguyen.
Don’t let the animation aspect of this Netflix original turn you away from the show. In fact, I think it was because of this that it was able to get so deep in its narrative and have characters that were capable of getting really existential, but still provide comedic relief at the same time.
The characters are so well developed that they feel like people I know in real life. I will be re-watching this show for a long time.
Overall, five out of five stars. One of the best TV shows I have ever seen.
“Kicking and Screaming” (1995):
A group of friends from college face life after graduation.
If you want to start your second semester off right, what better way than to watch a movie where a couple college graduates realize they’re always going to be stuck in their college years?
This movie is directed by one of my favorite screenwriters, Noah Baumbach, and while this isn’t my favorite of his, there are so many good moments that force me to give it at least three of five stars. Besides that, I think everyone should watch it at least once.
Maybe the best quote: “I’m sentimental for conversations I haven’t even had yet.”
“Minding the Gap” (2018):
A documentary depicting the lives of three friends who skateboard together and, in turn, stay together.
This film is overwhelmingly raw.
The director, Bing Liu, one of the men featured in the film itself, has been recording clips and footage of his friends for years as they have grown up together, in and out of the skatepark. He gives a real depiction of their relationships with each other, their significant others and their families to create a commentary on the pain and hardships we inherit from our surroundings.
Five out of five stars.
“Rich Girl” – Daryl Hall & John Oates (1976)
Hall & Oates’ first song on the Billboard Hot 100
I won’t lie, I had a hard time finding new music this past month. Yes, there was “Drivers License” by Olivia Rodrigo that was blasting from every speaker for about a week, but if we’re honest, is that song really worth all the drama circulating it, and have you listened to it more than once since those two weeks surrounding the release date? If you said yes, I feel like that’s a “Lie, Lie, Lie” by Joshua Bassett.
It’s in music droughts like this that I like to turn back to the classics. Enter “Rich Girl”.
I don’t think any music can raise my mood like the songs that come from the musical geniuses Daryl Hall and John Oates. Not only is this song the best pick-me-up song in all history, but it’s guaranteed to make you feel like the coolest person on the sidewalk when you have it blasting in your ears on the way to class.
Incredible song. Ten out of five stars.
While none of my January favorites were movies, TV shows or songs that came out in that month, they were all choices that defined my weeks of J-Term and made a lasting impression on me.
Here are the things I’m looking forward to next month:
Malcom & Marie (Feb. 5, 2021)
Little Fish (Feb. 5, 2021)
Minari (Feb. 12, 2021)