First 2022 Viewing Roundup of the Year

January 4th, 2022

Okay, so granted, Covid infections are reaching all-time highs thanks to the frighteningly transmissible Omicron variant. Mother Nature continues on her rightful rampage against we who have wronged her. And an alarming number of Americans are shooting each other and committing other abominable acts in the name of willful hate and stupidity. But that all said, a few things have improved since last January. For one, those of us who choose to be are now vaccinated and boosted, which has greatly diminished our chances of hospitalization, debilitating Covid infections and death. Also, not to jinx us, or anything, but it seems highly unlikely our current president will incite a deadly riot on the Capitol in two days. So, there is that — not to mention a whole lot of room for improvement.

If that’s not enough, there are also a number of fabulous viewing options to help us escape from reality when needed Following are a few of our favorite escape modes of late:

DEVI’S PICKS:

DON’T LOOK UP (film, 2021, streaming on Netflix): Okay, this one’s not so much an escape from reality as it is a satirical look at it that will likely make you groan, shudder, curse and, if you’re not yet too jaded (and no judgment if you are), even laugh. Once again, writer/director Adam McKay has cinematically adapted American socio-political douchebaggery and turned it into compelling cinematic satire. Probably why so many critics panned out (the media does not come out smelling so sweet.) Two words of advice going in, however: the second and third acts are faster moving than the first, and some of the best moments come during and at the very end of the final credits — so fire up the popcorn and stay seated for the entire ride.

THE MORNING SHOW (series, 2019-ongoing, streaming on AppleTv): Speaking of satire drawing from American socio-political douchebaggery, this addictive series about a morning news program of the Regis & Cathy variety offers a chilling yet utterly compelling examination of both toxic masculinity and femininity and the messed up priorities of the media. Excellent cast, performances and writing. Don’t miss this one.

THE LOST DAUGHTER (film, 2021, streaming on Netflix): Kudos to director Maggie Gyllenhaal’s brave take on womanhood and motherhood in her directorial debut. A stunning film that feels like a thriller, though the tension comes not so much from the plot, but the bold themes explored in such an unapologetic way. With excellent performances by Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley as the older and younger versions of an “unnatural mother” who dares to question and defy her societally imposed role as a woman torn between her obligations to her children and to herself.

AMY’S PICKS:

PASSING (2021, film streaming on Netflix): Two Black women living in NYC during the 1920s rekindle a friendship after an unexpected encounter at a restaurant. The film explores the issue of colorism and how it has impacted two women who have made different choices on how to navigate and survive a racist society. Ruth Negga portrays Clare, a Black woman who hides her identity in order to pass for white. Tessa Thompson is her friend living in Harlem, married to a successful Black doctor and who only tries passing for white when she wants service in high-end establishments. PASSING explores the intimacy between the two women as it builds to a shocking ending. The film is an impressive debut feature of Rebecca Hall who has directed one of the best films of 2021.

THE EYES OF TAMMY FAYE (2021, film, streaming on Amazon Prime): If you are of a certain age you remember the train wreck that was Jimmy and Tammy Faye Baker, the first couple of Christian Broadcast television. It was impossible not to relish the gaudy spectacle of heavily made up Tammy Faye sobbing during television interviews while proclaiming her innocence as their empire came crashing down around. And yet underneath the scandal and grift, she possessed a charitable, progressive spirit and embraced the gay community at a time when they were social pariahs. The film portrays her willingness to challenge the prejudice and intolerance of the powerful men in the Christian conservative movement. The film is worth viewing for its celebration of this surprisingly complex and spirited woman who never surrendered to despair after losing her fame and fortune.

Happy, Healthy and Hopeful New Year!

Cheers,

Devi & Amy

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