What-To-Watch #7

Autumn is in in air! So, this week, let’s adds some pumpkin spice to proceedings – here’s 5 autumnal (or autumnal adjacent!) treats for you.

Here’s What To Watch Wednesday #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6.

Ghosts (2019-: BBC: 24 x 30 mins)

With series 4 in its entirety having just dropped on BBC iPlayer, it’s the perfect time to get watching the finest British sitcom from this century so far. First Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) inherits a mansion in the countryside, then an accident results in her being able to see the ghosts who reside within it – except everyone else, including her husband Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) can’t see them. By the team behind Horrible Histories and Yonderland, this is British comedy at its finest – each episode is so well crafted and packed full of laughs.

If you like this, you might like: Yonderland (2013-2015), Inside No.9 (2014-)

Minx (2022-: Paramount+: 30 mins – 4 episodes aired currently)

This one is set in LA so it’s not traditionally autumnal, but there’s something about Jake Johnson in 70s get-up that feels autumn… somehow. Anyway, Joyce (Ophelia Lovibond) is a proud and earnest feminist who wants to start a magazine. Low-rent publisher Doug (Jake Johnson) is the only person open to funding it, and thus the first erotic magazine for women is born! There’s so many reasons to watch this, from the crisp script to the incredible rapport between Lovibond & Johnson. Be warned – this isn’t nesscarily one to watch with under 18s or your parents. If you don’t believe me, there’s a dong-tage during episode one that will clear things up…

If you like this, you might like: Loot (2022-), Kevin Can Fuck Himself (2021-)

Industry (2020-: BBC: 16 x 50 mins)

We left season one on some massive cliffhangers in 2020, and now season two is here. There’s something about autumn that has us craving crime & melodrama – we can live vicariously through their self-sabotage and disaster – this show has that covered and then some as we follow young bankers and traders make their way in the financial world in the aftermath of the 2008 collapse. Delicious.

If you like this, you might like: The Dropout (2022), Succession (2018-)

Gilmore Girls (2000-07-: Netflix: 154 x 44 mins)

It would be amiss of me not to mention the most autumnal show that has and will ever exist. Loreali Gilmore (Lauren Graham) was 16 when she had her daughter Rory, leaving behind her well-off family and abandoning the plans they had for her. Now 16, Rory (Alexis Bledel) has been offered a place at the best school in the state – but Lorelai needs her parents help to make Rory’s dream happen. That’s the starting point for it all. No show does Autumn as well at this one, nor has set an impossible bar for men as high as Scott Patterson’s Luke Danes…

If you like this, you might like: Jane The Virgin (2014-19), Ugly Betty (2006-10)

Romcom of the week: About Time (2013: Netflix: 123 mins)

I’ve got quite a low-tolerance for Richard Curtis movies and am firmly in the anti-Love Actually camp. This one, however, is my kryptonite. Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) felt that he was failing at life, until aged 21 when he discovers an inherited ability to travel back in time – allowing him all manner of redoes. He thinks getting a girlfriend will change everything, and Mary (Rachel McAdams) does – but maybe not in the manner he expects… MVP has to be Bill Nighy as Tim’s father. Funny, heartfelt and profound.  

What To Watch Wednesday #5

Right. Start of September. It’s getting darker quicker, the world starts to feel a little smaller, scarier and bleaker. You need some comfort telly, which I am more than happy to provide!

Here’s What To Watch Wednesday #1, #2, #3 and #4.

Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022: Prime Video: 139 mins)

An aging Chinese immigrant (Michelle Yeoh) is swept up in an insane adventure, in which she alone can save the world by exploring other universes connecting with the lives she could have led. One of the most profound and moving sci-fi films I’ve ever seen, as well as being mental and a lot of fun.

If you like this, you might like: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022), Minari (2020)

Paper Girls (2022: Prime video: 8 x 40 mins)

What if your preteen self, collided with your early 40s self? On Hell Day 1988, whilst doing their paper round, four girls unwittingly time travel to 2019. While searching for a way home, they come face-to-face with their adult selves and learn how to work together to save the world. Thought-provoking and endearing sci-fi.

If you like this, you might like: A League of Their Own (2022-), The Umbrella Academy (2019-)

Son of Rambow (2007: Netflix: 96 mins)

During a long English summer in the early 1980s, two schoolboys from differing backgrounds (Bill Milner & Will Poulter)  set out to make a film inspired by First Blood. One of the most delightful things you could ever possibly show your eyeballs.

If you like this, you might like: Submarine (2010), Boy (2010)

Drag SOS (2019: Netflix: 6 x 45 mins)

Drag collective The Family Gorgeous help unlikely protégées to unlock their long-lost confidence and become bolder, braver drag-enhanced versions of themselves. Wonderful feelgood telly.

If you like this, you might like: Queer Eye (2018-), We’re Here (2020-)

Romcomdram of the week: The Edge of Seventeen (2016: Netflix & BBC iPlayer: 97 mins)

When this film arrived, it felt like it could be heralded return of the impeccable teen movie. Whilst a few others folded, they didn’t equal this one. High school misfit Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) only has one friend, Krista (Haley Lu Richardson), an older brother who has always eclipsed her and a crush on a boy who doesn’t knows she exists. Life is unbearable, but at least she has an ambivalent teacher (Woody Harrelson) to listen to her complaints… A proper coming of age story that isn’t afraid to show teen years for how crappy they really are.

What To Watch Wednesday #4

I don’t usually do a theme to one of these posts, but the last day of the summer holidays felt like it warranted a theme. So, this week’s edition is feelgood films – six (I know, giving you a bonus one this week!) films that are chicken soup for the soul. For all you teachers out there, good luck with the new academic year…

Here’s What To Watch Wednesday #1, #2 and #3.

The Way, Way Back (2013: Disney+ & Amazon Prime: 104 mins)

It’s always been 14 year-old Duncan (Liam James) and his mum, Pam (Toni Collette), against the world, but her overbearing new boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell), is having none of that. Trent takes the pair, along with his daughter, to stay at his summer home to trial at being a family, where a chance encounter with water theme park manager Owen (Sam Rockwell) may just be the thing to help Duncan find his place in the world. The incredible ensemble is rounded out by Alison Janney, Maya Rudolph, Amanda Peet, Rob Corddry, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash – the pair making their debut as co-writers and co-directors.

If you like this, you might like: Kings of Summer (2013), Hearts Beat Loud (2018)

Instant Family (2018: ALL4: 119 mins)

Inspired by the real adoption experiences of writer-director Sean Anders, a married couple Pete (Mark Whalberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) decide to foster three siblings – Lizzy (Isabela Merced), Juan (Gustavo Escobar) and Lita (Julianna Gamiz). A real surprise when it came out, a film as full of laughs as it is heart.

If you like this, you might like: Blockers (2018), Game Night (2018)

What We Do In The Shadows (2014: BBC iPlayer & Amazon Prime: 86 mins)

If you’ve not seen this already, or the spin-off show now in it’s fourth season, ‘Where the bloody hell have you been?’ It’s fine though, we can get that fixed now – and in less than 90 minutes too! A mockumentary following four flatmates who live in Wellington, New Zealand. Viago (Taika Waitit), Vladislav (Jermaine Clement), Deacon (Jonathon Brugh), and Petyr (Ben Fransham) also happen to be vampires. Saying any more would be a spoiler, suffice to say what follows is very, very funny.

If you like this, you might like: Hunt For The Wilderpeople (2016), This Is Spinal Tap (1984)

Good Vibrations (2012: Disney+ & MUBI & Britbox: 111 mins)

Based on a true story, Belfast punk impresario Terri Hooley (Richard Dormer) becomes the unlikely leader of a motley band of kids and punks, who join him in his mission to bring his city back to life. If you’re a fan of Teenage Kicks by the Undertones, you’re going to want to see this. Jodie Whittaker plays his long-suffering wife with Adrian Dunbar, Liam Cunningham and Dylan Moran also playing supporting roles. Packed full of riotous heart and soul, there’s a sequence here that never fails to make me flood with happy tears.

If you like this, you might like: Ali & Ava (2022), Sing Street(2016)

Pride (2014: Disney+ & Amazon Prime & Netflix: 120 mins)

In 1984, gay activist Mark Ashton (Ben Schnetzer) realised that the brutal attention of the police had shifted from the gay community and onto the miners’ strikes. Striking to prevent colliery closures that would destroy small communities throughout the United Kingdom, they faced an onslaught both in press and in person that was all-to-familiar to Mark and his friends. This was the start of beautiful friendship – two marginalised groups finding each other- and thus ‘Lesbians and Gays Support The Miners’ (LGSM) was formed. Not only is the most joyful film in existence, listen up for its cast – George MacKay, Andrew Scott, Joe Gilgun, Freddie Fox, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Jessie Cave, Imelda Staunton and Bill Nighy. It’s just so bloody lovely.

 If you like this, you might like: Kinky Boots (2005), Rocketman (2019)

Romcomdram of the week: The Lunchbox (2013: Disney+: 104 mins)

An unlikely mistake by a tiffin carrier service results in Ila’s (Nimrat Kaur) tiffin, that was made for her husband, being delivered to Irrfan (Saajan Fernandes). An unusual correspondence soon develops between the two. A tale of love, loss and longing – simply beautiful.

What To Watch Wednesday #3

Welcome back! Just like my Stream On feature from last year (all 19 editions available here), every Wednesday I’ll put up some suggestions of TV & Films you may be missing on your various streaming services. Here’s What To Watch Wednesday #1 and #2.

The Con (2020: Disney+: 8 x 45 mins)

Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, each episode focuses on a different con – from more familiar stories such as Fyre Festival and the 2019 college admissions scandal, to the story of a manipulative love bombing surgeon and a film-industry producer whose scam has to be seen to be believed.

If you like this, you might like: Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist (2022), The Tinder Swindler (2022)

Hobby Man (2022: All4: 4 x 60 minutes – two episodes aired already, two to go)

Alex Brooker has realised he’s a 38-year-old man with the same interests he had as a child, ‘football and Ghostbusters’. So, paired with a different friend each week, he tries out three different hobbies and meets the incredibly passionate people who are involved in them. The end result is an incredibly charming show full of joy, a celebration of oft underappreciated and undercelebrated people & their passions.

If you like this, you might like: The Great Pottery Throw Down (2015-), The Great British Sewing Bee (2013-)

Boys State (2020: Apple TV+: 109 mins)

‘Won’t somebody please think of the children?!?’ In the heart of Texas, there’s something on an unusual rite of passage for a select 1,100 teenage boys. A chance to come together and build a representative government from the ground up, over the course of a week. It’s a fascinating experiment to behold, with truly unpredictable consequences.

If you like this, you might like: Minding the Gap (2018), Accepted (2021)

Bad Sisters (2022: Apple TV+: 10 x 45 mins – two episodes aired, eight to go)

John Paul Williams (Claes Bang) may very well have been the worst brother-in-law in the world. But he didn’t deserve to die, did he…? The Garvey sisters – Eva (Sharon Horgan), Becka (Eve Hewson), Ursula (Eva Birthistle), Bibi (Sarah Greene) and Grace (Anne-Marie Duff) always swore to look out for each other. But just how far have they taken this promise? A pitch-black revenge comedy, deliciously well-cast this is a must-watch.

If you like this, you might like: The Resort (2022), In Bruges (2008)

Romcom of the week: Set It Up (2018: Netflix: 105 mins)

Harper (Zoey Deutch) and Charlie (Glen Powell) are both overworked and underpaid assistants. Their respective bosses, Kirsten (Lucy Liu) and Richard (Taye Diggs) make their lives miserable – seemingly because they’re miserable themselves. Thrown together in unlikely circumstances, the two assistants decide to set their bosses up together – it looks set to work a treat, although it involves Harper & Charlie working very closely together. So closely, in fact, their may be even more attachments forming… Cinematic comfort food at it’s finest, both Deutch and Powell are charisma machines and a total joy to watch.

What To Watch Wednesday #2

Welcome back! Just like my Stream On feature from last year (all 19 editions available here), every Wednesday I’ll put up some suggestions of TV & Films you may be missing on your various streaming services. Here’s What To Watch Wednesday #1.

A League of Their Own (Amazon Prime: 8 X 60 mins)

Chicago, 1943. With so many men fighting in the war, the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League is formed by a confectionary tycoon. The intent is to make money and create entertainment. For the women who attend the try-out, this is their big moment. After spending their entire lives being told they cannot take part, this is finally their chance to spend their lives doing what they love. For Carson Shaw (Abbi Jacobson) it’s a chance to feel alive whilst also, literally, running away from home & her husband. For Greta Gil (D’Arcy Carden) it’s a chance for fame and adoration. But,  for Max Chapman (Chanté Adams), she quickly realises how little it changes as there may now be space for white female players – there isn’t for black women. Often funny, but rooted in carefully handled serious issues, along with the queerness, – the show hits home thanks to a roster filled with all-stars and a field rich with possibilities.

If you like this, you might like: A League of Their Own (1992), The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel (2017-)

A Secret Love (Netflix: 83 minutes)

Then, when you can’t get enough of a wonderful baseball drama that is about more than just sport, check out a true story from the time period. This understated and moving documentary is about two women who met while taking part in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, fell in love and then kept their love a secret for seven decades. A moving and profound love conquers all story.

If you like this, you might like: Circus of Books (2020), The Pass (2016)

Big Boys (All4: 6 x 30 mins)

Jack (Dylan Llewellyn) is finally starting university after a gap year. His dad died a year ago after a long illness, starting uni so soon after would not have been possible. He arrives to campus, driven by his doting mum Peggy (Camille Coduri) only to find that he’s not been given campus accommodation and his housemate is not only a mature student but a bit of a lad. However, there’s more to Danny (Jon Pointing) than first appears. When Jack inadvertently comes out to Danny, as unlikely friendship follows as Danny devotes himself to supporting Jack. Based on comedian Jack Rooke’s real life experiences, this show is funny, moving and a total joy.

If you like this, you might like: Dead Pixels (2019-), This Is Going to Hurt (2022)

Prey (Disney: 99 mins)

The Great Plains, 1719. Naru (Amber Midthunder) is a a young Comanche woman trained as a healer, yet dreams of becoming a great hunter like her brother, Taabe (Dakota Beavers). When part of a search party for the mountain lion that attacked one of the tribe’s hunters, Naru quickly realises something far scarier is hunting them. A prequel to the Predator franchise, this taut and thrilling is atmospheric and exceptionally well-told.

If you like this, you might like: Edge of Tomorrow (2014), District 9 (2009)

Romcom of the week: Wedding Season (2022: Netflix: 98 mins)

Pressured by their parents to find spouses, Asha (Suraj Sharma) and Ravi (Pallavi Sharda) pretend to date during a summer of weddings, only to find themselves falling for each other. It may tick all the tropes of the romcom bingo card, but when it does it this charmingly – who are we to complain?!?