2019 has arrived! Katie and Funmbi are here to help you start January off right with these must watch and must reads! Take a peek below!
I was lucky enough to have two weeks off the end of December, and in that two weeks, I did nothing but watch and read all the things I’d been putting off or had stumbled upon due to Twitter recs. Here’s my not-so-extensive list of my favs this winter break!
I found this novel because Sarah MacLean rec’ed it to Patton Oswalt on Twitter. Yeah, you followed that right.
Set in 1965 at the height of the space race, Dean Garland isn’t looking for love. Hell, he’s not looking for a woman at all, but after a one-night stand with Vivy Muller leaves her pregnant, he’s now a husband and soon-to-be father.
Vivian Muller is a college student with daddy’s money and her mother’s dislike of everything she ever does or wears. When she meets Dean, she knows exactly who he is (famous astronaut!) and is looking for a bit of fun for the night.
This novel is fun, sexy, and perfect weekend read. It’s set in a time period I never thought I’d want to read about it, but there I was staying up half the night to finish it. Give this one a shot. It’s fantastic!
Tikka Chance on Me by Suleikha Snyder
This novella is also one I found on Twitter. Someone mentioned that the hero seemed to be modeled after Chris Evans, so I did what every rational romance reader would do, immediately bought it and began reading.
Y’all! This one is SO. DAMN. SEXY.
For a novella, it’s surprisingly well paced. There’s no insta-love, but insta-chemistry like whoa. Tyson “Trucker” Carrigan and Pinky Grover are goals.
There are plenty of pop culture references to make the MCU geek in you flip out, and those sexy scenes that will make you fan yourself.
Take a couple of hours out of your day, and read this one. You’ll thank me. Oh, and it’s only .99! All this goodness for under $1!
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
I’ve been so excited for this movie, and it didn’t disappoint!
The way it’s designed is awesome, and it’s fun! It’s like a comic book, and I’ll be damned if this imagine doesn’t give me chills just thinking about it in context now.
Miles Morales is a kid. Not a thirty year old playing a kid, he’s a kid! With this incredible family, who’s going to a school away from where he lives in the city because it’s a good school. He grapples with going there because he feels like he shouldn’t be there. He won the lottery to get in, which we all know is insanely hard to do.
He’s learning to balance who he is with who he thinks he needs to be, along with all the school work and pressures of being in this place.
Of course, getting bit by a radioactive spider doesn’t help his issues, but it does throw him into a world he never expected.
I don’t want to spoil plot points because that’s just rude, but Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a celebration of fandom. For the comic gatekeepers, it openly shows that all variations of Spider-Man are valid, important, and part of the universe.
Sure, have your favorites, but Peter Parker isn’t the only Spider-Man.
We’re all Spider-Man.
I found Daveed Diggs because of Hamilton, and immediately thought, “Let’s get this guy in front of a crowd”. Yeah, I did that. Then I realized he had a best friend, Rafael Casal, and thought, “Oh my god. There’s two of them!”
Blindspotting was written by Diggs and Casal about their hometown, Oakland. It shows insight into a world that sees Collin (Diggs) and Miles (Casal) in two different lights even though they came from the same place.
After witnessing a cop murder an unarmed black man, Collin must get through the last couple of days of his probation without incident, but he can’t shake the feeling that he needs to do or say something. He battles internally with the Oakland he knows, and the Oakland being gentrified by the hipsters coming into the neighborhood.
On the other hand, Miles, who has grown up in Oakland and his identity isn’t a show, comes to the realization that the gentrification of his neighborhood has made him into a charactcature to some.
One of the main points of the film is that we need to see both sides of a person. We aren’t solely one thing. A black man. A white man. We’re products of our environment, we’re our mistakes, we’re our triumphs, and we’re layered.
When someone comes into a new place and tries to make assumptions about you, while changing your way of life, they need to check their blindspot.
Diggs’ final spoken-word monologue is incredible, and probably one of the best things I’ve seen in 2018.
At the beginning of the holiday season, I was honored to join the ladies of Stop & Fangirl to discuss our love of romantic comedies, the recent resurgence of RomComs (thanks Netflix!), and some of the potential problems of (mis)representation and consent in the films we’ve loved. It was a great conversation (definitely take a listen HERE for all our flails). Anywho, by the time I started Winter Break, I was definitely in the mood to bask in some romantic storylines and get my laugh on. WIth this goal in mind, I delved into the following series and movies and binged my heart out. It was a blast and I highly recommend these to you to get your 2019 started off in the swooniest way!
Fuller House (Seasons 1 – 4 available to stream on Netflix)
Ever since the Full House reboot Fuller House debuted in 2016, I’ve been obsessed. Several reviews I’ve read chide the series for being too cheesy, but HELLO! This is exactly what we loved about the original, and I wouldn’t want Fuller House to be any other way. It’s been a blast to catch up with the lovable Tanners, this time with D.J.(Candace Cameron-Bure), Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), and Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) at the center. They’re all grown up and settling back into life back at their San Francisco childhood home, this time with families of their own. All their antics still have me cackling–from the she-wolf pack’s girls’ nights out, to D.J.’s romantic drama. Plus, the kiddos Jackson, Max, Tommy Jr., and Ramona are just as precocious as their parents at that age. It’s awesome!
Season 4 (which just premiered on December 14, 2018) focusses on D.J. and Steve as they give their relationship another go (YAYYYYY! I’ve been shipping these two so hard for years!), while Kimmy is the surrogate mother for Stephanie and Jimmy. This season features a flash mob, a 70s mystery/thriller cruise, Hamilton, and so much more hilarious goodness. Plus our old faves Danny (Bob Saget), John Stamos (Uncle Jesse), Lori Loughlin (Aunt Becky), and Joey (Dave Coulier) all make several cameos during the season.
Young & Hungry (Seasons 1 – 5 available to stream on Netflix)
After I finished Fuller House, Netflix (who apparently knows me as well as my own mother) recommended Young & Hungry to me. I’d watched the pilot in 2014, when Freeform was still ABC Family. It was funny enough, but for some reason, I didn’t watch again. However, this time, Young & Hungry was exactly what I needed to fulfill my romantic comedy needs.
The story follows Gabi Diamond (Emily Osment) who is auditioning to be personal chef for tech genius Josh Kaminsky (Jonathan Sadowski). Josh is planning to propose to his girlfriend, Caroline, and Gabi is meant to prepare a dinner that will make Caroline even more likely to say yes. Unfortunately, on the night of the dinner, Caroline breaks up with Josh and he’s devastated. Gabi tries to cheer Josh up by enjoying the dinner and wine with him… one thing leads to another and the two end up in bed together. WOWSA. Ultimately, the two agree it was just a one-night mistake. Josh even rekindles things with Caroline and still hires Gabi as his chef. What we get are five seasons of hilarity as Gabi and Josh circle one another (will they, won’t they?!?!?!!!!). All the while, Gabi’s best friend Sofia, Josh’s housekeeper Yolanda, and Josh’s publicist Elliot contribute their own snark and drama.
This series was way more adult in its humor and banter than I was expecting, and it was a wonderful surprise. It really does try to capture the spirit of 20/30-somethings living and loving in the big city. I adored every moment and was sad that the show ended so abruptly this summer with Season 5 (despite attempts to make both a film and spin-off series happen).
The Wedding Party (available to stream on Netflix)/The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai (available to rent/buy in Amazon Prime Video and iTunes)
If you’ve spoken with me in the last four months, you know that I’m OBSESSED with the Nollywood film, The Wedding Party! Nollywood, or Nigerian Hollywoord, is Nigeria’s booming film industry and The Wedding Party is a 2016 Nigerian romantic comedy. It premiered in September 2016 at the Toronto International Film Festival, was released worldwide in December 2016, and became the highest grossing Nigerian film ever.
The film follows Dunni, a Yoruba woman as she’s about to marry the love of her life, an Igbo man named Dozie. Their family and friends are part of the big day and get into craziest shenanigans. Dunni’s and Dozie’s mothers hate each other, Dozie’s ex-girlfriends show up and bring their drama (shoot, even Dozie’s dad has a sidepiece); and all the while, uninvited folks are showing up to crash the high-society event.
My cousin introduced me to The Wedding Party this summer, and I watched it every single day during August and September. I love it so much! Besides being hiiiiilarious, the film highlights what modern Africa looks like: the beauty, the wealth and opulence, the joys (and drama) of family and friendship. It’s so relatable and familiar… these are people and experiences we know.
I spent Winter Break watching The Wedding Party again, and you could imagine my surprise when (after months of searching) on New Year’s Day, The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai became available on Amazon and iTunes. I downloaded and watched immediately… since then I’ve probably watched the sequel 12 times. While the original is still my favorite, The Wedding Party 2 still has the comedy, family drama, and lavishness… this time, the relationship between Dozie’s bother Nonso and Dunni’s best friend (and Englishwoman) Diedre takes centerstage.
P.S. I also highly recommend the family drama Lionheart, another Nollywood film, streaming on Netflix!