012. Wonder Woman

This post may take a couple of days to create, as I want to do this movie justice, so I’ll endeavour to keep the normal posts going and just backdate this one, but we all know my resolve has the structural integrity of a house of cards.

So my first thought when I saw that The AV Club’s Alex Dowd was reviewing Wonder Woman were “well, here we go”. There are two possible explanations for the fact that within the last three to six months, A.A. Dowd has provided just one film a grade higher than a B+, and I don’t think the most plausible is that “he is provided with the shitty movies”.

But don’t get me wrong, I understand the compulsion to nitpick, it’s a more valid and clinical way to treat reviews, right? You emphasise what you hate in order to elevate the status of your approval. Because if you abhor everything, then simply by approving, your respect is more profound. Of course, I get it, I’m hip to the groove of young white boys on the internet. I know how this works.

Largest eye-roll ever.

Of course this review is not about Alex Dowd, it’s about Wonder Woman, but as the premise of the film is built on a trusting and optimistic disposition, I believe it benefits the viewer to also be a little open minded. Although I also really don’t believe you need to be to be impressed by this film.

One final note about reviewers and not this review: I have not found a single female-written review of this movie, although admittedly so far my search has been confined to preferred media discussion providers (holla AV Club, New Yorker and Isolated Nation). While this would not normally bother me, and I prefer the unbiased account of film for equality’s sake, I feel that taking into consideration the importance of the first high grossing comic-book movie starring a female protagonist, as well as the impact of Patty Jenkins as the first female director, is a significant step in discussing this film, because while it was not made primarily FOR women, it’s sure as hell going to help us.

So, I don’t pretend to be on a similar level to any aforementioned reviewers because I am brand new at this and there’s a high chance I don’t know what I’m talking about. But if you wanted a girl’s opinion, you’re gonna get it.

EDIT: I have since found a review by The Guardian’s Wendy Ide, which is well written and unspecific on gender politics but does address that this film is great for further female protagonists. You can read that review here at The Guardian’s film review.


 

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Wonder Woman (2017)
Released 2 June 2017
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, DC Universe
Starring Gal Gadot & Chris Pine
Directed by Patty Jenkins
Written by Zack Snyder, Allan Heinberg
& Jason Fuchs
Based on the Original DC Universe
Comic by William Moulton Marston


I want to start this review by talking about the negatives, partly because they are the minority, but essentially because I want this post to culminate in positivity and optimism, just as I believe the film does.

CONS:

The stylistic approach to special effects in this movie, in particular the pacing changes throughout fight scenes, seemed gratuitous and distracting. It’s not a novel approach, but in this case it was poorly rendered, and reminded me of pumping power-up bars to build for a boost in video games. The fighting itself also seemed inefficient and clunky, however I could be projecting because I don’t “get” fight scenes. Like, honestly, Game of Thrones could be so much shorter??

PROS:

With the possible exception of Captain America, Diana of Themyscira is our first superhero with something more important than physical strength or expensive weaponry, she has empathy. It is that, more than any other characteristic which will make this DC Universe movie stand-out above all others, especially among women. Patty Jenkins et al. have provided the world with not only our first significant female superhero, capable, strong and feminine, but the first superhero with primitive humanitarian instincts. To put it another way, they have provided us with a mother.

Rhys Tarling, of Isolated Nation, put it best when he said: “Part of what makes Wonder Woman the best, most distinguished DCEU film yet, is that its protagonist, unlike say Ben Affleck‘s Batman or Henry Cavill‘s Superman, is somebody who’s not an angry boring dickhead.”

Now, I can talk about how the colouration and costuming during the “the war is that way” scene was perfectly created to convey a sense of depression and anxiety, that grey is used to inform the audience that the characters on screen are experiencing a bad time. I can describe a multitude of ways that pacing and camera angles are used to connote and impress certain notions and feelings into an audience. I can use words and pictures to explain film techniques until the cows come home.

But that’s not what this blog has ever been, it’s not who I am and I have no interest in convincing someone to watch a movie because the white balance is on point.

My posts have always been about stories, either those told by someone else, or myself, and I believe that Wonder Woman is a story that we needed to see. She’s not “an angry boring dickhead”, she’s the first superhero to, however naively, care about the inherent good in humanity. In a time when we see and experience so much negative press, in a time when it’s entirely conceivable that maybe humans are the root of all evil, we were given a feminist movie that portrays the necessity and sincerity of synergy between the genders.

While moviemaking involves a myriad of technical skills, storytelling is about making people feel a certain way, and Wonder Woman did just fine at that. It is a movie that made me feel empowered, strong and just maybe as though hoping for more strong female leads was not a hopeless task.

x The Girl Who Loves Stories

PS: in case this review is not technical enough for you, or if it seems disjointed – which it is because I wrote it across two nights and completely lost my train of thought – here’s what my friend Mick had to say about it:

“My first sentence last night was ‘It’s easily the best DC film since The Dark Knight Rises, if not since The Dark Knight.’ I really like the period setting and the fact that it’s not as cheesy as Captain America’s scenes around the same era. The length of the movie isn’t for everyone, but I liked how there was time for plenty of character development, it covers so much at a good depth compared to so many other superhero films, that spread it over a series of films and crossovers.”

– the ever logical, Mick Hawkins

008. Natalie Port[beach]man Black Swans

Last weekend to celebrate W[estern] A[ustralia] Day, my favourite hockey people and I dressed up as the Natalie Port[beach]man Black Swans, which informed my choice for this week’s “Friday #the1001project” movie. I also read about four of Aesop’s fables, but don’t worry, I can predict that tomorrow will be the wind-up post for that one finally.

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June 9, 2017

BOOK: Complete Fables, by Aesop

Tomorrow, I promise. Seriously, because it’s already “tomorrow” and I’ve finished it.

MOVIE: Black Swan (2010)

“See also: ‘Mental illness in film'”
Wikipedia

“Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller-horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Mark Heyman, Andrew Heinz and John McLaughlin, and starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis and Winona Ryder. The plot revolves around a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet by a prestigious New York City company. The production requires a ballerina to play the innocent and fragile White Swan, for which the committed dancer Nina (Portman) is a perfect fit, as well as the dark and sensual Black Swan, which are qualities better embodies by the new arrival Lily (Kunis). Nina is overwhelmed by a feeling of immense pressure when she finds herself competing for the part, causing her to lose her tenuous grip on reality and descend into a living nightmare.” Thanks Wikipedia for a more concise synopsis than I am capable of currently.

Black Swan has always been a movie that, considering my … concerns … with anxiety during the past few years, has seemed like a bad idea to watch, basically. Despite my infatuation with Mila Kunis, and my appreciation of Natalie Portman in movies that don’t include Star Wars, no attraction has counteracted my fear of the subsequent mental breakdown. But lately I’ve even been able to watch Freaks and Geeks without a panic attack, so I’m obviously growing as a person.

That’s not to say I had an uninteresting response to the film as this morning I woke up ready to kick life’s ass and didn’t even eat any carbs today. Emotionally I think Portman’s Portrayal of Nina struck a chord with me, the first person to admit that I am meek and timid in regards to self-confidence. You cannot be a boss-ass-bitch if you are concerned with being in control 100% of the time and even though that’s not entirely the point of this movie, it’s my personal moral for the week. Also: be hot and crazy and you’ll get everything you want, basically.

Cinematically, I thought this movie was well done. I grimaced in several places and that’s how you know a psychological thriller-horror movie is horribly thrilling, I guess. I once saw Red Shoes in a small hotel room in Kalbarri, and Black Swan recalled similar aesthetic and thematic motifs and, similarly, communicates the leads’ anxiety well. Aronofsky used camera angles and movement to simulate the movie’s rhythm of dance, and the striking colour palette well represented the shifts from naivety to proactivity on the protagonist’s part. And it’s pedantic, but the use of phonetic similarities in Nina/Lily – much like Odette/Odile – make the word-nerd in me happy.

Overall I really enjoyed Black Swan, wasn’t freaked out at all and woke up this morning ready to achieve anything. Let’s hope the similarities between myself and Nina end there.

x Casey

006. Remember Cedric Diggory

As we reach the end of this first week of the “media diet”, and following several days of scarcity, yesterday I finally found some content I wanted to discuss. But first a quick note on productivity since the inception of this idea.

Since beginning this project last Thursday I have been the most productive I have been since February where #the1001project is concerned. Finishing one book, one movie and a tv season doesn’t seem like much, but I’ve been overcommitting to life outside my house for a while now, and it’s time I took it easy and went back to the project I enjoy most of all. That said, I have also been branching out with podcasts and music this week too, an endeavour that provides me with insight and entertainment respectively. I’ve also been enjoying the NHL playoffs, though I’m yet to see my first catfishing.

But without further ado, here’s what I listened to and read yesterday:

June 7, 2017

PODCAST: Gilmore Guys: Lauren Graham

Gilmore Guys is finally over. I remember listening to my first episodes while entering data about botanical specimens at Maia and being instantly impressed and inspired. For the past two years this has been my answer when anyone asks how I can type long strings of letters and numbers so efficiently and enjoyably, and to have passed the end of the series is a little surreal. Through their genuine humour, backdoor knowledge of improvisation, film, television and theatre, and their demonstrable work ethic in a notoriously difficult and inauspicious industry, Kevin and Demi have taught me not only technical concepts, optimism and perseverance, but also that entertainment can be made from… pretty much anything.

In this final episode of Gilmore Guys, the boys “gab” with Lauren Graham who is also an exceptional inspiration. While the final episode would have been great as a return to roots farewell to the series, it feels as though full circle has been achieved. It wasn’t classic Gilmore Guys, but Graham’s harmonies for “Where You Lead” were on point.

BOOK: Complete Fables, by Aesop

I’m nearly finished with this, I swear.

TV SERIES: Parenthood

Parenthood, S01E01

After listening to the final episode of Gilmore Guys, I was left wanting more Lauren Graham, and since Mae Whitman and Dax Shepard are also in that show, and I had heard great things – not to mention, it’s helpfully a #the1001project show – I decided to watch Parenthood. I have only watched the pilot at this point, but my thoughts are thus:

  • This is a sweet show and I like Lauren Graham’s character even though I can foresee future frustration with that branch of the family.
  • I’m interested to see these variations on the nuclear family – kind of like Modern Family but with a more serious base.
  • I just know I’m going to spend a lot of time in tears because of this show.

So I’m looking forward to continuing! Although I’ve also picked up The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt as my dinner show because I’ve decided that I need to focus on new media to a greater extent or this cycle of missing out will just continue forever.

PODCAST: Harry Potter and the Sacred Text – Being a Stranger: Diagon Alley (Book 1, Chapter 5)

This podcast episode, more than anything else I’ve read or watched or listened to, has been the most influential media I’ve exposed myself to over the past week.

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text is a podcast created by Vanessa Zoltan, Casper ter Kuile & Ariana Nedelman with the intention of reading the Harry Potter series as though it were a sacred text, reading the books “not just as novels, but as instructive and inspirational texts that will teach us about our own lives”.

I initially encountered Harry Potter and the Sacred Text several months ago when one of my best “internet” friends Kelly suggested it to our “Old HP Pals” Facebook group. I listened to the first few episodes available at the time and while vaguely interested, I never remembered to catch up when further episodes were released. Now, one year after it began, the podcast is almost finished with book three but I decided to pick up where I left off and listen to episode five where Vanessa and Casper read “Diagon Alley” through the lens of “being a stranger”.

In the opening minutes of this episode, Casper reveals that they had recorded the audio just days before the attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Following this, he explains that while many would turn to prayer in times like these, for many listeners that may not be an option. Instead Vanessa repeats Dumbledore’s speech from the end of Goblet of Fire as a call to reflection and an alternative for those who felt more comfortable with a different option.

Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by JK Rowling

While I have seen internet jokes in the past about Harry Potter as religion, or gospel and even particular reference to the series as a sacred text for certain people, I have always considered that too far a line to cross for even my most adored stories. But as someone who has always considered herself to be, if not spiritual herself, then at least empathetic to any belief in which all are equal and deserving of kindness, there are of course lessons within Harry Potter that speak to that part of me.

While I don’t consider Harry Potter to be a spiritual text, the literary analysis and religious critique, as well as the general lessons of kindness, blessing and thoughtfulness that Vanessa and Casper share through this podcast have been refining the way I understand religion and spirituality, something I had dismissed long ago as not for me.

While I’m not saying Harry Potter is my bible – I feel like that’s a strange precedent – I do appreciate the intent to see positive instruction in obscure places, and encourage anyone to listen to this podcast for an alternative take on structured religion.

x Casey

001. Casey Causley Media Diet

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Indiana Jones: I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go along.

– Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Each year Steven Soderbergh, producer of movies such as the Oceans series and Magic Mike, publishes a list in January of all the media he consumed in the last 365 days, a concept that has become referred to as his “media diet”. As someone who enjoys not only consuming but creating content, I’ve become interested in knowing what my media diet would be. In addition to that I’m also interested in keeping track for reasons of productivity tracking, mood insight and particularly having a record of #the1001project media, particularly during times when it becomes difficult to create comprehensive reviews of all 4000+ items, and that doesn’t even include the non-related content.

So I present to you from now on, daily posts about the books, movies, television, podcast and live performances I experience.


June 2nd, 2017

Podcast: Gilmore Guys Present Bunhead Bros 116 ft. Jason Mantzoukas

This is where the inspiration for the Causley media diet came from as I liked the idea of a stimulus for daily creative/reflective writing for a year. It also has the benefit of being a written history of the productivity of #the1001project over time as well as the opportunity to highlight certain experiences and their connection to media – for example, as I’m going through an emotionally turbulent period at the moment, I end up watching more The Big Bang Theory than normal.

In terms of this podcast, it’s my go-to work podcast, particularly the Gilmore Guys era as the content is based on a show I’ve experienced so often that I can follow the discussion. The entertainment value, including the report between Kevin, Demi and their guests has in the past has been a source of inspiration considering their particular involvement in a side of media and performance that I really enjoy. The only podcast I’ve found to be more stimulating has been, of course, Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show.

Side Note: This media diet project is also probably the most efficient way for me to keep track of quotes I want to collect too. My Twitter bio doesn’t claim me as the “Queen of Reference Humour” for nothing.

Movie: Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark – the original Hannah Montana.

After growing up without exposure to most movies, including Star Wars and Indiana Jones, catching up on Harrison Ford as an adult is a magical experience I do not underestimate, and Raiders is the perfect escapist movie after a taxing week. Adventure, humour, and that perfect venn diagram of “adventurous” but “nerd” that’s like some kind of me kryptonite.

Speaking seriously though, Raiders is among the genre of movies I have trouble critically analyzing for blog posts such as these. It’s fun, funny and the Nazi’s lose. Add to that Harrison Ford’s haircut and Indy’s badass attitude and you have a crowd pleaser. To match with my emotional state this week, it was the ideal escape from stress and anxiety and I gave it a five out of five on RT. It’s not exactly thought provoking apart from the “girl wears inappropriate clothes while defeating bad guys, but not actually defeating them, just making an effort to defeat them while Indiana Jones is really the one who saves the day” trope. Early 1980’s special effects were on point too, and now I really want an Indy inspired costume to lurk at zoos in. A e s t h e t i c.

Side note: Doctor Jones, Jones, calling Doctor Jones.

x Casey

 

Jasper J-owns the Big Screen

Directed by Rachel Perkins (Bran Nue DaeRedfern Now) and based on the 2009 novel by Craig Silvey, Jasper Jones is a movie about fleeting innocence, first love … and institutionalised racism in small Australian country towns.

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The movie opens on two main characters, schoolboys Charlie Bucktin (Levi Miller) and Jeffrey Lu (Kevin Long) engaged in what is becoming an increasingly prominent debate in popular culture: is Superman the best comic book hero, or is it Batman. While Jeffrey defends Superman based on his inherent supernatural powers, Charlie maintains that it is Batman’s courage in the face of his own fallibility which makes him the superior character. It is this theme, of courage in the face of adversity, shared in a light-hearted and juvenile tone, which permeates the movie and inspires the events that follow.

When Jasper Jones knocks on Charlie Bucktin’s window that night, shows him the dead body of his girlfriend Laura Wishart and begs for his help to clear his name, Charlie has a choice to make: who does he trust, and can he summon the courage to find the truth about the death of his first love’s sister.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it.” – Mark Twain

Throughout the movie, Charlie encounters several examples of racism in Corrigan – some of which is explained by Australia’s concurrent involvement in the Vietnam War as the movie is set in 1969. Tension between his best friend’s family, the Vietnamese-born Lu’s, and members of the community are conveyed through hesitation to accept a gifted Jeffrey to their cricket team as well as several violent xenophobic outbursts during the film. However these issues act as accessory to the main plot to the movie: the titular character, the half-caste Jasper Jones’ struggle with prejudice when Laura Wishart goes missing and he is the leading suspect simply because “he always is”. It is Aaron McGrath‘s genuinely emotional portrayal of the tormented Jasper Jones, in addition to the commentary on institutionalised racism that makes this a particularly strong message film, but despite this, the A-story of sleuthing teens solving a mystery still stands strong.

When Charlie first encounters Jasper Jones, our main character is simply an introverted adolescent, dealing simultaneously with feelings of exclusion and suffocation, the trademark symptoms of being a big fish in a small-town pond. After his interaction with Jasper however, Charlie not only gains a confidante, but also a task and his purpose is brought into proper focus. Levi Miller‘s performance as the awkward yet determined Charlie was the stand-out for me in this film. The ability to combine juvenile confusion with emotion and confidence was a large feat for such a young actor.

Hugo Weaving is almost physically unrecognisable as Charlie and Jasper’s main suspect, the reclusive Mad Jack Lionel, but provides an emotionally charged performance that I’d really like to spoil by comparing it, right down to dialogue, to another fictional character, but I won’t. The cast also includes the consistently flexible Toni Collette as the stifled and frustrated mother, and Dan Wyllie who gave yet another performing confirming my belief that he is currently topping my favourite Australian actors list – Puberty Blues, anyone – played the socially cognizant and calm father. Kevin Long provided the much needed comic relief and goofy fun throughout an increasingly dark movie, and Angourie Rice brings stunning maturity mixed with girlish charm, and is a choice which actually has me interested in Spider-Man: Homecoming, which is a phrase I never thought I’d type.

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For me, this period film is an aesthetically nostalgic call-back to country life. The imagery and colouration switches with tone, where bright blues and yellows reflect happy, jovial scenes between friends, while all the mystery, tension and most overt injustices happen under cover of darkness.

If I had one complaint about Jasper Jones as a film, it would be several poorly executed plot devices throughout the film, coupled with a particularly abrupt ending. Presumably this is to suggest the impossibility of a completely satisfying outcome for certain characters, but combined these inconclusive scenes resulted in a confusing conclusion to the film.

Technically brilliant and emotionally charged, the talented cast and dedicated production team of Rachel PerkinsCraig Silvey and Mark Wereham with sound/editing by Antony Partos and Veronika Jenet have brought this best-selling novel to the screen in spectacular fashion. An Australian masterpiece, this film is both haunting and sweet, a coming of age story with both courage and charm.

Jasper Jones is out in cinemas today, March 2, 2017.

x Casey

Why don’t you come on over, Valerie?

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I’m a Glee fan, that’s a fact I’ve shared with you all here before. So when the most recent Perth Fringe show I saw contained some variation on “my songs have now been butchered on shows like Glee“, well, it probably wasn’t the best time to bring up the fact that I’d been listening to the Glee cover of Valerie by Amy Winehouse in the car on the way to the show.

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In my defence, I’m a huge fan of shows that make difficult content more available, the ones that share music or film I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise, and do so in a relatable, fun and inspiring way. And like Glee, that is what Ashleigh Kreveld has done with Frankly Winehouse.

I promise I’m done mentioning Glee now.

A self described “all out cabaret”, Frankly Winehouse is a heartfelt and powerful tribute to the late Amy Winehouse, featuring music, stories and a completely unique experience from Kreveld herself – from the iconic beehive hair and make-up, right down to the characteristic sass of Winehouse herself.

Accompanied by a single pianist, it is Kreveld’s voice and passion that genuinely fill the stage and the room. True to her inspiration, Kreveld’s singing voice is powerful, masterfully covering the jazz stylings of Amy Winehouse, while simultaneously providing a raw and emotional biography of the troubled artist, including idiosyncratic quips and repartee with the audience.

As young men are wont to do, however, the usual accompanying pianist obtained a sports related injury mere hours before showtime, but an impromptu replacement allowed the show to go on. With admirable urgency and composure under pressure, this young artist showed not only artistic expertise, but also confidence in precarious circumstances – not assisted in the least by a particularly hot summer evening in a small and crowded venue.

The two artists combined to create an impressive and devastatingly sincere portrayal of Amy Winehouse, a performance which was both comedic and moving. One of the most impressive Fringe performances I have seen to date, I was honestly in sympathetic tears until finally at the end we got to SING ALONG TO VALERIE!

That’s not TECHNICALLY a Glee reference, it’s just me bringing this review full circle.

Unfortunately Frankly Winehouse‘s runs in both Perth and Adelaide are over for the year, but tickets for Melbourne shows are available here, and if you have an opportunity to future to see this show or anything else of Kreveld’s, I would particularly recommend it.

x Casey

I want my Baby [Got] Back, Baby [Got] Back, Baby [Got] Back…

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I once heard someone quote that “all comedy is just everyone vying for the best dick joke” but a fortnight ago I watched a show focused on butts and now I have even more reason to believe fart jokes may actually be the road to world peace.

After sell-out seasons in 2015 & 2016, an all-new Baby Got Back returned to Perth Fringe to reprise their theatrical and comedic tribute to all things ass and where butts were promised, butts were delivered. Through the inclusion of multimedia presentation, dance, dramatic performance and even MAGIC, this all female cast isn’t afraid to utilise all of their ass-ets to keep their audience in both awe and side-splitting laughter for a full 60 minutes.

With several cogent references to the current state of opinion in regards to respect for all women and their bodies – size, shape or colour – this show is both entertaining and poignant. While the most enjoyable parts might be the humour and wild talent on stage, this inherently accepting and feminist show is a subtle reminder that while women have the right to exhibit everything they have, it’s worth remembering that while everything they have is on display for you to enjoy, it is not yours to touch or take photos of for later.

While ‘confronting’ is not often a category of shows I choose during Fringe, I’m glad I made this inspiring and adventurous deviation. The cast’s enthusiasm, pride, confidence and above all, talent left me feeling both entertained and empowered. The future is indeed female, and we as women can certainly stand to be a little nastier.

The run for Baby Got Back has ended for Perth unfortunately, but the cast are now headed to Adelaide’s Fringe festival, beginning on February 28th, and tickets and further information are available here.

Baby Got Back is was among the best shows I saw during Fringe 2017, and I’d recommend it for anyone who wants to be entertained, enlightened, or even appropriately and encouragingly aroused.

The show is strictly 18+ however, so remember that when you’re looking for a companion – take your mum, not your kids.

Anna Kendrick is a “Scrappy Little Nobody”

Are you looking for audiobooks? Check out Audible.com for your first month free!

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Scrappy Little Nobody
Anna Kendrick
Published: November 15, 2016 by Touchstone & Simon and Schuster Audio
Audiobook available at Audible.com

For fans of: Humour, Autobiography, Female Authors

A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.

“[I had resolved to] keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy. It. Wants. Out.”


Firstly I have to straight up apologise to Anna. I used this audiobook as a distraction during my long training runs in the last two weeks. This basically blasphemes the integrity of any and most themes in this memoir, but I have no regrets. To recompense I’ll eat pop-tarts in my sweatpants while I compile this review.

@bestcascenario – Jan 20
I have just torn through @AnnaKendrick47’s Scrappy Little Nobody in two days and like, I think I have all the symptoms of “actor”…

Anna Kendrick first appeared on widespread screen as snarky, brutally honest Jessica, the “best friend” of Kristen Stewart’s Bella in the Twilight series, and since then she has remarkably retained that persona as her career has developed, which has of course only cemented her reputation as loveable and relatable in the media. From stories of a homely apartment in LA to being praised by George Clooney during filming for Up in the Air, in her first memoir she shares stories of Hollywood awkwardness and her fear of being discovered as an impostor, basically proving she’s the same as the rest of us – just, wildly talented and popular and lucky of course.

Scrappy Little Nobody is part of a new genre of memoir, where the author who is most often a comedian or actor, provides humorous essays as opposed to autobiographical reflective texts. The most common arguments against these compilations are confusion about whether the book is premature or the implication that they are marketing tools to capitalise on a performer’s recent success. However, I only outline these arguments in the spirit of fairness, as I’ve found this genre profoundly inspirational over the past few months. I recommend this style of memoir to anyone beginning an adult life of their own, artistic or not and Scrappy Little Nobody is no different to my other favourites such as Yes Please by Amy Poehler, or Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling.

Anna Kendrick’s voice only enhances the personal stories, and as with past memoirs I’ve enjoyed, the audiobook version is how I would recommend consuming this content. Kendrick is honest with herself, the reader and more often than not honest with characters from her life she has disagreed with, presenting arguments against misogyny, condescension and just plain bad manners, but as with most arguments about difficult topics, they are human and more forceful when heard in the writer’s voice. In addition, recalling her struggles as an actress who has to wear heels when she’d rather be eating tacos in sweatpants, makes this audiobook like listening to a very famous friend outline the largest of first-world problems in a way that is humanising while still convincing you its a dream you’d like to accomplish. It’s an inspirational tale of hardwork, but it’s also FUNNY, and silly and snarky and I’m ready for Anna Kendrick to be my best friend now. I really apologise for the listening while running thing, I promise it’s just a New Years Resolution, Anna!

If you have someone in your life who is currently making a jump, or following their dreams, particularly young female listeners or readers, I’d recommend this as a gift, but I would also recommend this for anyone who’s a little lost or scared and needs the motivation to jump, as this warming and human recollection of hardwork and life shows that if one normal, if attention-seeking, human being can do it, anyone can.

Also did I mention it’s fucking funny? Because it’s fucking funny.

“The crazy. It wants out!”

x Casey

Making fa[vourites] while the sun shines – November Favourites!

This blog post is part of a new Monthly Favourites series, where I’ll be recapping not only my Perth favourites and 1001 Project favourites, but also anything that really stands out to me over the month! These will be posted on a Wednesday with a follow-up video on Fridays and you can see previous Monthly Favourites by clicking here!

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It’s summer! And though November is technically still Autumn in Australia, the weather in Perth has been scorching for a few weeks now so I’ve definitely been moving into summer styles and summer products, so the theme of this November Favourites is very much “time to make hay while the sun shines” and get into these cool, refreshing, light and sometimes just pretty items!

~ Health & Beauty Products ~

While I am the first to admit that I probably don’t take an appropriate amount of care for my skin over the summer, or at all, as I mentioned in my December Haul & Anticipation post, I’m definitely trying to work on that currently, mostly to protect the damage from increasing, but also just because I haven’t before and I’m excited to take it a little more seriously – so I have two top favourites from November in this category, the first being Lush’s Ocean Salt face and body scrub.

My mum tells this really terrifying story of scrubbing her face with almond seed based exfoliant in the dark when she was younger, and long story short – a lot of blood. That story, and the knowledge that most exfoliants contain ocean-polluting microbeads, and a potentially irrational aversion to coffee-scrubs because I’m scared of caffeine, has actively persuaded me against exfoliants in the past unless I’m at the beach and sand is readily available. Note: I am not often at the beach.

But Lush’s Ocean Salt SMELLS LIKE MOJITOS. Not that I can confirm this, being anosmic, but trusted sources as well as the ingredients list which contains salt, vodka and lime are all I need to hear as I wash my face and imagine pool-side lounging and sharp, sweet cocktails. It’s also just GOOD. I’ve been using this product for a fortnight now, a few times whenever I feel like a pick-me-up, and it never fails to make me feel better, from the combination of smooth skin and the knowledge that I’m actively helping my skin. I have also luckily never had problems with acne or breakouts, but a good friend assures me that it’s done wonders with her skin over the past year as well.

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It’s also just really cool colours with the mixture of blue and white swirls!

Also in the “health and beauty” category, my NUMBER ONE favourite, and the product I am just suggesting left, right and centre this month is the De Lorenzo Tricho Natural Scalp Therapy – Scalp Balance Cleanser aka De Lorenzo Purple.

I have a lot of hair – trust me – for example while I am certain that hairdressers exaggerate all the time, I am unable to visit one without hearing about how they have never seen such thick hair. Now while that fills me with concern about my hairdresser EVERY TIME I HEAR IT, I have also not met a person with thicker, more annoying hair than mine who is not also related to me, so I understand.

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That explained, it can be very tricky to not only care for but balance what is going on, which means that unable to be avoided by myself, dandruff is an ongoing nuisance and while it still is – I have made peace with that knowledge – it has been much less exhausting and embarrassing since using De Lorenzo Purple. Yet again another manoeuvre to learn and take care of myself, this however was an accident I was manipulated into trying by my hairdresser, but I’m honestly so much happier with how much healthier my hair is since changing from supermarket brand Shampoo (even though I haven’t Conditioned myself to fancy step two yet). If you’re looking for a product to help with scalp control, I have been recommending this to people for weeks. And that annoys them as they usually only come to me for television recommendations.

~ Active Wear & Equipment ~

Now for something a little closer to home for me, an active wear specific recommendation during the warm summer months to keep you cool and protected during the sport of your choice: legionnaire hats are back and better than ever.

If you live in Perth like I do, or anywhere else where fossil fuel pollution has caused a big disgusting hole in the ozone layer, and you participate in outdoor activities, you’ll know the bite of the sun can be uncomfortable and difficult to combat. You also probably remember legionnaire hats from primary school, basically like the mullet of hats: business up front, party in the back. Usually made from gross semi-plastic material and almost always yellow or a weird blue to match your school uniform. All of that makes you sort of unlucky to live where you do, but on the other hand we also have Get Flapped.

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Get Flapped are a Perth small business designing attractive, fun patterned legionnaire hats ready in time for Perth summer. With a range of designs, and made from polyester, these hats are fun and practical, will dry quickly when wet and are light enough to not be a bother on summer days. While I can only confirm their convenience during roller hockey games and not other physical activities however, I can vouch that their elastic “one size fits all” generally do a good job of staying put on your head while you move too.

~ Food and Beverages ~

While I have already posted about MOP Donuts on this blog, they are of course in my November favourite food/beverage section. You can read that review here, but basically as my friend Clinton put it “my review would be: [donuts that] contain booze. 10/10”.

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My beverage related choice for November is the classic T2 Turkish Apple, which is an iced-tea variety which goes perfectly with summer and hot days. You can have it warm too of course, but with chilled water and a lime wedge, this variety makes the perfect summer relaxing drink, well at least when you’re not drinking mojitos inspired by Lush Ocean Salt, that is.

~ The 1001 Project ~

Finally the things I know most about and can provide the most educated recommendations for: television and books, as I only watched terrible movies in November.

My first recommendation is a book from the 1001 Children’s Book List, and it’s a picture book for kids ages 3-6 (possibly younger), called Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. As always with kid’s books I’m not certain how to “review” them, but this one was a really sweet look at how dogs are perfect and had “lift-the-flaps” for younger readers. Definitely one to consider gifting to young ones around Christmas time.

This month I also re-read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams for the Roosevelt Reader’s Club which is to me a perfect summer read. Low investment, quirky humour and a really short read, it’s perfect for days at the beach or road-trips as it won’t give you a headache or weigh you down.

Finally, another item I’ve already blogged about this month is Glee. I know, I know, but as is the argument with Hitchhiker’sGlee is another light, fun show with some pretty sweet #bangers PLUS season three’s episode nine is the only Christmas special I have both rolled my eyes at AND laughed with in several years, and a post I’m going to be making in December is all about how I detest seasonal episodes of television, so stay tuned. Glee is 100% a guilty pleasure show, but if “last fortnight before Christmas shutdown at work” isn’t the time for GP shows, I don’t know what is, so if you’re in the market for a show that’ll make you sigh but not require any effort, Glee is the show for you.

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This is still also my #2 Instagram shot of all time, so that has to say something about bloggers on Instagram.


So that is what I’ve been trying out in November! Maybe there’s something here for you, or maybe you have a recommendation for summer-lovely products, books, tv series or just something that was your favourite this month! I actually really enjoyed making this post, especially the motivation to try new things in order to make it! I’ll definitely be continuing this series.

Let me know in the comments what your recommendations for SUMMER are and maybe you’ll see them in a January haul video sometime soon!

x Casey

Glee-son Two: Road to Nationals

This is the first of a new kind of blog post, where I recap the most reason tv series I’ve watched from 1001 TV Series to Watch Before You Die. As such, it’s still in the works and will likely fit into the YouTube schedule when I start that in a couple of weeks. 

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Glee on IMDB
2009-2015
Comedy/Drama/Musical – 44 minute episodes – TV-PG
Created By: Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy
Starring: Lea Michele (Rachel Berry), Matthew Morrison (Will Schuester), Jane Lynch (Sue Sylvester) Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel) & Kevin McHale (Artie Abrams)


I remember being eighteen and hearing about a new television show with “Wendla” from Spring Awakening in it, knowing that it would be about a group of singing, dancing teenagers and being absolutely ecstatic. I also remember being 19 and specifically using my three hour uni break on a Thursday to sleep while torrenting the newest Glee episode, then watching the episode in snippets throughout the day. The combination of determination and what I thought were the absolute cutest outfits, made Rachel Berry and Glee my number one favourite show for its first three seasons.

A lot has changed in seven years however. I mean, these days my favourite show features a bubbly, loving brunette with bangs and optimism to spare, who has trouble with boys and likes to sing… a lot. Hmm, so maybe things aren’t that different, actually.

Glee has always been one of those shows, hated by a large percentage of the population, for its portrayal of high school dorky performers as well as “lessons” in every episode, from the dangers of teen drinking, the realities of teen pregnancy, and both the mundane and hyperbolised intricacies of teenage life. It’s soap opera style of incestuous relationship cycling, coupled with the idealised display of talent and competition makes it the perfect show for only a single, persistent demographic: teenage middle to high school girls.

But coming back to it five years later after not watching from season four onward… I don’t hate Glee.

I’m going to receive criticism from the fold, who will say “Casey, you run a podcast about New Girl, and you take a lot of selfies of you eating donuts”, and while you may be correct about my biases, I have several solid arguments for why Glee still remains high on the list of shows discussed by teenage girls on Tumblr blogs around the globe.

Glee‘s appeal to the aforementioned middle school girls is more than just Darren Criss dressed in a private school uniform, it appeals to the need for validation in a world where you’re constantly made to feel ordinary: because “being part of something special makes you special”. Glee‘s messages of acceptance are trite and overused, but the display and recognition of talent, even in various degrees or types can be a lifeboat in the constant reality of cut-throat competition among peers in high school. As a teenage girl you’re constantly being convinced to fit in while being required to have something that makes you stand out and for this, Glee is more than bubblegum television for young girls, in some places it is a strong reminder to dream big and stay true to what you believe in yourself.

But the show is also actually, genuinely funny in places.

While those places may be surrounded one hundred fold by lines that make me grimace and cringe, it’s tough to doubt that Jane Lynch is the comedic backbone of the show and Naya Rivera as Santana “[making out with another girl] is not cheating because the plumbing’s different” Lopez and Chris Colfer as Kurt Hummel with his perfect physical comedy moments give the show at least a good punch or two per episode.

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So I have to admit that 90% of the appeal for me is half the poppy upbeat bangers that aren’t really bangers but actually cheer me up and the similarities I see between myself and Rachel Berry. But if you’re a teenager who’s trying to navigate the tricky world of middle school and trying to figure yourself out, I have to stand by my assessment that I think Glee  might be for you.

Stay tuned for a more season-particular review of Glee Season 3 within the next couple of weeks.