A week in film – 2016, week 38

I was worried this week was going to turn into another nothing post…and then Saturday happened. I’ll put it this way – it’s been a long time since I watched three films in a day. It’s been an even longer time since I’ve watched three trashy (and also really enjoyable) films in a day. This week has turned into a really good week.

I didn’t fully appreciate how quickly I was racing through The Flash season two until I’d finished it, and voiced that fact out loud. The resulting mix of confusion, horror and pride was quite something. So not only have I now seen all those episodes I missed the first time around (more than I thought, but still not that many), but I’ve seen the whole show several times all the way through – and I still feel as torn over it as I did the first time. I can’t deny that I love the various incarnations of Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanagh is really good in this show), nor can I deny the fact that Cisco is one of my favourite characters in anything ever. And when Barry’s great, he’s great. But MAN, that character does stupid things sometimes. I know this is a trait of being human, and I do get that he’s 26 and has had some pretty bad stuff happen to him. I understand the series two finale more than I did the first time (where I walked back and forth through my house shouting loudly about how frustrating it was), appreciating that Barry feels the need to be able to influence some of the events happening around him. Now I’ve got a vague idea where that arc is heading, too, I can understand why it happens. But really, it’s difficult to get past how self-absorbed that character can be – and while I can relate, it’s still not a character trait I can really get behind, nor is it the season finale I really wanted to see.

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This week’s Bake Off feast

The Great British Bake Off this week introduced the concept of Batter Week which, aside from being excuse to make a batch of pancakes (and, in true Bake Off spirit, surround the experience with innuendo-based punnery), also served as a celebration of one of the greatest foodstuffs. With a signature challenge based around Yorkshire puddings, a pancake technical – even if the lace pancakes look too insubstantial to be truly appetising – and showstoppers collectively composed of a tonne of churros, Batter Week has officially become my favourite Bake Off week. The actual competition at this point, though, is getting a little weird. Contestants who, let’s be honest, should probably have gone in week one are still kicking about unscathed and pretty decent people have gone. My initial faves are beginning to annoy me a little, and people who annoyed me right at the beginning are emerging as frontrunners. It’s getting really hard to keep track.

Films will be much more interesting to talk about in this post – not least because I’m going to break with tradition and technically talk about a film I watched today (the Sunday outside of the remit of the ‘week in film’ week). Then again, though, this film was High School Musical 3, and we only watched it on Sunday because the marathon extended into the early hours of the morning/was broken up by a sleep break. Yeah, we spent our weekend marathoning the High School Musical series – and I feel almost no shame about this. The fact of the matter is that, even if these films are basically rubbish and they recycle character arcs for each instalment (if character development happens at all), they’re really bloody entertaining. The songs are harmless (OK, they’re really bloody catchy), the characters are cute, annoying, and entertaining all at once, and each film genuinely improves in quality as they go along. I would fight for the third one at least to injury, if not quite death. It is also the PERFECT film series for a Saturday night with your twentysomething best friends, who appreciate the nostalgia of it all. Who needs more entertainment than that?

Another example of enjoyable trash – Saturday was really good – was Bad Moms, which there is almost no way I would have seen without an Unlimited card. I’m kind of glad I saw it, though, because after having no expectations whatsoever (or no good expectations) I was actually pleasantly surprised. Don’t get me wrong, Bad Moms won’t blow anyone’s mind. It’s quite clearly a depiction of how guys think women work. I doubt it’s a remotely believable depiction of motherhood (however many times the script mentions Mila Kunis’ character had her first kid when she was twenty, I’m not going to buy it). Some scenes play a bit more like a music video than moments in a feature film. There’s a lot of fun to be had with these flaws, though. One of the heavily soundtracked sequences, as the titular mothers go on a drunken food shop, is really funny. The outrageous behaviour, the crude humour and the ridiculous situations are both an opportunity to celebrate the female gaze (not something seen on screen very often) and eventually give way to quite a nice scene of female friendship, which also isn’t something Hollywood commonly tends to represent either. It’s pretty on the nose when it tries to comment on the state of society, with Mila Kunis’ character giving her son a talk about how she doesn’t want him to become another entitled white man, and making references to diversity isn’t the same as actually showing it, but it is trying and is a damn sight better than other comedies in the same mould. I’m not sure I’d encourage everyone to go out and watch it, but if it turns up on VOD at some point in the future I’ll probably give it another look.

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