What I read and watched in January

Movies

Good Will Hunting

Rating: R
Length:
2h 6m
Rotten Tomatoes: 
97%
Release Year: 1997

Thoughts: The professor in this movie is also the guy who plays the scientist in Thor- Dr. Eric Selvig. Did he get type-casted into the role of the brilliant and slightly insane (or very insane) man? Before watching the movie, I didn’t expect the person’s name to be Will Hunting. I’m not sure what I thought the title meant. I really liked the relationship between Will and the psychiatrist, Sean. I also wondered how Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (who wrote the screenplay and are also actors in it) decided who got to be the lead.

Legally Blonde

Rating: PG-13
Length:
1h 37m
Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Release Year: 2001

Thoughts: Why does it seem like rich girl + tiny dog is a trope? Another movie that I know had that pairing was Bratz: The Movie (oh my goodness, that has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 9 percent- ha, that’s funny). Legally Blonde doesn’t have the highest rating either, but its audience score is a little higher at 72%, and I think that’s good to look at too. I liked how Elle was genuinely nice to people (like how she brought bread rolls to the study group that excluded her) and how her friends were real friends. I feel like this isn’t a realization that usually comes after watching Legally Blonde, but the movie made me realize that I’m biased against people in sororities. Also, I remember reading a book where there’s an academic competition and it’s the last question and this girl nobody believes in helps her team win because she gets asked something about hair and knows all about it.

Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse

Rating: PG
Length:
1h 56m
Rotten Tomatoes: 
97%
Release Year: 2018

Thoughts: After watching it, I now understand why it won best animated movie of 2018. I’ve never seen another movie in that comic book style before. The accent words and designs were very cool. I usually think those clunky basketball sneakers are ugly, but I liked Miles’s in the movie. I feel like movies and books play a pretty big role in deciding and changing my mind about random and sometimes even important things. The backpack I have now is green, and the reason I got that color was because of this girl in a show. I liked how his spraypainting and music were both part of the film. I also liked the message of the movie- I CAN BE A SUPERHERO TOO. Very exciting. The part between him and his dad with the door between them made me cry. It was that line his dad says- you don’t have to say it back. I feel like that sums up a large part of what it’s to be a parent. It also reminded me of that scene with Elsa and Ana in Frozen.

Books

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes

First sentence: (I forgot to record it before returning it to the library.)
Last sentence: (Same for this one, oops.)
Keywords: history + science, probably the longest book I will read this year

Thoughts: This book was a combination of maybe five halfway in-depth biographies, twenty or so short introductions of people, a science textbook covering the atom and nuclear physics and the atomic bomb, and an overview of what was going on in politics and in history during the time. I read a good amount of the science explanations, but I didn’t get a lot of it. What completely made this book for me were these little sentences that were just amazing and could only exist in a book about that many brilliant people. More than one made me laugh, and all of them made me stop and read them again. Here’s some of them.

Quotes:

“I believe all young people think about how they would like their lives to develop,” Lise Meitner wrote in old age, looking back; “when I did so I always arrived at the conclusion that life need not be easy provided only that it was not empty. And this wish I have been granted.” p.233

Exporting gold from Germany was a serious criminal offense and their names were engraved on the medals. George de Hevesy devised an effective solution-literally: he dissolved the medals separated in acid. As solutions of black liquid in unmarked jars they sat out the war innocently on a laboratory shelf. Afterward the Nobel Foundation recast them and returned them to their owners. p.329

As a student Wilson had analyzed the motions of swimming fish and invented the competition swimming style known as the Dolphin; with it he had won in Olympics tryouts in 1938 but then suffered disqualification because the style was new and thus unauthorized, a purblindness on the part of the Olympics judges which may have conditioned Wilson’s attitude toward authority. p.422

Men like to recall, in later years, what they said at some important or possibly historic moment in their lives… I remember only too well what I said to General Somervell that day. I said, “Oh.” p.425

Long after mother and daughter had been persuaded from the sidelines Fermi sat unbudging, mentally working out the steps. When he was ready he asked Bernice Brode, one of the leaders, to be his partner. “He offered to be head couple, which I thought most unwise for his first venture, but I couldn’t do anything about it and the music began. He led me out on the exact beat, knew exactly each move to make and when. He never made a mistake, then or thereafter, but I wouldn’t say he enjoyed himself… He [danced] with his brains instead of his feet.” p.566

When I came to Los Alamos I discovered that these people didn’t know how to play poker and offered to teach them. At the end of the evening they got annoyed occasionally when we added up the chips. I used to point out that if they had tried to learn violin playing, it would cost theme even more per hour. Unfortunately, before the end of the war, these great theoretical minds caught on to poker and the evening’s accounts became less attractive from my point of view. p.566

So many people wanted to see the boss’s baby that the hospital identified the crib with a sign and lines formed to file past the nursery window. p.567

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

First sentence: The Time Traveler (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us.
Last sentence: (Censored.)
Keywords: adventure, science fiction, time travel, a classic, social commentary

This is not a book I would normally read. I don’t read much science fiction, and it’s also a bit dystopian, which is a genre I read even less of. The only reason I ended up reading it is because of two things that collided together. The first was me checking out the browse tab on my podcasts app and seeing that the Apple Books app was offering a selection of four free audiobooks. (I think the other ones are Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Garden, and The Adventure of Oz.) The second was when I realized the name H. G. Wells sounded very familiar. Another one of his books, The War of the Worlds, was mentioned several times in The Making of the Atomic Bomb as an influence on important scientists.

Quotes:

Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles, and all the gravities of terrestrial life. 7.11:19 (Chapter, minute, second)

The Wondering Years: How Pop Culture Helped Me Answer Life’s Biggest Questions by Knox McCoy

First sentence (of the introduction): I gotta say, as a society we have really lost our way when it comes to introductions.
First sentence (of the book book): The first time I was punched in the face was when I was ten years old, and it was by this real jerkface named Daniel
Last sentence(s): Because never forget when Abraham Lincoln said: “If you love a book reader, let them go. If it was true love, they’ll come back and definitely read your next book.” Good ole Abe. He really knew his stuff, didn’t he?
Keywords: honest, pop culture references, intense metaphors, very important footnotes, God, growing up

I listen to one of Knox McCoy’s podcasts, so I had to read his book too. After hearing him talk for three seasons worth of episodes, reading this book was seeing his voice on paper. I’m guessing his editor tried to tone down things in multiple places (because he mentions it happening at least once in the book), but even if he or she did, it wasn’t successful. He writes like he speaks. I do think I would’ve loved this book if I had gotten more of his references, but I still really liked it. Here’s a part I bookdarted.

Quotes:

More than anything, God spoke to my heart and revealed that he really was fine with the questions. Because at the end of the day, he knows that the answers to all the questions I’m wondering about, and have been wondering all about for all these years, they’ve always led back to him. So why wouldn’t they still? p.210

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

First sentence(s): Steam belched and hissed. Sweat trickled down the back of my neck. Smaug the Terrible was furious with me. (Sidenote: the chapter is called The Chiefest and Greatest of Calamites, and Smaug the Terrible is a water boiler.)
Last sentence(s): I took a long, slow sip of my tea. “I’m great.”
Keywords: tea, going home, father-son, Persian, soccer, grandparents, little sister, finding friends, food, vulnerable, learning about your history

This was a good book. It made me cry around people I know but that I’m not close with, which is always a bit of an awkward position to be in. What I really loved about this book was how Darius talked about going back to visit his grandparents and extended family in Iran. It put words on feelings I’ve had when going back to China. Darius’s thoughts in general were very honest. I’m not going to type out the part that made me have a containment failure, but here’s another quote.

Quotes:

Mamou and Babou had been married for fifty-one years.
I thought about all the fights they must have had, and all the times they had forgiven each other.
I thought about the little secrets they knew about each other that no one else knew.
p.199

What did you read and watch this month?
Have you seen these movies or books?
Are you ready for the shortest month of the year to start tomorrow?

9 thoughts on “What I read and watched in January”

  1. Darius the Great! You already know that I love that book so much. I already want to reread it and it’s only been a matter of weeks since I read it for the first time.
    I really want to watch Legally Blonde! It’s the kind of movie that I can’t believe I haven’t seen yet, and that when I tell people I haven’t seen it they give me “this-girl-is-insane” looks and ask me WHY NOT. I do love Reese Witherspoon though. My favorite of her roles that I’ve seen is her role in Sweet Home Alabama (which is admittedly one of my most favorite movies ever).
    Great post! This may be the shortest comment I have ever left on your blog, apparently I am breaking records today. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, some movies I haven’t watched that might get the WHY NOT question are The Parent Trap, She’s the Man, and Lilo and Stitch. I haven’t seen any other Reese Witherspoon movies! I did see somewhere that she appears on Friends as Rachel’s little sister at some point? Sweet Home Alabama looks like a fun movie. The trailer makes it a cliffhanger from the start- but I have a feeling she ends up with the blonde. Or maybe that’s just what I want to happen. Also, did you know that she has a book club?
      Hahaha! :)) Record breaking like it’s nothing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t seen She’s the Man or Lilo and Stich, though I have seen the Parent Trap many, many times. XD
        Yes, Reese Witherspoon is Rachel’s little sister on friends! I think she’s in one or two episodes. Haha, Sweet Home Alabama is so good, and I won’t spoil the ending. XD I didn’t know she had a book club, what? That’s so cool!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Do you remember which episodes of Friends Reese Witherspoon is in? I want to go watch them. Haha, sounds good. :)) Yea, she does! Another celebrity that has a book club is Emma Watson, I’m pretty sure.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed Darius the Great. I hope to read this one as soon as possible; it really sounds like a beautiful novel. I don’t tend to cry reading, but maybe with this one? Who knows?
    I am sooooo excited to watch Into the Spiderverse. I’ve never watched a comic animation either, and it really looks beautifully unique from the trailer.
    And what do you mean The Bratz movie has only 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes? Like honestly that movie shaped me into the person I am today. I don’t even care it’s trash, hahah.
    Wishing you a great February! 🌟

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Ahhh, I hope you get to read it soon too.
      Into the Spiderverse! It was so good. I didn’t watch the trailer going in, so I didn’t expect the cool animation at all.
      HA, that’s hilarious. I know, I think it’s the worst Rotten Tomatoes movie rating I’ve seen, and I remember really liking the movie too. Parts of the plot are still pretty fresh in my mind too- how that movie of one of the girls in a face mask dancing is played at the party. How there’s a scene between the two friends when they’re not friends in the bathroom about lipgloss.
      I hope you have an amazing February too!

      Liked by 1 person

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