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I Can Recommend: Movies to Stream

This week I have three very different movies to recommend. In fact, you could say that the theme of the week is variety.

Stowaway (Netflix) A team of three is on a mission to Mars and discovers that someone else is on the ship. I enjoyed this movie because it’s well made, futuristic, and centers on ethical dilemmas more than action. I didn’t expect Anna Kendrick as an astronaut, but it works.

Sound of Metal (Amazon Prime) A heavy metal drummer in a band with his girlfriend loses his hearing and quickly transitions to a new life. This is a great film that’s raw, human, and well-acted. I came away with a new perspective on deafness. Riz Ahmed was great in The Night Of (HBO) and he delivered in this film as well. Paul Raci was nominated for an Oscar for his supporting performance.

Booksmart (Hulu) Booksmart made me LOL. Two high school seniors realize they’ve wasted time being focused on grades and decide to start partying before college. This, of course, leads them on myriad adventures. Fun and easy; a modern Superbad with female leads and a female director, Olivia Wilde. The soundtrack makes it even better.

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I Can Recommend: Chef Movie, Chef Show, Nomadland

I Can Recommend: Chef Movie, Chef Show, Nomadland

The recommendations below also appeared in my weekly newsletter: Ready for Rain, Issue #95 – This Fireplace Sucks


The Chef Show (Netflix) – My first impression was “oh boy, another celebrity cooking show, no thanks” but a friend suggested giving it a try and we’ve enjoyed it. Jon Favreau, Chef Roy Choi and special guests cook a wide variety of dishes while Jon plays the inquisitive beginner. It’s not often about fancy food, but everyday food, done well. I also love the stop-motion sequences.

Chef (Netflix) This movie, starring Jon Favreau as a chef, inspired the TV show above. Roy Choi consulted on the movie and the story is inspired by Roy quitting a high profile job to start a food truck. Worth a watch. Food is love.

Nomadland (Hulu) This movie just won a Golden Globe for best picture (drama) and I can see why. What I love is the immersive style of production. It feels like you’re seeing life through the eyes and ears of Fern, the main character, played by Francis McDormand, as she becomes a member of a community of nomads who live out of vehicles. It’s directed by Chloé Zhao and has amazing performances by actual community members who were found as the film was being made. Zhao also won best Director, a first for a woman of color. We’ll be hearing more about her, I’m sure. More here

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I Can Recommend: In and Of Itself ✅

I Can Recommend: In and Of Itself ✅

The recommendations below also appeared in my weekly newsletter: Ready for Rain, Issue #94 – The Dogs of the House Project


Rainier Panorama

Derek DelGaudio’s In and Of Itself (Hulu) – I went into watching this with no context and it kind of blew my mind. It’s a film that captures a one-man stage show that was performed every day for over 500 days. It’s part philosophy, part creativity, part sleight-of-hand, part memory competition. I especially loved his description the time between sunset and darkness that his grandfather called “The time between dog and wolf”. It’s the time in the evening when you can’t tell which is which. It’s a metaphor for much of the show.

Killing Eve (Hulu) – We recently watched the movie Sideways, which we both love, and it reminded us that Sandra Oh is the star of Killing Eve. We’ve completed most of the first season and really enjoyed the cat-and-mouse spy thriller. I especially like the psychopathic Villanelle character, played by Jodie Comer. Unlike over-the-top portrayals of fictional psychopaths, Villanelle feels real.

The Dig (Netflix) – In our house, calming British dramas are common. This movie is based on a true story of an aristocratic widow in England with mysterious ancient burial mounds on her property. She enlists the help of an excavator (amateur archeologist) played by Ralph Fiennes, to find out what’s inside the mounds.

If you’re considering watching Ava (Netflix), starring Jessica Chastain, maybe keep looking.

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I Can Recommend: Alone on TV ✅

I Can Recommend: Alone on TV ✅

tracks in snow

The recommendations below also appeared in my weekly newsletter: Ready for Rain, Issue #93 – This is About the Ham.

Alone (Hulu) – We’ve watched six seasons of this show and look forward to more. It’s a reality show where ten survivalists are dropped off in a remote, and often cold location with a selection of supplies and camera gear. Then, they do their best to survive the longest while constantly creating videos of their lives.

It’s a simple premise that feels authentic because there are no games or petty dramas. Most contestants battle hunger, wildlife, and weather, but the real enemy is mental. Loneliness drives people crazy. The longest stay so far is 87 days. Home is one satellite phone call away.

We first learned about the show because a person on neighboring Lopez Island, Nathan Donnelly, was a contestant on season 6. Two summers ago we went camping with a group and he was there. The show had been filmed, but was not yet published. He, of course, was tight lipped about the outcome. We later learned that he was the second person from Lopez to compete. The other one was Callie North. Island people are tough. 🙂

You can get my recommendations in your inbox each week by subscribing to Ready for Rain, below:

I Can Recommend: 2-8-21 ✅

I Can Recommend: 2-8-21 ✅

sea lions and mount baker

The recommendations below also appeared in my weekly newsletter: Ready for Rain, Issue #92 – Hibernating in the PNW

The theme for this week’s recommendations: school girl comedies and con artists.

  • Derry Girls (Netflix) – A comedy about Catholic school teenagers in Northern Ireland during the peak of the IRA in the 80s. It’s an odd mix of history, family drama, and hilariously off-color dialogue.

  • Pen15 (Hulu) – Forgive me, but I’m recommending another comedy about school girls. This time it’s the story of two best friends in 7th grade, played by adults Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle. It’s cringy and hilarious. It gets extra points in our house because Maya is half-Japanese, like Sachi, and it’s a large part of the story.

  • Chameleon (10 episode podcast) – I love stories about con artists and this one is fascinating and easily bingeable. It follows the story of someone preying on Hollywood strivers in odd and mysterious ways.

  • The Confidence Game (Book) Speaking of con artists, I enjoyed this book by Maria Konnikova which dissects all the ways con artists take advantage of others.

You can get my recommendations in your inbox each week by subscribing to Ready for Rain, below:

I Can Recommend: 2-2-21 ✅

I Can Recommend: 2-2-21 ✅

sea lions and mount baker

The recommendations below also appeared in my weekly newsletter: Ready for Rain, Issue #91 – Because It’s Cool

We’ve been re-watching movies from the not-so-distant past, so that’s my focus this week.

  • Lost in Translation (Amazon) – A top ten movie for me. Scarlett Johansson (who was 17 at the time) and Bill Murray connect in Tokyo. Director Sofia Coppola beautifully captures the strange experience of being a famous American in a strange land.

  • Swingers (HBO Max) – Classic 90s L.A. comedy with Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau. I can’t see Favreau today without thinking he’s a grown up version of Mikey.

  • Intolerable Cruelty (Amazon) – A lesser-known and lesser-loved Coen Brother movie that we both have seen many times. Such great writing and hilarious characters. Catherine Zeta-Jones and George Clooney star.

You can get my recommendations in your inbox each week by subscribing to Ready for Rain, below:

I Can Recommend: 1-26-21 ✅

I Can Recommend: 1-26-21 ✅

Sand Sculpture

The recommendations below also appeared in my weekly newsletter: Ready for Rain, Issue #90 – What Does It Want To Be?

  • Hotel Mumbai (Hulu) – A gripping and action-packed film that recounts the true story of terrorists who took over the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai for three days in 2008. Stars Dev Patel.

  • James May: Our Man in Japan (Amazon) – A charming look at Japan from the eyes of James May, who is known for being the co-host of Top Gear. Easy and fun.

  • Jungle (Amazon) – Harry Potter gets lost… wait. Daniel Radcliffe plays a young adventurer who follows a supposed guide into the Bolivian jungle with two friends. Based on the memoir of Yossi Ghinsberg. It’s a little bit like Deliverance, without the hillbillies.

  • Me Mail Apple iOS App – I collect information that I need to remember in my inbox. I send myself emails that include things like blog posts ideas, things to get at the store, etc. Me Mail is an app that makes sending an email to yourself as simple as possible – just open the app, write a message and tap a button. It lives on my home screen.

You can get my recommendations in your inbox each week by subscribing to Ready for Rain, below: