Movie Review Roundup 2017, Part One: Confessions of a Netflix Addict

Netflix: Is it Inspiration Central for writers?

My name is Jessica and I am a Netflix addict. And a Stan addict. And Amazon Prime. Unfortunately—or fortunately for me—we don’t have Hulu or any of the others in ‘Straya yet, so I can be saved from consuming more of the timesuck that is online streaming. My fiancé and I recently caved in and signed up to Netflix early this year, and I’ve roughly guesstimated the number of movies I’ve watched on there, and elsewhere, and the count got up to at least 35. There are still 46 movies (and 135 books, but let’s try and ignore that for now) on my To-Watch list, so this addiction doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. Don’t worry, I do have a life. I’ve even managed to get some writing in!

So I’ve devised a solution. Alongside the book reviews, I’m gonna do a monthly catch-up of all the great and not-so-great movies I’ve been watching, and my reviews, no matter how ridiculous, no matter how trashy.

Warning: I have a slightly terrible taste in movies. A bunch of these are beloved and popular movies that I gave 👎👎👎 reviews. *Cough cough* I’ll ignore the various movies I’ve re-watched, ’cause clearly I think they’re awesome (Shrek 1&2, Fight Club, Sorority Row, Inglourious Basterds). Let’s get going!

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Into the Watery Depths of a Book Review

When I was seventeen, I saved my sister from drowning…

Danielle “Nel” Abbott is obsessed with the local area of her town of Beckford, nicknamed the Drowning Pool, where it’s said troublesome women come to die. She’s writing a book about the Drowning Pool and all the women who have mysteriously committed suicide there, but it’s making a lot of the townspeople angry. When Nel ends up being one of the Pool victims herself, her younger, estranged sister Jules (never Julia!) has to revisit all her long-repressed memories of Beckford to care for Nel’s cliched-moody daughter Lena and try and figure out whether Nel actually committed suicide—or is something more sinister at play?

Into the Water is Paula Hawkins second novel. After the success of The Girl on the Train, her first novel, which I kinda reviewed in a blog post on foreshadowing back in 2015, everyone—me especially—was waiting with bated breath for Hawkins’s second novel.

And guess what?

It’s disappointing.

Into the Water was released on May 2nd, and I quickly requested it from the library, with a queue that now stretches over forty other excited folks. This week, I realised it was due back at the library—overdue now—and I hurriedly went ahead and read this 352 page behemoth (not really haha!) in just a couple of days, 100 pages at a time. It’s a quick read once you get stuck into it, and the plot promised to be interesting.

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You Won’t Read This Blog Post

According to studies, around 60-80% of you never read past the headline. That’s right, this one included. Congrats if you read past the aptly titled You Won’t Read This Blog Post, ’cause you’re in the minority! You’re only slightly more common than the guesstimated 0.01% of people who read the iTunes terms and conditions, those poor, poor souls. I mean, I read the entire Copyright Act of 1968 once for a university assignment, and I don’t even do that.

So, um…hello, I guess? Wow, I actually only had enough content to fill out that one paragraph. Hey, well since you’re still reading this well into paragraph two, I guess you’re here for the long run. Sigh. I guess I’ll start with the article that I first thought of when looking into the topic of, well, Reading Past the Headline and Read[ing] This Blog Post. It was April Fools’ Day, and I was one of those fools that spent the day mindlessly scrolling down the mine of endless time-wasting, Facebook. That day in 2014, I switched between Facebook and Twitter and back to Facebook. Then a wild article caught my attention. These were the wild days in which I didn’t have AdBlocker and F.B Purity, so I immediately reacted—probably with rage or annoyance or something–when I saw this headline:

Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?

With imagined fury running through my veins, I read through the comments, as they, 100% of the time (unless comments are disabled) are a source of lolcowery, entertainment and humour. This one was predictable, with the obligatory slew of comments about millennials destroying society by partying with smashed avocado instead of buying houses; As a non-American, I knew ‘Muricans were always stupid; those “LOL Debbie this is so true” with attached Minions image; and more. The truth: I didn’t even click on the link until I read a comment that gave it all away. And I’m not the only one. You do it too.

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The Wrong Sort of Writer – Writing as a Woman in the Current Year

What do authors Enid Blyton, Muriel Barbery, J.K Rowling, K.A Applegate, Suzanne Collins, Kim Harrison, Christine Harris, Aimee Friedman, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Eleanor H. Porter, Daphne DuMaurier, Fiona Barton, Harper Lee, Sue Townsend, Anne Frank, Louisa May Alcott and Natalie Babbitt, have in common? Other than being among the authors that hugely inspired my own writing, they have one thing in common. They’re women.

But there’s a problem. These women are white women. Despite being writers with diverse life situations—with situations as varied as Anne Frank, a Dutch-German journal-writer who died of typhus in a concentration camp in 1945, to timeless children’s authors like Blyton, Montgomery and Porter, to writers of riveting suspense fiction like duMaurier and satirists like Townsend. There are more than just these authors. You’ve got the classics like Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and Mary Shelley. You’ve got contemporary lit that my mum enjoys, like Sheila O’Flanagan, Maeve Binchy, and Rachael Johns. You’ve got so many successful women throughout modern literature, but that’s not enough for those who reside in social justice circles.

I have nothing against equality and diversity. I’m libertarian/centre-left on the political scale, and support most left-leaning causes, with a tiny fraction of right-leaning ones. My problem, as I’ve blogged before, are the radical communists and anarchofeminists on my side of politics—more commonly known as intersectional feminists. I love to read books by all sorts of different authors—as long as they have an intriguing plot—and enjoy books by the likes of authors like my current #amreading, Marie Kondo, and if you have any book recommendations, please leave me some in the comments. I’m always looking to increase my TBR List!

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The Unnamed Review

For the few years I have wanted to write thrillers, most writers of said genre have recommended reading Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca as the epitome of thriller and suspense fiction, and a classic in the era of Gothic fiction. Every time I saw this advice, I went “Yeah, but I’ll read it some day” and proceeded to forget. Not so recently—i.e. December last year—I picked up a copy from my local library with every intention of reading it. I started it slowly across January to March, only reading approximately 100 pages, but ultimately finding it far too slow-paced for my liking. Come last week, I had a bout of insomnia that coincided with the month of April and all that happens in the so-called “cruellest month”, as T.S Elliott and others have dubbed it (Easter, ANZAC Day, school holidays, etc). With that sudden case of insomnia, I thought to myself; “Why am I wasting time on the internet. Why not read?” Preferably, as the ad goes, I thought por qué no los dos, but I managed to read the remaining 280 pages of Rebecca in under a week, so it all worked out in the end! It didn’t help that, despite the initial slow-pace, Rebecca was so damn interesting, as Maxim de Winter would likely say.

Rebecca is the 1938 novel by English author Daphne DuMaurier, which was turned into a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1940. While I haven’t watched the film, I have watched The Birds, another DuMaurier story-turned-film, and didn’t like it. I mean, I love Hitchcock’s Psycho, but The Birds just didn’t do it for me, mainly the ending. Maybe DuMaurier’s short story is much better than the film, but it left me a little worried when I started reading. Never mind! Despite starting off relatively slowly, and being very long (my edition was 380 words of short text—lucky I’m short-sighted, not long sighted!) As said before, I read the first 100 pages in three months, but the remainder of the book took me about 4 or 5 days. This is amazing for a slow reader! The basic premise of Rebecca is this: When the shy, unnamed narrator meets charming recluse gentleman Maxim de Winter in Monte Carlo, they immediately fall in love and get married. However, their wedded bliss is short when they return to Manderley, Maxim de Winter’s lavish estate in the Cornish coast in England. The problem: the reason Maxim escaped to Monte Carlo in the first place was he had lost his first wife, the charming and amazing titular Rebecca, a year earlier, and when the second Mrs. de Winter arrives at Manderley, she lives in the shadow of the perfect previous Mrs. de Winter, and many of the residents of Manderley—including head maid Mrs. Danvers, among others—won’t let her forget that. There’s a lot of secrets at Manderley!

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This is Not a Barbaric Book Review

Just last week, the beginning of autumn (Fall, for the Americans reading this) brought about a sudden change from 35°C days—which was barely tolerable as is—to under 20°C, with barely a flip of the hat, excuse the bad cliche. Naturally, my body reacted by getting a cold. Instead of picking up the copy of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier I’ve been slowly trawling through since January, I decided to pick up another book. I did this back in March when I reviewed The Girl Before by J.P Delaney. I was about a hundred pages into Rebecca when I realised The Girl Before was due back at the library in less than a week. This time around, I just wanted a quick read, something to distract me from the dreary banalities of lying, snuggled up in a dressing gown with an overly warm Bengal cat by the my side. Lucky for me, Barbarians: How The Baby Boomers, Immigration, and Islam Screwed my Generation by Lauren Southern was a quick and easy read, and helped pass the time.

I first discovered Lauren Southern last year when she was mostly responsible for initiating #TheTriggering, a hashtag event on Twitter with a simple point: to annoy and ridicule the politically correct “social justice warriors”, or SJWs. I thought it was an interesting concept, but other than that,  I believed Southern, while noble in her cause, was too right-wing. A few months later, Southern reappeared in the limelight with two events: 1. having urine thrown on her by a social justice loony, and 2.when a transwoman punched Southern, leading to a college feminist dubbed Smugglypuff badly feigning ignorance to what happened. These events put ex-The Rebel reporter and Canadian millennial Lauren Southern, on my radar, and when her first non-fiction Barbarians was released in December, it was definitely something I knew I would read.

Barbarians: How The Baby Boomers, Immigration, and Islam Screwed my Generation was released in December of 2016, which is apt, considering most of what she talks about in the early chapters help provide a framework for the events of 2016, namely Donald Trump’s United States Presidential win. Being only 82 Kindle pages, it was an amazingly quick read, which I completed in under a day. Its synopsis is this: Southern, with a chapter dedicated to each, explains how the Baby Boomers, think tanks, immigration, Islam and Millennials (previously known as Generation Y) destroyed the millennials  and created a generation of what she perceives as whiny entitled brats and is essentially leading to the downfall of Western civilisation. Basically, after the end of World War II, the children of the Silent Generation became arrogant about their easy lives in a Post-War world and believed they were entitled to more than they were, infiltrating universities in the 1960s as “tenured hippies”. These Baby Boomers then raised the next two generations—Generation X and the Millennials—and these Boomers, both Left- and Right-wing, created the issues in the world today, and has led to a generation of entitled, whiny snowflake millennials.

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You have pending blog posts scammer: An Introductory Guide to Spam Emails

Just click here. Or at least type “Click here” into Google Images, like I did.

You can’t go a second on the internet these days without coming across scammers, spammers, clickbait and malvertisements. If you haven’t discovered browser plugins like Adblocker, or you simply just accidentally clicked on an ad on the sidebar of the website you’re perusing—you may have seen this side of the ‘net. Liking and reacting to meme and celebrity pages on Facebook leads to the same insidiousness. However, the most insidious of these are those that appear in your email’s Junk folder. You may just think it’s full of Nigerian scammers asking for you to wire them money or “pharmacists” as fake as YourMexicanDoctor.com from Grand Theft Auto, but the junk folder is a minefield of entertainment. Granted you don’t click on any of their links!

A few years ago, I used to visit a site called SlushpileHell that critiqued terrible query letters to literary agents. The anonymous literary agent made snarky analyses and comments about the various aspiring authors and their entertaining, cringeworthy manuscripts. While the site has been inactive for a few years, I thought I would emulate the style of SlushpileHell by critiquing a few of the—what else can I say?—humorous junk emails that I receive.

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