Honestly, I think most things we watch can make us better people if we approach it that way or if it was well-made and had that intent. I found myself really thinking about the characters and people in everything I watched this month so I think this idea strongly applies. Here are TV shows and movies that can make you a better person! Spoilers ahead!
What I Watched, August 2022:
Better Call Saul (2015 – 2022)
This prequel/sequel to Breaking Bad follows Saul Goodman, Heisenberg’s infamous dirty attorney. It follows him way before he meets Walter White though. He is Jimmy McGill, when we meet him and we follow his life, learning where the “corrput lawyer” persona really comes from. Mike, Gus Fring, Hector Salamanca, and others also get their beginnings.
I pretty much watched this whole series this month. I caught up just in time for the finale to release. Vince Gilligan is a master of character. I think from watching this show, we can learn how people change and how decisions we make really effect us, small or big. And that of course, we need to take resposibility for our actions. We can avoid our problems and feelings with fun, crazy, maybe illegal, or bad things OR we can take responsibilty for what we’ve done and live in reality.
Season 1 Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9q4qzYrHVmI&ab_channel=SeriesTrailerMP
The Black Phone (2022)
Young men go missing in a small neighborhood in the 70’s. We find our protagonist, Finney, falls into the same predicament. “The Grabber” keeps Finney in his basement with an old, but broken landline. But one day, the phone rings. Finney answers the phone to find the voices of “The Grabber’s” past victims, trying to get him out.
Finally got to see this and was not disappointed. I had read the short story by Joe Hill so I was very excited. There is a great message with this film about confidence and trusting yourself. This movie is actually a coming of age story. A really creepy and scary one, but nonetheless, we see Finney develop into someone more confident and happy after his ordeal.
Hopefully we don’t need to be kidnapped to really understand ourselves, but I know one of the best life tips ever is “know thyself.” It’s the 1st step in anything we hope and dream to do!
Everything, Everywhere, All At Once (2022)
Evelyn, an aging Chinese immigrant and mother of 1, finds herself in a strange situation while doing her taxes. She learns of a multiverse in which every possible situation where her life was changed by decisions she made, spurt off a new universe in which she continually lives. What will this knowledge do for her?
I finally watched it! And it is so good. So good. My parents are also immigrants here in America and I am first generation American, so I related a lot to this family. I’m not asian (I’m Tongan) but there were SO many similarities I could draw between myself and those in the film.
I think this film teaches us about an optimistic nihilism. Nothing matters so treasure whatever and whoever you can. Nothing matters so “be kind. Especially when we don’t know what’s going on.” Nothing matters, so MAKE something matter to you. Especially the people around you. I think it’s easy to overlook our loved ones sometimes, but like the movie suggests – there is something that will always draw ourselves to them. They are more important than we know.
Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist (2022)
This is the new Netflix documentary about the Manti Teo hoax, where his “dead girlfriend,” in which he dedicated his Senior year of football at Notre Dame, was not real. He was catfished.
I remember hearing about this when I was a little younger. I’m polynesian so this was specifically a huge topic in our community. Huge themes with forgiveness and character in this one. Even though Manti was ridiculed and teased for it on such a huge stage, he still forgave his perpatrator and he most importantly, forgave himself.
If Manti can forgive himself and others, we can too. He was publicly humiliated, lost millions of dollars, and forever became a meme because of this incident. But the only way he could really overcome his trials, was to forgive. He didn’t get the law involved or demand money or anything. He just forgave. That’s where the peace was.
Mr. Malcolm’s List (2022)
A fun and cheeky regency-era romance. Julia Thistlewaite is publicly rejected (ghosted) by the infamous Mr. Malcolm. After learning Mr. Malcolm has an extreme list of standards he looks for in a wife, Julia uses her close friend, Selena, to trick Mr.Malcolm…with his own medicine. Things change once Selena meets Mr.Malcolm and lets just say, 10 Things I Hate About You in the Regency-era is kind of fun.
With this, I think we can all learn that perfection and “checking off our lists” are not viable. It may seem like the best option but we just don’t live like that. Whether we are looking for partners or friends, we should be looking for potential or differences that encourage us to be better, etc. Perfection is overrated.
A sibling duo of Hollywood animal trainers living in the middle of the California desert face a possible extraterrestrial threat, in this new Jordan Peele classic.
I really enjoyed this movie. The tension Peele creates is pretty amazing. I learned about exploitation in this film. Whether animals are being treated unfairly or people (without money or status) are being treated unfairly, we learn it all has consequences. Beyond these attempts of fame and exploiting others (or ourselves) there is this power of nature and life that will correct things. Life is big! There are more important things in life than money or fame. We should look at the bigger picture and ground ourselves in something. For the characters, that was each other (family) and their family legacy. What is it for you?
Look Both Ways (2022)
After a steamy night with her best friend, Natalie’s life is changed forever…or not changed forever. Split into 2 narratives, this film covers Natalie’s life if she has ended up pregnant and if she didn’t end up pregnant. After college graduation, we follow one version to LA where she works to follow her dreams in animation. We also follow the other version who moves back to Texas with her parents and her baby daddy to care for the baby. A great tale about no matter where you are in life, what regrets you have, or what choices you make, you can be OK…you can be happy.
This was a fun watch. I liked how they made both endings happy. Both narratives also had their hardships. I think people tend to believe the life where you accidently get pregnant too young is 100x harder (and it can be), but they did a great job of balancing the trials and “emptiness” of both lives.
For me, this film says no matter what happens, you are where you’re meant to be and you can thrive. The film also implies a multiple soulmate possibility. That depending on timing, what choices we make, and where we go, someone will come as they should. There is no right or wrong path of life as long as we are happy with ourselves, we keep working hard, and we are being kind to those around us.
Other watches: Prey (2022), Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021), Spiderhead (2022), Hush (2016), Men (2022), The Fall (2006), No Exit (2022)
I highly recommend the films I’ve written about above. If you watched any of these or anything else where you learned something, let me know. I’d love to hear! Thanks for reading!