Welcome to the last edition of the Deets and Geets Newsletter, “He Said, She Said,” of 2021. Below, check out our commentary on movies, shows, and music we’ve been into this month, all broken down by platform.
On a side note, the last two years have held both moments of stress and bliss and everything in between, often in new and unexpected ways. We’ve tried to bring levity and insight to you all in the process of living our best lives under the circumstances—hopefully, we’ve succeeded. At any rate, we hope to see you in 2022 with a revamped show (we’re always thinking of ways to make the show more fabulous) and new content.
Happy New Year and stay safe!
AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
He said: Jai Bhim is a 2021 Tamil-language legal drama based on a true incident fought by Justice K. Chandru against police brutality / casteism in the early 90s. While a hard watch due to the brutal reenactments of torture/interrogation and overall inhuman treatment of tribal people by the police and townsfolk, the film succeeds in bringing the characters and their respective struggles to life. The rock music over slow-motion displays of Chandru swagger seems out of place given the gravity of the events portrayed, as does the peculiar make-up used to darken the skin of Senngeni (Lijomol Jose). Why not find an actor with that skin tone? We raised this question about a character in Sacred Games 2. Brownface never looks natural.
She Said: Based on a true 1993 incident and court proceeding, Tamil film Jai Bhim is a legal drama about a tribal woman’s struggle for justice as she searches for her missing husband after he was wrongfully imprisoned and tortured in police custody. The title is a slogan used by followers of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, an anti-caste Dalit lawyer and writer of the Indian constitution. Some of the scenes of graphic violence by police against the tribal people could have been toned down; I think even without them, the film is powerful and effective in showing the myriad odds that are stacked against tribal and caste-oppressed people in India.
AMERICAN INDIAN FILM FESTIVAL 2021
He Said: Technically, this was in November, but it’s worth breaking the rules to mention. So, last year’s virtual American Indian Film Festival (AIFF) selection was awesome, but the rollout was a bust—not only did you have to pay anywhere from a couple of bucks to over ten for each movie or a bundle of movies (usually two short films), but you had to contend with constant buffering, even on different devices. One film I really joyed was a documentary titled Crow Country about food sovereignty on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana. Highly recommended for being a good doc, but also because one of my friends is in it. This year’s AIFF had an equally good selection AND the streaming platform worked without issue. Pricing was still a drag. I get that providing content virtually means less return on investment for filmmakers, cast, and crew, but increasing the price per film means most people won’t be able to watch as nearly as many films as provided by the in-theater pricing model. That said, the standout film for us this year was Beans, which focuses on twelve-year-old Beans (the nickname of the titular character, Tekehentahkwa). The film is a coming-of-age story during the Kanehsatake Resistance, also known as the Oka Crisis, the spirited Indigenous protest against construction of a golf course on sacred Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) land near the town on Oka, Canada in the summer of 1990. The film uses news footage from the period, which helps to transport viewers into this tumultuous time. Solid acting from all players, especially rising stars Kiawentiio Tarbell, Paulina Alexis, and D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, also helps to bring the story to life.
She Said nothing.
He Said: Slow start to an intense show. I’ve seen six episodes at the time of this writing and am not totally sold on the multiple story lines / perspectives aspect of the series—especially when one family feels central to the show and its struggles provide the bulk of the tension at this point—but I’m enjoying it more as it progresses. Yes, this is about an alien invasion, but the essence is more on how an alien invasion affects people rather than how it infects people.
She said nothing.
He Said: I’m all about archers, but something about Hawkeye’s character never excited me. I’ve always thought him capable, but not exciting. That said, Disney Plus has been rocking each and every Marvel series it’s created and this one is no exception. Although more of vehicle to introduce Kate Bishop to the Marvel cinematic universe, the show also does well to explore Hawkeye’s lore and his weariness of superhero life given the last ten years of fighting and loss. A light, fun holiday entry, though, don’t let the Disney label fool you—parental guidance is advised.
She Said: I only knew of Hailee Steinfeld as the “wonder, what if, let’s try” singer from Sesame Street, so it was fun to see her as Hawkeye’s archery protégée in this short, action-packed Disney-Marvel series. I’m not enough of a nerd to know or research the extent to which the connections have all been predetermined in the comics, but it’s amazing that just in 2021, there have been four series that fleshed out and built out the storylines from Endgame for a set-up of the next generation of superheroes. Disney knows how to keep our attention!
He Said: We rarely talk video games, but I’ve gotten hip to the Google Stadia during the pandemic, and a bit of Cyberpunk 2077 this month. You may have heard of this game in the news last year for being the Fyre Festival of videogames. Before the days of hotfixes and hefty patches, missteps of this nature would have spelled doom for a title. Fortunately, the developers have taken the year to regroup and “fun up” the game. Yes, to “fun up” something is a thing. While the game isn’t the massive living city with superior combat and graphics hyped in the initial adverts, it succeeds in world building and storytelling with the help of a side-character played by Keanu Reeves. With a good internet connection, the Stadia version is superior in visuals and performance to the as Xbox One version, which has long load times, sound irregularities, and grainy/washed out visuals. I’ve read the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S versions are also solid in performance and presentation. All versions are still a little rough around the edges, however, as character movements can be a bit stiff and random glitches pop up from time to time, such as hair, limbs, and car frames disappearing for a few seconds, and defeated enemies hovering in the air or sticking out of the ground. On a side note, Keanu is always Keanu no matter what character he plays. Yeah.
She said nothing.
And Just Like That…
He Said: I miss Samantha.
She Said: I’m currently in the middle of the fourth episode of this revival of Sex and the City. Why is the premise so traumatic?! I kind of wish they had started the series with the Big news instead of having it collapse on us at the end of the first episode. Anyway, it’s fun seeing Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and some of their O.G. crew, now in their mid-fifties, up to old and new antics. Samantha was often fun to watch in SATC, but was also a little extra (especially in the SATC2 movie) and I don’t think the show is hurting too much without her. Sarita Choudhary has made her appearance and I see that there is going to be an episode called “Diwali” in January, so that should be interesting! I like that the show lets the ladies stay true to their characters while also engaging (often in a cringe way) with a more diverse range of New Yorkers; each of them has a new ethnic friend whose function is to expand their horizons, lol.
He Said: Issa Rae and company should be commended. Insecure is not only good for representation, but is also one of the rare comedy shows of late that is actually funny and hearfelt. Ted Lasso falls into the latter category as well. That said, Insecure suffers from the “will they, won’t they” aspect running too long. Given that this is the last season, having Lawrence in the picture as a possibility is a distraction as they’ve broken up multiple times and seemed to have moved on since the beginning of this season.
She Said: I’m sad that this season is the final one since I really enjoy watching Issa and Molly, but I’m not super invested in the storylines of this season. I’m so done with Lawrence and I was always done with Nathan. I think it would be fun to continue watching little web vignettes of Mirror Bitch and Issa -Molly-Kelli sleepovers after the show is over.
He Said: I honestly never thought they would make another Matrix movie, so my interest was piqued when I heard the announcement. My enthusiasm was curbed, however, after seeing the trailer. I won’t say the film is unnecessary, as there were some brilliant ideas introduced, but there were definitely some curious choices made, such as the campy, meta vibe that runs through almost every scene. Actually, it reminds me of the last few seasons of CW’s Supernatural, which went off the rails a few times
She Said: I can’t say no to Keanu saying “Yeah!” I liked this resurrection to the same extent that I liked Bill & Ted Face the Music. It’s a satisfying meta call-back with the feel of the original movie and blended well with the present blue-pill day.
He said nothing.
She Said: This sweet 8-episode series (or Season 1 thereof, hopefully?) is centered around Sabi, a non-binary Pakistani Canadian millennial trying to sort out their priorities in life, work, and relationships. The show is mostly light, but it also deals with some sort of heavy situations, and everything blends together just fine. I like that the show doesn’t dwell greatly on Sabi’s struggle with culture or identity, though of course those issues come up in the storylines. I’m looking forward to seeing more from Bilal Baig, the co-creator, co-writer, and star of this show.
DECEMBER GEETS (aka Winter Jamz)
He Said: Mariah SZN is still upon us. I’m not a fan of Christmas music, but Mariah continues her reign as Christmas music queen. The Kacey Musgraves Christmas album is a few years old, but remains a treat. Beyond Christmastime music, I’ve been bumping a lot of Afrobeats:
- Century (featuring Fanarito, Kyika DeSoul & Konka) – Djy Zan Sa
- 66 – Felo Le Tee & Myztro
- First Time in America – Naira Marley
- IYABO AKWAABA – Naira Marley
- Sensima (featuring Reekado Banks) – Skiibii
- I Wonder, What If, Let’s Try – Hailee Steinfeld, Sesame Street
- Dance Tonight – Lucy Pearl
- After Party – Koffee Brown
- Close My Eyes Forever – Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne
- Gremlins Theme Song
- It’s the Time to Disco – Kal Ho Na Ho