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This week in streaming: What did you watch this year?

Plus: The year of Letterboxd and a review of 'Being the Ricardos.'

 

Audra Schroeder

Internet Culture

Published Dec 29, 2021   Updated Dec 29, 2021, 11:30 am CST

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of Internet Insider, where we tell you what you should be watching this week.

TODAY:

  • The best movies and TV shows of 2021
  • Drop your Letterboxd
  • Being the Ricardos does too much

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YEAR IN REVIEW

Trying to remember the movies and shows of 2021

During a holiday gathering, I was asked an innocent question by a loved one: What was your favorite movie this year? I smiled and tried to look thoughtful, but panicked when I kept coming back to the same question: Was that this year?

The internet culture staff watched a lot of content this year, and came up with lists of our favorites, from the buzzy Showtime drama Yellowjackets, to Jane Campion’s acclaimed The Power of the Dog, to season 2 of the memeable I Think You Should Leave

As for my favorite movie, Titane was certainly the most memorable theater-going experience, and it’s the answer I eventually arrived at, but how does one describe that film to their mother? 

Read our full year-end lists here

—Audra Schroeder, senior writer


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CULTURAL OBSESSIONS

Letterboxd was the only good social network in 2021

A few weeks ago, Jeff Goldblum was subjected to a series of questions by Stephen Colbert during his appearance on The Late Show. Released as two separate videos on YouTube, the questionnaire consisted of 15 fairly softball and low-stakes questions that let Goldblum play up his eccentric charm.

To kick off the second video, Colbert asked Goldblum what his favorite action movie was. Instead of listing just one movie, Goldblum took out a small black notebook from his jacket pocket in clear anticipation of the question at hand.

“Now, this is a work in progress,” he told Colbert, getting excited enough that he struggled to get the words out. “I’m going to- I can’t- I would be- I can’t say one, but here are a bunch of movies, very quickly.” By Colbert’s count, Goldblum listed 25 movies, which encompassed a blend of classics, modern movies, and even one of his own movies: Jurassic Park.

It didn’t take long for Letterboxd, a social media site that allows users to log, review, and list all of the movies they’re watching or want to watch, to urge Goldblum to “drop your Letterboxd” so that we could see what else Goldblum was watching. Shortly after, someone made a Letterboxd list of Goldblum’s favorite action movies, which features a bar that allows users to see what percentage of the movies they’ve watched for themselves or to plan a new watch. (I’ve seen 11 of the 25.)

Letterboxd, the New Zealand-based site that was founded in 2011 by Matt Buchanan and Karl von Randow, was geared toward cinephiles. In 2021, it’s a site I frequented more and more not just because I logged movies, but it gave me more of a window and a curative experience that made the year suck just a little less

Many of Letterboxd’s early users are the kind of people, according to a 2020 Ringer profile on the site, who were already obsessively logging what movies they watched on paper or spreadsheets; the site notes that it’s been described as “Goodreads for movies.”

The site is active on Twitter as it celebrates movie anniversaries and film awards or showers affection for filmmakers. More people started frequenting the site more during the pandemic; Letterboxd said in January 2021 that the number of accounts on the site nearly doubled in a year

Read more here

—Michelle Jaworski, staff writer


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REVIEWS

Being the Ricardos is an overstuffed and unfocused look at Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

Being the Ricardos wants to be a lot of things. The newest film from writer-director Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7) plays out over a highly eventful week during the production of I Love Lucy in 1953, the events of which would need far more than a single episode to convey. 

It tries to encompass elements of a more traditional biopic as Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) weathers two scandals—one that could tank her career, the other her marriage—as well as another development that’ll throw a major wrench into the show.

It wants to recreate certain scenes from I Love Lucy shot-for-shot, and for some reason, the film is framed with a fake documentary in which several key players during this week are interviewed by an unknown person behind the camera. 

Some of those devices are far more successful than others.

Read the full review here.

M.J. 


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*First Published: Dec 29, 2021, 11:21 am CST