THINGS THAT WERE GOOD IN APRIL 2021
Promising Young Woman (Amazon Prime)—Every single thing about this movie floored me—it’s a revenge tale but unlike any other I’ve seen before. Better not to know too much before you watch it, just don’t miss it (if anyone wants to unpack the ending privately so that we don’t spoil it for the rest, dm me). Fun fact: Emerald Fennell is the writer/director (she won an Oscar for the screenplay)—you know her as the actress who played Camilla Parker Bowles in The Crown—what a rare, new breed of incredibly talented multi-hyphenate!
Mare of Easttown (HBO Max)—Wherein Kate Winslet (we’ve missed her, right?) perfects what is known as a Delco accent (Philly-ish) in a twisty, highly atmospheric crime thriller. Drops every Sunday and stays with you all week.
Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal (Netflix)—A pitch perfect Matthew Modine nails the sinister sangfroid of Rick Singer in this “reenactment” of what came down in the 2019 admissions bribery mess. All the dialogue between Singer and the complicit parents is apparently authentic and taken from FBI transcripts, making the entitlement and privilege they display all the more chilling (and triggering if you are close to or in the college application process with your own progeny).
Newly obsessed with podcast BBC Food Chain where the likes of Alice Waters, Yotam Ottolenghi and Samin Nosrat participate in a segment called “My Life in Five Dishes.” My favorite was Nosrat’s which was so evocative of a feeling I described to a friend the other day—that certain Indian dishes make me homesick for a country in which I never lived (if you want even more Nosrat, she was also featured in a truly heartfelt episode of Brené Brown’s podcast, Unlocking Us). Additional flair is that the interviewees pick the soundtrack for their respective podcasts.
Podcast by my queen, Kelly Corrigan, called Wonders—episode with Brit Bennett, author of one of my favorite recent books, The Vanishing Half.
New podcast by Molly Sims and her best friend—Lipstick on the Rim—about lotions and potions, etc. It’s sweet and fun.
Smartless podcast brought to us by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett. At first, I thought this was a little too much bro-ish energy, but I was eventually won over by the fact that they are LOL funny. So many great episodes—George Clooney, Awkwafina, Ron Howard, Jennifer Aniston.
Morning Meeting—podcast brought to us by the digital weekly, Air Mail (see below—“On the Fence”)—Episode 28 in which Bobbi Brown discusses putting yourself back together post-pandemic.
Further to my Stanley Tucci in Italy obsession, this article from The Atlantic—“Cooking Your Way Through the Pandemic.” Love this man. Period. Full stop.
This piece in Town & Country about the making of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Underground Railroad, into a limited series on Amazon Prime directed by Oscar winner Barry Jenkins.
This article in the New York Times about the shrinking of social circles during the pandemic—Here’s my take—as we cautiously come out of our homes, we are likely to come face to face with people whom we realize we never really missed and can perhaps do without. I attended my first post-pandemic “event” recently—a luncheon with 75 people to hear a well-known writer speak about his new book. I loved being able to hear a writer speak about his work in person but literally ran for my life at the end of the luncheon lest I be ensnared in a “so-how-was-your-pandemic” convo with other attendees. That “small talk” muscle will take a minute to rebuild…but would it be so bad just to let it atrophy?
The chlorophyll yogurt at Croft Alley on Melrose.
Hint Water—flavor infused water is helping me help my kids hydrate.
Resoré anti-bacterial towels—could be a gimmick (or, as my elder daughter used to say when she was little—a “mimic”), but I like them.
On the Fence
I’m having loads of ups and downs with Air Mail, the online newsletter, founded by former Vanity Fair editor-in-chief Graydon Carter and former New York Times reporter Alessandra Stanley. I don’t really know Stanley’s work, but I grew up on Graydon Carter’s Vanity Fair, like literally devoured every issue. But now with Air Mail, I am finding its clubby, NYC literati insider, we-all-hang-out-at-Bemelmans-Bar vibe to be a bit outdated. There is no doubt, some solid as well as fun reporting here (including one of the more interesting articles on private school Dalton’s diversity debacle and, on the frivolous side, a blurb on the beleaguered Harry called “The Fresh Prince of Montecito” (not linking because a subscription is required to read)). It’s all sort of making sense that Carter would have been replaced at Vanity Fair with the much more of the moment Radhika Jones. Nevertheless, get a trial subscription and let me know what you think.
Canopy humidifiers—I live in a house full of allergy-ridden coughers. This humidifier was touted as the “cleanest humidifier” with anti-microbial blah blah blah, basically it sounded like the Tesla of humidifiers. But what I seem to have gotten instead is the poltergeist of humidifiers. It turns on when we have turned it off, it runs through its full tank of water in a couple hours, and it’s noisy AF. I feel a little duped but am not ready to put it in the discarded appliance pile just yet (further to this, has anyone tried the Molekule air purifier—they are pretty but do they work?).
The Serpent (Netflix)—This limited series is violent, disturbing and seemingly without a point. If anyone has finished the series and loved (or even liked) it, let me know in the Comments.
Thank you so much for your incredible interest in my last post on our love/hate relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop—I was truly blown away by how many people read it and responded. I received tons of feedback which can be summarized like this—So, basically Gwyneth Paltrow was born on third base and then created an empire on the backs of the wellness practices of other cultures and peoples without giving representation to either. Knocked me out—this is a very astute set of readers indeed.
In other news, I was tickled to receive a second request for feedback in my in box—reinvention must be afoot!
Also, they recently hired a new co-host of the Goop podcast, Erica Chidi Cohen, whose bio says she is a doula and a reproductive health educator.
In her insta announcing the new gig, Cohen says, “This collaboration is about evolution. It’s about bridging a gap. I recognize that @goop is a deeply white space that hasn’t represented the full expanse of my lived experience…but right now we need bridges…” Fair enough and looking forward.
Leaving This Here
The writer Dani Shapiro is like Kelly Corrigan in that her deep personal authenticity and empathy has been a north star through these long, lonely times. Here she encourages cutting ourselves a break as we creep back to normalcy. Personally, I feel like we are undergoing the mother of all gaslighting experiences, hearing messages to get back to it when we have experienced deep trauma yet to be unpacked. It’s nice that at least some sensitive souls will acknowledge the devastating weirdness of it all (the last line in the post refers to a faux fur coat she is wearing in the insta photo).
Be safe of course (we’ve been saying this for over a year) but, perhaps more than ever, be gentle.