Even with February's fewer days in the month, it felt like this month just whizzed by! I blinked, it was Valentine's Day, and I blinked again, and my calendar had crept ever closer to St. Patrick's Day. So, in keeping up with my New Year's resolution train to publish a blog every month, here is a roundup of a few of my favorite things from February.
The Winter Olympics 2018
In 1996, I insisted on having an Olympic-themed birthday party to coincide with the Atlanta Summer Games. My friends and I competed in silly competitions and relay races and received plastic medals. My birthday cake was shaped and decorated like a stadium, complete with a Starburst-and-frosting podium in its center. Particularly fascinated with/inspired by Dominique Dawes and Kerri Strug, I begged my parents to let me try gymnastics. I had one lesson at the local Y before the coach quit because the gym was "too hot." In her defense, southern summers are pretty miserable.
So while I never became a world-class gymnast (but honestly, it was probably for the best), I still love watching the Olympics. There is something so inspiring about watching these athletes who have worked so hard for their goals compete at such a level, regardless of their home country. My favorite winter sports are figure skating, ice hockey, and snowboarding, but, in my opinion, one of the best moments from this year's Games was Czech skier and snowboarder Ester Ledecka's incredible two gold medal wins for alpine skiing and parallel giant slalom snowboarding. It's been 90 years since anyone has won gold in two different sports at the same Winter Games, and she is the first woman to do it.
Dramatic, inspiring, heartwarming, and exciting. What more could one want in an Olympics Games?
Except, maybe, Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir narrating everything.
A Wrinkle in Time (1962)
Unlike the 2003 film adaptation, I am so excited for Ava DuVernay's interpretation coming next month. So, in anticipation of Disney's newest adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, I wanted to reread Madeleine L'Engle's novel, and it has been years since I last read the first book in the Time Quintet.
As a kid, I honestly wasn't super into science fiction, but A Wrinkle in Time was an exception. It was one of the few books I remember reading that had a central female protagonist, who wasn't a princess-type character, who was also the hero of her own story and was surrounded by other strong female characters. Meg Murry is a realistic yet ordinary girl capable of extraordinary things, and she was the kind of literary hero I, and many others, could look up to. Rereading the novel again after so long, it felt like I was catching up with an old friend, and I know Meg will inspire a new generation of readers and movie-goers. March 9th can't get here fast enough!
I missed this one in theaters but was really excited to see Coco once it came out on digital. And I was not disappointed. I'm calling it now: Coco will sweep awards season with an Academy Award for Best Animated Film win.
Unsurprisingly, the animation is stunning. I loved Pixar's use color, which I haven't seen used this well since Inside Out (2015). The music is fantastic. Best of all, Coco is full of heart and spirit.
Coco is a fun adventure that respectfully nods to the culture that inspired the story; while its initial development was plagued with problems, I'm glad that Pixar decided to go in the direction of telling a Mexican story in Mexico, instead of the original idea to tell a Mexican story from an American perspective. Representation in media has been slowly gaining speed in Hollywood the last few years, and Coco fits perfectly with this wave of representational storytelling, and I hope films like Coco prove that this wave isn't a trend, but rather is necessary for the industry.
The Valleyfolk's Valleycast (2018)
How I've missed this group! As a SourceFed fan from 2012, it is so good to see the OG hosts Joe Bereta, Elliott Morgan, Lee Newton, and Steve Zaragoza getting the preverbal band back together. They have incredible chemistry, and I am so excited for The Valleyfolk content to come.
In the meantime, they're releasing The Valleycast, a podcast series in a similar vein as Table Talk (RIP) or Zaragoza and Mike Falzone's podcast Dynamic Banter. Fun, funny, silly, insightful -- it's all of the above and entertaining as heck. SourceFed fans and SourceFedNERD fans will love The Valleycast, but I would honestly recommend this podcast to anyone.
The gang's all here!
BONUS -- WHM Research
Lastly, because I am a huge nerd and excited for Women's History Month, I've been doing tons of research for the coming month's social media posts. Every day of March I will post about a woman in film and her contributions to film history.
I've been researching, planning and making graphics for the last week and am getting pretty pumped for Thursday!
These are my top picks for February. What were some of your favorite films, television shows, web series, or podcasts this month? Let me know what you're looking forward to seeing in March!