Looking at ratings I gave of my recently watched films, I noticed how low the ratings were for the majority of the films. Out of five stars I can possibly give, more than half are no more above 3.5 stars.

I could only provide two possible explanations for this:

  1. I might be really stingy.
  2. The films made these days (that I’ve watched) are worth just that, a 3.5 or below.

I would argue that the reasoning appears to be due to the latter. Of course, 3.5 stars is average. It’s the rating I give to films I watch to pass time that holds no significance what so ever. Like Ocean’s 8 or The Greatest Showman. And lately, I just can’t find myself to sit and watch a movie that is critically acclaimed and thought-provoking, that could possibly be worth more than 3.5 stars.

And this proved to be a challenge, especially because I promised I would write about films or TV shows I wanted to recommend. How can I possibly recommend movies or TV shows I gave 3.5 stars to? But looking through some more ratings, I found a couple that received more than four stars that I thought I could share.

Stranger than Fiction (2006)

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Will Ferrell as Harold Crick

This movie came out the last time it was Year of the Dog in the Chinese Zodiac system (for those unfamiliar with this, this year is also the Year of the Dog, and Chinese Zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle… TMI).

It is a movie centered on Harold Crick (played by Will Ferrell), an IRS agent leading a very calculated and lackluster life, who one day finds a female voice narrating his life. As strange as it may be, he tries to be unaffected by the narration, until one day when the woman speaks of his eventual death to come.

I don’t know why I didn’t watch this movie until this year. Something about the movie poster made it very unappealing for me. But I am so glad I watched it. This movie made me laugh, made me cry, it made me go through all sorts of emotions, lingering for more, in just a span of two hours.

There are quirky little romances and humor (ex. I brought you flours) that made me smile, but what really stuck with me was the subtlety of the message this movie is trying to give. Ultimately, Harold, upon hearing that he will die soon, tries to find a way to stop this from happening. Much like movies such as Yes Man starring Jim Carrey or Hector and the Search for Happiness starring Simon Pegg, the main character in this film also seeks to break the routine and boring life habit for the better. He tries to learn to play the guitar, for example, and even falls in love. But unlike the aforementioned films, this movie is not predictable, does not ostentatiously scream that it is a ‘thought-provoking film’, and viewers are uncertain of Harold’s fate until the very end. Movies like Yes Man is exactly the type of 3.5 starred movies I have talked about. Only for light viewing and never enough to provide a lasting impression. As for Hector and the Search for Happiness, I gave it a 1.5 and would trade back the time I spent watching the movie. Stranger than Fiction was different. A good different. Though it is very much a ‘happiness-seeking movie’, it deviates away from the predictable storyline, which I found so refreshing.

Will Ferrell’s performance is phenomenal, as you would expect. Instead of the typical comedy he performs in films like Elf or sketches in Saturday Night Live (SNL), his dramatic performance is atypical, funny but a bit tragic, yet delightful. This won’t be the typical Ferrell comedies you see on YouTube, but again, it’s a good different.

Stranger than Fiction, directed by Marc Forster, is a sophisticated and intelligent movie that, I believe, deserves far more recognition than it has. I gave it a 4 star out of 5, and would highly recommend those who haven’t seen it to check it out, and those who have seen it to watch it once again.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (TV Sitcom)

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Lo Truglio (left) as Charles Boyle and Samberg (middle) as Jake Peralta

Brooklyn Nine-Nine first caught my attention when Search & Explore tab of my Instagram continuously showed screenshots of scenes in the show (also, random strangers online kept saying it’s the best show ever). I finally decided to watch it and see what all the hype is about when Fox announced last month it would not renew the series, and the whole internet (jk only my Facebook News Feed) exploded with cries of angered fans demanding a solution to this nonsense. There are currently five seasons available with the series being picked up by NBC for upcoming sixth season.

The series centers around a group of NYPD detectives in Brooklyn’s 99th Precinct. We have Andy Samberg who plays Jake Peralta, an immature but irreplaceable member of the precinct, Andre Braugher who plays a newly arrived and emotionless Captain Raymond Holt, as well as a number of other detectives, each with their unique personalities that adds to the charm of the series.

I personally gave this series a 5 out of 5 stars because of how much it made me laugh out loud in real life. I honestly haven’t found a sitcom I enjoyed this much since Friends, and Samberg’s portrayal of Jake Peralta is everything I imagined Samberg would be in a comedy series.

I also want to highlight how this series deals with various social issues with a touch of humor that is not tacky or offensive. It’s like having a funny older sibling giving you ‘the talk’ rather than your parents doing it.

And I absolutely love the background music chosen in this series. Nostalgic old-school hip-hop is the perfect choice of music type for this series. You’ll get what I say when you watch this.

I cannot recommend enough of this series. The dialogues are so witty and the characters so lovable. Trust me when I say you’ll definitely smile at the silly jokes here and there. And when you finish watching the series, maybe we can set up our own annual Halloween Heist.

 

I hope these two recommendations are enough to entice you to watch them. Until next time.

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