Welcome to another instalment of Hits and Misses! December has been a pleasantly quiet month, which means I’ve actually had some time to sit around and catch up with stuff. These are my stand outs and, well...not so stand outs for this month:
Yeah, I know, I’m lagging way behind, but I don’t get a lot of time to dedicate to a decent Netflix habit, so it’s taken me several months to get through Season 1 of Mindhunter. I watched portions of episodes over this time and often had to scroll back to work our what I’d missed in the 3 weeks since I’d last tuned in, so it didn’t quite have the same impact on me as it did with the other reviews I’ve read. However, I did absolutely love it and, in particular, Holden Ford. His change from Episode 1 through go to Episode 10 was stark (and just a *touch* concerning), and he seemed to be the only person who wasn’t aware of it. In addition to the brilliant portrayal of Ford, Tench, and Dr Anna, the inclusion of Ed Kemper was genius, if not massively unsettling. If you love true crime and something to get your teeth into, with a great story and fantastic characters, Mindhunter is a must see.
Chris Stapleton: From a Room, Volume 2
There’s nothing I can say to properly describe this man’s vocals. He sings like a chain smoking, whisky drinking angel. And the harmonies lent by his wife, Morgane, fit hm perfectly. I first heard about Stapleton when he realeased his firs solo album, Traveler, and I loved it so much, I chose a track for the first dance at my wedding in 2016. The lyrics are beautiful and heartfelt and it’s crazy to me that he spent so many years writing hits for other country superstars (Luke Bryan and Miranda Lambert, to name two), and his voice was unknown to me. The new album is every bit as good as Traveler, and even includes a new version of Midnight Train to Memphis from his old band, The Steeldrivers. Download it, buy it, listen to it. Even if you’re not a fan of country, if you have an appreciation for blues, soul and strong AF vocals, you can’t go wrong.
Murder on The Orient Express
I’ve lived in Wales for 2.5 years now and last week was my first ever trip to the cinema. The cinema in question is a 2 hr drive from me and the new dramatisation of MoTOE is the only thing this year that’s excited me enough to merit the drive. LT wasn’t quite so keen, but I figured he could have a snooze for an hour, I’d buy him popcorn, and that’d be the last I heard of it. I love Agatha Christie, so this movie, with its impressive cast (headed by the wonderfully blue eyed and blonde Kenneth Branagh) could’ve been in Swahili and I’d still paid £11.25 to see it. The twists and turns of the story, the actors, and the incredible snowy backdrop was the perfect escape from a rather stormy day in North Wales. 12/10 would watch again.
In The Dark Podcast:
I’m a certified true crime junkie and I listen to a selection of weekly and fortnightly podcasts on my way to and from work every day. It’s a 50 min drive, so I need to be entertained. I recently learned of a serial podcast covering the cold case of the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling from his small town in rural Minnesota. The podcast was set over 10 episodes and I was nervous about tuning in as I never listen to cases involving kids. Adults? Absolutely. Children? Hell no. This podcast is as enthralling as it is horrifying and I've genuinely never sworn out loud as many times as I have while listening to this story pan out over the years. The loss of a promosing young life, along with the torture of a family who had no answers for almost 26 years is almost as upsetting as the complete incompetence of the local police force. It's a terrible story (that has now finally been resolved in terms of the culprit), but there are so many unanswered questions about why authorities didn't find what was right under their noses for a quarter of a century.
My Best Friend Hank
Hank is a micro pig with his own Instagram account. And he's every single bit as adorable as you think. Hank lives in New Orleans with his parents and takes a variety of cute AF photos and videos, which often involve him sleeping, eating, or snuggling under a blanket. It's amazing to me that I find quite so much enjoyment in watching a teeny wee pig munching on his food, and yet I do.
Lidl Lime Shower Gel
I'm not even kidding when I tell you this stuff is awesome. It smells exactly like the Original Source stuff I buy that's double the price and, although others may dispute it, I'm fairly certain it gets me every bit as clean. There's not really anything else I can say here because, well...it's shower gel. It is very good shower gel, though, so there's that...
Linwood Barclay - Broken Promises
Having run out of Michael Connolly and John Sandford novels earlier in the month, I had to make the tough choice of buying an audiobook from an author I’d never heard of. This is a task of enormous importance for me as an average audiobook runs between 12-22 hours. That’s a lot of time to be stuck listening to something you're really not getting in to. After reading numerous reviews (at least 6), I picked this book and decided to give it a spin. I'm around 6 hours in at the moment and, well...I'm just not feeling it, tbh. It's not that it's in any way bad...it's just not in any way that good. (for me, that is - lots of other people have written of their immense joy while reading it). The story tends to jump around the small town of Promise Falls in up-state New York and has numerous interlinked stories that eventually start to come together. However, I have developed a serious dislike for several of the characters so far and there's something about it I'm just not getting. I rather feel that a decade or more of Harry Bosch and Lucas Davenport have ruined me for any other author. *sighs*
The Good Doctor
This show sees Freddie Highmore, of Bates Motel fame, playing the part of an autistic genius surgical resident somewhere in California who can make the diagnoses that his worryingly run-of-the-mill colleagues are seemingly incapable of. It starts off fairly promising, but there are only so many instances of him suggesting a never before tested medical procedure or spotting a case of some incredibly rare disease that everyone else has missed before it all gets too samey. I was a huge fan of House M.D when it aired, but even after a few seasons of that, there were only so many cases of Lupus in New England that I could actually believe were possible. I mean, what the hell are people doing up there?? Anyway, while my husband has really taken to the box set, I gave up after a few episodes and decided it was time to re-run all 13 seasons of Criminal Minds. After all, there can never be a wrong time for that, can there?
Not the cartoon movie that you recall from your childhood days, but the dramatisation of the fabulous Jo Nesbo book of the same name. It's a touch darker than the cartoon, but equally snowy at it's set in Oslo and the surrounding Norwegian countryside. I've read all Nesbo's novels starring the wonderfully flawed, and often drunk, police officer, Harry Holy, and was really looking forward to watching Michael Fassbender taking on the role and bringing the insightful detective to life on the big screen. I was desperate to love this movie, but I ended up not liking anything about it. I found the story a little difficult to follow (despite knowing the story), so my husband, parents and sister (who didn't) were at an even bigger loss than me to piece together the fractured tale. It's a real shame as the book is fantastic and the whole concept of the story is incredibly creepy. It could've been a great movie, but fell very, very flat.
What are your hits and misses from December?