I hope that this edition of At the Movies with Kasey finds you and your family well. Personally, because of Covid-19, I am home from work indefinitely and all of the places where I volunteer or play are closed as well. That’s left me with a lot of time to read, plant my garden, and watch TV with the dog. There is a lot to worry about and my hope is that as a community, we will find a way through these uncertain times together—just, you know, six feet apart. In the meantime, my husband and I have been making every night movie night and I have also found some time to catch up on new shows on Hulu.
I was most excited about Hulu’s adaptation of Celeste Ng’s novel, Little Fires Everywhere. I read the novel when it came out in 2017 and I did not love it, but I anticipated that it would make a great miniseries. In the story, artist Mia Warren (Kerry Washington) moves to a bougie Cleveland suburb with her daughter, Pearl (Lexi Underwood). When they are rented an apartment by Elena Richardson (Reese Witherspoon), the two women’s lives get intertwined despite their very different temperaments and situations. While Mia struggles with how close Pearl grows to Elena’s son, Moody (Gavin Lewis), Elena struggles not only with her eccentric daughter, Izzy (Megan Stott), but also with Izzy growing close to Mia. It is already a tangled web before Elena starts digging into Mia’s past. Oh, and the season opens with Elena’s house burning down, before flashing back to four months earlier.
As of this writing, the first three episodes (of eight) are available on Hulu and they are off to a dramatic start. The first scene and the gorgeous opening credits promise that the story will culminate in a devastating fire, but before we get there, the tension between the characters are set to a low simmer. At its core, Little Fires Everywhere is about the conflict between two sets of mothers and daughters and how these little dramas get twisted together. The series has done a wonderful job so far of making each of these four women unique people with specific needs and personalities. It is easy to see where each of them is coming from, which makes the drama that much more intriguing.
The production quality of the show is top shelf and the art direction and music have some fun flares because of the story’s 1997 setting. The acting is also very strong. It is hard to know where to look when Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington share a scene together, because they are both doing so much emotionally. I still wish, however, that Washington was given more roles that did not swing back and forth between glaring and lecturing. This is not that role. Still, I look forward to seeing where the show goes from here.
Little Fires Everywhere was developed for television by Liz Tigelaar and will run for approximately eight hours. It is rated TV-MA.
I was much less enthralled by the FX documentary now streaming on Hulu, The Most Dangerous Animal of All, in which Gary L. Stewart makes a long, rambling case that his long-lost father was the Zodiac Killer. I want to call this a vanity project, but hesitate to do so. Is it really vanity that leads someone to very publicly declare their father a notorious monster? I do not know. What I do know is that this documentary is far, far less interesting than it looked like it would be. The docuseries runs for four approximately 40-minute episodes, and each episode provides precious little evidence that is interesting at all. And I love true crime! This one is clunky, self-important, and ultimately unconvincing.
Kasey’s Top Shows to Binge-Watch:
In no particular order, these are my favorite shows to binge-watch, in case you have extra time on the couch. Many of them are pretty obvious picks, but are like comfort food. I’ve grouped them by streaming service.
– Veronica Mars (Hulu)
– Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (Hulu)
– Friday Night Lights (Hulu)
– Dead Like Me (Hulu)
– The West Wing (Netflix)
– Gilmore Girls (Netflix)
– You (Netflix)
– The Good Place (Netflix/Hulu)
– NBC’s classic three comedies: Parks and Rec, The Office, and 30 Rock (Netflix; Hulu)
– Jeopardy (Netflix)
– The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
– Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 (Amazon)
– Pushing Daisies (Amazon)
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