January is the worst. Name a worse month. You cannot. And don't say September, because I know it is the month where you had to go back to school and the smell when you walk into a Staples is still traumatizing, but my birthday is in September and you may not like being celebrated and being given gifts and hugs and Facebook Pokes and gift cards and gently deflating balloons and gluten free cake perfumed with the smell of freshly blown out candles, but I GODDAMN DO.
So, January. Here, let's clean up and put away all the Christmas stuff that made everyone so happy and festive. Yeah, just like that. Drown the ornaments in bubble wrap. Smash the fake trees boughs (so lovingly fluffed) down into its cardboard grave. Unearth all the crackers that we forgot to pop open because I was so flu-sick on the 25th that I ate a spoonful of Nutella for Christmas dinner while my family gnawed on leftover pizza crusts, like adorable rats.
SO CHRISTMAS WASN'T PERFECT. But it gave me every excuse to carry loose Lindt balls around in my pockets as snacks, and spend too much money on my kid (i.e. the robot unicorn I PLAY WITH MORE THAN SHE DOES), and drink on weeknights and make potluck plans and watch ALL THE SHOWS while I wrapped 67 frisbee-shaped gifts.
I miss it so.
Based on what I watched in January, I was not very good at cheering myself up. I basically laid down in a ditch and pulled my television down with me.
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Film, this film plops you directly into a busy hospital where whip-smart and no-nonsense doctors with huge hearts have to advise patients (and their grieving families) on the best way to say goodbye. To say I cried everywhere would be an understatement.
The White Helmets
Also nominated for an Oscar, this short documentary will make you hug all your friends and family and stuff that isn't being blown apart. Imagine - having the bravery and conviction to hear a bomb destroy a city block, and immediately grab a helmet and head straight into the chaos to pull out any survivors. No pay. No glory. No guarantee you will live. I watched this while slowly shaking my head, surrounded by used soggy tissues.
Detectorists: Season One
I love British television because so much of it is so depressing, so not pretty and so perfect for curling up in a ball and thinking, well things could be worse. This IS a show that is also very funny and sweet and we all love Gareth from The Office in everything he does, right? He wrote and directed and stars in this show about two friends with a metal detector hobby. SO BRITISH. So very good. I'm so happy Season 2 is also available on Netflix.
Under The Skin
After seeing Jackie (DO IT TOO), I was stunned at how much I loved the score. I looked it up and saw Mica Levi also scored Under The Skin, that weird Scarlett Johansson movie that had been on my List forever. It's...super weird. Super slow, super intense and not what you'd call uplifting or hopeful, so it fits in January perfectly.
Jim Gaffigan - Cinco
Okay, it wasn't all doom, gloom and kale in January. Gaffigan is ALWAYS good for a wholesome laugh PLUS I'm taking a Stand Up class in February as a pre-cursor to AN ACTUAL STAND UP GIG in May, so studying the masters is always a good idea. (*Hides under bed until June.)
One of those asshole movies that is wonderful, but you watch most of it crying while laughing. THANKS JANUARY.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Pro Tip: When you're trying to sell a show to your 6-year-old kid, don't say "So, their parents die and they have to live with a mean sneaky Uncle who is always trying to kill them." Because she will DEFINITELY not want to watch it with you and you will have to blindly recommend it based on a) NPH is a genius and b) it was filmed locally.
Now that this month is finally shuffling out the door, I'm looking forward to February - a month filled with mostly sincere declarations of love, pink and glittery crafts, red icing that makes your teeth hurt and ALL the comedies on my list (especially Santa Clarita Diet.)
Love, laughter and mayyyybe some Lindt balls. Let's do this.
As a member of Netflix Canada's #streamteam I will be giving you the straight goods on what I'm watching each month in exchange for a yearly membership. It's a match made in heaven, really.