5 Things to Gush About: August 5-11

The cassette is back! And more to gush about this week.
Keanu Reeves Always Be My Maybe

“Mum” Season 3: This British sitcom is about the most patient and forgiving mother in the entire world. But underneath the portrait of her quirkly, often insulting, and clueless family members, there is a a slow-burning romance between the widowed “Mum” played by Lesley Manville and her old friend Michael played by Peter Mullan. It’s incredibly addicting and we’re halfway through Season 2 right now, happy with the news that Season 3 is now available on Britbox. Here’s the trailer for Season 2:

“Murder Mystery”: I know, I know, it’s Adam Sandler, but he can be good once in awhile. Okay, maybe every 20 years. I loved “The Wedding Singer”. Anyhow, I caught this recently and loved it. It’s very commercial and formulaic, but Jennifer Aniston is used perfectly and there are quite a few interesting casting choices such as the Icelandic lead of “Trapped”, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, plus David Walliams of “Little Britain”, and the Welsh actor Luke Evans who is just sexy. Not deep, but great for those who like their mysteries to be funny and light.

“Always Be My Maybe”: My brother Lance recommended this and it is quite good. The plot is a bit standard romcom, but the leads and the culture they bring into the movie, never seen on Hallmark, makes it much more diverting. I hadn’t seen Ali Wong in anything, although she has a million Netflix standup specials, and loved her. I’d seen Randall Park before but not like this. These characters are fully American and I think that’s a great thing for America to see. It reminds me of the fact that even though I was born in Japan, I am entirely American from the way I speak, the things I like, and my love for the melting pot concept that has made America so great. And it’s got a great cameo by Keanu Reeves. Best I’ve ever seen him.

“Something Like, Something Like It”: A Japanese film about Rakugo, a form of entertainment much like stand-up comedy except the performers sit on a cushion in front of the audience and tell a story. In this film, a young wannabe performer becomes the somewhat unwanted apprentice to a famous performer who has now pretty much given up his career and works as a fix-it guy around his neighborhood. A fascinating bit of culture I didn’t know anything about and it’s also touching and funny. I was surprised to find out this 2016 film was a sequel to an earlier film from 1981 called “Something Like”, with both featuring the same cast except for the young apprentice, of course. I saw this on a Japanese channel in Hawaii that provided subtitles, but not sure where else it can be seen.

Cassettes: Audio cassettes are making a comeback. Although everyone threw out all their cassettes in the ’90s, bowing to the superiority of CDs, people are now nostalgic for them or they’re young and want to find some kitschy new way to collect music. A lot of young bands apparently find the format cheaper to produce than vinyl (and wouldn’t be caught dead doing CDs). I remember getting the Sony Walkman which was completely liberating since I could take the music I curated anywhere I wanted. I didn’t have to rely on what was playing on the radio. So I have a soft spot for the format. However, I don’t currently have a cassette player. And Dolby won’t license it’s technology to cassette players any longer, so the new ones being produced don’t sound very good, apparently. But we collect them anyhow.

There’s a great article by Paul Sinclair at Superdeluxeedition.com about this resurgence, although a micro-number compared to cassettes’ heyday. Here’s a story from the Today show:

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