TV Review: Derry Girls (2022)

Title: Derry Girls
Release Date: 2022
Creator and Writer: Lisa McGee
Director:  Michael Lennox
Production Company: Hat Trick Productions

The third and final series of Derry Girls is once again full of laughs at the antics of teenagers Erin, Orla, Clare, Michelle, and James.  While still very funny, I’m glad this is the final season because it’s starting to fray at the edges, and the actors are definitely getting too old to play teenagers. Although I would not be opposed to a reunion episode with the characters as adults.

This season’s hi-jinx feature the girls getting arrested for breaking into their school at night, performing as the Spice Girls, having a troubled journey to a seaside amusement park, and attending a Fatboy Slim concert. Actually, for working class kids they seem to have a lot of resources for making costumes and decorations.  Anyhow, the older generation of characters have always been fun supporting cast, so it’s appropriate that Mary and Aunt Sarah and co get a whole episode to themselves with flashbacks to when they were young and irresponsible.

The series ends with a longer episode that focuses on the Good Friday Agreement to bring peace to Northern Ireland and the choice everyone has to vote on the referendum set against Erin and Orla’s 18th birthday party.  A great end to a great show!

90 Movies in 90 Days: Old Joy

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: Old Joy
Release Date: January 2006
Director: Kelly Reichardt
Production Company: Film Science | Van Hoy/Knudsen Productions | Washington Square Films

Old Joy is an early feature film written and directed by Kelly Reichardt, creator of Wendy and Lucy and First Cow. Like those later films it is a quiet character study set in the Pacific Northwest. Mark (Daniel London) and Kurt (Will Oldham) are a pair of thirtysomething men who reunite for an overnight camping trip. The movie also stars Lucy as Mark’s dog Lucy!

Mark is married and a homeowner with a full-time job and anxious about becoming a first-time father.  Kurt continues to live a freewheeling countercultural life that Mark once shared in.  The movie is a reflection on how friendships grow apart and grieves for the lost past and possibilities.  It’s a very well-made film, but be warned that it is also slow-moving.

Rating: ***

90 Movies in 90 Days: The Martha Mitchell Effect (2022)

I’m kicking off 2023 by trying to watch and review one movie every day for the first 90 days, all of which will be 90 minutes or less.

Title: The Martha Mitchell Effect
Release Date: June 17, 2022
Director: Anne Alvergue and Debra McClutchy
Production Company: Foothill Productions

This short and straightforward documentary that’s made exclusively of archival film and sound recordings, focuses on an element of the Watergate scandal that is overlooked by history. Martha Mitchell was the wife of John Mitchell, attorney general during Richard Nixon’s first term until 1972 when he took on leading the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP).  Martha defied the expectations of the demur Washington wife and was often outspoken about issues political and personal which made her a minor celebrity on talk shows.

When the Watergate scandal breaks, John has Martha brutally imprisoned in a California hotel.  The Nixon administration then starts a gaslighting campaign that Martha is mentally ill in order to silence her.  But she continues speaking out on the scandal, at first to protect her husband who she thinks is innocent (he wasn’t) and then to try to expose and end corruption in government.  If you have 40 minutes to sit and watch this film it will be well-spent learning about this overlooked historical figure.

Rating: ***