Sunday, July 3, 2022

Culture From The Couch: What to Watch, Read and Listen to Today

Want to expand your mind without having to change out of your tracksuit pants? Got some downtime on your hands and keen for something truly entertaining to soak up? No problem. Jut sit back, relax and enjoy our hot picks of what to watch, read and listen to from home today.


Okay, if you’re anything like me, you might often find yourself looking forward to that time of day when you can flop down on the couch and watch some telly – only, to instead end up scrolling through everything available for at least an exhausting half hour, before deciding on something, only to decide it was a waste of time about 30 mins later. Super fun stuff.

To save yourself from this torment, just start watching Succession. It’s brilliant (although the general consensus is it takes a few eps to get into it so STICK WITH IT!) and there’s two seasons, so for a couple of weeks you won’t have that angst of ‘what am I going to watch tonight?!’ You’ll find it on Neon and it features an incredible cast who each play truly awful characters – yip, they’re pretty much all terrible people, but it’s extremely watchable and hilarious at times. You won’t find a better combo than Tom and Cousin Greg.

Seven of the most unlikeable people you’ll ever come across, but this show is Heaven.

If you’ve seen it, my I please suggest you watch Quiz (also on Neon). I watched it this week and loved it. It stars Matthew Macfadyen – YES, TOM FROM SUCCESSION – as Charles Ingram, the real life former British army major who caused a major scandal after being caught cheating his way to winning the grand prize on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. It’s extremely watchable and has a fantastic cast – Sian Clifford (the sister in Fleabag) and Michael Sheen. The only downside is it only has three episodes.


If you’re outside of Auckland and can go to a movie theatre AND are prepared to have your heart broken, pop your face mask on and get along to see Waves.

Luckily while I still could, I watched this film at the cozy little Silky Otter Cinemas and it’s one of the best I’ve seen in a long while. It’s so beautifully shot, rich and epic – and at times feels like one big stylish music video that has a whole lot of heart.

Beautifully heartbreaking – Waves is excellent viewing.

Set in South Florida it traces the emotional journey of a suburban family as they navigate love, forgiveness and coming together in the aftermath of a loss. I went into it not knowing too much about the plot, and I really encourage you to do the same – so no Googling, just trust me and go into it and let the story unfold. Take tissues. This may get slightly tricky with your face mask…I’m sorry! And also please note it’s looong at 135 minutes. But worth it!

If you’re in Auckland, things aren’t so easy as you’ve probably exhausted every movie streaming option by now and I’m sorry.

But if you haven’t seen Bombshell, I recommend going to Apple TV or iTunes and renting it for $7.99. It follows the group of women who took down Roger Ailes and the toxic environment at Fox News. It’s a stellar cast, with Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and Charlize Theron (who is spectacular and almost unrecognisable as she completely morphs into Megyn Kelly).

Try not to be too distracted, spending half the time in this movie going, ‘But IS THIS Charlize Theron??’


If you feel like getting a bit woo-woo on Sunday morning, I recommend listening to Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations – specifically the ep ‘Life First Speaks to You in a Whisper’ (if you’re scrolling looking for it on Apple Podcasts, it’s near the top, released on July 22).

It’s VERY Oprah in that it’s all about listening to your inner voice, tuning in to what your gut instincts are saying – or screaming at you if you keep ignoring those vibes. Oprah believes that life first speaks to us in a whisper and if we don’t listen to those whispers, life can get out of control. Among the little case studies, she speaks to two amazing women – Allison Jacobs and Lisa Williams who were the two U.C. Berkeley campus officers who acted on their instincts which helped rescue Jaycee Lee Dugard who had been missing for 18 years.


Earlier this year I picked up  My Dark Vanessa, which became an instant bestseller after its release in March. It’s harrowing and incredible, switching between two time periods: 2000 – when 15-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in a relationship with her 42-year-old English teacher, Jacob Strane, and 2017 – when Strane is being accused of sexual abuse by a former student and Vanessa must make the decision of either staying quiet – firmly believing hers was somehow a consensual loving relationship – or re-examining and redefining her life. 

Wonderfully written, but incredibly confronting. My Dark Vanessa, Harper Collins $37.99

The early years make for incredibly uncomfortable reading and I found the urge to skip ahead to be overwhelming at times. Author Kate Russell nails exactly how it feels to be a teenage girl – which can makes it all the more difficult to read. It’s beautifully written though and gave me plenty to think about, long after I’d finished reading.

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