With grown ups once again at the controls in Washington, my days aren't nearly as consumed by news (and outrage) as they had been. For that, I am incredibly grateful!
But with Los Angeles still the American epicenter of COVID-19, there's not a lot out there with which to fill my sudden abundance of free time.
Show business is still in hibernation mode. And I can't seem to focus enough to get started writing my next book, even though I know what it will be.
Thank God for all the movies and series on the streaming platforms!
But being a Gemini, I often find the sheer number of choices to be a bit mind-numbing. I open up Netflix (or Amazon Prime, or HBO Max, or Hulu, or CBS All Access, or AppleTV+). Next thing I know, its two hours later, and I'm still scrolling, scrolling, scrolling...
Too often, I cannot pick a single "tree" out of the TV "forest."
And we don't even have Disney+, Peacock, or the new Paramount+, or the Waffle House Channel (jk!) -- or else my head would explode!
So since my attention span during the last several months has been next to nil, I've been going retro and turning to YouTube more and more for entertainment and distraction. The short clips are more my speed these days.
In no particular order, here are 10 of my current favorite YouTube channels, and a little bit about why I love them.
I guarantee you'll laugh as you watch British lads Shaun and Tom screen (and react to) famous films for the first time.
Laurence and I discovered them around Halloween, as they started with horror classics and slasher films, and we became instant fans.
Their post-mortems are actually quite intelligent -- so much so, I sometimes wonder if they are actually film students.
They've since broadened their scope, and now watch other genres as well. They are always very entertaining, no matter the film. It's interesting to get the younger generation's take on the classics. But I still enjoy them most when they are screaming and cringing at shock and gore!
An added bonus: the boys are very cute, and have such great chemistry, that you might find their videos just a touch homoerotic around the edges!
Film history with a strong feminist slant. This channel offers many fascinating videos about women in Hollywood.
Most of the videos focus on a Best Actress winner of a particular year, the other nominees, and the political, artistic, and social influences that led to each winner's march up to the podium.
But other offerings dive deep into topics such as "Why We Love Meryl Streep"; the "feud" between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford; comparisons of every version of A Star Is Born and Little Women; a historical guide to Mank; the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and why the Oscars and the film business tends to be so damned white!
I know it sounds stuffy, but the vids are anything but. They are written, produced and narrated by Isabel C. with sly humor and more than a little snark.
Entertainment reporter Grace Randolph offers film analysis, reviews, and Hollywood news that every film geek will love. Because she's a big film geek, too!
On Fridays, she offers detailed info on the major films coming out that weekend; on Tuesday, she offers analysis of the weekend's box office numbers.
And throughout the week, she posts movies reviews, shot-by-shot trailer breakdowns, casting news, and more. If you're a fan of comic-book movies, you will particularly love her! (Don't worry, she digs DC & Marvel equally!)
I've become hooked on Vogue magazine's interview series (sadly now on hold due to COVID). Thank God they shot a lot of them before lockdown!
In each video, a famous guest from show-biz, fashion, or sports answers a rapid-fire list of questions thrown at them by an off-screen interviewer who follows them about for the duration.
The subjects are always moving -- about their house, across their yard, down the street. And yes, some do feel a bit staged (they would have to be -- have you ever answered that many questions without a single pause?) But they are fun and entertaining, and many offer a glimpse into the subject's home or work space. My favorites so far include Dan Levy, Gal Gadot (natch), Lizzo, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.
Run by the same folks, these two tongue-in-cheek channels are the flip side of the same coin.
CinemaSins hilariously lists everything wrong with a particular film, using a counter to add up just how many "sins" the movie has committed. Its a very quick way to "hate watch." (I don't think I could've sat through Cats any other way!)
CinemaWins does the same thing, only in reverse. Its counter lists everything a particular film does well. I've also used this channel to help decide on whether or not to watch movies I'm not sure I want to commit to -- most recently Midsommar (which I loved).
DISCLAIMER: Do not try this at home!
French dancer Yanis Marshall first found fame on Britain's Got Talent in 2014, for his high-energy routines performed in very high spiked high heels.
The 31-year-old has since found success as a choreographer, and travels the globe teaching his "Heels Intensive" routines, many of which can be found on his YouTube channel.
He is truly a marvel to behold. I couldn't even walk in his shoes without breaking my ankles. Damn, the boy can dance! I dare any football player to match the athleticism in these numbers!
This show-biz obsessed channel offers hilarious commentary and reviews on movies, TV, and pop culture in general.
But my favorite clips are their "Honest Trailers," wherein they recut film trailers so that they more honestly (and hilariously) describe the film they advertise.
Here's a sample, from Wonder Woman 1984: "Crank up the girl power -- after you crank through an hour of just ... kinda ... waiting for the plot to get going" (followed by a 15-second silent scene of Steve and Diana walking through the aviation museum at the Smithsonian).
OK, so I might be a bit biased with this choice. But my good friend and colleague Amanda Gari's dollops of political satire, disguised as musical-theatre parodies, helped keep me sane during the Trump Era, and continues to do so as we wait out COVID. And every so often, she appears as Judy Garland (a character she has a side career portraying!).
With her wonderful voice, comic timing, and satirical lyrics (which she writes herself), she'll have you asking "Who's Randy Rainbow?" in no time!
No, its not a site about gender pronouns. It stands for "How It Should Have Ended."
Using fabulous animation, this channel produces parody alternative endings to recent major motion pictures. -- while gently poking fun at said film's shortcomings.
From DC to Star Wars to Marvel to Disney, no sacred cow is spared!
File this one under "Sheer Guilty Pleasure." If you're a fan of any of the prime-time soaps from the 1980s, you'll find plenty to like on this channel.
Top Ten lists, tributes to stars who have passed, and lots of fan-favorite scenes. You won't find any deep analysis of the '80s Prime Time Soap Phenom -- but you will find a fun trip down memory lane.
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All this YouTube viewing has led my husband's latest catchphrase: "Can we watch a real show now?"
He's about to get his wish. With the delayed Screen Actors Guild Award season now upon us, I'll have to forsake YouTube, at least temporarily. For I now have a long list of films and TV series to watch before casting my ballot!
So I've shown you my list! Comment below and tell me your favorite YouTube channels or videos, and/or what you're watching on TV!