Have some free time and wondering what to watch, play, listen to, etc.? Well we have some suggestions for you!
Ben’s Movie Pick: It (2017) – The night before It Chapter Two hit theaters I rewatched its precursor, and I’m very glad I did. Not only because It Chapter One is a terrific film that features my favorite movie monster at its absolute best, has a terrific cast – Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, and Bill Skarsgård in particular – and is one of the scariest movies I’ve seen in years, but because there are a few scares and jokes in Chapter Two that are direct callbacks to Chapter One. I remembered the main beats and best bits of Chapter One from my last viewing which was about a year ago, but having it fresh in my mind made Chapter Two just that much more enjoyable. Unless you’ve seen it within the last few months – or have an insanely good memory – you should give It another go before seeing the sequel.
For more on It, follow this link to our Podcast episode about it!
Ben’s Movie Pick: The Velocipastor – I’m going to be completely honest with you: I doubt anything I say will convince you to watch this movie if the title hasn’t already. I’m going to try anyway though, so here goes nothing. The Velocipastor is a low-budget love letter to dumb fun B-movies about a man of the cloth who turns into a dinosaur in order to fight crime (and ninjas), and it’s one of the most bizarre films I’ve ever seen. The acting is over the top at all times, the dialogue has more cheese than a fondue restaurant, and the special effects – or lack thereof – are so terrible that they’re hilarious. While watching The Velocipastor, it’s easy to see that the cast and crew behind it are big fans of B-movie schlock, which explains how they were able to make a “so dumb it’s brilliant” flick that both honors and spoofs the genre.
Lauren’s Podcast Pick: Aaron Mahnke’s Cabinet of Curiosities – From the mind behind one of my favorite spooky podcasts, Lore, comes Aaron Mahnke’s Cabinet of Curiosities, a podcast of 10 minute episodes that focus on the things that are, well… most curious. From origin stories to cursed objects, from coincidences to items that seemingly predict the future, Mahnke covers it all: the wreckage James Dean’s car left behind long after that tragic accident, a much happier event that connects John Wilkes Booth and Abraham Lincoln, how Napoleon is somewhat responsible for the creation of Braille, the time a nuclear bomb was dropped on South Carolina, how a 3D movie helped correct a man’s flattened depth perception, etc. Seriously, the list goes on and on. So start listening and you too can annoy your friends and family with countless “Did you know?” stories at the next holiday gathering! Just be sure to not repeat Mahnke’s episode ending puns if anyone is holding any tomatoes. Oof.
Ben’s TV Pick: Carnival Row – While this first season didn’t quite reach the quality of Game of Thrones, Carnival Row helped scratch the dark, brooding fantasy drama itch that I’ve had since the tale of the Starks, Lannisters, and the Mother of Dragons ended. Carnival Row tries to do a lot with just 8 episodes, and it succeeds for the most part. There are multiple interwoven narratives that all cross paths at one point or another, and the world created by René Echevarria and Travis Beacham truly feels like it’s alive and full of mythical creatures, both good and evil. The cast – lead by the fantastic pairing of Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne – is great too, as they work wonders with balancing the show’s mix of lighter and darker elements. It occasionally feels somewhat bloated and uneven with so many subplots and characters, but season one of Carnival Row is an enjoyable ride the entire way through, nonetheless.
Lauren’s TV Pick: Carnival Row – The comparisons I made between Carnival Row and Game of Thrones weren’t necessarily favorable ones… Let’s just say you’ll know storyline when you see it… but pretty much everything else I have to say about this fantastical world is unabashedly positive. I’ll agree with Ben that it’s not perfect, and there are some stories (such as the downtrodden Faun violently pushing for revolution, as well as the group of faeries working outside their permitted place in society) that would benefit greatly from being further fleshed out so they don’t simply feel like a means to an end for certain storylines, but boy do I love this show. Seriously, it took one episode and I was in deep, feeling like I was returning home to a genre I didn’t realize I had been missing so greatly. The fact that it also brought Orlando Bloom back to me was icing on top of the cake. Carnival Row is just so magical, and dark, and surprisingly gruesome, with every additional reveal reinvigorating my sense of wonder. The makeup of the faun horns, the kobold theater, the chimeric monster, David Gyasi (both his character and just in general), the simple fact that werewolves exist in this universe… It all is just so breathtakingly beautiful and I cannot wait to dive right back in when season 2 comes around. In the meantime I guess I’ll just have to rewatch this season a billion more times since there is not a book series to burn through to satiate this thirst. Seriously, the one time something like this isn’t based on a book… Curses!
Ben’s Video Game Pick: The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan – 2015’s Until Dawn, which is basically a playable horror movie for the Playstation 4, is one of the most underrated games of this console generation, and also one of my favorites. Now, four years later, Supermassive Games has released Man of Medan, the first entry in a new horror anthology game series and a successful follow-up to its predecessor. Man of Medan trades the campy slasher vibe and snowy mountaintop setting of Until Dawn for a more serious tale that follows a group of young adults that end up trapped on a long-forgotten ghost ship, but most of the hallmarks that made the former game so memorable are unchanged. Your choices in Man of Medan still have the power to change the relationships and fates of almost every character in the game, there are multiple endings that add tons of replayability, and most importantly, it’s really, truly scary. It takes a little longer to get going than I’d like, and it could’ve been polished a smidge more, but I wholeheartedly recommend Man of Medan to fans of Until Dawn. Or anyone looking for a new game to scare them senseless, really.
So what do you think about these picks? What content did we miss over the past two weeks while we were spending time with these? Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know about everything (both current and simply new to you) you’ve been consuming lately!
And while you’re here, be sure to check out our recent podcast episodes flashing back to 1999 with Magnolia, and 2009 with Watchmen.