Happy New Year, everyone! To get this thing started off right, here are a few suggestions from me and Ben on what we think you should be checking out.
Ben’s Movie Pick: The Peanut Butter Falcon – The Peanut Butter Falcon is a short, sweet, and wholesome adventure with a borderline whimsical charm that had me smiling or laughing almost every step of the way. Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, and Zack Gottsagen (in his full-length feature debut) have an instantly-believable and rock solid chemistry that adds to the warmth and humor of the story; and even though it’s almost entirely predictable, I never really cared because I was having so much fun watching the bonds grow between the main trio as they continued on their quirky quest. The Peanut Butter Falcon is my feel-good movie of 2019, and one I think almost everyone should be able to enjoy.
Ben’s Movie Picks: Ju-On: The Grudge, The Grudge, and The Grudge 2 – To prep for this week’s reboot of the remake, I decided to rewatch the first American film (again), followed by its two sequels, and finally see the J-horror legend that inspired them all. While I can’t recommend The Grudge 3 thanks to how boring and devoid of scares it is, I certainly enjoyed the rest. I’d say that the American version of the original is the best of the bunch, but Ju-On and The Grudge 2 are definitely worth watching as well. Witnessing the vengeful spirit of Kayako Saeki unleash her rage upon anyone unlucky enough to encounter her ranges from mildly creepy to terrifying in the majority of these films. In fact, Ju-On and The Grudge both feature a scene that ruins the sanctity of one of the most comfortable places in the world. With moments like that, it’s easy to see why the series has gone on so long, and I’m hopeful that the newest incarnation will do justice to its oh-so popular predecessors.
Lauren’s TV Pick: The Witcher – Netflix’s The Witcher is the best movie adaptation of a video game. Sure, it’s a TV show that’s actually based on the books that inspired the game series, but with how sparse that genre of film is with high quality entries, I’m making an exception. For those who don’t know, the first season of The Witcher pulls heavily from Andrzej Sapkowski’s collection of short stories about the title character, Geralt of Rivia, a man who was mutated as a child to be better equipped to protect the world from a slew of horrific monsters. There is nuance to the character in his beliefs about evil and views on those he’s been tasked with exterminating, but if you’ve read my recent reviews of the stories and novels then you’ll know that there wasn’t much else there for me on the page. Fortunately the show succeeds where the books fail, filling the whole world with interesting, complex, and independent characters; and I am beyond relieved that both Geralt and Yennefer (an extremely powerful sorceress and love interest for the Witcher) feel fully fleshed out now, thanks in large part to the performances of Henry Cavill and Anya Chalotra. The monsters are grotesque (I’m still not over the striga’s design), the fights are brutal, the bard’s ballads recounting the tales are catchy, and diehards of Sapkowski’s stories will be happy to know that the show is just as obsessed with boobs as the author is. So be sure to toss a coin to your Witcher to secure plenty of seasons long past the second that has already been ordered.
Ben’s Two Cents – As someone who’s never read any of the novels or played any of the games, I still enjoyed the first season of Netflix’s Witcher series quite a lot. Maybe not as much as Lauren – Mortal Kombat still is and will probably always be my favorite video game adaptation – but the performances of the main cast really made me care about Geralt and co. That gave each startling revelation, emotional beat, and brutal battle huge stakes for me.
And I’ll probably be belting out the chorus from the instant earworm “Toss a Coin To Your Witcher” for months to come.
Ben’s Video Game Pick: Borderlands 3: Moxxi’s Heist of the Handsome Jackpot – The first add-on included with Borderlands 3‘s season pass (it’s also available to buy on its own) is exactly what I wanted: more of that sweet, sweet Borderlands 3 goodness. The DLC’s setting of a casino built by the not-so-dearly departed Borderlands 2 villain is one of the best locales in the series to date, and it brings with it a few new supporting characters, right along with the return of one of my all time Borderlands favorites. The new weapons and gear – like a revolver that gets randomized perks presented like a slot machine after every reload – are both fun and powerful additions to the game’s already absurd arsenal too, and the DLC’s 80’s synth style soundtrack is fantastic as well. Moxxi’s Heist of the Handsome Jackpot is more than enough reason for fans to jump back into Borderlands 3, or in my case, yet another reason I can’t stop playing this insanely fun looter-shooter.
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 some of the site’s other recent content: Lauren’s reviews of the first 2 Witcher novels (Blood of Elves and The Time of Contempt), Zac’s spoiler filled review of Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, Ben’s lists of his favorite video games and films of 2019, Jon’s favorite films and albums of 2019, Grant’s favorite podcasts of 2019, and our flashback podcast episodes about Fight Club and Martha Marcy May Marlene. It’s been a busy two weeks!