With quarantine and no sports going on you’d think I would have more to contribute to these lists, but unfortunately nothing I’ve paused my replay of The Witcher 3 for has panned out. Sorry live action Aladdin… You done goofed! Good thing Ben is always here with a wide range of recommendations to carry these posts.
Ben’s Movie Pick: Joker – Joker isn’t a perfect film, but Joaquin Phoenix’s phenomenal, Oscar-winning performance elevates the material to something far more impressive than it has any right to be. Phoenix’s turn as the titular Clown Prince of Crime in the making masks almost all of the film’s flaws – like the underutilization of Zazie Beetz, the unnecessary plot threads, and relatively tame finale – making most of them not even register in the moment as you’re transfixed by Arthur Fleck’s depressing and horrifying transformation. If there had been a lesser actor in the title role, this could’ve easily been a huge disappointment. Luckily for Todd Phillips, his star gave the best performance I’ve seen in my life.
Ben’s TV Pick: Stumptown – I imagine this PI series would be moderately enjoyable with a decent cast, but I doubt I’d still be watching it at this point if it wasn’t for the talent of Stumptown‘s core crew. Cobie Smolders brings a great deal of depth and vulnerability to the badass Veteran-turned-private-investigator Dex as we learn about her past, and has tons of believable chemistry with each of her co-stars. Jake Johnson, Cole Sibus, Michael Early, and Adrian Martinez all deliver laughs and charm as well, making even the side-stories greatly enjoyable. The writing is solid, and the soundtrack has more than a few terrific needle drops with some 80’s classics, but it’s the lovable characters in Stumptown that have kept me hooked so far.
Lauren’s Two Cents: Stumptown and Prodigal Son are the only new shows I’ve really kept up with, so I’m going to add a strong ditto to this one.
Ben’s Video Game Pick: Zombie Army 4: Dead War – This appropriately titled cooperative shooter offers a chance for you and up to three of your buddies to mow down legions of Nazi zombies with a wide array of weapons and abilities while either playing through its decently long campaign or a wave-based horde mode. It’s lacking on plot and engaging characters – the fact that I could jump into the series’ fourth entry and be totally caught up with the story so far with just a two-minute cinematic speaks volumes – but this isn’t the kind of game you should play for the narrative. Like the B-movie schlock it’s clearly inspired by, Zombie Army 4: Dead War is that dumb fun, junk-foody kind of video game that’s easily enjoyed with friends.
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: two flashback podcast episodes about Easy A and Charlies Angels (2000), as well as an episode about Birds of Prey: and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn.