Wondering what to do with your upcoming free time? Good thing we have some suggestions for what you should be watching, playing, reading, listening to, etc.!
Ben’s Movie Pick: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – The Lord of the Rings trilogy is without a doubt the best fantasy film series of all time, with all three of them among my favorite films of any genre. The transformations that Frodo, Aragorn, and the rest of the fellowship (portrayed by a cast that’s amazing from top to bottom) go through and the trials they endure are all wonderfully realized in Peter Jackson’s adaptation. All the various, diverse locations of Middle-earth are stunning, the score is genuinely moving, and there are very, very few movies that have been able to create such incredible battles. Even 17 years after The Return of the King, nothing else within the genre has come anywhere close to matching the quality of this legendary triplex, and I doubt anything ever will.
Ben’s Music Pick: Synthwave and Synthpop – Borderlands 3‘s – damn right I’m still playing it! – most recent in-game event, Revenge of the Cartels, added some temporary, 80’s themed style to the game, along with its own synthy soundtrack. I eventually looked it up on Spotify, fell down a rabbit hole of sorts, and since then I’ve been listening to tons of synthwave and synthpop while writing and working from home. The artists I’ve been mainly listening to are FM-84, VHS Dreams, Perturbator, Jesper Kyd, and Finishing Move Inc., all of whom have a great number of ultra-cool, retro soundbytes.
Ben’s TV Pick: Community – After years of hearing about how great it was from various coworkers and friends, I finally decided to give Community a watch. Unsurprisingly, all the praise was warranted. Community uses its razor sharp writing and phenomenal cast’s chemistry to create some of the most memorable moments in TV sitcom history. Seriously, the first paintball episode (yes, there’s more than one) might be in my top five TV episodes of all time. And in addition to the countless comedic beats, most of the flawed, but ultimately well-meaning main characters in the series are changed for the better by their experiences at Greendale Community College in a believable way, and the bond that grows between them feels completely natural. Watching these loveable goofballs adapt to and support each other is a legitimately heartwarming experience. Even though there’s a slight dip in quality in the last two seasons, Community is still a worthwhile binge that’s sure to hit your funny bone as it pulls at your heartstrings.
Lauren’s Book/TV Pick: Normal People – Is this what normal people go through during their high school – college years? The depression I get, but mine was more of a lonely depression spurred on by a far less sexy life than what Marianne and Connell have. Sally Rooney’s novel is one that I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about upon first completion because the relationship between the two leads is frustratingly flawed, lacking in the communication that would seemingly course correct the confusion the relationship is fraught with. And it forced me to come to terms with the fact that happiness is hard to achieve because so much has to align perfectly, and it isn’t the given that we like to believe it is if we just work hard enough for it. Let’s just say there is a reason I went straight into rereading Pride and Prejudice after I finished this one, and it wasn’t just because I had a strong desire to remember what it was like to read a book that understood the value of quotation marks around the dialog (something that I fortunately got used to the deeper I got into Normal People, because boy did I sure hate it when I first started the book). As bummed as I was by the novel, I will say that watching Hulu’s adaptation gave me a new perspective on the story, and I was able to better appreciate where the characters end up individually and rectify within myself that that is actually far more gratifying than where the romance left me before. Don’t get me wrong, watching Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal act out this story sure gave me the dreaded, uncomfortable sadness throat restriction that only true sorrow can trigger, but after the 12 episode run was complete, I found myself happy with where the story ended up.
Ben’s TV Pick: Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Considering how any Star Wars fan worth their salt knew how it was going to end before the show even began, The Clone Wars was focused on the journey, not the destination. And what a journey it was. Characters like Anakin and Obi-Wan were given much greater depth than ever before, and they were joined by newcomers who are now iconic in their own right, like the Jedi padawan Ahsoka Tano, Sith assassin Asajj Ventress, and bounty hunter Cad Bane. The Clone Wars also managed to fix one of the prequel trilogy’s biggest mistakes by bringing back Darth Maul – well, at least half of him – and allowing the dastardly Dathomirian to become a villain worthy to stand among Star Wars‘ greatest antagonists. It also fleshed out the Jedi Order, the Clone troopers, and a whole host of other characters, factions and pieces of Star Wars lore. The Clone Wars is a genuine highlight of the famous franchise, and should be seen by any and all Star Wars fans.
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!
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