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.!
And rejoice! A wild Jon appears!
Lauren’s Movie Pick: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night – A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a dark, yet surprisingly quant, story of two people finding each other in a ghost town. One being a regular flesh and blood, sticky fingered human, and the other being someone who doesn’t actually have to be afraid walking home alone at night because she’s a badass, skateboarding, take-back-the-night vampire – I throw the skateboarding detail in there, not because it is intimidating, but because I cannot express enough just how much I loved watching a vampire glide around with her hijab flowing out behind her like Dracula’s cape. I was a little worried that the choice to make this a black and white film would spell defeat for me, fortunately Ana Lily Amirpour doesn’t hold back manipulating the chiaroscuro, turning up the contrast enough to do away with the muddier grey tones that would’ve ruined my drive to watch the film. Though I can’t say the same for Amirpour’s followup, The Bad Batch, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a must see, reminding me just why I love vampires so much.
Ben’s Movie Pick: Scoob! – While it isn’t anything revolutionary, Scoob! is still a fun, comedic romp with a few surprises, tons of laughs throughout, and an overwhelmingly awesome voice cast that should most likely appease both long-time and newer Scooby-Doo fans alike. Every character and voice actor in the movie is great, but my particular highlights of Mystery Inc. were Zac Efron’s (ascotless) Fred and Gina Rodriguez’s Velma. However, the best-in-show were the characters played by Mark Wahlberg, Ken Jeong, Jason Issacs, and a certain 30 Rock alum – that I won’t spoil here – that steal the show, while also possibly setting up the next steps in the franchise. If this iteration of the gang gets another go, I’ll definitely be there for it.
Ben’s Movie Pick: The Scream Quadrilogy – In my opinion, legendary horror maestro Wes Craven’s Scream franchise is one of the all-around highest quality series in the genre. Even the weakest link, Scream 3, which admittedly devolves into what its predecessors and successor critique, is still a decent film with enough charm, wit, and fun cast members to make it an entertaining and worthwhile watch. The other entries in the quadrilogy, Scream, Scream 2, and Scream 4 are all exceptional meta slashers that point out the tropes and formulas of other horror films, all the while constantly scaring and surprising you. I’d also put the opening scene of Scream among the best in film, horror or otherwise, and the Scream 4’s first few minutes are amazingly memorable as well. Here’s hoping the upcoming Scream 5 doesn’t lower the franchise’s average.
Ben’s Movie Pick: Spirited Away – What’s there to say about this Miyazaki masterpiece that hasn’t been said already? The whimsical and dark story introduces you to a truly unique world that’s full of memorable, lovable characters. A brilliant score adds to the film’s fantastical nature and greatly heightens every moment of tension, grandeur, or emotion. You can see the love and care put into the wondrous, breathtaking animation in virtually every single frame. There’s all of that, and somehow it’s barely aged at all in nearly two decades. Not only is Spirited Away still one of the most impressive and important animated films of all time, and one of my personal favorites.
Lauren’s TV Pick: The Great – Seeing as I am no history buff, it’s probably for the best that Hulu’s The Great put a disclaimer with its title card stating that it’s “an occasionally true story” based on the lives of Catherine the Great and her husband, Emperor Peter III of Russia. Nicholas Hoult shines as the largely incompetent doofus of a leader (again, fictionalized, though far too real in many aspects for some of us…), but no amount of praise is too much for Elle Fanning in her portrayal of Catherine. At first I was a bit unprepared to see her in a very adult role (and was shocked to find that she is all grown up at 22 years old now), but now having watched the whole series, I can’t imagine anyone else playing the part. Fanning has such a wide range in this performance as the often naive and overly optimistic conspirator hoping to take the largest seat of Russian power for herself, and she imparts so much heart into the character that it is no shock that when the show unexpectedly hit me with the feels, Fanning made sure it hit hard. Seriously, she is brilliant in The Great, as is the show on the whole.
Jon’s Video Game Pick: Marvel’s Spider-Man – I always get flack for being the one non-gamer on the MotR website, who opts instead to watch let’s players on Youtube. Indeed, I went into Spider-Man having seen all of it already played through by Markcepticgrump. That being said, the immersive free roam setting of New York City had me hooked from the beginning. I opted out of the main storyline early on, more eager to explore all of NYC and discover real life and fictional landmarks and all the places Parker hid his backpacks throughout this urban jungle. The game does a great job at incentivizing you to do the sidequests in order to be the best Spidey possible. I once thought that the beat ‘em up genre had died and suffered a plummet in enjoyment and difficulty once 3D became the standard in gaming, but I always found myself adequately challenged and anxious to get better and master various combos, attacks, and gadgets in this game. It took everything in me not to just brute force my way through the main quests and see more of MJ, Aunt May, Martin Li, Mile Morales, and Otto Octavius, as the facial motion capture and voice acting is stunning, and I’ll admit many of the more heart wrenching scenes brought me to tears. On the surface level the game might seem like nothing more than Assassin’s Creed with a heavy Marvel overlay, but in reality it is the closest you’ll get to being a friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
Ben’s Video Game Pick: To the Moon – I had repeatedly heard how great this interactive storytelling indie game is over the past few years, and I finally got around to playing it on the Switch. To the Moon is set in a world where those who are close to death can have some of their memories altered or erased to bring them peace, and you play as a pair of memory specialists granting the wishes of a dying man. In order to do so, you jump through the most important moments of his life, seeing all the highs and lows. What follows is a tale of love, loss, pain, and hope that’s full of instantly lovable characters, perfectly executed revelations, humorous wit, and a soulful, superb soundtrack. There are less than a handful of games I’ve played that pack an emotional punch as powerful as To the Moon’s, which brought me to tears quite a few times during my four-hour playthrough; and I cannot recommend it enough to those looking to experience their next great gaming story. Just be sure to have some tissues on standby.
Jon’s Youtube Pick: Game of Zones – My relationship with basketball has waxed and waned over the years, but as popular culture has overlapped with sports culture I’ve found myself reinvested in the drama on and off the court. Game of Zones has been a huge part of me being able to re-immerse myself in the game and its surrounding plotlines. Using storylines and characters from Game of Thrones for comparison proves to be a strong method of satirizing everything about the NBA, from the players to the coaches, to the league heads and fans themselves. The series ended this summer finding the league’s current heavy hitters attempting to assert themselves as the Dream Team’s nightmare, and ascertain who, if any among them, deserves to ascend to the throne as the one and only GOAT. Its hilarious take on basketball goings will be missed when the league inevitably starts back up again.
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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