The Suggestion Box #46: Transformers, and Androids, and Evermore, Oh My!

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: Blade Runner 2049I went back and rewatched this dystopian sci-fi thriller in anticipation of Cyberpunk 2077‘s release, and while I can’t recommend Cyberpunk in good faith, Blade Runner 2049 is still a phenomenal film that is unquestionably a must-see for genre fans. It doubles down on the same questions about humanity asked by its predecessor, while also further exploring its characters and world; and holy cow, what a world it is. In all honesty, 2049 might be the most visually impressive movie ever made. The camerawork is impeccable throughout, and every setting visited is jaw-droppingly gorgeous, either in the traditional sense or because they perfectly embody the “ideal” dystopian cyberpunk setting. The cast is equally brilliant, packed with nuanced, possibly career-best performances from Ryan Gosling, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Harrison Ford, and more. I enjoyed the original Blade Runner, but 2049 easily surpasses it in every aspect, making it a genuine science fiction masterpiece.

Ben’s Movie Pick: Bumblebee Bumblebee is the first live-action film that I’ve seen that recaptures the heart of the original Transformers show. The “E.T. but with a robot” story is sweet, if unoriginal, and the bond between Bee and Hailee Steinfeld’s Charlie is totally believable and actually rather touching. It also has multiple robot battles that easily rank among the franchise’s best (the first of which needs to be drawn out into a movie of its own), and unlike the unbearably awful supporting human characters in the last two or three Transformers movies that I managed to survive, Bumblebee’s are actually pretty solid! Jorge Lendeborg Jr. is endearing as Charlie’s awkward friend Memo, and John Cena does an admirable job as the antagonistic Agent Jack Burns, though he probably could’ve been even better if he was given more comedic beats to play with. Bumblebee is the best of the live-action Transformers films that I’ve seen thus far, and we can only hope that any future installments lean more towards this than the previous movies.

Ben’s Movie Pick: Fatman I don’t know who – if anybody – was wishing for a humorous, slow-burn Santa Claus thriller, but I’m certainly glad we got this utterly bizarre Christmas gift! Fatman is a darkly comedic holiday romp that follows a world-weary Santa (Mel Gibson) whose financial strain forces him to accept a military contract, and an assassin (Walton Goggins) who has been hired to kill the “Fatman” by a wealthy, spoiled child that earned himself a spot on St. Nick’s naughty list. The film gets some great mileage from Gibson, Goggins, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste’s – who play Mrs. Claus – star power, and has a lot of fun modernizing and giving a darker, yet totally self-aware edge to the Santa Claus legend. There’s also some surprisingly awesome (but brief) action in the final act. With all said and done, I’ll be adding Fatman to my yearly holiday rewatch list.

Lauren’s Music Pick: Taylor Swift’s Evermore After finishing up my little blurb about Soccer Mommy in the previous Suggestion Box, I was breathing a sigh of relief that that’d likely be the last time I’d have to struggle through expressing why I enjoyed an album for the year, and then Taylor Swift showed up shouting “not so fast!” with her second surprise album of the year, reminding me just how much of a lazy layabout I’ve been for having accomplished next to nothing this year. Though it doesn’t unseat Folklore as one of my favorite albums of the year, Evermore is another amazing album with its various sounds and stylings, from the visions of a Kirsten Dunst starring Marie Antoinette type ball with “Gold Rush,” to some vengeance seeking “Goodbye Earl” energy with “No Body, No Crime,” to the good ol’ twanginess of “Dorothea” and “Ivy” (I think they’re twangy? …Did I mention how much I hate writing about music with my minimal understanding of the genres and vernacular?). I’ve been repeatedly listening to the album in its entirety since it first came out, with songs like “Happiness,” “Marjorie,” and “Evermore,” being my highlights; though if I’m being honest the number of times I just replay “Champagne Promises” is pretty embarrassing at this point. I’ll take the happy Taylor songs; but you know me, I’m soaking in that sadness.

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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