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: Hercules (1997) – Disney’s version of the legendary demigod’s exploits is one of the best animated features ever released by the house of mouse. The fun spin Hercules puts on certain aspects of Greek mythology, such as reinventing the muses as gospel singers just to name one, brings a smile to my face each time I rewatch it. Added bonus, the movie has my favorite Disney soundtrack: “Go the Distance,” “Zero To Hero,” and every other song featured in Hercules is as memorable as it is catchy, with “I Won’t Say (I’m in Love)” topping them all to become the best romantic song in Disney’s history. That is not up for debate. The voice cast is also phenomenal; Tate Donovan brings tons of charm to the up-and-coming hero, Susan Egan gives Meg the dry wit and attitude that makes her such a standout among Disney’s leading and secondary ladies, Danny DeVito is brilliant as Herc’s satyr mentor, Phil, and James Woods’ Hades is one of the greatest animated movie villains ever. All in all, Hercules is one of the best family-friendly flicks to be released by the studio that has dominated that market for decades.
Ben’s Podcast Pick: Slightly Something Else – Previously titled “Slightly Civil War,” Slightly Something Else is a podcast co-hosted by Yahtzee “Yahtz” Croshaw and Jack Packard, the former of which I have been following for years via his Zero Punctuation video game reviews. They both have deep knowledge and an equally strong appreciation for video games, and listening to their (often differing) insights on gaming subscriptions, common trends in AAA gaming, and a wide variety of other topics is always quite informative and entertaining. I know some people that think Yahtz can occasionally be a little snobbish, but I have no problem with it because his opinions and stances are always backed by sound, compelling arguments. I also appreciate the show because the pair always discuss something that interests them or is important in their eyes. Slightly Something Else doesn’t just review the newest, biggest release, but instead takes a deep dive into something that probably isn’t being covered a whole lot elsewhere, and the earnest engagement from its co-hosts makes it a more worthwhile listen than most other gaming podcasts in my eyes… Or ears, I guess.
Ben’s Video Game Pick: Destiny 2 – After almost two years away from Destiny 2, I dove back into the looter shooter a couple of weekends ago. Some things have changed during my absence (such as the game going free-to-play and certain planets being replaced with new areas to explore), but everything that I’ve loved about the franchise since the original Destiny is still present. Each destination is unique and packed with activities to complete and secrets to uncover, the game itself is visually stunning (as of now, it’s the best looking game I’ve played on my Playstation 5) and virtually every aspect of its gameplay is simply incredible. Whether I’m nailing a headshot with a hand cannon, unleashing my devastating superpowers, gracefully jumping through the air, or racing across an open environment on my sparrow (futuristic hoverbike), playing Destiny 2 feels damn near perfect. Destiny 2 has some of the most gratifying gunplay in any shooter that I’ve played. The loot system is also still equally rewarding and deep, which once again will have me grinding out strike missions, bounties, and seasonal story content for the foreseeable future, slowly making my way to the new level cap.
Lauren’s Video Game Pick: Resident Evil 2 (2019) – With everyone busy introducing themselves to Resident Evil Village’s Tall Lady, I thought it was about time I finally pushed myself to play the one RE game I actually own myself: the Resident Evil 2 remake. Admittedly the only reason I was confident enough to give it a go myself was because I’d watched both Gab Smolders and Jacksepticeye run through it back when it was first released, so I knew what to expect. Or at least thought I did. Unsurprisingly, there’s a big difference between knowing Mr. X is gon give it to ya vs actually feeling the floor quaking behind you as he chases you down hallways, cornering you in rooms as your brain permadeletes the map from its memory bank in sheer accidental panic, the task at hand switching from solving the numerous puzzles that will have you running all over Raccoon City’s police station, wearing tracks with how many times you’ll run the same paths over and over again (fortunately not feeling frustratingly redundant) to simply surviving long enough to make it to a safe room without running right into the arms of a waiting zombie or licker in the heightened state of panic. The overwhelming feelings of anxiety thanks to this unstoppable force had me tensely rooting my toes into the ground throughout most of the game, jumping at any noise the old, mysterious funhouse of a building creaked out, intensified by plenty of jump scares that my defensive posture did not protect me from, including one so panic inducing that I nearly had to finally switch out of the pair of sweatpants that have gotten me through most of the pandemic. There are some complaints to be had, from the lack of dodging that The Last of Us Part II spoiled me with (along with Ellie’s unbreakable switchblade), to the bullet sponges for brains these zombies have (often taking a ridiculous number of headshots to down), to the boss fights that found themselves in both Leon and Claire’s halves of the story even though it makes zero sense for both to go through them; but those complains do little to keep RE2R from being an amazing, must play horror game.
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:
- The first ever Middle of the Row video game stream of Ben and Lauren stumbling through Resident Evil Village.
- A Middle of the Row podcast episode flashing back to 2011’s Moneyball.