The Suggestion Box #57: Dinos, and Witches, and Demons, 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: Jurassic Park Steven Spielberg’s 1993 sci-fi dino-romp landmark is one of the very, very few movies that has lost none of its brilliance or magic with the passage of time, and is among the even smaller number of film adaptations that surpass their source material. Jurassic Park is an awe-inspiring, immaculately-crafted adventure with a perfect balance of palpable tension, stellar action, levity, and heart. Each scene is out-freaking-standing, be it just a conversation between its terrific cast of characters, which includes the likes of Laura Dern, Sam Niel, and the human meme Jeff Goldblum, or a harrowing encounter with rampaging raptors or a towering tyrannosaur. The digital effects used to bring the park’s exhibits to life all hold up incredibly well, nearly three decades later, and the animatronics are still breathtaking. The film also has the second best score of legendary composer John Williams’ entire career, right behind Jaws‘. Everything about Jurassic Park screams (or ferociously roars) “filmmaking triumph,” and its reputation as one of the greatest movies ever made is more than deserved. 

And before I forget, we can also thank Jurassic Park for inspiring the best Funko Pop of all time.

Ben’s Movie Pick: The Ritual Once The Ritual hits its stride, it keeps you in an almost constant state of unease with palpable tension from two different sources. The first is the unresolved grief, guilt, and resentment that’s festered among some of the core cast who were previously close-knit friends, now fractured since a certain tragedy occurred. The second is outright shocks and unsettling visuals, as the group quickly learns that there’s something inhuman that’s stalking them along their woodland trek. The wholly bizarre, terrifying imagery, awesome cinematography, and moody score excellently ratchet up every sequence of discomfort or horror as well, and the final act is particularly great, being memorably unsettling on multiple levels. I enjoyed The Ritual on my first viewing, but have grown to appreciate it even more with rewatches. It brilliantly balances fantastical elements of terror with its more human, yet equally dark themes, and the end result is one of Netflix’s shiniest horror gems.

Lauren’s TV Pick: The Owl House Over the past handful of months I’ve been binging my way through a bunch of kid friendly animated shows – I have no real excuse for why I didn’t write up Netflix’s Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts and Carmen Sandiego other than laziness and the overwhelming lack of motivation that has haunted me all throughout the pandemic – finally getting to the often recommended show The Owl House now that season 2 is about to premiere. The Owl House focuses on a teen girl who escapes her dreary, non-magical life by traveling through a portal to a land of witchcraft and wonder. Here she meets the residents of The Owl House: Eda the all powerful Owl Lady, the best boy and (potentially self-proclaimed) demon royalty King, and the wonderfully obnoxious welcoming party who will probably snap and murder us all some day due to emotional neglect Hootie. None of the new kid in school struggles and found family through lines of learning from each other and evolving into our best selves through the influences of those around us are anything new, but that doesn’t keep The Owl House from standing apart from similar stories thanks to the charm and humor of the world and entire cast of characters, starting with Luz and her unwavering enthusiasm and inspiring belief in herself and those around her (and her utter decimation of Quidditch in my favorite, sports centered episode“Wing It Like Witches”). Top that off with sibling rivalry, young crushes, and a mysterious curse and there’s not much else we could ask for.

Ben’s Video Game Pick: DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part 1 & 2 – DOOM Eternal’s story add-ons follow the Doom Slayer as he aims to finally end his war against the denizens of Hell. As anyone familiar with DOOM (2016) and DOOM Eternal would expect, The Ancient Gods offer up more ultraviolence, tight, fine-tuned gunplay, and let you indulge in one of the greatest power fantasies in gaming. Even though TAG has the most brutally difficult levels of the rebooted series, and I felt like throwing my controller straight through my TV a handful of times, the catharsis I felt whenever I conquered one of those formidable segments made it all worthwhile. The only exception was during one particular encounter near the end of Part 2 that involved multiple Marauders (whoever decided on that enemy layout on that platform should never be allowed to make those decisions again), but it wasn’t long before I engaged in a boss battle that was epic and (fairly) challenging enough to go above and beyond at winning me back over. I don’t know where DOOM can go from here, as TAGs’ ending is pretty definitive, but considering how much I enjoyed each entry in the newer series, I’ll be sure to pick up my super shotgun yet again if the Slayer ever returns to the fray.

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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