The Suggestion Box #76: Dream Demons, and Rich Assholes, and Home Invaders, 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.

Lauren’s Anime Pick: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba Mugen Train ArcAs much as I love the first season of Demon Slayer, I seemed to be the only one somewhat disappointed in the theatrically released Mugen Train film. To summarize my thoughts on it: my largest complaints were how I didn’t feel like we truly got to sink into and be emotionally overwhelmed by the dream sequences preying on Tanjiro’s love for and heartbreak surrounding the family brutally taken from him at the start of the series as the plot needed to push forward towards another confrontation that is so disparate from the rest of the film. It’s a cool sequence, sure, but it makes the film feel disjointed as it is cut into two halves, with the first half not doing enough to make the latter resonate as strongly as it should. Which brings us to the show: a friend of mine told me that I could skip this arc considering most of it is just copy/pasted from the film, but I’m so glad I didn’t follow this advice because, not only does the structure provided by dividing this story into episodes keep it from feeling as awkwardly weighted as the film does, but the first episode of the show is all new content focusing on the Flame Hashira, Rengoku, that allows us to get a better feel for him as a person, providing a much needed bookend to balance out the Rengoku heavy finale at the end of the arc. This may not seem like much to people who loved the film, but it was all the difference to me.

Ben’s Movie Pick: The Strangers Bryan Bertino’s 2008 home invasion flick, The Strangers, is still the scariest movie I have ever seen. It taps into an all too real, all too believable kind of horror, and makes me feel as uncomfortably vulnerable as its lead couple (played by Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler) is every single time I revisit it. Even (or especially) during moments of total silence, The Strangers builds to nigh-unbearable levels of tension, and it’s downright terrifying whenever that tension is released. And that ending? Absolutely unforgettable. As I’ve said many, many times before, I still believe it to be one of the most under-appreciated horror films of all time. It’s definitely garnered a cult following of sorts (at least enough good will for a sequel) since its original release, but I think The Strangers deserves a place among the heaviest hitters in all of horror.

Ben’s TV Pick: The White Lotus – I can’t think of another show that is so cringe-inducing, yet undeniably enthralling as HBO’s The White Lotus. Admittedly, I did stop watching it at one point, but I gave it a second chance due to multiple people around me urging me to, and they were right to do so. It’s beautifully shot, has a stupendous score, the entire cast is spot on, with highlights including (but not limited to) Alexandra Daddario, Steve Zahn, Murray Bartlett, Sydney Sweeney, Brittany O’Grady, and once I got on its oh-so bizarre wavelength, I finished the rest in one sitting. All the awkward, interweaving narratives are engrossing, and I couldn’t stop myself from becoming totally invested in each of them. It’s as if I was watching sparks make their way towards multiple powder kegs, unable to look away as they grew closer and closer to their inevitable, explosive results. The unease and frustration that The White Lotus builds up is palpable, discomfiting, and upsetting, but honestly, that’s kinda what makes it so memorable.

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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