The Suggestion Box #87: Nic Cage, and Night City, and Nega-Romantics, 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 Anime Pick: Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is everything that I was hoping that the unfinished, buggy mess that the 2020 video game Cyberpunk 2077 would be before its legendarily awful launch. Studio Trigger’s animation breathes so much life into each setting and character we see throughout Night City, as the line between human and machine blurs in a story that tackles real-world issues with a dark, dystopian future backdrop. One of Edgerunners most ingenious pieces of worldbuilding involves a form of psychosis that causes a person’s mind to become overwhelmed by cybernetic implants, as an overreliance on “chrome” can trigger haunting bursts of insanity and indiscriminate violence – an interesting wrinkle that explains why everyone outside the law doesn’t immediately turn themselves into walking tanks. These episodes are highlights for sure, but honestly every action sequence is as stylish as they are explosive, bombastic, and gory, backed by a soundtrack that is banger after banger after banger. Every facet of Edgerunners is polished to such a high degree that you can tell that it was made with both an abundance of love for the anime medium and Mike Pondsmith’s role-playing universe. I’d honestly put it in the same tier as Akira and Ghost in the Shell, two of the most iconic and influential sci-fi anime of all time.

Lauren’s Anime Pick: Romantic Killer I started this anime fully on board with the protagonists “I don’t need a boyfriend to be happy” energy as she does her best to stick it to the wizard who has turned her life into a dating sim to combat Japan’s declining population – don’t think about it too much – but I’ll admit my inner monologue while watching quickly devolved into a rambling “yeah live your life how you want you don’t need a man to make you happy so don’t play their game but also maybe if you want to play their game a little that’s also totally understandable even though I don’t want you to do that because it’s what society wants and thus the show is maybe promoting that even when they say they aren’t but also romance is cool but only if you want that so keep putting your foot down as long as you want but also maybe form some feelings for some of these guys maybe?” Turns out the hopeless romantic in me is still the ruling party, and the show is very much aware of the genre it’s in and the cheesy tropes to make its audience happy, as I couldn’t help but be charmed by the forming relationships as the characters better each other’s lives in a myriad of ways, all the while also combatting expectations – not the expectation to prioritize appearance, unfortunately – and manically thwarting the schemes of a wizard that is the perfect size to swat with a tennis racket. The surprise Doki Doki Literature Club vibe was also a welcome deviation from the expected (albeit not as insidiously woven throughout the show as it could’ve been). I’m not saying this is going to replace Fruits Basket for one of my friends as her go-to swoon time comfort watch, but it’s definitely worth a gander for fans of the genre.

Ben’s Movie Warning: Gone in 60 Seconds Gone in 60 Seconds has so many great things going for it, but unfortunately wastes or ignores all of them. The potentially incredible supporting cast of Angelina Jolie, Vinnie Jones, Robert Duvall and Giovanni Ribisi are criminally mishandled, with characters that are given almost zero charm, depth, or personalities of their own really. All they have is one (shallow) defining “trait,” like being mute or their connection to Memphis Raines, Nicolas Cage’s character. Making matters even worse is Cage’s only performance that I’ve ever found dull. Memphis is just so, so bland – a word I never thought I’d use to describe anything involving Nicolas Cage – and the feature just falls flat around him. Everything else in the movie is even less compelling, the film never really delivers on its premise, and the whole thing feels like a woefully generic, uninteresting heist flick. The final act is borderline decent, but the overall experience is dull, forgettable, and not worth anyone’s time.

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:

  • Jon’s Middle of the Dial episode interviewing Aisha Sultan about her documentary Education, Interrupted

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