The Suggestion Box #93: High School Noir, and Chananigans, and He-Said-She-Said, 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 Book Pick: Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I know this probably feels like a bit of a double dip considering I just put Amazon’s miniseries adaptation in the last Suggestion Box, but whatever this is Daisy Jones’ world and I’m just living in it, as I have now watched the show (twice), read the book, listened to the audiobook (it had me at Judy Greer), and have the Aurora album on repeat. This may sound a bit obsessive, but: 1) I’d forgotten to cancel my Audible sub and didn’t know what else to spend the cred on, and 2) turns out this is one of those rare occasions when it’s actually beneficial to read the book post watching, as even more depth is added to the characters and moments. Unlike the show, which is a mixture of watching the events play out interspersed with the occasional talking head interjection, the novel is presented entirely through one-on-one interviews with those in and around the titular band looking back on the events surrounding their creation and eventual demise decades ago, and it’s so interesting to see how those involved interpret situations so differently. Sometimes there’s an element of the unreliable narrator trope as we witness how one person presents what happened vs how someone else sees it, whether they’re revising history, lying to themselves, living in denial about the truth, trying to make themselves look better, or what have you. Other times there’s a bit of comedy, tragedy, or both in the reveals of how things were frequently miscommunicated and/or misunderstood. All that said and whatever the case may be, one thing is always perfectly clear: Eddie was, is, and will forever be an asshole.

Ben’s Movie Pick: Brick In my humble opinion, Brick is still Rian Johnson’s best mystery thriller to date (and my second favorite film of his, right behind Looper). Don’t get me wrong, I love Benoit Blanc and definitely enjoyed the Knives Out films, but those two capers feel just a little lacking when compared to Brick. After his ex-girlfriend reaches out for help and then disappears, high-schooler Brendan Fyre (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) takes it upon himself to find her. What follows is a compelling mystery within an expertly built world as Brendan dives deeper and deeper into the criminal underbelly that some of his classmates may or may not be a part of. The modern noir mystery’s surprisingly potent mix of high school and hard-boiled detective tropes gives the film an identity all its own. From the characters: such as the Assistant Vice Principal (Richard Roundtree), The Brain (a bespectacled information broker and Brendan’s confidant, played by Matt O’Leary), and Brendan’s manipulative ex-girlfriend Kara (Meagan Good); to the in-world slang, everything falls in line with classic detective tales, while still managing to stand out as something truly one-of-a-kind, thanks in no small part to Gordon-Levitt’s terrific lead performance. Brick may not have an exceedingly twisty-turny narrative or huge budget like Knives Out or Glass Onion, but it has far more style to it.

Ben’s Movie Pick: Police StoryOne of my biggest expectations going into Police Story was top-tier stunt work, and the movie more than delivers. The film’s opening chase is simply incredible, with tons of “I can’t believe someone actually did that” moments, and considering Jackie Chan did all of his own stunts while directing it all… I mean, good lord! Everything that follows is spectacular too, and the movie ends with another set piece that is nearly as mind-blowing as the opening. What I wasn’t expecting was to laugh as hard and often as I did. There are a ton of goofy gags throughout, and they somehow manage to never negatively impact Police Story’s tension or stakes. With such a strong balance of action and humor from an early outing, it’s no wonder Jackie Chan has had such a prolific career as a movie star and filmmaker. Which is why I’ll definitely be checking out the rest of the series soon.

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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