Recent media (and other diversions)
Inspired, of course, by Kottke’s media diet posts.
Ratings have two components: a momentary assessment, either of quality (expressed with 1–4 ★) or of subjective enjoyment (expressed as 1–4 🅙); and my level of confidence that I’ll feel the same way in the future (expressed as a percentage). Aren’t I cute.
📺 Schmigadoon. If you’ve watched musicals, you’ll enjoy. (🅙🅙🅙Ⓙ / 90%)
🎬 Free Guy. Saw this in the theatre. Comes off as Truman Show by way of Lego Movie. Everything that happens in the film’s “real world” (dialogue, romance, villainy, employment situations, motives, character development, choices) is 100% less believable than the things that take place inside the video game. But we laughed a lot. (🅙🅙🅙Ⓙ / 20%)
🎬 LOL Surprise: The Movie. I lost a dispute with my daughter and this ended up being our family movie night movie. I like a lot of kids movies. With this one, I couldn’t really tell you what happened. (0 / 100%)
🎬 The Green Knight Every frame is a painting. Dev Patel’s Gawain is a newborn boy fueled by shame. A whole wild mood. I feel like there were a lot of visual details that went over my head. (🅙🅙🅙🅙 / 80%)
🎬 The Dig. My favorite thing about this film was the cast; Carrey Mulligan, Johnny Flynn, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James. Good and moody; kind of gets you in the end. (🅙🅙ⒿⒿ / 80%)
📺 Mare of Easttown. This was incredibly well-done…but it’s also another entry in the genre of “incredibly damaged detective, living in a close-knit community full of traumatized people living in helpless desperation, self-destructs while trying to solve multiple horrifying, dark crimes.” (See also: Broadchurch, Wallander, True Detective, etc.) I would not have watched if my wife hadn’t been interested. We did enjoy discussing it. So for me this was like a rainy hike; the experience improves once it’s over with. If I watch TV shows at all, my preference is for pleasant dissociation, not dread and catharsis. (★★★★ / 80%; 🅙ⒿⒿⒿ / 55%)
📕 The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. I read this cover to cover in two calendar days. I can’t remember the last time I did that with a work of fiction. (★★★★ / 80%)
🕹 Divinity: Original Sin II (Switch). I have only finished the first act so far. There was definitely a learning curve on this one, but once I wrapped my brain around it I found it extremely enjoyable: a many-threaded story with a patient pace and extremely high detail.
🎬 Emma (2020) (rewatch). Here’s a theory: Austen movies are underrated as world-building fantasy endeavors. A good Austen movie drops you into a complicated social web and a beautiful, alien landscape. This one is boosted by having one of my favorite musicians as one of its leads. (★★★★ / 100%)
🎬 3 Idiots (rewatch). The title is no preparation for what a fun, campy, great-feeling movie this is. Some great callbacks. (🅙🅙🅙🅙 / 100%)
🎬 Shrek. Watched with the kids. I had never seen it before now, so I don’t have any nostalgia associated with it. More fun than I expected. (🅙🅙ⒿⒿ / 50%)
🃏 Oath: Chronicles of Empire and Exile by Leder Games. Beautiful art, board and pieces. Easily the most interesting board game I’ve played, and I love how it evolves every time you play. I’m just not sure how often I’ll realistically coordinate with 2–4 other people to play a 2–4 hour game. (🅙🅙🅙Ⓙ / 80%)
🎬 Wild Mountain Thyme. This one was quite a surprise. Seems like a low-budget cable movie that somehow scored an A-list cast? The writing is uneven. Great train-wreck of a payoff, and I somehow mean that in a good way. Walken is great. Just ignore the accents. (🅙🅙🅙🅙 / 80%)
🎬 Luca. More fun than I expected. (🅙🅙ⒿⒿ / 50%)
🃏 Fort by Leder Games. Jess and I played our fourth game recently and we’re enjoying it a lot. Probably best for four players (haven’t had a chance to try that yet), but still great for two. Games last 30–45 minutes, fun mechanics, great artwork. (★★★★ / 80%)
📕 The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. I listened to the audiobook. It’s not properly approached or appreciated as entertaining fiction, but it’s not quite “speculative documentary” either. I feel duty-bound to BS the enjoyment component of my rating and not to give any more details. Just read it. (★★★★ / 70%)
🎬 ‘INSIDE’ Netflix special by Bo Burnham. Brilliant multidisciplinary execution. Also very funny and dark. (🅙🅙🅙🅙 / 40%)
🎧 How Not to Drown by Chvrches. Since their first release, I’ve gone to Chvrches for synthy sound and dream-logic poetry, and more and more they’re giving up those distinctives for a more acoustic sound and fairly literal lyrics about relationships (what I’m calling their CCM phase). (🅙ⒿⒿⒿ / 80%)