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.
🎬 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%)