Things to Watch and Read

Strange Weather (photo courtesy of Keizertimes)

There is nothing I love more than rewatching things. Series, movies, YouTube videos. Squirrels pretending to be people. My happy place is coming home in the early evening, putting on the most amorphous clothing I can find and cooking dinner while an episode of Parks and Recreation that I have seen 127 times plays in the background.

Due to the fact that I now often watch things with someone else and the fact that my cat has been complaining about my viewing choices, I have been intaking new things. And so I can now enjoy another great joy – being the last person on earth to discover something and acting as though I am the first.  

Watership Down

This is a Netflix series based on Richard Adams’ novel. If you have read the novel you have probably said aloud “I can’t believe I’m reading a novel about rabbits” just before shrieking “Please don’t die, rabbits!” through streams of masculine tears. The only thing more disturbing than reading that previous sentence is the 1978 miniseries which is a tripped out interpretation which resembles what would come out of a weekend collaboration of Salvatore Dali, Hunter Thompson, and four hundred tabs of Yellow Sunshine. I watched the version in the early 1980s and didn’t get over it until last weekend.  

Netflix got it right. The story is fantastic, the characters so unbelievably and lapinely lovable  and if you can find something more endearing than rabbits speaking in British accents then I will buy you a house.   

The Passage (possible spoilers, but not really big ones)

If you like books in which shit hits the fan, then you need to read this book. Because shit hits the fan in this book, then the fan becomes shit, and the shit that had hit the fan becomes shit again and the world explodes into shit.

A story about military experiments on “vampires” gone (insanely) wrong results in the end of the world. End part one. Part two is a future world under the reign of said vampires and the epic journeys that some of these characters take in order to try to brighten their world a wee bit.

There’s nothing not to like, folks. Adventure, a whole new world to get lost in, no holds barred horror, and writing so solid you wish your life could be narrated by Justin Cronin. I mean, without the perpetual misery and vampires.  

Strange Weather

Joe Hill needs to be read. Now. These four novellas are all horrorish in some way. Hill is Stephen King’s son, in case you were the last person on earth to know that, and he obviously inherited his dad’s knack for writing stories that can freak you the fuck out and characters that fly off the page. Only, and tell anyone I said this, he’s better than his dad. Hill is one of the best writers out there these days. He writes characters you root for and tells stories that boggle the mind with their ingenuity, creativity, and freakiness. It’s raining nails, a man gets shipwrecked on a cloud, a camera that steals you soul, and a mall guard who goes nowhere good. I can’t tell you how much you need to read this book. Also, Hill really shines in the novella form. It’s the medium with the perfect length to tell a story with little frill but enough to build a world in which to capture us, entertain us, and horrify us. Read this.   

Big Mouth

An animated adult comedy series which tells the story of a group of kids going through puberty. But we’re not talking The Brady Bunch puberty. We’re talking about all of the vile aspects, the extraordinarily disturbing and horny ideas that we all had (um…have) while our hormones skyrocket into the stratosphere. Also the Hormone Monster is a character.

This ain’t for the weak.  

I was introduced to Nick Kroll from Parks and Recreation (long live the Douche!) and was quickly enamored with this guy’s style of piecemeal ironic comedy. Throw in the soundtrack which includes such hits as Everybody Bleeds, Ejaculation, and Life is a Mess and you have something to listen to in the car as well.  

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Every week I peruse movie trailers and book charts for one thing: a good western. Unfortunately, these are few and far between and I have been forced to eke by on the occasional offerings of the entertainment gods.

Fortunately the Coen brothers exist. To be honest, this film was not what I expected, but as most things the Coen brothers do it did not disappoint. Six shorts about life on the frontier done with the visual vibrancy, the sardonic humor, and the undercurrent of disturbia that the Coen brothers have perfected is enough to satisfy your hunger for westerns that don’t suck. Because those things are needed to tell a good western and nobody does it better than these guys. By “satisfy your hunger” I mean that I spent the remainder of the weekend rewatching every western I could find and ordering McMurtry and McCarthy’s entire catalog off of Amazon. If you are a western nut, you have to watch this. Plus, Tom Waits.     

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