Saturday Morning Brain Drain [9/4/22]

A Place To Let It All Out

Photo sourced from mpimedia.com

Let the Wrong One In is a gory vampire horror themed comedy set in Ireland. In the same vein as What We Do In The Shadows (yes, I love puns). It follows two bumbling brothers’ relationship after the older one is bitten by a vampire. The budget was either low and they are cinematic geniuses or it was midrange and they went full camp. Either way, it had us laughing out loud with its creativity and gore. For those Buffy fans amongst us, Giles is back in action as an amateur vampire hunter. I like this older no fucks left to give version of Giles way better than the uptight Professor Zaddy he was in Buffy…wait was he even a zaddy or do I have daddy issues? Don’t answer that. Just watch the movie.

I am morally obligated to note there isn’t a single person of colour in this film.

I’m including the trailer for those who are on the fence. Everyone else please avoid it because it is full of spoilers. Not that the plot is complex but the jokes are good and they lose their impact when seen sliced into a trailer.

I read Legendborn by Tracy Deonn in three days (which is to say it’s a page turner). This YA fantasy novel is set on a modern day predominantly white campus in North Carolina. It follows a sixteen year old Black girl, Bree, as the grief of her mother’s recent death propels her to uncover a hidden world of magic, infiltrate the secret society of the knights of the round table (yes, of Arthurian legends), and connect with her ancestral root magic. While fridging is a plot device that I can’t stand, in this case it turns out to be more complex and clever. Deonn checks all the typical YA novel boxes and does it well. Bree is new on the magic scene. There are formal trials that she must compete in. There’s a love triangle. There are monsters to fight, mysteries to solve, a sinister plot to uncover and friendships to maintain. All the while being the only Black person in the room and fighting off everything between micro agressions to Institutional racism. If you like YA fantasy novels, then I highly recommend this book to you. I also recommend checking out https://sistahscifi.com/ for a great collection of Afrofuturism. They do an excellent job at curating and promoting BIPOC fantasy and sci-fi voices.

I’ve been listening to whatever my Deezer algorithm thinks I may like…

and some of Lowkey’s songs because I heard people we petitioning to cancel him on Spotify for his pro Palestine lyrics.

I’m late to space party and not in a fashionable way. Among Us has been a fun distraction this week. It’s a quick paced game where you find yourself on a spaceship with a bunch of strangers. Most of you are regular crew members and a minority of you are randomly selected to be saboteurs who can murder the crew. The crew wins by fixing the ship or spacing the baddies. The saboteurs win by murdering everyone without being spaced. Oh and everyone gets to vote on who to space each time a body is found or if someone has a hunch and calls for a meeting.

Thank you for your dutiful attention. You may now post about your own media consumption. What do you have for us, Deadsplinterites?

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37 Comments

  1. I got around to watching “The White Lotus.” I made the mistake of bingeing it at one go. It was much more than I was expecting, and everyone did an excellent job above and beyond,  but wow, was that a lot of take in.

    • I think I watched one or two episodes of that show and I was done. The emphasis on White was not offset enough by the “but we’re poking fun at the awful white tourists and capitalism that ruin everything”.

      • I knew that going in but I thought it was going to be more satirical and less, “They are all generally hateful people who hate each other and themselves” aspect of it. I thought it was going to be more like “Serial,” if you’ve ever seen that. (Googles. It’s from 1980.) It was a lot more like “An American Family,” the first reality show, from the early 70s. It could have been a very funny comedy. You didn’t happen to make it far enough for the scene where the daughter and her friend are on the beach and the Jennifer Coolidge character pays a visit at an inopportune time?

  2. i didnt watch anything worth mentioning this week

    which is to say i watched ice road

    started off pretty solid…then got real stupid real quick….i enjoyed it…but i wouldnt say it was good

    kinda like vertical limit

    terrible movie…good fun

    and listening to the band previously known as eskimo callboy

    im guessing they backed away from eskimo before someone deems them offensive (i mean…..im sure their sound is offensive to some…but thats different)

  3. I’ve started watching Old Enough on Netflix, aka My First Errand.

    It’s a long running Japanese reality show about parents sending young kids 2-5 years old on their first errand alone. It involves things like crossing the street and going around the block to the store to buy some things, or walking to the dad’s work to give him lunch he “forgot” at home.

    There’s obviously a bunch of staging — the camera crew shows up in the frame fairly often so of course the kids have lots of people around them. People at the destinations must be coached to act natural when a kid with a camera crew shows up.

    But it still feels sort of real, and the idea of sending kids out on basic errands is extremely cute, or occasionally upsetting when a kid gets frustrated. The production has an over the top Japanese feel, although I get the sense Japanese shows get a lot more extreme.

  4. I’m sold on Ice Road ❄️ 🚛 ❄️. Liam Neeson takes his job seriously enough to feel earnest in all the action flicks he churns out. I wonder if he likes making them or they just pay the bills. Maybe both?

    I can’t believe The Grey came out a decade ago.

  5. Started watching Moon Knight. I’m on board so far. Oscar Isaac does a good job, to the point where my wife asked me a couple of days after watched the first episode, “Did you know that was Poe Dameron?”

    Still enjoying Picard.

    • …before it seemed like every marvel property would be a guaranteed money maker I remember being dubious that some characters would transition well…I still don’t love dr strange, for example…but I definitely worried that they might trip up on moon knight the way they did with iron fist…& am fairly delighted it doesn’t seem that they are

      …it’s a weird character…& if you’re familiar with what people in london sound like then there’s an uncanny valley thing going on with steven’s accent…but he’s a very charming lead even when he’s supposedly a character lacking in that department…& much as I’m trying not to I think i might have got my hopes up about that show

      …wasn’t totally sold on the way the latest episode of picard went for a semi-retrospective layout in terms of the chronology/order of the scenes but I still like where it seems to be going & am erring towards having faith they can stick the proverbial landing

      …so…enjoying them…but probably keeping my fingers crossed for both of those?

        • …I hadn’t heard that…but I had considered it as a possibility…& I don’t mean to suggest I have a problem with it…in fact I think it’s quite successful in that regard whether it was intentionally so or not

          …it just also occurred to me that given what has been considered a “passable” british accent in hollywood terms it might be a nuance that wasn’t obvious enough to trigger that sense of being “a little off” to an audience without a fair bit of familiarity with the variety of accents you can run across in london so I figured I’d mention it

          …similarly…the place he works in a gift shop is sort of an odd blend of something that seems to be meant to look like the outside of the national gallery…& be located approximately where that is…but has the kind of exhibits you wouldn’t find there but in the british museum…which is somewhere else entirely…there’s no harm in it…but it has a similar uncanny valley vibe in a thing where the unreliability of the narrator is something of a feature

          …both could easily pass underneath the notice of what I’m guessing would be the majority of the audience…but where I think I’d be in favor of the logic behind the accent thing if it really is deliberate for the cited reason…I’m not sure I see the payoff for the museum/gallery blend?

  6. What I watched:  Silence, the Scorsese film about apostate priests in 17th Century Japan.  The acting and the story were both excellent.  If you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend.

    Read:  Ella Minnow Pea, by Mark Dunn.  My oldest stepdaughter bought it for me as a gift, so I felt obligated to read it (which is a major character flaw because I’ve had to read a lot of terrible books in my time).  The premise of the book is of a small island nation off the East coast of the US which starts eliminating letters from the alphabet, so as the book progresses the language changes to accommodate the restricted letters.  I’m sure this was a wildly fun read for my stepdaughter, who has a masters degree in applied linguistics, but for me this was what Jane Austen would write if she were alive in the 21st Century.  B-O-R-I-N-G.  Plus, once about half of the alphabet got eliminated, it became incredibly difficult to parse out the meaning of the words being used in the ensuing chapters.  I have sacrificed myself so you don’t have to know my pain.  Avoid this book.

    Listened:  Our latest stop on the best engineered albums of all time is Pink Floyd’s The Wall, engineered by James Guthrie.  What makes this album such a spectacular listening experience isn’t so much the sonic quality (which is very good), but the overall sound design of the album.  They used a ton of media clips and special audio effects to put this monster together.  There are also some interesting little Easter eggs in the album.  The very first thing you hear, on the very first track, is someone saying “…we came in.”  The very last thing you hear, on the very last track, is that same person saying, “Isn’t this where…”  The famous phone call sequence was a prank call that Roger Waters made on an unwitting Nick Mason with the help of an equally unwitting telephone operator.  I once worked with an engineer who told me about some of the really bonkers tricks they employed in the studio, which are too numerous to get into here.  This album is, quite possibly, the most impressive piece of audio I’ve ever heard in my life.

     

     

      • I did just the other day. I will admit however to having a hard time getting into it because I don’t understand the lyrics. Unless it’s opera I’ve rarely gotten into foreign language music. I need to know what the hell they’re singing about.

        • …there’s a translation (if you scroll past the original & the “phonetic romanization”) over at genius.com…which also has this a bit further down the page

          The first new song recorded and released by Pink Floyd in 28 years, the one-off track “Hey, Hey, Rise Up” was inspired by a video of Andriy Khlyvnyuk – whose band BoomBox had performed with David Gilmour in 2015 – singing the Ukrainian folk song “Oh, the Red Viburnum in the Meadow” while on the front lines in Kyiv against the Russian invasion.

          Gilmour – whose daughter-in-law is Ukrainian – got in touch with drummer Nick Mason to record a new track incorporating Khlyvynyuk’s vocals and release it as Pink Floyd to ensure the biggest means of support they could provide for Ukraine, with proceeds from the track going to Ukrainian humanitarian efforts. Besides Gilmour and Mason, the track also features Guy Pratt on bass and Nitin Sawhney on keyboards. The track was recorded on March 30, 2022, and released just over a week later on April 8.

  7. Saw Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

    Movie was decent enough.

    My question: what the fuck is it with Tarantino and feet?

    Ever since stories about his foot fetish came out, suddenly it is feet feet feet (or maybe it is me)

    • Does that theory work in retrospect? I’m not one to watch his films more than once other than From Dusk Till Dawn and Kill Bill. I can’t remember any foot specific scenes….oh wait… “Wiggle your big toe.” Guess the foot fetish was always there but it only becomes obvious when you know about it.

      • …you mentioned from dusk till dawn…& I know he didn’t direct that one…but iirc he did have a hand in writing it…& then played a part which (again if memory serves) at one point drinks whisky (or possibly tequila) that’s running off selma hayek’s toes…which I think probably counts in terms of prior art on the fetish thing?

        …granted there are a number of things including the rest of selma hayek & an albino python that might be distracting enough for it to sort of escape notice…but…yeah…I’m pretty sure he’s always been that way

  8. …so the thing I’ve consistently failed to bring to mind when the last couple of these came up is/was coda…which won at least one oscar that I’m aware of…& which I thought was pretty great…though if you have trouble with subtitles you might miss a bunch of the humor…as someone who was in the room when I saw it most definitely did…on account of many of the funny bits involving ASL dialogue rather than the spoken sort…arguably a lot of the narrative arc of the thing is fairly well-trodden territory in a number of ways but it manages to cover it with some endearingly executed footwork so I don’t think it would be fair to ding it on that account

    …I’d also suggest that despite a few trials & tribulations it does a much better job on the escapist front than something else I made my way through lately…which would be neal stephenson’s latest…well…it’s ostensibly a novel…but in many ways it’s more of a vehicle to demonstrate a bunch of research the author seems more than a little proud of himself for having done…& which is deployed in a fashion that’s heavy enough on the exposition that if you’re not prepared to burn through it in pretty substantial chunks you might find has the effect of rather burying the story…& making it a little hard to engage much with the characters as being more than a sort of filing system to clue you into how he thinks the trajectory the “facts” gleaned from that research could plausibly take the path he wants them to

    …I don’t put the facts part in quotes because I think he plays fast & loose with the kinds of speculative studies he clearly draws from so much as I found it hard to ignore the extent to which some of the characters involved seemed to have been little more than reverse-engineered as a means to skip past some of the arguably less plausible turns he was determined to take without showing any of the working he was so keen to get into at length about other stuff to an extent that made the whole thing feel lopsided to me

    …one sub-plot in particular seemed like it surged to the fore late in the game & made me sort of wish it had been the focus of a radically restructured version of the story that might have been more in line with the sort of overblown cyberpunk fun there was in snowcrash rather than having so much in common with the overstated certainty that permeated his “baroque cycle” to an off-putting degree

    …anyway…it’s called “termination shock”…& it’s largely about climate change & geoengineering…so if it sounds like I’ve been unduly harsh about it part of that could be down to the fact that the reality of a lot of that stuff isn’t a great source of joy & optimism & that might well color the experience of reading the thing…but from an interview or two I’ve since read I think even he admits that elements of the plot (not the least of which being the role played by a few billionaires) aren’t necessarily particularly plausible so I guess I’m not entirely off-base?

    …alternatively…since it doesn’t have any spoilers about the book (which came out last november) on account of dating back to 2017…you could read this interview with him from vanity fair which might give a more favorable impression of the guy than it probably sounds like I have based on this comment?

  9. I’ve been a slug about reading, so nothing new this week.

    I started watching the true-crime drama The Thing About Pam. It’s based on a Dateline episode so I should have known better. While I did expect it to be sensationalized, Dateline has sunk to a new exploitative low. They’ve turned a woman’s murder and the imprisonment of her innocent husband into a campy comedy. Renee Zellweger wears a fat suit because I’m sure all the plus-sized actresses are busy with the meaty roles being offered to them. And she overacts to a degree I haven’t seen since I was in a high school farce production. Seriously, it’s gross and I will not be watching any more of it.

    RZ

    I’m listening to Those Poor Bastards, a band that’s been around since the early aughts but I never heard of. They’re featured on the Old Gods of Appalachia podcast and I feel cheated to have not listened to them until now. Wikipedia calls them an American gothic country doom band. I’ll just say they are wonderful.

    Old Pine Box

     

    • Okay so my friends and I have been following that case for years because it was local and it was fucking nuts. She’s really not overacting, she’s doing a fantastic character study of that woman.

      I completely agree though that like wow I guess no larger actresses were available? None?

       

        • I think it was a combo of 2 things –

          Pam Hupp is so overbearing but in a busybody way that she’s the kind of person that’s just easier to let have her way.

          Blonde white christian midwest lady couldn’t possibly have anything besides good intents at heart.

  10. I’ve read A LOT this week (I know… how unusual! Lol)

    The Laughing Ghost by Dorothy Eden – an old (my copy is from the ’60’s, but I think it was originally published in the late ’40’s) Gothic horror-type book about an ancient manor house and the smuggler’s caves underneath it. Pretty good, if slightly cheesy.

    My Evil Mother by Margaret Atwood – a short story about a witchy woman. Not bad.

    Jane Seymour: The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir – 3rd in her Six Tudor Queens series. I’ve always felt bad for not-quite-Queen Jane… she was the only one that managed to have a living son for Henry VIII, and she didn’t even live long enough to enjoy it. I had always read that she died of childbed fever but new evidence and a rereading of the old indicates that she may have died of a combination of food poisoning and heart problems. Either way, she had a short and somewhat unhappy career.

    Manners and Monsters by Tilly Wallace (thanks for this one, @elliecoo!) – a weird but good little Regency-era zombie tale, first of a series.

    A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers – apparently, this is one of those not-for-everyone books, but I haven’t read anything by her yet that I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed. Hard sci-fi was never my thing, I always leaned more towards the fantasy side, but she makes it enjoyable.

    The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting by K. J. Charles – another Regency romance but with a bit of a twist. I liked it enough that I got another book by the same author right away.

    Aaaand, last but not least, I finally finished The Courtesan’s Revenge by Frances Wilson – which would have been a better book if the last 1/3 of it wasn’t full of “perhaps she…” and “maybe she felt…” and other speculations instead of facts. I understand that there’s only so many letters, diaries, etc., available when writing about a person from history, but just say that there’s no more material and don’t turn the end of it into a fairytale!

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