In preparation for the (rather interesting) Oscar ceremony this year, I watched several nominated films. This included the Jonathan Larson musical tick, tick,… BOOM! Knowing that I was going to see that film, I watched Rent for the first time as well. I didn’t really know Larson’s story going into it either musical.
I was impressed when hearing Andrew Garfield had not really sung before and learned a few songs on piano for the part. He’s come a long way from the first time I saw him – in an episode of Doctor Who (which included pig men in 1940’s New York).
One particular song and scene from tick, tick,… BOOM! was interesting to me for a few reasons. Although I’ve seen quite a few Sondheim musicals, Sunday in the Park with George was not one of them. Learning the song Sunday was homage to the identically named song from George made a lot of sense – the song felt different from others in tick, tick… BOOM! (and Rent, for that matter). (On a side note, I highly recommend Six by Sondheim, which I also watched after these films).
Not only was the Sondheim connection interesting to me, but also the number of cameos in the scene. This post from CBR.com gives a good breakdown of the cameos in the scene. Joel Gray, Chita Rivera, Bebe Neuwirth, Phylicia Rashad, original Rent and Hamilton cast members, and more all appear in the scene. Lin Manuel Miranda, who directed this version and has starred in past productions of TTB, also makes a cameo.
It must also be pointed out that the Moondance Diner makes an appearance in a non-Garfield Spider-man movie AND Jake Gyllenhaal (who plays Mysterio in yet another Spider-man movie) also has a connection here.
Additionally, I’m including renditions by Raul Esparza who sang both Sundays in productions of these shows.
I managed to squeeze in a few more horror / semi-horror movies and TV shows for October/November. Gotta say, House, the Haunting series, and Squid Game are probably the standouts from this batch. Mike Flanagan might be a new favorite!
- House on Haunted Hill (1959)
- Dementia 13 (1963)
- House (1977)
- When a Stranger Calls (1979)
- Night of the Demons (1988)
- The VVitch (2015)
- Halloween (2018)
- Haunting of Hill House (2018)
- Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)
- Squid Game (2012)
I’m bit behind on my October/November horror movie watching compared to last year (see posts Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween III) where I hit 30+ movies. I may have been distracted by Dune (both versions!), No Time to Die, Shang Chi, and other new movies (some of which I saw in a real theater!!!).
I’ll concede that some of these lean towards Sci-Fi or psychological thrillers and maybe even outside October and November… my blog, my rules!
- Dark Star (1974)
- Martin (1977)
- Phantasm (1979)
- Halloween II (1981)
- A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
- Slither (2006)
- Attack the Block (2011)
- Fright Night (2011)
- The Lighthouse (2019)
- Parasite (2019)
- Bit (2019)
- Love and Monsters (2020)
- Shadow in the Cloud (2020)
- The Forever Purge (2021)
- Midnight Mass (2021)
- American Horror Story: Double Feature (2021)
I’ll also be updating this list on Letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/captainq/list/2021-horror-binge
Tip: if you’re looking for something scary to watch, I’ve noticed Shout Factory TV has old episodes of Elvira Movie Macabre, VHS rips, Cult films, and more!
Continuing on my horror movie and TV kick (see also Halloween and Halloween II, here are some more recent watches:
- Phantasm (1979)*
- Prom Night (1980)
- The Funhouse (1981)
- Chopping Mall (1986)*
- Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)*
- Sleepaway Camp II (1988)
- Sleepaway Camp III (1989)
- Body Bags (1993)
- Hereditary (2018)
- Lovecraft Country (2020)*
*Currently watching or started
I’ve slowed down a bit on the scary stuff as Die Hard and Home Alone season is in full gear. Maybe it’s time to fill in some of my Christmas/horror flick gaps!
I’ve been on a bit of a thriller/horror kick lately, given the season. I’m normally not a huge horror fan, though I like it when it’s done well. There are a few more I will probably try to squeeze in over the next few days. Anything I need to watch? Right now I’m curious about Overlord – seems like a good combo of WWII and zombies!
Over the last few weeks I’ve watched the following movies and TV shows:
- American Horror Story 1984 (2019)
- Dark (2017-20)
- Raising Cain (1992)
- Sisters (1972)
- Evil Dead (1981)*
- Final Destination 5 (2011)
- The Thing (2011)
- Creep (2014)
- Creep 2 (2017)
- Poltergeist (1982)*
- Midsommar (2019)
Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares
I don’t really do reality TV. I watched The Real World when it started in the ‘90s because it was a new thing, something different from the norm. That said, I have a bit of an obsession with the original Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares that was broadcast in the UK starting in 2004.
If you’re unfamiliar, the show is hosted by chef Gordon Ramsay as he visits struggling restaurants in Britain and Europe. I find the UK version far superior to the US version (in the sense that the US version is unwatchable). Each episode of the original series is shot like a documentary and, while things get heated between presenter and restauranteur(s), the final product is much more reasonable than its American counterpart. The music is better, the filming is better, the editing is better. It feels like a thing that really happened, as opposed to an exploitative TV show.
Haven’t seen it? Almost every episode is on YouTube for free!
I’ve only cooked one recipe from chef Ramsay from another show of his, F Word, and it was years ago… sea bass with pepper sauce (see video below). I paired it with baked rice with star anise (I can’t find the recipe now). It stands as not on one of the best thing I’ve ever cooked, but maybe eaten, too!
57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)
I realized back in 2005 that internet TV was probably going to be a thing. It wasn’t just that YouTube made it’s debut, but also Revision3 – former cast and crew from TechTV making free, professional, content delivered like a podcast. The format of the two were a little different with Revision3 offered high resolution versions of their shows; Systm (tech how-tos), Diggnation (tech/social news), Control Alt Chicken (cooking), and more. Fast forward twelve years and I find the majority of programming I care about doesn’t come from a standard TV network, but can instead still be found online.
Here are a few of my current favorites:
Welcome to the Basement/Blame Society
I originally found Blame Society back in 2006 because of their show Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager. Picture the loser relative of Darth Vader who works in a grocery store, but is just as power hungry as the Vader we all know and love. Turns out they make some pretty great (and hilarious) observations on film. Side note, Matt Sloane (voice of Chad) is so good at doing Vader’s voice that he now voices Darth Vader in most Star Wars video games. I rediscovered Blame Society while on a Brian DePalma kick – their video commentary on Phantom of the Paradise kept coming up in searches on his films. Now it’s a weekly staple in my video watching routine. It’s one of those shows where you feel like you get to know the hosts over time.
Screen Junkies/Honest Trailers
I found Screen Junkies because of Honest Trailers and now it’s something I look for every Tuesday. You’ve probably seen at least one – honest commentaries on films with more than a touch of humor and biting commentary. Screen Junkies News is also a great source of film and TV news, especially comic book and sci-fi genres. It started as a little YouTube channel with a few people riffing on movies and has grown into something resembling a laid-back pop culture news network.
Hot Ones/Food Grails
Hot Ones is spicy chicken wings and questions… that’s it. The challenge for the celebrities (or near celebrities, in some cases) is to keep focused on answering questions while eating wings with ever-escalating spiciness. Almost everyone is over confident on their ability to handle the sauces and hilarity ensues almost every time. TJ Miller was my first, but I’ve watched them all (some a few times).
Food Grails, also from Complex/First We Feast, documents little-known foods within cities and neighborhoods. From Atlanta’s lemon pepper wings to D.C.’s Mumbo Sauce, it sheds light on foods I otherwise wouldn’t know. I even bought a bottle of Capital City Mumbo Sauce out of curiosity – totally worth it!
Binging with Babish
Ever wanted to sample foods from your favorite TV shows? Andrew Rea experiments with recipes, usually trying the accurate recipe first from a classic TV episode. If that doesn’t work out then he attempts to make a tastier version based around the original concept. Seinfeld’s chocolate babka, The Moistmaker from Friend’s, the foods of South Park, the and many, many more are covered on the show. The foods can range from something simple (carbonara or fish tacos) to the outrageous (SNL’s TacoTown taco or Big Night’s Il Timpano).
You know those internet countdown lists? They’re everywhere, but this one has a twist… it’s really good! It’s a masterclass in filmmaking in the form of short YouTube videos (and I’ve taken three film courses, so I know 😉 ). Some picks may seem arbitrary on the surface, but there’s always a method behind their madness.
Kaptainkristian / Nerdwriter / Lessons from the Screenplay
These tree YouTube channels are not related, but they share a very similar structure… deep dives into a single subject. Kaptainkristian pulls ahead as my favorite of the group, but are all equally interesting and thought provoking.
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace
I’ve always been a bit of an insomniac. And with that affliction comes some really odd TV watching.
In middle and high school it was Tom Baker-era Doctor Who reruns on PBS, Dream On and Tales from the Crypt on HBO, and Friday the 13th: The Series (which had nothing to do with Jason Vorhees or Camp Crystal Lake).
One of my favorite late-night discoveries came a few years later in the form of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. It was essentially a pastiche of low budget British programs, Stephen King-esque storylines, a hospital soap, and behind-the-scenes documentary all in one. Oddly, it shares some ideas with Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital (based on Lars Von Trier’s Riget/The Kingdom) from the same year (namely a haunted hospital).
It’s hard to describe… it’s a show within a show with the actors reminiscing about their now forgotten work. It’s gory, purposefully offensive and dumb, and just kind of brilliant. If the behind the scenes interviews hadn’t been included, I’m not sure it would have worked as well as it did.
Instead of trying to describe it, you can watch the first episode:
To help brainstorm titles for the Ireland pieces I’ve been writing, here’s a list of all the films and TV shows set or connected to the Republic or Northern Ireland that I’ve seen. Is there something Irish that I need to see and don’t have listed? Maybe I’ve seen and forgotten, but either way, let me know!