Media Diet on Friday
I Feel The Need... The Need For A Speedy Newsletter
We are back to our irregular summer programming next week - twice monthly, probably?
But not today, sir! Today’s episode is a speed run through all of last month’s leftovers, a review of my new favorite band, and some insight into what I do when I’m not watching TV (hint: it’s doing more for Pride than corporate logos with rainbows)
Top Gun: Maverick (2022, Joseph Kasinsky): Hell. Fucking. Yes. One of the best movie experiences I’ve had since watching the Lion King as a 6 year old. Goddamn you, Tom Cruise. Full review coming soon, but suffice to say I’ll give this 10/10, A+++!
Dual (2022)- Low-key sci-fi with the driest of dry humor. Absurdity levels spiking. For people who liked After Yang, Fresh or The Lobster. B
Long awaited: Stranger Things IV (part 1) had an interesting plot-twist, Kate Bush (obviously), and way too many sub-plots than I cared for. It’s as if Netflix is saying goodbye to Prestige TV by cramming. B-
Streaming on Netflix
Vicious, but not without emotional heft: The 2nd season of Hacks ended on a graceful note. I’m really locked into the wry tone, and I loved every aspect of the writing this time around. I really hope they’ll return next year for more. A+
Streaming on HBO Max
Hustle - Adam “The Sandman” Sandler is back with a sports-drama that didn’t capture me quite as well much as, well, a Tom Cruise movie. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the basketball of it. C+
Watch Trailer - Streaming on Netflix
Navalny: Very well-made documentary about the poisoining of Russian oppositional activist Alexey Navalny. Often feels like a true crime thriller. Focuses on the event rather than the big picture, which makes Navalny stand out as a hero martyr. That’s very generous, considering his past affiliation with nationalists and right-wing extremists. Watch with caution. C
Watch Trailer - Streaming on HBO Max
We Own This City and Under The Banner of Heaven had very satisfying finales. I will gladly repeat myself: we need more conclusive mini-series that don’t drag out their natural ending. We Own This City is certainly in my Top 10 of this year. A
We Own This City is streaming on HBO
Under The Banner of Heaven is streaming on FX/Hulu
Obi-Wan Kenobi, another TV show from the Star Wars universe, is dropping weekly episodes on Disney and it… sucks. Sorry, bro - Darth Vader belongs on the big screen. A lightsaber battle between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader used to be sacrosanct. Now it feels profane. D
Streaming on Disney+
The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent - Unbearable, indeed? The kind of movie you need to be stoned out your mind for. I adore Pedro Pascal and Nic Cage is, well, Nic Cage, but this wasn’t for me. D-
Currently in theaters
Conversation With Friends: Please stop giving awkward people scene time. I can tolerate Sally Rooney’s infuriating characters in prose, but the Roonyverse on screen is a hard pass for me. The cringe is just too real. D
Streaming on Hulu/BBC
I Love That For You is a charming showbiz-satire loosely based on the real experiences of main cast member Vanessa Bayer, who was diagnosed with leukemia as a child. If you’re into the hokey tone of SNL sketches or just want something rather light-weight, this hits the spot. B
Streaming on Showtime.
If you’re sick of subscribing to multiple streaming accounts to watch all of this content, try the Media Diet premium account. Comes with exclusive access to the Media Diet Plex.
Fire Island (2022, directed by Andrew Ahn)- Two gay best friends take a trip to the Pines, a hamlet on New York’s Fire Island that’s a hotspot for queer culture. Over the course of their vacation, they party with friends and develop flirtations with two other, significantly wealthier vacationers.
Watch Trailer - Streaming on Hulu
Irma Vep (Season 1) - Mira (Alicia Vikander) is an American movie star disillusioned by her career and a recent breakup, who comes to France to star as "Irma Vep" in a remake of the French silent film classic, Les Vampires. Set against the backdrop of a lurid crime thriller, Mira struggles as the distinctions between herself and the character she plays begin to blur and merge.
Streaming on HBO
Moneyboys (2021, directed by C.B. Yi)- Fei works illegally as a hustler in order to support his family, yet when he realizes they are willing to accept his money but not his way of life, there is a major breakdown in their relations. Through his relationship to the headstrong Long, Fei seems able to find a new lease on life, but then he encounters Xiaolai, the love of his youth, who confronts him with the guilt of his repressed past.
Watch Trailer - Streaming on Mubi
Real life reviews
Pride Month 🏳️🌈
I decided to boycott Pride Month1. I don’t want Pride Month. I want Pride Money. That’s why in my life outside of Watching TV (hard to believe, I know), I’m part of Txeya - it’s pronounced TE-YA - where we’ve just opened up the waitlist for diverse founders and entrepreneurs who need financial tools (banking and funding), a community of peers and business support.
If you’re gay, Black, female or generally overlooked or discriminated against or everything all at once, and you have a business or want to start a business, please sign up - the waitlist is free and no strings attached, but helps us get to know our customers better and create the best product possible.
Also, Pride parades in Berlin happen in July, so my emotional ties to June as a succession of activities for my people are rather weak. I give Pride Month 5/10.
My girlfriend is obsessed with guinea pigs and now I am, too. We bought two pork chops and are giving them the best life2. But having guinea pigs is as rewarding as having a polished stone: they’re very dependent, but in return they give you nothing. Zero. No love. No attention. Even months later, they’re still terrified when we enter the room. Being a piggy owner is a very selfless act of giving love.
Anyways. Almost drove back from Italy halfway through our holiday trip because I missed the fat raccaccoonis too much. I’ll give them 10/10.
While on our roadtrip from Berlin to France via Italy, we spent many hours listening to podcasts. On an episode of the NYT Popcast, the hosts discuss whether Rock, as a music genre, has made a comeback. The band Turnstile was brought up as the reference point. Intrigued, I decided to check them out in more detail and holy shit… this is good. 🤘🏼
The music doesn’t feel earth shattering or complicated in the way that people tend to praise trends - just weightless and as fun as the Hardcore vein of the genre can be. Their sound, especially on the Turnstile Love Connection EP, is a melodic twist on an arguably bulky genre, but brought back to life with a young, airy spirit.
I don’t know if this is Geriatric Millennial Nostalgia™ (after all, my youth was Grunge at the skatepark and later Emo, before it finally dissolved into a potpourri of adult contemporary music heavily influenced by Techno and country lesbians), or if Turnstile are bringing something to the table that hasn’t been done for a while: earnest, expertly crafted Rock3.
📰 The Guardian: Oliver Burkeman's last column: the eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life
If you’re prone to thinking you should be helping more, that’s probably a sign that you could afford to direct more energy to your idiosyncratic ambitions and enthusiasms. As the Buddhist teacher Susan Piver observes, it’s radical, at least for some of us, to ask how we’d enjoy spending an hour or day of discretionary time. And the irony is that you don’t actually serve anyone else by suppressing your true passions anyway. More often than not, by doing your thing – as opposed to what you think you ought to be doing – you kindle a fire that helps keep the rest of us warm.
It’s a joke, I’m not boycotting anything.
If ROCK is back - not just as a pose, but as a genre - I wonder if it’s correlated to the same vibe shift that is also bringing back the big movies to cinemas. The culture feels bigger again, ready to find common ground that is allowed to be raw.