Media Consumption: The 2023 Kick-off
Here are five recommendations to keep you occupied over the next few months.
🎞️ The Menu: Exactly what genre of film The Menu “is” is hard to say. Some say it’s a drama, others call it a horror. To me, it feels more like a thriller. Either way, most can agree that it is at its heart a satire on haute cuisine and the cult that has formed around it.
We follow a couple (Nicholas Hoult and Anya Taylor-Joy) on a remote island, set to partake in a lavish dinner by celebrity chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes). As the meal progresses, the edgy take on fine dining swiftly turns into an experiment in how far the clientele’s palate can be pushed. Also, how far is the staff willing to go to satisfy the mercurial chef?
The Menu is a commentary on many facets of fine dining, and particularly the Danish restaurant Noma—known for not paying its lower-level staff—is a source of much ridicule. The fictitious restaurant itself is modeled after Norway’s Cornelius Sjømatrestaurant and Washington State’s Willows Inn. For anyone with an above-average interest in food, The Menu is a highly entertaining watch.
The movie currently streams on HBO Max—I gave it a gentleman’s ❤️❤️❤️❤️🖤 on Letterboxd.
📺 Poker Face: It might sound unlikely, a modern-day Murder, She Wrote starring Natasha Lyonne. Yet, it works flawlessly.
Protagonist Charlie possesses an innate instinct to know when a person is lying—a perfect skill for someone who weekly stumbles upon murders. Each episode starts in the middle of a storyline, and after about ten minutes rewinds to when Charlie got involved with the plot. The stories are stand-alone—tied together by a rarely touched upon overarching plot—with a different gallery of characters appearing every week.
Poker Face streams on Peacock. It was created by Rian Johnson, who perhaps primarily is known for Glass Onion, Knives Out, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
📖 Never Be Alone Again: How Bloghouse United the Internet and the Dancefloor (Lina Abascal): For those of us who frequented MP3 blogs during the aughts—think Stereogum and Tiny Mix Tapes—this is a worthy tribute to the era. My only hesitation to wholeheartedly recommending it is how indie rock is made into a side note to the DJ culture.
Still, there are a lot of fun anecdotes about the era’s “wild west” nature of music blogs—a description liberally thrown around—and I enjoy seeing artists like Sébastien Tellier and Chromeo represented.
Never Be Alone Again is a good read for those who were into those blogs (and who still are—Stereogum is going strong); for anyone else, it might not be quite as interesting.
🎞️ Meet Me in the Bathroom: A documentary about the early-2000s New York indie rock scene centered around The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and LCD Soundsystem. It’s a fun—yet dark—retrospective, with an insight into the characters one would expect: The tortured Julian Casablancas and the über-cool Karen O. The obsessive James Murphy and the borderline sociopathic Ryan Adams. The usual suspects.
Meet Me in the Bathroom streams on Showtime, based on Lizzy Goodman's book. I threw down a healthy 🌕🌕🌕🌗🌑 on Letterboxd. Even if you’re not interested in the bands, the film is a good document of that era’s Brooklyn and Manhatten developments.
🎞️ The Twilight Saga: Don’t pretend you don’t like it. Twilight for life.
🤷 Is there anything else I should dive into? Leave a comment with any recommendations.