Simply having…a wonderful Staff Picks time!!
Also we’re changing it up this month and gonna start recommending TV shows as well.
Jason Soto (Host Whatever with Jason Soto, Co-Host Between The Scares, Top 5 A Thru Z, CineGamer, From Inner Time, & Navigating The Multiverse):
Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace (2004)
I don’t know how to sum his show up in a couple of paragraphs, it’s very strange but hilarious at the same time. So the show in itself is a mockumentary about a 80s show called Darkplace, about a bunch of doctors who work in a hospital that sits on the entrance to hell and each episode features the doctors fighting strange monsters. But outside of that show, the actors talk about the show and Garth Marenghi (played by Matthew Holness, who co-created the show with co-star Richard Ayoade) is a horror writer who created, wrote, and starred on the show. And there’s also Matthew Berry, who plays one of the doctors and like always is the best thing about the show. Also they all carry guns for some reason. Like I said, it’s a weird show to sum up in a short amount of time. There’s only one season so you’ll be able to finish it in one day.
Lisa Leaheey (Co-host Between The Scares, Whatever with Jason Soto, & The SibList):
Okay, hear me out. Yes, this is a documentary about a guy who bought a motel specifically so he could spy on people, and he did – for decades. The idea is creepy AF. BUT, this doc isn’t solely focused on the stuff he saw, not entirely. This is a film about voyeurism of a different type – the kinds of stories we (the general public and the media) are interested in, the kinds of people who write them, and how the stories and people shift as the narrative develops.
Bill Szany (Co-host Top Five A Thru Z):
Everyone knows E.T. and now thanks to Paul Rudd on all of his Conan visits, most people know of Mac n’ Me, which was largely forgotten for many years. Nobody though seems to know about Nukie. Possibly for good reason, but personally the way he demonstrates how his people go to sleep on his planet makes the entire movie worth it. Spoiler alert: They go to sleep by disco dancing in the sky.
Pete Rangel, Jr (Co-host Top Five A Thru Z):
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (2021)
This is the 2nd month in a row I’m reviewing a sequel I feel is close to being better than the original. That movie is Escape Room: Tournament Of Champions. It has more intensity and suspense than the first and like the Saw sequels the puzzles and traps are way better. The story expands wonderfully and a huge surprise is in it if you seen the first. Highly recommend it..
Rob Branch (Co-host CineGamer, Top 5 A Thru Z, & Whatever with Jason Soto):
Single Mother By Choice (2021)
As a man I’ll never physically understand what a woman goes through during pregnancy. The scares, the fears, the first times, all of it. Now imagine going through a pregnancy at a time where the COVID Pandemic just started, the death of George Floyd, the protests and riots that ensued after, all while being locked in your home in Los Angeles. If you can do that, watch Single Mother by Choice. Single Mother by Choice tells the story of an overachieving Latinx woman determined to have a baby on her own terms. Written by husband/wife team Dan Levy Dagerman & Selina Ringel, this adaptation of real life events follows Eva Garcia (Selina Ringel) through her entire pregnancy during a time where her life, and the world, came to a standstill. This movie was filmed, on weekends, during the pregnancy that would bring a new addition to Selina and Dan’s life. If you need more reasons that this to watch a movie where then actress is literally going through a pregancy, right before your eyes, I’ll give you two thoughts from both writers. Dan said that this movie was about “being vulnerable and opening up and finding there’s more to life” and Selina said that “it’s very vulnerable to document your pregnancy, especially when you’ve had one that hasn’t worked”. If you have, or have not, had a child or you know someone who is I highly urge you to spend a night and watch this film. Also remember you’re never alone, all you have to do is ask for help.
Lackey (Co-Host From Inner Time):
My staff pick for this month: Millions (2004), directed by Danny Boyle. I like to say that I’m such a morose bastard that “Our mum’s dead” is a recurring line in the most feel-good movie I own on DVD. But Millions pulls off a great trick: it deals with genuinely heavy themes such as grief without being trite. And it becomes genuinely heartwarming in the process. A fantastic overlooked Christmas movie.
Nick Jobe (Co-host Navigating the Multiverse):
(Editors note: We decided to let Nick give two picks this month since he wasn’t able to give one last month.)
In Bruges (2008)
One of my favorite movies, In Bruges is about a hitman (Colin Farrell) and his partner (Brendan Gleeson) who are hiding out in Bruges (it’s in Belgium) after a hit gone wrong, put up by their boss (Ralph Fiennes). The film is a dark black comedy about dealing with guilt and inner demons while being stuck in what is basically purgatory. It’s a funny, sad, and thought-provoking film that runs way deeper than the surface. But don’t let that scare you away, because it’s also really entertaining and damn near perfect. It also takes place at Christmas (even though it isn’t really about Christmas), so, now’s a good time to check it out.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
A fantastic movie that resurrected Robert Downey Jr’s career right before Iron Man, KKBB is a Christmas movie of criminal proportions. A comedy crime mystery, KKBB is a send-up to old mystery novels that sees RDJ accidentally hired as an actor while escaping cops after attempted robbery. He teams up with a detective, Gay Perry (Val Kilmer), to learn the ropes of the trade for the part and gets caught up in a complex murder scheme. It’s fast-paced, witty, and has fantastic dialogue. I just recommend maybe watching with subtitles and not doing anything else while watching, because you might get a little lost. It moves fast, and the plot twists and turns. It’s also incredibly meta (not the Facebook variety). Check it out!
Marc Pasonelli (Co-host The SibList):
My most favorite story during Christmas time is A Christmas Carol. Ask my sister, I embodied the Ghost of Christmas Future more than once – including falling off a stage mid performance, don’t ask… (it was really dark) but I digress! In 1988, Richard Donner decided to tie comedy genius, one William James Murray to create a modern day version of a timeless story NOT named Cinderella (I know!). A TV station program director (Murray) takes the role of the infamous miser and lives to make everyone else around him miserable, especially around Christmas time, and goes on his own version of Past, Present, & Future – hoping to better himself before it is too late. Toss in Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and add a little pinch on Bobcat Goldthwait (The loud “yell-y” guy from every 80s movie ever. Not Gilbert Godfrey… the other one), and you get a fun, dry, witty, instant (dark) Christmas classic that I wouldn’t recommend huddling around the fire with the kids to watch – but definitely your significant other and/or friends! Please enjoy this different take on A Christmas Carol, which is a better Christmas story than Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and The Nutcracker – yea, I said it!