*insert that Justin Timberlake meme but instead it’s about the Staff Picks for May!*
Jason Soto (Host Whatever with Jason Soto, That’s Da Bomb, Yo!, Co-Host Between The Scares, Top 5 A Thru Z, CineGamer, From Inner Time, & Navigating The Multiverse):
Return To Horror High (1987)
We screened this at the Dark Hole Film Fest last week and this movie is a fuck-ton of fun! A film crew is making a horror movie that depicts a brutal killing that actually occurred there years ago. But someone is going around killing the crew and actors! This features a very young George Clooney who is the first victim and a very grown up Maureen McCormick, who is pretty hot. Also starring Alex Rocco as a sleazy movie producer who just wants more tits in his movies. What’s also interesting is the way the movie is presented. It’s done through flashbacks and a movie-within-a-movie, that also does a flashback. Despite the title, it’s not a sequel to anything and it’s best if you don’t take it seriously.
Lisa Leaheey (Co-host Whatever with Jason Soto, Between The Scares, The SibList):
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
There’s just something about the month of May that pushes everyone to get outside. Sure, the weather starts turning in March and April, but when May rolls around and the end of the school year is in sight, we itch to wander the outdoors. In My Neighbor Totoro, sisters Satsuki and Mei move with their father to the countryside so they can be closer to the hospital where their mother is being treated. Excited for her return home, the sisters explore their new home and the nearby woods, encountering house spirits (susuwatari) that scramble away from the light and a giant sleeping spirit Mei calls Totoro. A series of lovely adventures through the forest ensue, and while the girls work through their concerns for their mom’s health, they maintain a sweet wonder for the world Totoro shows them. I’ve always loved stories about worlds beyond reality; there’s something so beautiful about the idea that spirits exist just outside our perception, and that they will show themselves to us when we most need them. My Neighbor Totoro is one such movie, and since we’ll be exploring the outdoors more freely once again this spring, what better film to awaken the childlike wonder we all remember we once had?
Rob Branch (Co-host CineGamer, Top 5 A Thru Z, Whatever with Jason Soto, Lyrical Innuendo, InfoBlast):
I’m a huge fan of mythology. Ancient gods, monsters, tales of heroes and villains. They all hold a special place in my heart. It doesn’t matter if you’re discussing Norse, Greek, Roman, Lovecraftian or even Pastafarianism (The Flying Spaghetti Monster) who will come to rescue us all in his interdimensional Colander. They’re all fun to talk about and explore but there is one that holds the most special place of all the special places in my heart, and that is the Egyptian Patheon.
What do you get when you combine a young woman with a talent for seeing Egyptian curses, a bumbling brother on the verge of puberty, a rapscallion who thinks he’s the world’s greatest magician (and yes he’s decent in his talents) and finally a young Egyptian woman who’s royal nose makes you want to yell “shut up”? You get HBO Max’s Theodosia.
Set in the early 1900s Theodosia Throckmorton is the smart, bold 14-year-old daughter of two intrepid Egyptologists, excavating in the Valley of the Kings. During an excavation Theo unlocks the power to see and perform true magic, thus discovering a whole new world of mystery as well as danger. Now, from her parent’s home, the world-famous Museum of Legends and Antiquities in the heart of Edwardian London, Theo must do battle with ancient forces, dark magic and comic chaos as she tries to survive teenage life, get through education and… save the whole world from the Ancient Egyptian God of Chaos, Apep.
I’m sorry were you thinking of Seth when I said “Ancient Egyptian God of Chaos”? Yeah, that’s an easy to mistake that. See here’s the thing: while Seth is the God of Chaos, you know what why not just watch the show and get a crash course in ancient Egyptian mythology. Just, well, make sure you’re wearing your protection amulet. Even with a TV-PG rating, curses can be such a bitch.
Pete Rangel, Jr (Co-host Top Five A Thru Z):
If you loved the “Child’s Play”/”… of Chucky” movie franchise (not counting at all the “Child’s Play” remake), go check out season 1 of SYFY’s straight in continuation of the movies tv series “Chucky”. Lots of originals with also new plus believe it or not the show is very damn good.
Lackey (Co-Host From Inner Time):
Brigsby Bear (2017)
SNL’s Kyle Mooney (who also co-wrote) stars as a (literally) sheltered young man forced to face the outside world. When he learns the truth about Brigsby Bear, the children’s TV show with which he’s obsessed, he finds himself determined to embark on a journey his new-found family doesn’t entirely understand. By turns dark and heartwarming, Brigsby Bear examines our relationship with pop culture and the creative urge, and features powerful performances from its cast, especially Matt Walsh, Michaela Watkins, and Mark Hamill.
Nick Jobe (Co-host Navigating the Multiverse, InfoBlast):
Turning Red (2022)
With all the controversy that’s been around this movie, I knew I had to check it out. More than that, my 12-year-old daughter wanted to see it, and it’s right in her age range. So is the controversy warranted? I mean… kinda? But not really? It has a muddled metaphor that goes some really weird and dark places depending on what it means. The movie starts by making the “red panda” thing as a metaphor for a period. But if that’s the case all the way through, the movie takes some WTF story turns. Otherwise, the metaphor is just whatever it wants to be at any given time. Even then, it’s a bit… much… on that front. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but watch the movie with this in mind, and you’ll see what I mean.
All of that being said, I am recommending it (this is Staff Picks). It’s a cute movie, and my daughter cried almost the entire time because she related to it so heavily (or at least aspects of it). She was almost inconsolable for a while, and it jumped to the top of her favorite movies list. So what I’m saying is, this is a movie directed at 12-to-13-year-old girls, not men in their 30s, so while I do think the themes are questionable, the movie itself is highly recommended, especially for its intended audience.
Bubbawheat (Co-host Lyrical Innuendo):
Tattoo Fixers Extreme UK (2015)
I was just browsing through Hulu when a show was recommended to me that I thought looked interesting. Tattoo Fixers Extreme UK follows a small tattoo shop in the UK that specializes in cover ups. Not only that, but the show focuses on some of the most obscene and ridiculous tattoos out there likea punk rock chick riding a giant penis shaped vibrator with flames coming out of her ass. Or a guy with the words “sucking dicks” and “slapping tits” on his chest. There’s plenty of stories about men and women getting drunk on holiday to Magaluf and coming home with a stupid tattoo. The stories are often poorly but hilariously recreated and there are also fun random quiet moments with the tattoo artists having Clerks-esque conversations. Plus the finished cover up artwork is typically pretty incredible. There are also several fresh tattoo customers that have weird, sad, or inspiring stories to go along with why they want to get a tattoo. It’s a fun show and seasons 5 and 6 are currently available on Hulu.