Give the person that you love that special gift: this month’s Staff Picks!
Jason Soto (Host Whatever with Jason Soto, That’s Da Bomb, Yo!, The TV Transmissions; Co-Host Between The Scares, CineGamer, Musically Ignorant & Sporadicast):
Dead of Winter (Board Game-2014)
It’s February and I figured a board game called Dead of Winter was apropo. It’s basically The Walking Dead: The Board Game but they couldn’t call it that. You play as a survivor of a zombie apocalypses and you have to go get supplies and fight zombies and do tasks in order to win the game. But WATCH OUT! One person at the table might be only looking our for themselves and will bring DEATH UPON YOU!! It’s a fun and often times hilarious game with a great story telling mechanic. For an idea on how it plays, check out the Wil Wheaton show “Tabletop” below.
Lisa Leaheey (Co-host Whatever with Jason Soto, Between The Scares, The SibList, & Sporadicast):
It’s my birthday month! Watch my favorite movie, Ghostbusters!
Rob Branch (Co-host CineGamer, Top 5 A Thru Z, Whatever with Jason Soto, Lyrical Innuendo, & Sporadicast):
The Pentaverate (2022)
What if a secret organization of █████ men ruled the world? And what if they were nice? The series follows sweet-talking journalist Ken █████ (Mike Myers) as he tries to infiltrate The Pentaverate to get his old job back at CACA News █████. Ken works with colleague Reilly █████ (Lydia West) and conspiracy theorist Anthony █████ (also played by Myers) to complete this mission. Along the way, he realizes that this all-powerful organization isn’t so █████ and works to stop nefarious forces from attempting to destroy it.
The Pentaverate is a █████ show that makes fun of some of pop culture’s most popular conspiracy theories. What would seem like an absurd Mike Myers project, is by far one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Myers plays multiple █████ that seem to play off themselves in a way that one could only describe as “█████”. Mike Myers’s new Netflix comedy is one to not █████.
Is the world doomed, or is there some sort of █████? Are we destined to live a life where █████ is bliss, or are we all (as a species) destined for something greater? Can we be saved? This is the goal of The Pentaverate.
Pete Rangel, Jr (Co-host Top Five A Thru Z & Sporadicast):
X & Pearl (2022)
This is actually a 2 movie review since they are both connected but if you like old school type horror where 20-somethings or early 30ers go on a road trip and regret it later type horror films X is for you. If you like prequels that have a good back story on the protagonist of a horror film then Pearl is for you which is the origin of the protagonist in X. This series was made to be a trilogy and the third Maxxxine will be out sometime this year continuing where X left off. Oh. If you love Mia Goth it’s another good reason to see these movies.
Lackey (Co-Host Musically Ignorant & Sporadicast):
My staff pick is Brian De Palma’s lurid, Hitchcockesque thriller Sisters (1972), in which a New York reporter (Jennifer Salt) discovers a horrifying secret after witnessing a gruesome murder in the apartment of a French-Canadian model (Margot Kidder). This early De Palma offering features many of the elements and themes which would go on to distinguish his later work, including voyeurism and shocking (by the standards of its time) violent. A fascinating watch, if you can get past Kidder’s accent.
Marc Armstead (Co-Host Word of (Hell)Mouth & Sporadicast):
Mayfair Witches (TV-2023)
AMC did a wonderful job adapting Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire as a television series, now they’re expanding the “Immortal Universe” with The Mayfair Witches. The show follows Rowan Fielding, a Neurosurgeon with a deep desire to find out about her past. Upon the death of her adoptive mother, Rowan discovers traces of her biological family, the Mayfairs, in New Orleans. Rowan soon finds herself involved in a world of murder, witchcraft, and an ominous entity known as Lasher. Admittedly, I haven’t read any of the Mayfair books, but based on the show thus far, reading them has been pushed to the top of my to do list. The cinematography of the show is beautiful, the shots on location in New Orleans you can almost feel the humidity as if you’re there. The story so far is captivating and the pacing is spot on, unfolding just enough of the story to keep hooked but also keeps you guessing what happens next. The Mayfair Witches is about halfway through its first season, so it’s not too late to dig in.
Bubbawheat (Co-host Lyrical Innuendo & Sporadicast):
Physical 100 (2023)
I decided to go off the beaten path once again for my staff pick. I recently re-subscribed to Netflix and while I did check out several popular recent shows like Wednesday and That 90’s Show, one unlikely show caught my eye and fascinated me for the first 3 episodes out of 10 for the full season with 2 more releasing each week. It’s a Korean show called Physical 100 and it’s a reality competition show pitting 100 of the most fit Koreans of varying physique types, from wrestlers and body builders to gymnasts and dancers. They’re then set against each other in various physical challenges to see who wins the 300,000,000 Wan, or roughly $250,000.
The first three episodes start with a lengthy introduction that at least touches on most of the 100 contestants before the first challenge to see who can hold onto a scaffold above a pool of water the longest. It then moves onto the start of the first elimination with 50 one on one matches that will cut the field in half. The presentation is interesting with a likely inspiration from Squid Game as there is no narrator, the instructions come from a disembodied voice and there are various helpers wearing a hooded jacket that covers most of their face. The actual commentary comes from the other contestants with a mix of awe, compliments, and occasional arrogance. The overall feel is more competitive than something like the Great British Baking Show but way more friendly than WWE. The only real downside is their penchant for showing important moments two or three times in a row. These first episodes have had a lot of exciting moments and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.
Ryan Luis Rodriguez (Co-host Tales From The Double RR & Sporadicast):
Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (2022)
The 2022 Academy Award nominations were just announced, so I’d like to share a film that was unjustly robbed of a Best Picture nod (considering it was my favorite film of the last year): Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. It’s one of those unassuming little movies that completely sneaks up on you, one that looks potentially cloying but manages to pack a genuine emotional punch. It’s not terribly difficult to make me cry. I’m an easy mark, I will confess. But I spent the last half-hour openly sobbing in a considerably packed theater and I have to give it up for that. Don’t judge. Please.
Heather Baxendale-Walsh (Co-Host Word of (Hell)Mouth & Sporadicast):
I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
This was so profoundly personal that much of the humor rolled right off my shoulders. Not that it wasn’t present, and I didn’t acknowledge it from time to time, but it wasn’t for me. And as someone who uses self-deprecating humor and laughter as a coping mechanism, that should shed a lot of light on this book.
It was wonderful. Living in a world that constantly tells us that we must have a relationship with family regardless of how that abusive behavior impacts us as a human. Jennettes’s abusive mother reached heights that mine did not. There was no hoarding, and I wasn’t talented enough to become a child star, but the rest of the landscape was so familiar it created a visceral reaction reading. I feel seen and validated.
Being raised by a narcissist is all about them, and it grooms your behavior to believe it is your job as the child to manage your parent’s emotions. The way Jennette shares this experience is through the eyes of herself at the time of each incident. It isn’t until her mother dies that her glass ceiling becomes shattered. Her world has been the world her mother presented to her, and she couldn’t see it any other way.
To heal from that, grow into her own person, and build her own life takes so much courage and even more to write about it. For those that have suffered as she did, this book is truly for you. And for those that haven’t, this may provide some insight to people you love and care about who are healing from relationships with their parents or struggling to escape them.
We are not alone.
I read this in 24 hours. I highly recommend it.
The Vern (Co-Host Tales From The RR & Sporadicast):
Strange Days (1995)
Strange Days starring Angela Bassett Ralph Fiennes, and Juliette Lewis It was directed by Kathryn Bigelow and co written by James Cameron.
This great Sci Fi drama was released in 1995 to low box office and mixed critical reviews. I thought it was great back than because it was a reflection of important events in the early 90s. It works today for how it predicted certain events. Plus the acting from everyone was top notch. Both Ralph Fiennes and Angela Bassett were nominated for Oscars before this (Schindler’s List and What’s Love Got To Do With It) and they help make everything about this movie very much believable.
Some may say that the music and clothes date the movie considerably but I never had issues with it’s overall message still works today. Plus that soundtrack is pretty killer. It’s up there with The Crow and The Matrix as some of my favorite songs from the 90s. Juliette Lewis does amazing with her covers of P.J. Harvey jams as well.
Its too bad this was a box office bomb because I think I would like more flicks like this and this is by far the most hardcore flick James Cameron has ever written. Expect for maybe Piranha 2: The Spawning.
Nick Jobe (Host: Roll For Podcast; Co-host: Sporaticast):
The Last of Us (TV-2023)
I write this as only the first episode has aired, but The Last of Us is a show I’ve been waiting for for practically a decade now. Having gone through a few different iterations (early on, it was going to be a movie), the current format is what it desperately needed to be. This show isn’t just an amazing adaptation for fans of the game, but it’s an amazing adaptation for people who have no experience with the game. Much like how the game has been heralded as on of the best of all time, the show is a game changer in how not just video game adaptations, but adaptations of any kind can and should work. Some scenes are shot for shot while others are expansions of the story or mythology. Many moments happen prior to where the game picks up in various scenes, but then lead perfectly into it as if placing deleted scenes back into the story that you never realized you were missing. It’s a perfect translation to a new medium that works, and they somehow discovered the balancing act formula. Not to mention the casting is SPOT ON, even down to the voices and mannerisms. I’m a superfan that would have been crushed if this weren’t good, and it is exceeding all expectations so far.
Bill Szany (Co-host: Top 5 A Thru Z, Sporadicast):
Dexter is a bloody good show, mate. Or you could say Dexter is a good bloody show, mate. In other words it’s a bloody good show with tons of blood. You’d think it’d be impossible to root for a serial killer, right? Well that’s not necessarily the case because Dexter won the hearts of millions the same way we rooted for Tony Soprano despite knowing he constantly cheated on his wife and did dozens of other despicable things. Or perhaps the way we still rooted for Walter White long after we knew he no longer needed the money and was just feeding his ego. Dexter is so great because even though his whole outer personality and lifestyle is a sham, he lives by a certain set of rules that his dad put into precedent. Harry’s Code is the very fiber of who Dexter is and every time something goes un-according to plan, he has a major crisis of faith. Not to go back to making comparisons, but if you enjoyed the way The Boondock Saints put Gangsters in their place, you’ll for sure love the way Dexter puts his fellow degenerates in their place as well. I could really go on for ages about Dexter, but if you’ve never seen it check it out for yourself! Rabbit Hole Podcaster SzanyMan, out!!
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