Friday, June 30, 2017

Favorites: June 2017

Favorites is a monthly feature that offers up quick thoughts on media, both new and old, that I've recently enjoyed for the first time.

Playtime (1967)
Before this month, I had never seen any film by beloved French director Jacques Tati, and it almost feels like a mistake to have started with Playtime.  Not because I didn't like it; more that it's going to be nearly impossible for any of his other work to live up to what is clearly his magnum opus.  Playtime is a work of pure cinema, a movie that constantly flexes is own brilliance in a way unlike anything I've ever seen.  It's full of meticulously choreographed comic setpieces that uses everything in the dictionary of visual language to build them head-spinning heights.  Learning that this bankrupted Tati was no surprise -- you can see all of the dollars and sweat that went into it right there in every frame.

Wonder Woman
There isn't much else to say about Wonder Woman that hasn't already been said, but if you're still skeptical about the film, then believe the hype.  Though I like most superhero films that come out, my fatigue with capes and cowls had me fearing I was unable to feel truly passionate about them anymore.  Wonder Woman made me believe again.  It's a thrilling, empathetic, joy of a film -- the perfect panacea for the nihilistic sting of the DC Cinematic Universe's previous efforts.

Sylvan Esso - "The Glow"
Sylvan Esso's debut was one of my favorite albums of 2014, but this year has been so jam-packed that I haven't been able to get around to their follow-up, What Now.  I decided to sample "The Glow" in the meantime, and I'm even more excited to finally check out the rest of the album.  The song is in keeping with Sylvan Esso's style, melding crisp electronic melodies with lead singer Amelia Meath's bright vocals as it delivers an endearing and nostalgia-laden ode to The Microphones's classic album, The Glow, Pt. 2.  Though I didn't necessarily listen to that album much in high school, "The Glow" has so much personality that it's hard not to be transported back to my younger days.

The Carmichael Show's episode about assisted suicide
Earlier today it was announced that NBC had cancelled its excellent multi-cam throwback sitcom, The Carmichael Show.  While not exactly surprising, the news is still a crushing blow, as it really felt like the show was just approaching its peak era with its daring, consistently hilarious third season.  No episode better exemplifies what the show does best than "Grandma Francis" from a few weeks ago.  It boldly tackles a current political issue -- as Jerrod and his family must fulfill his sick grandmother's request to help her end her own life -- and manages to find tons of laughs in uncomfortable territory.  It's something they've done again and again with various topics, from mass shootings to consent, and it's done with such aplomb.  Often, The Carmichael Show feels like exactly what we need right now.

"Me and My Oppressive, Pervasive Desire to Just Disappear" by Courtney Enlow (article)
Courtney Enlow has recently become once of my favorite writers on the internet.  She's funny, whip-smart, and when she writes about her experiences with mental illness, she taps into a wellspring of moving words.  Her latest piece at Glamour is no different.


  1. Didn't know where exactly to put this, but I started watching the Fresh Meats on Netflix based on something you wrote about for a year-end list, and it's G.R.E.A.T. thanks for the tip!

    1. Nice! One of the greatest hangout shows of this generation. I miss it dearly.