dill & fennel

October

It’s Fall, baybee! Let’s get spooky and watch some horror films. If the smoke outside clears at some point, maybe we can even light a candle and do some magic. testing So many live-action shows are being cancelled or postponed, but fortunately Japan is still releasing boatloads of anime with no end in sight.

This month Akudama Drive, Jujutsu Kaijin, and Majō Tabitabi all came out, and seem like they’ll be fun.

I’m also watching the new season of GBBO in their lock-in, Tehran, and Long Way Up. I also dove into the spooky adaptation of The Turn of the Screw on Netflix called The Haunting of Bly Manor.

I doubt we’ll ever get a home release of Tenet.

Books

Self-Knowledge

Another School of Life book, this time on life and self-knowing. I enjoyed it quite a bit, with its brisk tour of much of what I’ve covered in therapy over the years.

Earthlings — Sayaka Murata

Wow, this was initially pretty straightforward, and then went deep into the weird zone. Murata is so good at writing. Between this and the Convenience Store Woman, I think she’s one of the best surrealist fiction authors working. Very highly recommended, and hard to put down.

The City We Became — NK Jemison

Hell yea! A new trilogy from NK Jemison set in our world. I love the idea of cities as sentient beings. I think there’s some really interesting stuff that gets explored here, and I’m excited to see where the next one goes. Other than Wu Tang, fuck Staten Island though.

Can’t Even — Anne Helen Petersen

Why is burnout such a thing, and how does it effect millennials? What the hell were boomers thinking? All these questions and more are answered thoroughly in this well-researched and often funny book about modern life.

How to Overcome your Childhood

A brisk read on how our childhoods fucked us up, and what to do about it. Food for my therapist and I for sure.

Kissa by Kissa — Craig Mod

I’ve had a few occasions to sit and chat with Craig over coffee, and this book feels like an extension of those hangouts. This is a delightful travelogue and philosophical essay on exploring the nooks of Japan as they age into a softly-lit Showa patina. This book breathes a countryside stroll in and exhales a perfumes of coffee and toast. A joy.

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work — Alain de Botton

At various points de Botton is curiously horned-up, but this is largely an interesting outsider look at various industries. From the drudgeries of accountancy, to the mysteries of flight, there are quite a few strange details in this slim tome.

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion — Margaret Killjoy

A great novella about anarchist punks who summon a demon. This felt like something that could’ve lived in Meanwhile, Elsewhere in the best way. I really loved seeing various trans pinkest in a magical story, and hope the Danielle Cain series keeps going.

The Disaster Tourist — Yun Ko-eun

A fun look at the nightmarish world of trips and tours. Disaster tours feel like the next evolution of the sex tour—a titillating view of poverty and suffering. There was just enough left out to create a nice bit of mystery, and Yona was a good guide through the complexity of complicity.r

The Overstory — Richard Powers

This book started-off well, with some vignettes of various characters, then lost me for a while in a very slow build. By page 300 or so, I couldn’t put it down, and didn’t get to sleep until 5am. A delight.

Movies

The Phantom Menace

Dammit Blank Check why did I do this to myself in order to listen to your commentary track. Seriously though, the 10 episodes about the only entry in Star Wars that was ever made were excellent. Thank you for the bonkers good time.

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula

There’s no train in this one, despite the title that I think was used to make sure us goofy Americans realize it’ related to the previous film. I loved the taxi lady. This film had more of a Mad Max vibe than the original which was fun.

Train to Busan

Continuing the zombie movie rewatches, I threw this on in order to remind myself what it was like before watching the sequel that just came out. It’s just as good as I remember it, though I fundamentally don’t like “fast” zombies. Zombies should shamble. The wild melee of this film is a very different kind of fear than the slow horror of inexorable zombie overrunning of your position.

World War Z

A more intense pandemic movie. I’ve watched this three or four times, and it still manages to be one of the more interesting and compelling zombie action films. By throwing out the creeping dread for a much more agoraphobic zombie fear, this movie makes me glad I stay inside.

Blackhat

This movie dares to ask the bold question: “can a himbo code?” I don’t understand why most of the terrible coding examples are windows INF or registry files, but hey, it’s fun and stupid. I think this was also the first film I saw where it was obvious that US action films are now mostly funded by Chinese financiers.

Collateral

I think I’ve seen this before, but didn’t remember much. I love the extremely tight shots inside the cab, and the real LA traffic vibe. This is the same LA time period as the L Word.

Borat Subsequent

A hoot. This wasn’t nearly as salacious as the build-up implied, but there were some big laughs, and a surprisingly endearing lock-in with some Q Anon weirdos. I wish they’d gotten more Pence action.

Save Yourselves!

The initial cast was a reprise of the friends from Search Party, so one could almost imagine this was an alternate reality retelling. Fortunately, this movie morphs into a cute and weird duo alien invasion story pretty quick instead.

The Trip to Italy

Unlike the first Trip film I’ve never seen this one before. I like how Coogan’s character has changed it up a bit, and generally this film felt friendlier. I’m excited for the next two.

Jennifer’s body

The entire movie I just kept thinking, “what! They’re in this too?!” I missed this movie back in the day and I think it was largely maligned, but it’s a near weird little horror film. It only takes around 15 minutes to get creepy, and then it goes off the rails in the most weird ways. Even JK Simmons was in this! Amy Sedaris! The lesson here is: don’t trust scene kids, just stick with your best friend. The men in this film are the real monsters, obviously.

Vampires vs The Bronx

A fun horror film about gentrification with a great cameos from folks like Zoe Saladaña and The Kid Mero. Truly a great time.

The Assistant

I didn’t know much about this going in, only that it was well-regarded. Julia Garner is outstanding in an incredibly brutal film about a sexually abusive and horrible movie producer that definitely wink wink isn’t based on anyone who is currently serving 23 years in prison.