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Month of Sundays #1

New month, new recurring post concept. Happy Halloween.


  • It’s hard to do an October horror movie thing when you’re already watching horror all the time. On top of that, between the Rings, the Ju-Ons, and the Elm Street and Friday the 13th reboots, it’s been quite a lot of “watching franchises play their opening gambits over and over again” lately. And then Friday the 13th and Halloween also have a bunch of endings, too.
  • I’ll do, I think, the American Ring and Grudge films, and then maybe take a wee break from horror for a bit.
  • Caught up on Hunger Games before the prequel comes out, but I don’t think I’m quite the target audience for these. I think I’m struggling for the exact reason people often struggle with The Matrix, which I love because I can bring the emotional through-line into focus for myself while blurring out the world and the philosophy a little — but with Hunger Games, because I’m not 14, the emotional through-line doesn’t click into place in the same way so all I can see is the idea that this dumb system has been in place for 75 years somehow.
  • Blank Check status report: Finished Tim Burton. Hitting Michael Mann means I’ve also got Waypoint‘s Mannhunting to listen to, but I didn’t really click with Thief, so this one might be a real chore again. But I really should at least get well into Mann before Ferrari comes out.

Bits from Letterboxd

Saw X (2023):

I get why [Jigsaw’s victims] don’t appreciate John Kramer the Maker or John Kramer the Industrial Designer, but they could at least appreciate John Kramer the Puppeteer.

Past Lives (2023):

I know that tension between the past and the present. I know changing your name, I know becoming ungoogleable. I know being somebody else somewhere else. I know all the things that are harder to say in one language than they are in the other. I know translating for a friend. I know wondering. I know not going there.

La Course (1896):

Good to keep a crowd between us and those horses, wouldn’t want them to rush out of the screen like that train.

Killers of the Flower Moon (2023):

an hour in I thought, “really, it’s weird that Jesse Plemons isn’t in this somewhere” and then an hour later there he was

Resident Evil (2002):

this is so 2002

we were always getting stuck in stainless steel laser trap rooms back then

Mac and Me (1988):

at the end the aliens have truly integrated into American society — they’ve gone on a road trip, picked up a few cold ones and a gun, and get shot and blown up by the cops

Dark Water (2002):

quite a strong overlap here with the Koji Suzuki adaptation Hideo Nakata’s best known for, Ring — these huge psychic scars left on the world around a sad death, an intense situation involving a single mother and her daughter, psychic visions, and, of course, they’re both pretty wet films

they’re both also, of course, awfully sad, but Ring gets to be sort of fun, with its over the top silly cursed tape concept, while this one thrives more in its fairly serious depiction of the claustrophobic little world around its urban legend-esque ghost story

an emotionally destructive ending like no other


  • Finished John Wick spinoff The Continental. As we’ve established, it’s mostly bad and boring — on the one hand it sucks that Mel Gibson (boo hiss) is in it, on the other hand it’s nice to see him get shot in the head at the end.
  • If even the Frasier can have a minor queer character casually refer to her wife, there are no excuses left for not having any queer characters on your show.
    Speaking of the Frasier reboot, enjoyed the first two episodes, but it does feel quite a lot like they went “well nobody really wants to come back, so this guy is the new Niles, the new Daphne,” etcetera.
  • Enjoying Goosebumps.
  • The problem with the Jon Hamm character on The Morning Show this year is he’s clearly meant to be Elon Musk/Jeff Bezos, except he’s capable of introspection and change and seems quite nice, and I just don’t think that’s plausible — fundamentally the problem with serialised dramatic storytelling about rich people is that it’s hard to sell them both truly as craven and inhuman AND as rich, developed characters. This is why Succession was so good.
  • Nearly done with The Fall of the House of Usher, whose answer to the above issue is “well, we’ll kill ’em off one by one.”
  • The new Our Flag Means Death suffers a little from everyone involved now knowing what everyone loves about it, but it’s still a lot of fun. I appear to exist in total isolation from its fandom this season, so I’ve no idea how common a theory this is, but: The endgame for all of this is that Ed is “erased” from history and it’s Izzy who becomes the “real” Blackbeard, right? That’s surely where this is going.
  • Wellington Paranormal seems to have aired a full season since I caught up to it. On it. …No, to it. Still a hoot.
  • I’m enough behind on TV that I’m making myself stick strictly (mostly) to broadcast order again — as of this writing it’s Wednesday the 18th in TV land.

Doctor Who

  • Finished Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Gods of the Underworld. Nothing wrong with it, per se, but it’s a real example of a bog standard Benny archeology adventure full of thinly sketched species and cultures, supported by a cast of unoriginal, uninspired characters nobody will ever give a shit about. The clichés are ripe on the ground here, it’s all war races and Blood Messengers and space gangsters, and references both structural and pop cultural to both Indiana Jones and Star Wars feel tacky in the Year of Luigi 2023 in a way they probably didn’t in 2001.
  • Third Doctor Adventures: Intelligence for War. Like all the recasts Treloar and Ashford needed quite some time to truly come into their own, but here they’re on top form. The “Liz may have done some treason” story never feels like the filler it could easily have felt like, and it captures the Pertwee era so well you actually can picture the quiet Norfolk village it’s happening.
  • Odyssey kicks off the Torchwood range’s Ood trilogy.1Yes, it should’ve been called the Oodbvious thing. Strong performances elevate a solid script, though the end is a little The Satan Pit again. Does this just keep happening to poor Ida Scott?
  • I’ve now listened to the full @60 concert, and god, Russell and Murray are gonna kill me from dehydration come November 25th.
  • Started the Zygon Invasion novelisation. All a little straightforward, hard to imagine it meaningfully adds anything.
  • After lying next to my bed for six months, picked up Legends of Camelot again. Rayner finds a really fun way to do all the classic bits of Arthuriana you want without contradicting previous Doctor Who lore, and it’s a hoot to have Dr Who and Donna running around in it.


  • Cry Havoc! Ask Questions Later seems to have wrapped up its first season. “The Thick of It but in Roman times” is a solid premise that’s easy to fuck up, and they consistently do not fuck it up. Really funny.
  • I’m so close with Blank Check to catching up to where I was with Mobile Suit Gundam and Screen Test of Time, I’m so close.
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    Yes, it should’ve been called the Oodbvious thing.
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