What Are You Watching? (September 2023)

We’re all watching stuff; whether it’s a show, a trip to the cinema, or a deep youtube hole. It can be an event you look forward to a week, or something you stumble into after the algorithm gets something right for once.

So, what are you watching?

Use this thread to talk about what you’ve watched recently. Films, shows, twitch streams, internet videos, etc: it’s all fair game here! Whether you’re waiting in line for Spiderverse opening night, backseat quarterbacking the Roy family, learning about shipping lanes from someone playing Cities: Skylines, or watching someone make a knife out of onions. While posting, please keep in mind the following:

  • Please include content warnings if the media has triggering content that would warrant a warning for particularly sensitive topics.
  • Please use the spoiler tags for anything that requires it.
  • If you would like to talk about any media in this thread in depth, feel free to create a topic for it.

Time for the next installment of Diglett’s Unemployed Horror Movie Binge. My little Notes app summary has 36 movies on it (though it started with fewer, and I may still add more), and with this batch I’ve hit 18 of them, which feels like maybe a good point to start winding down (or shifting genres).

It Follows

I have been meaning to watch this movie since one Patrick Klepek played a Mario Maker level that was inspired by it, and finally got around to it here, and it did not disappoint! There’s an incredible jumpscare in the first major sequence, where the monster in the guise of a huge, bruised, lanky man follows the last of Jay’s friends into her bedroom that genuinely made me shudder, and the whole thing builds such a strong sense of dread around that conceit that I had to pause it a bunch of times and give myself a breather. The end of the pool scene remains stuck in my mind, the blood swelling to fill the water as just an incredibly evocative image to find in a movie where most of the settings and visuals are pretty mundane. And the stuff it does with setting, between the suburbs and more urban parts of Detroit, is really excellent.

Also, funnily enough, this is now the second Detroit-based horror movie of the bunch (after Barbarian), and I might follow this thread further because both were incredible studies in how to use place in horror.

Ghost Ship

I think this falls into, if not “good” bad movie, mildly enjoyable bad movie territory. It’s a fun haunted house story that just so happens to take place on a giant empty ocean liner — an incredibly promising setting that sent me in search of other movies that actually paid it off. The mystery is at least a little fun to unravel, and the montage of how it all comes together is surprisingly satisfying. Though, the guy playing the bad guy might put in the worst performance I’ve ever seen in a climactic villain-reveal scene. It’s truly some of the most staid, emotionless line delivery I’ve ever heard and it kinda ruined the climax for me.

That’s all beating around the bush a bit though, because the one thing that really is notable about this movie is its opening. Some cursory searching after revealed that I am nowhere near alone in thinking it’s among the best horror setpieces I’ve ever seen. Worth watching that alone and then maybe keeping the rest on while you’re cleaning or something.

Child's Play

Listen, I know there’s actually a lot of interesting queer readings around the Chucky movies, and I’m not going to pretend I’ve put a bunch of thought into it beyond my initial reaction, but it felt like such a clear distillation of 80s conservative paranoia and neuroticism worked into a campy (and still very creepy) package. Like, the first real horror it invokes is six year-old boy being tucked into his bed next to a serial killer in the form of an innocuous toy. There’s something so weirdly nostalgic about it, the way it paints Chicago, the toy at the center of it, and the way it tries to twist that nostalgia into horror. Which is not to say any particular readings of it are invalid — more that the line between all these things feels very, very porous in a way that’s weirdly compelling to me.


Gotta be the most 9/11 movie to ever 9/11 — it’s a bunch of people standing on a street in downtown Manhattan covered in dust as buildings fall around a monster from the sky, and the climax has them literally climb a pair of destroyed twin towers to rescue a trapped friend. I know that’s the whole deal with kaiju movies, but it’s so blunt here it’s hard to ignore. It’s good though! Takes forever to get moving, but the videotape being set up as an actual object with a kind of narrative purpose gives the conceit some grounding, and the action of it all actually comes across really well.

Also, god I hate TJ Miller. It’s a testament to how well this movie is put together that his annoying-ass voice doesn’t ruin the entire thing (probably because he’s very intentionally playing an incredible dumbass, but I digress).

10 Cloverfield Lane

Man, I know JJ Abrams was only a producer here, but this movie is such an apt distillation of the strengths and weaknesses of his filmmaking/filmmaking that molds to his guidance. It’s incredibly well-crafted, and John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead give pretty stellar performances in service of a pretty solid script. The way it drip-feeds information and builds a bunch of little contextualizing mysteries and shielded half-truths works really well. But by god, the way the very end plays out infuriated me. Not because it’s bad in a vacuum, or because it felt like 20 minutes of NOPE stitched onto the end of a locked room thriller, but because it frames the entire arc of the movie around a piece of character development that feels like it would be basic for something a 14 year old wrote on AO3, and it treats it as something deeply profound. Wow, she was driving away from a fight at the beginning, but after all that now she drives TOWARD the fight. This movie had four writers! And it was off a spec script so they didn’t even have to write it! It’s so clearly just the flattening that comes with taking an idea and trying to shoehorn it into a mythos for the sake of weird franchising. Abramsification if you will. 95% of it was great though. No idea why this bothered me so much.

Event Horizon

This is definitely one of those movies twelve year-old me read the plot summary of on Wikipedia in 2007 and thought sounded super cool. Also, the dudes who made Ghost Ship clearly just watched this movie and were like “ok, but what if we did this but worse, and we put it on a boat so we can make Karl Urban accidentally eat maggots?” And I just saw that I’ve unlocked another Be Good and Rewatch It episode for myself — love when that happens.

Anyway! Quite enjoyed it, and I understand why it became a cult classic. Bizarre in some really compelling ways, visually memorable with some incredible set design, some truly off-the-wall performances from Sam Neill and Laurence Fishburne, and those terrible late-90s/early-2000s CGI moments that look really funky on a big flat TV screen. I’ve always loved haunted spaces, from gothic lit to haunted house movies, and at its core this really is just a haunted house movie in space. What’s not to like about that?


Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. I think people have told me about this movie before, but the thing that finally got me to watch it was watching also Ghost Ship (bit of a watershed here lol) and being like “I wish I could see this promising premise done to its full potential,” and in some ways that’s pretty much what this is. I don’t even really want to talk about it, I just want to tell y’all to watch it. It’s just on youtube too, and tubi and plex and a bunch of other free streamers, and it probably my favorite film from this whole entire list.


I’m into Sopranos S5 where I think the writers really hit their stride in mixing complex, contemplative drama with outright hysterical comedy. I admit that I am the demo for this (straight, white, millennial, irony-poisoned) but that does not stop me doing Sopranos bits constantly. I genuinely think this show is a tremendous resource for teaching impressions and improv because my friends at work and I are just doing Tony and Sil/Chrissy/Pauline/Carmela bits back and forth to each other.


I really liked 10 Cloverfield Lane when I saw it in theaters at release. I haven’t revisited it since, but I remember thinking that the concept of the anthologized horror movie around the word Cloverfield seemed like a strong pitch after seeing 10 Cloverfield Lane. Even with the issues that you brought up, the concept seemed sound at the time. And then they released the Cloverfield Paradox or whatever it was called after the Super Bowl which I watched immediately and was, let’s just say disappointed. But hey, Lane allowed Trachtenberg to go on and do Prey, so that’s cool.

As for me I bookended my week last week by watching two very different things: Bottle Rocket and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

Bottle Rocket

I should preface this by saying that I have never watched a Wes Anderson film before, but with Asteroid City coming out (a few weeks ago), I wanted to finally get around to making my way through his works so I started at the beginning. Maybe it’s because it’s his first film, but it’s very funny seeing all the TikToks/AI generated stuff purporting to be a Wes Anderson version of things and basically none of that is in Bottle Rocket. It felt more like a less cynical version of a Coen brothers film. Don’t really have that much to say about it other than, a) gas was cheap as hell 20 years ago and b) RIP to James Caan. But it did push me to want to continue my journey through his works.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

As for Indiana Jones, it was better than Crystal Skull I think. The entire 25 minute intro with the de-aged Harrison Ford should be studied in academia and then the producers/execs/directors who pushed for that should have their brains studied once they die. I have no idea who thought that it was a good idea to have that long of a opening set piece that looks that bad and relies on extensive but unconvincing CGI to make work. Apparently, an earlier script had only a 5-7 minute version with a younger Ford and that would have been more tolerable. Or just cast a different actor with make up. It’s fine. Josh Brolin was great as young Tommy Lee Jones in MIB 3. Anyway, bad CGI/VFX aside, the premise/macguffin here was fine. Love anytime the Antikythera mechanism comes up. My biggest complaint is that the film is kind of about an aging Jones learning to live in a world that seems to be less interested in the past than ever, but also as a character he doesn’t really have an arc that convinces me of that? The end of the film is literally Waller-Bridge knocking him out so that he can’t stay in the past, him waking up with all of his friends in his apartment, oh and also his estranged wife is back so we can get a Karen Allen cameo. But other than the fascination with the moon landing and Indy being upset over Mutt’s death, we don’t really see any reason that he would want to stay in 212 BC during the actively going on Siege of Syracuse, other than a vague death wish. It all resolves in such a bizarre way. Strange film. Glad they are “retiring” the character.

Oh, I also watched Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. Fascinating movie. Weird guy that Yukio Mishima. Not sure he’s who I would have picked to be one of the inaugural honorees of The Rainbow Honor Walk, on account of the right wing nationalism, but that’s just me. Anyway, I really appreciated the stage play intercuts of adaptations of his novels. The movie reminded me a lot of All that Jazz in some ways.


Truthfully I think I’m probably not giving it enough credit — it’s definitely a good movie, and I really enjoyed almost all of it. I don’t dislike the sci-fi/alien war turn in a vacuum, the final sequence was definitely neat. But I think my reaction was just a combination of not feeling like there was much substance to that aspect of it and not feeling like the connectedness had any organizing principle, really, and that bit of character development really just cemented for me how little was happening on that level at all.

That reminds me though — I looked up Trachtenberg because I knew I recognized his name and realized he made the definitive video game-related media of my high school years, that being Portal: No Escape, which, yeah, extremely cool to realize all these years later that that guy made it to the big leagues.

Also, more movies.

A Quiet Place

I wasn’t really sure what to expect going into this one — I remembered the hype around it and also some of backlash that seemed to come out after, but I really enjoyed it. Not to give it to Hollywood’s biggest cop-slash-CIA-sympathizer, but the directing and writing really left an impression. More than that, I have a permanent soft spot for fiction that invokes interesting formal constraints and limitations (this is a side effect of reading IT in 8th grade and having it shape my tastes thereafter), and it certainly fits in that category. Also, that goddamn grain silo might have gotten my pulse going even more than the monsters. Those things are terrifying.

A Quiet Place Part II

So uh my Paramount Plus free trial was expiring and I liked the first movie enough that I immediately watched the second — and it’s also really good! I think the larger context and expanded scope mean that it buckles a bit under some fairly thin worldbuilding, but the whole thing is so tensely put together that it really didn’t bother me. What it did do was make it feel weirdly video-gamey. There’s a kind of smooth-sandedness to the world of these movies: a sort of lack of small histories that to me feels innate to a lot of game environments. Beyond that, there’s the characters’ various inventories, the way they operationalize all these little objects, the way the world is divided into fairly discrete places, and especially the way the monsters look when they die, which is to say with the kind of exaggerated collapsing motion that feels pulled straight from game animations. Also, the guns don’t have recoil, which was the one thing that did make me roll my eyes a bit. And Cillian Murphy makes a great Joel from The Last of Us. Anyway, moving on.


This has always seemed like a real “love it or hate it” movie to me, so the most surprising thing about it is probably that… I just kinda thought it was fine? I enjoy the hell out of gross imagery and the one piece of it that really landed for me was the decapitation, but everything else kinda just left me wondering if that was really it. It’s a bit overlong imo, and the last ~20 minutes kinda trades the sense of coherence it had held onto for a kind of spooky tone poem — and while I quite enjoyed the spooky tone poem, I kinda wish the whole movie had either a) had the guts to be more disjointed from the beginning or b) transitioned into it a bit more smoothly, because the tonal shift felt kinda sudden. In a weird way it reminded me of that Swiss folk horror game Mundaun from a couple years ago, which was also basically a solid 3/5 for me. Lots of tension, interesting imagery, some solid scary setpieces, but left me wondering why it got quite the acclaim I remember when it came around.


Watching Netflix’s Hidden Strike, a Chinese-financed Jackie Chan-style action movie starring buddy comedy legends Jackie Chan and…John Cena?

Two great tastes that taste great together.

It’s very silly. It looks like it was made on a soundstage in Hong Kong, if I had to guess. John Cena seems like he’s very up for the Hong Kong style and obviously Jackie Chan is one of the most famous guys to ever do it. He’s not a young man anymore but he moves pretty well. It’s not the reason to get a Netflix sub but if you’re stubbornly still on the high side of the trust thermocline like I am, it’s not a bad way to kill a few hours.


Okay I promise I’ll stop thread-spamming after this, both because I’m gonna be partially hosting some friends this weekend so my delayed-sleep-phase-disorder movie sessions are off the table for a bit, but also because I don’t really want to watch any more movies for a while. Because I just watched Danny Boyle’s Sunshine and I don’t think it’s fair to make anything follow that up.

I know there’s actually a BGRW episode on it (that my podcast feed says I played but that I do not remember at all), and combing through that thread it seems like it’s generally pretty beloved around here, so I’m probably not saying anything particularly original for the forums but, uh, holy shit.

First off, that’s probably the most visually arresting movie I’ve ever seen. Not to be a “they used to make MOVIES” guy (especially for something just 15 years old), but puts almost every piece of recent sci-fi that I’ve seen to shame. The cinematography in general, the way it depicts the sun, the shots of the ship and the whole set of recurring locations it stakes out, god. Everything.

Also that score is fucking incredible. One of the best I’ve ever heard. Gave me Prey (2017) vibes. Chills over and over again. Actually, considering how clearly massive this movie’s influence was on Outer Wilds, it seems safe to say several of my favorite games drew heavily from this.

And seeing that cast? In 2023? You have like eight of some of the most prolific and/or acclaimed actors of the last several years delivering career performances at the same time. I’m baffled I never went to see this movie before, since I have soft spots for both Cillian Murphy and Rose Byrne. Double baffled because I will go see anything that Alex Garland was involved in and yet somehow I hadn’t gotten around to this??

Anyway, gonna cut the rambling off now. I have nothing interesting to say beyond repeated exclamations and the thought that that might end up being my favorite movie. Certainly top 5. Lord.


Did an Equalizer triple feature. I kind of forget about things like…acting in the movies I generally tend to watch, so watching Denzel Washington go from the avuncular, sports coach-esque figure to the absolute horror movie villain he turns into when it’s violence o’clock has me thinking “Oh. Right. Acting.” They do a lot of quick edits (Denzel Washington, award-winning actor though he is, is not a particularly young man) but it’s effective. He comes off like Batman with guns.

I’m also watching Expendables 3 because the fourth one comes out in a few weeks. And I think the Expendables movies are, to date, like the Transporter movies: watch the second one; that’s enough. (The first season of the Transporter TV show is good too)

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I don’t get along with the Equalizer movies for precisely this reason (the first movie in particular drives home that vigilante action movies are just slashers where the killer is the hero) but I have to admit it’s effective. (The second movie less so: there was a “pull your pants up” respectability politics subplot that I found jarring alongside the Eternal War hangover “murk the shemagh-wearing cartoon PMC baddies carrying tacticool rifles” action plot.)

I’ll definitely be watching the third one, though: my father (who actually shares a birthday with Denzel but has a few years on him) loved the first two; I’ve placed a preorder on the physical “3-movie collection” as a gift for some Guys Being Dudes Watching Action Movies appointment viewing.

The third one definitely goes all-in on the slasher flick (and it’s gruesome too) but it’s honestly such a treat to watch Denzel be old and still feel dangerous.

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hey uh y’all ever checked out some of this stuff by this dude Shakespeare?

for reasons I have been going down a Wars of the Roses rabbit hole. I knew almost nothing of this conflict before 2 weeks ago, but some wikipedia scrolling inevitably led me to Shakespeare’s Henry VI parts 1,2,3 and Richard III, which cover the lead up and most of the conflict

I ended up signing up for a free trial of Britbox which has these BBC adaptations from the 80s directed by Jane Howell. I expected these to be interesting in a cerebral way but also kind of a challenging slog (I haven’t touched Shakespeare since high school)

But after about 30 mins into the first one, I was absolutely hooked, and over the past week binge watched all four plays. Although the language is undeniably challenging, Shakespeare is so much easier to watch than read, since you can pick up a ton from context and vibes. I feel sure this is kind of a cliche realization, and I’m pretty sure my 9th or 10th grade English teacher explained this at the time because I remember a lot of reading aloud in class.

I don’t know if these are typical performances, but these particular adaptations are really lively and move along at a brisk pace. They are fully staged like plays and make no attempt to hide the fact that they are happening on a set, but that also includes some super long takes, sometimes one or more scenes flowing together with no discernable cuts? I know stage actors are probably used to performing like this, but I was a little surprised a TV production didn’t take more advantage of the ability to cut. The effect is that the plays kind of fly by, even though it’s 14 hours altogether it didn’t feel like it.

The actual performances are also really great, at least to this totally untrained viewer. The acting feels kind of dialed up like I would expect in a stage performance but not too much and many of the characters have opportunities for the performer to bring real charisma, warmth, humor, sadness, or villiany across a fairly long arc, because they have so many scenes across all 4 plays. There’s a lot of stirring pre-battle speeches followed by tortured death monologues. I also don’t know how this would be acted in a typical stage performance, but there is a LOT of turning and looking directly into the camera for a close up zoom to deliver anything from offhand remarks to longer soliloquies. Some of these are outright funny and the smirking, knowing asides (usually about some scheme to betray someone) are really entertaining

The camera work and overall direction of physical blocking is also quite fascinating. Because some of the takes are so long, and a scene might have a mix of characters interacting, the camera will sweep and pan through the performers who often end up seamlessly fading into the background but framed in shot while other conversations are happening that I found noticeably skillful, and it kind of helped to keep faces on screen to figure out who was being referred to sometimes

As far as the actual plays go, I gather these are not exactly considered top tier Shakespeare but as far as Wars of the Roses stuff goes, it’s great. Watching them all back to back like this, after a brief skim of some other historical material, reinforced not just how petty and selfish the conflict was at times but also the real tragedy and villiany of it all. The difference between Henry VI part 1, which has bright and colorful costumes and sets, with Joan of Arc and the Dauphin joyfully battling the English back and forth across the playground like set, to Richard III in which almost every character is dressed in black, and the battles are a chaotic hard to follow melee, is a stark comparison

I’m tempted to keep the Britbox sub for a month and check out some other plays, especially the Henry V stuff, for other reasons, but I’m also just as tempted to keep it just to rewatch some of this tetralogy. it definitely helps that I’m suddenly invested in the specifics of the Wars of the Roses now, but I think it’s also just a really fun watch. definitely did not have “get really into Shakespeare’s histories” on my personal 2023 bingo card


Saturday night I went to see Jawan the new blockbuster starring Shah Rukh Khan, his second giant movie this year after his take on Mission Impossible, Pathaan, in the winter. Now I’m a slowly becoming a big SRK fan (despite being white), loved him in DDLJ and Om Shani Om, he’s impossibly cool and has an almost Jackie Chan-like swagger to him. He’s also in a very Tom Cruise-ish phase where he’s becoming huge blockbusters where a lot of the theme seems to be “yeah, I’m getting old, but I’m still hot, I can still go dammit!”.

I think one of the greatest elements of Bollywood movies is just how much movie they can fit inside their movie. Jawan is as unpredictable as they come. The first scene is a super hero origin story where SRK is a newly reborn mummified superhero rescuing villagers from killer bandits. Then next scene, SRK is leading an all-female gang of super criminals to pull off a Taking of Pelham 123 heist to rob the most evil billionaire in India. What does one have to do with the other? Who knows! Because now SRK is actually a warden for an all-female prison, getting awarded by the UN for his humanitarianism, and it’s time for the first musical sequence.

What’s interesting about Jawan one is not just that it mixes outrageous violence with musical sequences and some romantic comedy, is that this also as close as I’ve seen an Indian movie to being outright political. It’s one thing entirely to blame an evil billionaire for mass corruption, but the crimes SRK fights against are specifically recent scandals involving children dying of COVID, farmers losing their land, and by the end of it, he’s practically begging the audience to vote for their interests, not their ethnic or caste gradiences. Somebody who knows more about Indian politics probably can speak on this better, but it sure feels like SRK is taking aim specifically at Modi (but recently has been praising him in the press, it’s complicated). It’s certainly a thing when a Muslim superstar is dominating the box office during India’s current Hindu nationalist… fucking nightmare, frankly.

Maybe after RRR was all Indian hyper-nationalism this feels a little better. I also cannot help but recommend a movie where a Batman villain does a heist to solve health care.


Wound up watching Talk to Me, one of the new buzzy horror films distributed by A24. The first hour or so was incredibly fun, but it started to drag in the last half hour. I recently rewatched Insidious, which basically had the same problem. The hook and the initial scares are great but once you have to carry it forward and move toward some sort of resolution, the whole thing starts to fall apart. There is a set piece mid movie that represents the turn that is incredible and then the rest of the film doesn’t live up to that which is a shame. Overall an enjoyable flick and highly recommended. Curious to see what the directors do next.

Okay, having just looked it up, the answer is apparently a Street Fighter film.

Just got out of The Expendables 4.

The 50 Cent needle drop is not the one you’d expect. Megan Fox holds her own and does an admirable job breaking up the boys club atmosphere. It is unclear how they settled on Andy Garcia here, who looks like what would have transpired if Frank Sinatra had indeed been cast in the starring role in Die Hard.

It is cinematic malpractice to put Iko Uwais (excellent) in the same movie as Tony Jaa (also excellent) and not have them fight for like, 20 minutes of your runtime.

It’s not a bad way to spend an afternoon if you have enough popcorn but I feel like I could have written this one lol

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