What are you watching?


#1

There’s been some healthy dissonance in the community lately, which is perfectly fine of course, but figured we could use a bit more cultural enfoldment in order to re-cohere :slight_smile:

So what are you watching these days? Any films or TV shows you are enjoying? Anything you are looking forward to?

I for one am very excited for The Foundation on AppleTV+, which premieres tonight.

All in all, I’ve been very happy with my Apple TV+ subscription! For All Mankind has been amazing, and of course Ted Lasso has become a cultural phenomenon. I also really enjoyed Mythic Quest.

Other than that, I’ve been putting on episodes of Enterprise in the background while I work at night, which has been fun. It’s not the best Star Trek (Deep Space 9), but it’s very underrated I think. Except for that damn theme song.

Also looking forward to Matrix 4 and Dune :slight_smile:


#2

Well, I’ll bite. I mostly watch movies and have been into silent films for quite a while. I’m hesitant to mention this first one, for fear it might start a rumble here, but I’d never seen “Birth of a Nation,” which is characterized as the most racist film ever made by one of the best filmmakers that ever lived (D.W. Griffiths). It’s the story of the Civil War and Reconstruction, complete with blackface (with one scene of two in blackface in a cotton field, with real black people in the background working the cotton), and with the KKK as heroes. Story goes, Griffiths did not even realize his film was racist, but once told, felt so badly, he followed it up with a film called “Intolerance,” a rectification piece. “The Birth of a Nation” was made in 1915 and was very popular for several years; it was the first time a silent film had believable “action” scenes in it, of battlefields and burnings and such, so audiences were captivated by the new technology.

Another recent silent film I liked: “Woman in the Dunes,” a Japanese film about a man caught in the dunes during foul weather who was given shelter by a woman who lived underground in the dunes. It’s the story of his multiple transformations, from initial gratitude to being held against his will, to efforts to escape the trap, to…well, don’t want to give it all away, Like “Dune,” it’s a very sandy film.

And then I pull out one of my favorite musicals of all time, for its sheer energy, color, creativity, time period (1930s France), great acting, and lovely and tragic love story–this would be “Moulin Rouge.” Have watched it countless times, and end up using the motto of the Revolutionaries of the time as mantra for a few days: Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love.

And have prepped for the new “Dune” by watching everything that came before, the movies, the series.

Oh yes, I’ve also watched “Baraka,” “Samsara,” and “Koyaanisqatsi” again recently, for the nth time, all in the same period; think I’m finished with Koyaanisqatsi finally.

I’m always open to sci-fi/space movie recommendations.


#3

It’s college football season :slight_smile:
My local library provides a Kanopy.com subscription that’s got GREAT classics. I think you can only get through your library, if available. I scan through Prime and Netflix, then usually end up watching a post WW2 Kurasawa or Fellini. Go to replays that I can’t seem to watch often enough are Kurasawa’s Rashomon and Fellini’s La Strada if I can’t find anything else.

They’ve got some really funky 20’s/30’s German films as well that are just freaky and might be of interest to the IT community. They definitely push the envelope


#4

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings last weekend. Otherwise Japanese anime. Rewatched The Forbidden Planet.
And for the Whovians out there, Russell T Davies is coming back as show runner!!!


#5

Recently it’s been 9 Perfect Strangers and Little Fires Everywhere, both of which I would describe as integral; and I’m currently watching The Haunting of Hill House, which I feel is in part causing some of the ghosts to come out into the open of the 500 year old house I’m soon going to be moving away from.


#6

@excecutive recommended Damnation which I promptly binged. Set in 1910"s with a communist preacher marshalling the little man against the oppressive capitalist establishment. Lots to think about , great acting, well produced.


#7

Lots of parallels to the current debate with similar on the ground perceptions. It pushes both sides … creating lots of room for sympathies toward expanding views. The spiritual view, above it all, remains pretty consistent … that’s why in most on the ground controversies I prefer to stay in the middle. ~ Peace :slight_smile:


#8

Here’s my insanity recommendation … lots of lust, taboos and sci-fi. Dare to push yourself with the controversial Sense8 on Netflix


#9

Absolutely love, love love Sense8!!!
And again for the Whovians out there, it’s got Martha Jones in it :grinning::grinning::grinning::grinning:
(Well, Freema Agyeman)


#10

Love Sense 8 too - one of my favourite TV programs - and the Wachowski sisters


#11

Fallout 4. Immersive game, puts me in touch with the impending sense of apocalypse :slight_smile:


#12

Man, I grew up with those Fallout games. Ever play the original Wasteland, which birthed the Fallout universe? I used to rock that game on my Commodore 64 :slight_smile:

Fallout 2 is my favorite old-school game. New Vegas is the closest I’ve seen to that aesthetic and humor. Both 3 and 4 are awesome. I could not get into Fallout 76, however.

You better get back to the game, I think Preston has another settlement he needs you to save.


#13

Longmire is an interesting meeting of “old school” sherrif with new challenges.


#14

I loved New Vegas. I visited the real Las Vegas for the first time about a decade or more ago, and even though Fallout New Vegas was far from an accurate representation, I enjoyed the immersion into the spirit of the place that I found nostalgic somehow.

I’ve just gained entry to The Institute… was dreading the assembly of the signal interceptor, but it turned out to be a piece of cake in the end. :sweat_smile:


#15

I absolutely LOVE video games that take place in places I am familiar with. Fallout 4 is awesome, because I grew up in Massachusetts and went to college in Boston, and it was exhilarating seeing so much of that represented in the game. It’s one of the reasons Horizon: Zero Dawn became one of my all time favorite games — because much of it is set in Colorado, and has many well-known landmarks in the game, such as Red Rocks amphitheater, Denver stadium, Pike’s Peak, the Airforce Academy Chapel, etc. Makes the game so much more immersive by using real-life landmarks, and then forcing you to reimagine them hundreds or even thousands of years in the future. It creates a certain haunting existential pain that I find very appealing, as it forces you to imagine a world that has completely moved on without you, while simultaneously healing that existential pain by allowing you to re-insert your agency into that post-you world by inhabiting one its residents.


#16

Yes, I heard that Fallout 4 is based in a post-apocalyptic Boston. Would love to visit to see how it compares. It certainly adds special significance when you are familiar with a city in which a game takes place. I’m familiar with Prague, and Deus Ex - Mankind Divided especially resonated with me. It’s amazing how these games are often able to capture the atmosphere of their locations… for example, the apartments, the buildings, the scenery, the accents and the language.

Another thing about Fallout New Vegas. I love playing it in German. It shifts your sphere of possibility to try to imagine what America might have been like had German become the national language. The character of the game changes completely with change of language. I’m thinking of switching F4 to German, now that I’ve accessed the Institute, and become familiar with the game’s operations.

Games are a great way to learn a language (that was my initial motivation for New Vegas, to learn German). If someone comes up with an an app that translates the subtitles, that would be an immensely useful aid to learning. Pausing to switch between game and dictionary gets old very quickly, but as you become more familiar with the language, the less you need to do that (obviously).

The Metro games (based, loosely, in Russian locales) also have a ton-load of atmosphere, complete with Russian accents and attitude.

Oh, nearly forgot… and who can forget the half-life series? Like a first love, it leaves a lasting impression. Half-life 2 was especially resonant because it captured the atmosphere of the communist Europe that my parents took me to visit as a youngster. Even today, in Budapest, you hear the same police and ambulance sirens. I suspect that much of the mood of the game takes its inspiration from soviet-communist European influences. The media, the propaganda. “Don’t talk to me, we are being watched” “Stay on your guard” Spooky.


#17

I’m interested in Dune and Matrix 4 but generally I don’t enjoy TV or Movies anymore. At least the new releases. I think the “craft” of telling a good story on the big and small screen has deteriorated dramatically. I’d rather watch an old movie a 15th time than newer releases.

For games I prefer the more fantasy oriented. Elder Scrolls has a nice mostly original world. Probably my favorite game of all time is Conan Exiles. It’s a game people can set up private servers and make whatever rules the community wants. It’s also has an extreme brutality you’d expect from a Conan game, and that brutality can be upped with third party mods. I spent a lot of 2018 and 2019 co-creating dark storylines on several servers.
But one thing I really dislike is the trend nowadays to increase what we call the “grind” factor of games. I just can’t be bothered now to spend hour after hour “grinding” for materials or gear.
So lately I’ve been getting back into Tabletop RPG, but replacing the actual table with a Virtual Tabletop and Discord, and enjoy co-creating a story with others.


#18

For those of us who enjoy gaming, have you checked out the episode of Inhabit I did with Ryan Oelke, which uses a series of about 3 dozen different games to explore the major stages of development? If not, you might enjoy!


#19

One thing I find interesting about Games and Fantasy or Sci-Fi settings:
They used to be pretty idealistic compared to modern versions.

Looking at games, most are very dark and gritty and the avatar is usually an antihero rather than a hero. This is the direct opposite of fantasy settings like Tolkien where Good and Evil were clearly delineated and there was no gray area. Even in the 1990’s you found more games with Heroes than antiheroes. Maybe the really big shift came with “The Horde” in World of Warcraft, when Orcs were no longer evil - just in different circumstances. I also remember a fun game called “Dungeon Keeper” released at the turn of the century where the player made evil dungeons and stocked them with evil creatures and prepared for the “Heroes”. You won if the Heroes died.
The most popular games usually have very dark settings where you as a player do some things that are pretty questionable on the “good” scale. The moral seems to be “the end justifies the means” and players often use some pretty shady means to overcome the ultimate BBEG (Big Bad Evil Guy).


#20

What the hell does “cultural enfoldment” and “re-cohere” mean to you Corey? Are we suppose to come up with our own subjective understanding of what that means? And in my eyes, dissonance is putting it mildly.

Aside from the above, the question arises: for those who have reached higher stages of spiritual and psychological development, do they find the industrial entertainment complex a rich source of narratives that are meaningful, thought provoking, and transformational hence worthy of the evolution of humanity? Why does the vast majority of people take pleasure in all manner of movies that depict wars, violence, rapes, corruption, fatal romances, stupidity and ignorance? It is as if the masses are addicted to stories with no social redeeming value. It’s like junk food. I ask these question because of what Erich Fromm said

"What was the function of the Greek drama? Fundamental problems of human existence were presented in an artistic and dramatic form, and participating in the dramatic performance, the spectator—though not as a spectator in our modern sense of the consumer—was carried away from the sphere of daily routine and brought in touch with himself as a human being, with the roots of his existence. He touched the ground with his feet, and in this process gained strength by which he was brought back to himself. Whether we think of the Greek drama, the medieval passion play, or an Indian dance, whether we think of Hindu, Jewish or Christian religious rituals, we are dealing with various forms of dramatization of the fundamental problems of human existence, with an acting out of the very same problems which are thought out in philosophy and theology".

For the the vast majority of people who will not sit and read what Dr. Fromm and other deep thinkers about the many ways we are fucking things up royally and how to stop it, all you can do is tell them stories that point in the direction of transformation. I mean, is it possible to have stories with “nutritious knowledge” that can fortify people to think more critically about themselves and stop being such a dick towards each other? When will we realize that the entertainment industry does not give two shits about the future of humanity. All they want is to make money and the only way to do it is to make movies that appeal to our imagination, irrational emotions, ignorance, and the level of emotional intelligence of the masses that continues its course towards madness. In the 60’s, Huston Smith asked Fromm this question:

Do you think that the American society is a realistic society?

Fromm: Indeed. I don’t think that at all. I think we are probably one of the most unrealistic societies which have ever lived under the sun

The most unrealistic I’ve experience besides two political parties who are all fucking idiots, is the entertainment industry that churns out stories 24/7 that keeps us distracted from realizing the truth about the world we live in and how we are all perpetuating the madness. Stories can have a powerful effect on the human mind -provided it has relevance, meaning, and the insight needed to remind ourselves of our humanity and that we still have much more to learn about what it means to be human.
To me, the vast majority of films of today are retrograde, distracting, depressing, demoralizing, and addictive. It’s not like the industry is interested in the most brilliant minds in philosophy, psychology, and sociology to help them create stories that are truly transformational. Hell no.