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Parasite

I know, I know, I’m so late to this. I’m sure many of you have seen it already, but if you haven’t, I cannot recommend the film Parasite highly enough. It is funny, surprising, shocking, intelligent, beautiful filmmaking at its finest. It is richly deserving of all the awards and praise it has received, with it’s clever screenplay (every great movie starts with great writing) and the artful way it deconstructs questions of class and privilege. I finally saw it this weekend and I can’t stop thinking about it. One of the great modern movies

Artlick Lounge: Home of “The Michael Gross Drink”

Back in the days of writing and creating for artlick.com (alas no longer online), I filled my notepads with several ideas & sparks for pieces to post on the site. Almost 25% of my ideas those days were visual – little doodles or sketches – which was probably due to the website being such a visual medium. One such idea was to create a secret part of the site that would take you to our artlick lounge bar.

And of course in that lounge we would digitally serve conceptual and silly beverages. And the signature cocktail was “The Michael Gross Drink”, named after the journeyman actor who starred in the sitcom Family Ties and the Tremors movie series. I remember us being very tickled by the sheer mundanity of calling it “drink” rather than cocktail or martini. And if memory serves, the drink contained whiskey, some prescription medication, and a feature length movie playing inside it.

The idea never went any further than these doodles that I sketched it out. Either it was too complex to pull off with our limited web design skills, or we found another idea that captured our imagination more.

Michael Gross – the actor, not the drink

10 Up

Watching this gem of a movie again with the kids. Creative, clever, beautiful storytelling. In fact, the first 10 minutes might just be the most perfect storytelling ever in a movie. I’m not crying, you are.

LOCKDOWN LIST: THINGS I HAVE BEEN WATCHING AND READING

During these unusual lockdown stretches, I have been lucky enough to carve out some moments in time to consume some really interesting content. These creations are what I have been drawn into and, if you’re looking for recommendations, I thought I’d share what I’ve been digging of late

FILM

  • In & Of Itself: An absolutely absorbing, magical (literally), thoughtful exploration of identity and how we see ourselves, and more so, how we want to be seen. I have never seen anything like it quite before and it is still reverberating in my mind. This is an artful cinematic document directed by Frank Oz (The Muppets, Yoda) of a fabled Off Broadway show that ran for 550+ nights. To say anything more about it would simply not be possible. A work of genius.
  • The King of Staten Island: Judd Apatow directs the semi-autobiographical story of SNL star Pete Davidson. It’s an imperfect film but very watchable. At times both funny and heartbreaking, with career-best performances by Marisa Tomei and Bill Burr
  • Beverly Hills Cop 1 & 2: Revisited these 80s classics with my son, and they still hold up as really entertaining, fast-paced action comedies. Eddie Murphy has never been better.

TV

  • The Mandalorian: Late to the party on this pulpy, enjoyable slice of Star Wars. Incredible production values with a whopper cast, including the legendary Werner Herzog. If you’re a casual Star Wars fan like me, you will definitely love it.
  • Tiger: Despite being only a casual golf fan, this documentary about Tiger Woods is a compelling look at an intriguing athlete, with a complicated past. Very watchable and utterly fascinating
  • The Undoing: Gripping melodrama with Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman that doesn’t quite pay off on its promise, but enjoyable dramatic entertainment nevertheless.

PODCASTS

  • Armchaired & Dangerous: If you’re a fan of Dax Shephard’s podcast, Armchair Expert, then you’re probably aware of this show within the show where they explore well-known conspiracy theories with New Zealand journalist David Farrier. Really interesting peeks into the subculture of conspiratorial thinking in a really laidback format. The episodes on Bigfoot and 9/11 are particularly interesting
  • Grounded with Louis Theroux: Refreshingly honest and interesting conversations between BBC documentary maesro Theroux and a wide range of diverse, fascinating guests. All episodes are excelllent, with the FKA Twigs and Riz Ahmed ones as recent standouts.
  • Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend: I’ve always been a huge admirer of Conan, and these interviews are hilarious and deeply moving at times. Conan is able to switch tones and tempo with such ease, and his pre-show banter with his production team is as engaging as the podcast itself. Recent standout episodes include Jameela Jamil, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Che

BOOKS

  • Gotta Get Theroux This: A memoir by Louis Theroux that gives a potted history of his life both before and during his remarkable documentary filmmaking life. Very readable and an absolute must if you’re a fan of his.

Raymond Carver

I re-read this collection of short stories every year. And each time I marvel at the beautiful, simplicity of Carver’s writing. There is something truly special in the nothing and the everything he evokes in each story. If you haven’t read anything by Carver, it’s so accessible and so rewarding. Give it a go