What to watch, listen to, play, and read this weekend

Photo: Universal Films
Photo: Universal Films

The movie to watch

Get Out

Photo: Universal Films

“There’s a nefarious conspiracy here for audiences to unpack, and it’s all part of the way [Jordan] Peele uses a genre framework to explore how racism survives and mutates in an All Lives Matter culture, taking different insidious shapes. Early into the film’s terrific first hour, Chris and Rose run afoul a bullying bigot of a state trooper—an offhand encounter that drips with the implicit (and sadly headline-topical) threat of police brutality. But Get Out also gets into more submerged forms of prejudice in the charged interactions between Chris and Rose’s family. [Bradley] Whitford, even more perfectly cast here than he was as a white-collar cog of The Cabin In The Woods, performs a tireless display of paternalistic smarminess, managing to slip a couple subtle variations on “boy” into a single two-minute stretch. The social discomfort feeds directly into the suspense: Chris, valiantly struggling to keep his cool, can’t be sure if the unease he feels about the whole situation stems from a genuine danger or just a growing impatience with these condescending assholes.”
Read our full review here.

The podcast to listen to

Missing Richard Simmons, Where’s Richard?

“Host Dan Taberski is a former friend of Simmons’, his investigation spurred on by an inability to square his perception of the star with the now-reclusive figure. The podcast’s discussion of Simmons remains charitable throughout, shedding light on the often unfair treatment he received for being a singular personality in less tolerant times. Simmons was flamboyant, excitable, and possessed a campy aesthetic, though he was also sympathetic to overweight people, often reaching out directly to counsel strangers amid their struggles. Maybe the most interesting aspect of the show is that Taberski and his team seem to be crafting it in real time, similar to Serial’s first season. They solicit the audience for stories of Simmons’ whereabouts and even include an appeal to Simmons himself.”
Discover more podcasts here.

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The TV show to watch

My Brother, My Brother And Me

Travis (left), Justin, and Griffin McElroy

“The ostensible advice show’s greatest strength is the relationship between stars and creators Justin, Travis, and Griffin McElroy. These guys are real-life brothers, and while they seem to get along better than a lot of other real-life brothers, their chumminess actually drops away at one point when Justin teases Travis a little too much over his crippling fear of spiders. Travis freaks out and punches Justin in the arm, and that would be the whole joke on a different show. On My Brother, My Brother And Me, though, the joke is that this small act of violence is seen as an unconscionably brutal act that prompts the brothers to interrupt their narrative and apologize for acting unprofessional, with Griffin even tattling on Travis to their dad later during one of his many appearances.”
Read our full review here.

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The game to play

Night In The Woods

Screenshot: Night In The Woods/Finji Co.

From designer Alec Holowka (Aquaria), illustrator/animator Scott Benson (Late Night Work Club), and writer Bethany Hockenberry, Night In The Woods is an intimate story about a 20-something cat lady named Mae who drops out of college and moves back in with her parents in the sleepy town of Possum Springs. It’s steeped in that feeling of coming home and becoming reacquainted with the familiar, while also sensing how so much of it has changed—and in the case of this town that is so strongly representative of the American Rust Belt, how much of it has decayed. The main characters, Mae’s college-age buddies who exude that stereotypically millennial mix of aloof and hip, might grate on some people, but the writing is charming and relatable enough that even the most curmudgeonly among us should be swayed. And if you need more than some earnest commentary about going home, coming of age, and the state of working-class America, there just might be some spooky stuff happening in Possum Springs and in the woods that surround it.
Read more here.

The album to listen to

Vagabon, Infinite Worlds

Infinite Worlds is full of surprises. Each of the four tracks on the album’s A-side has a section that throws you. It could be the first time the chorus hits in “The Embers,” or when “Fear & Force” transitions midway into contemplative R&B, or the pregnant pause in “Minneapolis,” eliciting the same kind of rush as a roller coaster’s first breathless drop, each one showing that Vagabon’s Laetitia Tamko is fearless. What’s more, it all sounds effortless, so much of which can be credited to Tamko and her willingness to not conform to any single strain of indie rock.”
Read our full review here.

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The book to read

George Saunders, Lincoln In The Bardo

“George Saunders is best known for his satirical bite, but his new novel Lincoln In The Bardo is a sincere examination of life, explored through the dead souls stuck in the bardo. He’s never written anything quite so poignant. There is certainly surreal humor, with Saunders bringing his signature flair for drama and heightened silliness to the characters who hover between this world and the next, be it in the trio of bachelors who gallivant amid the graveyard and jauntily throw hats around or the phrase ‘matterlightblooming phenomenon’ to describe the instant when individuals finally succumb to the pull of the next world. The framing device of the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son also allows Saunders to probe the psyche of the president, breathing life into a history lesson.”
Read our full review here.

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