My Latest Verbs (March Edition)
March was a pretty hefty month of media, so I’m going to skip the intro song and dance and jump straight into the thick of it…
It’s been too long since I’ve geeked out over an animated series! If you follow me on any form of social media, you’ve no doubt heard my spouting on and on about this show. And I’ve long been hearing all the illustrators I follow spout on about it forever as well, so I’m merely passing on the wonderful gift. You’re welcome.
ANYWAY, this series is incredible. Throw together a Pacific Northwest setting, compelling mysteries, characters and monsters, a serialized narrative, Kristen Schall’s National Treasure of a voice as a main character, and a ton of real-world puzzles and codes to solve — and you have my undivided attention and complete obsession, apparently. If you want an idea of the tone of the show, all you have to do is watch the intro (be warned that the intro music is incredibly catchy):
See? Isn’t it all so CHARMING? Such an animated Disney series about mysteries and happy fun quirky times, right? WRONG. Well, OK it is really charming, cute and quirky, BUT in that short 41 seconds, you probably missed a lot. Did you see the “Sasquatch”? Did you catch all of cryptograms throughout and figure out that one of them reads “Stan is not what he seems?” Did you catch the Norse runes Dipper is inspecting? Did you see the flash of a zodiac cipher at the end? You probably heard the whisper at the end, but did you know that if slowed down and played backwards, it gives you a hint on how to solve that episode’s credit cryptogram? Oh, and I custom created my intro image to have an extra secret message in it.
I’d be a criminal if I even alluded to any type of spoilers for the series, but just know that there are quite a few twists and turns that I did not see coming. Oh yeah, and remember my mention of a secret message on solving cryptograms? Throughout the entire series, in the credit sequence, a cryptogram of varying difficulty is displayed. Often, it’s a cute easter egg about the episode you just watched, but SOMETIMES they give cryptic hints of what’s to come or what (or who) to watch out for. There are many more messages hidden in the background, as the show goes on, for eagle-eyed viewers as well. If you plan on trying to solve them, prepare to learn the difference between Caesarian, ATBASH, A1Z26, and Vignére ciphers.
Overall, it’s a brilliantly written show and the messages and themes throughout are pretty dark and deep for children’s programming. I BEG anyone who immediately writes off cartoons as ‘kid stuff’ to make time for this one.
House of Cards (Season 4)
This show really needs no introduction, considering its massive popularity. But it’s grown into the massive pop-culture phenom for a reason. I know that politics are likely nothing like what’s depicted here, but it’s truly fascinating to ponder the possibility of such intrigue and backstabbing and ruthlessness taking place at our nation’s capitol. Also, let it be known that, even knowing everything about Frank Underwood, I’d still vote for him over any other candidate running for office.
This season continues where the last left off while somehow digging deeper and darker than ever before. Without spoiling anything, this is the first season where we see hallucinogenic and almost otherworldly film techniques and story elements used. And it’s all done so brilliantly. One last note: I wish real life were color corrected like House of Cards. So cool I got ice in my veins.
Talk about coming completely out of left field! When I first heard that Zootopia was a thing that was happening 2 years ago, I immediately let out an audible groan. “Oh great — a movie about talking animals in a big city. Haven’t seen that before.” Well, past me couldn’t have been more wrong. Even before the movie had been officially released, it was getting crazy positive reviews. And then I heard rumblings of it being a huge think piece on racism in our culture? I couldn’t believe it, so I had to see it for myself on opening weekend. And I wasn’t disappointed.
This could be the first Disney movie, or rather any animated film company movie, that competes with and even surpasses many Pixar films. Obviously Pixar and Disney are already super close, and with John Lasseter heading up both studios, it was bound to happen that Pixar and Disney would become one in the same. Even down to the FEELS (I only cried like, twice!)
The art direction throughout the entire movie is gorgeous and the world of Zootopia really comes to life in a special way — so no, past me, it wasn’t just an NYC clone. Then, on top of a great world, throw in a cast of greater characters, and instead of putting them through your typical Disney story fodder (a phrase that’s becoming less and less effective as of late), set up a huge mystery full of interesting clues and pieces to put together (and DON’T make the two main characters have to fall in love! OR even become at all romantically interested in ANYONE!). Then, just for fun, throw in a TON of completely overt references and direct parallels to race relations and culture (I am far, far, far, from able to speak on any of these in a manner that I feel would do it justice) — seriously, you’d have to be deaf and blind to miss them. But they’re handled so well and everything comes out so perfectly that I thought, “maybe this movie should be standard viewing for absolutely everyone.” The world would certainly be a better place for it. Go see it in theaters, your eyes and heart won’t regret it.
10 Cloverfield Lane
Another movie that took me by complete surprise! Right off the bat, I just want to make it clear that I’m not going to spoil ANYTHING about this movie. You might be thinking: “But I know nothing about this movie or even this franchise, why would I pay to go see something I know nothing about?” To which I’d say “Shut up.” It’s a serious treat to have a film come out and be able to say you know nothing about it because there aren’t a BILLION ads showing all of the nooks and crannies off about the movie beforehand. Or a ton of press stops or months of promotions and viral marketing campaigns and all that other hoopla.
No, this movie was meant for you to go in with no expectations at all and just go for the ride. John Goodman is incredible, believe the hype. Oh, and the tension and suspense throughout was enough to make me literally huddle in a fetal position in my seat in the crowded movie theatre. No shame.
M83 — “Do It, Try It”
Not a lot of listening to new things in March — just a brand new BANGER from M83. Full disclosure: the full album is already out at the time of writing this, BUT I didn’t listen to it in March, so I will keep mum on all but this amazing single. It’s amazing. That’s it. Listen to it and be amazed. Then be sad that you aren’t as much of a genius. Then be happy that someone is and has given you this gift. Rinse and repeat forever.
Bob’s Burgers Burger Book
You might be immediately thinking “COOKBOOKS DON’T COUNT AS READING!” To which I’d reply “WHY DO YOU HATE FUN THINGS.” But seriously, I got this book on Easter weekend and thumbed through it to see if any recipes immediately caught my eye (spoiler: many did) — then after finding a few, I looked closer at the recipe. And then I realized — this book is hilarious. Not only is the blurb about the burger full of humor from the show (which makes sense considering it is authored by the writers of the show), but even the steps to create the burger and even the ingredients themselves are chuck full of (see what I did there? anybody?) references and jokes and hilarity. I read the entire thing, cover to cover in one sitting. Now that’s a sign of a great cookbook. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, the one burger I’ve made thus far (the Sympathy For the Deviled Egg Burger) was probably the best burger I’ve ever had.
I’m probably not the first person you’re hearing about Miitomo from. If I am, you need to be better at the internet. You might not realize this, but this app is kind of a big deal. It’s Nintendo’s first ever mobile application. And when I first heard of it a few years ago, I immediately thought that it would be a huge waste of time and a total bust. Good thing I was only right about one of those things.
This app is a MAJOR time killer, so long as you have the right amount and type of friends that play along. What does playing look like, you ask? All you have to do is answer random questions about yourself. That’s. It. Really. But SOMEHOW it works. SOMEHOW it’s endlessly charming and hilarious. You could even come out learning something about your friends that you never had before, due to the random nature of the questions. OH and then there’s Miifoto which allows you to create hilarious photos of you and your cool friends in endlessly creative and wacky situations. You’re only limited by your imagination. Then, you can comment and like your friends’ answers and photos and, if you have as great of friends as me, you will be dying of laughter every day. If we’re friends on Facebook or Twitter, download the app, connect your account and you’ll see me! You’ll likely also see a few of your other friends too. GET WITH THE TIMES, MAN.
Well, that’s an…interesting note to end on. Sorry not sorry for the novels. I just get passionate about things I want people to try. All in all, don’t ever write anything off as being too ‘childish’ or ‘girly’ or ‘weird’ — it only limits yourself and you’ll never grow to be as good of a human being you can be.