Now that Waypoints have been spun out into their own podcast, I thought it’d be great to have a dedicated thread for recommendations from the community. So what are the movies, shows, books, articles, events, etc. that you’re itching for others to experience too?
Here are a few of mine:
All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace (by Adam Curtis) - A fantastic documentary series broadcast on the BBC in 2013 about three times people tried (and failed) to use computers to construct utopia.
As a surprising twist on my love for it I actually vehemently disagree with a lot of Curtis’ opinions in the series (especially in episode two, where he is very dismissive of anarchism) but it is still my favourite piece of media due to the minimalist stylishness and poetic voice of it.
Has a gorgeous video collage look and talks about what are always made out to be exclusively very technical topics from a philosophical, political, emotional “Austin Walker-esque” perspective. As far as I can tell it is completely and entirely impossible to legally watch this documentary any more. Trust me, I’ve been looking for years. It’s not available for legal streaming and the DVDs (and even the bootleg copies thereof) sold out years ago.
I wouldn’t be putting it here if it was entirely impossible to watch though. I won’t link it but if you Google the name you’ll find some kind soul has uploaded all three episodes in full to Vimeo.
I would genuinely attribute it as one of the main reasons I’m studying computer science now.
Here’s the trailer:
Since it’s autumn (here in the northern hemisphere), I’m going to recommend something that has become a fall tradition for my partner and I:
Over the Garden Wall is an animated mini-series from Cartoon Network about two kids lost in mysterious woods. It has beautiful and atmospheric art, a fantastic soundtrack with folk, country, and jazz tunes, a surprising sense of humor, and a really moving coming of age story. In my favorite episode it manages to look like both a Ghibli movie and early Disney animation at the same time!? And somehow it fits this into ten 12-minute episodes. If you like animation, fairy tales, or the fall season you should give it a shot - and that’s a rock fact!
Shout out to season 3 of The Good Place which remains one of the best shows on TV. It’s a show that deeply grapples with what it means to be good, and is delivered through an incredible ensemble cast. Check it out if you want a fun sitcom that at times can make you think.
It is bullshit that Chidi speaks American accented English on Earth though. For a show that is so intricately plotted, it feels like a dumb retcon to ignore what was said about his backstory.
Wow. I wish I could find a way to rent or buy the whole documentary! I’ve never quite seen a trailer like this.
Yeah I’ve wanted to buy it ever since I saw it broadcast to support it and own it but now there’s just the Vimeo one. I worry that someday it’ll get taken down and I won’t be able to watch it again
Netflix’s fantastic new original series Hilda is such a wondrous, delightful, and occasionally poignant cartoon and I can’t stop recommending it to everyone. It’s based on the series of graphic novels by Luke Pearson about a young girl who lives with her mother in the wilderness, in a world filled with magical phenomena and creatures that Hilda loves to interact with and document.
It’s gorgeous, beautifully animated, and features a diverse cast of characters (including a supportive single mother who can also see all of these creatures and is very much on board with letting her daughter explore, the type of character I think can be a rarity in similar shows). Oh and it’s also funny! Not in like a “yeah I can see how a kid could find this funny” sort of way, but actually funny. Watch it if you need something charming and pleasant to dig into!
The Hulk is one of my favourite superheroes, but I rarely find his comic book appearances satisfying. This new series by Al Ewing (whose recent Marvel title The Ultimates I’d also recommend) lives up to the excellently schlocky precis above, and is already up there with my favourite depictions of the character.
It’s very 90s Vertigo Comics, which I mean as a compliment to the writing and… less of one to the art, which never gets much above adequate. But every issue leaves me unable to wait for the next, and so far I’d say it’s pretty accessible for readers not steeped in superhero continuity (though a lifetime of Marvel damage makes that tough to judge objectively).
Speaking of schlock, shouts to the excellent covers by Alex Ross, someone I’m not usually a fan of.
I’ve been watching this and I my favorite ep so far was the one with the rat kings and the dream eaters (forget their real name) but the whole series has been good!
If I had to pick a game series that I thought was criminally underrated, it would be the Creeper World games. The basic premise is “what if you had an RTS, but instead of another army, you fought the ocean?” It combines 2 of my favorite things: tower defense and fluid simulations. The developer is just 1 guy as far as I know, and he’s currently working on CW4. But that’s still in the relatively early stages, but here’s an old trailer for Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal
I’ve just finished part 1, and I am speechless. This is such a gem!
Has anybody been watching Big Mouth on Netflix? My wife and I have been avid fans since the first season, and it has only gotten better in season 2. It’s funny and raunchy, no doubt, but it has a sensitive heart about the strange time that is puberty. There are some issues, however, namely with a black character being voiced by the white-presenting Jenny Slate and the focus on straight cis sexuality, but it gets the broad strokes right.
Also, whenever Maya Rudolph’s hormone monster is on screen is just the best. I say “bubble bath” to myself at least 5 times a day.
Couldn’t agree more, I loved the first season and binged the 2nd with my partner when it was released. It’s absolutely hilarious whilst at the same time a very honest showing of what it’s like to be that age. Highly Recommended.
I was worried when they move to the city that things will get less interesting as I loved the giants & the trolls. The rat king made me realise how wrong I was. Hilda is so good.
My daughter is nearing the ripe old age of 2 and she’s starting to have a long enough attention span to watch a movie length show (sometimes about 2/3rds before she’s more concerned about drawing on the wall), as a result I’ve had a chance to revisit a number of Ghibli films I hadn’t watched since I was a youngin’. Rewatching some of the movies aimed at an older audience, like Porco Rosso and Mononoke compared to The Cat Returns and Ponyo has been awesome, her favourite being The Cat Returns (she’ll point to the tv and say ‘cat cat cat’ when she wants to watch it again) which has some…iffy themes but is pretty delightfully weird overall.
I spent quite a lot of time thinking about committing this and have ultimately decided to do so.
My Community Waypoints for the week is the BBC Radio 4 podcast series Intrigue: The Ratline. It’s ten episodes of about 20-30 minutes each dedicated to the story of a Nazi governor, Otto Wachter, who escaped justice at Nuremberg but was killed in 1949 while attempting to escape through the so-called ‘ratline’ set up to help Nazi war criminals escape Europe after the Second World War.
It’s a fascinating series for a few different reasons. I’m about seven episodes in. The principal relationship in the series is between the presenter, Phillipe Sands (a barrister and writer whose grandfather’s family suffered greatly in the Holocaust), and Otto Wachter’s son (now a septuagenerian, who continues to believe his father was innocent. That relationship makes for an uncomfortable first episode in some ways, as you try to get a handle on what this series is trying to go for.
I think it manages to come down in a way that works out for the series and I do think it is a good educational tool, particularly for those folks who don’t know that much about the post-Second World War epoch. Time is put into explaining, for example, the interactions between Nazism and the Catholic Church (which is important in the story). It does a good job of illustrating some worth-discussing elements of German history, particularly about how people lived with the transition away from Nazism – and how that was, in some ways, deeply limited.
(Will just put a content note up that Stephen Fry ‘plays’ the English translations of Otto Wachter.)
Has anyone been watching the new Sabrina show on Netflix? I’m only two episodes in and so far it is extremely my jam. “Real” teen issues? Cute kitty cat? The DEVIL?! The show has it all
I’ve shared some of this persons work on here before but I really think a lot of people here would appreciate the work of Bret Novak and the skate videos he produces. While a lot of skate videos focus on the moves or the attempts (and failed attempts) his videos stand out as they all usually revolve around a single individual & emphasize the physicality of performing a trick with a board in unique locations. It’s a much more approachable way of watching skate videos to what you typically see so you can just learn & understand how a person is able to do anything with a board at all.
I think more than anything these videos capture the act of skateboarding itself as a form of self expression much like a dance (or wrestling cause I’m that guy), as opposed as the boys club culture around skateboarding as that form of expression. I was really able to appreciate skateboarding as a form of street art comparable to something like graffiti much rather than a just a sport.
I also really enjoy that most of his subjects focus more on freestyle skateboarding which feels at times like a lost art in skateboarding at times.
I can’t help but get emotional watching some of these & I can’t even explain why.
Haven’t watched it yet. I saw a trailer for it over the weekend and it looks cool. Kinda bummed that it won’t have the same goofy sitcom vibe as Sabrina the Teenage Witch, though.
Wow, this was a great recommendation. I haven’t watched a skate video in a while but this might get me back into it.