What'cha Watching? (TV or Film)

No worries! I’m happy to expand a bit on that.

As someone who grew up in the Christian faith, I think a lot of the fundamental tenets of Christianity as a personal doctrine encourages self-interest and views compassion as a means to an end, namely one’s own salvation.

Under Christian doctrine every good deed is another step towards heaven. Compassion is instrumental. There’s no reason to care about making the world a better place for when you leave it, because the mortal realm is a testing ground where you need to prove yourself worthy before the main event.

I have a lot of thoughts about this but what I’ll say is that yes, the Church (and especially the Catholic Church) is a leech whose own past should be sufficient to condemn it. But, I think the beliefs themselves are also objectionable. These organisations just exacerbate and magnify the negative externalities of the doctrine itself. Take it away and you’ve still got a belief system that is fundamentally utilitarian.

Midnight Mass actually touches on this a bunch but always directs the blame back on individuals and their relationship to the institution. The beliefs, and the act of believing, is never interrogated with the same urgency or scepticism.

Ultimately, I am an atheist though. And I don’t come at atheism from a scientific perspective. I have specific moral objections to Christianity and the older Abrahamic religions that it’s derived from, based on my perspective of growing up baptist.

6 Likes

Thankyou for expanding on that, it’s definitely a lens I didn’t consider while watching the show!

First off, I saw somebody say they started the Leftovers a few posts back, which I’m super excited to hear what you think about it. I haven’t revisited it yet, but it might be one of my favorite shows of all time. I loved Lost, a show that I think benefits heavily from being able to watch it all at one time. Unfortunately, it definitely did give rise to the JJ Abrams mystery box thing that is so obnoxious about shows/films today. The Lost forums were filled with people trying to guess the ending or figure out what was really going on with the island and executives definitely took that as a sign that says “here’s how to write a show”. Having said all that, I think Lindelof and co. knock it out of the park with the Leftovers and it absolutely is helped by some strong performances from the actors. I won’t say much more other than to say that the first season is easily the weakest because it is based almost entirely on the book. The second and third season diverge and are much better for it, in my opinion.

As for the month of October, my friend and I last year put together a list of water/underwater based horror films. Our list this year is based, somewhat loosely, around cities and urban environments. Since there is a film for each day, nobody participating expects to watch all of them, but it’s been fun having a reason to watch these films. I’m already behind having skipped some of the films my friends recommended skipping, but I’ll post the whole list below just as a curiosity. The stand outs so far for me are definitely Aterrados, Tenebrae, and the People Under the Stairs.

October films

3 Likes

Great list! I’ve only seen ~10 of those, but there are some great ones in there (Candyman, Purge: Anarchy, and REC would be among my picks) and some I’ve been meaning to see (Possession, for one). I really like the idea you and your friends have of a list you can kinda tune in and out of but planned ahead of time.

So, as a Canadian, the first time I remember realizing that Canada was what people thought the USA looked like, if they only saw it on TV, was watching Rumble in the Bronx right coming back from a family vacation in Vancouver. It was pretty hard to ignore that some of the places that I had literally just been to in Canada were suddenly pretending to be in New York, in the same way that the human actors on screen were portraying characters. I remember being a little offended by it, and having that feeling of wondering if I had any idea what New York actually looked like, since I’d been lied to all this time.

After that, it started to get pretty easy notice Canadian locations on screen. Particularly in mid to low budget sci-fi shows. Or large ones like Interstellar or Ravenous. It’s not really weird to me anymore, it’s honestly part of the fun to pick out “obvious Canadian place” in a show (the original run of X-Files is great for this). Every now and then a show just admits it’s in Vancouver (Continuum, anyone), and that’s just delightful.

I don’t think I get too bothered by the juxtaposition of Canadian scenes and American politics. Canadian news is nearly dominated by American events. Watch CBC’s The National on youtube and you’ll see that most nights, 30-50% of the coverage will either directly be about events south of the border, or be covering the ways in which the US zeitgeist is being mirrored in Canada. It’s sort of a Canadian cultural thing to try and hold Canada as being separate and very different from the US, but the ways in which we’re deeply intertwined are hard to ignore, especially now that I’m an expat living in the US. It makes sense that that would be reflected on screen.

2 Likes

So, The Color Out of Space (2020) is bad, and I’m unsure whether it really even falls into so bad its good. The dialogue is laughably bad, and I don’t think the creators really knew what to do with the source material, so instead it feels like mishmash of better films. There are moments where something interesting might be about to happen, but it can’t seem to decide what type of horror movie it wants to be.
Go watch Annihilation and The Thing instead and you’ll have a much much better experience and you’ll know what they were trying to do in The Color Out of Space.

Also, for the best depiction of cosmic horror I’ve ever watched you have to check out The Endless.

2 Likes

My spouse and I are very into weird horror films, and watch them all year, so we use October to do full franchise watches of big series we either never got around to or haven’t seen all of the films in. This is usually terrible - not every Friday the 13th sequel is as good as Jason X, unfortunately. We’ve done Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Ju-On, Ringu, Child’s Play, and this year: SAW.

V and VI? Masterpieces. The best filmic soap operas I have ever seen. Hoffman is a living comedy of errors. The torture/trap room element of the series is basically only present for the sake of making it a SAW film, in V, the only relationship between the people in the trap and the actual plot is that an FBI agent stumbles upon the survivors while looking for someone else entirely. It’s just an extremely absurd police procedural where Hoffman comedy of errors his way into killing most of the Jigsaw investigation team, some Nazis, and people whose job is denying people health insurance coverage.

Would encourage only watching those, but the films are so flashback-focused I think it’d be tough to follow. (Also, shoutouts to Horror Vanguard and Fearbaiting, who made doing this series retrospective much more fun.)

2 Likes

I watched through all the SAW films either late last year or earlier this year in preparation for the Chris Rock led Spiral (from the book of SAW). I still think the first SAW is actually a masterpiece of a film for what it is and its budget. It slowly gets worse from there, though I certainly can appreciate some of the later ones for the sheer melodrama of it all. As somebody said on Twitter a while ago, the funniest thing about those films is that, at a certain point near the end, Jigsaw starts running out of people to hold a grudge against so you get stuff like ‘guy who sold his nephew a motorcycle with faulty brakes’ getting punished. That of course also pretty much directly contradicts Jigsaw’s supposed ‘message/lesson’ but that whole film was a mess anyway.

1 Like

I really enjoyed Venom: Let There Be Carnage. I mean I could take or leave the Carnage bit, but I did enjoy Tom Hardy bickering with his big voice. It basically poses Eddie Brock and Venom as a problematic married couple living in the same body. The last movie felt quite frank in showing Venom up against the big idea that he’s a big dumb angsty edgelord relic from the 90s who only appeals to 90s adolescent kids who listen to Eminem to feel angry. By contrast Venom 2 kind of makes the character a bit of a sweet heart. I enjoyed it immensely, 90 minutes and your done - with the promise of more Venom to come… It was worth it getting Andy Serkis in to direct - really brings out the performance out CG characters.

1 Like