I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. I've noticed things seem to be almost completely back to normal even though the Delta variant has started rearing its ugly head. But they're not normal. I know it's easier to think they are, but there are still many bare shelves at grocery stores and a lot of businesses are open random days a week as they struggle to find employees who now are actually fighting for a living wage in a town where that number is astronomical. Downtown Bend is crazier than ever and there seems to be a level of reckless abandon to the way people are partying that I've never quite seen before. It's bonkers, I tell ya, so I'm going to keep my head down and focus on some of the podcasts, movies and shows that have made this summer somewhat bearable. Check them out with me, won't you?
- Courtesy of A24
- The intimate and epic masterpiece, "The Green Knight."
In Pod We Trust:I know that sometimes in this column I am definitely the old man yelling at clouds, but I prefer to think of myself as old school. I also might have a pretty dark bent when it comes to the true crime podcasts I listen to, but I prefer to think of myself as macabre. So, when I say that I found the ultimate podcast for those of us who are old school true crime nerds, then I hope you take my word for it.
"Synodus Horrenda," named after a bizarre historical event where a pope was exhumed to stand trial, focuses exclusively on macabre history. There's such a mind-blowing and insane quality to these stories that it almost gives a warmly reassuring context to the time in history we're living through now. The nameless host somehow manages to be detached and creepy while offering enough humanity to keep us listening. This is a must listen for fans of true crime and history podcasts.
Keeping with the theme of historical podcasts, "F*** Your Racist History" has been blowing my mind as of late. Host Christian Picciolini focuses on the racist origins of the U.S., and while some of it is well known, several of the episodes have deep dives into historical figures like George Washington and P.T. Barnum that are filled with facts I'd never heard before. Many of the episodes really go into the way history has been rewritten, which seems like a topic that is more important now than ever before.
Now Streaming/TheatricalI've been trying to catch as many things in theaters lately as I can (I'm maybe just a little paranoid that they might shut down again), so I've inadvertently stumbled into a few absolutely incredible movies over the last few weeks. The new Nicolas Cage movie "Pig" (Old Mill 16, Tin Pan, Odem Theater Pub) was kind of marketed as "John Wick," but about a truffle pig instead of a puppy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The film is actually a deeply moving character study about a legendary ex-chef living in the forest outside of Portland whose truffle pig is stolen and he has to traverse the mean streets of the PDX culinary scene in order to find her. This movie should be a joke, but it's far from it. It's a poem of a film and features the best Nicolas Cage performance since "Adaptation."
"The Green Knight" (Old Mill, Sisters Movie House, coming 8/13 to Tin Pan) is one of the trippiest movies I've seen in years. Based on the 500-year-old poem by an anonymous badass, director David Lowery turns what could have been a stodgy and serious sludge into a dark and sexy mind-f***. Dev Patel gives the performance of his career as a young wannabe-knight who must go on a quest to find a mythical tree person who might possibly chop off his head. As a very serious film critic I would never suggest going to see this movie with some edibles, but if you did then it might change your life.