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What I’m Watching / Reading / Listening: August 2017

These are some of the things I am currently obsessed with this month, giving you a glimpse of my media consumption habits.

Watching: Flight of the Conchords on DVD (previously on HBO)

After watching Hunt for the Wilderpeople, I became really interested in New Zealand director Taika Waititi’s work. I ended up watching his critically acclaimed vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, which stars Waititi and his frequent collaborators Jemaine Clement and Rhys Darby, which of course led me to the television show Flight of the Conchords. I had watched a couple episodes a long time ago but I finally decided to buckle down and watch the entire first season. In the show, Clement and his music/comedy partner Bret McKenzie play fictionalized versions of themselves as a couple of hapless musicians trying to live out their dreams in New York. They are supported by their band manager Murray (Darby), who gets them the occasional small gig in between doing his actual job at the New Zealand Consulate, and their lone super-fan Mel (Kristen Schaal). The characters are goofy, sweet, and socially awkward and the show often veers into weird musical interludes of silly lyrics and surprisingly catchy, original tunes by the duo. The dry, awkward, strange comedy tone takes a little getting used to but the showrunners’s love of wordplay (and McKenzie’s ridiculously cute face) won me over quickly.

Reading: Ayoade on Ayoade by Richard Ayoade

Technically, I am not reading Ayoade on Ayoade yet, but I have ordered it and it is on its way to me from across the pond. The book is a series of meta interviews between the writer/director/actor Richard Ayoade and himself and is sure to be as funny and clever as the man himself. I have had a huge crush on Ayoade from watching him on The IT Crowd, Gadget Man, Travel Man, and through his many appearances on British comedy panel shows (of which I watch many.) He has cultivated a persona of an erudite man with impeccable, deadpan comic delivery that I enjoy immensely and has a varied background in comedy, film, television, and music. Ayoade was president of the Cambridge Footlights (following the footsteps of Eric Idle, Hugh Laurie, David Mitchell) while the vice-president was John Oliver! He has directed a couple films so far—Submarine and The Double—as well as episodes of comedy shows and music videos for the band Arctic Monkeys. Later this year, Ayoade will be releasing another book, The Grip of Film, which I am eagerly waiting to read as well.

Listening: The Flop House podcast on iTunes

As we live in a post-MST3K world, film nerds everywhere have gathered to record their scathing takedowns of bad movies or reviews of cult-hits. There is a lot of good and bad content online for even the most niche of on-screen interests but The Flop House is one of the most popular, reviewing wide-release films with sharp humour. Three friends—Dan McCoy, Stuart Wellington, and Elliott Kalan—(two of which are Emmy-winning comedy writers) sit around for thirty minutes to two hours drinking and discussing a bad movie they’ve just watched. The podcast consists of mainly comedy but there sometimes is real, salient critique slipped in between the rapid-fire pop culture references and unexpected word association tangents. The biggest draw is undeniably the reedy-voiced, instantly likeable Elliott, who is liable to break out into song at any moment and who can talk non-stop about anything: his most impressive moment is an extended pitch for a fictional Ziggy movie. There are over two hundred episodes of The Flop House and new episodes are released every two weeks.

What media are you enjoying currently? Comment below!

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