Stuff I Have Been Viewing Lately

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Night of the Living Dead (1968): I’d actually never seen this before, and for anyone else similarly uneducated in zombie film history, I won’t spoil it but will just say watch it. It is sadly as timely in its social commentary in 2021 as in 1968.

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957): I had zero expectations for this film and merely watched it because my partner wanted to. Boy, was I in for a surprise! This is a good movie! It falls short of great, maybe due to being generically wedged somewhere between B horror movie and art flick, but it boasts both very impressive special effects (well, mainly use of sets) and a character arc that is serious, mature, and quite moving. Recommended.

Squid Game: Yes, I got the Squid Game bug. I’m only part way through it and won’t spoil it, but I do understand why it has become an international sensation. It uses its Battle Royale superstructure to do intense exploration of character, ethics, and modern society. If I have time, I will do more detailed spoilery commentary when I’m finished with it.

Doctor Who: The Flux episode 1: My impressions seem to be like many others: not much. I found it decently entertaining. It’s been a long time since Doctor Who actually gripped me, and this was no exception. I like the positivity of the new companion and, like others, enjoyed the dog alien. I look forward to watching the rest with no particular expectations.

Revisiting Twin Peaks (season 1): This is just some casual rewatching, sparked by Psyche’s fantastic TP parody episode, but it has reminded me of how much I enjoy early Twin Peaks, before it gets too dark and ghoulish. It has a very effective and odd mix of tragedy and quirky humor, and I do absolutely adore Cooper’s indefatigable joie de vivre. (A shame about what happens to him.)

Revisiting Columbo: this is a show my son and I both like, so we’ve ended up watching quite a bit. When I was a kid, Columbo was a character I grew up with very positive feelings about, despite finding the actually stories far too long and boring to watch. Now, I can enjoy them. Falk’s bumbling genius remains captivating, though after many, many repetitions, his pattern of expressing naïve, fannish glee at whatever the villain is interested in begins to read as just fake, and I’d rather see it as real on some level. That’s honestly my only overall niggle.

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Arwen Spicer
Arwen Spicer

Arwen Spicer is a science fiction writer and writing teacher raised in the San Fransciso Bay Area, and Northern California will hold her heart forever, even if it turns into a desert. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on ecology in utopian science fiction and is an educator on the concept of workable utopias. Her novel The Hour before Morning was hailed as “A carefully paced, rewarding sci-fi debut” by Kirkus Indie.

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Arwen Spicer

Arwen Spicer

Arwen Spicer is a science fiction writer and writing teacher raised in the San Fransciso Bay Area, and Northern California will hold her heart forever, even if it turns into a desert. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on ecology in utopian science fiction and is an educator on the concept of workable utopias. Her novel The Hour before Morning was hailed as “A carefully paced, rewarding sci-fi debut” by Kirkus Indie.

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