New from Sarah Welch-Larson on Ghost: 35: Looking Forward

Last week I looked back on the art that got me through 2022; this week I'm starting to think about the art I'm most looking forward to. I found out today that John Darnielle's guest starring in an episode of the upcoming Rian Johnson mystery-of-the-week TV series Poker Face, which is the perfect intersection of several of my obsessions. Darnielle wrote a song for the episode! The show is an homage to Columbo starring Natasha Lyonne! The guest star list is utterly stacked! TV's enough of a commitment that I usually just don't even try, but if this show is the strain of Sarah catnip I think it's going to be, I'll make Poker Face appointment viewing.

On the film front: I'm looking forward to a couple of Dad Movies. One–Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer–promises to be grim summer fare. Nolan's been accused of being a cold director, and with the exception of Interstellar's familial melodrama I think that's true, but if he's able to find an emotional throughline that rings true, I should be on board with his newest outing. Michael Mann's Ferrari biopic doesn't have an official release date yet, but I'm going to try to will it into a 2023 release. Like Nolan, Mann gravitates toward precisely timed dramas about men who are very good at their traditionally masculine jobs. Mann's precision is borne of a trust in his audience; his movies are about masculinity, but they're also about the confines of capitalism and colonialism. They don't glorify masculinity; they interrogate the spaces that masculinity would prefer to brush past.

I'm apprehensively hopeful about the Dune sequel coming this fall. I like the first Villeneuve Dune, with a few hefty reservations; I hope this new movie can live up to the promise of its predecessor, at the same scale but hopefully more heart. I'm also anxiously hopeful about Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse. If we must live in a universe inundated with superhero tentpole IP, I'm glad we get to live in the one that has Into the Spider-Verse, which for my money is one of the best superhero movies ever made. Repeating that moonshot seems impossible. I'm still rooting for it.

There are a few others I have my eye on that feel a little more off the wall. The Last Voyage of the Demeter is a retelling of a single chapter from Bram Stoker's Dracula, a ship's log recording the vampire's journey by sea to England from Transylvania. It's usually skipped over for sexier fare, which makes me hopeful that the film will take additional liberties. Dracula-as-home-invasion, perhaps, or even an oblique retelling of Alien, but in the Victorian era with a vampire on a ship, rather than a xenomorph. And finally, there's 65: a movie in which Adam Driver takes a space voyage and then crash lands on Earth 65 million years ago. I hope the movie pays his bills, and more importantly, I hope he kicks T. rex butt.

Paramore's back, and for the first time in a decade I'm invested in the album they'll be releasing. There's a thread of funk in the air in a lot of pop music lately, and the lead single to This Is Why has a disco thumbprint on it. The music video also feels very 1970s, with a flavor of American New Wave paranoia.

I tend to take books as they come, but I will not rest until Alecto the Ninth is published (may that be soon and swift). I've loved Tamsyn Muir's irreverent take on organized religion by way of future necromancers (in space!). The final book in the series had better be good; I made a pact with a friend to read Infinite Jest together this year, so I have no idea if I'll get the chance to read anything else.


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What I watched:

I've been catching up on a few final 2022 movies this week to round out my ballot for the Chicago Indie Critics. One that didn't quite make my year-end lists, but that I think is worth your while, is Joanna Hogg's The Eternal Daughter, starring Tilda Swinton in a dual role as a filmmaker and her elderly mother. A lot of indie movies last year explored grief and parental relationships; The Eternal Daughter is worth the watch because it does so with remarkable restraint in a capital-G Gothic setting.

What I listened to:

I threw together a winter playlist this last week, full of dark moody music that makes me want to move. It's a work in progress, but it's here if you'd like a listen.

What I'm reading:

I got a copy of Bono's memoir Surrender for Christmas. It's what you'd expect from a book by Bono, or even a U2 show for that matter: earnest, introspective, bombastic, and probably a little too long. I'd be disappointed if it were anything else.

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