LOCKDOWN LIST: THINGS I HAVE BEEN WATCHING AND READING

During these unusual lockdown stretches, I have been lucky enough to carve out some moments in time to consume some really interesting content. These creations are what I have been drawn into and, if you’re looking for recommendations, I thought I’d share what I’ve been digging of late

FILM

  • In & Of Itself: An absolutely absorbing, magical (literally), thoughtful exploration of identity and how we see ourselves, and more so, how we want to be seen. I have never seen anything like it quite before and it is still reverberating in my mind. This is an artful cinematic document directed by Frank Oz (The Muppets, Yoda) of a fabled Off Broadway show that ran for 550+ nights. To say anything more about it would simply not be possible. A work of genius.
  • The King of Staten Island: Judd Apatow directs the semi-autobiographical story of SNL star Pete Davidson. It’s an imperfect film but very watchable. At times both funny and heartbreaking, with career-best performances by Marisa Tomei and Bill Burr
  • Beverly Hills Cop 1 & 2: Revisited these 80s classics with my son, and they still hold up as really entertaining, fast-paced action comedies. Eddie Murphy has never been better.

TV

  • The Mandalorian: Late to the party on this pulpy, enjoyable slice of Star Wars. Incredible production values with a whopper cast, including the legendary Werner Herzog. If you’re a casual Star Wars fan like me, you will definitely love it.
  • Tiger: Despite being only a casual golf fan, this documentary about Tiger Woods is a compelling look at an intriguing athlete, with a complicated past. Very watchable and utterly fascinating
  • The Undoing: Gripping melodrama with Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman that doesn’t quite pay off on its promise, but enjoyable dramatic entertainment nevertheless.

PODCASTS

  • Armchaired & Dangerous: If you’re a fan of Dax Shephard’s podcast, Armchair Expert, then you’re probably aware of this show within the show where they explore well-known conspiracy theories with New Zealand journalist David Farrier. Really interesting peeks into the subculture of conspiratorial thinking in a really laidback format. The episodes on Bigfoot and 9/11 are particularly interesting
  • Grounded with Louis Theroux: Refreshingly honest and interesting conversations between BBC documentary maesro Theroux and a wide range of diverse, fascinating guests. All episodes are excelllent, with the FKA Twigs and Riz Ahmed ones as recent standouts.
  • Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend: I’ve always been a huge admirer of Conan, and these interviews are hilarious and deeply moving at times. Conan is able to switch tones and tempo with such ease, and his pre-show banter with his production team is as engaging as the podcast itself. Recent standout episodes include Jameela Jamil, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Che

BOOKS

  • Gotta Get Theroux This: A memoir by Louis Theroux that gives a potted history of his life both before and during his remarkable documentary filmmaking life. Very readable and an absolute must if you’re a fan of his.