My Cultural Diet for October 2022: The Rings of Power, Die Hard, Attack the Block, Star Trek: Lower Decks

A quick rundown of last month’s cultural experiences.
Morfydd Clark stars as the young Galadriel in Amazon's The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

In order to better track my various cultural experiences (e.g., movies, TV shows, books, restaurants), I’ve created the Cultural Diet. Think of it as my own personal Goodreads, Letterboxd, and Yelp, all rolled into one (more info here). Every month, I recap everything that I watched, read, etc., in the previous month.

  • Star Trek: Lower Decks, Season Three

    I still enjoy Lower Decks’ poking fun of Star Trek tropes, but this season didn’t click for me as much the previous one did. Perhaps the constant references and throwbacks are wearing a bit thin now. Hopefully, they can inject some fresh life into the series for the already-announced fourth season.

  • X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes

    I’ve been wanting to see this Roger Corman sci-fi/horror classic for awhile now, and it didn’t disappoint (it’s currently streaming for free on Tubi). The storyline, about a doctor who enhances his vision with unpredictable and insanity-inducing side effects, is lean and mean (only 79 minutes long!) and very satisfying as “B” movies go. Come for the trippy psychedelic visuals, stay for the creepy Don Rickles cameo.

  • Attack the Block

    It’s probably been ten years since I saw this in the theater, but this action film about a group of London teens defending their apartment building from an alien invasion was still as enjoyable as ever. It works on several levels (action adventure, social commentary, dark comedy) and John Boyega’s performance as gang leader Moses is so strong, you’ll be mad all over again that the Star Wars sequels obviously didn’t use him to his full potential.

  • The Rings of Power, Season One

    I had some quibbles with this first season, due mainly to its attempts at juggling four different storylines and keeping them balanced and cohesive, dramatically, chronologically, and geographically. (Just how, exactly, did the Númenóreans travel upriver and arrive in Tirharad so quickly?) Also, its efforts to feel appropriately Tolkien-ish (e.g., dropping in references like “always follow your nose”) got a bit ham-handed at times. But the series’ heart is clearly in the right place, there’s lots of heartfelt talk about loyalty, sacrifice, and fellowship (e.g., Elrond and Durin), the steady religiosity was a nice touch, and of course, it looked absolutely fantastic. So yes, bring on Season Two (which has already begun filming).

  • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to the SAC Museum over the years, but every time I go, I’m still fascinated by the planes and the world history they represent. In addition to the planes, there are several excellent exhibits on topics ranging from the early days of the Space Age to the Berlin Airlift to the Holocaust.

  • I really liked this place when it was called AmuManu Ramen, and it’s still just as good. I had the Stir Fry Ramen tonight, and it was pretty filling with just a slight hint of spice to liven things up a bit.

  • Decorum

    Decorum is more an exercise in world-building than a “normal” comic. The hardcover is filled with notes on far-future worlds, societies, and religions, all brought to life via Mike Huddleston’s incredible artwork and Sasha E Head’s intricate graphic design. The storyline — a group of assassins are hired to find a cosmic relic for an AI religion — is promising, but unfortunately, underwhelming. Given all of the world-building, I kept hoping for something more fantastical.

  • Die Hard

    One of the great action movies of all time. 3+ decades have done absolutely nothing to diminish its thrills. This time around, I was fascinated by the gorgeous set design and surprisingly (at times) lush cinematography. The themes of bureaucratic nonsense and police incompetence (e.g., when they storm the building) hit even harder in light of recent police-related controversies. But mostly, worth watching for Bruce Willis’ everyman panic, Alan Rickman’s effortless charm, and lots of awesome explosions.

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