Welcome again to We Have Always Live the Kraken, a pop culture blog transmitted directly to you from the belly of the beast. Here in the Notes we’ll show you this week’s posting schedule, but first here are some thoughts.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! Around this time you begin reflecting on what you are thankful (even this year), and in this case I thought I would briefly go into what in pop culture I have been thankful for.
- Strong Year for Animated Films: This has been the strongest year for animated films since 2010, and honestly it might be the strongest year ever. There were films from all around the world that finally graced the screens in America, and this diverse set of films offered more than the standard kids fare that dominates most years. Whether this is a trend that will continue remains to be seen, but for now let’s just enjoy the fact that even films like Trolls and Sing are solid movies, while ignoring that somehow the Ice Age franchise still exists.
- Game of Thrones: There is only one Show with a capital S, and Game of Thrones this year came back with a vengeance after an uneven previous season. It has been a long time coming, but TV has finally usurped movies in the cultural conscientiousness of America (despite the best efforts of Marvel and Star Wars), and GoT is one of the big reasons why.
- Final Fantasy XV Exists!!!: Plus it is actually rather enjoyable. None of this should have ever happened…
- Park-chan Wook: The Handmaiden is incredible. Just keep doing what you are doing, man. Finger cutting and all.
- Stranger Things: There are some non-believers on this site that shall remain nameless, but no show was more of a surprise to me this year in how fun, smart, and enjoyable it turned out to be. One of the few Netflix shows that managed to keep its buzz for multiple weeks instead of just a weekend.
- The Chicago Cubs Won the World Series: What’s that you say? That shouldn’t count as pop culture? Well, too bad, because it totally does, and I am the editor, and who fucking cares because the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Wooooooooooooooooo!!!
Shouts of celebration reign in the place of anything else.
From the depths of the Kraken, here is what we are bringing you this week.
- Rogue One is here for the world to see, so it is time for David to do another edition of The Anticipated. How did the first standalone Star Wars story hold up?
- Plus in a bonus catch-up edition of The Anticipated, David finally gets around to looking at Steven Spielberg’s The BFG.
- The Screening Room returns, as Kyu takes a look at Laika’s 2016 entry, Kubo and the Two Strings.
- On Saturday, Baturdays continues with the third story in Batman #6, “Secret of the Iron Jungle.” Obviously it is by no means too weird for Batman to do a story about a literal metal jungle, but in this case the title refers to the rootin’, tootin’ Texas oil fields.
Catch of the Week:
Each and every week the residents here in the Kraken will offer one recommendation for the week that we think you all would enjoy. It might be a movie. It might be a book. Who knows? This is your… Catch of the Week.
Special note: we’re exploring new ways that you can support the Kraken. If any of this week’s recommendations interest you, feel free to click on our Amazon affiliate links below. We get a small kickback on anything you buy at no extra cost to you, and that money goes toward sustaining and improving the site. Thanks!
Keskel: I recommend an old favorite of mine, Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?. It was an early light novel adaption, (animated by Studio Deen), but it is a very effective send-up of lots of horror and harem tropes, and is also wickedly funny.
Kyu: As a terribly unsporty person, I haven’t paid much attention to ESPN’s critically acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary series, but as a true crime fan I was really interested to see the 5-episode miniseries O.J.: Made in America. It did not disappoint in the slightest. Exceptionally well-edited, the doc interweaves a history of race relations in Los Angeles, a factual account of the crime and subsequent trial, and a nuanced character study of Simpson himself to create a very compelling and comprehensive narrative about race, celebrity, and the media. The series is definitely worth checking out, not least because it features a host of phenomenal interviews with people integral to the story.
David: This has been a fine year for music in movies, as I have noted before, so this week I would like to continue this trend with Sing Street, the latest film by Once director John Carney. This film came out earlier in the year, and while it may not have the star power or glitz and glamour of La La Land and Moana, it is still quite the crowd-pleaser. An ode to first love, and more importantly in this film’s case, the love between brothers, Sing Street brings great music and a touching coming-of-age story all at once. It is available on Netflix now so check it out!
That’s it for this week. If you hear the prancing of reindeer outside, run, Krampus has come.