Check These Out (January 8-14 finds)

This wound up being a long one (apparently I have a lot to say about some of these), so I’ll summarize it in a list here and you can scroll down to my comments on any that interest you.

1. The OA (Netflix show, 5/5)
2. Rogue One (Movie, 3/5)
3. Pandemic: Iberia (Board Game, 5/5)
4. Mysterium (Board Game, 5/5)
5. Also some cool non-fiction articles linked at the bottom, hard to rank but interesting if you’re into that sort of thing. Spiritual practices and vikings (not the same article).

The OA
Definitely the star of last week for me. I can’t even remember where I heard about it – either it was in the previews/ads for Rogue One or someone I know was talking about it. Either way, when it popped up in my Netflix recommendations, I remembered it as something I wanted to watch and pushed play.

As of right now I’ve only seen the first episode. I want to keep watching when I have time and mental space to really watch, not just play it in the background while I work or fall asleep to it. It’s lovely and I don’t want to miss any of it.

It’s about a woman who’s trying to get back some place since she was returned to her parents under the assumption she was abducted. To do this, she needs help from other people and she needs them to trust her…or to pretend they trust her until they actually do. (I love that line.) The whole thing has this wonderfully ethereal feel, a fairy tale for grown-ups, and I am so on board for it. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Rogue One
Spoiler warning.

It’s…a thing. 😀 A Star Wars thing, kind of. Without lightsabers and focused more on war and the effects of tyranny than a heroic journey of good vs evil. There are no Jedi here and minimal Sith appearances. Also no heroes, just people who don’t see any other option.

I liked it while I was watching it, but the more I think about it the more problems I find and the harder it is to remember what I liked about it. Other than K-2SO and Chirrut and Baze. It felt a lot like there were more stories trying to be told here than they really had room for, so I was glad to hear a few days ago that Chirrut and Baze will be featured in an upcoming book.

This may have been the most diverse cast to appear in a Star Wars movie so far. That’s a good step. But they sort of undercut it by having a white girl show up and start demanding the rebels (made up of quite a few people of color) do things her way…and having them do it. And not just a white girl, because sure you could argue we don’t know if that’s a Thing in this universe. But a white girl who has no interest in the rebellion (“You can stand to see the Imperial flag fly?” “It’s not a problem if you don’t look up.”) and only suddenly jumps on board at the last minute, not even because she realizes how bad the Empire is for others and that it needs to be stopped, but because it was important to her dad. Ugh.

Not to mention the Rebel leader-folks do decide to follow up on her information anyway, just a little behind. So if she’d been content to wait and not insist that suddenly being an ally means she gets to dictate the direction and speed of their action, they could have maybe gone in with more force and a better plan and just in general everything could have been much smoother. And maybe there could have been some understanding of the fact that the rebellion has perfectly good reasons not to trust her or her dad or the guy who raised her, and “hey no, maybe we’re not going to follow the directions of a guy who was literally working for our enemies building a massive weapon to kill us all just because his daughter says he was secretly good all along and made it maybe not as terrible as he could have” is a very extremely reasonable position.

…I have feelings.

But it was fun viewing. And yay diversity or something, because at least it’s a step forward. And also there’s a probably gay couple but the movie’s never explicit about it but still that’s nice. And snarky robots.

Probably worth seeing to draw your own conclusions, is what I’m saying.

Board Games
I went to a game night last night and tried two new cooperative games, Pandemic: Iberia and Mysterium. Pandemic: Iberia was a Christmas present to myself but this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to play it. And it was fantastic! Definitely did not disappoint, and quickly became my favorite variant of the game. The addition of train tracks and the smaller board makes it feel a lot faster (though I didn’t actually time it) and the rules seemed simpler to me, though I’m sure the fact that I’m already familiar with the base game and expansions helped.

Mysterium was brought by someone else and it sounded soooooo complicated when we were setting it up and she was reading the rules. But once we actually started playing we had a lot of fun with it. I’m actually sort of surprised I like it. It’s a little like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity (two games I absolutely hate, though to very different degrees) in that the other players have to guess at your associations and choices…except only one person is choosing the cards so all the attention is on them! And I even volunteered to be that person! In a group that included total strangers! But I think maybe because it was visual and inherently much more open and detail-oriented I wasn’t as shy about it. Definitely one I’ll want to pick up at some point.

Cool Links
Hey, want to learn some stuff about Vikings? I just saw this yesterday and haven’t read all the way through it yet but it sure looks interesting. I love Vikings.

The Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast I mentioned last week uses Lectio Divina with the books. Or at least, a thing they call Lectio Divina but I kept thinking “this does not sound at all like what I remember that being.” So I looked it up and found the version I’m familiar with, but also this super cool visualization-based version from St. Clare. I look forward to using it (or my own special twist on it) with future devotionals. Looks like a good option for comics or film, with its focus on images and imagination.

Thoughts on any of that? Cool things to share from your own recent reading/watching/listening? Let me know in the comments.

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