Bird Box. Bandersnatch. Relatable. Oh my!
With the holiday season at an end and the New Year shoved into our faces, it made sense to spend the last weekend of 2018 emerged in media streaming goodness.
While there are hundreds of binge-worthy, eyeball drying shows, movies, documentaries and specials to choose from, I chose the three most popular to watch. Hopefully, by now you have seen these and if not, I’ll try my best to not spoil them.
No promises though.
First up, Bird Box!
Based on the 2014 novel by Josh Malerman, Bird Box is a post-apocalyptic thriller that follows the story of a pessimistic pregnant woman named Malorie who is thrown into survival mode after discovering her city is under attack by massive suicidal and psychotic people.
In no time, (well, after a woman repeatedly slammed her face into a window, Malorie’s sister walked into a moving garbage truck and a woman literally chose to sit in a burning car), we learn that people are only effected by the phenomenon by looking at it and being outside.
Annnnnnnd here comes the setup of every post-apocalyptic movie ever created since the dawn of the genre:
You have a group of multi-racial people who literally fit every societal subset culture, confined to a shelter with limited food, weapons and in some cases, common sense. The group’s unwillingness to work as a unit eventually results in fatalities, betrayal, and the missing of Sandra Bullock in her hay days of Miss Congeniality.
Ultimately the many become the few and we cut to five years later. The children have grown and a Black man has survived. All seems well, despite the fact that they still have to wear blindfolds while outside and the only remaining people who have managed to not become effected by the suicidal phenomenal are people who are “crazier than cat shit”.
The remainder of the story is Malorie sailing down the river for three days with no food, water, GPS and two of the most well behaved children in the history of parenthood.
The ending was lackluster but the imagination journey was worth it. (Plus the hilarious memes you’ll now understand. My fav. is the one where Olympia explains what she wants her daughter to be named but Malroie still ends up calling her Girl and then names her Olympia. It’s probably funnier when you see it).
Though a huge part of me wants to dive into how this movie represents the effects of social media on an emotionally frail society and go over the occultist symbolism found in it…
The overall feel of the movie however does carry a very familiar plot undertone. Mist anyone?
If you’re familiar with the Goosebumps brand, you may recall the books that allowed you to choose your own ending. Well, that’s exactly the way Bandersnatch plays out!
Set in the amazing year of 1984 in England, Bandersnatch revolves around a socially awkward programmer, Stefan Butler who is determined to turn a choose-your-own-adventure styled novel into a revolutionary video game.
Que the irony and the beginning of small random choices, we the audience, can make for Stefan.
As the story progresses the choices become more intense (or weird depending on the mindset of the one holding the controller/remote). They ease you in with cereal and record choices then smack you in the face with the option to kick your therapist’s ass. Every decision leads to a different story path and then a different ending.
There are five known endings to this movie and I was determined to see them all.
So I did.
Let me be the first to tell you that there are NO positive outcomes to this movie.
For instance, if you decide to take your medication, you won’t go on a psychotic binge and accuse your Dad of being a mind controlling agent that results in you wanting to “Kill that muthafucka!” (an exact quote of my wife—but in her defense, when we restarted back to a selection point, there was an undertone of a woman on the television evoking the desire to “kill anyway”). Though you avoid the psychotic break, your game production will turn out to be lackluster and you’ll be forced to sit on the couch and watch an Austin Powers’ looking character berate your brain child.
So have your fun while in it!
But try and stay mindful about decisions made because after the third ending, warping back to a previous selection period starts to feel like you, yourself is entrapped in a continuous mind loop and it’s more about the outcome of the decisions than just enjoying the progression of the storyline.
Overall, it was one hell of an experience and I look forward to whatever the creative geniuses and hardcore conspiracy theorists at Black Mirror has in store for us next!
Last but not least, we watched famed lesbian, Ellen DeGeneres do standup in her WAY overdue special, Relatable.
And honestly, she “KILL’T that sh*t”.
From the mini-therapy session turned humorous about the hardships of her earlier years as an entertainer to the awesomeness of her marriage to her beautiful and thoughtful wife, Relatable is definitely worth watching.
Being gay while doing so is optional.