Forcing your friends to watch a thriller from 2003 that nobody remembers
The Mitchells vs. The Machines, Yasuke, The Circle
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If you’re reading this right now, consider this a sign to take a deep breath and close those tabs. As one Twitter user (whose name I now can’t remember) once said, if you really need them, they’ll come back to find you. That NYT thinkpiece will find you again. That Aesop room spray will find you again. That Bill Gates divorce meme will probably not find you again but it’s okay because it’ll probably be irrelevant by the time you next look for it.
As for me, following my own advice? I’ll close my tabs right after…this. Here’s what I have open this week — let’s dig in.
6 The Mitchells vs. The Machines tabs
There are so many things that The Mitchells vs. The Machines just inherently gets: the specific joy of old Internet memes, chaotic family road trips that are 90% bickering, and what it’s like to be a cinephile and force your family to watch movies that they absolutely do not want to watch (this one strikes too close to home, do not ask me about the worst cinema experience I have put my long-suffering mother through because the answer is unfortunately something by Gaspar Noé).
Case in point: Katie Mitchell, amateur filmmaker extraordinaire and daughter of the family, is the true cinephile representation we need. Here she is as Bong Joon-Ho, who famously gets up at 5AM every morning to watch a movie:
And here is a picture of me:
This handy Vulture article on all the pop culture Easter eggs in The Mitchells vs. The Machines — referencing everything from The Terminator to Portrait of a Lady on Fire through Katie’s bedroom posters, hand-drawn animations, and tiny clothing details — lead to me gasping every 5 seconds, which is about twice the rate I normally gasp.
Of course, everyone loves Katie’s dad too, who joins a long lineage of disgruntled animated fathers peering disconcertedly at their computer screens:
(Obviously every character here looks depressed because they, too, have 100 tabs open. If only they could close….all……tabs…….)
Finally, this Slate interview with director Mike Rianda is absolutely insane. The Mitchells vs. The Machines is based in reality — with elements drawn from Rianda’s own oddball family — but importantly, so are its killer Furbies. “I had one,” says Rianda, “and I got sick of it…so I put it in the closet, and it would literally talk in the closet at night, waking me up and terrifying me. This movie is a therapy session where I’m working through those feelings.” Waking up in the middle of the night to hear your Furby plotting to murder you is the exact kind of bonkers energy this movie emanates.
And yes — a self-plug — for more Furby chat, you can listen to our podcast episode on The Mitchells vs. The Machines, hosted by evil toy overlords Alexei Toliopoulos and Gen Fricker.
3 Yasuke tabs
Hot king LaKeith Stanfield voices the title character in this groundbreaking anime based on the true story of a Black samurai. Thirst aside, Yasuke also features a score by none other than Flying Lotus — it’s not his first rodeo working with anime landscapes, having worked with Cowboy Bebop creator Shinichirō Watanabe before, but the collaboration here is extensive and fully interwoven with the complexities of Yasuke’s lead.
It’s also just…full of bangers.
Please also enjoy this lo-fi hip-hop edit. (Friendship ended with Lofi Girl now Yasuke is my best friend etc. etc.)
Over at Mic, Terrence Sage writes on Yasuke’s place in the long history of anime and Black culture, from early hits like Astro Boy through to the emergence of Black-owned anime studios operating in Japan. “We…infused our own cultural foundations into our enjoyment of these shows,” Sage says. “Across anime, Black fans latch onto characters that, while not Black specifically, may appear ‘Black-coded’ in our consciousness.” Read the piece here.
1 Circle tab
The Circle’s season 2 finale may have premiered on Wednesday, but I will forever be thinking of this incredibly spot-on recreation of what it’s like to talk to the all-knowing Circle on your TV screen.
Okay, 1 more tab
This Letterboxd list. Need I say more? Shrek 2 is streaming now.