Twenty-first century human beings consume a lot of media. This is a fact. You’re doing it right now, actually. But here’s another fact: we often consume a lot of the same media. Moana. Game of Thrones. That new Taylor Swift song about revenge and her inability to control her actions. For the most part, we are all kind of swimming in the same cultural water.
But do you ever wish that you could watch or read or listen to something you’ve never heard of before? Wouldn’t it be nice to experience something new? Well, faithful reader, wish no longer. Here’s a movie, a book, and an album that you’ve probably never heard of, but will definitely like.
1. The Before… Trilogy
Okay, I guess this isn’t really one movie so much as a trilogy, but hear me out. The Before... trilogy, directed by Richard Linklater (of Boyhood and Dazed and Confused fame), follows the eighteen-year relationship of two individuals, Jesse and Celeste, played impeccably Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. There is so much to adore about these movies. The first one, Before Sunrise, takes place over one single night in Vienna, when the two meet on a train and Jesse impulsively convinces Celeste to wander the city with him before his morning flight. That movie is genius all by itself, but get this: the next one, Before Sunset, was filmed nine years later, and the characters are actually nine years older. The final one, Before Midnight, was filmed and set nine years after that. So you actually get to watch this couple grow old together! This trilogy is an exquisite exploration of love over time and human connection, and lucky for you, ⅔ of it is available with Amazon Prime. I’m excited for you.
2. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
We all know the tropes of hardboiled detective novels—men in fedoras, dames with secrets, cigarette smoke and rain and Venetian blinds. But who among us has actually read one? Well, I have, and let me tell you—they’re awesome. Take The Big Sleep: it tells the story of private investigator Philip Marlowe who does a bit of simple snooping for a wealthy Los Angeles family, and finds himself wrapped up in something far bigger than himself. The mystery is top-notch and pulls you in, but you stay for Chandler’s writing. Here’s a sample: “She lowered her lashes until they almost cuddled her cheeks and slowly raised them again, like a theatre curtain. I was to get to know that trick. That was supposed to make me roll over on my back with all four paws in the air.” How fun is that? If you want a well-written, moody, consistently engaging crime novel, then I implore you to get with the program and read this book.
2. Joy of Nothing by Foy Vance
I feel for Foy Vance, I really do; it’s possible that his career will forever be overshadowed by his name’s similarity to Vance Joy. Yes, those are different people, and believe it or not, Foy Vance is better! If you like folky singer-songwriters from Ireland with some thought-provoking lyrics and a soulful voice, this is the Vance for you, friend. This album in particular, Joy of Nothing, does something that few albums do nowadays, tapping into an array of complex emotions: melancholy, wistfulness, euphoria, etc. And you believe Foy Vance when he’s singing. You hear his passion in every note. This album gives you a good sense of what he is about and what he can do, and you should listen to it from start to finish. But if you need somewhere to start, listen to “Guiding Light.” It features Ed Sheeran and it’s just beautiful. What are you waiting for? Get on Spotify or Youtube and look Foy Vance up!
That’s what I have this time, folks. What about you? What things should I know about? Comment below!