March was a busy month for discovering new things. For the first time ever, I watched all nine Best Picture Nominees. Eventual winner The Shape of Water was not my favorite film, but I enjoyed watching a diverse group of movies. Taking in so many movies in a short period of time allowed me to appreciate different styles of acting and film making. Other highlights of March include a fantastic debut record from Philly’s own Queen of Jeans and two great podcasts: Friendly Fire and American History Tellers.
The Oscars: The Academy and I did not see eye-to-eye on the Best Picture winner, but I was glad to see that certain artists took home some well-deserved awards. I have never rooted so hard for artist to win an Oscar as I did for Jordan Peele. After watching him create so much brilliant comedy on Key & Peele, it was a thrill to see him to win for Best Original Screenplay. Get Out was such a remarkable concept and it was great to originality be rewarded.
The Death Of Stalin – Armando Iannucci has done it again. The creator of Veep, In The Loop, and The Thick Of It has gone back to the Cold War to make another on-point comedy about politics. Iannucci’s satire on the death of the Soviet leader skewered bureaucracy, power, and the deadly nature of Stalin’s rule. The funny movie employed gallows humor and an all-star cast that includes Michel Palin, Jason Isaacs, and Steve Buscemi.
Hard Sun: The Hulu-BBC initially seemed like it would a fun binge watch. Hard Sun focused on two London detectives who stumble upon the British government’s cover up of the apocalypse. With twists and turns in every scene, Hard Sun attempted to be a gripping drama. Instead, the six-episode series stuffed so much drama into a science-fiction detective show that it became boring. Created and written by Luther’s Neil Cross, Hard Sun is the most disappointing thing that I have watched so far in 2018
The Goldbergs: The ABC sitcom The Goldbergs is a personal favorite. Not only is it really funny, but the series recreates so many unique aspects of the Philadelphia area. I selected the five best Philadelphia moments on the Goldbergs, plus one that was a little implausible.
American History Tellers – The American History Tellers podcast debuted with a fantastic series on the Cold War earlier this year. The show followed up with an equally great series on Prohibition. The podcast did more than just cover the period from 1920 to 1933 where the sale of alcohol was banned in the United States. It examined some factors, like xenophobia and the popularity of the saloon, that contributed to the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment. American History Tellers also followed the aftermath of Prohibition as well. One mind-blowing fact: Mississippians did not end Prohibition in their own state until 1966.
Friendly Fire – War. What is it good for? According to the Friendly Fire podcast: war movies. The podcast dissects war films in a fun and informative matter. So far Maximum Fun’s Friendly Fire has examined classic films like Run Silent Run Deep and Zulu. Modern movies such as Saving Private Ryan and 7 Days Of Entebbe have also been reviewed by the podcast. In Friendly Fire’s discussion of each war movie, they keep in mind the context of the time in which the film was originally released. This is especially interesting when weighing movies like Run Silent Run Deep against Braveheart. Even though one film came out in 1958 and another was released in 1995, one movie can hold a higher level of relevancy and interest over a more contemporary film. This podcast is a must-listen for military history nerds.
Queen of Jeans – I have loved Queen of Jeans since their self-titled EP came out in 2016. The Philadelphia four-piece group released their first full-length album, Dig Yourself, on March 30. Dig Yourself is a catchy follow-up to that EP. The LP is full of quick songs with a great indie pop sound. The band’s dreamy style of vocals is infectious from the start. There is also a great slick surf rock guitar sound that pops up throughout the record. I can’t describe their style better than Queen of Jeans did on their own bandcamp page. They are truly “like a 2016 revival of a 90s throwback to the 60s.” Favorite Song: “Clever Hands”
Funny Video For The Queen of Jeans Song “More To Love”
Superorganism – Even though Superorganism’s self-titled debut came out at the beginning of the month, I have not had the chance to listen to the full record yet. I know it is the cash register sound, but their single “Everybody Wants To Be Famous” reminds me so much of M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” just without the gunshots.
Superorganism’s “Everybody Wants To Be Famous”
www.flatcircleblog.com is a Philadelphia pop-culture blog that covers television, music, podcasts, and movies. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, or subscribe by e-mail to catch all posts and conversations.