Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments.

This John Oliver Segment

I’m neither a dog person nor a rabid Supreme Court junkie, but something about this John Oliver segment in which he mashed the two up really got to me. Oliver and his staff found a lookalike mutt for each member of the highest court in the land, from Scalia to Ginsburg. They then filmed stock footage to help make Supreme Court goings-on more palatable to a general audience. Not only is it totally adorable to watch the canine avatars for The Nine bang their little gavels, but it is a profound commentary on American attention spans and our limited ability to follow the most important news. Because even when it’s dry, the Supreme Court has serious repercussions for …wait, did someone say baby marmot? — Sarah Seltzer, Editor-at-Large

Little May, Little May

I only moved to New York six weeks ago, and it’s been nonstop since the minute I stepped off the plane to battle tourists in the cab line at JFK. With a few exceptions (Marika Hackman, for example), my personal soundtrack has reflected this—Lorde, Chaos Chaos, Jhene Aiko, and Jessie Ware have kept my heart pumping even as I’ve felt like I might collapse at any moment. So when I discovered Little May, I breathed a sigh of relief. Their melancholic, harmonized vocals and simple melodies have allowed me to slow down amid a city that keeps speeding past. It’s imperative, sometimes, to take a breath and reflect, and Little May’s self-titled EP is the perfect soundtrack for that. Listen to their track “Boardwalks” on your subway (or perhaps car) ride home and, I promise, you’ll feel so much better. — Angela Lashbrook, Editorial Apprentice

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The People’s Couch on Bravo

Please, bear with me when I say this: Bravo’s The People’s Couch is one of the most enjoyable hours you’ll ever spend watching television, and it will be spent watching people watch television. This is actually the second season of Bravo’s spin on the British show Gogglebox, which was a much less produced look at “real” people watching TV. The People’s Couch, on the other hand, is definitely produced — maybe even officially furnished by Ikea. It features a bunch of different groups of friends, siblings, and families, all snuggled up on couches or beds, all talking over whatever is happening on TV. Listen, there’s little to be said that can sell the show. I was dubious for the first few weeks until my boyfriend’s enthusiasm rubbed off on me, but it’s true: Watching people watch TV takes so little effort, and all of these people are fun and so surprisingly funny. Especially the old women in a retirement home and the LA queens, but, then again, who can compete with those two groups? — Shane Barnes, Editorial Apprentice

“I’m Writing a Novel” by Father John Misty

Father John Misty’s Fear Fun is a fantastic album, back to front, and I love it and have listened to it a million times. But “I’m Writing a Novel” is a particularly hilarious narrative about being really, really high and it’s got some witty lyrics that mention a “Canadian shaman” and “first house that I saw/I wrote ‘house’ up on the door/and told the people that lived there/ they have to get out/‘cuz my reality’s realer than yours.” Anyways, I’m glad Father John Misty writes these songs, because they’ve never been done before. — Elisabeth Donnelly, Nonfiction Editor

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Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, from the Criterion Collection

It’s sort of shocking that it took this long for Fellini’s 1960 classic to make its way into the Criterion Collection, but it has arrived, and it is glorious. The knockout transfer beautifully captures the stunning black-and-white photography and the catalog of iconic images, from the first (the helicopter-shuttled Christ statue) to the last. Fellini crafts a still-timely snapshot of starfucking culture and the paparazzi that chase it; it’s a film about the way long nights turn into unfortunate mornings, both literally (in specific scenes) and figuratively (in the picture’s increasing melancholy). Marcello Mastroianni remains dazzling as a sunglass-clad cool customer, but the brilliance of Fellini’s narrative is how it sees through him; this is a man who moves among these people, yet knows in his soul that he will never be one of them. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

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Learning Never to Ski from Force Majeure

Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure is one of the best films I’ve seen this year. But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about skiing. The film takes place solely at a ski resort. While the image above might not be (and it’s quite obvious from the trailer that it isn’t) the catastrophe it looks to be, the film abstracts and repeats several images that are specific to ski vacations to create an air of unbearable tension. As someone who has never been skiing, the film’s repetition of bombastic avalanche-control devices, angry snowplows, meathook-ish ski lifts, austere chalet architecture and blinding whiteness make the resort activity look utterly unpleasant. Then, of course, there’s the suggestion that seeking a pleasure as ridiculously simple as the rush of going down a hill could reveal a very ugly side of human nature. I’ll try ping-pong (on my phone) instead. — Moze Halperin, Associate Editor

The Joan Didion Documentary Kickstarter

We Tell Ourselves Stories In Order To Live is the name of a comprehensive anthology of Joan Didion’s nonfiction that permanently sits on my nightstand. So you can imagine my excitement this morning when a documentary of the same name was announced via Kickstarter campaign. Didion’s nephew, veteran director/producer/actor Griffin Dunne, has started making a documentary about the influential writer’s work and times tragic personal life, including archival footage and interviews with prominent Didion disciples. Undoubtedly Dunne will reach full funding ($80,000); in the span of just a few hours, We Tell Ourselves Stories In Order To Live has raised nearly $30,000. — Jillian Mapes, Music Editor