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.

shining girls

The Shining Girls, Lauren Beukes

I started South African novelist Lauren Beukes’ mystery/horror novel The Shining Girls with a little trepidation. I love mysteries, but Beukes’ serial killer is a time traveler who stalks his victims over the course of the 20th century until he’s ready to kill them. It’s a ludicrous premise. Yet The Shining Girls is a beautiful novel, and is startlingly progressive and feminist in a way many murder mysteries aren’t. Beukes provides access to the victims’ feelings, thoughts, and lives. They’re all “shining” — that is, they’re all extraordinary young women with bright futures that the embattled psychopath killer has to snuff out. I don’t want to get too deep into it here, but please, pick up a copy this book ASAP. I promise that it’s a fast — but enlightening — read. — Angela Lashbrook, Editorial Apprentice


DJ Earworm’s 2014 United States of Pop

Every year DJ Earworm expertly mashes up the biggest pop songs of the year, and every year I notice new trends in the past 12 months of Top 40 with just one listen. Billboard released his 2014 version today; somehow Earworm made “Shake It Off” tolerable to me. — Jillian Mapes, Music Editor


jeffersons

The Jeffersons: The Complete Series

We like to think that pop culture is forever moving forward, but there are countless major movies of the past that are all but unimaginable today, or television shows that could never get on the air. For example, there’s nothing remotely like The Jeffersons on our timid airwaves—few shows are even focused on people of color, and even fewer address the show’s themes of race and class with such candor and vigor. As a result, the show still packs a jolt of electricity; not incidentally, it remains very funny, its ‘70s Honeymooners vibe masterfully conveyed by Sherman Hemsley (one of the era’s finest physical comedians) and Isabel Sanford (whose slow burns are a thing of beauty). Shout Factory’s new, deee-luxe box set is yet another rescue of a show previously abandoned on DVD—only the first six seasons were available—and if the later years aren’t quite as sharp, it remains a first-rate sitcom. And with 253 episodes, you get 253 opportunities to enjoy its perfect theme song. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor


THEBABADOOK

The Babadook 

The best thing about The Babadook, the under-the-radar Australian horror film that our own Jason Bailey called “a waking nightmare,” is that it doesn’t try to tell you anything. It doesn’t linger in its own mythology, doesn’t answer any questions about the reality of the horror that befalls the mother/son duo at the heart (and this horror film has heart) of this film. It presents things, it scares you, it makes you feel for the victim and the victimizer. It’s a small film, and it won’t appeal to everybody, but it’s worth a look for anyone looking for a horror film that finds horror in something outside of gore. — Shane Barnes, Editorial Apprentice


paris texas

Paris, Texas on 35 mm at Lincoln Center

Wim Wenders’ epic American road trip masterpiece is one of my favorite films, and the sheer visual pleasure of seeing it on the screen at Lincoln Center was amazing. The colors — the blues and reds — were nearly alive. It was like a waking dream and I loved every minute of it. — Elisabeth Donnelly, Nonfiction Editor


0254b763dce746a2c6f058e666df8ee2

Getting On, Season 2

You’re still not watching this show. Why are you not watching this show? Goddamn it. With Laurie Metcalf (Rosanne) as a scatology-obsessed geriatric doctor currently innovating collagen treatments for the sphincter, Alex Borstein (Lois on Family Guy) as a self-loathing nurse obsessed with a man named Patsy, and Niecy Nash (Reno 911!) as the grounded nurse who, despite her occasional crassness, holds the geriatric care unit together with her empathy, this show boasts some of the funniest and rawest performances on television. And somehow, it manages to balance its deep sadness with just the right amount of fart and vaginal atrophy jokes. Please stop not watching it. — Moze Halperin, Associate Editor


 

Screen Shot 2014-12-03 at 3.38.15 PM

Pixel Pioneers

My childhood coincided with the earliest days of video games, and watching their evolution has been part of my adolescence and, now, (alleged) adulthood. So I was delighted to find that someone has made a series of videos exploring the evolution of graphics, from the days of Pong right through to the 3D extravaganzas we have today. It’s remarkable how far we’ve come in 30 years or so, and in a year when games have been associated with a whole lot of shitfulness, it’s nice to have a reminder that at their best, they can also bring joy into our lives and advances to our technology. You can watch them all here. — Tom Hawking, Deputy Editor