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. Scroll through for our picks below.
A Million Fragile Bones by Connie May Fowler
I am reading novelist Connie May Fowler (a former writing teacher)’s forthcoming memoir, A Million Fragile Bones. It’s a heartbreaking account of what happened when Fowler’s beloved home on of the vibrant Gulf of Mexico was assaulted by the results of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The double tragedy is that this home, and the incredible ecosystem of the Gulf that was marred by the spill, had been the author’s truest solace after a childhood and earlier life scarred by tragedy and abuse. To lose this sanctuary caused unimaginable pain. Fowler includes a scene with a dying baby dolphin and references to the plight of young sea turtles that surely will melt even the hardest heart (and made me weep on the subway) yes — but the book is also a courageous act of bearing witness to something that both the corporation and the Obama administration wanted covered up.
And there’s so much of Fowler’s story that seems to foreshadow our predicament today. Particularly relatable is her obsession with watching the oil spill unfold online, even as it dispirits her — she documents her inability to turn away from the horror on her computer screen (and outside her door), something many of us may be experiencing even as I type this. And most relevant of all is her insistence on speaking the ugly truth even in the face of relentless, Orwellian spin and denial from BP. This memoir reminds us that the forces we’re combating at this moment have been at work for a long time, and so are the better forces that push us to speak our small truths in the face of great injustice. — Sarah Seltzer, Deputy Editor
Star Trek Cats
With all the craziness happening in the world right now, I am comforted by small things — like Jenny Parks’ illustrated Star Trek Cats book (publishing on February 28). — Alison Nastasi, Weekend Editor
Hooperman on DVD
When this John Ritter-fronted cop show premiered on ABC in the fall of 1987, it was one of three new shows (along with Frank’s Place and The “Slap” Maxwell Story), following the previous spring’s The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, to try something totally new for television comedy: they were shot on film and without a laugh-track, like hour-long TV dramas, and explored serious themes and character beats along with their laughs. These days, that radical approach has become the norm for television comedy, but none of those groundbreakers lasted more than a season, and none have made their way to home video in any significant form – until now. A couple of weeks back, Olive Films released both seasons of Hooperman on DVD, and it’s as good as I remembered: funny, intelligently written, richly populated, and adhering to both its cop-show and character-comedy roots without sacrificing either. Some of it hasn’t aged so well (the main offender: Mike Post’s smooth-jazz scoring), but that minor complaint aside, it’s a good watch – and features some of the best acting Ritter ever did (particularly in the pilot episode, in which he plays his character’s grief over a key plot point with vulnerability and honesty). — Jason Bailey, Film Editor
This American Life #609
If you’ve been poring over news reports since the Republican administration announced its travel ban last week, Sunday’s episode of This American Life is well worth your time. In four acts spanning an hour, the episode — called “It’s Working Out Very Nicely” — tells stories of specific people affected by the ban and its impact on some of the people tasked with carrying it out. (The acts have deliciously This American Life-y titles, too, low-hanging fruit for those who love to mock NPR: “Act Two: Heavy Vetting; “Act Three: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sharia?”) If you’re wondering how this hastily signed piece of paper has affected real people across the country and the world, give it a listen. — Lara Zarum, TV Editor
A Day in Beguil[ing] Trailers
Today, trailers were released for Trey Edward Shults’ Krisha horror movie follow-up It Comes At Night, Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled (above), and Sundance hit Beach Rats. These are all films to have on your radars — with Night coming August 25, Rats arriving sometime this Fall, and Beguiled out June 23. Eliza Hittman’s Beach Rats is a coming of age/sexual identity story about a Brooklyn teenager, which Variety deemed an “anxious, tactile, profoundly sad study of a young man’s journey of sexual self-discovery and self-betrayal.” It Comes at Night is about two families’ lives (seemingly violently) colliding in a struggle to shut themselves off from a world where some force is wreaking havoc on society. The Civil War-era The Beguiled, based on the Thomas Cullinan novel of the same name, has a similarly dark scenario about a stranger newly introduced into an odd domestic unit, seeing Colin Farrell as a wounded Union Soldier in a Confederate girls’ boarding school, and conning his way into uncomfortable psychosexual relationships with many of the residents. (As a moment of escape from the darkness of these three trailers, The Beguiled offers a delicious dash of camp; the trailer closes with Farrell hilariously screaming “You vengeful bitches!” toward the household of his female caretakers/captors (?), played by Nicole Kidman, Kristen Dunst, Elle Fanning, etc.) — Moze Halperin, Senior Editor