My Cultural Diet for April 2022

A quick rundown of last month’s cultural experiences.
Severance - Apple TV
Apple TV’s Severance was a mind-bending, mysterious trip. Bring on season two.

In order to better track my various cultural experiences (e.g., movies, TV shows, books, restaurants), I’ve created the Cultural Diet. Think of it as my own personal Goodreads, Letterboxd, and Yelp, all rolled into one (more info here). Every month, I recap everything that I watched, read, etc., in the previous month.

  • 3 out of 5 stars


    Aviation-themed anime from the early ’00s. Cool aerial sequences but a muddled plot about artificial intelligence, alien invasions, and PTSD (among other things). (Read my review)
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars

    Metal Lords

    It’s heart is in the right place, and I chuckled when I saw myself in the protagonists’ zeal for their favorite music, but a bit underwhelming overall. That said, I can see this becoming a cult classic in 10 – 15 years.
  • Abbott Elementary, Season One
    3.5 out of 5 stars

    Abbott Elementary, Season One

    Does a good job of filling that Parks and Recreation-shaped hole in my life. While not every joke hits (the “power clashing” line kills me, though), I enjoy the characters and premise, and am looking forward to another season.
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars

    Severance, Season One

    We loved this delightfully bizarre series on Apple TV+. Filled with surreal humor, mysteries, and pointed jabs at American pop culture, and blessed with immaculate production design. Can’t wait for season two.
  • 2.5 out of 5 stars

    The Batman

    This movie didn’t need to be three hours long. Normally I’m all for slow pacing and atmosphere, but this should’ve been a lean, mean action film. That being said, I really liked Robert Pattinson’s super-emo Batman.
  • War
    4 out of 5 stars


    Completely bonkers Bollywood action film that makes the Mission: Impossible movies look like made-for-TV movies. Come for the crazy stunts and increasingly improbable twists, stay because you find it impossible to resist Hrithik Roshan’s smoldering looks.
  • I enjoy this kind of spy thriller, which emphasizes mood and atmosphere over action. But it wasn’t very thrilling, not even when the final twists began revealing themselves.
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars

    Den-noh Coil

    I saw this once described as “The Matrix, if made by Studio Ghibli,” which isn’t too far-fetched. Filled with interesting ideas and concepts but gets pretty convoluted near the end. Wouldn’t mind watching it again to try and make better sense of it.
  • 2.5 out of 5 stars

    Black Helicopters by Caitlín R Kiernan

    I didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as Agents of Dreamland. Lots of interesting ideas and striking prose, but the disjointed and meandering narrative made it a slog.
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars

    Inside UFO 54-40 by Edward Packard (Choose Your Own Adventure, #12)

    Packard has more fun toying with the CYOA format, though this isn’t as trippy as Hyperspace.

For more, check out the full cultural diet.

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