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.


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)
I liked this better than Black Helicopters, but I still think Agents of Dreamland is the best of the trilogy.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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 can’t resist Hrithik Roshan’s smoldering looks.
Funny, trippy, wildly creative, and over-the-top in every way possible, but also surprisingly emotional at times. (Read my review)
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.
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.
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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.
Excellent Lovecraft-inspired fiction. Reads like the trippiest X-Files episode never made.
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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.