I recently watched The Menu with my mom and brother for my mom's birthday. Unlike with Everything Everywhere All at Once, this one came recommended by Susan and Haley, and I definitely agreed. It was a weird, sorta disturbing, but good movie.
It stars Nicholas Hoult and Anya Taylor-Joy as Tyler and Margot. Tyler is a self-professed "foodie" who attend an exclusive restaurant, Hawthorne. The restaurant, which is on an island, is owned and operated by celebrity chef Julian Slowik (played by Ralph Fiennes). Other guests include a food critic and her editor, a couple of wealthy regulars, a group of finance dudes, a past-his-prime movie star and his PA, and the chef's alcoholic mother.
The dinner involves a number of courses, with Slowik introducing each in between. For the fourth course, Slowik reveals the sinister reason why he brought everyone to the restaurant.
The movie has a ton of dark humor and great performances. Hoult and Taylor-Joy make great leads. They are a couple of my favorite performers in recent years. Hoult had his breakout as a child in About a Boy from 2002; Taylor-Joy is an up-and-comer who had her breakout in 2015's The Witch. I don't know that I've ever seen a bad performance from either of them. Tyler is an incredibly unlikable character, super pretentious and annoying. It's a testament to Hoult's talent that I couldn't stand him as an actor for the time he was on screen. Fiennes has been, of course, a long-time talent. He does a great job at portraying the proud and burnt out chef. Another performance I was incredibly impressed with was Hong Chau as Elsa. She provided some darkly funny comedy throughout.
Do we need a movie to tell us how privileged and out-of-touch the exorbitantly wealthy can be? No, probably not. But the film provides a funny and well-done satire of that world.
Be prepared going in to be disturbed by some of the plot points. Some of what happens is pretty shocking. But if you're a fan of black comedy, you'll probably also really love this movie!
Book pick from Lindsay
Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers - Jesse Sutanto
Vera Wong is the lonely owner of a tea house in San Francisco who finds some excitement when she finds a dead man in her tea house. Vera wants to get to the bottom of what happened to the man, but the police aren't so enthusiastic to have her assistance.
Vera and her antics had me laughing out loud throughout the novel. I highly recommend this mystery with a fun and likable cast of characters.
Book pick from Laura
A Heart That Works - Rob Delaney
A book I finished in two nights. Not much of a feat since it's less than 200 pages. But, it was engaging nonetheless. Rob Delaney discusses the loss of his 2-year-old son, Henry, with honesty and grace. And even some deeply dark humor. While I can't relate to the loss of a young child, I appreciated the humor and honesty in the book while still dealing with some grief of my own.
Game pick from Megan
Settlers of Catan
Settlers of Catan has been my favorite game for nearly two decades. It's a fun board game recommended for ages 10 and up that involves strategy, chance, building, and trading. Most people I've played with have quickly become hooked on this treasure of a board game, and it has quite the following. I hope you will check out Settlers of Catan and give it a try. Enjoy!
Movie pick from Alana
A Dog's Way Home
A Dog's Way Home details the 2.5 year journey of a dog named Bella in trying to make her way home after being taken away by a dog warden.
Book pick from Martha
Too Wrong to be Right - Melonie Johnson
After getting dumped, again, florist Kat Kowalski gives up on dating unless the guy fits her list of the perfect Mr. Right. Then she has to deliver flowers and meets Mick, over a corpse and a salty cockatoo, at his family's funeral home. There's also Mick's older brother, who may be stiff competition (the "dead" jokes are good) and his younger sister, the mortician. The cockatoo swears with an Irish accent, there's karaoke at Halloween, and matching ugly Christmas sweaters. This was a fun read!
Book pick from Corvid
The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future - Ryder Carroll
I've been bullet journaling for years using Carroll's methods, along with some fancy flair with inspiration found often on Pinterest, but I never read the book on "bujo" and there are more explanations for things I've been doing. I've gained a deeper understanding of Carroll's concepts, and I'm excited to start implementing some of these things into my journaling!
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Movie and Television Recommendations + New to the Library