I am back, and ready to recommend some pretentious indie stuff to you. It's February 1st, and I'm already tired of it being February. Let's get into it!
I love Ugly Delicious. As an Italian American, food has always meant a great deal to me. Food is love. Food is culture, a part of a culture anybody can experience and enjoy. David Chang's Netflix documentary goes deep into the origins and culture of food. And he does every aspect of the culture he can possibly find its due justice, giving you a full view of just how important food is.
And, might I add, as an Italian American, the pizza episode, the series premiere, struck quite a chord with me. There has long been a debate in the Italian culinary community as to whether or not our food should, in fact, be innovated upon, or if the heritage that slips with every passing American generation of our people needs to be held onto.
Personally, when it comes to Italian food, I am a staunch traditionalist, pretty much the only aspect of my life in which I'd identify as such. If anyone, and I mean anyone, tried to suggest a change to my mother's dishes, I'd slap them out of their shoes. That's hyperbole, but I have kicked people out of my kitchen before, and I'll do it again.
But Chang pushed the boundaries of what I was comfortable with in this episode. Because, frankly, he made a very strong case for change, and it made me uncomfortable, but I like that it made me uncomfortable.
This series will open your eyes to just how much food means to those who identify with certain cultures, the history of these foods, the corporatization of these foods, and truly give you a deeper appreciation and understanding of the things you shove down your gullet every day. I highly recommend the taco episode, the pizza episode, and the Chinese food episode.
Ip Man, 2008
More artistic respect needs to be put on martial arts movies, especially those of the quality that Ip Man brings to the table. This movie tells the story of Ip Man, a Chinese martial arts grandmaster, whose most famous student was superstar and martial arts master Bruce Lee.
There are five sequels after the resounding success of this film, which grossed $21 million worldwide despite not being released to Western audiences, with a trailer for Ip Man: Kung Fu Master being released in 2020.
This movie centers around Ip Man's life while he worked in the city of Foshan during the second Sino-Japanese War.In short, it is the story of a man desperately trying to preserve his culture by fighting for what he believes in amid the horrors and brutalities of Japanese occupation. In a world trying to leave no place for him, he makes his own, time and time again.
This film was beautifully directed, the martial arts choreography can rival Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (which I do not say lightly), and Donnie Yen's portrayal of Ip Man is second to none. As I said, this genre and this film culture in general deserves more respect. There are more foreign films out there than a depressed dude smoking a cigarette in Paris.
Video Game: Olija
Olija is an indie 8-bit platformer about a man named Lord Faraday, a man ruling a kingdom struggling to make ends meet. Desperate, he leaves his home for greener shores, only to be shipwrecked, his crew scattered across a strange country. With the help of an old man with a boat and a crazy harpoon, Faraday must make his way back to his people.
This video game was just released on all major platforms on January 28th. While this game isn't high budget or breathtaking visually, reverting to the 8-bit style leaves you satisfied with the graphics. The gameplay is fluid and diverse, with weapons and upgrades to choose from, and unlike other indie story games, there are side projects, however small, for you to accomplish, a luxury in games such as this.
But I'll be honest, you're here for the story. It's as straightforward as it is mysterious. It's the kind of story that deserves a multimillion dollar budget with a major release. I wish I physically could pour 60 hours into this game, because I'd enjoy every minute of it. Unfortunately, Olija is gonna wrap up in around four, depending on how proactive you are.
This is a cheap, fun, weekend pickup for anyone who wants to experience a great story without too much time investment.
Elephant Eyes, Omen
This album used to be on Spotify, why it isn't, I honestly don't know. Ok, just googled it, it was taken down for copyright issues. That sucks. Signed to J. Cole's Dreamville label in 2015, with resulted in the subsequent release of this album, Omen entered the rap game late. Like, late late. He was 31 when he released this album, and it's still his only major release to date. Which is sad, because this album is amazing. It almost hits the ear as spoken word or poetry at times. This isn't a party album, it's more of a sit in bed with your eyes closed and enjoy type thing. It's melodic, poetic, and beautiful, and I'm mad we never got to see Omen do better.
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