There’s a lot going on right now. Maybe you’re protesting, maybe you’re donating, maybe you’re trying to make sure federal agents are really leaving downtown Portland. Keep doing that!
Our lives are not one thing, though, and you’re also probably looking to escape, however briefly, into a show or a book or an album that might help you shut out the world or understand it a little better. To get the wheels turning, here’s the stuff filling our queues at Portland Monthly this week, from Indian matchmaking documentaries to Nicolas Cage covered in blood.
After months of social isolation, Indian Matchmaking, a new docuseries on Netflix, feels like such a balm—it’s a reminder that even in the Before Times, there were plenty of people who had the same yearning for connection. Many of them are burnt out on online dating, and so they turn to a more traditional source: a matchmaker. The matchmaker is Sima Taparia, or “Sima Auntie” from Mumbai, who jets back and forth between India and the United States helping her clients find a suitable match based on biodata, face reading, and astrology. Taparia’s list of clients includes Nadia, a bubbly, outgoing Indo-Guyanese party planner from New Jersey; Vyasar, a teddy bear of a high school teacher who enjoys painting Dungeons & Dragons figurines in his free time; and Aparna, a picky yet assertive lawyer who’s somehow repulsed by the idea of vacationing on the beach. But unlike other dating shows where I find myself hoping that this Dumpster fire of a so-called relationship will end (ahem, Love Is Blind), I find myself rooting for (most of) Sima’s clients to find their match. —Katherine Chew Hamilton, food editor
Mandy is one of those movies that seems to float around the cinema zeitgeist, recommended by stoners, horror buffs, Nicolas Cage stans, and your best witch-y friends. The first time I’d heard of this 2018 movie I was visiting some friends and family in Tempe, Arizona. My brother and friend had gone to see it, and when I asked them about it, they both just kind of looked at each other with cheeky smiles, threw their shoulders in the air, and said something to the effect of “It’s fucking wild, man.” Part revenge gore fest, part psychedelic art house, Mandy, directed by Panos Cosmatos, lives in its own category of horror. To say it’s like something else isn’t quite capturing the novelty and originality of its direction, style, and story. We follow Red Miller (Cage) and Mandy Bloom (Andrea Riseborough), in love, in the Shadow Mountains, when one day a cult, led by failed musician who believes God has told him to take all that he wishes, kidnaps Mandy—oh, and they kidnap her by summoning a demonic biker gang known as the Black Skulls. What follows is an odyssey of light and sound as Red (Cage goes full 11 here) seeks justice. It’s equal parts magical and morbid, beautiful and horrifying, strange and eternal. —Gabriel Granillo, digital editor
You’ve probably already seen this. That’s fine. It’s absolutely worth a rewatch. Written by Ali Wong, Randall Park, and Michael Golamco, Always Be My Maybe follows the story of Marcus (Park) and Sasha (Wong) who are childhood best friends in San Francisco who hook up and then don’t see each other for years as she goes off to become a world-famous chef. The chemistry is delightful, and the two deserve heaps of praise. But really, the film deserves an extra thumbs-up for what Portland Monthly editor in chief Marty Patail and I have colabeled the greatest movie cameo of all time. Just watch it, and if you’ve already seen it, watch it again for the tennis ball song. —Eden Dawn, style editor
In my other life, I'm a DM for a D&D group. This means I sometimes do silly voices for goblins and drow elves with a straight face. Anyway, recently our group embarked on a new campaign: Out of the Abyss, a hefty standalone volume and one of the official Wizard of the Coast 5e adventures. Warnings and disclaimers about this particular adventure abound in the D&D community: it’s too complex! It’s too difficult! Not for the faint of heart! But the concept is just irresistibly cool. The adventurers start as prisoners at the bottom of an underground drow cave structure—connected to a whole underground realm of cities. The goal is simply to escape the Underdark. Am I in over my head? Most likely. —Marty Patail, editor in chief