There’s a lot going on right now. Maybe you’re protesting, maybe you’re donating, maybe you’re keeping tabs on the way your representatives are responding to the present moment. 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 the new Dune trailer to whatever Rick Moranis is selling.
As someone who just started getting into gaming during quarantine, I want my games to be a source of escape, not another source of stress. A Short Hike on Nintendo Switch, thankfully, has been the former rather than the latter. In what feels like a low-key combination of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Animal Crossing, you play as a charmingly pixelated bird whose mission is to make it to the top of a mountain to get enough reception to make a phone call, all while meeting other hikers, fishers, and marathon runners. The dialogue is witty, and the soundtrack is so good that I’ve even considered leaving my Switch on just so I can listen to the music when I’m not playing.
It’s not the same as actually hiking outside, but with the way the air quality is looking this week, this might be the closest you can get for now. —Katherine Chew Hamilton, food editor
The MF Dune Trailer
If there’s one movie trailer trope I’m getting pretty sick and tired of it’s turning well-known (mostly classic rock or classical) tunes into creepy/overly dramatic modern renditions. In the case of the first trailer for the highly anticipated Dune, directed by Denis Villeneuve, we hear Pink Floyd’s “Eclipse” as Timothée Chalamet (Paul Atriedes) broods (handsomely) about his space daddy and those space baddies for like three whole minutes, and as we are introduced to the beautiful desert landscape of Arrakis (which was partly inspired by the Oregon Dunes, at least its depiction in Frank Herbert’s iconic sci-fi novel of the same name). Thank god the music shuts up when the worm shows up.
When Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049, Prisoners, Sicario) was announced to be directing this new version of Dune (let’s ignore David Lynch’s version—hell, even he tried to ignore it), I practically ripped my roommate’s copy of the book from her fingers and speed-ran through Book 1 like it was the first level of Super Mario Bros. The trailer promises to be everything the novel is and more, with a sequel and a TV series reportedly in the works. Hopefully by December, going to the movies won’t feel so strange. —Gabriel Granillo, digital editor
Last weekend I was able to catch up on a few films in my bloated watchlist. There were a couple standouts: The Handmaiden and Portrait of a Lady on Fire. But the one that floored me, ripped my heart out, left me totally speechless? Shoplifters (now available on Hulu).
I knew next to nothing about this Hirokazu Kore-eda film going in—it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2018, I learned only later. But by the end credits, I had decided it was among the best, if not the best, movie I’ve seen all year. Kore-eda’s beautifully shot story follows a poor family on the outskirts of Tokyo, working low-paying jobs to scrape by in a tiny room of a home. Their destiny takes a turn when they take in a small girl and unofficially adopt her. (Is there such a thing as a merciful kidnapping? You’ll have to decide.) I don’t want to give away what happens, but it is equally heartwarming and gut-wrenching to watch it unfold. A meditation on the meaning and composition of family, how we choose who we love, and how we don’t. 10/10. —Marty Patail, editor in chief
Call it escapism (because it is), but with All the Terrible Things, I have been taking refuge in books, and remembered the joy in a tale well crafted. And American Spy, an astute social commentary wrapped inside a tight, taught thriller, is just that: a smart, layered spy story with a protagonist navigating Cold War espionage as a Black woman fighting for respect in a world that refuses to see her worth.
This debut novel from Lauren Wilkinson is a riveting, clip-paced read that takes us from Connecticut to Queens to Martinique to Burkina Faso, following the fierce and gifted Marie on a murderous mission and through the repercussions that chase her through years and geographies. In the end, this book proves less of an escape from society’s ills, and more a reminder of all that is required of those who live in them. —Fiona McCann, senior editor-at-large
Rick Moranis’s TV Commercial
Rick Moranis is allowing himself to be open to the world and letting us know he’s all right, and someone is giving him money. Friends, this is good. I don’t care that it’s a commercial for something. I don’t even know what it’s for. I don’t care that fellow Canadian Ryan Reynolds, of local gin and funny commercial fame, is involved. (I mean, respect to the Van Wilder and Proposal star who’s half of one of Hollywood’s most attractive yet scarily blond couples, but that’s not important right now.) I only care that Rick Moranis—Bob McKenzie in Strange Brew, Dark Helmet in Spaceballs, Seymour Krelborn in Little Shop of Horrors, Ellen Aim’s sleazy but still supportive manager in Streets of Fire, Megan Follows’s compromising but ultimately moral coach in Hockey Night, the utterly square Keymaster in Ghostbusters, the utterly square FBI agent in My Blue Heaven, the übernerd dad in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, the übernerd dad in Parenthood, the real-life dad who walked away from acting to be there for his own children after his wife died from cancer—has popped in to say hello.
Rick Moranis appearing in a random commerical, however silly it may seem, feels like a damn good omen for the rest of the year. I don't make the rules. https://t.co/9M6XcUrIYQ— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) September 9, 2020
He has those familiar glasses and ill-fitting clothes. He’s slightly balding but otherwise unchanged. Why is he my favorite uncle, my awkward son, and the father of my children all rolled into one? I have no idea. But he’s OK. I’m OK. We’re OK. This has brought me comfort and joy, and I know I’m not the only one. —Margaret Seiler, managing editor