While coronavirus threatens our lives and livelihoods, social distancing, isolation, and quarantine have become the new norm. Suddenly, our nation is filled with people asked to stay home and cut off most casual interactions with the world outside. In this environment, the art, hobbies, rituals, and entertainments we love have become ever more vital to our mental wellbeing. As a new, and (hopefully) limited new series on Lewton Bus, Isolation Nation aims to give our editors and contributors space to talk about the things that are giving them a little comfort in this isolated world, for your social distancing entertainment.
Adam Bumas – Avatar: The Last Airbender
Mavis McGee – ScottTheWoz
As long as YouTube has existed, there’s been content about video games, with video game personalities becoming some of the hottest names on the website. However, due to video game culture in general being a smorgasbord of yikes (like all internet subcultures), a lot of these hot YouTube gaming personalities are usually edgelords at best and flaming racists at worst. And as a result of that it takes a lot for me to love someone who does this kind of thing.Which is why ScottTheWoz feels like such a fucking revelation. Not only is he not an edgelord, he’s also quite possibly the funniest person alive. In the video linked here as an example of his content, I frequently had to pause due to crying from laughter. Someone in the comments calculated that over the course of a video that runs at twelve minutes and forty-two seconds, Scott fits in 138 total jokes, which is near Groucho Marx-levels of fitting a joke everywhere you can. It reminds me of when JonTron was at his peak in 2014, before everyone knew that he was a flaming xenophobe, and he was just a guy making funny 15-minute videos about video games. Except unlike JonTron’s infamously erratic release schedule, ScottTheWoz pretty much uploads weekly, and every video is consistent in terms of quality and comedy. I fucking love this man so much, and I hope he is able to continue making content for as long as he wants.
Shannon Hubbell – Beer
Ryan Roch – Shaun Of The Dead and Creed II
I’m the editor. I get a two-fer. You can’t tell me what to do.
This week has been simultaneously short and harrowingly long. I’ve been working harder than I probably should just to get to this point, and to be honest I haven’t watched or played anything until Thursday night, which is patently unhealthy. So it’s no surprise that my instinct was cinematic comfort-food. Shaun Of The Dead introduced Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost to American audiences in a big way. While the Teaboos and TV nerds were already aware of Wright’s tv show Spaced, most of the rest of us had no clue who any of these people were prior to 2004 (cripes, has it been that long?). This charming, hilarious love letter to George Romero changed all of that, and in the process, introduced a generation to a handful of brits who would help shape culture for the next 16 years.
While I’ll admit SOTD has become my de facto least favorite of the Cornetto Trilogy, that basically amounts to being third place on my favorite regular pizza joints. It’s still pretty much perfect in execution (some dated jokes/terms aside) as a reimagining of a Romero zombie epic as a romantic comedy. The cast are electric, and Pegg’s physical performance is an all-timer. Most importantly, Wright’s handling of tone, pacing, and texture makes it clear why he was instantly launched to the upper tiers of niche directors for American film fans. The sly ways he works lifted framing and homage into the scenes, while maintaining his own pure creative stamp is incredible. Especially given that this is only his second full feature.
As I laid out in my original review, Creed II is somehow the best version of a bad idea. Ostensibly taking the exact approach Stallone took after the perfect Rocky and turning the series into a superhero brawl, Creed II nevertheless takes an artful, human approach that ultimately pays off by keeping the story focus on the ways that we self-sabotage. I didn’t know I needed to revisit this until I was about 30 minutes in, at which point I found myself connecting more than I had on my previous viewing with Adonis Creed’s stumbling grace. Michael B. Jordan once again proves that he’s one of the most talented physical performers in the industry here, giving glowing life to Donny’s struggle with fear, ego, and insecurity. The Rocky movies, despite having a tendency to embrace ill-conceived approaches, probably represent the platonic ideal of cinematic catharsis through perseverance and determination, and Creed II is no different. It’s only on my second full rewatch that I’ve kind of come to understand that the second entry in the Creed story probably represents the best, most well-executed version of this tendency within the series, and Stephen Caple, Jr. deserves all the credit for maintaining the franchise’s inherent focus on humanity and family, while delivering some incredible moments of choreography.
That’s it for this week’s edition! We hope you enjoyed it and found some new direction to point that endlessly turning cranium of yours. We also hope you’ll check back as we publish new pieces in this regular column, and give some inspiration back to us in the comments!
Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay happy.