A week after being trapped in the mountains by snow and Leah and I are finally caught up (can you tell—not a lot of blog posts last week, right?). So more things about writing and books and food to come, but what did we do when stuck in a cabin?
Well, we slept a lot. And we ate a lot. And we actually did something we haven’t done much of lately—we watched TV. One big time occupier was the Black Mirror’s “Bandersnatch.” We’ve probably missed the boat by writing about it late, but if you don’t know, “Bandersnatch” is the choose-your-own-adventure episode. So, what’s it like? Leah and I had a good time. The story’s about a young man in the 80’s whose trying to make a video game. He’s had some tragedy in his past, his relationship with his dad isn’t great, and the stress of making his big gaming foray is stressful. Except this is Black Mirror, so all of those elements are much, much darker.
The basic runtime—or play time—is perhaps 45 minutes. You start off making easy choices for the protagonist, such as what cereal he should eat. But by halfway through you’re making literal life and death decisions. We were with another couple, and though no one argued, there was a lot of yelling at the television screen. Also, a lot of the choices made us feel… dirty—though the episode is probably only PG-13, it’s intense—and what some of the plotlines do in terms of creating a meta-narrative are fun. We went back enough times making new choices to fill about an hour and a half of time, and though the concept is a gimmick, it wasn’t a waste.
Also, we watched Annihilation. This was the Natalie Portman movie that came out last year, based on the Jeff VanderMeer novel. It’s about a type of biological threat to human kind. Kind of. The film has almost an entire female cast, it got stellar ratings on websites like Rotten Tomatoes, and for whatever reason, it bombed. Actually, it probably bombed because it’s one of those slow-burn movies, and the ending is extremely ambiguous. It also has some pretty disturbing scenes—this one is rated R—yet the way the film is shot is beautiful. Annihilation is a unique film, and I’ll probably have to read the novel next, though I am guessing it isn’t for everyone.
ALSO, we watched a 2009 horror scifi movie called Triangle. This is the only thing on the list I wouldn’t recommend. Despite the high viewer ratings, it wasn’t too hot, and if you ever saw Cube or Cube 2: Hypercube back in the day, that’s Triangle. Except the whole thing is set on a boat. STILL, with all that said, it was a blast to watch with friends and make fun of while trapped in snow. And that’s what we did when we couldn’t get back to Greensboro. Part one about how we got trapped, if you’re interested, is here. Thanks for reading!
–Jeff and Leah