Categories
eSports Gaming

Rocket League Championship Series NA Power Rankings for May 2021

You already know what time it is. After examining which Rocket League teams were on the bubble in April, we decided to revisit our list. Here’s our list of the 16 best teams in the game right now.

16. Susquehanna Soniqs

The Soniqs did the impossible this past weekend and had one of the biggest upsets in the Regional, taking down number 1 seed NRG 4-1 in their Quarter-Finals match.

The Soniqs looked super convincing until they got swept by KCP in the Semi-Finals. Was it a fluke on NRGs part? Or are the Soniqs onto something? Only time will tell.

15. Pittsburgh Knights

PK can be a solid squad, but after these past couple of performances, they’ve looked shaky. I think it’s the issue of their playstyle and the lack of diversity. If PK can get over this road bump, they aren’t far from Worlds qualification with only 700 points behind the top 6 spots.

14. XSET

Consisting of AlphaKep, Jpow, and Hockser. XSET consistently places well in tournaments, and has been applying a little more coordination within their team, XSET is a Top 10 team in North America. After placing 9-12th in the recent Spring Regional, I’m convinced that XSET is on a trend upwards.

13. Ghost Gaming

Ghost Gaming is built solid, with LionBlaze (one of the best singles players in the world). There’s no reason Ghost Gaming shouldn’t be able to compete at the top level.

12. EUNITED

eUnited, after dropping WondaMike back in February, they have recently acquired RLCS PRO ‘Dappur’ This team is looking solid after their first performance in the RLCS: Spring Split, placing 13-16th, which is higher than some top 10s like Alpine, and Pittsburgh Knights.

11. Charlotte Phoenix

Charlotte Phoenix being on the scene since late 2019, after recently shaking up their entire roster, could be on the move upward. they’ve needed to secure a spot at worlds as they now 11th on this month’s Power Ranking as they were 13th last month.

10. FaZe Clan

I really believed after being acquired by FaZe that we would’ve seen a more upbeat pace from them as they were 5th on last month’s Ranking. With that being said I think all they need to do is make some micro-adjustments before they start dominating again.

9. Alpine

Alpine is one of the most consistent teams in the RLCS, placing high in rankings in every event, and have one of the most coordinated rosters in the league. However, during this past Regional, Alpine got knocked out early in Group Stages. It will be interesting to see how Alpine comes back in the upcoming TheGrid: Overtime event.

8. Oxygen

After acquiring the up-and-coming roster “Jamal Jabary” consisting of Toastie, LJ, and Kraziks, Oxygen has entered the North American RLCS, previously performing in the EU. Currently holding 680 points in the RLCS places them within the Top 16.

In order for Oxygen to qualify for Worlds they’ll have to keep this current streak going we’ve seen with the team and whether they can really dominate over the Spring Split.

7. Version1

My favorite team as of right now goes from being 12 on our Power Ranking last month to now being number 7, which shows you that if they keep making adjustments, we might see them become a Top 4 contender.

6. Shopify Rebellion

You may not recognize this team. The Shopify Rebels consists of the old KCP roster. As of last week, the Pioneers sold their RLCS roster to the Starcraft team ‘Shopify Rebellion’ With billions of dollars behind The Rebels, it’s interesting to see Rocket League as their first title to dump money into, and almost solidifies my thought that Rocket League is a Tier 1 eSport.

5. Rogue

Ever since dropping RLCS PRO and community loved, ‘Kranovi’ Rogue has been doing nothing but greatness; however, it is super surprising to see Rogue this low on this list because I see them as a super dominant team.

4. G2 Esports

With the announcement of RLCS PRO ‘Rizzo’ retiring. G2 acquired 15-year-old Andres “dreaz” and since then has been a HUGE asset in G2’s success. Taking down the ranks of NRG in the most recent Regional 3.

3. Spacestation Gaming

SSG is one of the most dominant offensive teams in the game. With a majority of their series being high scoring, it’s hard for any defense to keep up with it. It takes a roster with speed and solid coordination. This is why SSG is one of the best teams in the league.

2. NRG

With the overbearing success and dominance of NRG’s playstyle, they have lost to teams such as The Soniqs/ G2/ and SSG. Is this a hint that other teams are getting better? Or is NRG’s playstyle becoming outdated and easy to read?

1. ENVY

After winning 4 Regional Titles this season, this roster has been dominant since their formation of Atomic, Mist, and Turbopolsa. No doubt this team is #1 NA. Maybe even the world.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 20 Best Scary Movies On Hulu to Watch Right Now

Although Netflix was at one point the dominating force in streaming for all genres, their horror selection as of late has been a bit lackluster. Services like Shudder have filled in some gaps with an overwhelming selection of indie and foreign films, while HBO Max has a substantial list of classics. Hulu’s selection is pretty varied: the streaming service has a collection of under-appreciated arthouse movies alongside Oscar-winning thrillers.

Just ‘cause it’s almost summer doesn’t mean the spirit of Halloween is waning for real horror junkies, so we’ve curated a list of the 20 best scary movies we could find on Hulu. From sci-fi dystopias to home invasion to postmodern thrillers, here are 20 films that’ll keep your blood curdled.

20. ’28 Days Later’

Although needlessly gritty revampings of previously campy genres have become so totally overdone, Danny Boyle’s reinvention of the zombie sub-genre in 28 Days Later is absolutely astounding. Shockingly artistic and with breathtaking cinematography, this film is one of the best zombie movies ever made. Don’t expect slapstick humor or silly misadventures a la Return of the Living Dead, the Oscar-winning director’s clever take on post-apocalyptic terror remains a dark standout in a genre otherwise beaten to death.   

19. ’28 Weeks Later’

Danny Boyle did not return for the sequel to 28 Days Later, but director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo did a fantastic job of holding up the previous film’s aesthetic and tone. 28 Weeks Later is a post-post-apocalypse — it tells the story of what happens months after the world ends, and how humanity’s last survivors have since reshaped a rudimentary form of society. It’s equally as gritty and artistic as its predecessor, and about as violent. There are a few clever twists on the zombie mythos in here too.

18. ‘Blair Witch’ (2016)

At least one reviewer had described Blair Witch as “the worst of any 2016 release.” It’s definitely not — and figuring out why there’s such antipathy for this film is difficult. Perhaps critics are still angry they were duped by the avant-garde viral marketing of the original Blair Witch? In this reboot of the franchise which began in 1999, there are some pretty clever plot devices introduced to the Blair Witch cinematic universe: apparently, the entity commonly known as The Blair Witch can manipulate time! Either way, Blair Witch (2016) certainly doesn’t measure up to the pure terror of the first movie, but it’s a clever twist on the now-infamous urban legend nonetheless.

17. ‘Bug’ (2006)

Bug flopped big at box offices upon its release in 2006, partially because it was advertised as a traditional horror movie instead of what it actually is: an artsy and melancholic thriller about severe mental illness. But even though Bug is lacking in obvious scares, it’s one of the most frightening — and emotionally devastating — movies ever made. Based on the play by Tracy Letts and directed by horror master William Friedkin (best known for helming the original Exorcist film in 1973), Bug tells the story of two depressed drug addicts whose utter loneliness draws them into mutual madness and shared delusions of government conspiracies. It’s oddly prescient in the age of QAnon, and the human story — about a mother’s loss and longing — is extremely touching. Excellent acting from Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon would make this an Oscar-worthy film — if the Oscars weren’t so averse to anything resembling horror. (Note: there’s another, entirely unrelated horror movie also titled Bug on Hulu that is absolutely not worth watching.)

16. ‘Cabin in the Woods’

A post-modern love letter to the horror genre, Cabin in the Woods is a Scream-adjacent deconstruction of obvious horror tropes. Like Scream, the movie has a pretty good sense of humor that doesn’t take away from the more serious scares. We won’t get too much into the plot — there are too many twists and turns to reveal — but it also means that re-watches are equally as rewarding as first-time viewings. Writer Drew Goddard, who was behind some of the best episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, provides excellently witty dialogue throughout. 

15. ‘Children of the Corn’ (1984)

A24’s Midsommar was hailed as a highly original horror masterpiece shortly before the pandemic, but more casual moviegoers might not be aware there’s an entire sub-genre of harvest horror. An early example of this is Stephen King’s Children of the Corn, an occultic tale of rural terror. The movie itself is appropriately unnerving — lots of creepy children worshipping a mysterious agricultural deity — but the bombastic finale is pure silliness. 

14. ‘The Descent’

It’s hard to imagine straight-up monster movies could still be scary in the new millennium, but director Neil Marshall’s claustrophobic nightmare actually delivers. In The Descent, an all-female crew of cave explorers encounters a cannibalistic species of underground humanoids, as they’re picked off by the creatures one by one. It sounds pretty corny, but the amazing acting and use of darkness and shadow help this movie transcend its pretty simplistic concept. There’s also a shocking amount of emotional depth to the movie, too.

13. ‘The Haunting’ (1999)

The Haunting (1999) is based on the iconic horror film of the same name from 1963, which itself is based on the 1959 novel, The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson (confusingly, none of these are actually related to The House on Haunted Hill movies). This Y2K era movie has a star-studded cast and shockingly good special effects considering the year it was released. The acting is all absurdly over-the-top — as is the violence — but it’s a supernatural joyride filled with campy pleasures. Like a carnival ride in Hell.

12. ‘Hellbound: Hellraiser II’

Although the sequel to Hellraiser is pretty incomprehensible without knowledge of the first film (which, itself, is pretty incomprehensible without reading the Clive Barker novel on which both are based), the special effects and insane character design of the perverse world of the Cenobites is undeniably enthralling. In Hellraiser, demonic entities who pursue pleasure and pain to their absolute limits enter our dimension to find new victims. An extended metaphor for forbidden, queer desires, Hellraiser 2’s surreal and gruesome imagery is hard to forget.

11. ‘The Host’ (2006)

Casual cinema-goers finally recognized the immense talent of director Boon Joon-ho when he won a much-deserved Oscar in 2020. Horror fans have been aware of him for a while, partially thanks to his beloved monster movie, The Host. Laden with social commentary about the hyper-competitiveness of post-war South Korean capitalism, this movie is a sympathetic story of survival, featuring much more three-dimensional characters than you normally see in Western cinema.

10. ‘Hollow Man’

Director Paul Verhoeven is known for both ultra-violent social commentary in movies like Robocop and Starship Troopers — and for sleazy sensuality, as in Showgirls. Hollow Man was a particularly salacious and sexually nasty movie, especially for the year 2000. In it, rogue scientists discover a chemical that can turn people invisible. But when the lead researcher realizes he can’t return himself back to normal, he begins going insane. The special effects are impressive to this day, and the story’s damning statement on masculinity’s corruptibility is starkly pessimistic.

9. ‘Little Joe’

Little Joe is a slow-paced, psychological sci-fi/horror film about scientists who genetically modify a plant so that its scent cures depression — but everyone who smells the flower starts acting really strange. Are they being driven to propagate the plant through its olfactory mind control, or are the protagonists becoming increasingly paranoid? Think Little Shop of Horrors, but taken totally seriously. Ben Wishaw and Emily Beecham star as the lead researchers in this Jessica Hausner-directed slow burn.

8. ‘My Friend Dahmer’

Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Derf Backderf, this film adaptation explores the childhood and adolescence of the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Backderf was, in real life, a classmate of Dahmer’s and had a unique insight into his lonely life. Although the film depicts no actual violence whatsoever, the build-up to Dahmer taking his first victim is intense — and quite emotionally complex. My Friend Dahmer was criticized for glamorizing serial killers, but perhaps the film is a test of our capacity for empathy more than anything else. 

7. ‘The Omen’

Often put in a pantheon of classic horror alongside Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, The Omen is a Hitchcockian suspense movie about a creepy child who may or may not be the Antichrist. The devil is afoot as a diplomat and his wife try to solve some unexplained deaths in the area — and begin to fear their own child is to blame. It’s all for you, Damien!

6. ‘Pandorum’

In this extremely well made 2009, German/British, sci-fi/horror movie, humanity has built an interstellar ark to carry 60,000 people on a 123-year trip to colonize an inhabitable plane. Some time into the mission, flight crew members awaken from their hypersleep chambers, leaving them with partial amnesia, while possibly suffering from Pandorum — a space-related sickness that causes psychosis when under emotional duress. With seemingly no one else on board, and no memory of their mission, it quickly becomes clear that they’re not alone. While searching the massive ship, the space cadets encounter an alien race of hunters, as well as other crew members who’d thawed from their sleep too soon. But have they encountered a terrible future or are they all going totally insane?

5. ‘Parasite’

Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite was so good that even the Academy had to overcome their statistically-proven racism to give it proper accolades. Although it’s not as conventionally scary as most of the films on this list, the movie’s chilling commentary on the cruelty of capitalism — and some actually stunningly violent twists in the film — make it far more impactful than your standard horror fare. 

4. ‘Possessor’

Although it’s probably unfair to compare Brandon Cronenberg to his father, David Cronenberg, the pair’s movies — at least so far — have a lot of thematic similarities. Exploring body horror, psychedelia, postmodernism, and the implications of technology on identity, Possessor tells the story of a near-future spy agency that can insert an agent’s consciousness into another person’s mind. It’s a deliriously deranged movie with a devastatingly original aesthetic.

3. ‘Predators’

Adrien Brody plays an unexpectedly buff action hero in this reboot of the classic sci-fi franchise which began in 1987. Although Predator is often remembered for its stylized 80’s aesthetic and iconically excessive performance from Arnold Schwarzenegger — this reimagining is deadly serious. The action scenes are well choreographed and the plot is pretty engaging considering the not-so-sophisticated subject matter.

2. ‘XX’

Horror movies directed by women are rare gems, thanks to the misogyny of Hollywood — and they’re are usually considerably better than the mediocrity produced by most men. Celebrating horror from a female perspective, this collection of four short films is hyper-stylized and varying in subject matter and brutality. “The Box,” directed by Jovanka Vuckovic, is the most disturbing of the tetralogy and deals with trauma and anorexia — but Annie Clark (better known as Saint Vincent) also showcases a dark quirkiness with her entry, “The Birthday Party.” 

1. ‘You’re Next’

It’s unclear what was happening in pop culture around 2010 such that home invasion horror had such a moment, but You’re Next is one of the standout entries in the sub-genre that became oddly popular at that time. The movie is deeply nihilistic — it’s never exactly revealed why the murderous masked individuals are so bloodthirsty — but the clever violence throughout is darkly humorous while still staying pretty scary. There’s a story of family dysfunction buried under a thick layer of blood.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

Spotify’s ‘Best of Star Wars’ Playlist Is All You Need to Listen to Today

First things first, May the Fourth be with You all.

May 4th is Star Wars Day, the annual day in which fans celebrate all things related to the franchise set in a Galaxy Far, Far Away. Whether you’re watching the movies, shows, celebrating with Baby Yoda, or all the above, you’re also going to need a great soundtrack to go along with it. And there’s no better soundtrack to throw on than Spotify’s ‘Best of Star Wars’ playlist.

As expected, streams of John Williams’ legendary score, as well as the tracks that appeared in other movies and shows, such as Ludwig Göransson’s songs created for The Mandalorian, skyrocket on May the 4th. Don’t believe us? Spotify has the numbers to prove it.

Per Spotify’s official stats: “On this day last year (May 4, 2020), [Spotify] saw more than a 530 percent increase globally in streams for the “Best of Star Wars” playlist, with a 729 percent increase in the U.S. alone.”

Not only that, the streaming service reported that “global Spotify users have created more than 613,000 Star Wars playlists, 78,000 “Yoda” playlists, and 30,000 Mandalorian playlists.”

Spotify

The top-streamed Star Wars tracks should really come as a surprise to no one, as they are arguably the most famous entries in the franchise’s score.

The main theme sets the tone for any Star Wars-related marathon; the Imperial March lets you know that shit is about to go DOWN, and the Duel of Fates is the perfect addition to any sort of competitive atmosphere you’re trying to set.

Also, it plays during, in our opinion, the best lightsaber fight in the whole saga.

Observe:

Yes, we know that it might come from one of the worst Star Wars movies, but this fight is the GOAT, bar none.

At this point, you’re probably tired of hearing us ramble on about how great the playlist is, so put those headphones on (or blast it throughout the house, we won’t judge), crank the volume up, and hit the lightspeed button.

Categories
Culture News

ONE37pm Talks With TroopzAFC of Barstool Sports About All Things Super League

What happens when two proper football super fans get together and chop it up about all things soccer? A great conversation that’s what.

On the latest episode of Huh?!, ONE37pm’s Tyler Schmitt sat down with Barstool Sports’ resident Arsenal fanatic and soccer expert, TroopAFC to talk through the week’s news football news including the Super League formation and ultimate break down before it even began.

They break down why they both think the Super League was attempted in the first place, and how much money was involved in the decision by these major clubs. Was it greed? Was it a desire for better competition? Or was it some combination of the two?

“Do you think there are just shit clubs because they’re in debt?” Tyler asks. “Nah they’re just greedy and the owners want more. How can you be in debt when you’re a billionaire? Come on man, make it make sense.” Troopz fires back.

Their conversation occured before this past weekend’s protests by Manchester United fans, who stormed the pitch at the Old Trafford, forcing the cancelation of Man U’s match against Liverpool. Much like Troopz, fans are upset with the team’s owners, the Glazer family (who also own the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers), over their perceived greed involving the super league.

Since he’s a major trading card head (he does have a pretty successful podcast after all), Tyler gets Troopz’s thoughts on the card industry.

Needless to say, the trading card business hasn’t caught on in England as it has in the United States. “$15,000 for a trading card, are you mad?!” Troopz shares.

The entire conversation that the two football fans have is a great one, so be sure to check out the interview and follow Troopz on Instagram and Twitter.

In addition, check out the podcast Back Again with Troopz on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and YouTube.

Categories
Gaming New Releases

14 Games Like ‘Sea of Thieves’

Sea of Thieves entered early access at a time when online PVP was experiencing a bit of a renaissance thanks to games like Fortnite. But instead of dropping players on a map, Sea of Thieves put players on the high seas, giving them command of entire vessels. Throughout its beta Sea of Thieves garnered a huge player base thanks to many at the time believing it was one of the few games that gave players the chance to helm their own vessels. Of course, there are a number of games that give you a similar experience. The following are the 14 games most like Sea of Thieves.

14. ‘The Secret of Monkey Island’

One of the big draws behind Sea of Thieves is its comedic undertone. If that is one of the reasons behind your love of Sea of Thieves, then Monkey Island is right up your alley. The game, released in 2009 by Lucas Arts, tells a swashbuckling story as players explore the titular Monkey Island. 

Buy Here, $9.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/32360/The_Secret_of_Monkey_Island_Special_Edition/
13. ‘Elite Dangerous’

This one might be a bit controversial. Elite Dangerous doesn’t take place on the water, but it doesn’t necessarily have to capture the essence of Sea of Thieves. Is it about piracy? It can be if you like. In fact, piracy is a major component of the game. So is PVP combat, managing your personal vessel, and a host of other factors shared with Sea of Thieves. In fact, the similarities between the two games underscore the similarities between piracy of the past and piracy of the distant future.

Buy Here, $29.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/359320/Elite_Dangerous/
12. ‘Beyond Blue’

Beyond Blue is another game that pays homage to the Ocean. But unlike Subnautica that has players exploring the depths of an alien world, Beyond Blue has players explore the deeps of our own planet. Released by Eline Media last year, Beyond Blue didn’t cultivate a large player base despite being critically acclaimed. Exploration is the name of the game. The playing area is enormous and teeming with life, including sharks, though less aggressive than the variety seen in Sea of Thieves.

Buy Here, $19.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/883360/Beyond_Blue/
11. Windbound

Windbound is a game that pushes storytelling in video games. Released in 2020 by 5 Lives Studios, Windbound is a game that, through its narrative, manages to mythologize the Ocean. Players take control of a marooned seasteading in an adventure that seamlessly combines the best of Sea of Thieves and Breath of the Wild. Windbound is as thrilling on the land as it is in the Ocean and is definitely worth checking out if you feel Sea of Thieves is lacking in story.

Buy Here, $29.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1162130/Windbound/
10. ‘Subnautica’

Few games can speak to the wonder, mystery, and danger of the ocean in a way Subnautica can. Released in 2018 by the aptly named Unknown Worlds Entertainment, Subnautica hit markets at the tail end of the survival game craze, sparked by Minecraft. Subnautica, however, is far from a Minecraft clone. Subnautica fleshes out an alien world and does so in a believable manner.

Buy Here, $29.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/264710/Subnautica/
9. ‘Sid Meier’s Pirates Gold Plus’

A classic game from the mind of Sid Meier. This game was released in 1987 and was one of the first to feature realistic pirate action. Of course, this being a Sid Meier game, strategy is a major gameplay component. Unlike other pirate games, in which victory goes to whoever can load up cannon’s and accurately shoot them, in Pirates! it’s all about outmaneuvering your opponents to get the upper hand. While the game hasn’t exactly aged well, it’s still worth a look.

Buy Here, $6.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/327380/Sid_Meiers_Pirates_Gold_Plus_Classic/
8. ‘Skull and Bones’

To say this game has generated its share of hype would be an understatement. Scheduled to be released sometime in 2021, the developers at Ubisoft could have a significant hit on their hands if they play their cards right. 

Trailers for this hotly anticipated title show epic ship-to-ship combats hull, you can see every minute detail. Based on what has been showcased, battles could rival the scale of those scenes in Pirates of the Caribbean.

7. ‘Assassin’s Creed Black Flag’

When players learned that Assassin’s Creed would be a series that theoretically could take place anywhere, I knew I would eventually be playing a Japanese-focused game and one that took place on the high seas. While the developers at Ubisoft have stubbornly denied players of the former, the latter came to pass in 2013. 

While other Assassin’s Creed games have featured boat battles, they haven’t featured the kind of boat battles that take place during the height of piracy. Everything from loading and firing the cannons to boarding and commandeering ships is a feature in this game.

Buy Here, $19.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/242050/Assassins_Creed_IV_Black_Flag/
6. ‘Raft’

An unexpected hit, Raft is a game that takes several chapters out of Sea of Thieves‘ book. Aside from taking place on the open water, the 2018 game released by Redbeet Interactive, is as comedy-oriented as Sea of Thieves. Instead of pirates, however, you play like normal people stranded on a small piece of debris in the middle of nowhere. It’s up to the player to literally fish for resources to slowly but surely build up their raft into a seasteading fortress. The sense of accomplishment one gets from building up to a viable community is gratifying which is probably why so many payers have become addicted to this cult hit. 

Buy Here, $19.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/648800/Raft/
5. ‘New World’

Due out for an Aug. 31 release by Amazon Games, New World combines piracy with a heavy dollop of Tolkien-esque fantasy. Visually, New World is shaping up to be one of the most stunning on this list. Trailers for the game places the character in a distant land teeming with magical creatures. How the final product will turn out is anyone’s guess but if what we’ve already seen is any indication, this title is worth checking out.

Buy Here, $39.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1063730/New_World/
4. ‘Naval Action’

If Sea of Thieves’ whimsy isn’t to your taste then give Naval Action a try. Released in 2019 by Game-Labs, Naval Action is part of a family of games that tries to blend realism, video games, and warfare. With Naval Action, one can recreate historic naval battles, like the one-off Beaufort North Carolina, or the battle that leads to Black Beard’s ultimate downfall. While the gameplay isn’t as fluid as Sea of Thieves, it is comprehensive. While other naval warfare games skip corners for the sake of gameplay, Naval Action players have to consider many of the same factors that were present at the height of piracy. This is the game for players looking for a real challenge.

3. ‘Legend of Zelda Windwaker’

Perhaps the most popular title on this list, Legend of Zelda Windwaker was, at the time of its 2002 release, was one of the largest Legend of Zelda titles. That’s because the game’s core concept was sailing on the open season with your sentient boat. 

The game not only made use of similar cell-shading visuals seen in Sea of Thieves, but it was also perhaps the first to popularize the visual style. While the game was underappreciated when it was released, in the years that have passed, it has gone on to be considered one of the best Legend of Zelda titles that isn’t Breath of the Wild.

Buy Here, $49.87
https://www.amazon.com/Legend-Zelda-Waker-nintendo-wii-u/dp/B002I0GF72/ref=asc_df_B002I0GF72/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312319417581&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18237215107359166088&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9009649&hvtargid=pla-590986593978&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=62862256075&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=312319417581&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=18237215107359166088&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9009649&hvtargid=pla-590986593978
2. ‘Blackwake’

Although released last year in 2020, developers at Mastfire Studios kept this game in Alpha and Beta for a number of years. It’s for this reason why Blackwake, though officials released after Sea of Thieves, can be considered its predecessor. 

In fact, Blackwake was a sort of proof of concept for many pirate-themed games that has players duke it out on the open seas. While the graphics may not be impressive, the mechanics are, in many ways, tighter than Sea of Thieves, successfully sniping an enemy pirate with a cannon feels more like a matter of skill than random chance. It’s the precision of the gameplay that has players coming back.

Buy Here, $9.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/420290/Blackwake/
1. ‘Atlas’

Atlas is best described as Sea of Thieves’ slightly more serious twin brother. Released in 2018 by Grapeshot Games, it isn’t quite clear why Sea of Thieves rose to popularity while this title fell to relative obscurity. Just about everything you can do in Sea of Thieves, you can do in this game with the added benefit of more attention to detail. The only significant difference between Atlas and Sea of Thieves is the former’s lack of a distinct art style, instead opting for more realistic graphics. For those looking for a pirate simulator that takes things a bit more seriously, Atlas is the game you have been looking for.

Buy Here, $29.99
https://store.steampowered.com/app/834910/ATLAS/
Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 26 Best Shows on HBO Max to Stream Right Now

HBO Max’s same-day theatrical release plan dominates a lot of conversation about the young streaming platform, but that just obstructs the fact that HBO Max is full of fantastic TV shows waiting to be discovered. As the notorious streaming wars continue to heat up, the platform has been doing its best to bring new series and additional seasons of old favorites straight to their subscribers. If anyone ever gets tired of the streamer’s massive library of movies, they can hit a button and dive into everything from classic sitcoms like Friends to recent animated programs for kids like Adventure Time.

Whether you’re looking for an HBO original, something that falls under WarnerMedia’s massive umbrella, or a licensed show, HBO Max truly has you covered. The HBO brand may be transforming, but it’s important to remember that it started as a premium channel with higher quality shows- and that sentiment hasn’t changed all these years later. Next time you’re searching for a binge-able show or an intricate world to explore on TV, consider choosing from one of the 26 best shows on HBO Max!

26. ‘Harley Quinn’

Put it this way: Harley Quinn ain’t a normal superhero show.

Set in Gotham City, where Harley Quinn and her long-time boyfriend, The Joker, have recently broken up, the supervillain—and sometimes anti-hero—has set out on her own in order to become one of the city’s leading crime bosses.

Voiced by Kaley Cuoco, who also serves as executive producer, Harley teams up with her crew of misfits, including Poison Ivy, King Shark, Clayface, and Dr. Psycho, to cause chaos in Gotham. She frequently battles other supervillains like Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, and, of course, The Joker, as well as Batman, and the results are often hilarious and, at times, incredibly touching.

25. ‘Warrior’

If intense action and character-driven stories sound appealing, Warrior is definitely the show for you. Executive produced by Justin Lin and Shanon Lee, Warrior, is based on an old story idea by Bruce Lee himself. Starring Andrew Koji as the fresh-off-the-boat Ah Sahm, Warrior is set in San Francisco during the late 1870s and tells a complex story about an interesting ensemble of characters, belonging to rival tongs, the city’s police squad, and the city’s political elites, trying to carve out space for themselves in the chaotic city. What started as a two-season long Cinemax original was recently renewed for a third season directly on HBO Max.

24. ‘Doom Patrol’

Based on DC Comics’ version of the X-Men, Doom Patrol is a quirky, thoroughly entertaining series. While the show revels in its comic book charm, Doom Patrol isn’t the traditional superhero story as it follows a group of societal outlaws who all receive their powers under chaotic circumstances and are both physically and mentally scarred as a result. A show that isn’t afraid to delve deep into the mental states of its ensemble, Doom Patrol manages to maintain a silly quality throughout no matter how extreme or dark the situation may be.

23. ‘Flight of the Concords’

Flight of the Concords stars the musical comedy duo Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie as fictionalized versions of themselves as they attempt to make it as musicians in New York City. As the two struggle to get gigs or get women to notice them at parties, the show weaves in some of the duo’s hilarious songs as a way to give the audience more insight into how they are feeling at that moment. Even if you’ve never heard of the band before this, Flight of the Concords is a must-watch for anyone who appreciates low-key comedy and fantastic wordplay. 

22.’Last Week Tonight With John Oliver’

A weekly series that dives into various topics, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver has been airing on HBO since 2014. After cutting his teeth exploring political topics on The Daily Show under Jon Stewart, John Oliver has grown into the new gold standard of comedic news. The weekly format allows him to quickly go over certain events from the week, but the bulk of the episode is dedicated to relatively evergreen deep dives into various structural and cultural topics that allow Oliver to stretch his comedic chops and slowly get to the bottom of a complex subject. Whether you consider yourself a news buff or someone who is relatively unaware of what’s happening, Last Week Tonight is both extremely enjoyable and educational. 

21. ‘Rick and Morty’

What is essentially an outrageous, over-the-top spin on the dynamic between Marty McFly and Doc Brown in Back to the Future, Rick and Morty follows the titular grandpa-grandson duo as they go on chaotic missions in space and other dimensions. Created by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, who voices both of the main characters, the show relishes in its childlike crudeness as Rick drinks and farts his way across the galaxy, but it is also capable of telling complex stories that leave the viewers with heavy hearts in addition to tears of laughter.

20. ‘Chernobyl’

A miniseries about the horrific events at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986, Craig Mazin’s Chernobyl is difficult to watch in all the best ways. A five-part series that focuses on the brutal cleanup efforts and the bureaucratic mismanagement that defined that moment in Soviet society, Chernobyl features some incredible performances and terrifying makeup work as it tells a deeply researched but dramatized story about one of the most brutal moments in human history.

19. ‘Doctor Who’

Since Russel T Davies relaunched the classic British sci-fi series in 2005, Doctor Who has become a global cultural phenomenon. A series that stars a mysterious alien known as The Doctor, a Time Lord from the planet of Gallifrey, Doctor Who follows the character as he travels around time and space to go on adventures and help those in need. This most recent iteration of the show, broken up into various eras with different showrunners and performers playing the self-regenerating genius that give each season a distinct feel, feels like the ultimate Saturday morning viewing experience and is cheesy in all the best ways as The Doctor and his companions do everything they can to always save the day against seemingly insurmountable odds.

18. ‘John Adams’

A star-studded miniseries set before, during, and after the American Revolution, John Adams is a thorough examination of the earliest days in American history as seen through the eyes of one of the men who helped shape the nation. Starring Paul Giamatti as the titular historical figure, the miniseries follows Adams and his wife Abigail (Laura Linney) as they navigate the tumultuous times and assume their now iconic roles in history. Based on historian David McCullough’s biography of the 2nd American President, the series is full of historical detail and doesn’t shy away from displaying some of the brutal realities of war and disease at that time. 

17. ‘Sex and the City’

Adapted from Candace Bushnell’s book of New York Observer essays with the same name, Sex and the City is a New York City-based romantic comedy that follows a group of female friends as they try to advance their careers and go about their love lives in different fashions. The show has a fantastic ensemble, led by Sarah Jessica Parker as a fictionalized version of Bushnell named Carrie Bradshaw, and excels whenever the four lead characters are all on stage interacting with one another. A steamy and silly show, Sex and the City feels oddly relevant as people prepare for “Hot Vax Summer.”

16. ‘Watchmen’

Rather than directly adapting Alan Moore and David Gibbon’s iconic comic series, David Lindeloff decided to tell a wholly original sequel that asks viewers what it means to be a hero. Starring Regina King as former-cop-turned-costumed-vigilante Sister Knight, a.k.a. Angela Abar, Watchmen recontextualizes the entire history of American superheroes in the battle against white supremacy as the supremacist Seventh Kavalry organization makes its presence felt in a new plot to destroy the world. Obviously reading the original graphic novel or even seeing the film adaptation will provide additional context for viewers, but the 11-Emmy winning Watchmen is a complex, unique series that can still be enjoyed by people who are not familiar with the source material.

15. ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

If the dry and observational humor of Seinfeld is up your alley, then Curb Your Enthusiasm, starring and created by Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, is a must-watch. Following a fictionalized version of Larry’s own life as he goes about his business in Los Angeles and later New York City, Curb puts its curmudgeonly star in a lot of awkward or silly situations that allow his unique perspective to shine through. It’s hard to describe the unique humor and sharp dialogue of the series without simply saying it’s “pretty, pretty, pretty good.” 

14. ‘Succession’

Succession is essentially a darker, more dramatic Arrested Development. Ron Howard may not be narrating scenes, but this HBO original follows the dysfunctional Roy family as they vie for power over Waystar RoyCo, a powerful media conglomerate, once the patriarch of the family, Logan Roy (Brian Cox), starts having some health issues.  The satirical and comedic show has won two Emmys for outstanding writing in a drama series and has a fantastic, award-winning ensemble that knows how to bring all of the bickering and in-fighting to the silver screen perfectly.

13. ‘Insecure’

After the success of Issa Rae’s Awkward Black Girl web series, she took her storytelling skills to HBO with Insecure. Co-created by and starring Rae as Issa Dee, Insecure is a hilarious show that follows the late-20s protagonist as she tries to thrive in her work and personal lives. Both hilarious and personally heart-wrenching at moments, the show effectively explores societal and racial issues that define the experience of Black men and women in the United States. 

12. ‘Euphoria’

Skins for the (even more) modern age, Sam Levinson’s Euphoria is an ensemble story about a group of high school students as they experiment with sex and drugs and start learning about love and identity for the first time. An emotionally brutal show that examines trauma and doesn’t shy away from showing how dangerous drugs can be, Euphoria enabled Zendaya to become the youngest ever-winner for the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series at the Emmys. 

11. ‘Barry’

A dark comedy series unlike anything I’ve ever seen, Bill Hader and Alec Berg’s Barry follows a former Marine turned hitman named Barry Berkman (Hader) as he tries to give up his old life and become an actor. Despite Barry’s best efforts, he keeps getting pulled back into the dangerous world and he is forced to balance his new ambitions and dangerous obligations. The show has a fantastic ensemble and Henry Winkler even won an Emmy award for his performance as the self-obsessed drama teacher Gene Cousineau.

10. ‘Game of Thrones’

Thanks to HBO, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series and the medieval world of Westeros is now just as popular as the iconic Lord of the Rings. Game of Thrones is a world-spanning adventure series that sees numerous families vie for power in a feudal, Medieval society as magical forces slowly gather in the dark. Don’t let the widespread (and fair) criticisms of the final season fool you from trying it for the first time, the show is the most awarded series in Emmy history for a reason, and I can’t recommend diving into this dark and complex world enough.

9. ‘I May Destroy You’

Created by, written, starring, and co-directed by Michaela Coel, I May Destroy You is an emotionally challenging and occasionally comedic show about the emotional traumas people experience after being sexually assaulted or raped. Arabella Essiedu (Coel) is a young writer who finds herself in the spotlight thanks to the success of her first book, but her life suddenly takes a turn after she struggles to remember a night out with friends and discovers that she was raped. A show that touches on everything from the impacts of social media influence to how society views male assault victims differently, I May Destroy You is one of the most unique originals to hit HBO Max. 

8. ‘True Detective’

Created by Nic Pizzolatto, True Detective is an anthology crime series that follows different investigative teams as they dive into complex and disturbing cases. With fantastic ensembles featuring everyone from Mathew McConaughey to Rachel McAdams and Mahershala Ali, each season of True Detective pushes all of its characters to their physical, emotional, and occasionally spiritual limits as they proceed with their case. Admittedly, the second season isn’t as entertaining as the other two, in my opinion, but even that middle season is better than most things on basic cable.

7. ‘Batman: The Animated Series’

Right after Tim Burton’s Batman captivated the general public, Warner Brothers let animators Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski develop their own take on the Caped Crusader and Gotham City. The result, Batman: The Animated Series, is one of the most lusciously illustrated shows of all time. Not only is the art fantastic, but its Emmy-winning writing gives viewers complex, emotional stories that challenge the central hero and his rogues. The voice cast, featuring Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker, is borderline iconic and defines these characters for a generation of fans.

6. ‘Gomorrah’

Based on the novel of the same name by Robert Saviano, Gomorrah is a violent and riveting look at organized crime and the ramifications that it has on people in Naples. The show focuses on Ciro Di Marzio (Marco D’Amore), a member of the Savastano gang, as he tries to move up in the ranks of his organization and survive a bubbling war between various crime families. While the show is fictional, it is often praised for its realistic representation of the crime families as Saviano spent much of his career as a journalist who investigated the iconic Camorra crime syndicate.

5. ‘Oz’

The show that first took full advantage of HBO’s position as a premium provider with fewer restrictions, Oz is a dark and dramatic look at life inside the fictional Oswald State Correctional Facility for men. A creative and twisted show that details the harrowing experiences of various individuals behind bars, Oz follows each prisoner as they adapt to their new surroundings and struggle for power with rival gangs. The sometimes disturbing show is held together by its fantastic ensemble, featuring everyone from J.K. Simmons as an Aryan gang leader who terrorizes his new roommate to future Sopranos star Edie Falco as an officer at the facility. 

4. ‘Veep’

From the mind of political satirist Armando Iannucci, Veep is a hilarious, no-holds-barred look at Washington D.C. and the goons that run it. Following the political movements and career of Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and her team, Veep is both crudely silly and deeply insightful into some of the motivations and personalities of people running our government. Some of the most ludicrous storylines and jokes of the show almost seem quaint now in light of the Trump years, but Veep is a must-watch series stacked with a fantastically funny ensemble.

3. ‘The Leftovers’

Forget Thanos’ infamous snap, in Damon Lindelof’s The Leftovers, based on Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name, everyone suddenly discovers that two percent of the world’s population has suddenly disappeared. Following the chaotic and sometimes dangerous years that follow the sudden departure, The Leftovers is set in a traumatized and emotionally scarred world that sees everyone struggle to move on from the unexplainable event. Starring Justin Theroux as Kevin Garvey, a police officer with a unique connection to a larger spiritual conspiracy sweeping the world, The Leftovers manages to both touch and disturb its viewers as it slowly unwinds.

2. ‘The Wire’

Most police dramas focus on the officers as they jump from case to case, but David Simon’s The Wire takes a different approach to the cop show format altogether. Taking a larger, more structural view of the city of Baltimore, The Wire spends time with members of the police department, various gangs, and dock workers to paint a full picture of the corruption and pressures bearing down on the city. Each season focuses on a different institution in the city, like unions or schools, to help the ensemble show feel a bit different from year to year as the city’s corruption slowly compounds no matter how hard people like Detective James McNulty (Dominic West) or Detective Bunk Moreland (Wendell Pierce) work.

1. ‘The Sopranos’

Without a doubt, David Chase’s The Sopranos is one of the best television shows of all time. Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) is the leader of a New Jersey crime family, but the difficulties of balancing his work and family life have driven him to start seeing a therapist. The six-season show is amusingly violent and wonderfully paced as the mafia world slowly expands and the problems Tony and his crew face become more complex, but it’s really the wonderful ensemble, with the Emmy winning duo of Gandolfini and Edie Falco at the heart of everything as Tony and Carmela Soprano, that makes the show so gripping and addictive. Sit down with some gabagool and start watching!

Categories
Style What To Buy

The 12 Best French Streetwear Brands To Date

It’s no surprise that France is widely recognized as the fashion hub of the world. Mega fashion houses across the country are constantly evolving to keep up with the ever-changing urban style. Today’s prominent surf skate culture has been adopted by both new and old labels, all of which drastically transform the French streetwear industry. Brands like Pigalle, Agnes B, and Veja have gained attention from style icons across the country through their collaborations, collections, and big debuts. As we’ve seen the prominence streetwear has accumulated, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to give you a rundown on the best French streetwear brands for you to wear.

1. Poyz & Pirlz

What first began with a printed t-shirt and a 90’s inspired slogan quickly expanded to a wide range of clothing and accessories. Poyz & Pritz has been viewed as a streetwear brand from the start. Their lookbook of apparel was first inspired by Parisian culture. Still, throughout their growth, they have been referenced with a French origin as they continue to collaborate with various French artists—the brand ties in music, style, and urban influences throughout its collections. 

2. Pigalle

The essence of Pigalle encompasses all things local business as stated in their mission that they focus on honoring their community while staying true to themselves. The neighborhood-grown French streetwear brand was dubbed after a former red-light district in Paris. Since its start, the brand has expanded its presence in the fashion world through its work with well-known brands like Nike and Converse. 

3. Agnes B

As we laid eyes on Agnes B., we quickly realized that this is way more than a brand. It is a fashion house, an art gallery, and a music lover’s dream combined. Agnes B. founded the brand on all things she loves, which is reflected through the diverse and cultural quality of the company’s history. In 1973, Agnes B. began her journey as a fashion icon, opening her first shop in an old butcher’s store located in the central market of Paris. From that point on, Agnes’s popularity skyrocketed as she created the first snap cardigan, opened a slew of stores, wrote books, worked with charities, and even started one of her own, The Tara Ocean Foundation. 

4. A.P.C

A.P.C is a French clothing brand that first gained popularity for its classic jeans. Fast forward, the brand now offers an entire men’s and women’s collection that is based on a minimalist style. Jean Touitou, creator, and Judith Touitou, artistic director of the clothing brand, focus on the stylish, casual look essential for their buyers’ day-to-day wear. Notably, “A.P.C. means Product and Creation workshop. Without production, creation remains at the idea stage. And without creation, a garment will have no soul.” To make their identity come to life, A.P.C continues to keep in sight of its roots and vision of fashion. 

5. AMI

Alexandre Mattiussi is a well-bred fashion designer who spent years immersed in fashion houses across the globe. After gaining an immense amount of experience, he decided to branch off and create his brand, AMI. The name AMI is French for a friend, which is blended into the internal workings of the brand. As it embodies “a particular type of the French capital’s nonchalance, one that is relaxed, authentic and friendly,” – shown through each apparel item designed for men and women. 

6. Club 75

When a music producer, creative designer, and stylist come together, you get the trio of a lifetime. Club 75 is the product of three friends who had taken each of their interests and combined them into a top-of-the-line clothing brand. Pedro Winter, So-Me, and Michael Doupuy are creators who teamed up “to deliver quality items aiming at what they would love to wear themselves.” The brand’s success has been proven by its collections with BornxRaised and record label, Bromance. 

7. Blvck Paris

As the name implies, Blvck Paris is a lifestyle & accessories brand that sells ‘All Black clothing. The idea is centered around “a culture shift to live life on your terms free from vanity.” The brand has created a 908k and growing community that aligns with the evolution to ‘Blvckout’ their lives to aid in the movement.
The brand has reached such a large community due to its incredible backing of creative masterminds. The Blvck Paris team hones in on the quality and design of both their visual content and merchandise. As one can see, the brand focuses heavily on its social media platforms, blog postings, and incredible collaborations. Since the launch of Blvck, they have branded a Hurucan Lamborghini, launched Rose & Champagne, and more.

8. Project X Paris (PXP)

If you are looking for a brand that aligns with the emphasis streetwear has placed on the urban lifestyle, Project x Paris (PxP) is it. The brand was launched by two French designers who found a burning desire to combine street culture and minimalism. This one-stop-shop provides men with a variety of apparel items that are influenced by the sporty-chic lifestyle. Each item is easy to wear, authentic and wearable on a range of occasions. As we know, the PxP brand embodied a unique culture, calling for collaborations with French and international high-hop artists and athletes such as Chris Brown, Post Malone, David Luiz, and more. 

9. Maison Kitsuné

Since 2002, Gildas Loaec and Masaya Kuroki have led a multi-faceted brand that has captured the Parisian lifestyle on all wavelengths. Although their apparel is key to the label’s success, it is not the only focus. The intricate brand also has a music label, Kitsune Musique, and 16 Cafe Kitsune, coffee shops placed in iconic locations worldwide. 

Inclusive to the uniqueness of the brand is the meaning behind it. Maison is French for a house, and Kitsune is Japanese for fox. Together, Maison Kitsune represents an adaptable fashion house that is characterized by an imaginary animal.

10. Kenzo

Of all the brands mentioned, this would be the one you would quickly pinpoint. Kenzo is a French label that many American’s have familiarized themselves with over the past few years. Since its inception, the clothing line has been one to celebrate nature and cultural diversity through its use of designs, vibrant color choice, and mix of prints. As the collections gained notice in the fashion world, the company took it as an opportunity to grow internally. They onboarded Portegues fashion designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista. On account of this new addition, Kenzo has flourished into a new chapter filled with creativity. 

11. Andrea Crews

Word on the street is that fashion designer Andrea Crews has made quite the impression on the fashion industry. To date, the brand has two streetwear couture lines that are labeled: The High Street & Artisanal. Each collection item is one of a kind, thanks to the innovative approach the brand uses to create apparel – upcycling. This is an environmental conservation technique that pieces together discarded materials to design an item of higher quality. In the case of Crews, the act of upcycling adds the perfect touch to the mix of strong prints and the uniqueness of each item.

12. Harmony

To be one is literally & physically what the brand, Harmony embodies. David Obadia, the founder of Harmony, built the company off valuable pillars and firm ambitions. As the team grew, it soon became apparent that the internal workings of the brand played a significant factor in the label’s success. Focusing on the everyday consumer are the brand’s designers who pay attention to the detail of the cutting edge apparel. Each item is made out of the most delicate fabrics to produce the simple essentials. 

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 16 Best Sci-Fi Shows and Movies on Hulu

Robot police dogs, a global pandemic, a hentai addict covertly controlling an international cult from his home in Japan, social media networks for children, and helicopters on Mars: 2021 is already a bunch of different sci-fi movies smashed into one. It’s an odd time to want to engage in fictional dystopias considering the world we live in is … pretty dystopian.

Whether you look towards sci-fi for space-opera escapism or incisive questions about identity, there’s an appropriately overwhelming amount of media currently available for streaming. Hulu’s selection in particular is impressively expansive. Ranging from anime classics to original spins on important literature to trashy reboots of beloved franchises, we’ve picked out the 16 best TV shows and movies we could find — all currently available to be beamed directly into your brain!

16. ‘Aniara’

After the Earth becomes uninhabitable, an ark of survivors travelling to Mars is thrown off course, causing them to drift through space for eternity. A device used to calm the anxiety of the passengers begins malfunctioning, causing the ship’s passengers to hallucinate. This existential space drama’s vision of humanity is pretty ghastly, but its visual styling and shockingly dark ending are impressive, especially for a relatively under-the-radar release. 

15. ‘Possessor’

It’s a shame Possessor never got a proper theatrical release and thus flew under the radar in 2020, as it’s easily one of the best films released in that accursed year. In this hallucinatory, cyberpunk noir by Brandon Cronenberg — yes, he’s the son of legendary auteur David Cronenberg, and yes his filmmaking style is quite similar to his father’s — a shadowy agency invents a way to implant an undercover agent’s consciousness into a human vessel. But traversing various identities takes its toll on the agents, and some begin to lose their minds. Fleshy, dispassionate psychedelia abounds. 

14. ‘Tetsuo: The Bullet Man’

The third movie in the Tetsuo series, Bullet Man continues the nightmarish and absurdist non-narrative sequences of the previous films. In each movie, men’s sexual problems are metaphorized through complicated animation sequences in which tortured bodies become cyborg monstrosities without warning or explanation. Rife with psychoanalytic symbolism, these deeply strange movies have been shockingly influential on contemporary cinema and anime.

13. ‘Cowboy Bebop’

Netflix’s choice to reboot Cowboy Bebop is almost insulting considering the beloved anime series is actually perfect in every way. Why bother trying to improve on something with no flaws? This legendary 90’s anime uses a rousing jazz score to set the mood for various space-age, neo-noir adventures. The handsome but curmudgeonly Spike Spiegel leads a crew of misfit bounty hunters including a non-binary super hacker, a buxom femme fatale, and an adorable Welsh corgi on a series of ill-fated raids while slowly confronting his haunted past. Despite its seemingly shallow, action-oriented premise, the story is emotionally compelling and plays with both typical sci-fi themes about the ramifications of technology and more complicated questions about existential meaning and the ephemerality of identity and love.

12. ‘Dollhouse’

From the production company that created Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Dollhouse is a precursor to the near-future sci-fi of Black Mirror. When a rogue scientist discovers a way to temporarily wipe peoples’ memories and replace them with modular personality traits, a nefarious entertainment company begins renting out living humans as dolls to be used as sex workers and assassins. Although the first few episodes are a standard monster of the week sci-fi, the story unravels quite quickly into a post-apocalyptic nightmare when the technology of this agency is used as a weapon. Eliza Dushku plays the protagonist and is ultimately quite overworked — she essentially has an entirely new personality every episode — but a talented supporting cast rounds out this shockingly intelligent cyberpunk hellscape.

11. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

When Margaret Atwood looked around at the growing Christian fundamentalism of the 1980s, she worried that the wild fanaticism of conservatism could result in widespread violence. She wrote The Handmaid’s Tale as a warning about the inherent misogyny of the American right — and frighteningly, many of her predictions came true. The first season of this Hulu original series sticks pretty close to the novel, but subsequent seasons veer in a different direction as the show moves through a handful of genres including torture porn and espionage thriller. It’s sci-fi in the sense that it takes place in some dark near-future, but don’t expect robots or space aliens.

10. ‘Gurren Lagann’

From the makers of FLCL and Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gurren Lagann is another giant robot anime with stunning hand-drawn animation. The story plays out like Gundam on methamphetamines as the protagonist frees himself from an oppressive underground society to find himself involved in intergalactic warfare. What it lacks in intellectual sophistication it makes up for in heart and excess: the fight scenes are beyond over-the-top and the characters’ iconic outfits are often totally absurd. 

9. ‘Futurama’

Originally debuting in 1999, Futurama is a long-running sci-fi comedy cartoon series created by Simpsons mastermind Matt Groening. When a pizza delivery guy wakes up 1000 years in the future after accidentally cryogenically freezing himself, he discovers how different the world he once knew has become. Hijinks ensue when he joins a motley crew of misfit space travelers including an alcoholic robot and an aging mad scientist. Don’t expect too much incisive social criticism — the show is mostly politically anodyne — but a few episodes are absolutely heart-wrenching and the cast is totally lovable. 

8. ‘Shape of Water’

Guillermo Del Toro’s Academy award-winning sci-fi film is a postmodern pastiche of creature feature tropes. In Shape of Water, a cleaning lady at a shadowy government facility discovers a captured aquatic monster — and begins to fall in love. Del Toro uses monstrosity as a metaphor for otherness so as to critique the emotional impact of racial discrimination and segregation. The anachronistic art direction is magically creative and stunningly executed using old-school special effects and makeup design. 

7. ‘All That We Destroy’

Hulu and the legendary horror studio Blumhouse (the production company behind contemporary horror classics like Get Out, Paranormal Activity, The Purge, Sinister, and many more) have partnered for an ongoing series of feature-length “installments” titled Into The Dark — basically, every episode is a stand-alone movie. Although the series is mostly more traditional horror, All That We Destroy You mixes in some elements: in it, a mother clones the same woman repeatedly to see if she can finally help her son conquer his murderous urges. All That We Destroy is one of a few sci-fi movies in that franchise along with I’m Just F*cking With You, Culture Shock, and a few others, but the other mini-movies in the franchise are worth investigating if you enjoy horror.

6. ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’

Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger reunite for this 2019 continuation of the Terminator franchise. It’s far from the best in the series, but the campy pleasures of this dynamic duo’s return are worth the price of entry. Schwarzenegger in particular hams it up — there’s a bizarre running gag that the T-800 has been reprogrammed to be an interior decorator? — and Linda Hamilton remains a butch icon. The special effects and action are all decadently cheesy and the plot is totally incoherent, but it’s a mindless, fun watch nonetheless.

5. ‘Mobile Suit Gundam Wing’

Although Mobile Suit Gundam Wing was not the first series in the sprawling Gundam franchise to be translated into English, it was the first to be aired on television in the United States — thus garnering it immense popularity. Wing is technically the sixth installment in this idiosyncratic universe, but no knowledge of the previous characters or continuity is necessary. The characters and design in Wing are all multidimensional and the animation — although sometimes a little cheap looking — is often stunningly dynamic and graphically impressive. The story is also far more politically complex and adult than what you’d expect from a show that was ostensibly geared for children — in fact, the series is essentially an ongoing depiction of the psychological trauma caused by neverending war. 

4. ’12 Monkeys’

Terry Gilliam’s surrealist sci-fi masterpiece from 1995 is the main inspiration for this psychological, future thriller. Gilliam’s cult classic, which starred a young Bruce Willis, was a sort of steampunk-inflected nightmare world. The show is a bit less dreamlike than its source material but won multiple awards for cinematography nonetheless. Although its first season was not exactly warmly received, critics realized what a fully imagined universe it contained by the time they got to later episodes. 

12 Monkeys is set in a post-viral, post-apocalypse: following the spread of a deadly disease that wipes out most of humanity, clandestine networks begin experimenting with time travel in the hopes of averting widespread destruction. It all sounds a bit nauseating — especially in the age of Corona! — but the multiple timelines of the show make it a fascinating and visually stimulating puzzle box of a series. 

3. ‘Roswell’

For a certain group of millennials, Roswell formed a holy TV trinity alongside Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. These easily bingeable young-adult shows combined romance, horror, and science fiction in equal measures to create thoroughly enjoyable episodes featuring deliciously 90’s retro fashions. As Buffy and Angel, Roswell also featured surprisingly complicated characters engaging in teenage romances both emotionally touching and totally corny. Taking place in the infamous New Mexico town, Roswell follows a series of aliens attempting to fit in amongst normal high school students. They battle shadowy government agencies while navigating budding erotic feelings. It might all seem very silly at first, but it’ll be impossible to stop watching once you’re hooked.

2. ‘Akira’

Katsuhiro Otomo’s legendary 4000+ page manga was adapted into an astoundingly epic film in 1988 — with the help of every animation studio that had existed in Japan at the time. The story, an extensive exploration of the unwieldiness of youth and the atrocities of atomic weaponry, is hard to digest on a first watch-through, but subsequent viewings make the brutally ultra-violent scenes more legible. The stunningly crisp HD version currently available on Hulu makes every hand-drawn frame look impossibly beautiful and often gorgeously grotesque. 

1. ‘Melancholia’

Lars Von Trier, a pioneer in the cinema of evil, infamously suffered a nervous breakdown through the making of this movie. Upon its release, the director offered strange and controversial statements about artistry that caused the star of the film, Kirstin Dunst, to hesitantly disaffiliate from the auteur. It’s obvious this movie came from a place of immense suffering and sadness, but it’s truly a work of terrible beauty.

In Melancholia, a massive planet is hurtling towards the Earth and destined to destroy all life. With absolutely no hope for survival, humans totally give up and wonder if their lives are even worth grieving. An extended metaphor about the deep hopelessness caused by major depression, this masterpiece is far more emotionally complicated than your average big-budget sci-fi.

Categories
Culture Trading Cards

The 15 Most Powerful ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ Characters

Yu-Gi-Oh! first appeared on our television screens in the late 90s and in the nearly two and a half decades since its first iteration, it has gone through nearly a dozen different forms and remains here to this day. Based on that alone, it deserves a hell of a lot of respect that it doesn’t always get amongst its peers in anime. Today, it remains one of the most well-known card game anime of all time.

Of course, you can’t have Duel Monsters without the monsters. Maybe you’re looking to get into Yu-Gi-Oh!, maybe you’re looking to spend some money to expand your deck, or maybe you’re just a fan and love reading about it. Whatever the reason, you’ve found yourself in the right place here today.

Below is our list of the 15 most powerful monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh! Of course, power is relative. We’ve gone with a variety of cards that have been overpowered in tournaments, had the biggest impact in the series, and have a high amount of attack points. Let us know what you think and who makes your list.

1. Apoqliphort Towers
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This card is so powerful that it was actually banned from Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments. For it to be played, three Qliphort monsters must be sacrificed. It cannot be special summoned. Apoqliphort Towers is essentially immune to all spell and trap cards, as well as monsters that are a lower level than itself (10). Basically, it offers almost perfect protection.

2. Chaos Emperor Dragon – Envoy Of The End
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The original overpowered monster in Duel Monsters, you knew this one had to make our list. Not only does Chaos Emperor Dragon allow you to summon one DARK and one LIGHT monster from your graveyard, but if you pay 1,000 life points, you can send all cards on the field and in yours and your opponent’s hand to the graveyard, then do 300 damage for each card that was sent to the graveyard with that effect. It isn’t quite a one-turn kill, but it’s damn close, especially when used with Sangan and Yata-Garasu. Well, before it was banned anyway.

3. Dark Armed Dragon
Yu-Gi-Oh!

Requiring exactly three DARK monsters in your graveyard to be summoned, Dark Armed Dragon was so powerful that officially for tournaments, you were only allowed one in a deck. Once summoned, you could essentially destroy any three monsters on your opponent’s side. This was a meta for a while and was a main factor in a tier 0 deck. Only allowing players to have one at a time balanced it out a little.

4. Don Thousand / Monster B
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Second only to Don Thousand / Monster C (which also appears on this list) when it comes to its attack points, Don Thousand / Monster B is a beast. It boasts a whopping 10,000 ATK points. When on the field, this card automatically destroys all monsters on the opposite end of the field. To make things worse (for your opponent anyway), if it’s at risk of being destroyed, it can turn around and destroy one of your own monsters to protect itself instead.

5. Don Thousand / Monster C
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If you follow Yu-Gi-Oh! closely, then you know the name of this card and know exactly why it’s on this list. When it comes to attack points, anything in the 4,000 to 5,000 range was considered powerful for a while, and in the anime, 5,000 was pretty much the maximum any singular card could have without a special ability. Don Thousand / Monster C, however, boasts an unimaginable 10,000 attack and defense points, respectively.

6. Exodia, The Forbidden One
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One of the most famous Yu-Gi-Oh! monsters of all time, managing to draw all five pieces of Exodia, The Forbidden One ends the game instantly, so how could it not have made this list? Individually, the pieces are not worth much, but they’re certainly greater than the sum of their parts. You’ll need the heart of the cards for sure because Yugi himself only summoned Exodia once in the entire anime himself.

7. Last Turn
HobbyLark

When your life points at 1,000 or less and it’s your opponent’s turn is the only time you can play Last Turn. You pick one monster on your side of the field and send all other cards on the field and in yours and your opponent’s hands to the graveyard. Your opponent then gets to special summon a monster from their deck, but it must be face up in attack position and it must attack the monster you picked. The player whose monster remains wins the duel and any other result means the game is a draw. This type of bail out of course means the card is forbidden.

8. Master Peace, The True Dracoslaying King
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What makes Master Peace, The True Dracoslaying King unique is that it becomes immune to the type of card it was tributed by. So if you tributed a spell card and a trap card for it, it became immune to spell cards and trap cards. If you tributed a trap card a monster card for it, it became immune to trap cards and monster cards. You get the point. This made for an incredibly overpowered card that could often only be beaten with a monster with 3,000 attack points or more if someone got lucky. This resulted in its ban.

9. Number 16: Shock Master
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Don’t be fooled by the fact that this card is just a level 4 and has 2300 ATK points and 1600 DEF points. Number 16: Shock Master has the ability to nullify one monster, spell or trap card on the opponent’s side of the field per turn. But here’s what made it even more powerful. At one point, you could play multiple at a time and each one could take away a card on the opponent’s side, leaving them helpless, essentially not getting their turn.

10. Obelisk The Tormentor
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Sure, in tournaments, the Egyptian God cards’ flaws start to show a little bit, and they’re hardly used. But their power and importance in the anime truly cannot be overstated. Obelisk is probably objectively the weakest of the three God cards, but it’s still more than deserving of a spot on this list. If the player tributes two other monsters on the field during their battle phase, Obelisk gains unlimited attack power. It can also attack a player directly and take away all of the opponent’s monsters.

11. Slifer The Sky Dragon
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The second most powerful of the Egyptian God cards, Slifer The Sky Dragon is known well because it’s a card Yugi goes to a lot after he wins it. Slifer is powerful because it gains 1,000 attack and defense points for every card the player has in their hands. It also becomes the target of all opponents’ effects despite being immune, takes away 2,000 attack points from monsters in the attack position, and destroys them if they’re at 0 attack points.

12. Super Quantal Mech King Great Magnus
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Depending on how many XYZ materials you have for it, this card can get insanely powerful. With 2 or more, you can detach one material to take a card on the field and shuffle it, with 4 or more it becomes unaffected by all card effects except Super Quant cards and with 6 or more, your opponent cannot add cards to their hand.

13. The Tyrant Neptune
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Don’t be fooled by the 0 attack and 0 defense on The Tyrant Neptune. For a certain amount of time in tournaments, this card was almost broken because of how overpowered it could be. When you used Instant Fusion to bring out Lyrical Luscinia – Independent Nightingale and then tributed it for this card, its special effects mean it would be unaffected by anything with 6,000 attack points and would inflict 5,000 burn damage per turn. That’s what resulted in its ban a few years ago.

14. The Winged Dragon Of Ra
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Considered to be the most powerful of all of the Egyptian God cards, The Winged Dragon Of Ra being summoned makes for some epic moments in the anime. The attack and defense points for it are made up of the total of the three cards you tribute for it. You also have the option of giving up all but one of your life points (so 7,999 out of your 8,000 starting points, for example) and making those all attack points for the monster.

If that were not enough, Ra’s God Phoenix ability allows for the player to pay 1,000 life points for it to attack and destroy all of the opponent’s monsters. Just like the other God cards, this one feels like an instant win.

15. Victory Dragon
Yu-Gi-Oh! Wiki

The clue is in the name here. This card was specifically overly powerful in tournaments and has since been banned. Matches are sets of three duels with the winner of course having to win two of the three. However, if you win a duel by attacking with Victory Dragon, you have won the entire match. It was banned not only for this insane rule, but because people forfeited before they were attacked by it, perhaps rightfully so, nullifying it.

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Culture Movies/TV

The 20 Best Thrillers on Hulu To Watch

Few genres are as slippery as thrillers: what exactly differentiates thrillers from horror, or noir, or espionage? Boiled down to the most obvious motifs, thrillers are about crime, suspense, and psychological terror — but it’s more than that. Thrillers have a feel, a tone, and a mood that are distinct, but it’s hard to say where the genre begins and ends. 

Hulu’s selection of thrillers ranges vastly in quality and sub-genre: they’ve got original TV series based on beloved sci-fi — mingled in with brutal and avant-garde interpretations of true crime stories and campy erotic classics. We’ve gone through the whole thriller section and sorted out what’s actually worth watching. Check out our list of the best 20 thriller TV shows and movies currently available to stream.

20. ‘The Act’

True crime fanatics became obsessed with the case of Dee Dee Blanchard, a woman in Missouri who was murdered under mysterious circumstances. The real-life story that unraveled was deeply unsettling: it turns out Dee Dee had been keeping her daughter captive by convincing her she was debilitatingly ill and severely brain-damaged. Hulu’s original series, The Act, is a dramatization of this true-crime nightmare. Impressive acting from Patricia Arquette and Joey King helped garner the show a handful of Emmy nominees.

19. ‘Antebellum’

Janelle Monae stars in this Jordan Peele-esque social thriller, written and directed by Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz. Dealing with the legacy and brutality of slavery in the United States, the movie is a horror-inflected tale of a woman trapped in a plantation, desperate to escape. Critics were divided about the movie’s implicit morality and emotional impact, but it’s a politically complex film that takes Black identity and trauma as a subject of serious inquiry. 

18. ‘Die Hard’

Often considered the greatest action movie ever made, Die Hard is quite obviously Bruce Willis’s crowning cinematic achievement (other than Fifth Element). The plot is somehow totally irrelevant, as the movie is a series of high-octane chase sequences with quippy and memorable catchphrases in between. Even if the plot is incoherent, the suspense builds into a hypnotic crescendo. The movie wound up spawning numerous sequels, at least one of which is also available on Hulu, but it’s best to stick with the original.

17. ‘Fargo’

Based on the iconic dark comedy of the same name by the Coen brothers, Fargo is a bleak and morbidly humorous thriller about crime in the midwest. The show’s got an absurdly star-studded cast and features an anthology story structure, meaning that each season is a self-contained narrative. Although each episode claims to be based on true events, the plot is in reality totally fabricated. Despite its cynical tone, the show snagged an astounding amount of accolades: out of 226 nominations, it snatched a total of 51 awards. 

16. ‘Free Fall’

Free Fall is a German, erotic thriller with a broodingly serious tone. A meditation on repressed desire, the movie contemplates a gay affair between two police officers and the ramifications of their illicit love. With the protagonist’s fragile masculinity at stake, violence threatens to erupt at every moment. Don’t expect laughs: even the film’s most playful and sexy moments are filled with desperate angst.

15. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Based on the terrifying speculative sci-fi novel by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale considers America’s penchant for evangelical fascism by contemplating what a conservative revolt and subsequent coup would actually look like in action. In Atwood’s hideous future, women are enslaved and used as receptacles for breeding while being fed a brainwashing regiment of hyper-religious extremism. In the TV show Elisabeth Moss plays Offred, a woman captured and tortured by the Gilead regime. But can she organize an underground movement to overthrow her fanatical overseers? As American conservatism’s fervency reaches new insane heights in reality, the predictions of this show have seemed more accurate by the second.

The show deserves a bit of a content warning: while the first season sticks pretty close to the original novel, the second and subsequent seasons diverge significantly. Also, because forced breeding is a central plot point of the story, the whole series contains a nauseating amount of sexual violence that many people have found to be simply unwatchable. The second season in particular sometimes resembles torture-porn more than melodrama, but the third season tones down the violence just a bit.

14. ‘The Purge’

Based on the movie franchise of the same name, the concept of The Purge is simple: One day a year, all crime is legal. The backstory behind the strange concept is actually somewhat politically sophisticated: in this imagined near-future, the American government devised a way to reduce widespread violence by allowing Americans one day a year to release the anger and rage that boils inside them. What began as an extended contemplation on the USA’s obsession with violence has turned into a sanguine thriller about corruption and class resentment and the fanaticism of the Second Amendment. The first season focuses on a single Purge night in the year 2027 and follows several intersecting stories. In our current political climate, what seems like an absurd concept becomes more prescient by the second.

13. ‘Only God Forgives’

Nicholas Winding Refn’s film Drive made waves in 2011 for its hyper-stylized, neon-drenched aesthetic. His follow-up film, Only God Forgives, continues the auteur’s ultra-violent thesis in a gorgeously shot and moodily scored thriller about criminal organizations in Thailand. Also starring Ryan Gosling, Only God Forgives is both mesmerizingly dreamy and stunningly bloody. It’s probably one of the most visually pleasing thrillers ever made, but it’s not for the squeamish or sensitive. 

12. ‘Vanilla Sky’

Based on the deliriously strange Spanish film Abre Los Ojos, Vanilla Sky is a philosophical exploration of the limits of reality. What the movie has in smarts, it lacks in aesthetic (and Tom Cruise’s terrible acting certainly doesn’t help) — but the existential questions it raises about the nature of dreams and our understanding of consciousness makes it an interesting film nonetheless. Loosely inspired by the hallucinatory novels of Phillip K. Dick, there’s a lot in here for people who love mindfucks.  

11. ‘Angel’

It would be easy to dismiss Angel as a cheaply made spinoff of the more popular Buffy The Vampire Slayer — but the show is just as lovable and sophisticated as the series that introduced its protagonist. After the eponymous demonic hero departs from Sunnydale, a strange series of events leads him to found Angel Investigations, a supernatural detective agency that winds up accidentally averting the apocalypse several times. Angel struggles with his own vampiric bloodlust while saving humanity from destruction. The show’s Lovecraftian fifth season, in particular, is astoundingly emotionally complex and well written.

10. ‘Hannibal’

ShowrunnerBryan Fuller takes a lot of creative liberties with novelist Thomas Harris’s Hannibal tetralogy in this mind-bending crime thriller about a super-genius psychologist with a taste for human flesh. The cannibal doctor and a detective investigating a bizarre series of murders engage in a terribly erotic dance of death over the course of several psychedelic seasons which at some points seem more like short art films than traditional TV. Excellent acting from Mads Mikkelson and Gillian Anderson elevates the drama and suspense to unparalleled excess. 

9. ‘Parasite’

Bong Joon-Ho’s widely celebrated social thriller about the cruelty of capitalism is an undisputed masterpiece. A family of con artists attempts to infiltrate a wealthy household, but discover deep, dark secrets hidden in the basement. We won’t say much more than that — there’s a lot of twists that aren’t worth spoiling — but the movie is an effective excoriation of how brutal and unrelenting South Korea’s enormous wealth gap has become.

8. ‘Hounds of Love’

Comparable to deeply vicious horror-thrillers like Snowtown Murders or Martyrs, Hounds of Love is a terribly nihilistic story, loosely based on the crimes of David and Catherine Birnie, a serial-killing couple in Australia. Although the movie is visually impressive and emotionally complex — especially in its portrayal of the dysfunctional relationship between the two murderous protagonists — the sexual violence throughout the film is hard to stomach, even for the most callous of audiences. It’s astounding that given the movie’s bleakness and graphic depictions of torture, it still managed to receive largely positive reviews and score several international awards nominations.

7. ‘Body of Evidence’

Few thrillers are as reviled as Body of Evidence, a movie which Roger Ebert frequently described as one of his most hated films. It’s tawdry, cheaply made, and stupidly written. But there are pleasures to be found in absurdly bad movies — especially ones starring Madonna! Often described as a ripoff of both Basic Instinct, this movie is an oft-ignored camp classic. 

6. ‘Twilight Zone’

Originally running from 1959 to 1964, The Twilight Zone set the standard for serialized sci-fi. The show’s episodes range from paranoiac thrillers to space-age psychosis — all in bite-sized 30 minute short stories. Rod Sterling drew from several authors for inspiration, and each mysterious tale usually came with a totally unexpected twist or moral warning. Although they’ve been endlessly spoofed and reinterpreted, the original episodes still make a strong impact.

5. ‘X Files’

Scully and Mulder can’t stop getting abducted by aliens in this 11 season sci-fi thriller investigating every conspiracy theory imaginable. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny remain charismatic protagonists throughout the show’s expansive run, and their travels into the supernatural have had a lasting impact on almost every show that came after. The quality throughout is extremely inconsistent, so if you’re looking to skip a lot of filler, consider following a guide.

4. ‘Lords of Chaos’

Jonas Åkerlund, the drummer of the notorious metal band Bathory, directs this crime thriller based on the real-life murders associated with a shadowy cult of black metal enthusiasts. How accurate the movie is in its depictions of these killings has been hotly debated, but it’s an interesting insider look into the social isolation and extremism that compels such heinous actions. 

3. ‘Ingrid Goes West’

In a similar vein as this year’s Promising Young Woman, Ingrid Goes West is a feminist thriller commenting on expressions of womanhood in the digital age. After release from a psychiatric hospital, the eponymous protagonist becomes fixated on a social media influencer’s perfect life. Her courting of the young celebrity becomes dangerously close to stalking as her obsession takes a pathological turn. Although the movie is technically a black comedy, the humor throughout is notably dark.

2. ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’

A suburban mother (played by Tilda Swinton) had always suspected there was something wrong with her son, but she couldn’t ever figure out what. Then, one day, he commits mass murder at his high school. This heartbreaking movie is a descent into every parent’s worst nightmare, rendered with extreme emotional sensitivity and artistic complexity. Based on the novel of the same name by Lynne Ramsey, We Need to Talk About Kevin is a powerful and disturbing exploration of sociopathy and identity.

1. ‘Twin Peaks’

TV critics often cite Twin Peaks as the greatest show ever made, and with good reason. Romantic, surreal, emotional, erotic, melodramatic, and endlessly alluring, David Lynch’s deeply avant-garde series about the dark underbelly of an American lumber town spans several genres. What begins with an FBI investigation into the death of a homecoming queen winds up having apocalyptic ramifications: Special Agent Dale Cooper (played by the impossibly charming Kyle McLaughlin) slowly solves this unfathomable mystery through his dreams and travels to other dimensions. It sounds zany — and it is! — but the characters all have real hearts, and the visual styling throughout is devastatingly beautiful.