Occasionally you absolutely HAVE to watch something that you don’t want to. That’s life. That’s sharing a house and/or TV. That’s marriage. That’s a sign there are no batteries in the remote.
That’s where OGR can help.
By the way, some of these will be obvious, but other recommendations might be a little less so. That’s because I don’t think you need another guy saying ‘watch The Avengers’, so my aim is to highlight some lesser known yet still deserving flicks and albums.
I’ll list a few things here when something takes my fancy, or you can check out the OGR Recommends category on the right margin for a more comprehensive list.
Take my hand – or not – while I lead you to greatness, or at least tolerable competency.
- The Babadook – A masterful multi-layered horror film that should put the fear of god into both people who don’t like monsters, and equally those with kids.
- Big Hero 6 – Possibly the best non-Pixar animated film for a long while. A kid-friendly super-hero film that the adults can enjoy.
- John Wick – I saw it in 2015, and wish I could see it again for the first time tomorrow. The reinvention of Sad Keanu might well be in the form of Angry Keanu.
- Mad Max: Fury Road – Speaking of Mad, George Miller emerges from retirement to show all the modern day action pretenders how it should look and how it should be done. Here’s hoping he doesn’t wait another 20 years to blow us away again.
- The Pact 1 and The Pact 2 – I’m putting it here because you haven’t seen it, but if you like horror without histrionics, you should. And see both.Underground Lovers – Weekend: They make the low key classic album Cold Feeling in the late 90s, then vanish. They return with another great album that shows no rust and reminds us of exactly what we have been missing for so long.
- Dave Attell: Road Work – Just Dave, two cameras – one operated by an unwitting audience member – and an endless stream of often off the cuff hilarity. Bill Burr tells better stories and can build himself a rant, but for profane one-liners and all around quick witted audience involvement, Dave has returned to reclaim the throne.(In a bad year for sport – both my teams have been irrelevant all decade season, I moved to TV.)
- Archer – I’m angry at everyone I know for not pointing me in the direction of Archer, the handsome and capable secret agent that is also a sleazy, drunken self centred – hilarious mess. Thankfully, this lead to a six season binge that I only recently finished.
- Rick and Morty – A winning burping, stuttering, vomit stained duo who travel through dimensions, taking on monsters, aliens and dopey family members with more creativity and flair than a hundred Family Guys.
- Chef – A movie about a career chef who will risk it all to get his groove back. Like the lawyer on The Castle said though, ‘it’s all about the vibe’…
- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – OK so now they can talk (and ride horses!) but I get the impression that the best is yet to come…
- Gone Girl – An impossibly convoluted, and improbably implausible series of events that start with a broken coffee table. An adult thriller that should be taken with popcorn.
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Fast, funny, inventive and chock full of rounded characters. My favourite super-hero film since Bruce fell down the well.
- The Hobbit Trilogy – It doesn’t stand comparison to The Lord of the Rings trilogy well, but The Hobbit improved as it went along on his furry-footed journey, with Smaug probably being the best of the bunch.
- Oculus – Creeping horror without flash or unnecessary frills. Shows us where the scare will be and then takes it’s sweet scary time bringing the goods.
- The Raid 2 – More ambitious and wider in scope, and ultimately just a snick under the original masterpiece. But ambition is admirable, and some new characters and a couple incredible set-pieces guarantee that there is like and invention in this franchise yet.
- Bill Burr: I’m Sorry You Feel that Way – Yep Bill Burr two in a row. He doesn’t do much different to last year’s effort, but this is consistently funnier and sharper. I also had the privilege of seeing him live in 2015, which I won’t forget in a hurry.
- Police – Jo Nesbo: This is like three prime time TV shows in one. There are grisly murders to investigate, a charismatic genius investigator, a fearless female cop and a fiendish and driven killer behind it all.
- Game of Thrones – It only took many years but I finally succumbed to Game of Thrones. It’s grown up, takes no prisoners, favours no-one and takes chances. Spoiler: I like it, even though I’m not at Fanboy levels yet.
- True Detective – Mature and uncompromising, with seven compelling episodes let down just a little by a bit of a bland and forgettable finale. Sometimes a twist is your friend guys. (And let’s not talk too much about season 2.)
- Evil Dead 2013 – Newcomer Fede Alvarez takes the 1981 ingredients and mixes ’em up. The result is an all grim, all violent, all straight faced piece of nasty.
- Intouchables – A French film about an unexpected yet uplifting relationship between a street wise young man and a wealthy disabled shut-in.
- Iron Man 3 – The third episode of the mega-millionaire in the metal mask is the best so far. Robert Downey Jr and writer director Shane Black take Stark in exciting new directions.
- The World’s End – The tail end of the Cornetto (trilogy) is often the sweetest. That isn’t the case here, but no-one makes the ‘mainstream’ look and feel like Edgar Wright does.
- This is 40 – The ‘sort of’ sequel to Knocked Up improves on the original by leaving off the sloppy chick-friendly ending.
- Upstream Colour – Here. You watch this and tell me what it’s about.
- Underground Lovers – Weekend: They make the low key classic album Cold Feeling in the late 90s, then vanish. They return with another great album that shows no rust and reminds us of exactly what we have been missing for so long.
- City of Thieves – David Benioff: Two men hunting for chicken eggs in a city (Leningrad) under siege at the height of WW2 might not sound riveting – but it is. Might be more appealing if I mention the author is one of the creators of Game of Thrones.
- Thirteen Tonne Theory – Mark Seymour: There have been a million books written from within the world of rock. Not so many have ignored the usual themes while still managing to be as fascinating and well written as this one. Go the Hunnas!
- This Year… If it ain’t Aussie Rules football, I ain’t bothered with it yet. Go the Lions!
- The Grey – Alaska at its harshest. Liam Neeson at his manliest. Killer wolves at their wolviest. A dude-flick at the least female friendliest.
- The Adventures of Tintin – A boy’s own adventure flick of the highest order. Highly recommended. World, meet Tintin. I’m glad to have him aboard.
- The Muppets – They’re back, and better than they’ve been since the 80s. Jason Segal and Brett McKenzie give life back to our favourite socks with eyes.
- Looper – It saddens me that this isn’t already legendary at Blade Runner levels. I have faith it will get there in time.
- The Raid: Redemption – Like most suffixes the ‘Redemption’ part means sweet F.A. Doesn’t matter a zack though, this is the most awe inspiring martial arts film since Jackie Chan was risking life and limb in the Police Story series. There. I said it.
- Common: The Dreamer, the Believer – Refreshingly Kanye free – though you could convince me he came up with the pretentious title – Common takes it back to his low key roots. Best track: Raw
- El-P: Cancer for Cure – Hip-Hop’s darkest and off kilter super-producer is back (find Cannibal Ox) with another upsetting, stomach churning bass heavy album full of depressing lyrics, staccato beats and worthwhile tracks. Best track: Drones over Bklyn
- Something for Kate: Leave your Soul to Science – Those who know me know how predictable this is, but it’s also a sign of just how predictably excellent this group are. Best track: Control
- Bill Burr: You People are all the same – Opinionated and aggressively non-PC, Burr can turn any topic into a hilarious rant that divides audiences into the half that take things too seriously and the other who don’t take things seriously enough.
- The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson – I still watch The Walking Dead, but the Scottish American bloke with the robot skeleton and the creepy transgender horse is the best way to kill half an hour without thinking. Kimmel’s show is more professional and often funnier, Craigyferg is more dangerous and unpredictable.
- Warrior – An MMA Karate Kid / Kickboxer flick with more brains and heart than both.
- Captain America: The First Avenger / Thor – Comic book flicks done right.
- Drive – Ryan Gosling wears a Beat Street appropriate jacket while he gets his violent getaway driver Rain Man on. Not for everyone.
- Paranormal Activity 3 / Stake Land / Rec 2 – Because good horror is always necessary.
- Source Code / Limitless – Flawed but undeniably creative. I flip-flop between which one I think is better. For right nowsies that title stays with Limitless. Both are very good.
- Rango – Animated film of the year, with a primo voice performance by one Mr J. Depp.
- The Troll Hunter – Norwegian doco makers hunt mythical beasties. Kooky.
- True Grit / Winter’s Bone – Because sometimes the parents come around and don’t want to watch Thor or Rec 2.
- Jebediah: Koscuizko – Australia’s favourite bouncy pop teens are now in their thirties. And still making our heads nod and knees creak. Best track: Control.
- Mark Seymour & The Undertow – Ex Hunnas frontman with the expected lyrical excellence but with unexpected tunesmanship. I invented a word. Great summer music. Best track: Sometimes I Wonder If I Know Too Much About You
- People Under the Stairs: Highlighter – PUTS should be locked in a cell and forced to release an album every month. Sorry Double K and Thes One, it’s for the betterment of modern day hip-hop. Best track: Uprock Boogie.
- Killer Mike: Pl3dge – Killer Mike titles his angry new album after a car license plate. Hard to find, don’t let that dissuade you.
- Patton Oswalt: Finest Hour – Not actually his finest hour – that would be Werewolves & Lollipops, but still hilarious. Best track: The Bugged Car.
- The Walking Dead – Someone in TV land realised what film-makers have known for decades; zombies are cheap, scary and have a huge following. Fortunately the show very nearly matches the hype. Season 2.5 currently airing.