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    Tuesday, February 27, 2024

    Tipping Point: Our picks and pans


    The Only Good Indians

    Stephen Graham Jones

    I suspect you'll be sitting alone on Halloween because what's scary is the idea that parents would actually take kids out during a pandemic. So it'll just be you on your couch, your poorly carved jack-o'-lantern flickering anemically as you resolutely munch your way through the 375-count bag of mini Snickers and Butterfingers and Twixes and Raisinettes (because throwing in a crappy candy is one way manufacturers A) get rid of it and B) insert a bit of "trick" into "trick or treat"). No fun at all, right? But hold on! You have just enough time this week to buy "The Only Good Indians" by the inventive horror/fantastic fiction writer Stephen Graham Jones. A Blackfeet Indian, Jones is a master of weaving Native American lore and mythology into contemporary social settings — effectively frightening the hell out of you as he makes important observations. A decade after four teenage friends from the res made an adrenalized mistake on an elk hunt hoping to secure meat for the winter, animal manifestations begin to intrude into their wildly disparate lives. Fantastic!

    — Rick Koster 


    On the Rocks

    This is a slight movie, except for one important feature: Bill Murray. Murray energizes the proceedings every time he appears as a charming, merrily irresponsible rascal. (What a stretch, right?) He swoops in to help his daughter, played by Rashida Jones, when she suspects her husband (Marlon Wayans) is cheating on her. A lot of lurking and spying serves as father-daughter bonding time. Sophia Coppola wrote and directed the film, which doesn’t bring much new or surprising to the idea of a spouse suspecting infidelity. As we’ve come to expect from Coppola, she sets the tale in a world of extreme privilege. "On the Rocks" wouldn't have much reason to exist were it not for Murray. Oh, and for Jenny Slate, who has a scene-stealing cameo as a fellow school mom who pelts Jones with hilariously self-absorbed monologues.

    — Kristina Dorsey


    Maple Cheerios

    As I continue to make my way through the e'er-expanding varieties of flavored Cheerios — I'm typing with one hand as I toss handfuls of dry cereal in my mouth with the other — it seems the possibilities are limitless. How soon can we expect Wild Salmon Cheerios or Cauliflower Cheerios? Personally, I'm so happy with the Cinnamon and Cinnamon Oat Clusters varieties that, as far as I'm concerned, there's no need for the Creative Folks in the Flavor Department to go any further. Take this Maple brand. Is it maple-y? Why, yes. Not overpowering and with a relatively authentic flavor as opposed to, oh, the fake maple syrup you might find in a pancake house in Beirut. At the same time, it's just sorta ... bland. Idea: pour REAL maple syrup over your Maple Cheerios!

    — Rick Koster

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