I’ll be in my trailer… watching trailers: Pirates and the Art of Monkey Maintenance

Join us every week for a trip into the weird and wonderful world of trailers. Whether it’s the first teaser for the latest instalment in your favourite franchise, an obscure preview for a strange indie darling, whether it’s good, bad, ugly or just plain weird – your favourite pop culture baristas are there to tell you what they think.

While the Criterion Collection is basically catnip for a certain kind of film lover, not every Criterion film is an unreserved triumph, and while there are things to like about Czechoslovak New Wave fairytale Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, Matt wasn’t altogether enchanted. (What you’ll find isn’t so much a trailer as an introduction to the film that Criterion put together. Trust me: I’ve looked at the trailer that’s available, and you don’t want to see that one.)

And just an hour or two ago, this week’s Six Damn Fine Degrees post landed, in which Mege writes about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. There’s no film adaptation, and we weren’t sure what to do instead in terms of trailers: The Motorcycle Diaries? And then inspiration struck…

That was the last week on A Damn Fine Cup of Culture – but wait, there is more to come!

Mege: I’m sure Kate Dickie is the nicest of persons in real life, hugging kittens and smiling at everyone. In her roles, more often than not, she plays characters who forecast dark times or horrifying events, mostly with her wonderful, insinuating Scottish accent. No wonder she has a long list of horror movies to her name: Red Road (2006), The VVitch (2015), The Northman (2022), or this one here, Shepherd. There is not a chance for Tom Hughes to come out of this one unscathed.

Matt: The Stanley Parable is a great game that is basically unlike most games out there. It’s perhaps the closest games have come to the metafictions of Charlie Kaufman, albeit less depressing and with more of a sense of fun – and the best narrator in all of video games. The Stanley Parable originally came out (at least as a professional standalone) in 2011 – and now we’re close to the release of the vastly expanded re-release The Stanley Parable Ultra Deluxe, which should be a great way for newcomers to discover the weird and wonderful world that Davey Wreden and William Pugh put together, and an equally great way for veterans of Stanley‘s uncanny offices and corridors to reacquaint themselves with the game.

Matt: And staying with games: I thought that the Monkey Island saga had come to an end – which I was okay with, since none of the games since 1991’s Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge quite lived up to that weird, wonderful, wonderfully funny yet strangely dark gem of a point and click adventure game. Incidentally, the games lost some of their magic when, after the second episode, creator/writer Ron Gilbert left, as all the sequels were made by different creative teams that lacked Gilbert’s particular tone. Now, 31 years later (!), it seems that Ron Gilbert gets to do the thing that fans of Aliens and detractors of Alien 3 have been wishing for: a chance for a do-over. Return to Monkey Island brings Gilbert back to continue the story the way he’d already envisaged. What about the sequels that came out in the meantime? Alternate continuity, baby! Hey, if Star Trek can do it, why shouldn’t Monkey Island?

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