Butcher's beef diagram with movies and podcasts instead of cuts of meat

Curated Beef, February 2023



It’s neverending, isn’t it? The machine pushes ever forward, its inertia so great that it rolls over pandemics, the splintering of accessibility, the lack of free time. The modern landscape of motion pictures would surely seem foreign to its earliest moguls like Jack Warner: a few films making it into theaters for a few weeks (if they are lucky), thousands more released monthly on streaming services with little fanfare except for the rare ones which generate buzz (or unless you follow that service’s social media). And then there are the series: hundreds of channels and dozens of streaming services all making countless hours of serialized murder shows and home improvement shows and home improvement murder shows.

The whole process gets me down sometimes. Years past, one could talk to another person about a TV show or a movie and they’d be familiar with it, at least enough to talk.  Worst case, you’d drill down a level or two and find something to discuss, whether it be another project by the people involved or a similar story.

Lately, talking about motion pictures feels like a meeting of two nomads on the steppe, each exchanging news of places that the other has never heard of and will never visit.

“Hail, traveler. What news of far-off Xanadu?”

“I watched Only Murders in the Building.”

“Is that on Peacock?”

“No, Hulu.”

“Oh. I don’t have Hulu. I watched Ambulance. It was wild.”

“Is that a medical show?”

“No. A movie by Michael Bay. They shot some of it with cameras on drones.”

“I never heard of it. Until next year, fair traveler.”


There is no longer discussion; instead it is two or more people recommending stuff to each other that all parties forget about moments after the conversation. I’m more organized than the average bear, so I try to add these recommendations to my Letterboxd watchlist if they are movies, or to my general life to-do spreadsheet if it is a show. But even then, the chances are slim that I’ll subscribe to a new streaming service just to access one thing one time.

Curated Beef has been an effort on my part to hoard recommendations, digest the neverending slate of releases, and then relay the most interesting ones to you. This serves several purposes. It keeps me personally aware of new releases, because even a motivated person loses track of ephemera. Two, it gives me a reference for when people ask for recommendations. And three, it means that, if I am lucky, someone will watch something on these lists and we can talk about it at a later date.

Now on to the recommendations.


Moving Pictures

A detective is looking straight ahead and a car is reflected in her sunglasses

Poker Face

Streaming on Peacock

If you enjoyed Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and Knives Out, I have good news for you. The writer/director of those, Rian Johnson, has released a detective show on Peacock. And freakin’ Natasha Lyonne is the lead! I’ve always been a fan of Lyonne, from Russian Doll to Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie to American Pie to Orange Is the New Black. The trailers for Poker Face look promising, and the cast is stacked (Benjamin Bratt, Simon Helberg, Adrien Brody, Ellen Barkin, Ron Perlman, Lil Rel Howery).


Two rich people wearing disfigured masks sit in the back of a convertible at night

Infinity Pool

In theaters 1/27/2023

Mia Goth is on a hot streak. She had two huge horror films last year in X and its follow-up Pearl. Here she is joined by Alexander Skarsgård, who himself had a great 2022 with The Northman and will be on the new season of Succession. They star in this bugnuts film from director Brandon Cronenberg, whose last was the excellent and unnerving Possessor (2020).

The premise is that rich people attend a resort in a country where they learn that they can buy their way out of any criminal charge. They find themselves unsurprisingly bereft of self-control or morals, and I won’t spoil the twists for you. If you could stomach Possessor or the more macabre entries in Cronenberg’s father’s ouevre (Crash; Dead Ringers; The Brood), this is one for you.




A hand with yellow-painted fingernails is holding two cards, one with a drawing of Denzel Washington and another of Helen Mirren

Cinephile: A Card Game

We’ve been enjoying this associative movie game. The premise is simple: there is a deck of 150 cards, and on each is an actor and a movie title. With these cards, one can play seven different games (plus two more variants listed on the company’s website), including classics like Six Degrees of Separation and a Blind Man’s Bluff game where one guesses the name of the performer by asking Yes or No questions.

Now one could obviously play these games just by creating a random list of movie stars, but the game is worthwhile due to its beautiful graphic design (one criticism: the cards are glossy and the background a bright white, so the movie titles are illegible in bright light).

The game has several expansions available, each of which add a themed compilation of additional performers. So if you are the kind of person for whom this is a fun challenge, this is for you.

An example of Six Degrees from the image above:

Denzel Washington was in Malcom X with Delroy Lindo.

Delroy Lindo was in Heist with Rebecca Pidgeon.

Rebecca Pidgeon was in State and Main with Sarah Jessica Parker.

Sarah Jessica Parker was in LA Story with Richard E. Grant.

Richard E. Grant was in Hudson Hawk with Bruce Willis.

Bruce Willis was in Red with Helen Mirren.




George Collier

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@GeorgeCollier

This is a delightful YouTube channel which highlights incredible musical performances. The novelty is that the performance is musically transcribed and includes real-time notes such as “place metal ruler over treble strings” or “add a half beat so audience stays in time.”

The channel is a good reminder of how many talented musicians are out there in the world performing in places you may never go, and their virtuosity will knock you on your ass. The transcription of a Jethro Tull flute solo is another notable entry, which includes notes like “kick air demons” and “fancy finger gesture.”




I’m in a little bit of a rut, as I’m waiting for my wife to catch up on Pretending to Be People, and my go-to history podcast (The Rest Is History) has been on a WWII Germany stint for the past month.

However, Dan Carlin dropped a new episode of Hardcore History after a ten-month gap (which itself was preceded by a nine-month gap). The new episode is called “Twilight of the Aesthir” and continues Carlin’s exhaustive coverage of post-Roman Northern European history started in the excellent episode “Thor’s Angels.” The new HH episode is five hours long, which is on par with the usual HH release.

The excellent James Bonding podcast is out from behind a paywall and the two Matts are slowly releasing their back catalog on your standard podcast apps. They will be doing a special run of Indiana Jonesing episodes in the run-up to Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (release date June 30, 2023), so look for more details on that in the June Curated Beef.


Local Life

Shout-out to WorkOut AnyTime WestView (so many weird word clusters), a 24/7 gym in West View. Local fitness has been a source of frustration for me since the YMCA in Bellevue closed permanently in 2020, so a new gym was music to my ears. The facility is clean and the staff are helpful. Price is reasonable, too!

Speaking of music to my ears in the North Hills, I finally visited Music to My Ear on Babcock Boulevard. It is a beautifully stocked record store, with a deep inventory of vinyl and excellent speakers and turntables for sale. The staff were knowledgable and helpful, the store was pleasant, and they were playing Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young when I visited. You can’t go wrong with that.