Abraham Lincoln

Ken and Robin Consume Media: Food Court Megalomania and Cross-Canada Spring Rolls

January 14th, 2020 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.


Chop Suey Nation (Nonfiction, Ann Hui, 2019) Food writer’s coast-to-coast tour of small town Chinese restaurants in restaurants leads her to the surprise story of her own parents. Sometimes droll, often moving, always keenly observed blend of travelogue, food diffusion study, and family memoir makes a convincing argument that the quintessential Canadian dish is ginger beef.—RDL

First Man (Film, US, Damien Chazelle, 2018) Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) takes his grief over his young daughter’s cancer death and stuffs it deep inside the shell of stoicism that will take him through the rattletrap dangers of NASA’s mission to the moon. Working from a screenplay by Josh Singer, Chazelle trains his jittery verve on material that takes a giant leap past the callowness of his previous self-penned celebrations of greatness-at-any-cost.—RDL

Gone With the Mind (Fiction, Mark Leyner, 2016) After an extended introduction from his doting, oversharing mother, obliviously self-obsessed author Mark Leyner introduces a reading of his latest work to a mall food court populated only by a pair of disinterested workers on break. Leyner gets as personal as absurdist, stream-of-consciousness presentation allows in this hilarious anti-autobiography.—RDL

Wild Nights With Emily (Film, US, Madeleine Olnek, 2018) As the late Emily Dickinson’s (Molly Shannon) self-appointed literary guardian (Amy Seimetz) tells her censored, condescending version of the poet’s life, we see a truer version that includes her decades-long affair with the childhood friend (Susan Zeigler) who became her sister-in-law. Respectful of the poetry but irreverent toward the once-prevailing official story, this busts stuffy biopic convention with a deceptively light sketch comedy playing style.—RDL


Murder! (Film, UK, Alfred Hitchcock, 1930) Suffering second thoughts after serving on a jury that condemned a young colleague to death, an esteemed actor (Herbert Marshall) commences his own investigation of the murder in question. A chance for Hitchcock completists to watch him try to experiment his way past the limitations of early sound cinema.—RDL

Rush (Film, US, Ron Howard, 2013) Two drivers with contrastingly arrogant personalities, hard-partying, swaggering James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and brusque and calculating Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) bitterly vie for the 1976 Formula One championship. As it’s unusual for a Peter Morgan script to have no apparent point of view until a final scene of obvious dialogue spells it all out, I’m guessing that a wheel came off in production, sending the film to the voice-over pit stop.—RDL

2 Responses to “Ken and Robin Consume Media: Food Court Megalomania and Cross-Canada Spring Rolls”

  1. Justin says:

    Is Ken ok?

  2. Phil Masters says:

    Presumably just busy, or travelling. Happens sometimes.

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