HUNTED, HAUNTED HOME?
Next time someone says horror films are formulaic, slap them with a remote and then put on His House, written and directed by Remi Weekes. Streaming on Netflix, the film follows a couple from South Sudan that's granted very conditional asylum in an English town. Condition one? They must stay in the house provided for them, even if its other, invisible inhabitants are less than cordial. Masterful and terrifying, His House displays the complexity of diasporic experiences in England and the chilling effects of trauma on a marriage. (LAUREN GILMORE)
The podcast Heavyweight exists somewhere between This American Life and Reply All, a show in which host Jonathan Goldstein resolves the conflicts of regular people, reuniting them with long-lost friends or answering minor mysteries that have bugged them for years. The show just debuted a new season, and Goldstein's new cases include a woman searching for the man who took care of her uncle as he died of AIDS, a brother and sister uncovering the dark ulterior motives of their late psychiatrist father, and a musician haunted by his performance in a terrible fast food commercial. It's one of my favorite podcasts, one that takes a fleeting encounter or minor injustice and weaves it into a story that's narratively involving and emotionally satisfying. (NATHAN WEINBENDER)
Expand your intellectual horizons and meet fellow readers in the community through the Spokane County Library District's new online book club, launching in January. First up is Michelle McNamara's bestselling I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, which participants can read between January and March. The club is free to all SCLD library card holders, who'll get immediate ebook access to the selected title after signing up. Chat about each title with fellow club members via an online forum, and vote for upcoming club books. Details at pbc.guru/scld. (CHEY SCOTT)
HERE SHE IS
If it feels like Dolly Parton is everywhere these days, you're not imagining things. Between a new Christmas album, a new book, a podcast dedicated to her life and more, the brilliant songwriter and country star is potentially the only living being on Earth who had a good 2020. Hell, her donation to Vanderbilt even helped develop one of the successful COVID-19 vaccines. If you haven't quite had your fill of everything Dolly, fire up the documentary Dolly Parton: Here I Am on Netflix and settle in for a crash course in one of American music's best stories, from her poor upbringing to global superstardom, all of it done with a smile by one of the most business-savvy musicians around. (DAN NAILEN)
THIS WEEK'S PLAYLIST
There's noteworthy new music arriving in stores and online this week. To wit:
STEVE EARLE AND THE DUKES, J.T. The Americana legend takes on 10 songs from his recently deceased son Justin Townes Earle's catalog, and adds an original, too.
BARRY GIBB, Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook Vol. 1. The surviving Bee Gee collaborates with excellent Nashville talent on some of his best tunes.
SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE, Lockdown 2020. Hagar tackles covers including songs by Bob Marley and David Bowie. Something tells me the songs probably should have stayed on lockdown. (DAN NAILEN)