Set on the Isle of Man, where a former TV star returns after many unsuccessful years in Hollywood because a murder suspect is obsessed with his character. Not as funny as even the opening credits of Alan Partridge, but it’ll do. The Boosh’s Julian Barratt plays the washed-up Mindhorn, Alan PaSteve Coogan as his hated ex-costar who became hugely successful by sticking with the show and not fucking off to Hollywood, Richard McCabe (of a couple Greenaway pictures) as his terrible PR guy, Babadook star Essie Davis as his ex, and Simon Farnaby (who played the Howard Moon imposter in Mighty Boosh) as her new husband. Cowriters Farnaby (acting with a Scandinavian accent) and Barrett are lots of fun, as is lead cop David Schofield. I don’t think anything is learned at the end, but the killers (the town mayor, and corrupt cop Andrea Riseborough) are stopped, at least.

What came first, the movie or the Robyn Hitchcock song? Searches reveals a guitar magazine article claiming the song is a nod to the film, but also an interview with cowriter Farnaby claiming he got the movie title from the song. IMDB says Mindhorn is an old Boosh reference, and other sites claim Barratt and Hitchcock are friends, so maybe it’s a mutual influence thing.

Master of None season 1 (2015)

We watched this in mourning for the end of Parks & Recreation, and it’s fantastic – a very successful comedy-drama mix with hot issues (most notably racism and immigrant-parent stories) mixed into its relationship drama. I love how there’s an ensemble cast but each episode gets to tell its own story without roping in superfluous characters just because their actors are listed in the opening titles. Aziz, returning from Parks & Rec and the great Human Giant is a struggling actor, having been cast in (and cut from) an awful-looking movie called The Sickening. His on-again girlfriend is SNL’s Noël Wells and his friends are the giant Eric Wareheim and Lena Waithe (a writer on Bones and producer of Dear White People) and Kelvin Yu (Bob’s Burgers writer, in Milk and Cloverfield), with appearances by usual suspects Todd Barry and Jon Benjamin.

Great editing and music, widescreen cinematography – TV comedy is reaching new levels. Eric and Aziz directed episodes, along with Lynn Shelton (Laggies, Humpday) and James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now).


Rick and Morty season 2 (2015)

Not as revelatory as the first season, but just as high quality.

Featuring Key & Peele as testicle monsters, Jemaine Clement as a psychic cloud-being named Fart, Christina Hendricks and Patton Oswalt as hive-minds, Matt Walsh as Beth’s new bisexual husband Sleepy Gary, Stephen Colbert as a Rick-like scientist inside the car-battery microverse, half the Mr. Show cast in minor roles, and Dan Harmon as Ice-T.


Veep season 3 (2014)

In which Selina is running for president, Amy and Dan compete to be her campaign manager, and Jonah bounces between campaigns while running a DC insider blog. Also in the presidential race are defense secretary Isiah Whitlock Jr., senator(?) Randall Park, MLB coach Glenn Wrage, and some normal-looking white guy who I forget who he is (Paul Fitzgerald). Unbelievable ending, as Veep’s losing on the campaign trail, but becomes President anyway after her boss steps down. I’m guessing it won’t last long.

Presidential debaters:

Veep Daughter Sarah Sutherland in front of the strategy board:

Trip to England:


And rewatched The Mighty Boosh season 3

More consistently great than part one, with higher high points (Robert Morgan!). I’m tempted to make a playlist of ABCs highlights and edit myself a super-anthology but I’ll wait until part three comes out next year.


Amateur
Imagined scenario of cool, efficient sniper in the air vents taking out his target, then reality of tight insect-infested ducts full of nails. Great ending. Director EL Katz also made Cheap Thrills.


Badger
Directed by and starring Julian “Howard Moon” Barratt. Asshole nature-doc spokesman (Barratt) is abusive to his crew, gets eaten by badgers.


Capital Punishment
Local gang of vigilantes take a dude suspected of killing a girl out to the woods and clumsily behead him. Meanwhile the girl turns out to have run away, is fine. Director Julian Gilbey made A Lonely Place To Die, which is probably better than Wingard’s A Horrible Way To Die.


Deloused
I probably would’ve skipped ABCs of Death 2 had I not heard that Robert Morgan was involved. This was… inexplicable… and amazing, and ultimately makes the entire anthology worthwhile. Involves insects and beheadings and knife-arms.

Equilibrium
Funny and well put-together, with single long takes simulating time passing. Couple of idiots stranded on a beach are unexpectedly joined by a pretty girl. Jealousy ensues, then they return to bliss by killing the girl. Alejandro Brugués made the Cuban Juan of the Dead.

Falling
Israel/Palestine, woman whose parachute is stuck in a tree convinces a rifle-toting kid to cut her down, he accidentally shoots himself in the head. Nicely shot, anyway. Directors Keshales and Papushado made Israeli horrors Rabies and Big Bad Wolves (a Tarantino fave).


Grandad
Grandad is tired of his disrespectful grandson living with him. Jim Hosking is working on something called The Greasy Strangler next. Grandad Nicholas Amer has been around, worked with Peter Greenaway, Jacques Demy and Terence Davies.


Head Games
During a makeout session, a couple’s facial features go to war with each other in classic Plympton style. One of two Bill Plympton anthology segments from this year – we missed The Prophet.


Invincible
Old woman will not die, siblings want her inheritance and try everything to kill her. Stylishly shot (as are most of these, so it’s maybe not worth writing that anymore). Erik Matti (Philippines) got awards for crime flick On The Job last year.


Jesus
I think it’s supposed to be payback on a couple of dudes who torture and murder homosexuals, but when the kidnapped gay guy displays his demonic powers I’m not sure what’s going on anymore. Dennison Ramalho wrote latter-day Coffin Joe sequel Embodiment of Evil and actor Francisco Barreiro is showing up everywhere this month.


Knell
Initial scene where girl witnesses supernatural globe over the building across the street followed by people in every apartment turning violent was like Rear Window meets The Screwfly Solution, then it continues in the direction of total doom. Directors Buozyte and Samper are apparently Lithuanian, also made a surreal sci-fi thing called Vanishing Waves.


Legacy
Guy to be sacrificed is being set free and is arguing with this decision, and I lose the plot after that, but there are groovy, cheap Metalocalypse-looking gore effects. Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen is Nigerian, has made a million movies so far since 2003.


Masticate
Drugged-out flesh-eating fat man goes on rampage before he’s killed by cop, all in slow-motion and set to a jangly pop song. Robert Boocheck made a short that apparently played in an anthology called Seven Hells.


Nexus
Cleverly timed and editing, goes for tension instead of twist ending since we figure out early on that the distracted cabbie is gonna hit the guy dressed as Frankenstein. Larry Fessenden made Habit and Wendigo and The Last Winter, all of which have been on my to-watch list forever and just came out on blu-ray.


Ohlocracy (mob rule)
After the cure for zombiesm is found, human zombie-killers are sentenced to death by a kangaroo court. Hajime Ohata made the non-Kafka movie called Metamorphosis.


P-P-P-P Scary!
Poppy, Kirby and Bart look like escaped convicts, have big noses, meet a face-morphing guy who does a jig, blows out their candles and murders them inexplicably. Todd Rohal made The Catechism Cataclysm, and I might’ve guessed this was him.


Questionnaire
While a guy correctly answers questions on an intelligence test, we see flash-forwards to the “career opportunities” the interviewer has in mind for him (brain transplant with gorilla). I watched Rodney Ascher’s The Nightmare just last week.


Roulette
German game of Russian Roulette ends with the sixth-chamber guy shooting his beloved instead of himself, as some unknown evil approaches. Marvin Kren made Rammbock and Blood Glacier.


Split
Like a remake of Suspense but with more baby murdering. Hammer-wielding intruder destroys family of cheating husband(s) during a phone call.
Juan Martinez Moreno made horror-comedy Game of Werewolves.


Torture Porn
Girl in porn audition turns out to be Cthulhu, I guess. Jen and Sylvia Soska are identical twins who made American Mary and Dead Hooker in a Trunk.


Utopia
Self-driving incineration machines deal with non-beautiful people. Vincenzo Natali made Cube and Splice.


Vacation
Dude is on phone with girlfriend when dude’s friend reveals they’ve been doing drugs and prostitutes while on vacation. The friend is disrespectful, and one prostitute stabs him many times with a screwdriver. Jerome Sable made last year’s Meat Loaf-starring Stage Fright.


Wish
Kids go inside their off-brand Masters of the Universe playset, discover it’s horrible in there. Steven Kostanski made Manborg, which looks similarly wonderful.


Xylophone
Kid won’t stop playing her damned toy xylophone while babysitter Beatrice Dalle (of Inside, the first actor I’ve recognized since Julian Barratt in letter B) is trying to listen to opera records. Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo made Inside, of course. Credits say Beatrice is the grandmother not the babysitter, which makes sense since babysitters should leave antique record players alone.


Youth
Miyuki hates her mom and stepdad, imagines them dying in tremendous ways. Soichi Umezawa is a longtime makeup artist who worked on Bright Future and Dr. Akagi.


Zygote
Dad abandons pregnant mom with a 13-year supply of a root that delays labor. Horribleness ensues. Chris Nash has made a bunch of shorts.