Friday, March 19, 2021

The Jojo Rabbit recommendation


First we watched Hunt for the Wilderpeople at my house. And I thought "This is the best Wes Anderson movie that isn't a Wes Anderson movie that I've ever seen!" Then I thought "I better watch other movies by this visionist director Taika Waititi!"

So I brought home Jojo Rabbit.

I watched it.

I could say a lot about Jojo Rabbit. But I am here today only to talk about a small idiosyncratic slice of it all. A very critical slice, maybe even harshly critical.

"Critical of Jojo Rabbit, you madman?" You ask.

Ah, you've seen Jojo Rabbit? Well don't worry, it is not critical of Jojo Rabbit. That would be madness! Jojo Rabbit is one of the best movies I have ever seen in my life!

"Wait, in your life?" You ask.

In my life, easily!

"But you have seen a lot of movies in your life!" You exclaim.

Yes, I have seen:


The Descendants

Horse Feathers

The Godfather (one and two)

Sunset Boulevard



The Enigma of Kasper Hauser

Sydney White

La Grande Bellezza


Fanny and Alexander!

"Wait, and Jojo Rabbit is at least as good as these?"

Yes, at least.

"So then, what's the critical slice?" You ask.

Ah, get right down to it, eh?

"Actually this doesn't seem like getting right down to it. It rather seems like a long overdue arrival after an extremely long preamble."


Here we go then:

I work with quite a few people at a library. Indeed, I work with a ton of people! 

And so we talk. And talk! Surrounded as we are by all manner of books, movies, computers, and music, we talk about those especially. My co-workers are constantly going on about the movies and TV shows they've seen, books they've read, and just... culture. 

And maybe I am too.

Occasionally someone, in all this discussion, will make a recommendation for something to read or watch. 

Many of these recommendations are of the lame variety and look something like this:

"I saw this thing and it was pretty good and kind of interesting but not great and let me tell you all about it and how maybe you should watch it even though I have not remotely considered your taste, personality, or the value of your time in regards to it."

Some of these recommendations are of the improved variety, like so:

"I saw this thing and it was just so so so great! I am going to tell you about it in detail and then recommend it to you not because I am thinking of you or your taste in any way, but just because I found it so wonderfully good!"

And finally, on very special occasions, one will see the ideal recommendation that looks like this:

"I saw this perfectly brilliant thing, magically good, that I just loved, and so let me tell you all about it and how it made me think of you and all your excellent qualities. Reflecting upon your tastes and the things you have liked in the past, and the places where we have shared sensibilities, I am thinking that it might be a crime against humanity if you do not watch it as soon as you are comfortably able to."

When I recommend I try desperately never to do version one ever. I try to limit with every fiber of my being how often I do version two, and I try my hardest to do version three every single rare and beautiful chance I get. 

I have successfully recommended to my colleagues (and to library patrons):

The "Not Just Bikes" YouTube Channel


The Lockwood and Company book series

Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

The Eyre Affair

Long Shot the movie

The Dog Who Wouldn't Be

The sexy sax man video 


"Wait. Wait! What on earth is the point of all this with your co-workers and recommendations and lists of things I've never heard of???!!!"

Oh right, 

Here it is:

Not a single person, among all these dozens and dozens of co-workers and associates, with every possible opportunity to understand and know my tastes, ever made, in a full year and a half, the merest mention, let alone a recommendation, of Jojo Rabbit!

Not only did not a single one of my colleagues see Jojo Rabbit and think it was good enough to note in casual conversation, but also not a single one of them took any note of how exactly it might be my sort of thing! 

Jesus Christ, I work with a bunch of strangers.


  1. We LOVE Jojo Rabbit!!!!! We saw it a few times because we kept wanting to show it to other people.

  2. Just about all that you listed here I've never seen or read. But you did recommend The Eyre Affair, and I enjoyed it enough that I went on to read other books by Fforde. I think you are probably much better than I at recommendations because I think you are more attuned to people than I am.

    My current reading project is to read all of Robert Parker's "Spenser" novels. They are not great literature, but the earliest were written in the 70s. It's interesting to see the cultural changes.

    1. Maybe I'm attuned, I don't know. The hard part for me is not throwing a fit when someone doesn't love one of my "perfect" recommendations. Oh boy.

      I read one of those Spenser books a few years ago. I liked it, albeit not enough to keep going, but I thought it had that characteristic vividness and placing you in the world that makes that kind of book good, so it makes sense your interest in seeing the cultural changes.


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