Third Monday Movie Day

My movie watching has been very sparse lately. However, I'm six episodes deep in Game of Thrones and I don't feel like any movie would fulfill my entertainment needs as well as it does anyway.

Also, Breaking Bad.

185 thoughts on “Third Monday Movie Day”

  1. I'm in the Mothership HQ building today, so I'd better answer before I go over there.

    Lizstomania - funny that this one should be mentioned so recently (free's prog link) here. Was it basically "unwatchable by humans"? Well, no, it's watchable, but only if your attention is elsewhere. Ken Russell had to have been on something to put this one together. It was on YouTube in it's entirety, but I don't see it there now, so many lives have been saved.

    Clash of the Titans - RELEASE THE KRAKEN! Got out of it exactly what I expected. Krull, but with great FX.

  2. I went to the Batman movie and enjoyed it.

    I finally watched the Star Trek movie. I wasn't a huge fan of the television series but really liked the movie.

    I am a week behind on Breaking Bad. My wife won't watch it anymore. Too disturbing. I had trouble sleeping last night after watching the train episode. I guess I don't really disagree that the show is disturbing but I love it. I was at the edge of my seat.

    1. I finally watched the Star Trek movie. I wasn't a huge fan of the television series but really liked the movie.

      See, now, this is an example of wrong preferences! William Shatner is our greatest living thespian! Star Trek was groundbreaking in so many ways, from its edgy writing to its innovative props.

      also, the newest movie is unbelievable in all of the Canon that it ignores. EVERYONE knows that Kirk grew up on Tarsus IV, not Earth. Sheesh.

      1. But the Canon changed! That's the beauty of it. It allows for a different but similar world. I very much enjoyed the Star Trek movie.

        1. zing!

          I accepted the fact that the canon was completely changed. I just didn't care for the Star Wars feel it had throughout.

          1. I thought the characters and their relationships were far too strong to put the Star Wars label on it. And the lack of supernatural.

                1. I forget how time travel worked in the latest Star Trek movie, but it does seem different to me as well. In Star Wars, "the force" is considered by the characters to be some kind of mystical, spiritual, or essentially religious aspect of the world. In Star Trek, traveling faster than the speed of light is just a technological innovation that has been made as it was discovered that the laws of physics were not yet fully understood. Presumably time travel in Star Trek can be viewed the same way as warp speed, some kind of innovation that has exposed a weakness in our understanding of science, rather than something that requires a supernatural explanation.

                  1. yeah. When I say the movie seems like Star Wars to me, it's because there seems to be more focus on explosions and action than diplomacy and mystery.

                    1. I felt like the development of the relationships was the star of this one. What you complain of might very well be a problem in the second one...

      2. Why does canon make such a difference to people? A lot of people get up in arms about that stuff, but would it really make any important fundamental change?

        1. Try arguing that to the poor parents of Tarsus IV who now have to explain to their confused children that their hero James Kirk isn't really one of them.

            1. On some level, I identify with the people who want to honor tradition and consistency when you have these drawn-out franchises, spanning multiple movies or making a TV-to-movies or book-to-movie transition. If you were a fan of the earlier material, there's probably something in the earlier material that you liked, and even if it is just meaningless details that are changing, it probably makes you nervous that they're willing to change more fundamental things.

              On the other hand, I was kind of being serious when I said that inconsistency is more an exception than a rule when it comes to Star Trek. The franchise has had so many authors, visions, and incarnations that if you bother to look close at all, it starts to look like a big mess.

          1. i've said it here before, but i'm not upset that they decided to change canon, i'm just upset at the way they went about it. basically, they set it up so they could ignore canon completely.

  3. Saw The Campaign (and TDKR again) at the drive-in Saturday night. Pretty generic Will Ferrell movie with a few chuckles, very little plot, and a lot of screaming.

    Loved the train episode of Breaking Bad. Just beautifully shot like an old-time Western. Yesterday's episode seemed really rushed (although the dinner scene was fantastic).

  4. Saw "Monsters" the other day. Not like it sounds. I enjoyed it. It brings a new twist to the alien monster invasion movie. The setting is six years after NASA accidentally brings giant alien creatures to earth and we are forced to create an Infected Zone in the Southwest U.S. and northern Mexico that is walled off. Two Americans are in Mexio and trying to get back to the States. The movie uses them as observers of the aliens (one of them is a photographer). Some really cool visuals, although the main characters don't really get involved with the aliens, they are just interested observers.

  5. Dark Knight -- first half I was bored, second half was great.

    Beasts of the Southern Wild -- fantastic little film

    Color me Obsessed -- Documentary about The Replacements. Interesting in that there is no concert footage, no Replacements music in the background, no magazine covers, no interviews of the band members. In fact you don't even see the band members until the final credits. I asked the director about this after the film and he said it was deliberate, he wanted it to be about the fans and the obsession with the band, and not the band itself. He also thought it was an ode to their first MTV video where all that the video showed was a thumping speaker.

    Breaking Bad. Not sure if I believe some of Mike's actions in last nights episode. But that dinner scene was awful (in a good way). Jesse Pinkman deserves an emmy for that scene alone.

  6. Dark Knight Rises: I think Nolan bit off more than he could chew. Like Inception, there's just way too much going on. "Wait a minute!" came into my head too many times and there were a few too many cutesy jokes. That said, it's still enjoyable, but my least favorite of the three.

    My favorite part:

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    Hunger Games: I enjoyed it more than the above movie, as it seemed to be paced better. However, I wish we could have had more time to get to know all of the characters to be more emotionally invested in the games themselves.

    1. I was pleased by the Hunger Games, but it felt the pacing was just ridiculously breakneck. I don't know how they could have slowed it down, as it was already a good two plus hours, but you're right in that it's hard to invest in anything when the whole thing felt like "and then they did this, and then they met him, and then they did this".

    2. Ah snap. I can't believe I forgot The Hunger Games. We just watched this on Saturday night. J loves the books, and said that reading them makes things make a lot more sense, so we listened to the audiobook in the car the last few times we've travelled. I definitely had some problems with the film. It was pretty good, but I think many of the changes they made really lessened the impact of the story. It felt like they rushed through the set up, and it felt like they rushed through the games even faster.

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      I'm very curious how the rest of the films will turn out. Based on what I've heard of the second book (about 2/3rds of it), some of the stuff from the first movie will impact how they have to do things.

    3. I disliked The Hunger Games quite a bit. Even ignoring the fact that it's a Battle Royale ripoff, I thought the characters were mostly uninteresting and, worse yet, unbelievable. The four kids from the top two districts are just evil for evil's sake, and it's tiring. I can't stand manipulation like that.

      1. The characterization in the film was really poor. I think a lot of characters' motivations are lost in the translation to film. They really rushed through everything.

        1. It's interesting to see the complaint that it was rushed from people who've read the book. I thought most of the movie was frustratingly slow, but I also have no idea what was left out.

          1. Oh, this is something that annoyed me too. They spent too much time on crap that really didn't matter, and then rushed through the really important stuff. An example I can give:

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            A lot of things left out of the movie make sense if you read the books. It's like the movies were made with the idea that you'd read the book first. And they still left out a ton of important crap. Sigh.

            1. Honestly, I don't know how anyone who hadn't read the books already followed anything that was going on. Not that the plot itself was so hard to figure out, and not that most of the characters aren't archetypes in the book or movie, it's just that any motivations that any of the characters had was run in triple time, while - as you said - unimportant things seemed to get plenty of screen time.

              1. I totally agree. J stated the same, and that's why I listened to the books before watching the movie. I was shocked at how necessary that was.

      2. At least Cato showed some glimpse of humanity (and an explanation of his motivations) near the end. I wonder if it was the fault of the movie rather than the book.

      3. I will say one thing for the movie: it made me want to read the book. Lois Lane said she prefers to see the movie before reading the book, because the movie almost always disappoints her afterwards. I'm starting to think she's got something here.

        My only worry is reading the book and not being able to see anyone but the actors in their spots. It was hard reading The Shining and not seeing Jack Nicholson.

        1. Yep, that's why I usually do book first, if I'm going to do both.

          I'm not one of the "wow, the movie sucked in comparison" set, though. Movies have a limited amount of time to work with stories that, if filmed, would be ten times longer. Everyone always bitches about what was left out, but they never have suggestions on what to take out if they put it in.

          1. I think a lot of beef also comes from not what was left out, but characters completely changing and having different motivations/histories. I think that can be okay, too, if the movie runs with it and does it well. But some people can't accept any changes at all.

              1. It's true that some people are unreasonable, but I think most people are just reacting naturally when they see changes. If you go to buy a Coke, you expect Coke, not New Coke.

                A lot of people show up to a movie like The Hunger Games because they read the books, and because it has the same label, they expect it to honor the story in the book to a large degree. At some point, you change enough that you should have changed the title. I haven't seen The Hunger Games, or read the book, so I can't say one way or another on that specifically, but I sympathize in general.

                  1. True. It seems like it was probably a more valid complaint a couple decades ago. These days, once something becomes popular, it's de rigueur to make it a brand and associate as many products as possible with that brand, regardless of how slight the connection might be.

                  1. If I wanted to see the movie version of The Wild, Wild West, I wouldn't go to That Western With Will Smith And Kevin Kline.

                    Never happened. I dare you to say otherwise.

                  2. Robert Conrad, who played James West in the original 1960s TV series, accepted three of the awards in person as his way of expressing his low opinion of what had been done with his source material.

                    "His?" Conrad's a frickin' actor. It's not "his."

                    The film underwent costly re-shoots in an attempt to inject some humor after it was found that test audiences weren't sure if it was supposed to be a comedy.

                    Oy. I'd always heard bad things, but that's the most damning thing I've ever read about it.

          2. I'm not one of the "wow, the movie sucked in comparison" set, though.

            I usually don't care either, but when a director / writer combo connect and hit one out of the park it highlights how many mediocre adaptations there art. I'm thinking of how the coen bros handled No Country, and Winterbottom's Tristram Shandy as perfect examples of keeping the overall tone of the source material.

          3. Yep, that's why I usually do book first, if I'm going to do both.

            Wait, you read books? ZING!!!!

          4. You ever see the Don Bluth version of the Rats of NIMH? I'll complain about it because they made it suck.

  7. J & I went to TDKR with a friend & his partner when we were in the Cities. We mostly went to check out the theatre, but the movie was okay. I was surprised people felt Bane's voice was cool in any way. It seemed to me they were trying to find a way to make Bale's Batman voice seem less ridiculous by comparison. They succeeded - Bane sounded like his lines were recorded onto a crappy old cell phone in a bathroom stall. I couldn't understand a thing he said. I felt like they rushed things in the final act, which definitely improved the pace, but it ended up feeling a bit unsatisfying.

    With the same couple we watched The FP. Basically the plot is that sometime in the near future in Frazier Park, CA gang turf wars are decided by matches of "Beat Beat Revelation" called "beat offs." A guy's brother dies during one, and he has to avenge his death. It's done almost exactly like Rocky or any other similar 1980s underdog movie. Parts of it were fairly brilliant and hilarious, other parts of it really made me uncomfortable. In their zeal to make the characters use a lot of "ghetto talk" they added a ton of n-bombs to the dialog (spoken by the almost completely white cast). This is something that's unfortunately really common amongst the real DDR community, but having it happen non-stop during the movie really bothered me. Maybe I'm too much of a sensitive PC namby pamby, but I think I would've enjoyed the movie a hell of a lot more without it.

    Prior to our vacation we watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi, a documentary about the sushi chef behind a 3 Michelin Star restaurant in Japan. It was freaking gorgeous. The lengths they go through to make the food are impressive. We went to get sushi after watching the movie, so mission accomplished I guess? I can't stress how beautiful this film is. Total food porn.

  8. Dark Knight Rises: Like Beau says, there was just too much going on. I liked Bane, even if he was nigh incomprehensible at times (I did laugh out loud the first time I heard his voice, though. I hadn't heard it in any trailers, and I was not expecting a "Darth Vader as voiced by Sean Connery" voice to be coming out). The second half doesn't necessarily tie everything up as well as it thinks, but it's a lot of fun to watch. Even though she's never been a favorite of mine, Anne Hathaway steals pretty much every scene she's in.

    Juno: I'd already seen this one, but watching it for the first time in a long time was fun. I think it holds up pretty well.

    Ted: Better than I expected. I hate Family Guy with a fairly unholy passion, so when I got dragged to this one, I was prepared for nothing less than an abysmal failure. It's actually funny. As a plus, Patrick Stewart has a quick narration piece, which was fun.

  9. Not many movies this month. In fact, I don't think I watched any I hadn't seen before. I re-watched Firefly followed by Serenity because it had been a while and I wanted some additional awesome in my life.

    I started watching It's Always Sunny... I have no idea why I waited so long or why no one told me to watch it before. Freekin hilarious.

    I have not seen any of the new Breaking Bad's though, due to lack of cable. I haven't decided if I want to stream the episodes or wait until I can watch them on Netflix, or something.

  10. Finished Season 1 of Battle Star Galactica last night. It's engaging, but for some reason, the problem spots bother me way too much. Every episode I have at least a couple of moments were I'm totally jolted from the show because of either poor acting or unbelievable motivations or heavy-handed storytelling.

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    And probably my biggest gripe:

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    I'm getting Season 2 today hopefully (let's go library!). So I should probably just shut up and watch, right?

    1. Your "biggest gripe" makes no sense to me, but I've also seen the entire series.

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        1. The show is supposed to be challenging you. They aren't the only society that has a huge problem with terrorism, but those societies are human, too.

          1. I know it's supposed to be challenging. My gripe is that it's letting vacillating between two sides of an issue (They're good! They're bad!) be a substitute for actual nuance (the potential for both good and bad exist within and rest on the choices that are made). Well

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            1. Yeah, wouldn't it be great if she could act? Sigh.

              I see what you're saying overall, but the Cylons change over time, and that will become more apparent. Though, yes, I think it's possible that the show started with one conflict in mind and ended up going with another.

    2. Season Two has 2 of the most powerful episodes in the entire series.

      You're in for some good viewing.

      Also how did you like the crazy way the first season ended? I don't think anything surprised has ever surprised me more in a television series than that.

      1. It happened very quickly, and certainly caught me by surprise, yes. But I'd say there's a certain episode of Arrested Development that caught me more by surprise.

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        As I said above, I was really annoyed with his seemingly out-of-character motivations that episode, so it lacked some of the emotional resonance it might have otherwise had.

        1. I had no problem with the writing of Adama that episode, but without revealing too much, you'll get see different approaches to captaining in a difficult situation in Season 2.

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  11. Saw Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and loved it. A movie that I wanted to discuss in depth immediately after I saw it. I found these two pieces (#1 and #2) that did a very good job of satiating that desire. There were a couple of things that maybe didn't quite work, but overall I would recommend to anyone who likes "thinker" movies.

    Made it to the theater to see Brave. My wife loved it, she put it at the top of her Pixar/Disney list, I thought it was very good but not in the same class as Wall-E or Toy Story 3. Gorgeous animation throughout.

    Like a lot of others here I also saw The Hunger Games. And, like a lot of others here, I thought the pacing was a little too breakneck. But then the books were the same frenetic pace, so I guess that was to be expected? The movie was good, I'll certainly be interested in seeing the rest of the trilogy.

    Last night I watched The Secret Life Of Arriety(sp?), the most recent Studio Ghibli movie. None of Miyazaki's movies have hit me the way Spirited Away did the first time I saw it. This one was no different. I watched this one, but I'm not sure I'll remember much of it in a couple of weeks.

    1. DG - Read Tinker, Tailor too. I know you've already seen the movie, so that'll take some of the fun out of it, but it is easily in my top 10 books. The most disappointing part of the movie is that the second-most tense scene in literature (nothing'll top Raskolnikov hiding behind the door) is reduced to a not-even-in-the-same-universe scene in the movie. What is like 30 pages of book - but feels like 3 - is done in less than 3 minutes in the movie. It's kind of sad. Also, the movie was a bit too much of a tribute to the book, so it threw out a lot of reference scenes without really developing their importance, and would have been better off just cutting a few things here or there and developing other things.

      But yeah... I love that one. It was even better on second viewing.

      Oh, and you should watch the old BBC miniseries too. Smiley was once described as the "Obi Wan" of spies. And Alec Guinness totally played both of 'em!

      1. I read some le Carré back in the day, never any of the Smiley books though. The two pieces I linked to actually go quite a bit into the book/movie/miniseries and how they differ, and what that means, and so on.

        1. I recommend the entire Smiley Trilogy (Tinker Tailor, The Honorable Schoolboy, and Smiley's People). It's a pretty loose trilogy. The last one wasn't quite up to the level of the other 2, but it's still good. The Honorable Schoolboy has some classic le Carré "let's raise ethical questions" elements to it, so that's nice.

    2. None of Miyazaki's movies have hit me the way Spirited Away did the first time I saw it.
      I was going to say, check out Grave of the Fireflies, but Miyazake didn't do that. Check it out anyways.
      Porco Rosso sticks with me well.
      Howl's Moving Castle bugs me the most, because it seems to be like five other Ghibli films mashed together, and if one's watched the others, one knows what's gonna happen, more or less.
      Pom Poko is the absolute oddest movie.

  12. I actually saw a movie in the theater! My only expectation going into Moonrise Kingdom was that it was a Wes Anderson flick (hadn't seen previews or read any synopsis), and I'm generally a fan of his movies. I liked it a lot. I think Wes Anderson films are generally great for having a pretty genuine sense of adventure and fun (for instance, it's hard for me to overstate how much I love the scenes of running to catch the train in Darjeeling Limited), and while I could probably quibble over something from each film, overall I come out of the theater feeling like I don't need to.

    I love sports movies, but I saw Rocky for the first time recently and was completely bored by the whole thing. I couldn't get behind Rocky at all, and the Apollo Creed character was so thin that he didn't even make a good villain. Generally I don't dislike films with that much acclaim, but it doesn't seem to hold up.

    I saw Scent of a Woman recently. I really liked that one overall, and some of the scenes were brilliant.

    1. I still have not seen Rocky (in fact, I've only seen IV and V from start to finish). I worried that I just wouldn't care about him, and it seems that could be the case.

      I also love Scent of a Woman. A bit over the top at times, but many great scenes, yes.

      1. Rocky's not even a compelling anti-hero, like Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull. Maybe it was easier to relate to the character as a regular everyday guy back in the '70s, but he seemed more like a bum to me than an ordinary guy who had taken a few wrong turns and needed to get back on track.

        1. Yeah, I hate when I'm told to root for someone who made their own crappy bed and has few redeeming qualities. It's like being told to root for Josh Hamilton. Yeah, I'm happy for him if he can manage his addiction, but it doesn't make him more appealing than anyone else. Redemption stories are overdone.

        2. Yea, Rocky is a bum, but one who gets plucked out of the crowd gym for the chance-of-a-lifetime to redeem himself. That's the story.

          I dunno. Maybe it is dated, but I remember really liking the original, despite the hokey fight scenes. The love story between Rocky and Adrienne is odd, but oddly compelling.

          "Yo, Adrienne!!"

          1. I guess I didn't see anything compelling about the love story. I didn't mind the fight scenes, actually. They seemed pretty much like standard fare and had I cared at all about the characters--disliked Creed more or liked Rocky more--I probably would have enjoyed that part of the film. Maybe I was just in the wrong mood to enjoy the movie, that happens to me at times.

            1. I was pretty disappointed by Rocky when I watched it for the first time in college. The "good" guy seems to be brain-damaged, the love interest is not good looking or interesting, and the "bad" guy is Carl freakin' Weathers!

              I did like Rocky IV, though.

              1. I think I'll probably check out Rocky IV. A widely popular sports movie with a US vs. Russia theme surely can't miss, right? *crosses fingers*

                  1. I hate IV so, so much that it's one of the few movies I've ever watched for camp value. The jingoism is off the charts and Dolph is so hilariously wooden. I quote it all the time in person to friends. "I must break you."

              2. I guess one of the reasons I liked Rocky at the time (and no, it's not a favorite or anything) is that the characters had flaws. Still, the fight scenes are freakin' horrible -- "Okay, in this scene Rocky takes a beating, so don't put up any kind of defense, Sly. Just keep your hands by your waist."

                1. I like the fight scenes in Raging Bull until we learn that the director doesn't know that a fight is over if a boxer is knocked down three times in one round. Oops! They're still good scenes, but wow, what a mistake to make.

                  1. is that always true? I'm sure I've seen fights where the three knock-down rule wasn't in place (though the ref can call TKO if the person looks like they're going to die).

                2. I feel like I usually like a flawed hero as much as the next guy, but I think I can only take so many flaws.

                    1. On American Psycho...

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                    2. I've never been able to voice why that movie doesn't work for me. I think Spooky just hit the nail on the head.

                    3. My thoughts...

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                      Hmm... I feel like watching that movie again now. It's really, really good.

                    4. The scene where his co-workers are compairing business cards and business card accoutrements is hilarious. I've been whitness to several similar situations.

              3. The "good" guy seems to be brain-damaged, the love interest is not good looking or interesting

                those actually were parts of the story that I found somewhat compelling. Talia Shire is no "prize" for a Hollywood star. Rocky isn't either. They are ordinary, somewhat desperate people, living in the neighborhood.

    2. Sigh... Rocky is among my favorite movies. I'll admit its simplicity, but that's part of what appeals to me. I don't think one needs to feel bad for Rocky at the outset to appreciate the opportunity he gets and the way he seizes it. That is, I don't see it as a redemption story, I see it as a story about opportunity, about a guy who tries to give opportunity to others, to stay loyal, to be more than he is and at the same time remember who he is. Rocky isn't a bum, he's just a person. And Creed isn't supposed to be a bad guy, he's just a person too. Yeah... I love it.

      1. I like Rocky quite a bit, but the sequels were just cash grabs that didn't have any of the heart that I thought the original had.

        1. I haven't watched any of the sequels except for Rocky Balboa which was identical to the first one, except he was old instead of unknown. Excluding all the sequels from the canon helps make it a good movie.

      2. I guess I really struggle with the idea of Rocky as the everyman. I have a higher regard for the common man than that.

        I could have forgiven him for not being the brightest guy, but he's also doesn't seem to work that hard, and doesn't really seem to have any aspirations, either. And Rocky doesn't even earn his opportunity. It's almost cruel the way that Creed picks Rocky at random rather than Rocky earning his way to the fight. Welcome to America, where opportunity knocks if it is randomly bestowed on you by someone in power. Depressing.

        1. I guess that whole random chance at opportunity thing is part of what appeals to me. Sometimes opportunity seems so beyond our control that having a rooting interest in someone who gets it is as good as we can do.

          I also think you're being a little hard on him not working hard, and all that... the whole idea is that there is little opportunity to go around, so he's making the most out of what he has. He goes to work in the meat packing plant because he wants an honest job, he looks out for his girl, etc. I like that.

          1. Right. Remember the criticisms that Mick has of him early -- he fights southpaw and brawls, rather than showing any discipline in the ring. That's what has held him back from being more than a low-level opponent -- a lack of discipline and focus. But he has huge heart in the ring.

            Being plucked from obscurity, then fear of being mocked and made fun of gives him focus, and it's all about not being knocked out in the fight. He just wants to go the distance with the Champ.

  13. Not much time for movie watching in the last month. We bought The Hunger Games on Saturday but havn't watched it yet, though I did watch all of the behind-the-scenes DVD extras with my daughter yesterday. I also missed Breaking Bad last week, so I did a double dose yesterday with the train episode and the new one last night. I woke up this morning three times before the alarm went off, each time because I was dreaming about that show. Really, it is so intense that it's invaded my dreams.

    (The following is not intended to incite a political discussion in violation of the Forbidden Zone policy, it's just my opinion about a TV show)

    I also spent several hours this week getting all caught up on The Newsroom. I really, really like this show, but I am a former TV news producer with political inclinations similar to the show's creator, so it's a natural for me. Sure, the dialogue isn't always realistic (nobody can knock out non-stop snappy banter like that in real life) and it has a lot of soap opera in it, but I like how Sorkin weaves the internal storyline with recent news events and inserts his characters into some pretty signigicant news stories. It certainly can be a little preachy at times, and it absolutely leans heavily and unapologetically in one political direction, though you can see an effort to provide some balance and competing positions and opinions, but when I watch it I can't help thinking that this is the way the news should be done, especially if I've spent that Sunday morning watching the political talking head shows. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea and it's not as good as some of my other favorite shows, but I think Jeff Daniels really nails his lead character and for entertainment value it's certainly worth an hour of my time once a week.

    1. Regarding realism of dialog in film/TV. I think that to a large degree, realistic banter is overrated. I don't watch television or the movies to be reminded of what I experience every day. And if someone's going to argue that they don't like how the fictional characters are too witty, why not just argue that all movies are too event-filled? No two-hour segment of my day is ever as action-packed as two hours of any movie, Andy Warhol's Empire excepted.

      There are times when realistic dialog serves a purpose, but there are also times when unrealistic dialog serves just as much of a purpose.

      1. I don't have a problem with the fast and glib dialogue, I like it for the entertainment value. I remember Moonlighting was that way, as was The Hudsucker Proxy and a lot of my favorite movies from the 40's and 50's (especially the film noir stuff).

        1. That's what I thought you were trying to express, I didn't mean to come off as argumentative, I just wanted to rant on that topic and you gave me an opening!

      2. agreed. It's why producers of shows like Big Brother and Real World don't bring in a bunch of well-adjusted, calm, emotionally stable people and show every second of it. It doesn't make for good entertainment.

        I think there's a fine line between interesting dialogue and "yeah right, like anyone would every say that" dialogue. Though I think if movies follow their own rules they set out, it works out okay. Nobody really talks like David Mamet characters do, but at least they're consistent.

      3. You're definitely talking about a concept that's drilled into actors and writers alike. It's an exciting version - a better version - of reality. Truly realistic movies are boring, because people are boring. With the language tweaked and the volumes on the personalities turned up, that's what we call "realistic."

        1. I don't think people are boring at all. Actually, most of us are quite interesting. It's just that we rarely have two-hour segments of our lives that are filled with tension and drama. For many of us, watching two hours of our life would involve watching us sit at a desk, go to the grocery store, mow the lawn, etc. Not exactly compelling theater.

          1. I'm talking about dialogue, not who we are inside, which is generally pretty intresting. The average person's manner of speech isn't going to make it to the screen.

            1. True, although again it's a manner of degree and compression. I know a lot of people who can come up with some pretty good lines at times. It's just that few of us can do it over and over again for two hours.

              1. Yeah, you'll get no argument there. The benefit of writing a script is that you've literally got your entire life to make each line better, if you want to.

        2. Absolutely, and that quick witty dialogue is essential when the plot is very character-driven and there's not a lot of visual excitement, though a director and cinematographer can make an otherwise boring setting very interesting if they know their stuff.

      4. Parenthood is a show devoted to "realistic" dialogue that serves no other purpose than to annoy me. My wife loves, so I was subjected to it far more than I would have liked. I want people in movies/shows to not talk over each and make awkward comments all the time so I can actually hear what they have to say, dammit. Whereas a show like Deadwood has very unrealistic dialogue, and its fantastic.

        1. Pain or damage don’t end the world, or despair or f***ing beatings. The world ends when you’re dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man—and give some back.

            1. the way that first line is delivered is just... it's just awesome. i can hear the cadence in my head perfectly.

        2. I don't know, I think the abundance of profanity in Deadwood is very realistic, at least when I gauge it by my own internal monologue.

  14. Did/does anyone watch Wilfred (US version with Elijah Wood)?

    The promos for it caught my eye when it was on FX(?), but I never caught much of it. I noticed it's on Netflix streaming and watched the first episode the other night and will probably continue to pick up episodes here and there. I'm not far enough into it to recommend it, but it made me laugh a couple of times, so we're off to a good start.

    1. I powered through the first season last month. It was pretty good. I need to catch up on season 2, but it's lower on my priority list than season 3 of Louie.

    2. I enjoy Wilfred far more than I probably should. In most instances the basis behind many of the jokes in Wilfred would make me roll my eyes but this show spends so much time setting up these awful, awful, puns that I can't help but enjoy it. I would argue that Wilfred is my current leader in laughs per half an hour.

  15. Help?

    I stopped by the library today to pick up Season 2 of BSG. It was not there. However, they did have Season 2.5. Someone please explain this to me...

    1. Season two was split into two halves. 2 comes before 2.5, so don't be watching that until you've seen 2.

      Netflix and Hulu Plus have the entire series streaming, unless things have changed in the last couple of weeks. Are those avenues open to you?

      1. Hypothetically. I'll just stop at the library again tomorrow/the next day/the day after and they'll have it at some point.

        1. you realize that many libraries have websites where you can check due dates and *gasp* reserve items? they'll even send an email!!!!11

          1. Yeah. But it's on the way home, so stopping in is almost as easy (especially since DVD rentals are just 1 week, so odds are good it'll be returned soon).

  16. I just watched The Black Cauldron like two hours ago.
    It looks okay, not too Bluthy, but I just didn't care.

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    And there was a bunch of continuity issues, like the scenes jumped a bit too far. Oh, the boy sees the Ring-Wraiths carry off the pig to a distant castle, miles away across the Dead Marshes. Then he's climbing the sides of the castle.

    I wonder how well another animated motion picture that I saw in the theater holds up after nearly 30 years... hope the library has "The Last Unicorn."

  17. Late entry!
    Watched Fireproof tonight with EAR. Yes, that one Kirk Cameron movie. I nearly walked away every one of the first ten minutes because it was so stiffly written. Spookymilk, as you never watch movies for camp value, stay away from this. (Not that you were tempted to watch it anyways.) So many early scenes had "This conversation makes no sense other than for exposition" stamped on them. Followed with scenes that were clearly symbolic, followed with an explanation of that symbolism. The film really treats its viewers as if they couldn't figure anything out for themselves through inference or subtle clues, or even having to wait for a later reveal.

    There were two "action" scenes that were pretty good, EAR and I debated whether they were TV-show quality or somewhere between movie and TV-show quality. Which, given expectations, was pretty good.

    Overall, some decent scenes, plenty of groaners. But I expected much worse.

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      1. Not really. I didn't notice a lot of believable acting anywhere in the movie. More stuff that would drive Spooky nuts.

        Cameron acts well as an angsty teenager, not so much as a fire captain in his mid-30s. He could do the Michael J Fox thing and keep getting those roles until any dye jobs become unconvincing.

        His character seemed to have a lot of anger issues that went unexplained, but would have made sense from a 16 year-old.

      2. I just went to her IMDb page to see if I recognized her - looks like she's nobody outside of that production company. Her user photo alone demonstrates her awful, illustrative acting. The directing of the shot she uses as her IMDb photo is horrible too. It was good for a laugh. It's the kind of shot I expect from the Fringe Festival groups where none of the actors are over 20, and the ones who are have no formal training.

        1. I thought of the old Dorothy Parker line, "She ran the gamut of emotions from A to B," except that might be generous in this case.

    1. My favorite scene was the climactic one where he decides to rid himself of his evil computer by throwing away his monitor and hitting it with a baseball bat.

      Of course, I agreed with his decision, because it was one of those old CRTs. It's the 21st century, time for an upgrade!

      Fireproof is genuinely one of my least favorite movies ever. Any romantic catharsis is stilted because of the fact that Kirk Cameron won't kiss another woman other than his wife. Whatever a person may think of this stand, it means that there's no way that he should have been the lead. Also, he's a terrible actor, so there's that (though, as the Padre noted, he's generally one of the better actors on the screen at any given time). I suppose I agree with the spoiler text in AMR's post, and it's one of the very few points that I'll throw the movie's way.

      1. Nuance: computer wasn't evil, but it was a crutch. I can understand that a bit, although I don't use the computer for the same things as he, I do get absorbed into it when I am ignoring EAR.

        Actually, probably not so bad that Cameron was cast, as the "Romantic" leads spend most of the movie separated. One or two places for a kiss to happen? I guess I stopped paying attention, was there no kiss in the coda on the pond?

        1. My point was that he only destroyed the monitor, not the actual computer. Unless he's going to destroy that too, he's just going to have to buy a different monitor. He didn't drag the tower out. It's a symbolic gesture, but a poorly executed one.

          No, if I remember right, there was a hug, and maybe a knowing shoulder squeeze or something, but there was certainly no kiss.

          1. He did destroy the tower. Banged it up pretty well, plastic cover came off. A pro could probably salvage some stuff from it, but I could not.
            Monitor first though, and due to the glass, more satisfying.

      2. Any romantic catharsis is stilted because of the fact that Kirk Cameron won't kiss another woman other than his wife.

        This idiot has no respect for acting (or, more likely, his wife doesn't and he doesn't have the balls to say differently). If he won't kiss someone in a movie, then he can't separate himself from his character. If he can't separate himself from his character, he's not just a bad actor - he isn't even an actor, period.


        1. Again, I didn't feel it was critical to the movie. I didn't notice or know until nibbish pointed it out.

          You could push your "can't separate himself" concept even further to the point where most would not find certain romantic actions acceptable when acted, despite that it's acting. He just draws the line differently.

          1. If you push it further, it's obviously porn. The two can't be compared. If he's going to draw the line here, he shouldn't be in the industry. Filmmaking is the most excruciatingly slow thing I've ever been involved with. Actors who demand special exceptions are quickly tossed off of most sets. There are so many things that can go wrong on any given shot that the idea of potentially making it slower because of one of the 100 people on set won't do his job angers me.

            1. There's lines before pornography.
              All that, and without Cameron, I doubt the movie gets made, or makes enough money so that they can make the next. He wasn't gonna get tossed for demanding his own exceptions. For all I know, the producers/authors/screenwriters agree with the "no kissing if you're married to someone else" and hold the policy for all of the cast. (Don't know if anyone else in the movie kisses, either.)

              And it was only one or two scenes.
              And after reading the IMDB page, it's not like they paid a lot of attention to continuity.

              I don't really know anything about filmmaking, so excuse my ignorance.

              1. He's not going to get tossed and he knows it. He's using his position to demand special treatment, which is disgusting.

                The fact that it inconveniences the filmmaking process is just the icing on the cake. The fact that he's that way in the first place is enough. He shouldn't be an actor, because he has no respect for the craft. If he can't do a simple kissing scene, he should be in another profession. He is not his character. They're separate entities.

                1. I was in school plays four straight years: Freshman through Senior. I had a kissing scene. It was difficult. She smelled. But I did choose a different profession.

                  I don't think he had these problems when he started his profession.

                  1. I'm not sure he's the problem, period. I think his wife might be.

                    I had to kiss a recent ex in one show once. It wasn't a big deal for me because I commit to the character, but she had trouble at first. I told her that if it helped, I wasn't looking at it as Kelly and Kate, I was committed to Eddie and...whoever she was playing. It helped a lot.

                    Shortly after I got engaged to the Milkmaid, she was in a scene from William Inge's excellent Picnic where she had a serious makeout session with a guy she finds attractive in real life. A lot of people asked me what I thought about that - I said, truthfully, that I didn't think about it at all. If the two of them were horrible actors and uncommitted to their work, though, it would have been a different story. I watched the scene and loved every minute of it, and even lost myself in the passionate kiss the characters shared.

                    It certainly isn't for everyone, this profession.

                    I've never stage-kissed a girl who smelled, but in one show I had a tense, face-to-face showdown with a guy who had seriously bad breath. That was the hardest time I've ever had staying in character.

    2. The film really treats its viewers as if they couldn't figure anything out for themselves through inference or subtle clues, or even having to wait for a later reveal.

      This is what I'd heard. Some critic wrote (paraphrased) "if you've seen the DVD box art, you can already figure out the entire clumsily obvious metaphor and can tell me most of the plot."

      1. Also (this really isn't an 'also', it's actually the thing I disliked most about the movie), it's mostly just a feature-length advertisement for a self-help book - one that actually exists. I found that to be unconscionable and tacky.

      2. It seems like it's awfully hard to make a "message" movie, rather than just making a movie that tells a story. There seem to be very few message movies that don't hit you over the head with the message. There are some, but not that many.

        1. Thing is, I don't mind that sort of movie. If this movie had gotten passable actors and had cut out the advertising, I could've stomached it. As it was, it was a mess - and not even the campy, fun kind; just a super-serious, joyless one.

          1. At the end scene, there was a little too much camera lingering on the

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            and the audience, people heretofore not in the story. Turns out, they were the writers and producers. I assume those were the self-help book authors? (I don't care enough to find out for sure.)

            Watched a few deleted scenes. Some of them made the dialog as exposition scenes more relevant to plot.

        2. It wasn't just the message, but the characterization that hits the viewer over the head (except for the anger thing).

          I'm probably attuned to it now due to my "Playing with the Prose" activities, and that's probably why I kept imagining Spooky's blistering critique the whole time.

          The movie's theme also meshed with my latest Prose entry (#13).

    3. Ah, now you've got me looking into this more (thanks for that). They do have a kiss in the movie, they just replaced the actress with Kirk's wife and turned the lights down as the shot took place in the hopes that viewers couldn't tell.

        1. If it was a stunt double, they would have replaced Kirk Cameron rather than the actress (who presumably was willing to participate in her part in the scene.) Seems like Kirk's the one that should have been replaced.

          1. No, I meant the actress had to have a stunt double kiss Cameron. No one but his wife is willing to do it, because they're tired of putting up with his dilemma.

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