Third Wednesday Movie Day

Why yes, I forgot, but I wouldn't have been able to participate on Monday anyway.

It was real light on movies here last month (and really, 2012 has been a lousy month for me catching movies in general) but I did see a bit of TV. I started Sons of Anarchy after the hundredth person asked me to do so. Two episodes in, I'm liking it just fine, though the writing occasionally doesn't trust the audience and over-explains itself.

I watched an episode of Mad Men for the first time in over a year, too. I'm not sure how I stalled on that, though I suppose it has something to do with how depressing it is.

The next movie I watched was going to be the feel-good documentary about Kevin Clash, the Elmo puppeteer, but I'll probably head in a different direction now.

91 thoughts on “Third Wednesday Movie Day”

  1. I'm off to the airport in a few minutes, but here's a recap of the last month...

    I saw Argo in the theater (first time I've been in a theater in a few months) and definitely enjoyed it. I'm still pretty amazed at Ben Affleck's career revival.

    Watched Cedar Rapids and found it amusing enough.

    Otherwise, finished the first season of The Shield and are now nearly done with season 4 of Cheers.

  2. Spoons, proof your post, fyi... 😉

    The Adjustment Bureau -- had to see this P.K. Dick inspired flic, and I actually liked it. It had its issues, and the ending was a bit of a cop out, but the acting was good and it was spouse-appropriate.

    1. Is there a mistake in the post?

      I read at a screenwriting site how The Adjustment Bureau ended. The screenwriter should be dragged into a public square and set on fire for crimes against his own protagonist.

          1. I just assumed based on the fact that a lot of the months have had the "not many movies" disclaimer that it was a joke - that 2012 had been a bad month.

    2. The ending of the Adjustment Bureau was a huge copout, but I liked the rest of the movie when I saw it. Not great, but pretty solid right up til the ending.

  3. Rock of Ages: Worse than I expected, and my expectations weren't that high. The leads have no talent, and the songs for the most part are uninspired. Tom Cruise does his best, and Alec Baldwin steals a couple of scenes, but that's it.
    Sleepwalk With Me: A decent enough introduction to Mike Birbiglia, but the stand-up special is five times better so there's little point to watch this. At least the actors they got to play his parents were awesome.
    Juno: Amusing, a few laugh out loud moments, and generally pleasant, but I wasn't wowed by the script like some were.
    Clueless: Eh. I laughed a few times, but the sentimental parts were not believable for me and had no impact.
    The Poseidon Adventure: Hadn't watched since I was a kid. Better than I remembered. Really, really helped by the presence of Hackman and Borgnine. Not a great movie, but solid fare for a disaster flick.
    The Cable Guy: One of the most wretched movies I've ever seen. It could't decide if it wanted to a be a physical comedy or a dark comedy, and therefore fails at both. Carrey is a fine actor and I think he could have been directed to play this character truly dark. But any of the creepiness is that is in the script just winds up coming off obvious and lame. Ugh.
    Looper: Instant classic, one of my favorite sci-fi movies I've seen. Think Terminator 2 but with way more emotional resonance (and less liquid metal). I had adrenaline rushes while watching and I also cried. Love it.

    As for TV, Stef and I finished watching Pushing Daisies. Not sure I would have wanted this concept to go beyond 3 or 4 seasons, but it was still cancelled too soon. They really started coming into their own in season 2. Then, the last episode tries to tie up like six loose plot threads in the span of five minutes, which is admirable and laughable. Maybe a top 20 show for me.

    1. I like Juno a fair bit, but repeated viewings expose the flaws.

      My brother kept recommending Pushing Daisies while it was on, would you do the same?

      1. Wouldn't my Top 20 declaration suggest as much?

        I wouldn't call it "must see" but it's a great show to watch as a couple. The first season gets slow near the end, but season two has so many hilarious episodes. There's only like 22 episodes overall so it wouldn't take that long.

      2. I certainly would, though for all the problems he mentioned with the final episode, I'd like to add one more: one of the actors from the single-episode arc (which should have been scrapped since they had so much other business to attend to) is so bad it's scary. I cannot fathom how a show with such solid casting made that big a mistake.

        Otherwise, yeah, I'm in love with it.

  4. Don't get too attached to "SOA". It's such a frustrating show - it's a great premise with absolutely ridiculous plots and one deus ex machnia that was so blatant I haven't watched since.

    1. Yeah...for as many good things I've heard about it, I've definitely noticed that none of the highest praise is coming from the writers or the snobs in the room.

  5. Ugh, finally, I've been waiting for the movie day post.

    I watched Cabin in the Woods a couple weeks ago and, much like Looper (which I'll see eventually) for beau, it instantly became one of my favorite horror movies of ever. Extremely entertaining and I loved every scene from (for lack of a better term) "the facility" (Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford were great with the dry humor). Even Chris Hemsworth was unable to bore up the place.

    Other than that, not much in the way of movies for this guy. I started watching Homeland, which I am enjoying, although I'm only about 5 episodes in so can't say a whole lot about it yet. That's about it for new stuff.

    1. Finally saw that one too & really enjoyed it...I especially liked the bits of levity, like when the controllers were mocking the creepy old gas station guy on speaker phone. I also appreciated that the audience was sort of in on it from the beginning, but not enough to give it all away.

  6. Been catching up on Season 2 of The Walking Dead and Season 4 of Sons.

    Wife started watching Revenge. I think in the last week she's already burned through the first season plus everything in S2 so far.

    Can't recall seeing many movies. Though the kids have watched The Princess Bride a couple times and are now quoting it more than me. I've never been so proud *wipes tear*.

    1. Oh, Lord, Revenge. It's like The Count of Monte Cristo for the One Tree Hill set. Why would that appeal to me? Why can't I stop watching?

    2. My wife took up Walking Dead as well. She started watching the current season but I refused to watch out of order so we started at the first episode. We're now halfway through the 2nd season. It's a lot of fun, but as someone with disaster response, survival and firearms training, there are parts which just kill the believeability for me. I try to bite my tongue, but when something stupid is done, I just scoff. My wife just rolls her eyes she says, "Normal people wouldn't notice that..."

      1. Well, you can tell your wife that many, many normal people have noticed the stupid things the characters do on that show, for what its worth. According to a friend of mine who has read the comics, and I don't think this is a spoiler, is that a theme with Rick's group is their ability to find groups of people who have managed to make a relatively safe existence in the new world, only for Rick and Co. to f*ck it all up because they're idiots.

        Anyway, I recently picked it back up again where I left off in season 2. The pacing was killing me, so I left it alone for a long time. Now, of course, I'm picking it back up when its even harder to find time to watch since it scares the crap out of the trinket.

      2. I roll my eyes at The Walking Dead a lot, but I enjoy a lot of what goes on in the show. As post-apocalyptic shows go, it beats the pants off the hot mess that is Revolution . I made it through 1.25 episodes of that before completely losing interest. I guess the idea of a zombie plague is more believable (and therefore enjoyable) to me than the idea that physics would stop working (may have oversimplified that one, but that show really bugs me).

        Minor nitpick that a lot of "normal" people probably don't notice- why no one is using a .22? Quieter, you can carry a ton of ammo, and every farmhouse/barn in the rural South would have one. Instead it's shotguns and semi-autos. At least the group finally figured out they need to start using other weapons to conserve their ammo- right after group target practice. Sheesh.
        There's a lot of that kind of errors/unrealistic things that threatens to derail my interest, but there's enough intrigue about the future and new things developing to keep me watching, especially after the end of Season 2. I really liked most of what they did with the final episode- I wish they'd have done some of it earlier, but better late than never.

        1. I like the direction the third season has taken. The writing hasn't improved a whole lot, but at least they're giving the characters things to do so that that fault isn't quite as magnified.

  7. The Master -- Was a little disappointed in this one. Kind of boring, not sure of the point.

    The Flight -- Pretty decent. More about Denzel's demons and not about a plane crash.

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy -- Dense and a little slow. Worth the rental, glad I didn't pay to see it

    Wife is watching Mad Men and I've seen a few shows, I'm liking The Wire, Breaking Bad, Sopranos a lot more.

  8. I actually saw a number of movies this month - more than usual, anyway.

    Cedar Rapids - Saw with wife. Dumb, but fitfully funny in places.

    Horrible Bosses - Saw with wife. Painfully stupid and contrived, but I still laughed. I may not have been entirely of a right mind that night.

    The Cabin in the Woods - Saw with wife on Halloween. Brilliant through and through. The core premise is fantastic, and the execution is just about flawless. Likeable acting throughout, too.

    Paranormal Activity 4 - I actually really like the Paranormal Activity movies. When they're done right (and the first three movies all did certain things very right), they've got tension and that whole "wonder what happens next" quality to them (acting chops and rewatchability are low, but that's to be expected, I suppose). The fourth entry in the series is horrible. The biggest problem by far is that they decided that creepy kids are creepier than the home invasion elements that made the first few so creepy. Let's review: malevolent supernatural entity stirring crap up while you sleep? Creepy. Weird kid staring morosely while making vague prophetic threats under his breath> Not Creepy.

    Eastern Promises - I liked this a lot. Not nearly as much as History of Violence, but it was a very solid movie. My friend and I were speaking in fake Russian accents for the next three days after this.

    The Descent - I liked this enough, but something seemed 'off' about it. Some of the characters seemed a little underdeveloped, and the motivations for some of them toward the end

    There Will Be Blood - Instantly one of my favorite movies. I'm a little surprised by this, but I think this was my first Daniel Day-Lewis movie. I will be finding more to watch. The initial scene alone is worth the price of admission (I'm a sucker for long dialog-free sequences, and this is one of the best I've seen in a long time), and the movie somehow gets better from there. As a character study of a movie, I don't know that I've seen this one's equal.

    The Last of the Mohicans - So, I saw another Daniel Day-Lewis movie right after There Will Be Blood. Mohicans is hyper-epic, but I don't know that I was in the right mood to be watching it at the time (it was late, and I was tired). Madeline Stowe was good looking in it.

    1. I saw Eastern Promises in the theater with my Russian girlfriend. She almost had to leave the movie she was so disgusted, crying frequently. She couldn't handle all of the explicit and realistic violence. I liked the movie fine, but it was hard to be objective about my enjoyment with my girlfriend suffering right next to me. She barely talked to me for several days afterwards.

    2. I refuse to ever watch a Paranormal Activity movie because of the annoying "hidden camera"-type previews of a theater full of morons that they did for the first movie.

    3. Weird kid staring morosely while making vague prophetic threats under his breath> Not Creepy.

      RED RUM!!!!

      1. I don't find the whole 'creepy kid' trope to be all that creepy, but the movie you're referencing is pulled off a million times better than PA4.

        1. I was agreeing with you by showing an example that does nothing for me. Danny in The Shining channels the worst of the girl from The Exorcist.

          1. Evil kids only work in books. I've never bought a single "evil kid" performance. They just can't do it. Evil comes from the stuff that happens to people later in life.

                    1. Well, I've seen the first nine episodes of The Walking Dead.

                      Fun Fact: the videogame version of The Walking Dead is excellent. It's about all different characters in the same world, but the writing is ten times better, and the deaths much more meaningful and moving, than they are in the show. It's unfortunate that these characters (and their writers) aren't what was used for the TV version.

            1. wait, what? What is evil about Danny?

              the kid rides the hell out of that Big Wheel.

              and seriously, you are not buying The Exorcist

              You've now besmirched the two scariest movies in the history of scary movies.

              1. I like Danny just fine (I never even mentioned him). He really only has that one creepy scene, and I don't consider Danny among the "evil kid" set. The ones I don't buy are the ones that are supposed to be born evil.

              2. Wait, what's the other scariest movie?

                I actually wasn't scared by The Exorcist. I can't get the paranormal to work for me. I only get scared by the ones that could really happen. I liked the movie - I just didn't get scared.

                1. I'm with Spooky. I liked The Exorcist pretty well. It just didn't scare me and paranormal stuff rarely does. My parents said they were scared shitless when they saw it in the theater, but both find some the scary scenes mostly whatever now.

                  Has anyone seen The Good Son? Does Culkin do evil kid any justice?

                  1. You have to put The Exorcist into proper historical context. A little side-boob isn't gonna be very titillating if you've spent years watching pr0n. The Exorcist was scary as hell when it first came out.

                    also, it puts a whole 'nother spin on Mike Oldfield.

                    1. I'm fine putting it in historical context, but it still doesn't scare me. It probably would have if I had watched it when I was negative seven. Pong was also an amazing video game when I was negative seven, but that doesn't mean it should be in the conversation of best video games ever.

                      My Dad raved and raved about Midnight Cowboy to me, saying it was his favorite movie and really pushed a lot of boundaries. So we watched it together thirty years after it came out, and it seemed pretty PG-13 to me. He couldn't believe how little impact the movie had on him watching it thirty years later. We both still liked it, but he didn't find it jaw-dropping awesome anymore.

                    2. Yeah, I watched in 1998 or so. It was never lost on me that it may have worked at a younger age, and at a different time in filmmaking. The paranormal never scared me, but I'm sure it would have been different under different circumstances.

          2. Yeah, Danny does nothing for me, either - and I still maintain that he pulls it off about a million times better than the kid from PA4.

    4. Shawn Ashley is in Horrible Bosses. She had a line, but it was cut. She was just a day player - not sure how much her face appears on screen because I haven't seen it.

      Daniel-Day Lewis is my favorite actor. I don't even know who would come next. The monologue he delivers while draped in the American flag in Gangs of New York might be the best film monologue of all time.

      1. Daniel-Day Lewis is my favorite actor. That's just because you bear a resemblence to him. I kid - I really like his work too. I'm extremely excited to take in Lincoln.

        1. CoC, are you ignoring me?
          I'll be at my uncle's tomorrow, next to Lake Phalen.
          1. Do you still live around there?
          2. Will you be at your place?
          3. You wanna stop over for a beer?

  9. I saw an unbelievable number of movies this month including, 21 Jump Street, Tinker Tailor, Jeff Who Lives At Home, The Beasts of The Southern Wild, Dark Night Returns, The first three episodes of Weeds' 6th season, The first three episodes of Network, Argo, Lincoln, In The Loop, Beginners, and Taken. I watched the first five minutes of Liberal Arts and wanted to claw out my eyes.

    Of that list I would highly recommend The Beasts of The Southern Wild. Spoiler, it's not a happy kind of picture, but the performances and direction are so tight. Really well done.

    I also recommend seeing Argo, Lincoln Jeff Who Lives, Tinker Tailor, Beginners, and 21 Jump street.

    21 Jump Street was such a self aware comedy that it was fun to watch. Some of the jokes are hacky, but no comedy is perfect.

    Jeff Who Lives At Home was a good watch as well, but not what I thought it was going to be.

    Beginners was excellently scripted, directed, and acted, also not necessarily a happy picture.

    Argo did a great job of creating suspense, and capturing a mood, within a story we all know the ending to. Someone above said it's been interesting to watch Ben's career comeback. I totally agree.

    Lincoln was a good movie that could have been great. Some aesthetic decisions could have been tweaked, and some more sensitive handling of the delegates from the south may have made the picture more comprehensive in scope.

    As far as the TV goes, weeds has long since jumped the shark for me, but it was free on the plane and I couldn't bear the thought of watching another second of Liberal Arts. That movie blows almost as much as Taken. Oh, Taken is one of the worst movies I've ever seen that has a sequel staring the original lead. Network captured my attention, but having a while to think on the premise I'm skeptical that there is enough meat for a long running drama about a news room. I'll give it a shot once the DVDs come out.

  10. I forgot, I watched Skyfall and Argo, too.

    Skyfall was really great. I like Bond, but this one isn't just a good Bond movie, it's a good movie, in general. It references the old while pressing confidently in a new direction.

    Argo was suspenseful and very good. You know how the story ends, obviously, but you're still finding yourself saying "okay, there's no way they can make it, right?" That's a sign of a well made movie for me. Between this and The Town, I'll watch just about anything that Affleck directs.

  11. How the hell do you people have time to see so many movies? Will I get to see movies again after The Girl graduates?

    My small contribution: I saw a couple episodes of Arrow. And immediately stopped recording it. Vigilanty revenge fantasy written miserably and acted laughably. Much, much worse than Smallville.

    I am looking forward to catching up on the PBS miniseries The Dustbowl.

    1. I usually see one or two movies at most in a month. This month, a couple friends wanted to go to movies in theatre, the wife and I always watch a couple horror movies for Halloween, and I went down to a friend's place over the weekend, and we sat around drinking beer and watching movies until 4am every night.

      Not a typical month.

    2. Several of the ones I watched were on in the background while doing other things like cleaning, homework, etc.

  12. here's the Tolkien estate kerfuffle story.

    The estate of Tolkien is upset at what it calls "morally questionable" digital marketing including an online slot machine, according to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. The Tolkien estate is seeking $80 million from Warner Bros., its New Line subsidiary and rights holder Saul Zaentz Co.

    Warner Bros. declined to comment on the claims.

    Tolkien's family contends a merchandizing agreement extends only to tangible products such as figurines and clothing and not to electronic rights.

    again, and letting Denny's market "food"* for you is not morally questionable?

    *I jest. I like a Grand Slam as much as the next guy when I'm taking wrestlers to a tournament and had to get up at 4 a.m.

    1. It is a silly distinction, though. If you want to take the moral high ground, you should really take a stand and never sell out in the first place. I wonder how far they'll get with this lawsuit.

  13. I saw Waiting for Guffman last weekend. I might have enjoyed it more if I had never seen This is Spinal Tap.

    1. I prefer Guffman, but you'll get that from actors. We've all been in those productions. It's not the superior of the two movies, but I watch it ten times more often regardless.

        1. The next one was much worse. I don't even remember what it was called, but it was about the film industry. It had the proper amount of cynicism, but not nearly enough laughs.

          I thought there were things to like about A Mighty Wind, but when you try to tell fifteen stories in the same movie, none of them are going to be told very well.

  14. I havent watched a lot of movies lately (the last one I saw in a theater was The Avengers), but caught Wayne's World on Comedy Central. I loved that movie when it came out, and I think it holds up pretty well 20ish years later.

    I havent watched a lot of new tv shows (Animal Practice was the only one I watched more than once, but but was quickly cancelled). Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia hasnt been 'gut busting funny' this year, but its still awesome

    Spoiler SelectShow

    Parks and Recreation
    is king of the mountain. Amy Pohler is getting jobbed out of awards by Modern Family
    The final season of The Office has been surprisingly good to great. Im kinda glad I stuck through it the last couple of years.
    30 Rock is also going out on a strong note.
    Does anyone watch Happy Endings on ABC? Its like combining the strong ensemble of Community and the 50-jokes-a-minute roll of 30 Rock. And Eliza Coupe...yamma hamma.
    I dont watch too many dramas, except for Law and Order:SVU and the on hiatus Justified

    1. yeah, Wayne's World is still goofy fun. A couple of the jokes are now dated (e.g. Grey Poupon) but I still laugh when I watch it.

  15. I watched quite a few movies this month, too.

    I absolutely adored Magic Mike, but I assumed this would be the case because I adore Soderbergh. I now have a serious crush on Cody Horn.

    The Amazing Spider-Man was pretty fun, and far better than I expected honestly. The previews were pretty crappy, but the movie was enjoyable. I liked it better than the first or third of the Spider-Man movies that Raimi did. Also, Gwen is way more awesome than Mary Jane.

    Videodrome was quite a trip. Long live the new flesh.

    I went to Looper in the theatre and was mostly pleased. I look forward to watching it again.

    I also finally watched all of Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule which might be my favorite thing Tim & Eric have done. It was a freaking blast. The Animals episode was easily my favorite, I was almost in tears laughing.

    I think that's it for the month. I think.

    1. Spider-Man was solid, if not exactly on par with what I've come to expect from the genre. From the previews, I expected nothing, but Emma Stone does a good job with the role, and I like Andrew Garfield, so I was content. All in all, it was a nice use for the wife's movie pass.

      I saw the last twenty minutes of Spiderman 3 the other night. Whatever arrows have been slung that movie's way, they aren't enough. I didn't even see emo-Spidey, and I was still constantly annoyed.

  16. just finished season 4 of breaking bad. hot damn.

    Spoiler SelectShow
    1. I'm not sure what I can say that the show doesn't expertly say for itself. I'll just say that when season four ended, my first thought was, how does season five live up to the burn they've got going? Is it possible?

      Season 5.1 was good, but it's more setup than action. It was slow (comparatively) but always fascinating, and as far as making me crazy to see 5.2, it more than pulled its weight.

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