79 thoughts on “At The Movies: November The Sixteenth Be With You”

  1. Mrs. Runner and I are most of the way through The Queen's Gambit -- it's been very good.

    Star Trek: Discovery has come into their own in season three, after finding a way to (mostly) tiptoe around messing with canon.

    The Mandalorian season 2 has been as good as the first. I laughed out loud at Din Djarin's attempt to land the limping Razor Crest at the opening of the most recent episode:

    1. Mandalorian has been great. Even when they've brought in side characters that seem like they will be one-note and annoying, they've ended up being fleshed out in a way that makes them interesting and well-rounded.

  2. Only watched two comedies in the last month:

    Tootsie was fine, but hasn't aged particularly well.

    Monsieur Hulot's Holiday was like watching a really early Mr. Bean sketch. I LOL'd at a couple of the gags, but most of them fell pretty flat.

  3. Moonlight - Well done but I prefer at least a glimpse of joy at some point.
    Grand Army - Netflix high school drama. Pretty heavy subject matter. It's good but I'm not the target market.
    Queen's gambit - I'm about halfway. Nothing to add that others haven't. It's a good show.
    30 Rock - I've started to rewatch this on prime.

    1. I used to love playing chess. I never minded losing as I thought I was getting learning and getting better (and my opponent not).

      But I made a colossal mistake early in our marriage. The first time I played NBBW I beat her in 4 moves. We've never played since.

      We did use to play backgammon and she almost always won at that. We played Scrabble last weekend (for the first time in a long while), and she smote me. She knows how to get the high scoring stuff while I am going for the cool word or to extend existing words.

  4. For some reason I'm on a Star Trek streak. Not sure why or how I fell into this, but that's where I am

    The Next Generation - through about 10 episodes. Wow this is old. Still, it's good to check out some of these early episodes.
    Deep Space 9 - through the first 2, which I remember watching back when it was new. I don't remember when I lost track of the series when it initially aired, but somewhere in the late first or early second season. I'm excited about this one though as I've heard it gets better as it goes on.
    Discovery - got a handful of episodes in Season 2 yet before I catch up to 3. I really enjoyed S1. S2 is okay, but I still can't buy this new guy as Spock. As much as I like the world, I wish the storytellers would not tie themselves so closely to the original cast. This goes for Star Wars as well as Star Trek. When there's a world as wide and unique as the creators have created - I'd rather see new stories in that same universe. That's why I love shows like DS9 and Mandalorian, because they take that universe and explore something new, without needing Kirk/Spock or Skywalkers.

    1. DS9 starts getting good with about three episodes left in Season 1 and doesn't let up much until Season 6

      1. I think I skipped just about every Ferengi episode, and several of the Dax Personal-history ones, and agree.

    2. That's why I love shows like DS9 and Mandalorian, because they take that universe and explore something new, without needing Kirk/Spock or Skywalkers.

      There were tie-ins with DS9, to be sure, but yea. My guess is that the Suits demand heavy-handed fan service because they don't really understand or appreciate sci-fi/fantasy to begin with. And because repetition sells.

      Discovery: the retconning of Michael into Spock's family annoys me, but I enjoyed the stories and action and acting enough (the Ash Tyler stuff excepted) in the first two seasons to overcome that annoyance. Michelle Yeoh is delicious as a villain with a wee bit of a soft spot. I will probably re-up with CBS All-Access to watch Season 3.

  5. I thought Rise of Skywalker was ok. Had Star Warsy stuff but overall disappointing. The Last Jedi was great and set up a great and compelling last chapter but the director, et al just chickened out.

    Watching Lovecraft Country. Some cool ideas. The CGI monsters are the dumbest part of the whole thing. Want to start Mandalorian maybe after 4 in the books so I can binge.

    1. I wrote about it a few months ago, but I'm with HJ. Rise of Skywalker was just awful. The whole first half of the movie was absolute run around with no purpose or plan crap, and the second half was "and here's the whole story crammed into 40 minutes, none of which we built up or hinted to in any way in 2.5 previous movies, and also here's some new space magic that we can use to justify doing the things we feel like we need to do."

      1. Actual Spoiler SelectShow
      2. I'm probably a lot closer to your opinion than I'm willing to admit. But it's Star Wars so it gets a built in 5 out of 10 stars.

        1. this. I try not to think too much while watching Star Wars films.

          Still disappointed that so many of the entertaining novels have been shunted aside as non-canon now. Thrawn could have been awesome.

          1. I have complete and total Skywalker fatigue to the point where I may never actually watch any of them again. (thanks, JJ). But I am enjoying the Mandalorian.

  6. TV -
    The Good Place. Watched Season 4 (again). I thought it was much funnier the second time through - probably because I wasn't emotionally hanging on the plot in the same way.
    Stranger Things - Season 1. I watched this back a few years ago, but Philosofette had missed it. Well worth a re-watch, though, again, not emotionally as strong. That said, I saw pieces they were putting into place early and I appreciated how much more depth the characters had than I had assessed in my initial watch. Basically, the writing was way stronger in the details game than I had realized.
    Jack Ryan - We just started Season 2 last night. It doesn't seem like it'll be as good as the first season, which was simply excellent.
    Agents Of Shield - Having watched the rest of it, I'm now halfway through the final season. I wasn't sure it needed more time, but this last season has been one of my favorites, and I think I'll be sad to see it go.
    The Great British Baking Show - Kids are loving this now too.
    Fresh Off The Boat - This has been a safe, entertaining sitcom for us to watch on those nights when we're not ready for bed, but not ready for something serious.

    Ocean's 11 - Still a stupid amount of fun.
    Hubie Halloween - Easily Adam Sandler's best comedic movie in a looong time. The cast was great. Except for Sandler. Why can't he do a bit without a weird voice? The weird voice distracts, not enhances. Still, this was stupid in a good way, and I laughed out loud a few times.
    The Perks Of Being A Wallflower - I'd never seen this one before. It was a pretty enjoyable film for being as serious and dark as it was. I felt like it really captured something special, though I kept getting thrown off by relative ages of characters and such.
    Iron Man - This was at least as good as I remembered it being. Probably better.
    Captain America: The First Avenger - This was not as good as I remembered it being. Still enjoyable, but in my memory this had been among my favorites, and now it bumped down to the middle, I think.

    1. Agreed on both of your re-watch assessments for Iron Man and Captain America. We rewatched all the MCU movies a couple of months ago. I was surprised how my opinion of many of the movies shifted when watching now.

  7. Watched a couple movies we had missed along the way.

    Paul. Decent. Not as good as their previous efforts.

    Tully. Pretty darn good. Really captures a feeling.

  8. Almost done with my rewatch of Scrubs. Holds up better than I thought in some ways, though the gender-specific jokes don't. Bob Kelso kills every single scene he is in for nine years. They finally have J.D. grow up a bit during Season 8, which is way too long for character development, especially since everyone else around him grows during that time.

    Don't think I mentioned it here, but for my 40th birthday my wife got me a Cameo from John C. McGinley. It was really good. Funny and heartfelt, about as genuine someone can get talking to someone they have never met.

    1. Are you listening to the podcast w/ Zack and Donald (it's pretty great) they address some of those issues. JD not growing up in relation to the other characters is a thing (intentionally I think right). So many of the jokes still work, one of my all time favorite shows. That's a quality Cameo. McGinley is so good.

          1. I just listened to the first episode, and even that one had minimal discussion of the episode. And I have a lower opinion of Braff now.

            1. You would think much more highly of him if you had attended his presentation at the conference in Germany (if was right before the seminar on chafing).

  9. I've always loved that photo for this post. if it wasn't for the modern looking residential high-rise in the background, it looks like it would've been from the 1920's.

  10. Finally watched The Social Dilemma. It impacted me greatly, as I was on the last day of a quarantine in which I spent way too much time on social media, google, etc. I have wrestled with the topic at hand over the past 8 years, on a mostly anecdotal basis. Misinformation getting handed out and consumed like Halloween candy. So, it was very informative to see some of the actual data that supports what I have been seeing. It is pretty scary. I guess my main take, after pondering it over night, is this: A tool, like the book of face, can be used in a destructive or constructive manner. There are simply not enough people who feel compelled to provide positive or uplifting content. As much as I am tempted to drop it (and instagram, and Twitter), I think I will go the other direction and post messages that inspire, heal, bring us together, etc. Perhaps I am naive, but my hope is that maybe I can change the tide in my own community just enough to bring some sanity to those who need it. Worth a shot.

    1. Good on you. Please report back how you feel it has went!

      I've been off Bookface for years. I technically have a Twitter account, but haven't logged in for years. I've been close to dropping Instagram.

      I've lightly re-engaged Instagram with occasional posts about what I'm doing. (At this point it's probably "look at food I made," "look at wood I worked," "look at goofy kid thing.") I think that's a decent use.

      I've been digging through archive.org and seeing what I used to do on the internet. It was creative and free (and often silly) and not on social networks. I might actually go that way and make a website that's a playground for writing, creativity, silly coding, etc. We'll see if I make it so.


      1. I am enthusiastically looking forward to dialing way back on my political shitposting on Bookface and Tweety once the Present Danger has mostly passed.

        I will return to mostly posting about food, beer, smart-assery, science and interesting (to me) stuff about good governance, rather than angry/horrified posts about the end of the American Experiment.

        1. Yeah, I gotta be honest in the fact that I do sometimes wish I could go the route you have chosen. I do have pretty strong feelings about what has gone down the past 5 years. However, I am in the wrong business and the wrong county to do so. I guess my route is more subtle and part of a longer game of slowly sliding the mirror in front of people in my community and letting them see the silliness of their ways. Just last night I had a vendor in my joint as a customer. He approached me with a "I can't believe they are doing this to you" rant. I let him have his say, then I took a neutral stance and just pointed out the facts in our area and the horrible situation our local healthcare system is in. I explained how we are trying to be part of the solution and not just bitch about how we have suffered. Because, let's be honest, no matter how bad we think we have it there are countless people suffering far more. After 15 minutes of conversation he went back to his table with a very conflicted look on his face.

          My main point is that there is a certain percentage of the population who will not change their minds in this climate as they are already in a tribe and are simply looking for alternative facts to back up their world view. It is the people in the middle who need to be coaxed into the light of common sense. I find that speaking and debating with a local, community viewpoint if more effective. A lot of people can find empathy for people in their own community but struggle with finding empathy for someone in another community. My effort is to help grow that empathy locally, and hope it takes seed and grows. In the end, I am not disagreeing with your own efforts to make change. We need people who are willing to stick their neck out and speak truth, and I admire you for it.

          1. As someone who posts a lot about politics and issues on FB (and I like to think that I do so in a unique, mostly constructive fashion - no memes, trying for discussion, etc.) - I am super excited by your posts and your approach overall. You deserve some serious kudos.

            1. Dido, zoooms.

              My wife, as a small business person in a relatively conservative town, is very, very circumspect about what she posts.

              After the Trump bible debacle, she shared the statement from the DC Episcopal bishop (? I think) about the event. And got a TEXT from one of her former parents accusing her of spreading hate.


              I am in a privileged position in that I no longer really care about getting appointed by the governor to anything. So I am less circumspect on both of those platforms than I used to be

            2. I try to keep my political posting off of facebook and I pretty much did in 2020. I have responded to brianS a few times, but my own posts included one -- this guy is unqualified when sharing a post from 2016 -- and a simple one word post -- Yes -- when the election was called.

              Now, twitter, on the other hand....

  11. The Queen's Gambit - Can't say enough good things about it, but a lot of other folks are singing praises so I don't have to.
    Lodge 49 - More, please. I started watching this awhile back when it was running on AMC, but I didn't get past the second episode. This time we binged it over the course of a week. The metaphysical stuff aside, it's a great story about coping with loss and finding community.
    This is Us - Still very good for a network drama, but I'm starting to wonder how long the network plans to milk it.
    Normal People - We just started this a couple of nights ago, I think we've watched three episodes, so the jury is out but I'm liking it so far. It was recommended by Younger Daughter.
    My Octopus Teacher - Fascinating documentary film about a South African documentary filmmaker suffering from burnout and his reconnection to the ocean and its creatures. If you think cephalopods are cool, it's worth the watch.

    1. Loved both Lodge 49 and Normal People. Definitely two of my quarantine favorites. Thinking about swapping out Hulu for Netflix so I can check out the heavily rec’d Queen’s Gambit.

    1. I watched the first three or four episodes. The rest are sitting on the DVR. Kind of bored with it.

    2. Yeah, I am 3 episodes in and I am with you and Algonad. Not sure if I will finish this season.

      1. I've enjoyed it. I'm all caught up, and it definitely gets moving more as you get further in. I really liked this week's episode; definitely a departure from what the rest of the season has been like.

  12. We watched Uncle Frank last night and it was really good. A family drama about a gay man dealing with all the things gay men had to deal with in the late 60s and early 70s. The story is told from the niece’s perspective. It’s all about the writing and the acting.

  13. I caught Victoria and Abdul the other night. Not very good history, but Judith Dench was fantastic as Queen Victoria and Eddy Izzard interesting as the future Edward VII.

    The historical Abdul was rather more politically crafty and less facile than the film character played by Ali Fazal. Adeel Akhtar was a sympathetic character as the ill-fated Mohammed. Lots of recognizable faces among the various British characters.

    Still, entertaining enough.

  14. Last week our son got us going on the show Vikings, a History channel series. I really liked it for the first season or so. But now, 4 seasons in I am weary of it. Basically, it has turned into a soap opera with violence and gore. Everyone is sleeping with everyone else in the show. I had high hopes. Sigh.

    1. I watched the first couple of seasons of this show when it was being aired on History Channel. Ragnar was awesome and his priest friend was pretty great.

      Spoiler SelectShow
  15. Orson Welles: It's a fucking sled.

    Author and one-time film critic Jorge Luis Borges, who loved Citizen Kane, thought the Rosebud motif its single major weakness. The film, he wrote, “has at least two plots. The first [is] of an almost banal imbecility … At the moment of his death, [Kane] yearns for a single thing in the universe: a fittingly humble sled that he played with as a child!”

    Welles himself dismissed Rosebud as a “dollar-book Freudian gag.”

    1. The article beats around the bush to say what is known well in the industry: it isn't the plot (or the sled) that makes the film great, it's the myriad of filmmaking, storytelling, and cinematography techniques that were pioneered in it. Added bonus, look up how Rosebud got its (NSFW) name...

      1. Added bonus, look up how Rosebud got its (NSFW) name...

        or its actual name, according to Welles (he was probably joking, but...)

        contemplating Rhu's phrasing, perhaps he was making the same reference....

      2. I'm gonna grant you all of your points. For me, the Rosebud plot device is so clumsy, it's hard to say this is the greatest movie of all time. But, I'm just a small-town dude with an engineering (i.e. not liberal arts) degree so, I'll defer to the dude who made the movie. Mostly, though, I found this tidbit this weekend and I wanted to reinforce my brand: that I never let things go. 🙂

  16. We watched The Invisible Man this weekend. Pretty solid suspense thriller. Doesn't rely on cheap scares, and while most of the plot twists are predictable (i.e. we said them out loud long before they happened) it was still fun. Elisabeth Moss is really good. Pretty traumatic movie if you've been the victim of domestic abuse.

    1. The home run near the end of The Natural was very cheesy, as was the whole Wonderboy bat element. However, I did enjoy the movie back in high school, as I played ball at the time. I do agree that the Field of Dreams is a better baseball movie. For me though, 42 is the baseball movie I enjoyed the most. My son mentioned to me that he thought they over sold the adversity Jackie went through, but I thought they probably under sold it. I can't begin to imagine what it must have felt to walk in his shoes and so many of the other trailblazing minorities of his time.

      1. I never got how sparks from a bank of lights in deep right center field sparkled over the infield and home plate. Really, there hasn't been a baseball film yet that didn't resort to losing streaks filled with little league plays and winning streaks where a team can do no wrong, and I'd have loved to see what the records were that the Knights could move up and down the standings so readily.
        Not sure why a women shooting premier sportsmen would suddenly commit suicide, and why her story wouldn't have made Roy a much more readily remembered person.

    2. I've never gotten into The Natural. I was always confused by the "controversy" of his early affair.

      1. Might I suggest a top 5 baseball movies list on twitter? Definitely put "Rookie of the Year" at the top of the list. 🙂

        1. I've always liked Bull Durham but I know some people hate the love story aspect. I thought it had the right mix of humor and realistic baseball stories.

          Major League was funny but cartoonish.

          1. I think Bull Durham works because it was minor leagues; Major League would have worked better with a minor league team also, although then it wouldn't be Major League anymore, would it?

          1. No movie I have ever seen sums up the feel of growing up in my hometown more than Sandlot. An hour north of the cities. Town of 400 people. We had 8 men's fastpitch teams. From the time I was 10 until near graduation, we would walk 2 blocks down from our house and start up pick up game of softball. This was darn near every day during the summer months. I had 2 brothers close to my age and we would knock on doors on our way to the park. Lots of days it was 2 teams of 10 or 12 and we would have a rule where you could not hit it to right field. As a result, I grew up a dead pull hitter. Tennis court past left field was a home run. As a result, the little town of Harris, Minnesota produced some pretty darn good gloves for the North Branch High School baseball teams and the men's fastpitch teams. A couple guys 4-5 years older than me ended up emerging as 2 of the best fastpitch pitchers in the state for many years. I guess they could be considered our versions of "the Jet". I really do think that many of our current youth are missing out a bit on the type of experiences I was able to have growing up in a small town, before cell phones and video games.

            1. You grew up in Harris? That's where I road out a crazy thunderstorm storm in a bar at 9:30 on a Sunday morning during the MS150 a couple of years ago.

              Every year during the ride I wonder when they'll get around to repaving Forest Blvd. there because that is the most potholed stretch of the 150 mile ride.

              1. Yeah, if you were at a bar on the main highway, my childhood home was 4 doors to the East.

            2. Wow, that’s a lot of teams! My dad pitched fast pitch until he was 40. Our town of 5k in SW MN had 2 men’s and 1 women’s team at one point. The county probably had 4-5 more.

              Toward the end of the heyday there was a youth team in a town of 300 that kept winning nationals over and over. One pitcher QBd at SDSU. His youngest brother ended up QBing for the Vikings a bit. My dad likes to mention that he once hit a HR off a Vikings QB.

              It was crazy!

              1. I played against those boys from Russell, or is it Tyler, or is it Ruthton. Probably played against your Dad. I played pretty regularly from 1982 until 1999. The first 8 years or so out of my hometown of Harris and then with Bo Diddley's out of St. Joseph, with a short 2 year run out of Star Prairie, WI. Most competitive ball I saw was playing against teams that would bring in some New Zealand players. I believe Duluth had a loaded team with players from all over the world. I was a player/manager on a team with the recently retired high school basketball coach at Apple Valley. He played at SCSU, but man could be play softball.

                1. No fastpitch for me, but I played a lot of slow pitch in h.s. and after my freshman year in college.

                  In h.s., the summer before senior year, I played on a co-ed city league team (Spamtown had a VERY robust set of slowpitch leagues). The girls were all studs from our soon-to-be back-to-back state champion h.s. fastpitch team. The league alternated between regular slowpitch and kittenball slowpitch, where only the girls could use gloves. We were a juggernaut. Fun times.

                  also played a lot in grad school, which was fun. Both men's and co-ed. Our men's team was in a competitive league loaded with testosterone-poisoned undergrads. We were not. Our motto: "don't throw the ball any more than necessary." Always take the easy out. We won a lot, but weren't hitting the ball over the fence like some of those San Diego jocks.

                2. Yeah, those boys were something else. I talked to my dad tonight and he corrected me. He hit 2 HRs off the future Vikings signal caller. The kid was 16. 🙂

                  I asked him about your teams and he said he played St. Joseph a bit in the 80s in Mankato. That means it was probably regionals or state depending on the year. He was thinking early to mid 80s. (He was on the Pipestone Ed’s and Greg’s.)

                  He also mentioned a Pipestone friend of his sister’s was the St. Joseph pitcher for the longest time. John K. So he knew John pretty well. John was 4 years older than my dad and he pitched still after my dad stopped playing in 1990.

                  Fun memories! He enjoyed talking about this tonight!

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