• Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

    What did we watch?

    • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

      LOST, Season One, Episode Fifteen, “Outlaws”
      “You know why they call Australia ‘Down Under’, don’t you? Because it’s as close as you can get to hell without being burned.”

      “It peed on my shirt! It took my shirt out of the bag and peed on it!”

      This episode expands Sawyer much better than the previous episode expanded Charlie. Sawyer’s flashbacks reveal things both new and integral: on a character level, that Sawyer killed an innocent man, thinking he was Mr Sawyer; on a mythology level, that Sawyer met Christian Shepard, building on the occasional crossover before, and beginning the idea that these people were fated to be together.

      Sawyer struggles not just with the broad guilt of becoming the man he hates, but of killing an innocent man. Kate and Sawyer’s relationship is more fun to watch than Kate and Jack’s, because it changes scene-to-scene, let alone episode-to-episode (it helps that they keep owning each other) – she’s motivated by ownage, pity, sympathy, attraction, and just generally compatible personality. More than anyone else on the island, I think she gets his quid pro quo viewpoint, and is willing to cooperate with him in a way few others will.

      (Thinking on it, it kind of makes sense to me that the island’s biggest capitalist would believe that murdering an innocent man means he now owes somebody something and live in fear of somebody coming to collect)

      Charlie has a subplot that actually mirrors Sawyer’s A-plot – Hurley worries he’s struggling with PTSD, so he turns to the only soldier he knows, Sayid, who helps out Charlie. This dramatic presentation of community is my favourite kind, closely followed by the literary technique of having characters gossip about each other.

      Jack pretty well lays out my problems with Christian Shepard in particular and faith-based viewpoints in general, which I bring up not as a gotcha or anything but as an observation that Lost does a lot better showing ‘the other side’ than, say, Firefly does.

      I’ve been keeping an eye out for stories the characters tell each other, and this one has two: Locke tells Kate and Sawyer about his dead sister, and the golden retriever that gave his foster mother peace (a mysterious bit of weirdness brings peace to a person who suffered tragedy), and Sayid tells Charlie about the man he killed in a firing squad (can’t get that to relate to the show in general).

      Ownage count: Sawyer gets owned by the boar multiple times. Kate and Sawyer get in a game of oneupmanship playing I Never, and I’m moved by the fact that they’re honest with one another. Sawyer obviously kills a guy with a gunshot. When Sawyer tries using a boar piglet to bring the boar out, Kate gets him in the back of the knee, and it’s hilarious.

      Real Australian Accent count: the gun seller.

      Django, Sergio Corbucci
      I’ll give you three guesses why I watched this movie, and the first two don’t count.

      When I watched this movie, I was only able to watch the Italian version of the film, and I had the clever idea that maybe there was something more purely cinematic in watching a foreign-language film unsubtitled. Rewatching it now, I think I had the right idea, I just didn’t have enough grounding in story to be able to follow it through – this time, the morality of Django and the flow of the story was clearer. Corbucci has a taste for iconic, simple shots, and just based on the action and the way it plays out, I think the story is the case of Django definitely not caring for the racist, violent Confederacy, but also not having much time for the Union’s willingness to team up with bandits to achieve their goals.

      I have more empathy for Tarantino and his violence based on this – he might have shot a film where a guy gets his ear cut off, but that guy wasn’t force-fed the ear afterwards!

      Ownage count: It’s an ownage-heavy film. Anything involving the gatling gun is the best part, though.

      • I watched Django subtitled, and the subtitles on the copy that I have were so terrible and riddled with errors that it was slightly offputting, mostly because I spent the whole time angrily shouting “WHEN DID ALL PROOFREADERS DIE?” and the like, as is my right as a pedant. I still enjoyed it, but I’ve been meaning to get around to a rewatch with the English language track, which is the way I’d generally watch Italian films of this era anyway.

        • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

          I later went to watch the English dub, only to discover some of the music was wrong. I started a project of subtitling the Italian version for fun, but I only got about ten minutes into the film.

        • Miller

          I liked the sentiment behind “When Did All The Proofreaders Die?” but musically it was a really flagrant attempt to have lightning strike twice for Paula Cole.

          • I was never sure whether the lyric sheet referring to “Profreaders” was a genuine error or some kind of ironic joke.

          • Miller

            No, the couplet “It’s like suffering shrinkage when you need to hang dong/It’s like being a pedant but spelling ‘proofreader’ wrong” is an excised Alanis Morrisette verse.

        • PCguy

          I became immune to bad subtitling after watching tons of Hong Kong New Wave flicks. In Cantonese the third person pronoun isn’t gendered and the translators often worked from transcripts without watching the actual movie. They were lazy but everything was bootlegged anyways. The result is you’ll have disconcerting situations like when a woman is being accused of something. So you’ll have the reaction shot of the woman and the character off screen is saying “he did it”. It’s a remarkably jarring violation of an elementary piece of cinematic grammar (shot reverse shot) but you end up getting used to it after a while.

          • Interesting, I guess I haven’t really thought about how translators actually work – it makes sense that they’re generally just working from a transcript a lot of the time.

            I have seen some bad subtitles that have added to the charm of the film before, if it’s something trashy / strange / ridiculous anyway. I can’t remember exactly what the problem with the Django subtitles was but I’m sure I’d have happily ignored the problems if it wasn’t an otherwise well presented blu-ray release.

      • hellgauge

        Was it because you mistakenly thought it was a Django Reinhardt biopic?

        • I can’t wait for the actual Django Reinhardt biopic so I can make this mistake in reverse!

          • hellgauge

            Oh, I think I somehow missed that this was an actual thing.

          • I only stumbled across it as a result of this conversation. It probably has nearly as much in common with the original Django as some of the “sequels”, to be fair.

      • Ownage count: It’s an ownage-heavy film. Anything involving the gatling gun is the best part, though.

        Be sure to repurpose this line for when you watch The Wild Bunch.

        • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

          I cannot wait til I finish this ‘Drunk Napoleon: Origins” project so I can move on to Peckinpah films.

          • Why not alternate? Origin, Peck, Origin, Peck…

          • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

            My hope is that I can slam through my origin films relatively quickly, and I want to systematically go through Peckinpah the way I did Scorsese.

          • Sounds good. If you like Al Swearengen talking to a severed head, you’ll love Peckinpah.

          • Napoleon Of The Living Drunk

            While I can’t understate the power of that recommendation, it’s simply another addition to the big pile of things making me look forward to Peckinpah.

          • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

            Does the origin story end with your avatar on a bender?*

            (Do you, do you see what I did there?)

    • Deadly Friend – as much as I enjoyed this ridiculous film (very much), I can’t help feel a little sorry for Wes Craven. Reading up afterwards, it seems he wanted this to be his equivalent of Starman, a darkly humorous sci-fi teen romance that let him stretch out of the horror genre a little. The studio disagreed, forced him to add gory death scenes and voila! We have a total mess that flopped at the box office. It’s still so much fun though, with some great robot action, Kristy Swanson being controlled by a microchip, Anne Ramsey brandishing a shotgun and some prime 80s synth.

    • Delmars Whiskers

      The Long Riders–Finally received my copy of the new Kino-Lorber Blu-ray, and it’s worthy of Criterion, or at least Arrow: A detailed making-of, interviews with everyone from Walter Hill to the brothers Carradine and Keach to Ry Cooder, an informative commentary track. Oh, plus a stunning remaster. I was afraid the higher resolution might reveal the limitations of this modestly-budgeted film; instead, it shows how convincingly aged and worn the sets and costumes really are, and gives it a nice lived-in feeling. One of my favorite movies, presented in the best possible light. They even restored the original TransAmerica UA logo!

      Kingsman: The Secret Service–As a Bond fan, it’s kind of odd that I’d never seen this before. It’s entertaining enough, the cast is terrific…but maybe due to watching it in the wake of the shootings in Las Vegas, it was hard to tale its “fun” depiction of extreme violence. Probably a reliable watch when it enters regular rotation on basic cable. No desire to see the sequel, though.

    • Defender Of The Dark Arts

      I’m not immune to peer pressure so I watched The Book of Henry. This is a very strange movie. The only way I can describe it is by referencing the Leggo episode of The Simpsons. In the finale Bart constructs a giant robot made from many different play sets and that’s what this felt like. Family comedy, tear-jerker, love story, thriller. It’s all in here. I hope HDTGM does an episode on this because I would genuinely like to know how this got made.

      I have one lingering question: why did fake snow deserve a standing ovation?

      • I haven’t seen this yet (but definitely will be doing so, for the same reasons), but I couldn’t help drawing comparisons with the film I watched last night (Deadly Friend), which is also about the genius son of a single mother who starts to suspect that his neighbour is being abused by her father and comes up with a plan to save her, and includes the untimely death of one of the main characters. If I’d known this in advance I’d definitely have been tempted to watch them in a double-bill.

        • Defender Of The Dark Arts

          That’s a crazy coincidence. I would not have been surprised at all to find out that Henry was actually a super intelligent robot built by the younger brother as a companion/father figure to deal with the abandonment of his real father. In a movie like this anything is possible.

      • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

        Welcome to the Club (of Strange/Outlandish-Movie-Watching Masochists)!

      • That standing ovation is the most baffling part of a very very baffling movie. In a movie where a young boy conducts stock exchanges during recess over a pay phone (wait, those still exist) and he’s able to posthumously direct his mother turn by turn including “now turn left. No, your other left,” it feels odd to say that a talent show standing ovation was the final straw.

      • Oh god, I just saw your avatar… that’s great.

        • Defender Of The Dark Arts

          Thank you. It was either this or the Death Eaters from Harry Potter…but then I figured it’s kind of the same thing.

          • Dead Jerk Jerk Dead

            Yeah you might have my favorite Halloween name, too. You win this round, Defender of the Dark Arts!

    • Cennywise The Ploughn

      Twins vs Yankees which went out of book briefly before becoming just what you’d expect.

    • The Twilight Zone, season 1, episodes 25-26:

      “People Are Alike All Over” – two dudes go to Mars, one dies, the other meets the Martians, who look and talk exactly like contemporary humans except for being dressed like ancient Romans (so you know they’re a different civilisation, at least on the surface). They then build for the guy a fully livable Earth-like house, complete with a kitchen, a bar, running water, etc., and they do that because… well, the entire episode exists solely for the sake of this revelation, which I’ll confess I didn’t see coming, even though it’s foreshadowed like crazy starting from the title, and is supposedly a common science-fiction trope. The execution of this climactic moment is well-done, and the idea behind it remains sound even after it’s dramatically repeated by the main character in close-up, but the preceding 20 minutes never bother with things like pacing or tension (except for one red-herring scene in the middle that is only there to pad out the runtime), and if the social commentary ultimately overcomes the in-the-moment silliness, it does so only in retrospect. Perhaps this would work better on rewatch, when you know full well the cruel joke it all leads to.

      “Execution” – an outlaw and a murderer gets lynched in 1880 and is transported into 1960 moments before his death, because a scientist there has built a time machine that can snatch random people out of the past like that. (The mechanics are never made clear.) Cue the scientist internally going “I’ve made a huge mistake” and the criminal grabbing a gun and running out into the streets of New York, where he’s overwhelmed by sights and sounds. This is by far the best part; Albert Salmi’s performance as well as cinematography and editing make identification with the main character strong enough that when the scientist first raises the blinds to reveal a busy neon-lighted city street down below (it helps that they’re on something like the 15th floor), it somehow manages to look genuinely alien, and his subsequent chaotic run through the streets is a doozy, the story both taking his predicament seriously and having some fun when it can, as in the scene where the guy shoots the TV showing a western show in which a cowboy is drawing at the camera. The episode falters in its final minutes, when this stranger-in-a-strange-land development abruptly and illogically ends, and a third major character is introduced with no function other than being central to the predictable final twist.

      • And look, the scientist in The Twilght Zone is Russell Johnson, playing to type before playing the Professor on Gilligan’s Island.

      • Crimson Pico

        I think the TZ episodes often have those mid-episode red herrings to accommodate the commercial breaks.

        And yeah that trope goes way back. Earliest I know off the top of my head is Mayakovsky’s Bedbug, tho I guess you say that traveling “freak shows” operated on the same principle, in a way, so it was easy to extend that to fiction.

    • Miller

      Last two episodes of Bitch 23 — the show ends on a strong note that might soften Ritter a bit but maintains her spikiness. It’s the kind of ending that works as a conclusion but could definitely be added to with a revival HINT HINT HINT. I don’t know if Van Der Beek’s comic chops translate to playing a character that isn’t himself but damn, he deserves more opportunities to try, Mrs. Miller and I were continually marveling at how funny he is here.

      • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

        This show, more than “Breaking Bad” (which I didn’t stumble upon until much later, when they were ramping up for the second half of Season 5), made me aware of who Ritter was, and how funny she is. Would love to see her do some more comedy after this, especially as a break between seasons of “Jessica Jones.”

        • Miller

          I think she does good work in JJ but really shines as a comedic actress here.

    • Departed Hunchback (errrr…)

      Three episodes of the British comedy show The In-Betweeners. Obviously not as scathing as “The Thick of It,” and not as imaginative in style or genre play as “Spaced,” but good, solid comfort comedy. I could see a version of this playing on ABC, sans some of the cursing, naturally. But overall, excellent group of actors playing kids surviving that near-universally painful experience of growing up: high school.

    • Spooky Narrator Man

      Zero Dark Thirty: Rewatching this after seeing almost all of Bigelow’s past work was quite enlightening, not least because this is ultimately barely a hop and a skip away from Strange Days, for both its propulsiveness (and both these movies fucking move) and serious ambitions (and tell me you can’t imagine Angela Bassett growling “I’m the motherfucker who found the place”). And it ends in the exact same way as Blue Steel, right down to who’s taking the main character away. And it’s a fucking great movie on its own, so that too.

    • Fresh Off The Boat – sitcoms still do game show episodes? I guess that I haven’t watched this show in ages because I didn’t know that the show had gotten so hoary. I don’t remember Michael Bolton buying the restaurant and changing it to a steakhouse. Nor them being kicked out of their own house. It was odd. And now a character came out as a lesbian which would normally make me happy except it feels like desperation to stay fresh. Also, the kid playing Eddie hit a massive growth spurt and now looks like a 16 year old at 13.

      Blackish – Welp. It started the season off with a lecture heavy episode about slavery, Christopher Columbus and Juneteenth. No, “hi, how are you? Welcome back. Want to see the baby?” Just, bam. Slavery. It was an okay episode that employed some fine storytelling techniques to bring some decent points, I just didn’t expect it to start off on such a heavy handed note. Normally the show is a bit more easy going than this.

      The Mayor – What? No. An aspiring young rapper runs for mayor as a promotional stunt and wins, and now he has to grow up fast before the city loses money. I can practically hear the pitch with South Park’s obnoxious announcer guy, the one who followed Stan around when he was arrested and had to coach pee wee hockey.

      Douche (Probably) Saves the World – Touched by an Angel but aimed at the MCU/My Name Is Earl crowd. I only made it 20 minutes.

      • Cennywise The Ploughn

        I am totally prepared to wrong about this, but every ad I see for The Mayor looks like it was adapted from DW Griffith’s idea of a black-run legislature in Birth of a Nation.

        • As somebody who followed Detroit politics, it kinda felt like somebody was trying to turn the Kwame Kilpatrick mayorship into a sitcom. That mayorship was as bad as you could imagine and felt like it was a racist charicature of a black mayorship.

      • Every time I saw an ad for The Mayor I went full “Deep Space Homer”: “wallflower, The Solute. No really, is this a joke?” It sounds like it belongs in the background of another sitcom, and not even a particularly good one.

        • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

          I actually enjoyed the first episode of The Mayor. Brandon Micheal Hall is winning and his two goofy friends have a lot of potential to be hilarious. (Think I mentioned this last week when I saw the advance pilot.)

      • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

        FOTB: The restaurant was always a steakhouse; Michael Bolton bought a stake in it last year.

        In the season 3 finale, the Huangs moved to a bigger house in a swankier neighborhood so they could get Evan into a better school, but then he got kicked out, so they tried to move back but Chris Elliott had already rented the place.

        • Ever since I started recording Blackish last year, I never bothered to start recording FotB. I didn’t realize the restaurant was always a steakhouse, though I guess I should have guessed from the occasional cowboy hats I remember.

    • Crimson Pico

      Pilot of Marvel’s The Gifted, which by all accounts is vastly superior to Marvel’s latest few whiffs at television (Legion excepted), but they blew a bazillion dollars on Medusa’s hair and barely promoted this at all. It has some problems (the mutant “coming out” scene is now so hoary that it’s hard to play seriously), but – especially for a pilot! – it’s already operating with the energy of a late-season Agents of SHIELD. Fireworks from the start, minimum exposition, which is a plus. Some well choreographed, tense moments, not too much fat, and a lot of promise. I don’t know if the characters are interesting enough yet to be a draw on their own (so far: no), the visual language is so-so, and it doesn’t have the compelling hook of something like the hotly-anticipated The Runaways, but since the husband’s generally a Marvel fan and this was a competent enough diversion, we’ll probably be sticking with it.

      • Dead Jerk Jerk Dead

        Welp, I’m sold.

        • Crimson Pico

          It’s not a masterpiece, mind you, but it’s … thrillingly competent? (Let’s see if they can sustain that for more than the pilot, though…)

    • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

      Apparently I watched a lot of the same stuff Julius did, but with much more positive impressions.

      Fresh Off the Boat, season 4 premiere. What stood out to me in this one was the sense that they’re finally willing to let showrunner Nahnatchka Khan get weird with the show. She was a writer on American Dad and the showrunner on Don’t Trust the B—- in Apt. 23, and I think that particular sense of humor showed through in this episode more than it ever has in the past. My favorite examples of such: Louis and Emery accidentally building a haunted birdhouse; the entire Pat Sajak-Vanna White subplot exchanges.

      Black-ish, season 4 premiere. Haven’t seen Hamilton; have a certain side-eye for rich-white-people things that applies to Hamilton. No matter; I’m still a sucker for musicals, and the numbers here worked really well. I’m also not too annoyed by Dre’s general preachiness/whininess because his co-workers at Stevens & Lido are so goddamn hilarious. Best moment was definitely Josh and Charlie bonding over cousin-loving.

      Brooklyn Nine-Nine, season 5, episode 2, “The Big House, Pt. 2.” I’ve thought this plotline was a mistake since the season 4 finale, and these two episodes did nothing to remedy that, although they gave us an intriguing plot twist in Holt’s compromise, and they gave us two episodes of Tim Meadows, who should be in everything. (P.S. LaToya Ferguson, one of the best TV Club writers in recent memory, is back on this beat for the AVC.)

      Search Party, season 1, episode 5. FINALLY the actual mystery gets moving. I have an aversion to “spoiled pieces of shit” television, which seems to cross over from Girls to Transparent to any number of other shows. This show is high on that quotient too, which is why it was such a relief to have the story finally break away from those people a little more to move into the actual mystery central to the series. (Always good to see Ron Livingston in a serious (as in meaty, not necessarily dramatic) role, too.)

      • I should clarify that I wasn’t saying Black-ish was bad. It was just a really heavy handed start to the season when I more cared about how the family was adjusting to the new premie babby. If the slavery episode was number 2, after we got all comfortable, I’d not be as bitchy. I also think it’s going to be a bit of a tonal jerk going directly from cry cry cry premature babby delivery to slavery morality. Even though I totally appreciate the viewpoints, its still a television show with characters I’m supposed to care about.

        Also, why is Zoey there? Shouldn’t she be at college? I forgot if she stayed in town or not (I think I remember Dre dropping her off for orientation, so maybe she chose the nearby college?). Anyways, it was just a bit of a OK, yeah, we know you’re going to be doing these episodes…but I also want more of actual life.

        • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

          I think she’s at some local college (I got the impression it was a UCLA equivalent), but then, I also got the impression that they were going to A Different World Zoey, and that doesn’t seem to have happened.

          The episode was structured a little weird, I agree, and there were certain details they could’ve fit together but didn’t. I get your point about wanting to see an ordinary day in the Johnson household, too. I just like musical numbers and like when they take on this stuff.

          • Last reports of the A Different World-esque college series (Grown-ish, College-ish) were that it was supposed to be on FreeForm (formerly ABC Family) in Winter 2018. Maybe Zoey will be hanging out in Black-ish until they do the crossover episode?

          • Rucker and Cohlchez vs. Evil 🌹

            It’s too bad they didn’t go full A Different World so they could call it HBCUish. (Pronounced “Historically Black-ish”?)

  • Dead Jerk Jerk Dead

    When you say things like “the hypnotized zombie sex scene seems to last at least 20 minutes”, I definitely assume we’ve entered someone’s magical realm, for sure.

  • Spooky Narrator Man

    Anyway, here’s the Wonder Wheel trailer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFM0UqX9MJ8