• Drunk On EggNogpoleon

    What did we watch?

    • Drunk On EggNogpoleon

      LOST, Season Three, Episode Twelve, “Par Avion”
      “What do you suggest, we shoot him like a dog?”
      “No. I like dogs.”

      “Now there is hope, and there is guilt, and believe me, I know the difference.”

      Mikhail talks about the list in this episode, and specifically says that Kate and Sayid are not on it because they’re ‘weak, and frightened’, and implies that John might be. In retrospect, he’s talking about Jacob’s candidates; the implication is that Jacob needs pure people and Smokey needs impure people. Actually, Mikhail is really what I wanted Ethan to be, a representation of the Others to casually spill information in a way that we can’t 100% trust.

      John is confidently following his faith again, and delightfully is following it into some really fucked up areas – pushing Mikhail into the sonar fence to test it is extreme but also cool. I think he’s started to accept the consequences for following his faith too, the fact that he can’t be likeable AND invested in his faith.

      Kate seeing Jack play football with Tom is hilarious; you couldn’t pick a more potent symbol of all-American masculine wholesomeness. For once, the uncanniness of the show is applied to character, and a familiar character even.

      Australian Accent Accuracy Level: Native speaker

      Book Club: Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. I like to think Sawyer respects the politics but finds it boring.

      Aliens, James Cameron
      “Hey Ripley, don’t worry. Me and my team of ultimate badasses will protect you.”

      “I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

      Fuck yeah. One of the all-time great scifi movies. I have a director’s extended cut, and it’s the only version I’ve seen; it feels a fraction overlong but I like what I get for it. The combination of Cameron’s storytelling and the themes, archetypes, and style of Alien creates a totally unique story. I actually like watching it for the world we’re in; the characters are all chasing something on a personal level, but so are the things on the broader scale – the Xenomorph queen, and the Company, and that leads both to the themes (“You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamned percentage”) and to some cool concepts, with my favourite being the mom and pop survey teams.

      In terms of recurring Cameron themes, the movie places us in Kyle Reese’s head in that we now identify with the experienced survivor Ripley (another case of emotion-via-exposition when she breaks down while recounting the plot of the first film). What shakes it up is that she shares the world with a more diverse set of more complex moralities – Burke, the anthropomorphic personification of the Company (and I like that outside the intensity of the plot he at least seems like a normal guy; Paul Reiser doesn’t stress his evil), and Bishop, who gives us a specifically robotic morality (it’s one of the better shoutouts in movie history because he doesn’t just quote Asimov, he lives out Asimovian morality in a non-Asimovian story).

      It’s also Cameron’s Vietnam movie, and as I suggested, it frontloads all that commentary; it’s present mainly in the morality of the Marines, going in specifically to kick ass and take names and finding it’s their asses that are kicked and names that are taken (also, in the use of in-universe camera footage). If you need a roadmap for social commentary in action films, there you go: work it into a character’s morality, work it into their inciting actions, and let them go.

      Also, interestingly, I’m finding with pure drama movies that I often wish they were TV shows where we could get long-term scope and nuance out of the characters. Something like, I dunno, Goodfellas, Zodiac, Kill Bill, or whatever is dense enough for me to chew on and be satisfied; something like this or The Dahpahted leaves me wanting more. On the other hand, I find myself thinking of basically any John Carpenter movie (but especially The Thing and Escape From New York), which are even simpler than this and also leave me fully satisfied. The only difference I can think of is that I don’t really want to spend more than two hours in Carpenter’s worlds, while I’d like to spend a lot of time in this one.

      Ownage: “You always were an asshole, Gorman.” and “Get away from her, you bitch!” while the Xenomorph Queen suddenly owning Bishop is a win for the aliens.

      It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Season Five, Episode Three, “The Great Recession”
      “Well I could put the trash into a landfill where it’s going to stay for millions of years, or I could burn it up, get a nice smokey smell in here, and let that smoke go into the sky where it turns into stars.”
      “That doesn’t sound right, but I don’t know enough about stars to dispute it.”

      Rewatched this one because I honestly couldn’t remember what happened in it, and it turned out to be the self-sustaining economy + Frank assuming a vegan eats shoes episode. The end involves a rare moment of Gang members having some kind of clarity and self-awareness, which is always sad and funny.

      Also, I keep forgetting, but my cousin showed me this video like a week ago. It’s amazing how literally every episode of the show has an iconic moment.

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

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        “And we can try the Dave and Busters card!”
        “No, no you son of a bitch! We’re way past that!”

      • Defense Against The Hark Arts

        I love Aliens but I don’t think I could spend more than the two and half hours of it’s running time in that world. It creates such an oppressive atmosphere of unrelenting terror that there is a literal sigh of relief when it’s over. That’s probably why I don’t watch shows like The Walking Dead. I don’t want to return to a depressing hell scape week after week.

      • Miller

        I dunno, I prefer Hill’s Southern Comfort as a Vietnam movie — that looks at aggression against an underestimated enemy in a more contextual way. The Marines in Aliens should absolutely know more about who they’re up against, that’s what Ripley is for, but while Cameron focuses on the xenomorphs as adversaries he still underlines the xeno, there is stuff here beyond imagining (even for Ripley with the queen).

        And Henriksen’s Bishop is so great, there is a stillness to him even as he’s speed-stabbing. I watched this before Alien and was really confused by Ripley’s instant fear and loathing when she finds out Bishop is a fracking toaster, he’s such a calm presence! Obviously she has good cause, as I found out, but Henriksen does a great job of differentiating himself from Holm’s chillier take.

      • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

        I love Aliens dearly, but I think it suffers from the same internal disagreement that we were talking about with Verhoeven in Starship Troopers: Cameron hates all of this military hardware and violence, but of course Cameron loves all these cool toys and awesome explosions. Like I said, I love me some Aliens but I thought Starship Troopers did a better job of threading the needle between the perspectives in tension.

        • Drunk On EggNogpoleon

          I thought it was hilarious that Alien3 had no guns because of Weaver’s antigun status, which created the effect that the movie’s problems could have been solved if someone had a gun.

          • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

            I didn’t know about that! Wow, yeah. You said it.

          • The Ploughman

            Aw geez. The old “The only thing that can stop a bad xenomorph is a good guy reawakened from cryonic stasis and given a gun” argument.

    • Vampire’s Kiss – sometimes you’ve just got to rewatch Vampire’s Kiss. I don’t think I’ll ever fully get my head around this film, and I mean that as the highest possible praise.

      • Miller

        “I’M A VAMPIRE! I’M A VAMPIRE!”

        This might be a better Bartleby the Scrivener movie than Bartleby was.

    • glorbes

      I watched the first episode of this German Netflix thing called DARK. It was…it was dark and depressing. My wife suggested it, and while it has all the hallmarks of a European mystery show that’s probably well made, the thought of watching this an episode a night makes me feel depressed. We may give it another episode. But it has kids disappearing and being held captive, and cheating spouses, dark cinematography, and it’s very….you know…dark.

      I also watched the Justice League Animated two parter Twilight. Fuck, this this good stuff. Darkseid and Brainiac double crossing each other, while ALSO double-crossing Superman, who is pretty much ready to straight up murder Darkseid because of how much of an evil asshole he is. Seeing Kirby done right in this regard is just so wonderful. Michael Ironside is just so perfect…you don’t even have to do anything to him for him to make the perfect live action Darkseid!
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/19a5a1e1fa640bf51c11cd6fbcca580b948588489d0f552e63900689e7010093.jpg

      I bought the four seasons of JL and JLU on DVD, and my five year old is really digging them a lot. I need to get two more seasons of the Superman cartoon ASAP (I just have season two).

      • Delmars Whiskers

        All hail Andrea Romano, who cast and directed the voice actors for the DCAU. Paul Williams as The Penguin! Gilbert Gottfried as Mister Mxyzptlk! Ed Asner as Granny Goodness! Tom Everett Scott as Booster Gold! Plus, of course, the best Batman, Joker and Lois Lane we’ll likely ever get. Every choice she made was absolutely inspired.

        • glorbes

          YUP

        • Tom Everett Scott came back as Booster for The Brave and the Bold, along with Billy West as the perfect Skeets.

          Asner as Granny Goodness was great, but it gave me pause that a man was cast in the role.

        • Miller

          Powers Boothe as Grodd! CCH Pounder as the Wall! It’s impossible to picture the entire concept of JLU, where they just pull out rando heroes and villains from 80 years of comics whenever the hell they feel like it, without her being able to back it up.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Jeffrey fucking Combs as the Question.

          • I really dig The Question, and that led me to one of my most bone-headed moments in college. There was a girl I was completely crushing on, and I thought she might’ve been into me, too. Talking nerdy one day, I brought up the Q, and she’d never heard of him. So I explained his deal and showed her some JLU clips on youtube – notably where the Huntress is flirting with him over the phone and asks what he’s wearing. Q: “Fedora. Blue overcoat.” Huntress: “This is a game! Say something fun!” Q: “Orange socks?” H: *Sigh*

            About a week later, it was raining on campus and my feet were soaked, so she asked me if I was wearing orange socks. I said no, they were black, and I didn’t get why she looked so awkward and disappointed. That evening, as I’m laying in bed: DAMMIT.

          • Miller

            Oh man, that is brutal. This is why we need a Watchtower, to monitor potentially embarrassing situations like this and send immediate superhero intervention. “He’s not picking up what she’s laying down! Batman, head to … you know what, you sit this one out and I’ll send Flash instead.”

          • Man with a robot arm

            It’s like that Seinfeld where George passed and didn’t go up to the woman’s apartment for coffee. “Coffee’s not coffee, coffee is sex!”

      • For forever and a day, I had a Frank Welker grumbly voice in my head for Darkseid, which was actually how he was cast for the last two seasons of SuperFriends. It was such a surprise that Ironside’s voice worked so incredibly well.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      LA Confidential – After reading the book this is a masterpiece of adaptation, cutting what’s just too convoluted for 135 minutes and adding in little things like Rollo Tomasi. And while the movie doesn’t quite have Ellroy’s sense of perversity it never shirks away from the darkness of his cops and their justice. Bud White still shoots a man in cold blood then plants a gun on him, and he’s the most sympathetic person here. Curtis Hanson’s direction is in particular impeccable – there are no wrong decisions here, and half the shots (like Bud crawling in the basement, the dust curling like smoke) are perfection.

      • The movie is a vast improvement on the book. And I still want to know why Guy Pearce isn’t as big as star as Crowe or K____ S____.

        • Seriously – how did Memento not make him in demand everywhere?

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            My theory is that Pearce was too cold and distant to be a movie star, not likeable enough (his best performance, Monty in Mildred Pierce, cements this). I’m a huge fan though and think he’s an excellent character actor.

          • Miller

            Yeah, he absolutely holds his own with Crowe and Spacey but he doesn’t have the former’s rough charisma or the latter’s wry coolness to temper his coldness.

          • Babalugats

            Pearce has an inherent smarmy-ness. His best roles involve him irritating the audience and then suffering a lot. He’s one of the best actors of his generation, but that quality never really worked in mainstream hero stuff.

          • Miller

            I think this is dead on but what’s the line between his smarm/suffer quotient and that of Bruce Willis, another wiseacre who gets kicked around (at least in the Die Hards) to great acclaim?

          • Jake Gittes

            Pearce is too handsome while Willis looks like a regular guy.

          • Babalugats

            Pearce is a little smarmy-ier and a little smugger. Bruce Willis and Harrison Ford both lean that way, but it’s cut with a down to earth everyman quality. Willis is the kind of smart that’s used to being ignored and underestimated. Pearce is the kind of smart that’s used to getting his way. We want to see Willis suffer a little, and then show up all the stuffed suits that underestimated him. We want to see Pearce suffer a lot and grow some humility.

          • Am I the only one who remembers him as warmly obnoxious in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Yes! But that was never his persona again which is strange.

          • I just found out that he’s got a new film with the Priscilla director in post-production and, well:

            https://www.fairfaxstatic.com.au/content/dam/images/g/u/d/d/t/q/image.related.articleLeadwide.620×349.gue3zr.png/1487255676847.jpg

          • Maybe it’s worth a try since that director is finally like “I’m gay and I don’t need to hide it anymore.” He made some bad movies after he tried re-closing the closet doors after Priscilla.

          • Miller

            “In a shocking and brutal change of tactics, the Buddhist monks threatened to NOT set themselves and their hideous outfits on fire until their demands were met.”

          • It looks like an episode of Portlandia.

          • It did! He made two back to back big budget Hollywood movies that went nowhere. They didn’t flop but they didn’t break the box office either.

          • clytie

            Despite his leading man looks, I think he might be one of those people that’s better as a character actor. He was wonderfully loathsome in The King’s Speech.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          I dunno, the book is a masterpiece. Ellroy’s one of my all time favorite writers at the moment.

        • It’s a vast improvement on the book as a movie, especially a studio movie–that’s why, as @conormalcolmcrockford:disqus sez, it’s a great adaptation. As written, it was damn near unfilmable. And following his comment on Pearce too, my take is that Pearce is a little too scary to be a full-blown movie star, but he could be a fantastic movie villain.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            It’s too bad that he’s buried in ridiculous makeup for Prometheus, he’s quite the presence in Alien: Covenant’s opening.

          • CineGain

            Ridley Scott sure had a thing for placing heavy prosthetics on actors who were in LA Confidential, or at least till current events…

          • Guy Pearce is sexy, not scary. But his star faded fast after he was in a pair of big budget retro movies (The Time Machine, Monte Cristo) that didn’t do much of anything.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            He can be two things!

          • K.S. was sexy and scary until we found out how scary he actually was…and then he became gross.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Well scary in the sense of Pearce’s presence in movies (no idea what he’s like irl). He can play likeable but that’s not always immediate with him (its that sneer).

          • That’s also what I mean. Pearce never was all that cold or creepy to me, even if that was what they needed him to be. Even in Memento…

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Huh, yeah I guess its just a different take on him. I always found him a bit cold, especially in Confidential or Monte Cristo.

          • Son of Griff

            In a lot of ways he’s a throwback to a particular type of acting that is elevated and inherently melodramatic. Even at their hammy heights, Crowe and Spacey project an authenticity of feeling in their eyes and body language. Pierce doesn’t do naturalism. The contrast of his performance to Crowe’s in L.A. CONFIDENTIAL is a stroke of genious, as it illustrates the differences in the characters.

          • He and Christian Bale may be the two actors most suited for Nolan–if you put those guys in any kind of realistic situation, you’re not getting full value out of them.

          • Son of Griff

            He’s best when going up against a more naturalistic actor, which in terms often helps the film. L.A. CONFIDENTIAL walks a tightrope between melodrama and naturalism in terms of tone, and Pierce conveys sense of his character’s outsider status by going up against actors with a subtler sense of psychological projection with a more physically constrained and artificial performance. The eyeglasses really help with this, as it limits his ability to use his eyes for nuance.

          • What makes it work in L. A. Confidential is that Ed Exley isn’t just an outsider, he’s playing a role: the first of the new breed of L. A. cops, with Crowe’s Bud and James Cromwell’s Dudley as the old guard, and Spacey’s Jack playing both worlds. If Pearce is artificial, it’s because Exley is all artifice, but an artifice that he commits to, absolutely.

            Also, that first sentence also exactly describes Bale and Hugh Jackman in The Prestige. If you reverse the roles, the movie falls apart: Bale was born to this kind of commitment (like Exley, it’s an absolute commitment to a role (OK, two roles)), and Jackman has to work himself up to it.

          • Son of Griff

            I love the observation on Ed, as an embodiment of artifice, representing the wave of the L.A.P.D’s future It’s really making me want to watch it again for the umpteenth time to see how the more heightened and naturalistic elements of the film’s style reflect change over time.

            I’m with you on Bale and Nolan as well. I’d enjoy seeing them work on “Dick Contino’s Blues”, should Nolan try to attempt something with a sense of humor.

          • When you do, look for the presence of fluorescent and incandescent lights in the background–Hanson mixed them up both as a historically accurate detail and a signifier for the transition between the old and the new LAPD. That shit is cinema. (Sadly, “Dick Contino’s Blues” needed to be an Andy Sidaris Joint. We had our chance.)

          • Son of Griff

            Nothing to do with the topic, I love how Basinger gets a full key light whenever she’s on screen (until a key scene when her betrayal of Bud is revealed), even when the rest of the set (as when she is introduced in the liquor store) is set in darkness. It’s the most noir-ish element of the cinematography, which goes for a more realistic look for the most part. The best neo-noirs try, I think, the emphasize the contemporary visual sensibility with selectively controlled nods to the classical style. DePalma tried the opposite approach with THE BLACK DAHLIA, and came up with an interesting, though flawed, commentary on the noir style as historical substitute.

          • Miller

            Oh my god Sidaris directing short story Ellroy is fucking brilliant, why did this not happen.

          • Also (and advantageously), Andy asserted the awesome and appropriate alliteration!

          • I love Monte Cristo!

          • Babalugats

            If we’re just recommending Guy Pearce movies now, Check out Space Jail- er a –Lockout! It’s the Escape From New York sequel we never got.

          • I didn’t say it was bad. It was just underseen.

          • Yeah, I’m always surprised to see anyone else mention it, much less be a fan.

          • Rosy Fingers

            Yeah, that was my theory too. Two big flops in a row. Also, I think he wants to live in Australia. Usually when Aussies make it in the USA it’s after they make the move to Hollywood and do like a three year push. Pearce has pretty steadily done Australian TV and movies, with occasional trips overseas for a Mildred Pearce or an Iron Man.

          • Son of Griff

            And he has been. His over the top T-Man in LAWLESS elevates that effort at hillbilly gangsterism.

          • Jake Gittes

            The Rover plays with that quality pretty well, he’s a protagonist who doesn’t know it and doesn’t care, and does not hold back on violence and general aggressiveness, thus having a genuinely dangerous air about him.

            On the other hand, it’s a shame that even Shane Black couldn’t figure out how to make him work as an MCU villain.

          • Drunk On EggNogpoleon

            He actually plays a villain in the (mediocre) Seeking Justice, and does pretty well for himself.

      • Miller

        Another add that should not work but does — the restaurant scene with Lana Turner. Not just a wacky gag but one of the oldest gags in the book, but it releases some of the tension and sets the stage for even more tense stuff to come.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Its also a nice touch thematically – there’s no real difference between the hookers and the movie stars anymore.

        • Dingle Jells Jells Dingle

          I think that scene worked at least partially because it released the tension on-screen, not just for us in the audience. Them laughing in the car about it afterwards is my favorite part of the sequence, and their characters are subtly warmer with each other in their dialogue afterwards. It sets up the impact Spacey’s exit very nicely.

          • Miller

            Oh, absolutely on it deflating tension for the characters. Which is also a fairly cliche move! Antagonists becoming friends through a mishap. But it’s carried off so damn well, cliches are cliche for a reason.

        • Pretty sure Ellroy saw that and was all “dammit, shoulda thought of that one.” This may or may not be why Bette Davis is a character in Perfidia.

    • Curb Your Enthusiasm, “Fatwa!” Lin-Manuel Miranda doing a Lin-Manuel Miranda parody is all you need to recommend this, but that’s just the first three minutes. This has been an uneven season, but it goes out strong; I suspect one reason stars are draw.”n to playing themselves on Curb is that they get to play themselves as total assholes, and so many variations thereon. Miranda makes a great antagonist for David because he uses his dorkiness as a shield; he’s always one beat away from saying “I’m a bad wittle boy.” And, of course, “it wasn’t commensurate” is pretty much the theme of the whole series and possibly David’s career.

      The Expanse, episodes 1-4. Variably written, directed, and acted (I have no idea what Tom Jane is doing here; this must be what it was like for the viewers who never got Vince Vaughn’s performance in True Detective) but compelling enough to keep me watching, with a good sense of plot strands coming together and a lot of Kelly Reichardt-style extreme shallow-focus closeups as a motif. Good background television, and of course Shohreh Aghdashloo owns all–she has just about the most regal presence of anyone currently acting.

      • I love The Expanse (need to finish S2, though). Jane’s character starts kinda rough, but I really enjoy (most of) where they went with it. It has a sweet spot of political thriller, space opera, and noir that I really groove to.

        Fav early moment – a belter has his arm crushed, and it looks horrifying. Cut to him having it repaired with cybernetics instead of re-grown both as a routine injury & a point of pride.

        • Also fun: the argument over what kind of replacement arm he’ll get and whether or not it’s covered. The first crew scene from Alien is very much part of this show’s genealogy.

    • clytie

      I watched the most recent episode of Law & Order: SVU via Hulu. While never great, this show was always a reliable procedural. This season has been awful. They keep recycling old stories and not doing anything new with them, and trying to create tension in the lives of the regular characters instead of just doing a straight procedural and it does not work.

      I also watched Forensic Files, which continues to be reliable.

    • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

      Ghosted, episode 8. Apparently this was supposed to be the second episode aired, and it would have made a lot more sense there. It’s not a bad episode, and does some great stuff with the Max / Leroy dynamic, particularly in the cold open. I still can’t bring myself to care much about the actual supernatural mysteries, though, and airing this episode this late makes Leroy’s continued skepticism seem even weirder. At some point, you’d think he’d interacted with enough supernatural happenings to accept that this stuff was real.

      Also, I heard FOX ordered six more episodes and has replaced the showrunner with Paul Lieberstein. We’ll see how that affects the show going forward.

      Stranger Things 2, episodes 8 and 9 (finale). So now that we’re this far, I guess I’ll put the rest in spoilers.

      Very good end to the season. Some folks complained that the end was too similar to last season’s in how they beat the monster, and that’s kinda true, but, to use a meme, the real monster was the friends they made along the way. These episodes feature from incredible performances, especially from the kids; Noah Schapp’s alternating portrayal of the real Will and the possessed Will was marvelous in particular. Of course, we got the reunion of Eleven with the gang, and dang it, it’s hard not to be an El/Mike shipper even as someone who has disdain for the complete idea of shipping. But if your heart didn’t melt at “I called you every day. Every day for–” “–Three hundred and fifty two days.”, you’re either made of sterner stuff than I am, or are more likely a cold, emotionless sociopath, more like an automaton than a human being… I’m sorry, where was I?

      A lot of the emotional weight comes on the reunion of Mike and El, and damned if those kids don’t nail it. Millie Bobby Brown and I Can’t Believe His Name Is Really Finn Wolfhard are both outstanding, consistently, but perhaps never better than in their scenes together from the end of episode 8 onward. (The dance, of course, is a nice little emotional button to that, as it is to all the kids’ stories.)

      A hero isn’t someone who feels no fear and faces danger confident they’ll be okay. A hero is someone who is scared as hell, knows they might not make it, but faces the danger anyway, because they’re the only hope. Bob Newby is a hero, and he lives up to what it means to be a hero, even if they could’ve written his death slightly better (don’t have him linger at the door! Just have him get barely out but not quite make it or something– don’t have it be foolishness).

      Joyce Byers is a hero, too, because she’s being confronted with her greatest fear– that her attempts to exorcise this demon from her son will actually lead her to kill her own son– and she goes through with it anyway, resolute, knowing this is the only way. Her commitment to not backing down even when, emotionally, she can’t bear to see the pain the process is causing her son– that makes a hero. (Nancy, too, realizing she’s the one who has to heat the poker, that Joyce and Jonathan can’t bring themselves to do it.)

      Dustin remains hilarious, whether it’s more banter with Steve, his attempt to emulate Steve’s hair, or his dance with Nancy. And poor Steve– he is a great babysitter, it’s true, but I really hope he wins a fistfight one of these days. Speaking of, I hope they press charges against Billy, but more importantly I hope that moment between Billy and Mrs. Wheeler wasn’t just him being a complete psychopath, because this show would be a hell of a lot more entertaining if they banged.

      I now hate Billy’s abusive dad even more than Billy, but Billy consistently goes so far that I still can’t feel empathy for him. I don’t think Max would’ve been wrong if she actually landed that shot with Steve’s spiked bat. (Also, Lucas and Max got a nice moment at the winter dance; I think I was the only one who laughed at “Every Breath You Take” being played at the dance, because Max always called Lucas “Stalker.”)

      Glad Dr. Owens turned out to be a fundamentally decent guy in the end, and I d’awwwed a little at the new birth certificate for Jane Hopper. Some great scenes between Hopper and El, BTW, especially in the Sheriff’s truck (or Ford Bronco, or whatever). Admittedly, I was hoping for El to channel her powers to seal the gate not through the anger Kali taught her to harness but through her love for Mike, Hopper, and the rest of the Hawkins crew. Maybe she’s not there yet on her Jedi journey. Matthew Modine’s character (who may or may not have escaped season 1 alive) seems more like her Palpatine, which means they aren’t done yet.

      Here’s the thing about this show: Even when the score is heavy-handed, the references obvious or clunky (I did appreciate the use of “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” as a callback to its season one appearance, though), or the plotting pedestrian, the main cast absolutely sells the hell out of everything and makes it work– the performances sell the characters, their relationships, and the community of oddballs and misfits they’ve built together, and that’s the real core of Stranger Things.

      It’ll be on my top 25 list this year, probably ~15.

  • Kill Shot is every bit as good as Anna Nicole Smith’s timeless classic Skyscraper

    This is possibly the most bizarre recommendation I’ve ever seen, and I applaud you for it, even if Anna Nicole Smith’s dead-eyed performance in Skyscraper just made me feel oddly miserable.

  • Defense Against The Hark Arts

    Skyscraper with Ann Nicole Smith brings back some memories. Wasn’t there a totally unnecessary shower scene in the middle of that for some reason? Or to put it more accurately wasn’t there a totally necessary shower scene right in the middle of that for a very good reason?

    • I think it might open with a shower scene! At one point they also interrupt an action scene to insert another sex scene in a flashback. I’m sure I’ve seen other films that are just as sleazy and exploitative but this one just depressed me for some reason.

      • Defense Against The Hark Arts

        Maybe it’s so depressing because it’s a poorly made Die Hard ripoff with Anna Nicole Smith.

      • It might only be depressing in hindsight post-death. You can’t help but think she might be on drugs prescribed by evil doctors or being exploited. But, at the time, it really was a great example of terrible movie making with Anna seeming to capitalize on her beauty even if she was on drugs because she was in her wild child phase of life.

        • Yeah, you could well be right there.

          • I also can’t help but think she didn’t mind working with the director as this was their second of three outings. The third being an hour long film that Anna wrote or co-wrote called Exposed, a biographical/pseudo-biographical way to get money while she was tied up in court following the death of the J. Howard Marshall.

      • Babalugats

        This sounds like a DePalma movie.

    • The shower scene was near the beginning. Anna is flying around in a helicopter because she’s a helicopter cab driver. And then she goes home for sex and showering or showering and sex. And then it’s time for the Die Hard knockoff.

      Why couldn’t Die Hard have opened with a Bruce Willis shower scene?

      • Defense Against The Hark Arts

        Personally I think it should be a staple of every movie. I mean, people say they like Starship Troopers for the camp and knowing satirical elements but it’s really because of the coed shower scene.

        • It shows more of Casper Van Dien than this volleyball stalker movie!

      • Son of Griff

        You’ll just have to settle with Willis skinny dipping in a pool in COLOR OF NIGHT

    • clytie

      To The Limit is the superior Anna Nicole Smith vehicle IMO.

      • Defense Against The Hark Arts

        “An armed woman (Anna Nicole Smith) joins a rogue agent and a mobster (Joey Travolta) on the chase for an incriminating CD-ROM.” It being 1995 I can only guess the CD-ROM contains 1000 free hours of AOL.

  • CineGain

    We are down with the year-countdown lists and controversy has been steaming between tv and film critics over the placement of Twin Peaks. The Sight&Sound poll has the limited series as the number two film of the year, Cahiers du Cinema placed it at number one. Yet tv critics projected that there’s elitism coming from film critics when they are only picking a tv show that is directed by a legendary auteur.

    Question: What is your take on the blurring or non therefore of the two mediums? Is it hypothetical for film critics to put TP on their list while ignoring other shows that were well-received and had similar production crew of writer/director?

    For the full BFI list: http://www.bfi.org.uk/features/best-films-2017/

    • First, I think there is Lynch favoritism. True Detective & Mr Robot, for example, both have consistent w/d teams, yet I’m sure they weren’t even considered. Plus TP:TR is a long-awaited follow-up to one of the most unique TV shows of all time. It has a pedigree unlike anything else. There will be a rush to award it.

      Second, I suspect there is a snobbishness towards having a TV show listed among the movies, and the only reason TP:TR is included is because of who helmed it.

      I personally don’t think it should’ve been included. It’s a TV show, with Tv show continuity and editing and rhythm. That’s not better or worse – just different. I hope it smashes at the Emmys and Lynch does something anti-climactic or just plain weird when he wins. But I don’t buy that it’s an “18-hour movie”.

      • Miller

        “It’s a TV show, with Tv show continuity and editing and rhythm.”

        I haven’t seen it but this was my suspicion — that’s why it is episodic TV, right? To take advantage of those rhythms and the spaces between them. Like you said, not better or worse but different. Not acknowledging that Lynch is playing in a different sandbox and pretending he is in yours does indeed seem like snobbery.

      • Rosy Fingers

        What kind of movie takes a break every 55 minutes or so to feature a musical guest and roll the credits again? A David Lynch movie, I guess.

        Also, am I missing something? Why does that Sight & Sound list jump from =19 to =25? Typo?

        • The = means “tie”, and after a tie, lists generally skip numbers until the next non-tied entry. Like this:

          1
          2
          =3
          =3
          5

          So 19-24 are all tied, then the list picks back up at 25.

          • Rosy Fingers

            Oh, I see. I’m not very bright. Thanks!

    • I’m also against it. If they want to make a list that celebrates all of the year’s films and television then that’s fine, but to just include one TV “event” is dumb. I mostly loved The Return, but if I judge it as a movie, it wasn’t a good one. It was good television.

      Also, more importantly, it takes up a valuable space on these lists that should be used for Paddington 2 instead.

    • TP is not a film. It’s a tv show in full on episodic form. There might be a film hidden in here, but in the current form the show is definitely television.

    • Jake Gittes

      Matt Zoller Seitz has a very good thread on Twitter where he basically lays out the entire case for why it’s TV.

      That said, to play devil’s advocate a little, I wouldn’t say The Return is quite like any TV series I’ve ever seen, in terms of its storytelling (pacing, structure, all of its detours, its habit of randomly dropping seemingly significant characters, etc.), not to mention visually, and in that sense its inclusion I think is better understandable beyond just “film critics are snobs and want to co-opt a TV product”. There’s an inherent paradox in it being conceived and written as a movie but necessarily being presented in an episodic format, and when you add Lynch’s general lack of interest in conventions of either medium, you get something that’s its own creation entirely. (But in the end it’s still much closer to TV.)

    • Jake Gittes

      BTW Cahiers also placed the first two seasons of Twin Peaks on their 1990s best of the decade list, the first season of 24 tied for the #10 spot in 2002, and two episodes of the anthology series Tous les garçons et les filles de leur âge… (one directed by Claire Denis) took two entries in the 1994 list. So this is nothing new for them.

      • CineGain

        Cahiers are being consistent with putting tv in their list. It’s the other critics, mainly Anglo-Saxon, who are pronouncing this as the hallmark of cinema in 2017.

    • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

      Twin Peaks: The Return is a TV show and attempts to classify it as a movie smack of weird elitism (and, though I’m probably misusing the word, almost colonialism– the film critics who consider TV inherently inferior can’t let TP: TR be “just” a TV show; they have to claim it as their own).

    • The Ploughman

      Clearly the appropriate response to this is for a TV survey to pick Mulholland Drive as the best TV show of the 21st century.

      • CineGain

        The 20th century, as Mulholand Drive plot was filmed and post-production while sitting on the shelve in 1999.

        • The Ploughman

          An extra layer of controversy!

  • clytie

    Question: What are some good YouTube channels about movies? I like stuff like Every Frame a Painting.

    • pico

      Which, as it happens, just announced it’s closing shop for good:

      https://twitter.com/tonyszhou/status/937202442835390466

    • The Ploughman

      I have a friend who swears by Lessons from the Screenplay but I can’t say I’ve had time to check it out myself.

    • Here’s what I watch, in order of preference:
      1. Lindsay Ellis
      2. Channel Criswell
      3. Kyle Kallgren/Brows Held High
      4. CineFix (lists only)
      5. Kaptainkristian
      6. Lessons from the Screenplay
      7. Honest Trailers
      8. CinemaTyler
      9. Nerdwriter