sid and nancy

New on DVD and Blu-Ray

To coincide with the unveiling of yet another instantly disappointing Netflix series, Marvel is doing its damndest to completely dominate this week’s home video slate. There’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which is supposed to be good and much better-looking than these Marvel things usually are (I still have PTSD from the visual mush that was Age of Ultron), the first season of Jessica Jones, widely-praised as being the best of a very sorry slate of Netflix shows, and season 2 of Daredevil, which has not gotten such praise. But since I am an edgy boy, I will say that Criterion actually wins the week, with their reissue of Alex Cox’s Sid and Nancy, given a much-needed 4K spit-shine to bring out the beauty of Roger Deakins’ cinematography better than ever, and packed with extras, many from Criterion’s long out-of-print DVD with quite a few new additions. I guess there’s also their release of Sacha Guitry’s La Poison, but that seems to have a pretty dated transfer, and the movie itself doesn’t really leap out to me. Still, that’s better than what Kino has prepared this week. As evidenced in their botched releases of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and Duel in the Sun, Kino could fuck up a baked potato (and they couldn’t find Joe Lewis in a bowl of rice), and they’ve done it again with a soft, underwhelming transfer for the Coen brothers’ masterpiece, Barton Fink (there’s Deakins again, btw). Maybe they really do need a road map.

Ash vs Evil Dead: The Complete Second Season (Lionsgate)
Barton Fink (Kino)
Beggars of Life (Kino)
Daredevil: The Complete Second Season (Disney)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Disney)
Jessica Jones: The Complete First Season (Disney)
The Love of a Woman (Arrow Academy)
Lucifer: The Complete Second Season (Warner Archive Collection)
My Blue Heaven (Warner Archive Collection)
La Poison (Criterion)
Sid & Nancy (Criterion)
The Slayer (Arrow)
Supergirl: The Complete Second Season (Warner)
Varieté (Kino)
Whale Rider (Shout Factory)

  • The Narrator

    Hello. Tomorrow will mark the final step in the AV Club becoming Paul Dano in Looper, with the installing of Kinja and the probable death of the commenting community at large. I want to thank everyone here who also hailed from the AVC and helped make it a fun place for so long, but mostly, I’d like to point y’all in the direction of the Community board, a place that’s been going strong for six years now and looks to keep that way even in Kinja’s wake. We look to continue just using the bare-bones Disqus page, which apparently will continue being usable after Kinja’s installation, and the link is below, and anybody who hasn’t yet should totally visit us, and maybe stay a while. It’s a really fun place full of great people, and I post as many 20th Century Women gifs there as I do here!

    • I have tried the AVC spinoff boards, but they don’t really do it for me, being perhaps a bit too freeform.

      Then again, I plan to do my darndest to make Kinja work for me. I tend to stick around on sites way longer than everyone else. I still have a LiveJournal account years after it was ruined by the Russians and weeks after it was swallowed whole by Putinist intolerance. I am stubborn that way.

      • Drunk Napoleon

        “weeks after it was swallowed whole by Putinist intolerance”

        Wait, what?

        • “The new Terms of Service (TOS) agreement bans “political solicitation” and requires that any content which is considered “inappropriate for children according to Russian law” be marked as adult/18+ content. Given Russia’s attitudes toward LGBTQIA content, this likely means any queer content must be marked as 18+. Some users have argued that the new terms could even constitute an outright ban on LGBTQIA content.” – summary from The Mary Sue.

          Traffic on from my friends who used LJ is pretty much zero now. Some migrated to DreamWidth – a blogging site that wanted to be what LJ was, but never came close. Most migrated to Facebook, or Tumblr, or some other social media service I don’t use. But I refuse to let the Russians drive me out.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        Someone wrote up a script which apparently adjusts Kinja comments to be more like Disqus ones. Haven’t tried it yet.

        The Avocado is trying to put on more regular TV reviews and discussion spaces with the impending Kinjacaust; hopefully that will make it a little more readable and useful and less cliqueish.

    • Miller

      I’ll throw this over there at some point, but it sounds like Kinja will not just fuck up the community but the previous comments (through reformatting) as well, although I’m glad the site is trying to retain them. So here are a few of my favorite comment sections one last time, please share others:

      The proud vulgarity of the October Baby comments, particularly the “abortion up another movie” thread:
      Felt Pelt’s wonderful You’re A Depressed Stoner Choose Your Own Adventure story in the CYOA comments:
      The epic yelling thread at the start of the Changeling review, a rake gag that still makes me laugh:
      The comments for all of Futurama Classic — a model of great and funny discussion — and most of Seinfeld Classic, particularly the 7th season on, when SIMSing really started to take off. That kind of love-to-hate dynamic probably wouldn’t work now (and bless Sims for letting it stand and even embracing it) and I still go to those comments for a quick laugh if I’m feeling down.
      Of course, the immortal Christmas shit thread:
      And summing it up, the old blog post (it would be an FOC now, how dreadful) talking about how shitty Mama’s Family was. The AV Club at its best, snarky yet knowing analysis (the depths of terrible sitcoms plumbed in the comics is something to behold) and a magesterial Nazified TV shows thread that keeps getting better as it goes along. We had some good times.

      • The Narrator

        I gotta reread that October Baby thread, I laughed just remembering “You’re gonna need a bigger abortion”.

      • We mentioned it last week, and it’s a comparatively small community, but the still-epic beatdown of Brandon Nowalk’s Worst. Shield. Review. Ever:

        This classic was already damaged in the switch to DISQUS, but enough of it remains that it’s still worth reading before it’s all destroyed (the fun starts about five main comments in):

      • The Narrator

        Also, I’m an avid listener of David Sims’ podcast, and in one episode, he talks about how lovely the AV Club commenters were to him (in the context of them losing their shit at him when he didn’t know Roddy Piper was in the wrestling episode of Always Sunny when he was doing recaps for that show), which was really funny to hear after hearing so much SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIMS back in the day.

        • Miller

          Oh my god not recognizing Piper is so SIIIIIIIIIIMMMMMMMMMMMS.

    • I haven’t commented regularly on the AVC in ages, but it’s such a damn shame to watch that site lose pretty much everything that made it special. It was a really valuable place to me for 5-6 years, and the first place I ever participated in internet commenting. I’m sure some of the commenting culture will continue on, as everything has continued on in diminished forms as the site has metamorphosed, but I doubt it’ll be what it was.

    • Balthazar Bee

      Maybe it’s the configuration of my system, my own ignorance, or some unfortunate combination of the two, but now that the conversion is underway, AVC has become an unholy mess. They predicted it’d be bad, but this…I didn’t think it’d be quite like this.

  • Drunk Napoleon
    • Drunk Napoleon

      Neon Genesis Evangelion, Episode Twenty-Six, “The Beast Who Shouted “I” At The Heart Of The World”
      Fun story: that title is a cross-language pun, because “ai” is the Japanese word for ‘love’.

      It’s impossible for me to talk about Neon Genesis Evangelion without talking about where I was when I saw it. It was either late 2010 or early 2011; I had finished college in 2010, failed to find either a job or a house in Hobart, and moved back in with my parents. They were travelling the country for eight months of the year, and I received enough money on welfare to live, but not enough to really accomplish anything – I paid rent, bought food, and that was about it. Life was just me, an internet connection, and my thoughts. Effectively and emotionally, I was in exactly the same situation Shinji was in at the start of this episode.

      My point with this being that NGE is not universal, and it never could be, and it got its power over me because of it. The show was saying something I understood, in a language I understood – a language of genre, and animation, and style, and psychology. I can’t begrudge people for not ‘getting’ it, because it feels like it was made for who I was at that particular time, and by extension I can’t begrudge other stories that try and capture someone else as well as this story captured me.

      The episode opens with about as close as you can get to an explicit apology for the weak ending – the title cards admit there’s no time to resolve the Instrumentality thing and they’ll just focus on Shinji. We get a sea of voices, as every single character trades off lines in a monologue on despair and a sense of worthlessness; Misato directly confronts Shinji over this, and concedes to him that she’s just the same. Shinji concludes this by observing that running away has proved to be no more or less painful than existence, that he hates himself and projects that onto other people, believing they also hate him, and that he relies on piloting an Eva to give himself a sense of identity.

      This leads him to, and I use the exact terms the episode does, the realisation that all he wants is to be recognised and accepted.

      The animation up until now has just recycled past animation; this was a budget-scrounging effect that happened to double as an aesthetic choice, because now some original animation comes in. Shinji is told that he defers recognition to other people; by not taking responsibility for his recognition, he risks losing it, and thus losing his sense of identity. This is illustrated by putting him in a void; he has total freedom, where he can do whatever he wants, and he can’t think of anything to do. He’s given a restriction: a ground. This gives him the ability to walk left and right, but not up or down, which is a way he can define himself – by what he will and will not do. Other people can be seen as this restriction; we can recognise them as not us, and what they do as not what we would do.

      Shinji then wakes up in an alternate world, one closer to a generic kid sitcom. Shinji has no anxiety and simply expresses every crude, rude thought that comes into his head, Asuka is his oldest childhood friend, Rei is the wacky new transfer student, and there’s no such thing as Evas. The effect is uncanny, as if Cooper entered the Black Lodge and found an episode of According To Jim.

      This leads us into the finale: Shinji realises, looking at this vision, that he could be that guy if he really wanted, that he could exist without being an Eva pilot, and that he could choose whatever reality he wants. It’s observed that he never really learned to deal with being disliked, which is why he runs away – he didn’t know he’s capable of surviving being hated. He doesn’t need other people to love him, because he can love himself. The stageshow around him shatters and collapses, and everyone he knows applauds and congratulates him.

      In seeing the episode and trying to explain it and being in that headspace all day and having no time for anything else, I see why people don’t like it. A lot of the dialogue is repetitive and about finding different ways of saying the same thing, sounding pseudo-profound; not counting Shinji’s recognition there’s no ownage; the plot is completely abandoned. But I was someone who needed to hear all this, and needed to hear it in that way – the genre elements gave me a familiar grounding, the psychology was familiar and neither judged nor coddled, and I’ll totally cop to finding the Brakhage-esque storytelling cool just on the face of it.

      Shortly after watching Neon Genesis Evangelion, I managed to pull myself out of my depression, figuring that if I was gonna suffer, I might as well suffer doing things I liked. It would be absurd to pin this on NGE specifically (there were a lot of factors into both the why and how of the decision I made) and it would be absurd to say I was ‘cured’ in any sense. But it would be equally absurd to ignore the sense of relief I felt the first time I finished the series, or how so much of what I take for granted in my thinking now was novel to me that first watch, or the sense of perspective and relief I felt rewatching it now.

      I took a first step on a long journey, and the fact that I had seen Neon Genesis Evangelion factored into the decision to take that step. That’s the power of literature.

      “A lot of people who haven’t watched anime already know that, Napoleon.”

      Steven Universe, Episode Twenty-Six, “Ocean Gem”
      This show blows.

      We pick up right where we left off, with the Gems mad at Steven (and apparently under the impression that “grounding” means burying someone, which admittedly is hilarious). They then discover that the ocean is gone; Steven decides that this is his fault, so he has to fix it, and Connie, Greg, Lion, and the Gems all agree to go with him, which means a roadtrip across the desert.

      (Mayor Dewey yelling over the potential risk to the Beach City tourist economy and then crying as he tries to fill the ocean with a hose is hilarious)

      During the trip, Steven is confused why Gems would fight each other, and Pearl explains that they’re actually always fighting Gems – that the monsters they fight are actually Gems who’ve gone rogue or something, and the Gems try to contain them.

      They eventually find a tower of water. When they approach it, Lapis tells them to fuck off and sends out water-clones of the Gems (including Steven) to fight them. This fight scene has no drama or suspense in it, and it riffs just slightly too long on “the Gems repeatedly fail”, though it has a moment of total ownage when Lapis attacks Steven and Connie and Greg rams his fucking car through the water-clone.

      Steven finally declares “no fighting”, and uses his shield to wipe out the clones (I’m not sure on the pacifism of using a shield to kill things, but I can roll with it). He tells Lapis he’s coming into the tower (“so don’t drown me!”), and she gives him a lift up to visit, and to be honest I felt an actual, genuine emotion at that – this could only happen because Steven was kind and willing to make friends, and now he’s following through when it’s a more difficult choice. When he comes up, he finds out Lapis greatly distrusts the Gems because they value Earth more than other Gems, and that she was using the ocean as a tower to escape Earth because her gem is cracked. He uses his spit to heal her, and she uses water to fly off, leaving the tower to fall. The team goes back to Beach City, and as they celebrate, the Gems reflect on how danger is coming.

      This would have been great if it were, like, the fifth episode, not the first season finale.

      Jesus, this show makes me angrier the more I think about it. Let’s ignore the fact that Steven slapping Garnet meant nothing to the story; the sheer arrogance in thinking you don’t have to do anything to keep my attention is what offends me the most. I complained about the loose structure of Deadwood, but knowing the creators put effort into character and dialogue keeps me watching and loving it; I complain about the offensive undertones to Futurama, but the creators are trying to make me laugh; I understand complaints about the slow and occasionally non-existent plot of Mad Men, but the characters are drawn with such detail and care that I can not only live with that, but love it.

      (And of course, The Shield doesn’t have to make any apologies for what it is; everything definitely matters and it matters right now)

      This show puts no effort into anything. This show doesn’t care about anything. I feel like this show trapped me at a party and won’t let me get a word in edgewise; every time it started to get genuinely interesting, it veered away. If you’re gonna take twenty-six episodes to get to the fucking premise then you’d better offer me some kind of characterisation, or worldbuilding, or philosophy, or jokes, or something to give me some kind of indication you aren’t just dribbling shit for the sake of it.

      I was gonna do a best/worst list, but fuck it, that’d be more effort than they put in.

      It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Season Seven, Episode Nine, “The Gang Gets Trapped”
      Needed something to calm me down after that SU ragedump, and after watching next week’s Firefly I had twenty minutes until this went up so I watched this. The first time I saw it, I was expecting the cold open to be a flashforward, but it’s so much funnier just to build off it. Best bit is definitely Dee tricking Charlie and Mac into being a dsitraction by simply asking why Mac gets to hold the button. Frank pulling an E.T. makes me laugh so hard I nearly throw up. The family turning out to be Asian is one of the best ending gags the show ever did.

      • Is this the end of your Steven Adventure, or are you pushing on into season two? I’ve heard that’s where it starts to get good*!

        * I haven’t.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          Before I went into the finale, I was contemplating continuing into season two, but the prospect of even paying for season two wearies me, let alone watching it. I think I’ve gotten everything I can out of it.

          • That’s probably for the best!

          • Someone once said, “if I was gonna suffer, I might as well suffer doing things I liked.” Sounds like good advice for quitting SU.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Mac and Charlie wanting to open a leather shop in Arizona is such a great, specific gag and it makes perfect sense somehow for them (they’re idiots so of course they want to do something so stupid).

        • Drunk Napoleon

          It also pays off with both Dennis and Dee immediately saying it would fold in a week. I love when they’re both on the same page.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            “That is exactly what I said!”

      • Have you seen FLCL? I’d be fascinated to see you analyze it the way you did NGE.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          I love FLCL, and was considering following up NGE with it – it’s definitely tied to it. Hell, I’m even thinking of following it with Tengen Toppa Gurren Laggan.

          • I watched it and just remember having almost no reaction to it. Like, it happened in its own self-contained bubble, and I just watched it like I do scenery out a car window.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        “This show blows.”

        I really enjoy when this reaction comes directly on the heels of a “Wow, this episode they finally did something right!” review.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        @tristannankervis:disqus if you want a replacement for SU by the way please do Black Books.

    • Twin Peaks, The Return, Part 15 – heartbreak, terror and… perhaps at least one happy ending? It probably goes without saying at this point but I can’t WAIT for next week.

    • MST3K: Catalina Caper. A classic MST3K – one I think I had never actually seen – and a fairly dreary if colorful film. The riffing and the routines were uniformly funny, and did a good job confronting the incoherence of the beach party film with a terrible caper film tacked on. Also, it’s really ironic that the steady supply of comments about how white the film is still resonate today.

      I suppose that a performance by Little Richard saves the movie from being entirely a waste of celluloid. And the movie does really capture Catalina Island as I remember it from my one visit there in the early 80s. Otherwise…well, aside from playing a very tiny “I know you! game with Lyle Waggoner before Carol Burnett and Wonder Woman and with Robert Donner before Mork and Mindy, there’s little to say about the cast. Hard to believe this was an actual genre of movie.

    • lgauge

      Twin Peaks: The Return, Part 15: Well. Shit. It’s so good I can’t even. The scenes with Margaret Lanterman had me on the brink of tears, the convenience store stuff had me gaping and shaking, the Dougie scene had me feeling all sorts of things. There’s just so much. I mean, how about that shot where the hallway slowly half dissolves into the woods then dissolves back. That’s some next level shit. And the drone shots in the woods had me so on edge even though it was brightly lit and superficially inviting. I don’t know how Lynch keeps doing this to me.

      I also have kind of a loony theory (mostly taken from someone else), that I’ll post in a reply and inside spoiler tags.

      • lgauge

        So, if you remember the switchboard in the other dimension where Cooper goes in Part 3. When he goes through it and enters Dougie, the switchboard is marked with 3. Previously, when he approached the switchboard, but couldn’t get through, it was marked with 15. So he entered Dougie through an electrical outlet in PART 3 when the switchboard was marked 3 and in the latest episode, PART 15, there’s an interaction with an electrical outlet again, outcome unknown. So if there’s a significance to the number 15 on the switchboard the first time corresponding to the episode number where he interacts with the outlet again, maybe he’s actually going to go back to the other place? Or at least interacts with it somehow?

        There’s also the fact that Cooper left the room while the switchboard was marked 15 and then went up the ladder with Naido and then she got electrocuted (!) and then flung away. After this, the switchboard shows 3. It’s kind of a stretch, but also not somehow.

        Obviously the secondary significance of 3 and 15 is that Cooper’s old room at The Great Northern was room number 315.

        I honestly can’t tell if this makes sense or is total nonsense.

        • I have no idea. There are so many great theories coming out and, this being Twin Peaks++, I’m not ruling anything out.

          I briefly entertained the idea that Electro-Cooper would somehow switch places with the girl in the Roadhouse, just because they were both crawling and seriously, what the fuck was up with her? but that’s probably a stretch.

        • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

          It makes sense to me– I’m especially wondering if it might connect to the fact that Naido isn’t in the room marked “15” anymore; she’s in the real world of Twin Peaks. What might be waiting for Cooper there?

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      The Shield – S5E7-9. And this shit just keeps. cranking. up. We have a remarkable interrogation that compares to “Dragonchasers” in Claudette’s brutal sacrifice for a greater good (“No”), a devastating character piece that had me genuinely teary near the end – How is it that the show can make me so invested in Kavanagh and Sadie’s relationship and Kavanagh’s tragedy (that he believes in control and the law until he is at last broken by Mackey) in maybe twenty minutes? – and a classic Strike Team caper. Goddamn.

      I take back everything I said about Whitaker, he absolutely inhabits this lonely, tragic, awful, emotional man, and Torres matches him in that sequence. You see their entire broken love story sketched out before us and the deep love and resentment between them, especially that it kills Kavanagh to do this to her, but it’s the only way for him to make peace with himself. And then he’s pushed too far and does something unthinkable (his quiet “I didn’t think so either” is beautiful).

      Rick and Morty @RustyColachez I hope saw this episode as it really deconstructs Jerry’s patheticness beautifully (the idea that Jerry unwittingly traps people using his own loserdom is great) while also showing how Jerry and Rick on some level can get along but their own neuroses and tendencies get in the way.

      The B plot similarly shows how Beth and Morty are much like Rick, but where Beth has secretly always been like her father in her stubbornness and distaste for emotion (and can maybe overcome both those tendencies), Morty has grown more like his grandfather, which is a different thing and more earned. Morty is as ruthless/protective and blunt, but maybe those aren’t bad tendencies especially when it comes to his family. The characters have genuinely grown for better or worse, mostly worse, but maybe Morty has a chance in a universe where people can be neutralized (I also want cookies/ninety minute cuts of Avatar) and you can still want to murder after being trapped with someone’s consciousness for eons.

      • One of the advantages television has as a medium is time. Shows don’t have to reveal, in terms of character or acting, who people are when we first see them. That’s an advantage for drama, where, ideally, we learn things at the same time the characters do. Whitaker’s transformation from antagonist to full-on Nemesis throughout season five is one of the most classical and heartrending things I’ve ever seen–we see this guy burn off his charm, reason, love, until he exists for nothing except to destroy the Strike Team.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          This is also why his freezing Corrine’s accounts is devastating because you’ve seen that he admires her and maybe even likes her (I don’t think he’s lying when he tells her that she’d make a good detective), but she is in Mackey’s vicinity, and he will use anything at all to destroy this slippery, cunning man. He is being honed down to a single objective goal.

          • This is why The Shield, or any good drama, is such a deeply ethical work. (This is one of the themes of the Shield/Sopranos Scenic Route article.) It doesn’t cost anything to judge, but if you want to change something, that takes work, and it almost always means causing collateral damage. Yes, Mackey is a bad guy, and Kavanaugh shows what it would cost to get rid of him.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            The genius of this season is that I do not want Lem to go to prison (in part because he has such instinctive goodness in him, like casually saving people’s lives by tossing a freaking grenade) but I also know that Kavanagh is absolutely right about Vic and the Strike Team. They are guilty of literally everything he’s accusing them of.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            Don’t worry, Lem won’t go to prison.

          • The ability to create empathy and judgment at the same time is fundamental to the experience of tragedy, and also democracy. No wonder the Greeks were the first to theorize both.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            It’s such a stroke of genius to have Lem, the one with the most innate good in him, the one who deserves it the least, be the one who gets caught red-handed. It really emphasizes how this kind of corruption can’t be contained, another puncture in Vic’s belief that you can compartmentalize the criminal life.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          You remind me of my reaction to Bleak House, where Dickens took pages and pages to show what The Wire showed in a single frame, and conversely the fact that when I tried to recreate the effect of The Shield in prose, I had to sacrifice so much description and hope the reader would project (I don’t think I fully succeeded).

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            I think one of the major problems with describing the effect of The Shield is the constant use of eye motion and contact, which is genuinely hard to put into words over and over.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            I did keep finding myself writing the same few words over and over.

      • Drunk Napoleon

        Are one of these the one with the piss monologue?

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Not yet, I believe it’s coming. I’ve got two left.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        I did see this episode and I was just coming to write about it! I’m glad they finally addressed Jerry being such a pathetic, passive person who buries people in self-pity– I was getting tired of reading about how Jerry was Actually Good because he’s anti-Rick and this season has been hitting the Rick Is An Asshole button really hard. (And if you want to see a glimpse into Jerry’s true character, look how he bullies Mentally Neutralized Rick.) To repeat myself in other comments on this episode, I think the pro-Jerry contingent confuses passivity with virtue and, maybe more importantly, “niceness” with kindness. Related to some of the “Is Morty turning into an MRA?” alpha/beta stuff from a couple of weeks ago– if we’re going to talk in those terms, Jerry is like the epitome of a “nice guy,” someone who thinks being direct and forward and assertive is “not nice,” so they act passively and passive-aggressively and manipulatively to get what they want, and bury themselves in self-pity when they don’t get it.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          And the thing is I don’t think Jerry does this self consciously, it’s just a reflex, much like Dutch using his intelligence to feel better than the jerks who pick on him rather than getting pissed. It’s interesting to contrast this with the few episodes of LOVE I saw, where Gus as played by Paul Rust also uses niceness as a weapon and because he thinks it’s the mature thing to do, but the trouble is Gus is the co-protagonist of the series, and I don’t really want to root for someone who is so fucking passive and insufferable. In contrast Jerry is not the hero of Rick and Morty, he’s a foil, and a damn great one. THAT, Apatow and co, is how you have an annoying nice guy character.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            Part of me also thinks– and this may be a little more controversial– that the “not nice” traits I described are associated with masculinity, and since feminism is good, masculinity is bad– or at least, that’s the over-reductive reading I feel like some younger people or certain TV critics have of the situation. But I also feel like the “not nice” people think passivity somehow disavows someone of responsibility. It doesn’t. (Because you are still doing things, you’re just not doing them directly or forthrightly.) That attitude is the sort of thing that could lead someone to, for example, loudly proclaim how important feminism is and what a great feminist he is while repeatedly cheating on his wife and lying about over a period of decades, then blaming his decisions on the patriarchy and social expectations.

            I never started Love for the reasons you mentioned– everything I read about Gus made me think I’d just be like “Fuck this guy” about three episodes in.

            But yeah, I don’t think Jerry is necessarily consciously manipulative, either, but it’s just part of his character. At least the ending offered a glimmer he could change. Hope this all makes sense; I gotta run to work so I didn’t get to reorganize my thoughts.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            I literally went “Fuck this guy” three episodes into the show (though I liked the second episode). He’s a terrible teacher, hopelessly non-confrontational and doesn’t understand why comforting his ex into not breaking up with him would be a problem (I did the same shit but dude I was 20, you are in your thirties, what is wrong with you?)

    • Dr No – I enjoyed bond as a kid, but fell away from him as I got older. I revisited him by rewatching the first, and it was… fine? Connery sells it well, but it felt slow and tepid. The reveal of the secret lair was brilliant – instead of a huge reveal, it slowly unfolds before us as Bond & Ryder are decontaminated, and their confusion is contrasted with the workers’ casualness. Dr No is a non-entity, looking menacing but little more than an evil presence. And the dragon was entirely stupid. How dumb were they to mistake treadmarks in the mud for dragon tracks?

      But I can see why it launched a franchise. Manly men, beautiful women, exotic locations. There’s a lot for folks to like.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        I haven’t seen Dr. No in years (I was confused as to why there was no Bond theme song as a kid) but I feel like From Russia To Love is the real start of the films where the pacing is much stronger and the goofier stuff is minimized. Plus the stunning train fight.

        • I really like FRWL, but it’s an atypical Bond in many ways. Grittier and smaller than most of them (I say this about a movie with a jet pack and a shoe knife). I mean, the next one had a villain who killed people by painting them gold and a dwarf henchman with a killer hat.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            In retrospect one of my problems with the Bond franchise is that I tend to prefer the grittier, darker material even if it has crazy elements (Goldeneye has the orgasmic hitwoman but also some genuine emotional conflict for instance), but I can’t stand Roger Moore-esque high camp.

          • Same. My favs are FRWL, GoldenEye, and Casino Royale.

        • Son of Griff

          The film consistently uses self conscious theatrical flourishes (like the fighting fish and the dueling Gypsy women) to foreshadow the action to come, a nice a little Powell and Pressburger touch.

      • Dr. No tries to keep the not-entirely-whimsical tone of the novels while embracing the silliness of the stories. It doesn’t entirely work, but between the picturesque location, Ursula Undress, Connery’s charm, and a certain sense of fun, it almost works. But I agree with Conor: From Russia with Love is much stronger.

    • Miller

      Archer, Season 4 episode — I can understand the desire not to overuse Kroeber but god dammit, Krieger is the best.

      Logan Lucky — as a study of an immature heister becoming a better person, it knocks the socks off Baby Driver. And while the heists play in very different modes, Logan Lucky’s might be the better — the moving parts had a few cheats to my mind but their orchestration is a lot fun to watch and puzzle out, and the unexpected notes (that prison demand!) create a stellar symphony. I was complaining that Baby Driver (and a lot of movies) feel like they have less to say the more I think about them, this is low-key but there are things to muse on and consider — as The Narrator’s review points out, everyone gets a fair shake in this movie, no matter how small their role and that care alone leads to deeper enjoyment. Of particular note — Hilary Swank coming in late with a ferocity I don’t think I’ve seen from her before, until that lovely Ocean’s 12 pivot at the end. And Riley Keough has no bullshit to her, damn is she compelling and a bit frightening, it’s a good thing this isn’t a meaner movie or she’d be stepping over a lot of corpses.

      • The Narrator

        On Swank: I recently got in a discussion online about the final scene you mention, and what her appearance in it means. I took it like you did, that this was a “professional recognizes fellow professional” moment, but most everyone else thought it was her going undercover to bust the gang, or something like that. That one’s definitely within the realm of possibility, and Soderbergh has done endings like it before (Ocean’s Eleven has a similarly light-hearted “we’re not quite safe yet” ending, and The Underneath has a darker variation with even the same “delayed shot of the face” trick, although there it was Joe Don Baker), but I do think your and my interpretation fits the movie’s amiable sweetness better.

        • Miller

          She is not letting the gang go. Whether that means busting them or joining them remains to be seen, but she’s open to seeing where this leads.

    • jroberts548

      Game of thrones, still one episode behind. Guys, that’s a really dumb plan. [Checks Twitter, is accidentally spoiled]. Yep.

      It kinda makes sense that it’s dumb. Both Job and Jorah want to hook up with Dany, so they’re competing to see who can be the dumbest and win her love. Guys, you’re both morons. No one will win a Jon-Jorah idiot-off.

    • I finally listened to the commentary track for Multiple Maniacs. John Waters, ever the raconteur, takes on a far more wistful tone than on previous tracks. He opens with the realization that this release is one of the last of his long career, saying he grew up on Janus Films’ foreign releases and now he’s finally in the Criterion collection. Much of the track is telling stories about the friends he had back then and why they all fit together. He talks about the art and movie posters on his walls. He even delves into the idea that this was part of the hippy hangover of the early 70s (see: Altamont and Fear and Loathing). It reminded me of Twin Peaks a lot, revisiting old friends and waxing nostalgic on times long past. I’ve gotta say, Waters commentaries are consistently the most entertaining tracks even when he gets technical, such as how the 16mm cameras he used weren’t the greatest for sound because the sound got recorded onto the film one second ahead of the frame to which it belonged, creating delayed starts in the edits. If you haven’t taken the time to listen to Waters holding court on one of his movies, you really should.

      The video essay is OK, but the supplemental interviews are also priceless.

      • The Ploughman

        I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Waters speak in person twice, most recently just a couple years ago to promote his hitchhiking book. He’s such a great and energetic speaker, pacing the stage for the full hour even at his age.

        “My re-enactment of the Kennedy assassination was not well received. Maybe it was because Divine played Jackie or maybe it was because we did it in 1968.”

        • I really wish they had included his early works here. Maybe we’ll be getting a release of Mondo Trasho later or the early works like Eat Your Makeup.

          I saw bits of them once at a museum over a decade ago. They exist in a digitized fashion. We need an “early works” box set.

    • Fresno Bob

      I watched three season five episodes of 30 Rock. All of ’em great!

    • silverwheel

      Frankenheiming, part 1: The Manchurian Candidate – Now that I got Seconds during the B&N Criterion sale and the new Seven Days In May Blu-ray from Warner Archive, I felt like doing a little Frankenheimer marathon (I was having some trouble tracking down a library copy of Birdman of Alcatraz, so i just started here). I’m quite fascinated with JF’s career, both for the films he made as well as where he fits into the larger history. He is firmly outside the New Hollywood wave, starting his career well before that era, and cutting his teeth on television rather than film school (in that sense, his modern analogue would be Steven Spielberg – adding to the similarity, both of them flopped hard in the prime of their careers trying to do a WW2 comedy). And yet JF made several films in the 60’s that are undisputed classics, as well as being surprisingly experimental with their technique. Although not part of that wave, and not sharing the same priorities, his work proudly stands right next to theirs. Manchurian Candidate is generally regarded as his best film, and I do not at all agree with that – don’t get me wrong, this is great, but his subsequent films surpass this one in their scale, technical expertise, and emotional impact (especially The Train and Seconds). Frankenheimer’s visual style here, while fully formed and generally excellent, is simpler than what he would do next – there are shots scattered throughout that stick out quite sharply because of how god damn amazing they are compared to the rest, particularly when Shaw shoots Senator Jordan in the kitchen – the future director of Seconds popped in for tea and gave us a glimpse of what would come next. And compared to his later films, The Manchurian Candidate relies more on its editing to create the paranoid mood, and that’s not a knock on it because that technique works very well here, but it is different. This is most evident in the extremely fast editing at the convention, but also in the “garden club” meeting at the beginning, with the setting and characters changing from shot to shot for a brilliantly bizarre effect. I still don’t have a clear theory for how to interpret Sinatra’s scene on the train with Janet Leigh, but there’s no denying its tonal effectiveness. My only real criticism is simply that JF would do a better job sustaining mood in his upcoming films (Shaw’s flashback to his courting of Jocelyn, while necessary, lets some of the mood slip away), but that’s only a relative criticism – what is here works damn well.

      • The scene on the train is so completely strange I kept wondering if a) Sinatra was still dreaming or b) Leigh was in on the conspiracy and was checking up on him. It’s one more way The Manchurian Candidate just keeps throwing us off-balance.

        In the dream sequences, Frankenheimer does something that way too few directors get (Nolan in Memento, Cronenberg in eXistenZ are exceptions): you shoot and cut the dream the same way you do the rest of the movie, and rely only on basic visual grammar to trick us. Movies are already dreams; why add anything?

        • silverwheel

          The thing I keep coming back to about the train scene is that Sinatra slowly starts getting it together afterward – his sweaty inability to even light a cigarette is the apex of his confusion and torment. After that, he slowly starts getting control over himself and begins to unravel the conspiracy, leading me to speculate that Leigh could be in on it but from a different angle, trying to help him along, or simply that the ensuing relationship normalizes him enough that he starts thinking clearly again (perhaps why he might think that Jocelyn could help to deprogram Shaw).

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Ebert’s theory was that she was programming him and I think that makes plenty of sense.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Still an insanely relevant movie and it’s remarkable how the 2004 remake tried to make the plot contemporary (giant corporation makes candidate) when reality actually adhered fairly closely to the original film.

  • BurgundySuit

    Year of the Month (from an idea by Elizabeth Lerner) continues!

    August 22nd: Wallflower: Into the Night
    August 24th: The Ploughman: Ender’s Game
    August 25th: Jacob Thomas Klemmer: Tampopo
    August 27th: Bhammer: Ran
    August 28th: Son of Griff: The Breakfast Club
    August 29th: lgauge: Hail Mary
    August 31st: Wallflower: Race for the Double Helix

    And coming in September, 1968, or, How We Got in a Brawl Over Who Gets to Call Dibs on 2001!
    September 11th: Vomas: The Swimmer
    September 18th: Drunk Napoleon: Yellow Submarine
    September 19th: John Bruni: Faces
    September 21st: Wallflower: Bullit
    September 25th: Bhammer100: Prescription: Murder
    September 26th: Miller: Hell in the Pacific
    NO DATE: SCB0212: The Prisoner
    NO DATE: Son of Griff: Once Upon a Time in the West

    • The Ploughman

      I’ll take Frederick Wiseman’s High School on the 14th, s’il vous plait.

      • BurgundySuit

        And we’ll see your Ender’s Game piece Thursday?

        • The Ploughman

          You bet!

    • Give me Sept 8. I’m likelier to work on it with a deadline in place.

    • Maybe I’ll write about Russ Meyer’s Vixen!, supposedly the first movie to get an official X rating for sex.

      • BurgundySuit

        Awesome! When?

        • I dunno that part yet. I may also port over my old ruminations on I Am Curious, as Blue (part 2) came out in 1968.

      • Fresno Bob

        I watched that a while back! It was…something!

  • edibletalkingchairs .

    anyone keeping up with ash v evil dead

    • The Ploughman

      Last I heard Ash was winning.

      • edibletalkingchairs .

        Good the hear the show hasn’t deviated too far from the first three episode i’ve seen.

    • Loved the first season, lukewarm to the second, skeptical of the third.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Yep! Great stuff though I’m worried about the third as the showrunner quit over a cut ending.

      • edibletalkingchairs .

        ooh do tell.