• In case you (the royal “you,” the editorial. . .) were wondering, here’s where you’ll find the comments from a certain unnamed critic/brewery and the ensuing discussions over breaks, tacos, and taco breaks.

    • Son of Griff

      You could have also mentioned Revolutionary War rabble-rouser.

  • Miller

    Shout out to the Comics Curmudgeon! I actually wait and binge read him on the weekends, which is a good way to follow the soaps for me. But it is essential to my weekly routine.

    • He liked something I said on Nathan Rabin’s Facebook once, and I was so excited!

    • The Ploughman

      I do it the same way! From Saturday to COTW in one sitting.

  • Drunk Napoleon

    So, what did we watch?

    • Drunk Napoleon

      The Wire, Season Five, Episode Three, “Not For Attribution”
      At first, I wasn’t reacting well, but I was trying to figure out if I was just projecting what I’d heard about the season onto it. Jimmy’s plot was kinda broad for this show, but it’s only a little out of his range of stupidity, and I could see Bunk not immediately shutting it down. But when Lester got pulled into this horseshit, that was when I got genuinely offended. Lester might be an older McNulty, but he’s also a wiser McNulty, not nearly dumb enough to think this is even approaching a good idea.

      Gus knows Carcetti’s man from way back. I loved the implication that we’re seeing him long after his personal tragedy, the way we followed Bunny after his tragedy. This show really is just a million smaller tragedies intertwined, with us following specific people into a new story. Game Of Thrones is a simpler, less successful version of what this show does.

      I’m really losing sympathy for Carcetti as he goes further and further away from idealism, but shutting down Clay Davis was awesome.

      I’m really excited to see what the point of Michael and Dook’s relationship is, storywise. It’s adorable and strangely homoerotic. My current joke/guess is that Dook is being set up to be the next Omar.

      Breaking Bad, Season Five, Episode Ten, “Buried”
      http://i.imgur.com/BWT7HP2.jpg
      Hell fucking yeah. Painful, Shield-like, intense drama. One miserable fucking moment after another, with some bits – like Marie trying to take Holly – being more painful the second time around because I knew they were coming. Skyler reveals she’s a wife and mother above all. Walt reveals that killing a family member not only offends him, it didn’t even occur to him. All of Skyler’s actions right from figuring out Walt was a meth cook and telling nobody come back to her at once when it destroys her relationship with Marie (something that totally blew my tiny mind back in 2013. If you’d told me about drama right then, right at that second, I would have believed you immediately and without question).

      (it’s a small thing, but when Saul’s hired goons (hired goons?) bring his money around, Saul asks if they were followed, and Walt wearily says if they’d been followed they’d all be in handcuffs right now. He wouldn’t have said something like that a year and a half ago)

      The only weak link in the chain is Lydia wiping out Declan’s crew. It does, however, act as a jumping off point for something I’ve been thinking about. The Shield shows the tail end of an era – the reign of the Strike Team. We come in on the peak, and watch them collapse. Mad Men show multiple eras – the Sterling Cooper years, the SCDP years, and the SC&P years (while also ending the reveal that this is the transition between 50s Family Man Don Era and 70s Me Generation Don Era). As this scene shows, BB shows the entire Heisenberg Era, from beginning to end.

      We also get my absolute favourite of all Walt’s schemes: bury the money, remember the GPS co-ordinates, then buy a lottery ticket to use it to remember them and share them after death. I genuinely think it’s his cleverest scheme.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        I buy the notion that Lester is so frustrated with the Marlo case that he gets sucked into it but I see your point about it being a little inconsistent. Still, you have the immortal “WE MUST KILL AGAIN!”

        • Drunk Napoleon

          I can see Lester reluctantly buying into it as a solution; jumping into it with both feet is what gets my goat.

          • The Ploughman

            I do like how it takes Bunk by surprise, since he’s the one who turns to Lester to talk some sense into McNulty.

        • Son of Griff

          My view of Lester’s decision is that 1) he’s near retirement so fuck it, and 2) he’s been given the opportunity to practice his trade by serendipitous fortune, so why not take advantage of someone elses action and, at the vary least, disrupt Marlo and the dealers.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            It also feels like he’s just going back to his old patterns because why not?

          • Son of Griff

            That fits the theme of the show as well.

            As I said the other day, I think a lot of problems that people have with this plot thread comes from misreading the shows naturalistic style as “realist” in a documentary sense, provoking an expectation that all events must mimic real life. Lester’s embrace of McNulty’s scheme is pretty abrupt, but the alliance itself fits the overall nature of the show’s more genre oriented plotting and style.

          • Drunk Napoleon

            It’s not so much the ‘realism’ nature of the plot as it is the betrayal of the character. Lester, personally, would not do this, and if he did, he wouldn’t do it in this way. Lester might be upset that the Marlo case has gone dead, and he might be able to be convinced to fake a serial killer, but he definitely wouldn’t be so gung-ho and thoughtless about it. Your read of the character is a good one, but it’s not what I’m seeing onscreen.

          • Son of Griff

            The show is up on my re-watch list before it goes behind a pay wall here in the states next spring. I’ll keep my eyes open for it. Here is another way in which the short season might have hurt the show overall.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            It’s been years since I watched, admittedly, but I do think Lester would do this– after all, in his younger days, Lester was the kind of guy who would pursue a case to its end, no matter what, even when doing so pissed off the higher-ups enough to get him banished to the Pawn Shop Unit. You combine that with the fact that he’s nearing retirement (and has a comfortable side income from dollhouse miniatures), and I think he’s just out of fucks to give about any possible consequences.

            (Now that I think about it, I see a certain spectrum of “Defying authority to get results, you stupid chief” from Jimmy McNulty to Claudette Wyms, with Lester Freamon in the middle. I’ll explain in a bit.)

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            OK, what I mean by that is, they all have a certain willingness to pursue justice ahead of the code of police / chain of command, even at personal cost. But Claudette’s seems to come most purely from her commitment to justice and her will to see it through; when she is self-destructive, like at the end of season 3 or the middle of season 5, it is because of that commitment. McNulty is inherently self-destructive, and he cares about the cases, but also about proving he’s the smartest man in the room and thumbing his nose at the higher-ups. Freamon is a lot less self-destructive than McNulty, but has the same personality tendencies (except that he knows he’s the smartest man in the room).

          • Drunk Napoleon

            See, this is like what SoG said – on paper, I can see all that, onscreen, it just looks like Freamon up and lost his mind. Faking a serial killer is just a fridge too far for me (although now that today’s episode got me over the hump of “Freamon is helping Jimmy fake a god damned serial killer”, the way he’s going about seems closer to what you’re saying).

          • Miller

            D’oh, should’ve scrolled down — you said it much better.

          • Miller

            Exactly — he was the original McNulty long ago before getting banished to the pawnshop division, so new McNulty enables those habits,

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        THE WIRE SPOILERS

        He’s so close on his prediction, isn’t he?

    • Fresno Bob

      I watched The Force Awakens with my brother. He’s genuinely awed by the picture clarity of blu ray (he has an old tube tv and usually watches Netflix on a computer monitor), and while I tried to sell him on watching The Red Shoes for its visuals, he wasn’t feeling a 1948 technicolor melodrama about the ballet, and was more enticed by spaceships and Daisy Ridley being awesome. I was game.

    • The Tall T – a solid Western that makes the most of a tight budget, but after a string of absolutely stellar genre entries recently, this felt like a bit of a comedown. It has some good villains and nice scenery, but I was far from impressed by Randolph Scott in the lead, and for an Elmore Leonard-based screenplay it didn’t have particularly good dialogue. It passed the time, but it didn’t grab me like most of the other Westerns that I’ve seen recently. Looking forward to @sonofgriff:disqus ‘s write-up for the year of the month, though – seems like most people like this one more than I did, and I’m curious to hear more.

      • Son of Griff

        The better films of the Boetticher/Scott series basically give one the opportunity to expound on the structure of a particular narrative formula, because they literally don’t have time for distractions and ornamentation. As it turns out, my piece is shaping be a minor contribution to le histoire d’ownage that many have contributed to this site.

        • I have more thoughts, but I will wait for your full analysis before getting into them!

          • Son of Griff

            Cool!

    • ZoeZ

      Two horror shorts:

      The Stylist, which was brief but effective (minus the stiff dialogue). It reminded me of Lucky McKee’s May, which is no bad thing to be reminded of.

      The Room at the Top of the Stairs, which needed to be longer–there’s a lot of rich potential to its modernized, vaguely queered-up Rebecca stylings, but it’s forced to move too quickly for the Girl’s character development to have the space it needs. But I do want to see a longer version of this.

      • I saw The Stylist as part of a block of shorts at a horror festival. It definitely had something (plenty of style, for one thing) but it felt oddly over-extended for a film that isn’t very long. It was a big improvement over the other short I’ve seen by the same director, though (Call Girl).

        • ZoeZ

          I saw someone mention that the ending in particular felt overextended to them, and I think that’s true–it goes on for a few beats too long. But I did like the style and the sound direction (the gleeful grotesqueness of which made up for the extremely obvious fakeness of the makeup effects there).

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        The Stylist is on Shudder and indeed it was effective.

    • I helplessly watched as my shoulder sunburn finally dried out and began to flake off, creating an itch that is currently driving me up a wall. What evolutionary ancestor came up with this process to shed skin? They deserve to be smacked. Why can’t we shed it all at once, like the snake?

      I also rewatched Episode 8 of Twin Peaks. And, I’m mad. Lynch fundamentally changed the whole story of Laura Palmer from tragic victim to mythic heroine. In essence, by turning her into a force created by the White Lodge, Lynch is elevating Laura from a strong and flawed human being to a spirit on the same level as BOB. Lynch robbed Laura of her humanity by making her an all powerful reaction to the forces of evil. I loved the episode otherwise – the birth of BOB being a nuclear bomb exploding – even if some of it is still a puzzle piece waiting to be solved. But, man…I really don’t like that new imagining of Laura Palmer.

      • Fresno Bob

        I’m willing to see how it plays out. I’m inclined to agree with you on that point, but Lynch and Frost are just as likely to undercut or pull a reversal of sorts to change that reading.

        • Same here – I saw that theory elsewhere, agreed that it’s not the way I’d like to see things play out, but I’m far from convinced that it’s set in stone just yet.

        • I dunno, that gold ball is a hard image to undercut

      • PCguy

        It’s fucked up that TP is off this week. They are totally prickteasing us after that last episode.

      • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

        I’m not convinced that was necessary Laura Palmer herself, as Leland Palmer is not BOB. I think that might have been the spirit who looks like Laura Palmer that we’ve seen in the Red Room a couple of times. (“She’s my cousin. Doesn’t she look just like Laura Palmer?” “I feel like I know her, but sometimes my arms bend back.”)

        • That’s still pretty damn mythic. One of the things about the original Twin Peaks is that it seemed to assume that there were spiritual evils that manipulated the real world and took possession of bodies, but the spiritual goods were companion spirits like The Giant (aka ????????), the angels, and the white horse.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      The Shield, S03E1. Aceveda shows the two sides of himself in genuinely trying to help Danny while sandbagging Claudette. Snaky shit indeed.

      Once again Vic shows the massive problems of a person doing whatever they want with an at best shaky moral code – his putting the Strike Team at risk is in miniature his relationship to the Barn. Ryan is interested in how “lone wolfs” are best left away from institutions – even their supported morality can become a problem and can subvert the commonwealth.

      Ronnie is way hotter with a beard, its crazy.

      Iraq War anxiety trickles throughout this episode as Norwalk pointed out, from Claudette to Dutch to Vic’s doing whatever the hell he wants (sound familiar?) although The Wire arguably did a better job with this in its own third season.

      • Drunk Napoleon

        Wait until you see Ronnie in a suit.

    • PCguy

      THE NAKED CAGE (1986)

      Director Paul Nicholas (CHAINED HEAT) returns to women’s prison in this solid entry in the genre. Canon doesn’t skimp on the budget for extras here and it pays off with several effective crowd scenes culminating in an antic prison riot. The no-name cast is surprisingly good in this one–the women who play the bad girls especially relish their roles. Just a solid WiP film; not much more to say.

      • Is Reform School Girls the best of the 80s WiP films?

        • PCguy

          Personally I like NAKED CAGE more. WOMEN’S PRISON MASSACRE is another good one–Laura Gemser has always been my favorite Emanuelle. She gets a great fight scene in the showers where she ends up ripping off her opponents wig and thoroughly humiliating her in front of the staff and inmates.

    • The last two episodes of Spectacular Spider-Man, season one – I think the decision to not do a straightforward retelling of Spidey’s origin – the only episode of the first season written by Greg Weisman – was a good one. Too bad that the season ends with Venom, probably my least favorite Spidey villain. But even he works reasonably well on this show.

    • Defense Against The Dark Arts

      Nurse 3D (in 2D). For the first 15 minutes I was very excited that this was going to be some great trash, but then it switches to a boring Single White Female/Fatal Attraction knock off. Paz de la Huerta is naked occasionally, which is fun, but T&A doesn’t enliven a dead script.

      • I said I wished it were better!!

        • Defense Against The Dark Arts

          Me too.

  • Fresno Bob

    There are some movies I’ll put on while folding laundry. Something like that Michael Bay produced Ninja Turtles movie is the type of dreck that is perfectly suited to this task. And I rarely get to watch a movie in one sitting these days, simply because the only uninterrupted time available to me is when everyone else is asleep and I should be too. People giving others shit about how they watch a movie is pretty silly, as not everyone has the luxury of dedicated time for a leisure activity, let alone two or three hours at a time.

    • DJ JD

      When some article or other said that the movie we watched most was our favorite, I was brought to the realization that, “Huh, U.S. Marshals must be my favorite movie.” The logic is nearly identical to yours: it’s fine, doesn’t blow me away but has precisely zero odious elements and the parts that work, work well. Back when I had cable, I could flip it on for twenty minutes, enjoy myself insofar as I was watching and then turn it back off again without the slightest pang of guilt.

      • The Ploughman

        “zero odious elements”

        I dunno. I seem to recall it has Tommy Lee Jones literally wearing a chicken suit, pointing a shotgun at someone and delivering the “badass” line “Original recipe or extra crispy?”

        I have pondered this moment in my heart for many years and have come down on the side of “not good.”

        • Fresno Bob

          Sounds pretty awesome to me.

          • The Ploughman
          • The Ploughman

            For context, this is the thirty seconds that precede it. Tell me this isn’t a Gremlins 2-like self-parody of The Fugitive.
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zSROenyzdE

          • Fresno Bob

            This scene is better than the extra crispy line.

          • The Ploughman

            I like how you can spot angry Tommy Lee Jones from a mile away, chicken suit or no chicken suit.

          • DJ JD

            He walked like an angry Tommy Lee Jones with a gun, which I really quite liked.

        • DJ JD

          I gave it a pass because his delivery suggested to me that he actually didn’t care what he said just then, but I’ll grant that I could well be wrong. Also, he strikes me as the sort who might just say things that way normally, like instead of resting bitch face (what’s the technical term for that again?) he has resting unimpressed voice.

          • The Ploughman

            I rewatched the line (posted below) and it’s even… more?… than I remembered. The dramatic half-pause before “crispy.” The cut back to his no-nonsense face before the cuffs go on…

            This is the same character that sent chills up the spine by whispering “I don’t negotiate” in The Fugitive.

          • DJ JD

            I haven’t seen it in awhile. I was wrong about him not being unimpressed because he was not doing “apathetic and frustrated” at all in that scene. But, this time through I wondered if the line was more how much the character hated being in that chicken suit? It’s not the greatest gun-action zinger, for sure.

          • The Ploughman

            Some aspect of the man in that chicken suit did not want to be there, that’s for sure. I believe Jones is pro enough that he turned a near flub in a line he barely bothered to remember into a convincing pause.

            I haven’t seen the movie in like twenty years. I just remember loving The Fugitive and being excited to see this (remember being excited for unnecessary sequels to things you liked?) and then this scene opens it up and I’m like what the hell?

          • The Narrator

            Fuck, this is the opening? I’ve never needed to see a movie as much as I do this one.

          • The Ploughman

            It’s at least the first scene with Jones’ character. I think the movie opens with Snipes on the run and then, much like the previous film, there’s a follow-up scene to introduce (googles) Gerard and establish him as a, um, badass. I don’t remember much after this.

    • Yeah, everyone watches stuff differently. I know that I can’t keep up with a movie if I’m doing something else at the same time, so I can see where the “you’re watching it wrong!” viewpoint comes from, but I’ve come to accept that some people are perfectly capable of doing two things at once and taking both in. I’m jealous of their superpowers, though!

      • Fresno Bob

        Well, the reason why I have to split a movie into two parts is because I have to pay attention to a GOOD movie. I’ll watch one hour after my wife and kids are asleep, and finish it the next night at the same time. I’d say about half the time, I can manage to stay up late enough to watch the whole movie, but I always pay for it the next morning.

        • Son of Griff

          This, sadly, is my routine now.

    • The Ploughman

      When I was young and becoming more serious about movies, I was kind of an a-hole about enforcing no talking, no pauses, no distractions during any and all movies. My family would rent a movie to watch at dinner. We’d get five minutes in and invariably somebody would pause it so everybody could go get seconds. Every time I railed about ruining the pacing the filmmaker intended. Never was the integrity of The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again so ardently defended.

      • I genuinely like that movie, but wow.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      I’m big on not talking too much during a movie but that wildly depends on the film. I did get like careful about not talking during Goodfellas but that was like a sacred ritual compared to like a kung fu movie.

  • Fresno Bob

    Okay, the Beta Test of my Solute Trivia continues. Here’s round three:
    https://www.onlinequizcreator.com/solute-movie-trivia-3-general/quiz-292172

    • Drunk Napoleon

      “I’ll take ‘intimidating questions that reveal your persona as a film nerd is just a fragile facade’ for 500, Alex.”

    • Good blend of stuff I felt smart for remembering and things I felt infuriated by forgetting. Excellent work! I think I did OK!

      • Fresno Bob

        I tried to provide more context in the questions this time. It’s..trickier than I thought to design a question that prompts enough without giving too much away, and also to avoid trick questions that are unfair (one of them is a borderline trick question, but not really, because the “obvious” answer is the right answer).

        • Son of Griff

          I do this for a living and it is difficult.

    • The Ploughman

      Oof. That was embarrassing. I need to take more time, the loss of time for wrong answers is a killer. Good mix of films and I like ones that you can approach from more than one angle. E.g., if you don’t remember which Pixar films Willem Dafoe is in, you might be able to remember which were directed by Andrew Stanton. I still missed it, but you know.

      • The Ploughman

        Oh, now that I go through it again, no wonder I missed it.

  • Drunk Napoleon

    You know, and I hope this will be taken as a commentary upon myself and not a judgement of anyone else, but for a while there a few years ago I didn’t have the attention span to sit through a whole movie, pulling out my phone or pausing the film to wander about. I took this as a personal failing, my attention span having completely disintegrated, and decided to make the effort to go about repairing it. It was through this that I discovered some directors – Alfred Hitchcock being the big one I found – actually make it hard to pause or turn away, and they were generally the directors I focused on for a while.

  • Defense Against The Dark Arts

    Since January I’ve been keeping a list of the movies I watch. I started doing it partly because I like lists and partly because I was curious how many movies I watch in a calendar year. Come December 31st I’ll find out. I don’t put a movie on the list unless I’ve watched it from beginning to end without any distractions. (There have been some movies that I’ve started watching and turned off, those don’t go on the list). I try to give the movies my full attention because it’s tough to say whether I enjoyed it or not if I haven’t paid close enough attention.