• Rosy Fingers

    1) For high school students, the Archie gang are implausibly upset about the teachers strike. I’m intrigued to know whether their solution is to side with the teachers. Maybe Veronica gets Mr Lodge to bring out his strike-breakers.

    2) The DNAgents: their special power is existential despair!

    3) What is up with that Spider-Man and Captain America team up cover? It’s a literal cut and paste job.

    4) Ghost Manor, featuring “Vincent Gryce.” Come on, guys. Try harder.

    5) That Vanessa cover is horrifying in every way. I’m glad I can’t read German.

    6) This month The Phantom rescues a small fellow in an unusually dynamic cover composition.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/574d64238f201c1b3871399a4832b07c9aca5ef2012c1f8878a4168912958bcd.jpg

  • The Ploughman

    Making sure everybody notices and appreciates the “What, me furry?” thought bubble.

    • Miller

      I was inordinately pleased to see Bill Gaines dropping a “Good Lord! *choke*” on the Comics Journal cover.

  • DJ JD

    G.I. Joe: The woman with the crossbow smiles because Springfield, a town of facades that barely conceal snake-themed enemy soldiers with AKA-47s, is “A Nice Little Town.” The ninja behind her is inscrutable behind his face mask.

    Somehow, G.I. Joe seems more surreal than the usual DC or Marvel fare to me just now. It’s like a comic book cover version of a haiku someone brilliant wrote when they were very, very drunk.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Robot Chicken can be VERY hit and miss, but this might be one of my favorite sketches in all of television:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DW3dg9VURMU

      • DJ JD

        I think I love Robot Chicken the same way I love Marx Brothers or Henny Youngman: it’s such a carpet bombing of jokes that you don’t have to wait more than a few seconds for another one to come along.

  • Drunk Napoleon

    What did we watch?

    • Drunk Napoleon

      LOST, Season Six, Episode Six, “Sundown”
      “Apparently, I’m evil.”

      “Now why’d you go and do that?”

      I previously referred to this as ‘the nonsense in the Temple’, but once again it holds up better than I remember because it simply takes Sayid’s conflict over good and evil and makes it more literal. He is now apparently objectively evil. Next to him we have Smokey, who is slowly revealing himself as a literally Satanic figure, offering knowledge and freedom and all earthly desires; I’ve decided he’s now my favourite Satanic figure, if only for not quoting the Rolling Stones. This also almost explicitly suggests that the flashsideways are actually Smokey’s reward for helping him.

      I forgot how long Miles was in this show.

      Alt-Keamy rocks up in the flashsideways, and Sayid and Jin crossover, creating the first sense of the flashsideways coming together.

      Ownage: Dogen and Sayid fight. Sayid stabs Smokey right in the gut without even saying hello. Sayid murders the shit out of Keamy and his crew. Sayid drowns Dogen and slits Lennon’s throat. Smokey kills everyone.

      The Sopranos, Season One, Episode Eight, “The Legend Of Tennessee Moltisanti”
      “To we, the twenty million.”

      “You ever feel like nuttin’ good was ever gonna happen to you?”
      “Yeah. And nuttin’ did. So what? I’m alive. I’m survivin’.”

      “College” wasn’t so much a great episode as it was a harbinger of the show’s improvement. On a purely technical level, there are more musical setpieces, and thinking of the other literary shows I love, it really seems an important aspect of the mode in order to create nuance and energy. Cowboy Bebop is the most obvious, being almost wall-to-wall musical setpieces of literally every genre, but there’s also things like Twin Peaks (as well as the other works by David Lynch, so nuanced in sound design) and Mad Men, where not only was the music varied, so were the degrees of subtlety in how it was deployed – sometimes you’d get a big obvious musical cue from the early nineties, and sometimes you’d get a quiet wood instrument that you don’t notice.

      The character work is kicking it up a notch too, as we finally start taking Christopher seriously, and it turns out what he wants more than anything is to be taken seriously. In one scene, the show conveys exactly why Christopher is in the mafia: he wants to be the boss, he wants to be respected, and the only way he can do that (due to both his position in life and his lack of skills) is with violence. I find his particular mixture of ambition and stupidity very #relatable and sympathetic; he describes an arc by way of what happens to the character, not what the character does, which is very familiar.

      (In that same ballpark, Tony attempting to talk psychology with Christopher is uncannily like conversations I’ve had with my dad)

      And after yesterday’s talk about how Tony doesn’t actually fit into the voice of the show, Melfi’s family are so introspective and smart that they actually feel hilariously normal. I don’t know whether I would actually like Jason if I knew him, but I love him as a trollish element in their scenes.

      Even the plot is kicking it up a notch, and in specifically literary terms, not dramatic ones. The indictment story is showing us things that Tony and friends must have to deal with all the time – when Tony is pulling money out of the roof, it reminded me of Breaking Bad, except where Walt was panicking, Tony is calm, even irritated. I watch him do that and hide guns in his mother’s house, I think things like “how often does Tony do things like this? How complicit is Carmela, on a practical level as well as a moral one? What does he use those guns for? How often does he use them?”. Not only do we see an action that has weight, we understand the even greater actions that must take place offscreen. It even has a thematic payoff – it creates the sense that everyone is actively ignoring how weird their lives are.

      Interesting Todd Notes: Todd and I took wildly different responses to Christopher’s ‘arc’ monologue. Both Ex-Mr Melfi and Todd’s discussions of good and evil put into perspective how much of a moral relativist I am.
      Ownage: Christopher shoots a baker in the foot. Tony punches Christopher.
      Biggest Laugh: “You want them to see all that porno you downloaded?”

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        There’s a good line (it might be from Todd) about Big Love that the first season is about HOW do they do this, the second is WHY they do this, and that applies here. The first season of The Sopranos lays down how Tony is fairly used to hiding money and stashing guns all over, including a fucking grenade.

        I relate to Chrissie too hard here where he just doesn’t want to feel the boredom of normal life, and that’s a feeling that’s rarely expressed in film/TV because most of the characters are already living insane lifestyles (though clearly Chrissy and Tony’s lives aren’t normal in any way, but then it still feels mundane to him).

        Other huge laugh: Tony barely able to cover his ass when Carm asks if the ring was stolen.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          That’s the flipside to our ‘how can happiness be fun to watch?’ conversation – you gotta convey that this is mundane and uninteresting to the characters while still making something, you know, fun to watch. That was always an underrated skill of The Simpsons, making boredom hilarious.

      • The Visitor [1979]–For the first five minutes of this movie, you could be forgiven for assuming you were watching one of the myriad Star Wars imitators that rushed into cinemas following 1977–there’s this Space Jesus dude in a Jedi robe, trippy space effects, the whole nine yards. But then it becomes a basketball drama, before becoming something of a rip-off of The Omen scored with the funk-soul brass flourishes of a blaxsploitation film. And then Space Jesus comes back. This is a weird one, y’all–not so much for any specific piece (most of the movie’s beats, after all, have pretty obviously antecedents) but more for the fact that somebody thought to mash them all together into this transfixing suicide drink of a film.

        The Sweet Hereafter–There’s a bus crash that kills 14 children. I thought I was going to be alright watching this movie, and then I saw the school bus disappear under the ice and I just lost it. This is strange, upsetting, and otherworldly cinema in the same way that The Virgin Suicides was all of the above. Some of the stuff with the pushy lawyer stirring up a class-action lawsuit against the school bus company feels a little stale (lawyers gonna lawyer, I guess), but even that is justified enough for the way it allows the bitter, spellbinding saga of the lawyer’s relationship with his daughter. It’s a diffuse movie in which not a ton happens outside of the central crash, but it’s all tied together with a genuinely unnerving extended Pied Piper analogy and a score–an out-of-time fusion of medieval music with contemporary keyboard atmospherics–that’s one of the best and strangest of the past few decades.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          I think you put this in the wrong spot! But yeah Sweet Hereafter is a hell of an experience. The adaptation of Holm’s narration from the novel is a bit clumsy but I couldn’t imagine the story without that voice.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          It occurs to me too that The Leftovers was probably influenced by Hereafter in how grief is articulated in tone as an uncanny, overwhelming feeling, not something you can comprehend in its vast power.

        • And how the bus sinking is filmed at a distance! Instead of placing the camera in the bus, lingering on the kids drowning, we’re left helpless, to watch and fear, unable to do anything about it, and imaging what’s happening inside the bus only makes it worse.

          • I also just wasn’t expecting the bus to break through the ice. I knew it was going to be a crash, but for whatever reason, I thought the bus was going to roll over or tumble off a cliff or something. Somehow, the surprise of the bus crashing through the ice was just so, so much worse.

    • Conor Malcolm Crockford

      Did a lot of writing for my first music interview and turned in the rough draft last night. I also am gonna try and rewrite The Celluloid Window from scratch on the advice of a friend which is gonna drive me crazy (somebody stop me). Do other writers do this?

      And watched Cheers. Poor Buzz slowly realizing he’s the last of his regiment broke my heart but at least it ends well. The only problem with the show for me so far is I tend to forget what happens to at least one other plotline – no memory of what happened to the would be monk from last night.

      • Babalugats

        Is your friend Lars Von Trier?

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Possibly.

      • Drunk Napoleon

        For what it’s worth, I hate rewriting and would never rewrite from scratch. Second drafts are for cowards.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          I like to revise but rewriting, man, I dunno.

          • The Heart Of A Gnu Generation

            If you want to do it as an experiment, to possibly look at the idea from a different angle than do it. But I wouldn’t scrap everything you have and start over.

          • Miller

            “In the first draft of my short story, General Custer dies. What this new draft presupposes is, maybe he doesn’t?”

        • The Ploughman

          I’m just the opposite. The only way I can ever motivate myself to write something in the first place is as an incentive to have something fix. I should probably be an editor.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            I’m pretty good at editing but rewriting stuff is much harder for me.

      • ZoeZ

        I appreciate the concept of rewriting from scratch, but the closest I’ve ever come is having a blank doc open beside the full draft, revising as I retyped. But I’m terrible at revision, period. I need to improve on that front.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          Same here – I never know how to improve a story plotwise entirely by myself. Its other people who give me good notes (like yourself) that I incorporate into revision and I don’t know how to make those realizations on my own.

    • In this Corner of the World – a fascinating but flawed anime film that follows the life of a young woman in the years immediately before and after World War II. It has a lot going for it – some beautifully animated sequences inspired by the protagonist’s interest in art, some “war is hell” heartbreak that hits home, a delightful cooking-with-rations montage – but the storytelling, especially early on, is so scattered that it’s hard to follow. This seems to be by design (people keep saying the protagonist is “easily distracted” and the structure seems to be following her view of the world) but it makes for an occasionally frustrating watch (possibly not helped by the usual not-that-great subtitles). I still liked it overall, and there are a few emotional punches at the end that really hit home, but it definitely feels like it could have been better.

    • ZoeZ

      Twin Peaks, “Traces to Nowhere” and “Zen, or the Skill to Catch a Killer.”

      I now tentatively think that I have everyone’s names, town positions, and relationships straightened out, which frees up my concentration to better appreciate distinctive Lynchian touches like the fish in the coffee percolator (it seems especially cruel for Cooper, with his vocal enthusiasm for coffee, to have had to suffer through a taste of that) or Lucy reading an enormous leatherbound, gilt-lettered copy of a book titled TIBET at her desk after Cooper’s Zen demonstration.

      It feels in part like there are warring sensibilities here, and it’s to the show’s credit that that war feels both deliberate and half the point. There’s the low-key kindness and acceptance that leads to, say, Sheriff Truman’s obvious fondness for Cooper or the love and warmth in the Hayward family; then there’s the soapy machinations to control the Packard Mill, complete with adulterous in-bed scheming. It all comes together into a coherent worldview, even though it also feels like the events are taking place at different levels of realism (and that’s without even getting into the dreams and visions, or the possible accuracy of Cooper’s rock-throwing test). It’s Cooper’s view of things, almost: compassionate, appreciative of details and eccentricities, heightened into strangeness, aware of darkness, and committed to goodness with the belief that there are real and powerful forces moving through the world, expressed briefly or partially here. It authentically, and seriously, feels “spiritual but not religious.”

      Scattered thoughts:
      * The horror of Leo beating Shelly with the bar of soap in the sock is almost unbearable. The cutting away doesn’t actually spare us anything, because the violence still lands, hard and effective. Rarely have I wanted a character dead more.
      * “–freshly squeezed.”
      * The Brothers Horne descend upon One-Eyed Jack’s, grossly and theatrically accepting the charade of it all even though they’re smart enough to know better. There’s a cheap, tacky artificiality there that’s painful in a way that the kitsch that can pop up in the rest of the show isn’t, because the discomfort and performance are so obvious. Nobody wants to be in those costumes.
      * No one, ever, has cared about having their drapes move silently. But, um, you do you, Nadine. (At this point, I would not be surprised if everyone in town knew about Ed and Norma and just shrugged it off with, “Well, what would you do if you were married to Nadine?”)
      * “With my death bag.”

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        Twin Peaks is very, very tricky and its amazing how much the series balances ideas and tones. It helps that the characters all feel like part of the same community, just on different sides of the moral spectrum.

        Fuck Leo. There are few characters as unlikeable and loathsome as Leo (to be honest I’m always puzzled by why the hell Shelley married him).

        • ZoeZ

          I actually reflected while watching that Leo 100% strikes me as the kind of man who would deliberately get a girl pregnant so she’d feel forced to marry him (while speculating avidly and brutally that women do that kind of thing all the time), so I would almost be curious if they had an unplanned pregnancy that, after the marital damage was done, ended in a miscarriage or abortion.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            That does seem like totally plausible behavior. But then he’s not even attractive to me? He’s just this hulking, angry brute.

          • ZoeZ

            Also his hair is stupid.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford
          • I think the Secret History of Twin Peaks book says something like “he swept her off her feet, she left high school to marry him, but realised all he really wanted was a maid he didn’t have to pay”.

        • She married him for his beautiful hair.

          https://media.giphy.com/media/GyrCiWTbO15Ty/giphy.gif

      • I forget if you’ve said, but do you know who killed Laura Palmer?

        • ZoeZ

          I do not. I think I know that Bob is an eternal spirit of evil, but I don’t know if that is also the answer to that question.

          • Yes and no? It’s Lynch. It contains multitudes.

      • lgauge

        Any specific thoughts on the dream at the end?

        • ZoeZ

          I’m still mulling it over, honestly. It was unnerving, and it shaped a lot of what I was thinking about the show featuring otherworldly powers filtered down through this small town set of people. (I suspect even if I didn’t already know a little about Bob, I’d be thinking along those same lines, just because of how he’s seeping through in visions to Laura’s mother, as well.)

          Not-Laura’s line, “I feel like her, but sometimes my arms bend back,” is exactly the right kind of nightmarish, haunting detail, nailing the sense of estrangement in the same way the distorted voices did.

          • lgauge

            That sounds like the right/expected response. As weird as some of the previous sequences have been up to that point, that’s really where the show starts to show some of its most unusual tricks.

            Fun fact (if you haven’t heard this before or didn’t realize by yourself): The way they did the dialogue was to have the actors read their lines as written backwards and then they reversed the recorded dialogue track.

          • ZoeZ

            That’s brilliant! I actually thought at one point that it sounded backwards but then couldn’t figure out why I thought that specifically.

          • The Ploughman

            I kind of want to track down a TV Guide from that era to see what peoples’ responses were at the time. I imagine they were perplexed, though I have a tough time pinning this show to an era (Simpsons was going strong, we haven’t reached procedural overload).

          • Jake Gittes

            A New York Times piece from April 1990 has this priceless tidbit:

            Last week’s episode ended with a bizarre dream sequence that may have offended some viewers; it included a dancing midget speaking in a strangely elongated dialect as eerie music played in the background. No problem in Boise [Idaho]. Some viewers were, however, disturbed by a scene in which two brothers took unseemly pleasure in sandwiches brought fresh from Paris.

            ”We’ve had a couple of calls from people who were offended with some of the sexual overtones or the eating sequence,” Mr. Chase said.

          • Haha! Now THIS is good Twin Peaks trivia.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹
          • Drunk Napoleon
      • Drunk Napoleon

        Come to think of it, let us know if you can see echoes of shows that would later be influenced by TP. Desperate Housewives is the clear pop-punk to this show’s Sex Pistols, LOST most obviously lifts from and respects TP while still clearly forging its own path, and Mad Men is a case of “There’s kind of a sleepy feel over this show and clearly the creators like and respect TP but otherwise I have no idea what the hell people are talking about when they say MM reminds them of TP“. TP reminds me of dreams; MM feels more like a memory.

      • Drunk Napoleon

        Doubleposting but now you’ve got me thinking about how Cooper is the exact opposite of Tony over on The Sopranos – whereas Tony doesn’t fit into his author’s voice at all*, Cooper is the purest representation of Good that Lynch could conceive of (word on the street is that Kyle MacLachlan made Cooper an impression of Lynch without telling him), what we used to call a Mary Sue. It works partly because Cooper is legitimately unique (which is always enough to win me over), partly because Cooper and Lynch are willing to face the darker side of human nature, and mostly through all his weirdness, Lynch really understands what it means to be Good, and his wisdom is imbued in the fabric of the story.

        *Inbetween you have Don and Vic on their shows, about 50% of the way their to the voice of the show around them.

        • ZoeZ

          I like this a lot. What you said about Lynch really understanding what it means to be Good is something I’d agree is crucial–the real problem with a Mary Sue is that the plot rewards them when it shouldn’t, that you get what TV Tropes calls “protagonist-centered morality,” because the showrunner has mistaken all their own traits for virtues. Lynch–and MacLachlan–make sure that Cooper’s virtues are genuine virtues.

          (I am now more than slightly in love with Dale Cooper, admittedly, and this colors my analysis. But he’s adorable.)

    • Bhammer100

      Le Samurai

      This was cool. Sleek and stylish. Simple but complicated just enough to keep things rolling. Very mysterious and it doesn’t explain its secrets. It is a short movie but it is not in a hurry. The film and performers do great things with silence. I’m still mulling it over but it was cool.

      Why don’t people wear trench coats and hats anymore?

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        I really wish douchebags hadn’t ruined fedoras.

      • Balthazar Bee

        Love the post-line up scene where that “unobservant” guy is mixing and matching like a boss — “this hat, that coat, on this guy” — and all my millennial ass can see is Alain Delon in a room with a whole bunch of similarly trenchcoated and hatted dudes.

        • Babalugats

          One thing I love about French crime films is the causal way in which the police are all totally unethical.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            I’m a big fan of the French crime novels I’ve read, especially Jean Patrick Manichette.

      • I own an ankle-length trench coat and use to wear it all the time. Once I was at a bar while wearing it, and this guy walks up to me. I’m 5’3, 105 lbs and he was easily 6+ ft and 3 times my weight, so I’m nervous. Looks me over and says, “That coat is FRESH, yo, that coat is FRESH,” and walks off.

    • The Heart Of A Gnu Generation

      Seven Psychopaths. I’m not sure how this one slipped by me back in 2012. Usually movies that heavily comment on themselves and wink-wink at the audience get on my last nerve, but I enjoyed this one. It’s the kind of funny, wacky, violent, crime movie that I like. It has a light tone throughout considering the insane amount of violence in it. The “shootout at the cemetery” is a highlight of absurdist violence. Writer/Director Martin McDonagh is asking us not to take any of this too seriously and I didn’t. I also noticed that McDonagh seems to have a stock company of actors that he uses in all of his movies because half the cast appeared in 3BBOEM. I was surprised Francis Mcdormand didn’t show up as one of the psychopaths.

      PS: Christopher Walken is a real delight in this.

      • “Put your hands up.”
        “No.”
        “But I have a gun.”
        “I don’t care.”

        #LifeGoals

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          “I just wanted to tell her I’m sorry, and that we should’ve killed that hippie.”

        • The Heart Of A Gnu Generation

          The way he says “No” in that scene really cracked me up.
          https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9yHYAG01aaY

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        That was his best since Catch Me If You Can (though I have a soft spot for “THIS ISN’T OVAH! BEARS!”) Walken can be so tender and human if you give him the right role.

    • In the Realm of the Senses – Both lived up to and was let down by its reputation. Yes, it’s disturbing. Yes, much of the sex is unsimulated. No, I never want to see that ending again. But the plot, about two lovers becoming obsessed with each other (esp her) and pushing the boundaries and limits of sex, just grew tiring after a while. Once the shock wears off, there’s not much else there.

    • The Visitor [1979]–For the first five minutes of this movie, you could be forgiven for assuming you were watching one of the myriad Star Wars imitators that rushed into cinemas following 1977–there’s this Space Jesus dude in a Jedi robe, trippy space effects, the whole nine yards. But then it becomes a basketball drama, before becoming something of a rip-off of The Omen scored with the funk-soul brass flourishes of a blaxsploitation film. And then Space Jesus comes back. This is a weird one, y’all–not so much for any specific piece (most of the movie’s beats, after all, have pretty obviously antecedents) but more for the fact that somebody thought to mash them all together into this transfixing suicide drink of a film.

      The Sweet Hereafter–There’s a bus crash that kills 14 children. I thought I was going to be alright watching this movie, and then I saw the school bus disappear under the ice and I just lost it. This is strange, upsetting, and otherworldly cinema in the same way that The Virgin Suicides was all of the above. Some of the stuff with the pushy lawyer stirring up a class-action lawsuit against the school bus company feels a little stale (lawyers gonna lawyer, I guess), but even that is justified enough for the way it allows the bitter, spellbinding saga of the lawyer’s relationship with his daughter. It’s a diffuse movie in which not a ton happens outside of the central crash, but it’s all tied together with a genuinely unnerving extended Pied Piper analogy and a score–an out-of-time fusion of medieval music with contemporary keyboard atmospherics–that’s one of the best and strangest of the past few decades.

      • The Visitor is pretty baffling. I’m not sure I’d say I really enjoyed it, but I’m glad I’ve seen it. Also the cast is bizarrely stacked, can any of those people really have been attracted by the script? What is Sam Peckinpah doing there? Actually maybe I did enjoy it.

        • It is so very odd. It also has that “abortion that saves the world” plot twist that’s… well, odd.

    • The Ploughman

      The Shape of Water

      Guillermo del Toro: I’m ready to cash in on that heat from Crimson Peak. How about a monster movie?

      The Man: That’s what we want to hear, G.

      GdT: We’ll finally answer the question – wht if marginalized people lived in a world with a metaphor for themselves?

      TM: That’s not what we want to hear, G.

      GdT: I have two goals: create a calssic fairy tale for modern audiences, and dethrone Lester Burnham as America’s favorite morning bathroom masturbator.

      TM: Go on.

      GdT: The time – 1960s-ish. The place – pre-revolution Rapture from Bioshock.

      TM: We’ll call it Baltimore but make it look how you want.

      GdT: It’s the Creature from the Black Lagoon but we do a switcharoo and it’s the woman who carries him around. They court! They fall in love!

      TM: Uh-huh.

      GdT: Then they screw. But it’s not weird.

      TM: Uh…

      GdT: I mean, you’re thinking where’s his penis? His fishing rod? His bait and tackle We answer that. It’s finally explained.

      TM: I have more questions.

      GdT: Also he bites the head off a cat.

      TM: Jesus! This is your hero? Who could be a villain next to that?

      GdT: Michael Shannon.

      TM: That works.

      GdT: I said musical number, right? The critics will say Busby Berkeley but secretly I’m thinking Young Frankenstein.

      TM: Perfect. We’ll aim for awards season.

      • lgauge

        I can’t tell whose side you’re on.

        • The Ploughman

          Ha! I actually agree with everything from your assessment yesterday, though I think I ended up being about 40% more charmed than you were.

          • lgauge

            That’s fair. If this didn’t seem like the Oscar frontrunner at the moment, I would probably just shrug and move on. As it stands, I guess this will be one of my “grievances” once 2017 in movies has been all tallied up. This really seems like the year where I’m starting to diverge quite a lot with both popular opinion and popular critical opinion. Could be an anomaly or maybe I’m finally becoming the contrarian I was always meant to be.

          • One of the things I hate about the Oscars is that it forces me to have strong opinions about movies I usually just wouldn’t give the time of day. Three Billboards is absolutely one of those cases.

          • lgauge

            Agreed. In fact, the Oscars forces me to see at least a few films I could easily have skipped otherwise just so I can have that opinion.

          • Yeah. Even by that metric, I’m skipping Darkest Hour. I have my limits.

          • lgauge

            Same. I’ll get to see The Post in a couple of weeks (that is, in time), and I’ll see Lady Bird and Phantom Thread when they come out in March and April (too late, ugh) respectively, but Darkest Hour I will leave alone. In total, that still will have me seeing a higher number of BP nominees than usual.

          • Same here. I’ve seen all of them but Darkest Hour, which is unusual for me.

          • The Ploughman

            I’m going to get pretty close, depending on if Florida Project actually shows up here and if The Post hangs in for another week. The Darkest Hour is still in town. There’s a horde of top-hatted drones attempting to find me and drag me to it.

          • The Heart Of A Gnu Generation

            When the history books are written detailing the greatest battles of the 21st century, the saga of The Ploughman versus The Darkest Hour will take up several chapters.

          • The Ploughman

            “We shall screen on the beaches, we shall screen on the landing grounds, we shall screen in the fields and in the streets, we shall screen in the hills. We shall never surrender until he has seen our movie, whatever the cost may be.”

          • I’m imagining a team of grinning Hollywood executives determining release dates across the world by spinning a brightly-coloured globe and laughing maniacally.

          • lgauge

            I will feel like here they usually do fairly well in terms of releasing most of the “big” movies (Oscar wise) between the start of the year and the 2-3 weeks following the Oscars. The only anomaly this year is Phantom Thread (being of course, the one I probably most want to see of the bunch), which was originally scheduled for early February, but then suddenly disappeared for a while, before reappearing quite recently with a mid April release date.

          • I think the last two to get released here are the two I was most keen on seeing also (Shape of Water and Lady Bird) but really I shouldn’t complain as I’ve been too lazy to see most of the ones that have come out here so far. I should just embrace my natural state of “seeing stuff when I get around to it” but the fuss that kicks up around awards time always gets me a bit worked up.

          • I hate the way it allows a full-fledged backlash to rise around films before they’ve even started screening over here. Maybe I should stop going on The Internet.

          • The internet is terrible about that. Where I live gets a lot of “acclaimed” movies a month or two after most critics have reviewed them, and it’s impossible not to have encountered backlash and backlash to the backlash a thousand times before actually having an opportunity to see it myself. I’d imagine it would be even worse if I lived somewhere outside the US.

          • The Ploughman

            With the caveat that I like the movie, I’m putting Lady Bird in a similar category. I’d rather discuss its merits than weigh its worthiness of the mantle “Best Picture.” I’m rooting for Get Out since it’s had time to grow in my esteem and one of the few really innovative films this year (my second choice is probably Dunkirk).

          • Yeah, it’s so tedious discussing whether or not a movie “deserves” BP, and it creates these strange tensions in movies that the films themselves usually are not built to support–e.g. how La La Land was saddled with the state of racial tensions in Hollywood when it was pitted against Moonlight. La La Land just wasn’t meant to comment on that, but that’s all people wanted to talk about once it was neck-and-neck with Moonlight.

          • The Ploughman

            I see Three Billboards much the same way, although where La La Land stupidly stumbled into the hornets nest, 3BB threw rocks at it.

          • Ha, yes. that is a great way of putting it.

          • I’m rooting for Get Out because it was released in a real part of the year when it wasn’t too cold to go out to see a movie anyway.

            (Also because I think it’s the only one I’ve seen. And I liked it)

          • lgauge

            Due to my lack of genuine enthusiasm (though I do kind of like a few) for any of the candidates I’ve seen, I’m tempted to vote for Phantom Thread sight unseen.

          • The Ploughman

            It probably means you’re seeing more movies.

          • lgauge

            Perhaps. I still feel like I’m way less into the usual top 10 suspects this year than last year (and probably the year before) at least. Of the non-controversial English language 2017 releases I’ve seen so far, I’m only strongly proGood Time, Ex Libris and The Florida Project.

      • The Heart Of A Gnu Generation

        I can’t wait for The Shape of Water porn parody. And I’m not the only one. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1d28289b958090811ae53bcde6eba3410f6f72fa952f4de01fc67f7f4b89005f.jpg

        • The Ploughman

          It’s the rare film that’s also kind of its own porn parody. I originally made a lot more “sexy time” jokes but the more I reflect on it, the sex is actually very sweet.

          • Conversation between me and some friends of mine who are dating & saw it together:

            Me: “How was the fish-fucking movie?”
            Him: “…well, there was fish fucking… but it was taken more seriously than you’d expect.”
            Her: “Plus it was kinda sexy.”
            Him: [Looks very confused]

          • The Heart Of A Gnu Generation

            Tell your friend to marry that girl.

          • The Heart Of A Gnu Generation

            You’re right it is sweet.

        • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹
          • The Ploughman

            Be lying if I said I didn’t think about this sketch a couple times while watching.

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            It’s one of my favorite Mr. Show sketches, and doesn’t get enough credit for an all-time great Bob Odenkirk Yelling moment: “You stupid, petty, Prince-looking, no-island-remembering motherfucker!”

          • The Ploughman

            It’s also one of the few times where the episode title is also a laugh-out-loud line for me. “Life is precious and God and the Bible!”

          • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

            God, yeah, me too. (Some other great examples: “It’s Insane This Guy’s Taint,” “Show Me Your Weenis!,” and “Oh, You Men,” largely for Karen Kilgariff’s delivery.) As someone who grew up with a parent who embraced what was basically mystical/eschatological Christianity, that sort of dead-eyed recitation of nonsense buzzwords really hit home to me.

    • Space Car, series premiere: A tension filled opening scene, where unlike most space opera we really don’t how things will work out. Indeed, part of the mission failed. But the rest was a rousing success, marred only by the breathless commentary from ground control. The rest of the episode quickly settled into its routine. It doesn’t look like the tension of the first episode will be maintained as the titular Space Car makes its way to Mars, piloted by the somewhat stiff and derivatively named Starman. Still, an exciting production, with some great Bowie songs, and one I am glad I got to watch live.

      Black Lightning, The Book of LaWanda parts one and two: As a family drama, and as a drama about a struggling community, the show is coming together. As a superhero show…well, I am not really sure the producers want to do a conventional CW-style superhero show, and that is probably good, since we have four of those. Overall, a solid and promising show with one thing that really bothers me: Tobias Whale, self-hating African Americans. If a Jewish character were talking about other Jews that way, I would be cringing and angry. So I wonder if African American viewers have their qualms with him. Also, Jill Scott as Lady Eve is radiant.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        *misses Mars* The Space Car series has been on hiatus for retooling.

        • Miller

          “I have to go. My planet needs me.” *burns up on re-entry*

      • The Ploughman

        I can’t tell if what I’m reading is satire anymore. A billionaire just shot his own car into space with a mannequin in the driver’s seat. As an extra touch, there’s a tiny replica of the car with its own tiny driver on the dashboard, put there maybe to confuse future alien races. Statement from our new pioneer of space: “I’m tripping balls here.”

        • The car radio is playing Space Oddity and has DON’T PANIC on the Dashboard.

        • Craig Calcaterra, NBC baseball blogger and a bit of a SF nerd, is having a lot of trouble taking this seriously, noting as when he was growing up, billionaires with their space programs who shot cars into space and who also were willing partners of the Defense Department and the NRO were James Bond villains, not folk heroes. It’s all a bit odd, and maybe we should take pause, no matter how cool this seems.

          • The Ploughman

            I want to say something like “There is no gravitas in space,” but compared to reality all my jokes seem pretty weak.

          • Miller

            I like that but there is a lot more to unpack, starting with the convergent decline in support for the institutions (and class structure behind them) that back up a guy like Bond, and how that is not necessarily a bad thing.

        • Balthazar Bee

          Does anyone really think colonies on Mars is a good/workable idea? Cuz I don’t. I think it’s bullshit on the scale of an avalanche.

          • It’s a good idea because I like space shit. Other than that sort of genuine curiosity/interest in expanding humanity’s scope in the universe, I don’t know that there’s much of an argument in favor of it, though.

          • Balthazar Bee

            Yeah, I suppose it’s cool to go to other planets, and it’s a better use of humanity’s time than the 72 million (ACTUAL NUMBER) unboxing videos on youtube, but I also feel like it’s contributing to a very dangerous narrative — namely that humans can actually colonize other planets and live on them once this one kicks.

          • Short of a tech breakthrough, I don’t see it happening. I also kinda think we should redirect those resources to saving this planet before we spread to others.

          • The Ploughman

            I would think if we could render Mars habitable, we could use some of that tech to keep Earth going, but I see your point.

    • Balthazar Bee

      Ricochet. Top flight insanity from the minds of Steven E. DeSouza and Fred Dekker. Lithgow and (eventually) Washington go all-in and show us that we common folk don’t know shit about cop/killer thrillers filed under “crazy”. I guess it wasn’t a huge financial success, because otherwise we’d have a thriving subgenre of like-minded films — and we are definitely all the poorer that this wasn’t to be.

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

    • Delmars Whiskers

      Forbidden Planet–It’s easy to see why this made such an impression on audiences in 1956: The eerie landscape of Altair IV, like a pulp cover brought to life; Robby The Robot, still the coolest-looking droid to ever waddle across the screen; the fantastic machinery that keeps the traces of a dead civilization alive; plus of course the rampaging monster from a mad scientist’s id, an effect that is literally cartoony yet still unnerving, accompanied by a truly disturbing roar.

      But boy, it’s damn near unwatchable in other ways. An all-white, all-male crew commanding a ship some 200 years in earth’s future does NOT suggest progress has been made. But then again, this was made at MGM, the most conservative of the big studios, which also assigned a hack studio functionary, Fred M. Wilcox, to direct. The blocking is often embarrassingly bad–large groups of men just sort of stand around like they have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing–and if one person starts speechifying, they’ll be positioned smack in the middle of the Cinemascope frame, with the camera just sitting there dully recording. The basic story is compelling–it’s The Tempest In Space–but the telling is so dull.

      • Miller

        I dunno, I am all for progress but I am also a realist and I’m pretty sure that even 200 years in the future large groups of men will still be just sort of standing around like they have no idea what they’re supposed to be doing.

        • Delmars Whiskers

          And probably also have dazed expressions on their faces. “I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m gonna swing this blaster around like a motherfucker.”

        • The Ploughman

          It’s important to remember that these are the descendants of the people shot into space by Elon Musk.

      • And of course the lone woman wears space lingerie.

        • Delmars Whiskers

          And is told by Leslie Nielsen’s lunkheaded commander that she is dressing in way too provocative a manner, and she should think about his crew’s raging boners. And they’re newcomers to HER home!

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            I guess thats accurate as to how colonists tend to behave.

    • Miller

      Season 3 Wires – Deacon Melvin is hustling a mark something fierce at pool CUT TO Stringer in Clay Davis’ office. I see what you did there, Richard Price. Prezbo’s SPOILER does not play out this way today, I think – or if it did the thinkpieces would be deafening. Some great process here, Marlo showing juuuuuuuust the tiniest weakness as he gets his bone on but then immediately sniffing trouble and the Partlow/Snoop stakeout and reaction is professional as shit, Avon is slipping bad here (and he seems to relish that he needs to up his game). And Cutty’s descent into the bowels of bureaucracy (at either an annex or the DPW building as opposed to City Hall itself, excellent verisimilitude) is played on the surface for cynical laughs, but listen to what he needs – an architectural layout, a description of exits, proof of utilities working. All things you would want on record before you, I don’t know, stuck several dozen children in a building, because god help you (to say nothing of them) if you don’t lock that shit down and something goes south. The system is labyrinthine and oppressive and cannot be navigated by those it is intended to serve, but it still is at root something that is intended to serve.

      • Conor Malcolm Crockford

        One of the touches I like is how the boxing gym DOES work – its not that the system is totally dysfunctional, its that its mostly dysfunctional, and the careerism and obsession with money make everything so much harder for the truly good, well-meaning people.

        I just love Cutty man. This is a dude who realizes however unwittingly that he’s changed from who he was and tries to do the right thing every step of the way.

        • I think my rewatch has revealed Cutty to be my favourite character, more or less (tricky to say for sure in such a glorious cast) and last week I invested in a Cutty’s Gym t-shirt, which I shall wear with pride.

        • Miller

          Cutty politely but extremely firmly shutting down Melvin before he can get into spiritual stuff is great, as is Melvin’s willingness to lay off and work on what needs to be worked on.

        • Drunk Napoleon

          Upon reflection, the characters who succeed (good, evil, and inbetween) are ones who prop up an institution of some kind, and Cutty/Dennis manages to make the best and most morally good impact by simply creating a new system; it’s a small but crucial counterpoint to the show’s bleakness.

    • Jake Gittes

      The Florida Project – quite an amazing balancing act on multiple levels. Baker has limitless compassion for his characters but is clear-eyed about their failings, manages to use things like the “Celebration” needle drop and colors straight out of a Jacques Demy musical in service of neither poverty porn nor cheap rug-pulling, but simply as a means of building the characters’ world (both inner and physical), and has an easy command of technique, switching from tableaus to handheld when appropriate without giving the impression of showing off. The performances from the kids and Bria Vinaite are phenomenally natural, and Dafoe is the perfect quiet anchor for all of it. The controversial ending is kind of neither here nor there for me, at least after one viewing – I understand and don’t disagree with the intent, but I think I would’ve been just as happy if the film had ended two minutes earlier. All in all, my favorite film of 2017 behind Call Me by Your Name.

      Blood Simple. (second viewing) – I remembered this as being plottier than it really is, and this time the small stretch between the burying scene and the bloody apartment climax fell a little flat for me in comparison with the rest, as the characters just keep talking around each other not knowing the things the audience does. Plus, I don’t know if it’s just John Getz’s blandness or the Coens’ disinterest (or a part of their joke) but the romantic plotline didn’t seem worth caring about at all. Still, there’s plenty left – the formal expertise, the morbid humor, M. Emmet Walsh being the ultimate rotten sleazebag, and that killer final line. Among other things, here the Coens are already getting at the stupidity and absurdity of crime. One day you’re just living your life, then suddenly you’re spending your night either getting buried alive in a field or burying someone alive in a field, because you were too dumb to know better.

      Six Shooter
      The Guard
      Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
      With the caveat that I haven’t seen Calvary nor read any of Martin’s plays, based on their combined filmographies the McDonagh brothers’ worldview strikes me as fundamentally immature, which is fine when you’re making something like In Bruges (where all the characters are themselves overgrown children, really), but can also send your movie meandering pointlessly if you’re not careful (see The Guard) or be straight-up disastrous if you’re aiming for something more serious and socially conscious. I’m probably not gonna say anything about Three Billboards that hasn’t already been said, but it can’t be overstated how laughable the big scene of Rockwell’s sudden “conversion” is (especially with the classical music blaring over it, fucking hell), and by taking that turn the movie manages to have the worst of both worlds – first hour is all proud faux-edginess and bitter people wallowing in their shit, then the second hour brings in heaps of unearned sentimentality in an effort to “complicate” it, or really just make it palatable and crowd-pleasing with no regard for plausibility. McDormand is commanding as ever, and it’s always a joy to watch Harrelson no matter what he’s doing, but that’s where I run out of positive things to say.

      Olive Kitteridge – the best abrasive-but-human McDormand performance, and maybe just her best performance, period, though even she is arguably outshined by Richard Jenkins doing what I’ve come to realize is one of my favorite things for an actor to do, which is embody utter decency and kindness without making their character feel like a saint. Some small things I wasn’t too keen on – Zoe Kazan’s sudden change in demeanour in the first part, which I think called for more exploration, the omnipresent Julee Cruise-esque singer, the overly neat final line – but on the whole this is a superb character drama, and all of its four hours had me riveted. The scenes between McDormand and John Gallagher Jr. as her grown-up son hit me particularly hard.

      The Cloverfield Paradox – the first movie in I don’t know how many years where I went in genuinely knowing nothing about the story and having read no reactions whatsoever, and for the first act or so I was in pretty good spirits hoping that it would come together into something cool. Makes it all the more of a shame how it instead got messier and dumber and more tedious with every scene until it finally just blew its own brains out in the final 5 seconds. Gugu Mbatha-Raw manages to deliver a legitimately moving performance amidst the slow trainwreck but unfortunately it wasn’t nearly enough to save it.

      • The fucking orange juice that saves the day in Three Billboards is just the worst.

        • The Ploughman

          That moment was too pulpy for you?

          (would have been better if I’d have thought of this an hour ago)

      • Miller

        You hit on my issues with Blood Simple — it is a little flabby (mainly in comparison to their other movies) and Getz is a bit too clueless and bland, which is not good for a movie taking its setup from The Postman Always Rings Twice. But Hedaya and Walsh compensate and even here the Coens’ ability to just fucking nail the ending shines through, that last ten minutes is tense as hell.

        And I haven’t seen John McDonagh’s other movies but would strongly recommend Calvary, it is bleak and sad but not without humor, and in many ways it is about leaving immaturity behind (it opens with some snark that is immediately called out) and Gleeson is tremendous. Agreed on the inadequacy of Billboards despite the performances, but the more I think about it Harrelson’s character is a microcosm of the problems in the larger film, which him being charming-ass Woody Harrelson conceals. And while it feels like that could be intentional it also could just be lazy.

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          I also strongly enjoy Cavalry.

        • Jake Gittes

          Yeah I only skipped Calvary this week because I couldn’t squeeze it in before my showing of 3B. Gleeson is another actor I’ll watch in anything, and everything I’ve read about its tone, including from you here, is encouraging.

          • Miller

            If nothing else, it has Aiden Gillen in full SCORCHHHHHHHHHHH mode, which is entertaining.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            Its Gillen in Littlefinger mode where he just wanders into the camera’s view, says spiteful, cruel things, then departs.

          • Miller

            Heh, if nothing else this Wire rewatch has given me more appreciation for Gillen as a guy who can convincingly simulate altruism as opposed to conniving.

          • Conor Malcolm Crockford

            My POV of Carcetti is pretty dim but yeah Gillen is good as a person who means well (that just doesn’t mean anything in the long run).

        • Conor Malcolm Crockford

          I was saying to a friend that noir is the Coens’ baseline and they always come back to it every five to 10 years, without fail. Actually they’re about due.

          • Jake Gittes

            They’ve got a western miniseries this year, maybe after that.

      • Another vote for Calvary, which is in a different league from any other McDonagh film I’ve seen (I’ve given up trying to remember which one did what), although I say that as someone who very much enjoyed The Guard and Seven Psychopaths but didn’t really get on with In Bruges, so I’m clearly a McDonagh Maverick, not to be trusted.

      • John Bruni

        You could write an entire article about Dafoe in The Florida Project. He neither sees himself as, nor wants to be, the hero. And even though he’s perhaps more mature than the young parents and kids, he reminds us that maturity has its price: you can’t help but see the world in a certain way.

        The ending, for me, is the perfect go-for-broke moment in a film that would rather challenge the viewer than spell everything out.

      • The Heart Of A Gnu Generation

        You’re right that Baker doesn’t judge the characters in TFP, but I thought Child Protective Services did the right thing in the end.

      • pico

        One of the real thrills of The Florida Project is that, as you’re watching, you can see a million ways a film like this should have been a disaster. Baker nimbly avoids an entire continent’s worth of pitfalls. Loose but not aimless, sympathetic but not schmaltzy, realistic but not pornographic, moral but not condescending. He makes it look so easy that it’s just as easy to miss how hard it is to do what he did. He really should’ve been in contention for more awards this season.

        • Jake Gittes

          He and everyone else. You couldn’t find a more perfect example of the industry’s general myopia than the fact they only chose to recognize the one Hollywood-established member of the cast and crew. And even he keeps losing to a performance that has no business being anywhere near awards.

          • pico

            If you haven’t seen it yet, pull up the video where Brooklynn Prince wins “Best Young Performer” at the Critics Choice Awards. She’s the best!

          • Jake Gittes

            Oh man. Where’s her Best Actress nomination you heartless bastards.

    • The Narrator

      Starship Troopers: I saw this for the first time only a few months ago, but it really clicked into place this time. I was maybe expecting the satire to be more out-and-out goofy, like it is in RoboCop and Total Recall, but while this is often hilarious (“MEDIC!!!!”), it’s more often bone-chilling in how it depicts its lunkhead characters happily giving the entirety of themselves to fascism (Denise Richards, whether she knew she was doing this or not, gives one of the greatest “banality of evil” performances in this). The initial massacre on the bug planet is one of the most frightening things Verhoeven has ever filmed, and the ending is a complete sucker-punch (I can’t believe I didn’t remember that the final propaganda text is “They’ll keep fighting… and they’ll win!”, not even specifying whether it’s talking about the humans or the bugs because they’re one in the same at this point). This shot up to my top three for Verhoeven (behind only Elle and RoboCop).

      • Son of Griff

        Check out BLACK BOOK, where Verhoeven’s panache for over the top melodrama finds its natural balance in the form of a WWII melodrama. SOLDIER OF ORANGE is really good too.

        • Jake Gittes

          Black Book is probably my favorite of his. And his lesbian nun movie gotta be my most anticipated of 2018 right now.

          • Son of Griff

            Don’t need a road map for that one

          • Jake Gittes

            It’s that Black Narcissus meets Showgirls picture we’ve all been waiting for.

          • Son of Griff

            —and need in these trying times.

    • pico

      Had a few friends gushing over Netflix’s German horror(?) series Dark, so I watched the first episode. I did not like the first episode. Is this something I should stick with, or nah?

      Also, enjoying the hell out of the much-shared Quincy Jones interview, but thought this would be a good flashpoint for discussion here:

      Are you as down on the state of film scoring as you are on pop?
      It’s not good. Everybody’s lazy. Alexandre Desplat — he’s good. He’s my brother. He was influenced by my scores.

      Again, when you say film composers are lazy, what does that mean, exactly, in this context?
      It means they’re not going back and listening to what Bernard Herrmann did.

      I don’t really share his love of Desplat, except intermittently, but I find it hard to disagree with him here. The only score that really knocked me cold over the past few years was Mica Levi’s for Under the Skin, though I’ve enjoyed some others here and there, like Disasterpiece’s work on It Follows, Michael Abel’s opening credits piece for Get Out, or the faux-classical violin solos Nicholas Britell put together for Moonlight. But most movies? The scores are just affective background.

      • Jake Gittes

        We had a talk about scores here a couple months back, and the consensus wasn’t very cheerful. I’d agree that Under the Skin was the last truly revelatory score, and out of what we’ve had since then I’d give a shout out to Fury Road (a rare great example of Zimmer-esque bombast), Carol, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Good Time and the work of Cliff Martinez, but on the whole it’s still dire. Good Time and The Foreigner are the only 2017 scores that have stayed with me. Two from the entire year! I don’t remember the last time that happened. We aren’t even getting quality classical orchestral stuff like e.g. John Powell’s How to Train Your Dragon score anymore. (It’s the big studio movies where this crisis is really obvious.)

        Jones’ interview is quite something. And I recall it was him who presented Ennio Morricone with his Oscar for The Hateful Eight. My favorite moment from that ceremony. That wasn’t necessarily much of a score on the whole, but the 7-minute overture ranks with the best material Morricone’s ever written, so by definition it’s one of the better scores from recent years too.

      • The Narrator

        Gonna keep banging the drum for Roger Neill’s 20th Century Women score (I know, shocker), which is a kind of It Follows-esque style pastiche (except with Eno instead of Carpenter), but it’s also genuinely affecting, perfectly used in the movie, and totally relistenable separate of the movie.

    • Ruck Cohlchez 🌹

      A.P. Bio, episode 3, “Burning Miles.” Still fun, in particular as we see the students start to be given more characterization. Jack discovers that the local bookstore has made Miles’ book its new pick of the month, so he tries to train his students to interview for a job there so they can undo that decision (and failing that, undermine the store or whatever). Best part of this story (much like the catfishing plan in the pilot) is what it brings out of the students; my favorite is Allison’s Working Girl getup.

      LA to Vegas, episode 5, “The Fellowship of the Bear.” Also still fun, although the best stuff was with Nichole and Artem (Peter Stormare has a lot of fun with this role, and it shows).

      Crashing, “Porter Got HBO.” In which Pete being a naive idiot first is good, then is bad, then is good again. One of his fellow barker-comics, Porter, gets tapped by Whitney Cummings to appear on her HBO special. He takes Pete to the taping, mistakenly believing that Pete is a genuine friend because of his personality, and not that he’s as bitter and jealous as everyone else. At the taping, Porter is clearly very nervous and asks Pete if he looks okay. Pete, who somehow wants to become a standup comedian despite an inability to read a room, tells him his beard looks a little scraggly, leading Porter to freak out and shave it in parts until it’s all gone. Then Porter and Pete get into an argument, but Porter goes on stage and kills anyway, telling Pete afterward “It’s all because of you. You told me I wasn’t funny, and I decided I was going to prove that asshole wrong.” And then Pete tries to get Whitney Cummings to take notice of him, which is just as awkward and cringeworthy as you’d expect. This episode would’ve been unbearable if Porter bombed, so at least that didn’t happen. Still, I don’t care if show-Pete was raised a fundamentalist Christian; he’s living in NYC and trying to make it in comedy, he’s had a ton of breaks fall into his lap, and he’s just way too goddamn naive and clueless about not only comedy but the basics of how to deal with people for someone who seriously wants to be a comedian.

      I’m too sick to write much more, although I am working on longer pieces about A.P. Bio and LA to Vegas.

  • Conor Malcolm Crockford

    Jesus Archie, STOPPING a teacher’s strike? You’re so lame.