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Contentious C

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  1. I'd say skip Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, as I wasn't even sure it was the best Le Carre adaptation of the decade; I liked The Night Manager, a limited series on Amazon(?) a lot more...but, then again, I'm a bit of a Hugh Laurie & Tom Hiddleston fanboy, so that scratched a couple of itches. Oh, and Elizabeth Debicki. The Big Short might be Adam McKay's best movie of the decade, but he's very much a guy where, if you've seen one of his movies, you've seen them all. You can slice that into the straight slapstick comedies, like Talladega Nights, or the more serious stuff like this or Vice. But I feel the point holds regardless. I went on a bit of a Fallout bender lately, so I haven't watched a lot of things. Better write some stuff down before I forget what I watched... End of Watch (Netflix) Copaganda! Yeah, fuck the idea of this movie right in its cake hole. But, as far as unnecessary fellating of authority figures goes, this is a very well-made unnecessary piece of authority figure-fellating. I get the David Ayer memes now. If I could separate the movie's subjects from its craft, I would consider including it on my list. But, I can't. Hell or High Water (Netflix) I don't think this is as good as Vulture's Top Movies list makes it out to be...but it's awfully close. This, much like Logan and Bone Tomahawk, has the proper feel of an old-school Western. Both of those other movies will definitely be on my list. This might sneak on there too, if for no other reason than it's the best thing Chris Pine has ever done (not that that's much of a bar to clear) and the best thing Ben Foster has ever done (which is a significantly higher bar to clear, but I just irrationally hate him and find his face to be preeminently punchable). It's probably the last really, really good Jeff Bridges performance, where he seems like he's kind of mailing it in on some level, but when shit goes down, we watch his world collapse right there all over his face, and he quietly steals the movie in about 4 minutes' time. Birdman (bought the Blu-Ray) I know this won Best Picture, but it seems like the least appreciated BP winner of the decade. As near as I can tell, it's pretty clearly the 3rd-best one behind Moonlight & Parasite. The ending is more than a little ridiculous, but everyone in this hits their material way the Hell out of the park. As much as it focuses on Michael Keaton giving his career-best performance, Norton & Emma Stone & Naomi Watts and Lindsey fucking Duncan just chew scenery right along with him or work circles around him. But, I'm also in kind of a weird position with this film, since I watched every single episode of both Bojack Horseman and Barry before ever seeing this, and those shows definitely tap into a lot of the same themes and ideas this did. I actually kind of wonder if part of the lack of awards recognition for Bojack was because of the similarities to this (BoJack was only nominated once! for Best Animated Series at the Emmys - once! And it lost to the fucking Simpsons!). So, I suppose I was primed to like this, even though I often find Innaritu's movies to be pretentious and overwrought. Also, still not as good as either Grand Budapest Hotel or Whiplash from the same awards year. But an easy inclusion nonetheless.
  2. This assumes the creators knew the whole story; I believe Lindelof on the 3-seasons idea as much as Rippa believes in the Uncharted movie. The first 2 seasons, outstanding though they were, were so black-box that another season probably wouldn't have been enough to explain anything, and even if it had, it likely wouldn't have been to anyone's satisfaction. So, we wouldn't really get a significantly better opinion of it; just a differently populated group of disenchanted viewers. Hell, look at what it took to flesh out Twin Peaks after 2 seasons of weird (and frankly, Twin Peaks had a lot less plot to follow and probably fewer questions to answer). But, like Twin Peaks, it still altered TV forever; every two-bit producer out there does the premise of "Arc Plot told over the subplot of This Week's Central Character's personality flaws on display" now.
  3. In the vein of solved mysteries, I'm watching I'll Be Gone in the Dark and it's everything I wanted it to be: i.e., getting into Michelle McNamara's headspace as she worked on stuff. Guess I know what I'm doing Sunday nights for a while.
  4. Buying new cars...ugh. My new car was my first dealership experience and I basically wanted to nuke the place from orbit afterwards. I mean, I already knew how obnoxious it was going to be, but it met every expectation. My big issue was that my old car got worse so quickly that I had to make plans on the fly, so my down payment was all but tied up in an online savings account. I couldn't just get a check because that would have taken days, plus it was the weekend, so all I could do was get a wire transfer put through first thing Monday. When I told their finances guy that, he looked at me like I'd grown three heads and blustered around for 45 minutes, wasting my fucking time, before I finally told the guy, "Look, that's where my money is and it's how you're getting it. You can take it, or I can walk. Pick one." While an aggravating process, it does kinda make me happy when people try to twist my arm into something; they soon learn who the biggest asshole in the room is.
  5. I wouldn't say Bob Evans is actually that good - I do agree with those who feel that American chain restaurants are basically crap - but they're better than the other national breakfast chains, generally speaking. You can find better individual items at certain places - better pancakes at IHOP, better waffles & hash browns at Waffle House, better biscuits & gravy at Cracker Barrel - but I've never had anything at Bob Evans that was the least bit regrettable, which I can't say about the others. I'm probably full of shit, though; all these places likely get the same frozen slop from the same distributors.
  6. And I'm from Ohio, which is a nice place to be *from*. So, by the transitive property, does this mean IHOPs in Ohio are the saddest places on Earth? *quiet John Oliver voice* (Yes, yes it does, because Bob Evans is way the fuck better!)
  7. Well, he's right. Ignorance is not a choice; everyone begins ignorant. He does, however, choose to be fucking stupid.
  8. I... there's so much wrong with this, I don't even know where to start. Pancakes from the box. No. Just no. A thousand times no. At least separate your yolks and whites and meringue/fold the whites last. And "breakfast for dinner" are the three greatest words in the English language. An 80s thing...what in the actual fuck.
  9. "$229,000 in Weed and Cat Food" needs to be a book title, somewhere, somehow. Hopefully having nothing to do with that loser.
  10. They should really rename the English translation of that department to the Ministry of Infrastructure, Land, and Ferrying in honor of Onita.
  11. It's funny so many of you say "Carolina barbecue" and default to vinegar. Saying "I don't like Carolina barbecue" to someone who lived there is like saying, "I don't like that animal at the zoo." You could just as well mean mustard-based, or ketchup, or dry rub. They're all there; just depends if you went to the Piedmont or the lowcountry or NC or what have you. The ketchup is the only one I wouldn't eat, since plenty of other areas fuck up perfectly good meat that way already.
  12. In retrospect, shouldn't the subtitle of this thread be, "Straight-to-Streaming Homie"?
  13. Well, Doom Patrol is .... something.
  14. More stuff... Life After Beth A Ghost Story Room (Netflix) Life was a ridiculous enough take on zombie movies to be worth watching above and beyond the irredeemable dross that is Zombie Pop Culture, but it's otherwise forgettable. Now, I turn your attention to something different. To David Lowery, writer & director of A Ghost Story: Mr. Lowery, I'm sure quite a large number of people have told you how wonderful your film is. Allow me to provide an alternative viewpoint. The most insufferable part of your movie happens close to the middle, when you decide to use Will Oldham as a pompous, pontificating prick. In the future, if it occurs to you to do something like this again, please don't rattle off scientific concepts you learned in 5th grade and then say, "That's science!" Because, if you really wanted to be scientifically accurate, you'd have learned - from any number of sources - that, long before our sun becomes a red giant and engulfs Earth, it will grow larger -- and therefore both more luminous and, most importantly, hotter. When that happens, some time in the next 500 million to a billion years, it will boil every last bit of water off the surface of the planet, and the loss of water will be what ends life as we know it. And THAT is science. Also, quit contributing to Rooney Mara's bulimia. It's cruel. Thanks. Anyway. Now that that's out of my system, I'd like everyone to know Brie Larson is a goddamned American treasure. I tried watching Room about a year ago and couldn't make it past the first 10 minutes because I knew the premise was going to make me have to stop, and it did, repeatedly. But sweet crap, she's of course great. I forget which list I saw a while ago that mentioned this film and said it was, at a nuts-and-bolts level, a jumped-up Lifetime movie concept. I kinda get what they were saying, but the difference between something like that and Room comes down to focus. There are so many little moments where all those impossible choices are piled on top of her like Spider-Man getting crushed under the rubble that he eventually lifts...but here, we get so much more of the doubt that the effort of lifting is still worth it. Lifetime movies, uh, don't do that. I was really thrown for a loop with this, because William H. Macy didn't die in some awful way, so hey, good for him, but this will probably be in the back end of my list. Having said all this, I'm still not really sure that this was a better performance from her than what she gave us in Short Term 12. Happy Hour (Amazon & Kanopy) Yes, this film is over 5 hours long. But also yes, it really doesn't feel like it. The director here used a bunch of unknown actors to pull off this gut punch of a film; we're lulled into a bit of a false sense of security with the initial setup over the first hour, and, as one woman of the four central characters reveals her unhappiness, the others start questioning their lives and begin their own strange social death spirals. And, since it's Japan, that only amplifies the pressure everyone is subjected to as this slow-motion car crash unfolds. There's been some criticism of this film that claims it's a misandrist work, but I don't know if that's true. It does, for a while at least, portray all its male characters in an exceptionally dim light - you kind of want to slap them all for not noticing their wives are unhappy - but the last 90 minutes of the film really turns that on its head, as the one guy you figure might be on the spectrum actually reveals a subterranean ecosystem of hidden depths in a totally believable way. What's really going on here is a double whammy of social pressures. All the characters lead these relatively unexamined lives until they're given no choice but to ask themselves what they really want; the women are able to navigate this because they ostensibly have society's permission to do that. The men, though, are just men, and their cluelessness is as much due to disuse and lack of practice as it is any emotional shortcomings. Everyone in the movie is too busy, for so long, trying to hold up standards and work hard and play their role correctly and all that rot, but the men get the added handicap of "Be a man" and all that entails. So, not really anti-male as much as, frankly, pretty damned true to life. I'm not sure I cared for some of the last 15 minutes, but otherwise it's surprisingly affecting and rewarding for something so long. Sachie Tanaka, who plays Akari, the divorced nurse, deserves to get cast in all the things. Her Smell (HBO & Kanopy) I think I tried watching this about 4 times before I finally finished it tonight. I get why some people might like it, and I get that Elisabeth Moss is a great actress, but I'm not sure that this doesn't veer more into Most Actress territory as opposed to Best Actress territory. The first hour or so features some of the most ridiculous, painful-to-watch, walking shitshow insanity committed to a film whose plot is entirely coherent. I guess that is to her credit for rendering a character so fully loathsome. But the dialogue she's given is embarrassingly overblown. On some level, that's the point - she's supposed to be unaware of what a self-parody she's become - but...well...no one sounds like that. OK, OK, sure, no one talks in real life like they do in movies, but this is a severe edge case of that. I'm not sure that the conclusion of the film is the conclusion it set up or that it deserved, either, and not much else about it besides Moss' performance is any better or worse than any other indie director would slap together, so I'm not sure why critics would slather praise on this. This was 135 minutes and felt longer than Happy Hour.
  15. Yeah, agree. I'm having a hard time believing you can't, for example, do 30 lbs with both arms when the exercise calls for that. But, enough time with the lighter weight, and you will definitely get there, unless you're dealing with joint damage or something (or, ganglion cysts in your wrists, like I have, but those are easy to work around by skipping snatch/jerk motions and standard push-ups).
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