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Early June: what are you watching?


Jun 3 2020, 10:11pm

Views: 699
Early June: what are you watching?

So, when I'm not watching coverage of viruses and protests, which is mostly what I've watched the last week, I am taking escapes into anything escapist. Some have been forgettable, but of worthy mention:

Star Wars: A New Hope: OK, stop that groaning! I don't care if it's old, it's still good. And I will admit that I certainly see flaws that I didn't in the 1970s theatrical release when I was much younger, but I feel like if a movie gets enough right, it makes you forgive whatever you think is a flaw because you enjoy the ride. Similar to an amusement park ride you're enjoying, and you forget your feet are sticking to the floor from someone's spilled soda. And while our ragtag band of heroes had a near endless number of lucky escapes, I think if a movie makes characters likable enough, you WANT them to have improbable escapes and you put your own logic on hold.

I pondered remaking that movie today in a thought-experiment way (though I don't see the need for a remake). Aside from the very short screen time permitted to Aunt Beru, Leia is the only speaking female character in the whole story, ably making up for the imbalance by being brave and sassy and no damsel needing rescue all the time (just part of the time). Even all the droids were male! And has no one ever heard of an Evil Empress or Evil Darth Vaderess? I'm not sure how they'd balance gender and race, unless it's at those tables of unnamed white men who make the war decisions. Or maybe you just hire a lot of Ewoks. (Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!)

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: another nostalgia piece for me. I was somewhat aghast that the first half of the movie is, IMO, *wasted* getting to the factory, but with the technological wizardry of Fast Forward, I fixed that flaw. I had forgotten how Gene Wilder fully inhabited and energized that role, almost supernaturally, and how what seems like a rather cheap set to my eyes now once filled me with wonder as a kid. I was so caught up in it again that the idea of a remake seemed absurd, so I won't even bother with a comparison that I won't watch.

What have you been watching?

Guardian of the Galaxy / Moderator

Jun 3 2020, 10:22pm

Views: 636
I just rewatched the Hunger Games quadrilogy

and I'm going to stick my head above the parapet and say the producers were right to split the the third book into two films.

The first two movies, while solid, don't properly develop the relationships between key characters. We get enough to buy into them but there isn't enough time for nuance, to get a deeper emotional connection. But films three and four do provide the breathing space needed to generate a visceral reaction from viewers as Katniss struggles, and Peeta breaks then tries to pull himself together. (Gale still kind of just hangs around on the edges, annoyingly.)

That said, film three is better as a stand-alone story than film four, which relies on Mockingjay part 1 for its narrative to work.

A pleasant surprise: one of the camera crew who follow Katniss around for the propos is the actor who plays Amos in The Expanse. Smile

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction

(This post was edited by Ataahua on Jun 5 2020, 12:01am)

Hamfast Gamgee

Jun 4 2020, 8:35am

Views: 596
I've been watching something on BBC iolayer called the Dectorists

About people doing metal dectoring. A bit Machiavellian in parts for a nice simple hobby there does seem a lot of treachery and double-dealing, but it is amusing at the same time!

Guardian of the Galaxy / Moderator

Jun 4 2020, 1:00pm

Views: 584
I've watched some episodes on Acorn TV

Nice bantering between the always-delightful Toby Jones and the Pirates of the Caribbean pirate with the glass eye (can never remember his name, only how excellent his comedy is).

They remind me of the old gold-rush miners squabbling over staking claims! Laugh


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"


Jun 4 2020, 2:03pm

Views: 579
Is that a head above the parapet that I espy?

Thanks for your perspective on making 2 movies from volume 3. I didn't enjoy the 3rd movie that much, so I never saw the fourth. Now you've given me a reason to. And you're right: my interest in the movies steadily declined because the focus was on the games/action at the expense of the characters (and I know they had to cut a lot from the books to make workable movies).

It's going to be hard to see Amos in any other role. Poor guy, he's like Ginger in Gilligan's Island or Spock: performing a role so perfectly that they get burned in viewer's brains that way, and it's hard to see them do anything else.

Lily Fairbairn

Jun 4 2020, 2:06pm

Views: 580

I believe there are three seasons of Detectorists as well as a Christmas special. Such fun! And seeing Diana Rigg playing her real-life daughter's mother is a added treat.

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow....


Jun 4 2020, 2:09pm

Views: 582
It's funny how you can peel back the layer on any innocent hobby

and find treachery, of all things!

Your comment surfaced in my memory something from Pumping Iron, a documentary on body-building that helped mainstream the sport, back in the 70s or 80s, and it helped boost Schwarzenegger's career too. What I recall is that this huge guy was like a little kid about having his lucky *something*--headband? sock? bandana? Some small clothing piece that I can't remember. He used it to calm himself when going on stage, and when a competitor found out about it and hid it, the guy had problems with anxiety on stage and got a low ranking as a result. The equivalent, I guess, of beauty queen contestants sabotaging each other's dresses or swimsuits or whatever.

Justice League

Jun 4 2020, 3:35pm

Views: 572
Cagney and Lacey all 7 seasons..... The Mandalorian

2 to 3 episodes a day (and this is from a time when a season was 20 or so episodes.)

Interesting to see how technology has changed in the nearly 40 year span...

Depressing to see how the society issues have remained unresolved....

And then as the sidebar.... The Mandalorian... my Star Wars dedicated grandson has been urging this one on me.... mainly so he has another geek to discuss things with..... while I applaud the expansion of the Star Wars cultural universe, I find the plotting rather predictable and the dialog repetitive.... How many times does someone say "Cover me"..... maybe that's simply the result of binging it in one day. Anyway, now at least I can hold my own on this pocket of the SW verse.

Fourth Age Adventures at the Inn of the Burping Troll
Home of Best FanFic stories of 2005 and 2006 "The Last Grey Ship" and "Ashes, East Wind, Hope That Rises" by Erin Rua

(Found in Mathoms, LOTR Tales Untold)


Jun 4 2020, 4:50pm

Views: 566
Repetitive dialogue

I find that the plague in so many series. Endless repetitions of cliches like "We got this." Just plain lazy writing. And it REALLY stands out when you binge something.

I keep hearing mixed things about Mandalorian. I'd like to give it a try, but my internal meter is rating it "average" based on a composite of reviews. That isn't all bad: realistic expectations make consumption a lot more enjoyable. I still hate American Beauty because I went to see it during the peak of rave reviews for it and for me it was just "meh."

Guardian of the Galaxy / Moderator

Jun 5 2020, 12:06am

Views: 537
Mockingjay parts 1 and 2

are really a single long movie and are probably best viewed that way.

I don't have Amazon Prime yet (waiting for the Middle-earth series before I subscribe) so I haven't watched The Expanse yet, but I've seen enough clips on YouTube to know how brilliantly Amos is being played. Smile

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction


Jun 5 2020, 12:45am

Views: 534
I think Amos is one film character that book fans all approve of

The TV versions of Alex and Jim Holden seem to satisfy most book fans, but don't get them enthusiastic. Naomi is different on-screen by being much more expressive than her book counterpart (from reading fan blogs and Reddit, etc), but people accept her that way. It seems that TV-Amos is both closest to book-Amos and usually the fan favorite of the major characters on film. Just saying that I don't think you'll be disappointed.

I don't know if the books go much into what Avasarala wears, but wow, even as a guy, I am just dazzled by her endless wardrobe of stunningly elegant clothes. They stand out more because most of the TV characters are in drab business suits, jump suits, or uniforms, so when she enters a screen with all that jewelry and extravagantly colored clothing, she really pops out.

Anyway, I like the series enough that I go back and cherry pick favorite parts to watch, again and again.

(This post was edited by CuriousG on Jun 5 2020, 12:47am)


Jun 5 2020, 4:31pm

Views: 477
This is the way

The Mandalorian (which I loved & have now watched twice all the way through) reminds me a bit of a spaghetti Western . . . with a baby thrown in. And a whole lot more humor. Clearly Favreau and Waititi love the Star Wars franchise, and also clearly, they're not above poking fun at it (Star Troopers never hit anything they aim at). I'd give it a try.

I am a dreamer of words, of written words.
-- Gaston Bachelard

* * * * * * * * * *

NARF and member of Deplorable Cultus since 1967

My Amazon author page:


Jun 5 2020, 5:05pm

Views: 470
Thanks! //


Aunt Dora Baggins

Jun 5 2020, 6:01pm

Views: 474
We just finished a collection of Audrey Hepburn movies

Besides my old favorite 'Roman Holiday', I really loved the farce 'Paris When it Sizzles'.

GNU Terry Pratchett
"For DORA BAGGINS in memory of a LONG correspondence, with love from Bilbo; on a large wastebasket. Dora was Drogo's sister, and the eldest surviving female relative of Bilbo and Frodo; she was ninety-nine, and had written reams of good advice for more than half a century."
"A Chance Meeting at Rivendell" and other stories

leleni at hotmail dot com


Jun 6 2020, 5:27pm

Views: 447
Good recommendations--thanks

My favorite Audrey Hepburn movies are Breakfast at Tiffany's and especially Wait Until Dark -- for me, she did everything right in the latter, and I can re-watch it with a certain suspense even though I know what happens. Her "blind damsel in distress" character is remarkably nuanced.


Jun 6 2020, 6:46pm

Views: 439
A must watch! LOTR cast reunion

Thanks, Altaira, for posting this Youtube video of the recent LOTR reunion. It was amazing to watch. Even good actors can't fake that kind of authentic affection for each other. I think my biggest surprise was seeing Karl Urban relaxed & smiling--he's so good at playing intense characters, I thought that was who he was all the time. If you find it long, then at least fast forward to the end where Billy Boyd sings the song he sang for Denethor as a hopeful farewell.


Jun 7 2020, 9:00pm

Views: 416
Do the Right Thing

My girlfriend hadn't seen it before...and the last week has proved to be a good time to introduce it to people.

The movie hasn't aged a day and only feels more prescient as the world continues to grapple with the same problems over and over again.

Join us every weekend in the Hobbit movie forum for this week's CHOW (Chapter of the Week) discussion!


Jun 9 2020, 4:59pm

Views: 383
"Domain" and "The Vast of Night"

One hit, one miss for me. Both of these are on Amazon Prime.

Domain (2016) had me highly suspicious: people living in bunkers to survive a pandemic. Sound close to home these days? And for some reason, the IMDB ratings are really bad. But I watched the first 10 minutes, kept watching, and saw that it wasn't "just another plague movie" and was more about group dynamics (people live solo in bunkers and only interact via a Skype/Zoom equivalent), and then it got more complicated. So I can't say more or I'd spoil it. I thought the acting was good and the plot was decent. Not a "must see" but "worth seeing."

The Vast of Night: full disclosure: I *hated* this movie, so it's hard to say anything objective about it. It's very low-budget sci-fi, and my theory is the real budget went into bribing thousands of people on the Internet to gush about how brilliant it is. They compare it to The Twilight Zone, which I think is an insult to Rod Serling, who had meaningful dialogue and suspenseful plots that usually had a twist. This movie had none of that. The low budget didn't bother me, it was the nonsense dialogue, endless expository monologues, strange action (apparently if people are running to a library, it should make a movie exciting), and unoriginal plot (Gee, there are aliens and UFOs, really?).

Kelly of Water's Edge

Jun 11 2020, 1:13am

Views: 364
Such a complicated movie.

Radio Raheem's death was unnecessary overkill once he was subdued, yet if the cops had not been called it might have been Sal who was killed - we'll never know.

Sal was resisting the reality of the neighborhood changing and clearly would have been happier if the neighborhood had stayed Italian, but the relative newcomers were also trying to force him to turn the flavor of his business into something it culturally wasn't to force the issue of the cultural change and pent-up racism.

Everyone was partly right, and everyone was partly wrong - with very few exceptions.

The genius is that in this particular movie, whatever his personal politics, Spike Lee masterfully left it to each of us to draw our own conclusions.

Relevant to the current situation, indeed.


Jun 11 2020, 7:57am

Views: 355
I had a rewatch of Boyz in the Hood

I love that film.

Hamfast Gamgee

Jun 21 2020, 9:34am

Views: 298
Well, I suppose

That if things come from the ground, they might be valuable and if something is valuable, some may play a desperate game to get to it! Mind, I do think that some in this program do an awful lot of conspiring for little conspiring end product. I'm not sure what was so wrong with simply playing it straight! Some people are like that, I suppose.


Jun 22 2020, 3:49am

Views: 287
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I was planning on never seeing this movie since I really only enjoyed the first 2 1/2 movies (points deducted on 3rd movie for Ewoks and a 2nd Death Star plot). I'd seen all the others, and figured "Fool me 5 times, shame on you, fool me a 6th time, shame on me."

But I'm glad I watched it, and I enjoyed it more than expected.
  1. Ren stopped being a weakling and was an equal match to Kylo. And in general, she was no longer a damsel in distress. And I like how she and Kylo had a plausibly complex relationship/rivalry.
  2. The visuals were stunning.
  3. Pacing was good. (The last 2 movies were dull and slow to me.)
  4. The Sith lair was suitably creepy, mysterious, and epic.
  5. Battles with spaces ships! Battles with light sabers!
  6. People were using the Force instead of forgetting they had it.
  7. While I'm not a thrill of the soap opera schtick that everyone's related, and I'm pretty sure R2-D2 is Leia's half-sister by an android cousin who was Luke's other uncle who was briefly engaged to Palatine's concubine who was really the mother of Yoda---you get the idea, it gets silly. I did like how there was resolution to all the family ties, so it's forgiven.
  8. C-3P0 is finally likable. About time! And Ren too: this was the first time I liked her and thought she had a brain. I don't think she pouted once.
There are more, but that's a good start.

  1. While I was not a superfan of Rosie, I thought she was a worthy addition to the ensemble cast (which I find weak overall), and seeing her relegated this time due to fan hatred seemed a wimpy decision. I guess Finn can only have a girlfriend with the same color of skin, until he loses her to Billy Dee Williams, which was creepy.
  2. Chemistry is hard to pull off, but somehow those unlikely, bickering friends in the original trilogy had it, and this time, IMO, they NEVER did. Finn, Poe, Ren: you always looked like total strangers to each other, including when you had to hug, which looked like enemy in-laws forced to pose together for photos at family reunions, desperate for the photo to end so you could scatter.
  3. OMG, why did Kylo have to resurrect that stupid helmet? I was so glad when it was destroyed last time. It's just a dumb prop that should be left to Vader alone.
  4. When you blow up a planet, it really ought to seem like a cosmic atrocity, not like a 2-second clip from a video game. That's BILLIONS of lives being wiped out along with their civilization, and these movies give it all the emotional impact of a parking ticket. (And that goes for the original destruction of Alderan too--just so poorly done.) Rogue One was the movie where I really felt a tragic loss when a planet was destroyed instead of a hiccup.
So even with the things I didn't like, I still liked it. I hope others do/did too.

Guardian of the Galaxy / Moderator

Jun 22 2020, 5:06am

Views: 283
I did like the movie, but... *big spoilers*

dropping Palpatine in there as a surprise was cheap - there should have been some subtle build-up to him that you could look back on and realise the clues were there all along in the previous two films, but no. (And the lazy dodge of Chewbacca not really being dead was sheer hackery. Imagine if he actually had died and the questions Rae would be forced to face about use of The Force and making decisions about who lives and who dies?)

The biggest weakness of the sequels was that the over-arching storyline wasn't plotted out from the start so the themes changed from one director to the next, and the story emphasis shifted at whim. So overall, the third trilogy has little cohesion and a great deal of missed potential.

Despite all of that, I did enjoy episodes 7 and 9. Like you, I appreciate the Rae/Kylo dynamic in the last film and that they got as much of Leia in there as possible. And C3PO was wonderful in ep.9! Finally! Smile

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Fantasy novel - The Arcanist's Tattoo

My LOTR fan-fiction


Jun 22 2020, 2:50pm

Views: 259
*Nodding head vigorously in agreement*

The biggest weakness of the sequels was that the over-arching storyline wasn't plotted out from the start so the themes changed from one director to the next, and the story emphasis shifted at whim. So overall, the third trilogy has little cohesion and a great deal of missed potential.

Yes, what a mess! Let's do it with LOTR: 1) Frodo agrees to the quest, the Avengers join him; lots of pyrotechnics during battles in Hobbiton, Bree, and New York City; 2) Frodo sells the Ring in a pawn shop, and spends the movie sulking and arguing with Sam over his past affair with Rosie; Avengers are absent; 3) a Ranger, Elf, and Dwarf show up and steal the Ring from a mermaid (pawn shop forgotten); Legolas puts the Ring on one of his arrows and shoots it into Mt Doom from the safety of Rivendell, thus winning the hand of Arwen. The End.

What a mess!

There's a lot of stuff that has to be overlooked with Star Wars. It even goes back to the original, where Obi-Wan tells Darth that Darth can be killed, but if Obi-Wan dies, he'll become more powerful than Darth can possibly imagine. That sounds so cool at the time, but all we see after is Obi-Wan coming back as a ghost with advice for Luke on occasion, and he does ZERO to hinder anything Vader does. A ghostly superhero he is not. There's so much in those 9 movies that never lives up to its potential. So they introduce stuff that goes nowhere, and then from nowhere, they introduce stuff like Palpatine, who not only comes from nowhere, so does his son.

What Star Wars did succeed in doing with me is set the bar low enough that I just don't expect much. Probably not anything for them to be proud of, but oh well.