Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pop culture during the plague days

And now, a few pop culture moments from the past few days. As my higher brain functions have been diminished and really, that's when I think you can really appreciate pop culture.

1. Rewatched Kingdom of Heaven on the weekend. The director's cut, which is the only version of the movie you should ever watch. I remember reviewing it for The Express back in 2005 and thinking that it should have been better, but felt oddly, hollow. Like there was massive chunks of it missing that would have added greater depth and subtlety.

Then you watch the director's cut and realize the studio gutted that movie like a fish to focus on all the big action sequences and ignore all the fascinating character drama happening. The movie was released in May of that year. If they had released the director's cut and put it out in December, the movie would have been nominated for a ton of Oscars. Worth hunting down. And, and I can't believe I'm saying this, easily Orlando Bloom's best acting performance.

2. The Closer. I loved the first season of this TV show and have come to adore Kyra Sedgwick in it. We went and bought seasons 2 and 3 and then completely forgot about them. So we did a mini-marathon yesterday and fell in love with the show all over again. Man, she is the very definition of high maintenance, but it's so nice to see a deeply smart character who is three steps ahead of everyone else. Also, the best interrogation room scenes on TV since Homicide was on the air.

3. There have been times I've been deeply frustrated with Battlestar Galactica. One of the jokes about the whole line in the intro where it talks about the Cylons and says "And they have a plan" is "But nobody said it was a good one or that it made much sense."

Which is the problem when you're trying to do a massive, multi-year, enclosed epic storyline. It means you suffer from X-Files syndrome. You get some nice pieces and themes, but the overall arc occasionally makes no sense whatsoever (the reveal that the producers didn't know who the Final Five were until season three is proof of that). The only show I've ever seen pull it off successfully is Babylon 5.

Having said that, the last four episodes have been home runs. A revolt among the Galactica crew, political assassinations, abject despair and really, which side is right? It might be too much to hope the last six episodes can continue at this high level and they can wrap things up in a way that's truly memorable (Babylon 5's final episode, "Sleeping in Light" is quite possible the show's best moment, and most touching). It strikes me as being an almost impossible task, but I hope they pull it off.

4. Fringe - When Walter started hitting the keys on the old typewriter and realized the wonky letter 'Y' was the same as an old, deeply strange manuscript outlining an inevitable and coming soon dimensional war. Which meant he wrote it and completely forgot about it. That was my "Holy shit!" moment in an episode filled with them.

I honestly don't know if they can pull off all the conspiracy stuff and managed to develop a long term arc. Like I said with Galactica, these things are almost impossible to do in network TV. But keep giving me weird science and lots of strange Walter and I'm sticking around for the time being. And hey, if you can finally make Olivia interesting, bonus.

5. Is it shallow of me, in the middle of a massive global economic crisis to grumble just a little bit that Obama's presidential press conference pre-empted both House and Chuck, two of the very few shows I watch on a regular basis? And, for that matter, why did Fox move House to Monday and put it up against Chuck? That's just mean.

6. Speaking of economic problems, this is one of these stories where I genuinely have mixed emotions. On the one hand, you really shouldn't be cheering for companies to go bankrupt in these times. On the other hand, Clear Channel are (and here comes the profanity) a bunch of motherfuckers and the music industry would do well to be rid of them.

So yeah, hmmmm, not quite so torn as a thought, really.

Also trying to find some sympathy upon hearing the company that makes Muzak is going bankrupt......nope, none there either. Guess I'm a cold hearted bastard - watching companies that seemed determined to destroy interesting music die terrible deaths - without any empathy. Ah well...

7. I really hope Watchmen is still playing on IMAX when we got to Ottawa in April. I'll pass up seeing it here in town and waiting the agonizing extra month if it means I can watch it on an IMAX screen.

I wonder if we can get an IMAX in Iqaluit? Probably not, I'm thinking.

And that's all for now...

Last Five
1. Back to me - Kathleen Edwards*
2. Hallucinations - The Raveonettes
3. Money worries - Bedouin Soundclash
4. Imagine - Avril Lavigne
5. The impossible world - Ron Sexsmith


Amy H. said...

Agree with you completely and wholeheartedly about Kingdom of Heaven. It is a beautiful and wonderful movie with all kinds of interesting characters and themes...
And while Orlando gave a fantastic performance, he managed to do it while looking hot the whole way through... which is definitely a bonus I would pay extra for. :)

Anonymous said...

I am curious on your thoughts on "the Wire"? I thought it was a fantastic show

towniebastard said...

We have the first three seasons here. We picked them up when Future Shop was practically giving them away at $25 a season. I'd heard good things about it and figured, what the hell.

We watched the first episode and it didn't reach out and grab us and because of that it's just kind of sitting there, waiting for us to give it another crack. Much like Rome.

I'm sure it's a good show, I just think it's going to take some work to get into it.

Allison from St. John's said...

I had the exact same holy shite moment during that episode of Fringe...and to think I was going to give up on it! lol but seriously, the way they identify buildings is getting a little annoying, what's with the 3D text?