So recently we watched Dazed and Confused, the classic coming-of-age comedy from 1993 by Richard Linklater:
I don’t remember why I put this movie in the queue, except that we had never seen it, and I didn’t remember anything about it, except that it was set in the 1970s and that it was Matthew McConaughey’s first big role. These are the things I told my wife when, as usual, I put the movie on and she said:
So as I’ve mentioned before, our current go-to show is Halt and Catch Fire, which is largely a dramatic program (although the drama is punctuated by some very funny moments). However, we also like to keep something a little lighter—variously referred to as “fluff”, “dessert”, and/or “a marzipan confection”—as an antidote to all the heaviness. One recent auditionee was the longrunning sitcom Community, which I’d heard of but never watched. It came up a lot in discussions/reviews of Mad Men due to sharing an actress, Alison Brie, with that show, as well as with another show that I watched but was never able to get my wife interested in, despite its being set in the 80s and featuring lots of 80s music:
As I’ve mentioned several times, for the last few months we’ve been watching the AMC series Mad Men, which has proven to be of Breaking Bad-level addictivity for my wife; and so I thought it might be fun to subject her to another piece of fiction set largely in and around the world of advertising, namely, the old Tom Hanks/Jackie Gleason film Nothing in Common:
So recently we watched the film Le Week-End, in which a very English and very bickering couple played by Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan decide the take the train down to Paris for the weekend, as one is able to do when one lives in Europe, apparently.
Partway through the film they bump into Ian Malcolm Jeff Goldblum—forever known to my wife as “The Jurassic Park Guy“—who plays an old college friend of Jim Broadbent’s character who has now become a successful author. Jeff Goldblum invites the other two to a book launch party, or something, at his apartment, various things happen, and then, as Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan were leaving the apartment at the end of the evening, I suddenly had to pause the video and back it up a little.
Wife: “What are you doing?” Me: “I think I spotted something.”
So recently we’ve been watching the dramedy series Dickinson on Apple TV+. Now, you may be saying to yourself, “Who subscribes to Apple TV+?!” The answer is, nobody; like virtually everyone else who has it, we got a free subscription to Apple TV+ when we purchased some Apple gear last year. Since then, Apple has continually extended the free subscription period, most likely in the hopes that viewers will eventually find a show to get hooked on and will ultimately pay for the service. If that was their plan, it seems to have succeeded, because my wife is most definitely hooked on Dickinson, which is a fictionalized account of the life of the poet Emily Dickinson. Maybe you’ve heard of her.
So since we’ve spent the last ten months or so basically never leaving the house (other than to take the animals to the vet when necessary), we have, unsurprisingly, been watching a lot of television. One show that we picked up—which, amazingly enough, we never watched when it was originally airing—is The Big Bang Theory. My wife refers to this show as “dessert”, i.e., a nice little marzipan confection to be consumed after watching something dark, say, an episode of His Dark Materials or I May Destroy You or Lovecraft Country* or, you know, the news.
So the perspicacious reader may have noticed that there hasn’t been a “Not a Review” post in a while. For the most part, this is because we have temporarily canceled our Netflix streaming and disc-by-mail accounts, in order to save a few bucks* a month. The streaming part, we canceled because there’s literally** nothing on Netflix that my wife wants to watch, while I’m all caught up on Dark and The Umbrella Academy and Kingdom, and who knows when Stranger Things is going to come back, and when I tried to watch Warrior Nun I quickly concluded that it was more or less a Buffy wannabe, plus I immediately (and correctly) guessed what the big twist was going to be; and as for the discs, well, when they arrive I put them on the fireplace mantel until we watch them, which can sometimes take over a week, depending, and I kind of got tired of having red envelopes up there glaring at me and saying “You’re spending $10 a month for me to be sitting up here doing nothing.” (Under other circumstances, when we were not home all the time, one could tend to forget that the disc was there waiting; now, not so much.)
So I’ve mentioned a few times that during the last year or two of Dennis’s life, when he got in the habit of complaining loudly in the evenings that he thought it was time for everyone to go to bed*, we humans got in the habit of watching television with the subtitles on, so as not to have to keep pausing and going back to catch missed dialog. Running with the subtitles on also has the occasional side effect of injecting a little bit of extra amusement value, such as describing characters’ speech as “French-like gibberish” or saying things that seem prima facie ridiculous such as “goo snarling“. But then, sometimes, you get cases where the characters say one thing but the subtitles say something completely different and you say to yourself, that can’t possibly be a mistake. To wit:
Over the past several years, after Dennis the Vizsla Dog became a little old man dog, he got in the habit of being noisy in the evenings, loudly complaining via barks and whines that he wanted everyone to stop watching television and go to bed at, oh, 8pm* or so. To an extent, this could be managed with things like the Treat & Train or simply by the occasional tossing of treats (which Hipster Chaplin thought was wonderful, because he was faster than Dennis at that point, with a better nose). Another way this was managed: Putting on subtitles for everything we watched. Because if you can’t listen, you can always read.