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 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 this weekend I saw “The Brothers Bloom”, a caper movie along the lines of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”, only with a little more jaundice. I say “I” saw it because my wife was not around for it, which means I can’t say how long it took her to fall asleep, so I’ll just have to estimate it instead.
So last week I finally got around to watching “Thank You For Smoking“, the satirical 2005 film about the tobacco industry and its efforts to lobby Congress and the public about its products. Not being familiar with the source material, I at first didn’t realize that it was set before the massive settlements between cigarette companies and the government; once that became apparent, I kept waiting for Russell Crowe to appear in the background to leak secret industry documents to intrepid reporters. Instead Aaron Eckhart (in a great performance that manages to make his smooth lobbyist character, Nick Naylor, not come across as smarmy) sleeps with an intrepid reporter, but that’s okay, too.