Homeland Season 3, Episode 4 “Game On” (2013; d. David Nutter)
Hey, Nutter, what’s up? Thanks for the Supernatural pilot. Going on 12 seasons now, you set it up real good. I have now watched up until Season 5 of Homeland. Honestly, I was so sick of the Brody family that I was ready for them to GO. It was such a relief when they exited the stage because the soap opera in that house – romances and psych wards and sex in laundry rooms – like, come on, who is this show for, and what is it about. Lots of bipolar drama, too, which, frankly, I am surprised I can sit through.
Homeland Season 3, Episode 5 “Yoga Play” (2013; d. Clark Johnson)
I loved the “yoga play.” You know why? Because anything to do with tradecraft taps into my black Special Ops heart. Also: QUINN. Who is now my favorite character and basically why I am still watching.
Homeland Season 3, Episode 6 “Still Positive” (2013; d. Lesli Linka Glatter)
Pretty horrifying murder in this one. I am amazed that this man was able to enter the country. I know a couple of people who work border patrol and those folks do not mess around. Sometimes the “cliffhanger race against the clock” nature of Homeland gets on my nerves.
Homeland Season 3, Episode 7 “Gerontion” (2013; d. Carl Franklin)
Shaun Toub is perfect in his role: a complex and yet also very simple man. Demons. Lots of fear. Trying to save his ass. It makes any scene he appears in a powder keg. OH QUINN I LOVE YOU SO.
Homeland Season 3, Episode 8 “A Red Wheelbarrow” (2013; d. Seith Mann)
I loved this episode for its title alone. Also this whole thing seemed a little far-fetched and quite a gamble: Let’s lock Carrie up in a psych ward, “out” her as bipolar, in the hopes that her vulnerability will make the enemy come forward to recruit her so she can get Intel. Whaddya know, it worked!
Homeland Season 3, Episode 9 “One Last Thing” (2013; d. Jeffrey Reiner)
God, now Brody is hooked on heroin. This poor man. But I’m ready for him to leave.
Appropriate Adult, Part 1 (2011; d. Julian Jerrold)
I heard this mentioned in conversation somewhere, can’t remember where, and everyone was raving about it. It sounded right up my alley, so I watched. It’s incredible. Emily Watson, a brand new social worker, is hired as an “appropriate adult” to assist in criminal proceedings against a husband-wife serial-killing team. It’s a notorious real-life case, and the killings themselves haunt me: that house, that couple, the back yard … it’s horrifying. Dominic West, nearly unrecognizable with his short curly hair, is disgusting and yet emotional and charming, just like the real-life guy apparently was. And Emily Watson gets sucked into the web.
Appropriate Adult, Part 2 (2011; d. Julian Jerrold)
It was a mini-series so it was wrapped up in two episodes. I started getting very uncomfortable when she started visiting him in prison, and they started corresponding. Lines blurred. Plus, the bipolar husband. Bipolar is a theme in television/movies right now. Well, good for them. It’s my LIFE.
Homeland Season 3, Episode 10 “Good Night” (2013; d. Keith Gordon)
I’m alllllllll about Quinn.
Homeland Season 3, Episode 11 “Big Man in Tehran” (2013; d. Daniel Monacan)
Craziness in Tehran. Again, seems like a far-fetched plan. To embed Brody to … why not Special Forces? That’s their gig. But Brody does the job. Messily with an ashtray. In the dude’s office. How to extract him? Well, of COURSE he won’t be extracted. Quinn would have snuck out like a cat burglar because he is, in general, invisible, like all snipers are.
July and Half of August (2015; d. Brandeaux Tourville)
My own movie, screened in Brooklyn!
They Drive By Night (1940; d. Raoul Walsh)
George Raft and Humphrey Bogart (pre-Casablanca Bogart, when Raft was the much bigger star) play truck-driving brothers, on the circuit, doing dangerous night-time routes with truck-loads of fruit, in desperate times that makes them push themselves to the limit. Driving with no sleep, etc. Gritty and realistic. And then enter Ida Lupino. The following year she would co-star (again with Bogart) in High Sierra and she became a star. And it was her performance in They Drive By Night that got everyone’s attention. And it still is an attention-getter, particularly the final scene when she takes the stand in the courtroom. Listen, you’ve probably heard about that scene. It’s very famous. And if you haven’t heard about it, now perhaps you will, because it’s talked about all the time. It is a great GREAT piece of acting, completely wiping out all of the stuff that came before. She is on another level with what she is doing in that scene. It’s still terrifying.
Homeland Season 3, Episode 12 “The Star” (2013; d. Lesli Linka Glatter)
Pretty awful execution scene. But why she loves Brody is still a mystery to me.
The Conjuring 2 (2016; d. James Wan)
Jen and I saw the first one together (she’s my go-to friend for terrifying movies. We have a blast) so I took her to the press screening. I loved the first one, mainly because of the depth of the performances of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. In general, not a fan of the latter, but this feels like a role she has really embraced, down to the rings, the body language, the hair, everything. Great character. And Elvis Presley (or at least his music) is featured in not one, not two, but THREE scenes!!
Homeland Season 4, Episode 1 “The Drone Queen” (2014; d. Lesli Linka Glatter)
The entire season should be titled “Clusterfuck.” With a major MAJOR “Inappropriate Sexual Relationship Is a Massive UNDERSTATEMENT” arc. I couldn’t wait until that one was over because I CRINGED.
Homeland Season 4, Episode 2 “Trylon and Perisphere” (2014; d. Keith Gordon)
Fascinating episode split up in two parallel stories: Carrie being unable to deal with her daughter. Her sister is a fucking SAINT. And then Quinn, holed up in a motel, bonding with his landlady, getting drunk, and having sex. He’s looking for a way out. The landlady is very overweight, and I loved that the show didn’t make a big deal out of it and – more crucial – did not make it look like Quinn was “slumming.” She was a person. With an adorable haircut, nobody’s fool, and kind of blown away that this was happening to her. It’s like she fears if she blinks he’ll vanish. And of course he will. But not for one second did I get the feeling that Quinn needed drunk-goggles to fuck her – even though theirs is a drinking relationship. What he really saw in her was a sympathetic listener, a way station, an emissary from the normal world, a fun drinking partner, and someone to fantasize about who had nothing to do with Pakistan/Intelligence/Death.
Homeland, Season 4, Episode 3 “Shalwar and Kameez” (2014; d. Lesli Linka Glatter)
Now begins the Sexually Inappropriate Arc and please tell me when it’s over.
Puerto Ricans in Paris (2016; d. Ian Edelman)
Someone Tweeted hatefully and contemptuously at me for liking this movie. Whatever. Any movie that STARS Luis Guzman is okay by me.
Homeland, Season 4, Episode 4 “Iron in the Fire” (2014; d. Michael Offer)
I am so uncomfortable with what is happening that I can barely watch anymore. But one of the things I love about Season 4 is the soapy sub-plot of the Ambassador (the fantastic Laila Robins) and her pathetic husband (who was “Duck Phillips” on Mad Men: guy seems to be making a career of playing weak pathetic guys. But I love the Arc. He’s so AWFUL and SELFISH. I love the detail, too, about how he plagiarized a book and ruined his career. Following his successful wife around. The whole thing is very entertaining.
Homeland, Season 4, Episode 5 “About a Boy” (2014; d. Charlotte Sieling)
CARRIE. STOP IT.
The Bachelorette, Season 12, Episode 2
Okay, so I have been out of touch with this show for years. But reading the excellent and HILARIOUS Vulture re-caps (someone Tweeted one of them and I read one) made me think, “Let me check this out again.” Now I am hooked. “The Chad” dominated the opening episodes and it was so fascinating. Why it was fascinating was how the GUYS reacted, not her. JoJo, to get you up to speed. It was how the guys sort of organized themselves in loathing to this one guy … and watching it go down was like watching an anthropological documentary. Many many funny moments. Of course I realize the editing is manipulative. But there’s enough real behavior that it’s all been fascinating. My favorites so far? The boxing club owner whom she inexplicably sent home. Chase. James. I like Jordan but I think he seems a little immature. My sister and I text throughout the entire day after any given episode, sharing our thoughts and reactions. It’s a blast.
The Bachelorette, Season 12, Episode 3
Oh my God, Chad. He literally appears to be having a psychotic break.
The Bachelorette, Season 12, Episode 4
I’m not sure I get the appeal of Luke. Yes, he was a war veteran, and that has the potential of being attractive. Yes, they canoodled in a hot tub but you can do that with anyone. When he opens his mouth, platitudes come out, interspersed with “like”, so he is basically a war veteran Valley Girl. Cool hair, though. I still like Chase the best. I like Wells, too, but he doesn’t stand a chance. He’s too real, too regular. And not sure the appeal of Alex at all. He feels like he’s about 15 years old to me and I’m not saying that because he’s short.
All Is Lost (2013; d. J. C. Chandor)
I was sitting having breakfast with Chrisanne out in Long Beach. Alex was gone for the day. Chrisanne and I started talking about survival tactics and techniques, and how we think we would fare faced with life or death situations. The Revenant came up. Other similar stories. I mentioned All Is Lost. She had never seen it. She got so excited she said, “Let’s get the check and go home immediately to watch it.” Which is what we did. At one point, she got so tense that she moved from the couch up to the ottoman closer to the television and I didn’t even notice her doing it. It was like she teleported. Then, as his boat was sinking slowly, and he kept going back on it to retrieve more possessions – she had finally had it and screamed: “NO MORE FIXING. NO MORE FIXING.” Great afternoon.
The Path, Season 1, Episode 1, “What the Fire Throws” (2016; d. Mike Cahill)
Chrisanne is obsessed with The Path and I had never seen it so she sent me home with the screeners SAG/AFTRA sends out in Emmy season. It’s about cults, so naturally I’m into it. Very creepy, and I love all of these actors: Michelle Monaghan, Hugh Dancy, Aaron Paul. It’s a cult reminiscent of a few I could mention, with its own quirks. I watched the first 6 episodes. It’s a bit circular, and the movement is repetitive – although interesting – so I’m not sure if I’ll keep watching. I like its examination of black-and-white thinking and just how threatening doubt can be. Like: no doubt allowed. (Side note: I love that this was created by a woman. It was her story, her idea. Every little bit counts.)
The Path, Season 1, Episode 2, “The Era of the Ladder” (2016; d. Mike Cahill)
Okay, these people are already driving me crazy. Wonderful cast though. I love the kids. I love the teenage boy. I love the relationships and how they are unfolding to us: it’s mysterious and they all speak cult-language but it’s becoming clear. Hugh Dancy is great. So manipulative. So hollow. You get the sense he doesn’t even believe. He just wants the power.
The American Friend (1977; d. Wim Wenders)
Yet another fascinating attempt at bringing Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley to the screen. This is the best movie of the bunch, although Dennis Hopper – as wonderful as he always is – doesn’t really resonate with the off-putting otherness of Ripley (in the way that Alain Delon – the best Ripley yet – does.) But the whole art forgery thing in the Ripley books (and the made-up Derwatt paintings and the sheer scope of the pretense) is fascinating so you get all of these great cameos, including director giants such as eyepatched Nicholas Ray and Samuel Fuller. And Bruno Ganz is extraordinary. It’s really his movie. How an “ordinary” man finds himself doing the most extraordinary things, things he never would have thought possible.
The Path, Season 1, Episode 3, “A Homecoming” (2016; d. Michael Weaver)
It took me a second to realize that that was Kathleen Turner, although her smoky-sexy voice will always be the giveaway. An extraordinary performance, out of left field, truly disturbing, a drunk on her way to dementia. I saw her in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Broadway and it was one of the greatest pieces of live-acting I’ve ever seen.
The Killing (1956; d. Stanley Kubrick)
An extraordinary film, both acting-wise and visually. Another “heist” movie – I’ve been watching a lot of those lately. Sterling Hayden (whom I love, and the Criterion release has a GREAT interview with him where he says “I started at the top and then moved on down …”) is terrific (one of the best voices ever, makes my toes curl) – everyone is. Each guy is essential to the heist coming off, and it has to go like clockwork. Of course … things go wrong. And then it starts to unravel. Very REAL-looking cast, tough-guys and regular-looking people, plus Elijah Cook Jr.
Wiener-Dog (2016; d. Todd Solondz)
I can’t get this one out of my head. Someone said to me on Twitter that he hated it because it didn’t provide catharsis or emotional release. Well, it DID provide an emotional release for me … although it’s a hopeless and angry film. The “release” had to do with futility and the impossibility of finding long-lasting joy. But this person seemed to feel that a film was not successful if it didn’t provide a catharsis. (He’s young.) I disagree STRONGLY. To the Greeks, “catharsis” did not mean “finding SOME hope,” “fellow felling,” or whatever. “Catharsis” involved PITY and TERROR. There by the grace of God … Or: My God, how HORRIBLE. Whatever. Wiener-Dog is not unsuccessful because it refuses to provide a catharsis or release. Not every film is meant to be hopeful and cathartic. It may be your PREFERENCE that they are – but that’s a different question. I reviewed for Rogerebert.com.
The Path, Season 1, Episode 4, “The Future” (2016; d. Michael Weaver)
So far so good. Lots of plot-lines and intrigue. Everything holding together. The rules of this cult starting to become clear. The delusion of it. The glimpses of doubt, and groupthink, and what punishment looks like, the desire human beings have to “follow.” I like its patience, even though there doesn’t seem to be much progress. The acting is really really good.
The Path, Season 1, Episode 5, “The Hole” (2016; d. Patrick R. Norris)
I like the tentative fraught-with-nerves budding romance between the teenage son and his classmate. It seems like sending kids to school would be a pretty risky thing. I also like how Michelle Monaghan – True Believer as she is – seems to struggle with memories, wondering about the outside world, her lost sister, etc. But boy, she is a ferocious believer.
The Path, Season 1, Episode 6, “Breaking and Entering” (2016; d. Patrick R. Norris)
Teenage son brings home his evicted girlfriend and mother and siblings. He asks his family to tone down the proselytizing. But of course they don’t. From the second they enter that house, a love-bombing recruitment process begins. I LOVE how teenage son races out to the truck after girlfriend leaves the “church” and then they basically leap into one another’s arms, tearing at one another’s clothes. This should get interesting.
Homeland, Season 4, Episode 6 “From A to B and Back Again” (2014; d. Lesli Linka Glatter)
It’s getting worse in the safehouse. I can barely watch. It’s horrible. Quinn reads Carrie the riot act. I love it. Quinn could probably slaughter a bunch of innocent animals at this point and I’d forgive him.
Homeland, Season 4, Episode 7 “Redux” (2014; d. Carl Franklin)
Tracy Letts is kicking ass recently. Well he always has. As a playwright (we were in Chicago at the same time and I remember the first production of Killer Joe – starring Michael Shannon – and it was like a bomb going off. I ended up being in the first production done outside of Chicago, which is where I met Michael. No, it’s not all about me. But it kind of is.) Tracy Letts was great in Wiener-Dog (see above) and he’s great here too.
Homeland, Season 4, Episode 8 “Halfway to a Donut” (2014; d. Alex Graves)
Oh, Duck Phillips, you are pathetic as a man and even more pathetic as a spy. Really enjoy this arc. Saul being abducted is okay, although Mandy Patinkin’s acting is often very self-serving. He’s excellent, don’t get me wrong, but he’s a soloist, not a team player.
Le Cercle Rouge (1970; d. Jean-Pierre Melville)
I love this movie so much, I own it on Criterion, and it features Alain Delon and Yves Montand, seedy and wordless and COMPETENT in mostly silent roles. Another heist movie, clearly inspired by Rafifi: the heist here is equally elaborate and also takes place mostly in silence. Brilliant. I always have to close my eyes in the Yves Montand “delirium tremens” scene which ambushed me the first time I saw it and I have goosebumps of horror just remembering it. Not only are the “beasts” terrible … that WALLPAPER.
Love & Friendship (2016; d. Whit Stillman)
One of my favorite movies of the year so far. One of the most – if not THE most – Austen-ish of any Austen film adaptation. Fantastic. I love Whit Stillman so much.
Shoah: Part One (1985; Claude Lanzmann)
We had to watch some of this in a college history class on the Holocaust. I had never seen it before. It’s fascinating and extremely depressing, of course, but not exactly in the way I expected. Lanzmann is obsessed with the HOW of it all. Who drove the trains? Who lived across the railroad tracks? Who worked in the camps? What were your duties? Tell me exactly how it went? It’s not that there isn’t judgment in his questions. Obviously there is because this entire thing is a moral issue. But he doesn’t approach his subjects with open outrage. He wants them to talk to him. To tell him everything. How often did the trains run? Did you know what was happening in that church? Who owned this house before you did? Oh, it was a Jewish family? Did you ever ask yourself what happened to them? All of this done with the help of the most dogged translator in the world. I felt the need to re-visit it in such dangerous terrible times. To remember.
5 Easy Pieces (1970; d. Bob Rafelson)
The movie that ushered in the 70s. It could never ever be made now. It’s a brilliant and bleak treatise on loneliness, and total dissociation from meaning. And the final shot is a masterpiece. Amazing performances from Nicholson, Karen Black, Sally Struthers, and the two other “easy pieces.” That’s all they are. Pieces. They don’t add up to much. And so he’s off again.
OJ Made in America, Part 1 (2016; d. Ezra Edelman)
You might think we’d all be OJ-d out. There was the initial event which PLEASE STOP IT NEWS MEDIA that exhausted the nation. Then there was the mini-series this year. And now this 5-part documentary on ESPN. I know Edelman was a little bummed out that the mini-series beat him to the punch but the timing actually couldn’t have been more perfect. This documentary is extremely well done and examines all of the issues – racial, class, gender – that that case brought up. It’s also still infuriating. Because the man got away with murder. At least he’s in jail now. Again.
Nuts! (2016; d. Penny Lane)
Wonderful! Everything you wanted to know about the 1920s/30s quackery of goat-gland specialist “Doctor” John Brinkley. Loved it. Reviewed for Ebert.
OJ Made in America, Part 2 (2016; d. Ezra Edelman)
This whole thing stresses me out. I get too pissed off. But still: it enthralls. Flashbacks to the whole sordid horrible thing. Fuhrman. FUHRMAN. Oh, prosecution, you all were morons. There was literally a trail of blood leading from the bodies TO O.J.’S HOUSE. How do you fuck that up? You put Fuhrman on the stand.
OJ Made in America, Part 3 (2016; d. Ezra Edelman)
I wish Chris Darden had consented to be interviewed but I understand why he didn’t want to dredge it up again. But everyone else is there: OJ’s friends, policemen, courtroom people, bystanders, two jurors, Jeffrey Toobin, everyone.
OJ Made in America, Part 4 (2016; d. Ezra Edelman)
The defense team was shameless. But the prosecution was incompetent.
Millennium, Season 2, Episode 22 “The Fourth Horseman” (1998; d. Dwight Little)
Keith and I picked up where we left off. I love the Biblical stuff and I love how philosophical Season 2 is. It’s like a longer version of CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters.
Millennium, Season 2, Episode 23 “The Time Is Now” (1998; d. Dwight Little)
Very Supernatural Season 3/4-ish: Pestilence spreading. And it gets bad. And the final shot of Season 2 is quietly terrifying. Loved it.
Millennium, Season 3, Episode 1 “The Innocents” (1998; d. Thomas J. Wright)
Chris Carter back in charge as show-runner and Keith had warned me that some of the themes introduced in Season 2 would take a back seat. I’m fine with anything this show decides to do. I’m loving it. I love his new partner, Emma Hollis (Klea Scott). I like Lance Henriksen in scenes with women. Some very interesting things come out. He’s an intelligent man, drawn to intelligent challenging women.
Millennium, Season 3, Episode 2 “Exegesis” (1998; d. Ralph Hemecker)
There’s a really interesting twist to this one and a throwback of an Arc that goes back to Season 1 (I think? The seasons are so long). Emma Hollis rising in importance. She’s not afraid to be pushy, to get what she wants. She’s ambitious. She’s super-smart. I like her.
Millennium, Season 3, Episode 3 “TEOTWAWKI” (1998; d. Thomas J. Wright)
A little bit prophetic for my taste. Columbine was a year away. But here is the anxiety of that event beforehand. And now, of course, episodes like this are tragically rote, and Sandy Hook? Forget about it.
Millennium, Season 3, Episode 4 “Closure” (1998; d. Daniel Sackheim)
Interesting backstory provided for Emma, which shows that a lot of people get into that line of work in order to find revenge/justice for their loved ones. Another similarity to Supernatural.
Millennium, Season 3, Episode 5 “”…Thirteen Years Later”” (1998; d. Thomas J. Wright)
It’s so nice to see Supernatural favorite Thomas J. Wright all over the place in Millennium. KISS is involved in this episode, making a cameo appearance. How is that possible? Well, it is. When Frank gets his visions in this one, he sees flash-cards of each KISS member, leering at the camera. Keith and I were roaring.
Millennium, Season 3, Episode 6 “There’s Something Else Going On” (1998; d. Thomas J. Wright)
You bet your ass there is.
Life Animated (2016; d. Roger Ross Williams)
A beautiful and really emotional documentary about an autistic boy who figures out a way to communicate through the Disney animated movies he loves so much. Opens today. My review at Rogerebert.com.
All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 1 (2007; d. Robert Singer)
For my latest re-cap, of which the number of comments has almost reached 200. Not bragging. Just saying that the amount of work these take is worth it when you see the conversations they ignite.
The Bachelorette, Season 12, Episode 5
I told you I was hooked. Robbie seems like a nonentity to me. WHY do you love JoJo, Robbie? Not that she’s not lovable – I love her – but … why do YOU love her? Or do you just want to “say it” first? When he said it to her, what was her response? “Thank you.” Ouch.
Supernatural, Season 11, Episode 16, “Safe House” (2016; d. Stefan Pleszczynski)
“It’s Shabbat!” I hadn’t watched this one since it aired. I’m still really impressed with it, and the time and the care they put into that creepy space, and how eerie it was. Plus killer fight-scene between JA and JP, something that always pleases me.
Supernatural, Season 11, Episode 17, “Red Meat” (2016; d. Nina Lopez-Conrado)
I hadn’t watched this one since it aired either. Or I don’t think I did. Either way, this may be one of the best episodes of the season, just in terms of how it deals with the ultimate question: the death of one of these guys. It’s hard to believe it could have any resonance or any finality – but Nina pulled it off. Bold use of slo-mo. Phenomenal acting. My favorite moment currently is the look on Dean’s face when he says “This is gonna hurt like hell …” You know what that’s called? That is called an actor being IN THE MOMENT.
Supernatural, Season 11, Episode 19, “The Chitters” (2016; d. Eduardo Sánchez)
Maybe not quite as good on a re-watch, and boy does it have a long LONG monologue 3/4s of the way through – I had forgotten just how long it was (actor plays the hell out of it though.) I still love Jesse and Cesar, and what they brought to the table, to the series in general. It has always bothered me that there weren’t gay hunters. Not once, guys? Ever? What the hell. There’s every OTHER kind of hunter. Also, maybe if there were LGBT hunters, Dean wouldn’t be so gaga-taken-aback when he meets “one”? Still a funny moment. AND, Dean said the words “settle down.” Please let’s take a moment to acknowledge it and how it shows growth, change, a weird sense of adulthood, asking the important question, acknowledging a RELATIONSHIP that CAN exist. And he ends up protecting that relationship. I imagine that Sam and Dean would have flip-flopped on what to do in that situation throughout the series. Sam would have been a softie, except for … well, when he’s not. ANYWAY. Also: how hilarious that that actress is supposed to be the sheriff of a small town? I’ve lived in small towns. Never seen a sheriff look like THAT. She’s so gorgeous that I am sure if you saw her in real-life you might walk into a mailbox, craning your neck to look at her. Also, the “orgy-ish” comment and the tired “Really??” look she gives Dean. No matter where he goes, SOMEBODY gives him that look.
Homeland, Season 4, Episode 10, “13 Hours in Islamabad” (2014; d. Dan Attias)
Yes, let’s just show our enemies how easy it is to break into our Embassies, shall we? Pretty tense episode, though, with Tracy Letts again killing it, as well as Laila Robins. Carrie is beyond the pale. She’s pretty much a shitty person at this point and should probably be fired. Claire Danes is fearless in playing these unattractive elements.
Homeland, Season 4, Episode 11, “Krieg Nicht Lieb” (2014; d. Clark Johnson)
Holy shitballs, I had no idea NINA HOSS appeared in this series!! One of the best actresses on the planet today? Not an exaggeration. If you haven’t seen Phoenix, then I just don’t know what you are waiting for. (See her in all of her collaborations with Christian Petzold: my favorite collaboration going on right now. Nina Hoss can do ANYTHING.) AND, even better: she suddenly shows up as Quinn’s lover – i.e. long-term friends with benefits – even better – AND she looks at Carrie with this cool almost amused stare, knowing she can handle this frantic American. She’s world class at tradecraft and beats Carrie at her own game.
Homeland, Season 4, Episode 12, “Long Time Coming” (2014; d. Lesli Linka Glatter)
I found this to be an extremely touching episode and very good on all of the details: what a wake can feel like, that there can be joy at such gatherings, a togetherness. Carrie starting to open up to the fact that she’s a mother. Beautiful scene in the park with one of her father’s friends. Quinn suddenly appearing in the distance. (Oh QUINN I HEART YOU.) The two finally kiss and it’s just as sloppy and passionate as I could have hoped for. But alas, not meant to be. Felt that the “Call me with your answer” bit was contrived, and not at all Quinn-like. It was manipulative, a race to the finish. If she says “No” then off I will go to war again. I think it was still effective but I felt them turn up the heat under that thing and you didn’t need it.
Rope (1948; d. Alfred Hitchcock)
It works better as a stage play. The one-take thing is impressive, all of the dialogue and blocking, but somehow … there’s something not quite right about this. Jimmy Stewart is great. Farley Granger wears his guilt on his sleeve. I’m working on something pretty huge right now, so had to re-watch this one.
Shoah: Part Two (1985; Claude Lanzmann)
I will force myself to continue. It’s important. Very very important.
You Can’t Take It With You (1938; d. Frank Capra)
I don’t care how many times I see it, it still makes me laugh, and then it makes me cry when Edward Arnold takes out his harmonica at the end.
Supernatural, Season 2, Episode “All Hell Breaks Loose, Part II” (2007; d. Kim Manners)
Superb. You know, I live in hope and I’m preparing for the next re-cap. Whenever that will launch.
OJ Made in America: Part 5 (2016; d. Ezra Edelman)
Had to force myself it finish it. It’s that good. That upsetting.
Captain Fantastic (2016; d. Matt Ross)
Opens next week. Will be reviewing for Ebert.
Carnage Park (2016; d. Mickey Keating)
Opens today. My review at Rogerebert.com.
The Shallows (2016; d. Jaume Collet-Serra)
It just opened. Jen and I (I told you we like to go see tense movies together) went to see it a couple of days ago. HOLY SHIT Y’ALL. It’s amazing. The main comparison I can think of is not Jaws or Castaway but Aliens. SEE IT.
The Last Tycoon Season 1, Episode 1, The Pilot (2016; d. Billy Ray)
The pilot just launched on Amazon. Based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s unfinished novel, of course. With Matt Bomer (Magic Mike XXL!!) as Monroe Stahr. Incredible production and costume design. Amazing cast. I know two people who appear in it – well, one is my cousin so of course I know her – we grew up together – and – coincidentally – BOTH of them played the lead female role in my script, one in the big New York staged reading, and one in the short film. Worlds collide. Two “Neve”s in this thing? I felt like I was THERE. Kerry O’Malley as one of the hard-working stable of screenwriters at the fictional studio. Annika Marks as the wife of one of the screenwriters. It’s excellent. We all hope it will get picked up, so go watch it on Amazon (you don’t even need an account), and then VOTE FOR IT.
The Bachelorette, Season 12, Episode 6
Oh, JoJo, no. You just said you believe passion should last forever. You just said you are looking for a “unicorn.” Now I suddenly am doubting your judgment. (My sister and I have been texting about this episode for 24 hours now.)
1. Luke’s monologue: “I just like feel strongly for you and I like just want more of you and like sitting here in like Argentina with all this like culture is the best thing ever.” Meanwhile her hand is resting in his crotch. Listen, it’s okay to have a hookup. Go for it. Maybe you’re not ready to settle down, JoJo? That’s totally okay. I wasn’t in my 20s either.
2. Derek is so sure he will win that he now seems to be losing touch with reality. SPOILER ALERT: Which means he was then blind-sided when JoJo picked Chase. He could not believe it. And then my heart broke watching him in his car ride away from the show. He was so upset he began to speak of himself in the third person. It was … I couldn’t believe it was happening, I guess is what I’m trying to say? At one point he said, tearing up, staring out the window. “I guess it’s not my turn to be happy.” He will CRINGE when he sees this … but it was actually kind of tragic.
3. I love Chase. For me, Chase is the Dark Horse. When she asked him to open up, he did in a way that was recognizably human, awkward, and … charming, as a result. He’s not a “playa.” He seemed genuinely shocked when she said, “Maybe I like you more than you like me.” He had no idea the signals he was giving out. Fascinating. I told you, it’s like watching creatures in a zoo. And I’m dating now, because I’m sick of having a dead cold heart, and this whole thing is actually extremely enlightening. I used to know all this shit because once upon a time I was a floozy. I never believed in a “unicorn” don’t get me wrong, but I was out and about and used to this kind of engagement. So now I’m basically starting to exercise those muscles again. I have some extremely funny stories. I’m like the stereotypical guy in every scenario. The guy gets mushy, I put the brakes on. The guy wants to talk deeply, I wonder if I will get laid that night, AS he’s talking deeply to me. Clearly I might not be ready for this kind of quest right now, and I never said I wasn’t difficult. But the men in my past – the big ones – Michael and the man who shall be known as M. (or Window-Boy, for old-timers – there’s a worlds-collide thing happening with him right now that is so hilarious it borders on the totally surreal but I’ll share it when it becomes a reality) – anyway – neither of them sweated any of this, or found me difficult, or if they did it was just “Oh, that’s Sheila, and I like her.” And both of THEM were difficult too and it didn’t matter to me because I liked/loved them. Neither Michael nor M. were in any way/shape/form unicorns, just regular people who liked me as I was. You see? The Bachelorette is sneaky in that it is rather deep, or at least it makes me ponder all of these things. Bonus point for Chase: he effortlessly went to pull JoJo’s chair out for her – he did it automatically – and Crybaby Derek looked like he thought he should have thought of that – but Chase didn’t have to think of it. He just did it. Chase and James are my current favorites. But then there’s JoJo’s hand in Luke’s crotch to consider. As well as her adoration of Jordan, who is nice, but seems like a college student to me in terms of his development.
4. Dear James, it is never a good look to gossip about the other men when you have a “one on one” with JoJo. But when he says, “I really am the best man for her here” – I kinda believe him.
5. I fear that James may have a permanent scar on his eyelid from that football-playing challenge.
6. What exactly does Alex bring to the table? He also has glimmers of a real anger problem and he’s not even aware of it.
I have spoken more about The Bachelorette here than I have about Shoah. I’m sorry.
To Each His Own (1946; d. Mitchell Leisen)
I watched this last night (it’s on Youtube in its entirety) to celebrate the 100th birthday (today) of Olivia de Havilland who is still alive and with us. Olivia de Havilland is one of the greatest actresses in cinema history and if all you know of her is Gone With the Wind (for which she was nominated for Best Supporting), then I beg of you to branch out. See The Snake Pit (another Oscar nom, this time for Lead), Hold Back the Dawn, another nom, her tour de force in The Heiress, for which she won an Oscar (it is one of the all-time great performances by an actress ever), and then this one – To Each His Own, another Oscar win. I watch this film and I swear, I can barely breathe. It’s a “woman’s picture”, the money-making juggernaut that used to be an accepted part of Hollywood, as opposed to now, when an all-female Ghostbusters brings out the raging virgins of outrage. (If a female Ghostbusters “ruins your childhood,” then you should get down on bended knee and thank the Lord above that he has spared you any REAL pain in your childhood.) This is one of the popular stories of female martyrdom (which Molly Haskell analyzes so brilliantly in her essential volume, From Reverence to Rape) which was a way for the somewhat-disenfranchised female audience to let off a little steam, weep for what they have given up, weep because someone understands the difficulty of the choices. Career or motherhood? Love or practicality? And etc. But the two final scenes … the two final scenes … If they do not destroy you and reduce you to a puddle, get your heart checked! And finally: Olivia de Havilland’s mousy spinster-before-her-time character sleeps with a pilot who breezes his way through town – she’s clearly never slept with anyone before but she falls for him. Their one night results in a pregnancy. He’s long gone by that time. Then word comes that he’s been shot down over France (WWI). There is a frank discussion with a doctor about a possible illness that needs surgery – but if she does it, she needs to make a choice: her own life or the baby’s: it’s either/or. She says, “Well, the choice is clear” (meaning: I’ll get the surgery.) Nobody blinks an eye. In 1946, that seemed like a reasonable choice. We have gone backward. But then something happens and she ends up having the baby. She breaks the news to her elderly father, who is shocked. She’s never even had a boyfriend. How did this happen? She huddles in the corner, away from him, sobbing, “You’ve always been proud of me … I am sorry to have shamed you” and he approaches her saying, “Josie.” She won’t turn around. He says, “Turn around, Josie.” She does. He puts his hands on her shoulders and says, “We don’t judge each other here. We love each other, we don’t judge each other.” SOBBING. Having a baby out of wedlock is still a big BIG deal … but on an interpersonal level, it’s quite a different story. An INCREDIBLE performance from de Havilland, who goes from age 18 to 40 … with a total personality change, due to her hardships and loneliness, a hardening of the heart … and then: those two final scenes. Breathtaking.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MISS OLIVIA.