August 2019 Viewing Diary

While We’re Young (2014; d. Noah Baumbach)
Part of my own Noah Baumbach retrospective in preparation for writing a piece for Film Comment about his filmography. On stands now. Or order here! I love this one. It’s so honest and funny about growing older, feeling left behind, the mix of admiration/resentment of the young … Adam Driver is just perfect in this. Well, he’s perfect in everything.

Blinded by the Light (2019; d. Gurinder Chadha)
I really liked this. I reviewed for

Light of my Life (2019; d. Casey Affleck)
This didn’t get much chatter which I find slightly surprising, especially considering it was directed by Affleck. I really liked the film and feel it was quite effective. I reviewed for Ebert.

The American Dreamer (1971; d. Lawrence Schiller and L.M. Kit Carson)
The crazy documentary about Dennis Hopper. Or, not even really a documentary. Schiller/Carson just follow Hopper around, and Hopper speaks. And has sex with multiple women in bathtubs. And hosts parties at his house. And shoots guns in the desert. And never ever stops talking. The whole thing is riveting. On Youtube. I re-watched in preparation for my piece on Out of the Blue for Film Comment.

Aquarius, Seasons 1 and 2 (almost)
So the conversations around Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – which seemed to take place almost 100% on Twitter – were just not my scene, maaan. Who knew that “the Manson murderers did a bad thing” would be a controversial opinion? In one of the conversations on Facebook, though, someone recommended Aquarius to me, a TV series which I had completely missed the first time around (2015-2016). Starring David Duchovny, Aquarius is about a homicide detective in late-1960s Los Angeles – who, along with working a bunch of other cases – is also trying to track down the daughter of an old girlfriend. The daughter ran away from home and is apparently living with a bunch of hippies in some house in one of the canyons, and she’s in thrall to the “leader,” a grub-ball named Charles Manson. The series was about a lot of things – the clash of the older square generation (as represented by Duchovny – which doesn’t quite work. Duchovny can play many things but he can’t really play The Man) with the younger hipper angrier generation – it was about Los Angeles in the late 1960s, a swirling mass of chaos and riots and Black Power compounds and hippie compounds, and yadda yadda. I liked a lot of it. But there was much I did not like, and in Season 2 I got so turned off I stopped watching. Ironically, all of the things people were criticizing Once Upon a Time in Hollywood for – criticisms I mostly disagreed with – are completely true of Aquarius, so much so that I recoiled. Manson was the main focus in Aquarius (he has only one short scene in Hollywood), and when he’s given a lot of screen-time, he becomes the focus, the mad-genius-leader, the “reason” all this happened, screentime where he gets to act crazy and threatening and messiah-like – scaring Dennis Wilson, etc. – people who wanted “more Manson” in Tarantino’s film … this is what it would have looked like because this is what it ALWAYS looks like when Manson is prioritized. He’s the boogey-man. That’s how he thought of himself, too. But the issues are far more complex than that. And key elements of the Manson story were changed, basically to make them seem even MORE evil (which … why. They already were evil). For example, Mary Brunner gave birth to Charles Manson’s son. This is a fact. She gave birth in some isolated location, surrounded by other members of “the family.” This is also a fact. In Aquarius, though, the baby is born dead. This is NOT a fact. Charlie is so devastated that Susan Atkins dresses up as a nurse, infiltrates a hospital, and steals a newborn. She brings it back to the family. And Mary Brunner hugs the stolen baby, crying. And that’s it. The baby is never returned. There are rules with “alternate history.” Aquarius presents it all as factual. You don’t need to PUMP UP Susan Atkin’s potential for evil. It’s already on the record. There were also extremely graphic shots of Sharon, pregnant, near-nude, dead on the floor, staring at the camera. That’s when I stopped watching. Nope.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019; d. Quentin Tarantino)
Second time, I saw it with Allison, my partner in Helter-Skelter-crime. She noticed something I hadn’t, the first time. I described it in my newsletter, which … here you can sign up, if you want. Leo is so so good. The scene where he fucks up the scene … My God, it’s so real.

Peanut Butter Falcon (2019; d. Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz)
I was so moved by this film. I reviewed for Ebert.

De Palma (2015; d. Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow)
More of my Noah Baumbach research. I saw this when it came out. It’s very good. No “talking heads.” The only talking head is De Palma, and it’s great to spend some quality time with him.

The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979; d. Alan Alda)
I watched this for the Barbara Harris factor, preparing for my essay on Female Comedians. I saw this a million years ago. In college, I think. Meryl Streep was exploding, and this was “early” work, so I was curious. It’s now pretty hard to find. I had to pull some strings. It’s interesting. You can see Alan Alda’s self-righteousness at play, and you can also see how he – subconsciously? – lowered the stakes for himself. The man is “seduced” but he also has a great and sexy relationship with his wife (Harris). There are two valid choices for him. And he makes the right choice in the end, but they have this long meaningful stare across the primary-floor, and you can tell that she is now like, “You’re a bad-ass, and I love you, and I’m all in with your political career now.” So … okay? Harris is great, though. It’s THE performance in the movie.

Bridesmaids (2011; d. Paul Feig)
It’s just so freakin’ good. I don’t even know how many times I’ve seen it. It’s so hilarious but it’s also so damn honest. It has everything, cake and eating it. Humor and pathos. Incredible cast. And it’s really honest about feeling like you’re being left behind by your friends. Love it. Watched it, again, for my Female Comedians piece.

Mindhunter, Season 2
My God, I’ve been counting the days for this and my God it didn’t disappoint. Fascinatingly enough, there was a whole “Manson episode” and so … August, which is the anniversary of the murders, was very Manson-heavy – so much so I was like, “This asshole again? I thought he was dead and we’d never have to hear him fucking talk again.” There was Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Aquarius AND Mindhunter. There was also, earlier this year, the despicable The Haunting of Sharon Tate (I was unfortunate enough to review it – giving it my only flat-out no-points Thumbs Down), and Mary Harron’s Charlie Says, which had some interest (but the more I think about it, the more I dislike it). The Manson episode in Mindhunter is fascinating, as is the follow-up interview with Tex Watson. They both say different things: Manson puts it all on Tex and Susan, Tex throws it right back. But it’s treated intelligently and with enough ambiguity that it makes you think about it, rather than come down as a Hammer of Truth. I was fascinated by it. If you’ve been reading me for any length of time, then you already know my feelings on the Manson family. Unless you’ve driven out to Hawthorne to wander around the Western supply store where members of the Manson family had a shootout with the cops – as I did with Alex and Emily – we all were like “we have an afternoon together so here, let’s do THIS” – then maybe do a bit more reading before you tell the rest of us that we’re all just blood-thirsty ghouls for our interest. How is it even possible that some people seem to not realize that True Crime is one of the most popular genres there is? Whatever. Back to Mindhunter. I was fascinated by the development of the Bill Tench character – played by the great Holt McCallany (great as in capital-G great). Season 1 was really about Jonathan Groff. Season 2 is all about Bill. There’s a moment where he’s manning the grill in some depressing backyard barbecue he’s hosting, and he’s wearing plaid pants, and it’s just perfect.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019; d. Quentin Tarantino)
Allison and I wanted to see it again. So we went again. God, I love this movie. Every time we’ve gone, the place has been packed. It plays like gangbusters.

The Mustang (2019; d. Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre)
I had missed this on its initial release early this year, but I’m such a Matthias Schoenaerts fan I caught up with it as quickly as I could. He’s so good.

Jawline (2019; d. Liza Mandelup)
I was surprised by how moved I was by this documentary about a Tennessee teenage boy’s dream of becoming a YouTube sensation. I expected to judge. I was drawn in. There’s something wistful and sweet in Mandelup’s approach that really really works. I reviewed for Ebert.

Hard Times (1975; d. Walter Hill)
I had forgotten how good this is. How good Bronson is in it. Everyone’s good in it. And the look and feel of it – seedy-glamorous-Depression-era beauty, the Walter Hill look and feel, stylish and moody, calling up memories of other movies, and also grounding the action in what seems like a very real place. I loved it.

The Family, episode 1-3 (2019; d. Jesse Moss)
I didn’t finish this Netflix documentary about a right-wing Christian secret society which basically runs the world. It was good and paranoid, but I guess not as revelatory as the film thinks it is. Of course these horrible people are organized. Of course. And of course they’re all hypocrites, having affairs and behaving in all kinds of inappropriate ways. This is not news.

The Warriors (1979; d. Walter Hill)
As you can tell, I’m on a Walter Hill kick. This movie is a classic.

The 43, Season 1, episode 1-2 (2019; d. )
Netflix docuseries about the disappearance of 43 students in Iguala, Mexico in 2014. It’s extremely upsetting and I highly recommend it.

The Long Riders (1980; d. Walter Hill)
Such a fine film. Charlie and I went to go see it at the Metrograph on Father’s Day last year. If you haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for? Featuring all of these actor-brothers: the Quaids, the Carradines, the Keachs, the Guests … plus a phenomenal cast of women. Great roles for women. Really the whole movie is about these guys’ relationships with their women. Pamela Reed! I love it so much.

Monos (2019; d. Alejandro Landes)
I will be reviewing this one for Ebert.

48 Hrs. (1982; d. Walter Hill)
Gritty San Francisco cop drama/comedy, with great chemistry between the two leads.

Crossroads (1986; d. Walter Hill)
My Ralph Macchio mania had died down by the time this came out, but you can bet I went to see it. And many years later, when I saw Supernatural‘s “Crossroad Blues,” and I saw the brothers go check out the crossroads near a place called “Lloyd’s Bar” I recognized the reference, and knew I was in very good hands with these Supernatural people.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile (2019; d. Joe Berlinger)
The desire/demand for art to be a moral lesson, for art to show good clearly and bad clearly, is kind of … shocking to me. I would expect it from Sunday School teachers in the 1950s, or from Victorian-era matrons. Not only am I fine with ambiguity, I prefer it. And this film, which caught a lot of flak for idolizing Bundy (which, of course, it doesn’t), and for not showing clearly ENOUGH that Bundy is “Bad” … was such a great experience for me because it lived in that grey area of Liz’s perspective. We only see what she sees. And she is dazzled by him. Many were. I reviewed for Ebert. Berlinger himself thanked me on Twitter for understanding what they were going for. That doesn’t happen a lot. It felt good. If you watch this and admire Bundy, that’s your problem, not mine, and not the film’s.

Ms. Purple (2019; d. Justin Chon)
Reviewing for Ebert. It opens this week.

Disorder (2016; d. Alice Winocour)
One of my favorite films of 2016. I reviewed for Ebert. See it.

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25 Responses to August 2019 Viewing Diary

  1. I feel like Leo still gets dismissed as a 90s teen idol (not that there’s anything wrong with teen idols), but even in the 90s when I actually was a teenager, I was aware of how wrong that perception was. His performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape still blows me away. I haven’t seen Once Upon a Time in Hollywood yet, but I want to.

    I finally got around to watching Extremely Wicked, et cetera. It was BIZARRE to see local landmarks with a mountain backdrop. The Pepper Pod is an actual slightly locally famous greasy spoon. I had several cases heard at the courthouse where he jumps out the window back when I worked for CPS. (The family court judge there also had a brief moment of national fame when he started offering to drop child support contempt charges if the fathers would agree to have vasectomies.) And the streets “surrounding” the courthouse were actually one town over in Covington. I’m pretty sure the running from the courthouse scenes are what was being filmed the day Zac Efron made me late for work. I still hold a little bit of a grudge about that, lol.

    // I recognized the reference, and knew I was in very good hands with these Supernatural people.//

    God, I wish this were still true.

    • sheila says:

      Natalie –

      // when I actually was a teenager, I was aware of how wrong that perception was. .//

      right?? Was it just the Titanic thing? But he was wonderful in Titanic! That was a harder job than it looked. It’s ridiculous – he’s always been good, he’s barely given one bad performance, and he just gets better and better. This might be the most vulnerable he’s ever been – imagine Leo, gigantic movie star, inhabiting this TV actor on his way out, struggling to get by, hoping a pilot gets picked up, etc. – and he is 100% believable.

      // It was BIZARRE to see local landmarks with a mountain backdrop. //

      Oh that’s right! They photo-shopped it all in, I forgot!

      // I had several cases heard at the courthouse where he jumps out the window back when I worked for CPS. //

      wow! I wonder how long it took them to find a building with a window the right height. So that building is an actual courthouse? Cool!

      // I’m pretty sure the running from the courthouse scenes are what was being filmed the day Zac Efron made me late for work. I still hold a little bit of a grudge about that, lol. //


      and in re: your comment on SPN: OUCH. But TRUE.

  2. Kim says:

    The summer of 1969 I was a kid living in the San Fernando Valley. A lot of history happened that summer. All the moon landing commemorations I kept asking myself why couldn’t I remember the moon landing? Well, my grandfather died and I was riding in the backseat of my uncle’s Mustang and heading to Nashville. We drove straight through, no stopping overnight. I got so carsick going through Missouri that we stopped at a Catholic hospital (I remember the nuns, they still wore habits.) Manson and the Tate/LaBianca murders? Those I remember. I can hear my parents talking in the front seat on our way home from the airport. My dad was driving my mom’s white Pontiac Tempest station wagon with the red interior. The day was hot, everything seemed so brown after spending weeks back East. The murders and the trials would be in the news for a long time afterwards but that all became background noise.

    So much happened in the late 60’s, it seems like every month for the last few years we’ve had a 50th anniversary or commemoration. I was in Calif. last week visiting my dad, and adding to whole 60’s thing I have going on, California has brought back the old black & gold licence plates.

    I’ve seen Mindhunters, so good & Holt McCallany at the end in that nearly empty house- too busy chasing monsters to listen to his poor wife. I haven’t had a chance to see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood yet but I really want to, and on the big screen and to catch a glimpse of the LA of my childhood. Wow that was long winded! It all started with my trip back home and all the recent Manson talk.

    • sheila says:

      Kim – not long-winded at all – I loved hearing your memories. // Well, my grandfather died and I was riding in the backseat of my uncle’s Mustang and heading to Nashville. // – this, and the Catholic hospital memory are particularly vivid.

      // Holt McCallany at the end in that nearly empty house- too busy chasing monsters to listen to his poor wife. //

      I know! He seems so beaten down, so discouraged – and because he is the guy he is, that big strapping barrel-chested old-school guy – it’s very upsetting. I love how the series starts off with these two guys – and then basically sets about de-constructing them. Season 1 was Groff – and Season 2 was McCallany. It seems like in Season 2, Holden has hardened quite a bit – it’s like his panic attack was his final “stop” on being 100% human. The gleam in his eyes when he looks at Manson – it really is close to admiration. which you can totally understand how this happens. It’s its own weird celebrity sub-culture.

      I need to watch it again – I absorbed it pretty quickly but I thought it was really great.

      What are your thoughts on the son “Brian”? I love how they’re leaving it ambiguous. He clearly has some developmental problems but is something else going on? They were hinting at this in Season 1. The wife has that one horrifying line (although understandable, again) – like “at least he didn’t come from my body. at least that part isn’t my fault.” My God!!

      I’ve been thinking a lot about Brian – and wondered if you had any thoughts!

  3. Scotter says:

    I flipped out watching Once Upon A Time with my parents. My dad that summer was a publicist for Screen Gems studios, so he was working at those studios, taking stars to the Playboy mansion, having meals at Musso and Franks. And my Mom on 8/8 was a pretty blond pregnant with me and due the same day as Tate. They were oohhing and awwing through everything that reminded them of their life back then.

    If you haven’t already, maybe take a look at the Chaos book by Tom O’Neill that just came out. It throws a whole lot of uncertainty into things that Helter Skelter made certain. Plus, the author is a true obsessive (with credentials!).

    • sheila says:

      Scotter – wow, in re: your mom and dad! and your mom’s due date! That’s nutty!

      Yes, I’ve heard a lot about this Chaos book – I will have to read it before I make a judgment. I’ve always considered Helter Skelter – or at least the narrative Bugliosi set up (in my opinion) – brilliant – because it was “Helter Skelter” which allowed Manson to be convicted, even though he hadnt killed anyone. My thinking in re: Manson is more along the lines of the “theory” put out in this one episode of Mindhunter – although I have always thought the “girls” had way more agency than – to this day – they admit to. There’s a line in the Mindhunter episode something like – “He just allowed them to be who they were.” People don’t like it when I say stuff like this – lol – because there’s this weird tendency to feel sorry for the Manson murderers (especially the women) – and I don’t feel sorry for them at all. I feel sorry for the people unfortunate enough to have met them on August 9/10!!

      But I definitely want to read the book.

  4. Andy McLenon says:

    I thought the actor who played Manson in Mindhunter really delivered in his big scene. I seem to remember some of those quotes from Manson but to me the scene seemed so real. He had the right levels of sarcasm and his tone when baiting and throwing everything back on Bill seemed pitch perfect. I was almost dreading it because I thought it would be self consciously over the top but it wasn’t like that at all.
    I love the chemistry between the 3 leads in that show. It was great when Bill finally ripped into Holden on the bank of that river when Holden was badgering him about being late, surprised Holden didn’t have another panic attack. The Bill Tench character is the best!

    • sheila says:

      Andy – // I thought the actor who played Manson in Mindhunter really delivered in his big scene. //

      Absolutely!! And he played Manson in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood too! I bet he’s Manson-ed out at this point. But he really does have a “line” on the guy, I think – and he really got into those circular Manson rhythms which you could see anytime he was interviewed. The sarcasm was great – and he could tell he was getting under Bill’s skin – he was a genius at feeling people’s weaknesses.

      I thought it was great. And – just my two cents -the “race war” thing was obviously a big deal with Charlie – but I also think that Tex and Susan WERE the ones who were like “let’s do a copycat murder to get Bobby Beausoleil out of jail” – I have always thought that.

      // It was great when Bill finally ripped into Holden on the bank of that river when Holden was badgering him about being late, surprised Holden didn’t have another panic attack. //

      That was an amazing scene.

      I also love how he treats Wendy Carr – with this kind of courtly manner – but also with total professional respect.

      He really is just the best character.

  5. Melissa Sutherland says:

    Found THE FAMILY hard to watch, for many of the reasons you bring up. But it was worth it to me, finally, for the final episode. It all made a terrible kind of sense at that point. HOLLYWOOD was the first Tarrentino movie that I can say I “enjoyed.” He’s tough and I don’t really admire him much personally (his ties to Weinstein, etc.) but, my god, he did an amazing job with that movie. I remember that summer so well. I was 24, living in Manhattan, working for Universal. I’ve never forgotten the effect everything had on us. I though we’d all “learn” from it, but we didn’t. We never do.

    • sheila says:

      // I was 24, living in Manhattan, working for Universal. I’ve never forgotten the effect everything had on us. //

      Melissa! Wow! That must have been so intense. I can’t even imagine the fear and terror.

      and yes – I love all Tarantino films (except Hard 8) – been a fan from the jump – but this feels really different for me. He’s moving into very interesting areas – feels definitely like his most personal. It’s similar to David Fincher’s Zodiac – Fincher was obsessed with that case – but ALSO obsessed with the San Francisco he remembered from his youth – it was all mixed up into one thing for him and you could feel that in the film.

      The shots in Hollywood of all of the neon lights going on is, perhaps, the single best sequence Tarantino has ever done.

  6. DBW says:

    I just rewatched Hard Times this weekend, too, with some family who were in town for Labor Day. I had to talk them all into it against a lot of resistance, but everyone agreed it’s very entertaining. Walter Hill is fantastic at setting the mood, setting, and atmosphere of Depression-era New Orleans, and the acting is uniformly excellent. It’s some of Bronson’s best work IMO, and Coburn is good, also. I guess it could be said that it’s more of a ‘Guys’ Movie,’ with all the bare-knuckle fighting, but the characters are intriguing, and the story is interesting. Plus, I love Strother Martin–

    “Well, in my third year of studies a small black cloud appeared on campus; I left under it.”
    “What he’s trying to say is that he’s a dyed-in-the-wool hophead.”
    “I have a weakness for opium.”

    • sheila says:

      DBW – no way, you just watched it?? Ha! I love it so much.

      and yes, Strother Martin! In that all-white suit – just fantastic.

      I love the bare knuckle fighting and love seeing Bronson in action. (He did an Elvis film, too. Elvis’ “boxing movie.” Too funny.) Bronson is wonderful here, and I love the whole mood of the film – the clothes, the decor, the feeling that you’re in a real place with real people – it’s amazing.

      Long Riders holds a very special place in my heart too.

  7. carolyn clarke says:

    // played by the great Holt McCallany (great as in capital-G great)//

    He’s been great for a long time. I remember him in CSI-Miami, Blue Bloods and Lights Out. He’s always good even when he does little dopey parts (Justice League, The Losers). But I always see the tragedy in him. He reminds me of Brian Dennehy.

    • sheila says:

      I love that you say you always see the tragedy in him – that’s such a great way to put it. I was not familiar with his work really, so I need to do some homework. He’s so fantastic in this.

  8. Matthew Blankman says:

    I just revisited THE LONG RIDERS via that lovely Kino Lorber blu-ray and I loved it. The first time I’d seen it I thought it was okay, but it didn’t quite click for me. This time, i was all-in. Those scenes between Reed and David Carradine!

    Also, Sheila, in the special features there are a couple of wonderful interviews done somewhat recently with some of the brothers: one with Keith and Robert Carradine and one with Stacy and James Keach and they’re just completely delightful. It sounds like a helluva shoot.

    • sheila says:

      Matt – yes, Reed and Carradine are great! One of the things I love about The Long Riders is its real focus is on the relationships with women these guys have. It’s weird – there are so many great scenes of bank heists, etc., but these men always have women on their minds. It’s kind of unique for a movie like this.

      It must have been a very intense shoot with all those damn BROTHERS around.

    • sheila says:

      and how about early Christopher Guest!! So intense.

    • Dan says:

      I just bought that blu-ray and have been waiting for a sufficient chunk of free time to immerse myself in the film and the special features. Glad to hear the interviews were enjoyable!

      • sheila says:

        Yes! If you feel like it, come and report back.

        I’ve been having so much fun going through Walter Hill’s filmography.

        • Dan says:

          I can confirm I’ve seen and love The Long Riders. Getting the blu-ray was birthday gift to myself, upgrading from my DVD copy.

          I love Walter Hill. I feel like that when it comes to all those great American directors who started in the 70s sometimes he’s left out of the conversation, but the run consisting of Hard Times-The Driver-The Warriors-The Long Riders-Southern Comfort-48 Hours is pretty impressive ‘debut.’
          I’m crossing my fingers and hoping you’re working on a piece about Mr. Hill.

          • sheila says:

            Dan – I am working on something on Walter hill. How did you guess?? :)

            I agree that he is left out of the conversation and I’m not sure why – because they’re genre films? I don’t know. Something like Streets of Fire could be seen as silly or over-designed, I suppose – but I actually find it very deep. Totally entertaining – like a drive-in movie for the MTV crowd.

  9. Sarah says:

    Ugh. “Aquarius!” I remember now, although I really had forgotten. It took a turn there in the middle, didn’t it? I gave myself permission to give up on shows that weren’t fulfilling their promise, and this is one of them. I won’t even start “The Family.” I’m mad enough as it is.

    I’ve had a truly horrific time of it, medically, since OUATIH premiered, and I honestly don’t think I will make it to a theater to see it. This causes me SO MUCH GRIEF, I cannot overstate it here. The day it was released was my last, best chance, and I wish I had just gone that day. I’m so envious, reading of your two viewings! I’ve listened to multiple podcasts about it, I’ve read all the reviews, and I am dying to see it. DYING.

    “Mindhunter” season 2 was the best. I loved every minute of it. Funnily enough, I remembered enough about the Wayne Williams case to know in advance exactly what would happen in the investigation, and it mattered not one bit. Holt McCallany is so much fun to watch do his thing.

    I’ll watch “The 43” based on your words here. I think I avoided it because I tried and mostly succeeded in watching all the episodes of “The Alcàsser Murders,” and my patience for subtitles (and meandering, overly detailed, emotional recitations of facts of the case from multiple sources) exhausted me. Foreign true crime? Do I have to READ it? No thanks :)

    • sheila says:

      Sarah – in re: Aquarius: // It took a turn there in the middle, didn’t it? //

      It did! Suddenly in Season 2, Duchovny’s partner has a heroin addiction – which he apparently had all along in Season 1? It was so clearly “imposed” on the narrative, to just add a layer of complexity – but I was like, “What??” And then Duchovny’s old girlfriend suddenly becomes a Republican Party spokesmodel – determined to get Nixon elected – but … where did THAT come from? It felt like they (as in the people creating the series) didn’t trust what they were doing. There was plenty going on without just adding stuff all over the place to make things more stressful. It was all the “flashbacks” to the Tate house – which, suddenly, runaway girl was supposedly present for?? She’s there in the house? I just don’t agree with that at all.

      This may seem hypocritical in re: my admiration for what QT did with real-life history in Once Upon a Time, and I’ve been thinking a lot about what the difference is. I think I have an idea why I don’t have a problem with QT’s version and I DID have a problem with Aquarius, but I won’t say more because it would be a spoiler. My issues with Aquarius are similar to my issues with that horrible movie The Haunting of Sharon Tate, which “re-imagined” the murder of a very real pregnant woman as a “home invasion” thriller, where suddenly Sharon Tate “fought back” – and I think in a way it blames the victim for being too “passive.”

      anyway. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had health troubles! I hope you are at least on the mend. My best wishes to you.

      and yeah, the whole Wayne Williams thing – just amazing and I loved how the whole season, really, was devoted to that investigation. I LOVED the women who kept the memory of their murdered children alive – they were just fantastic (especially the head lady in charge – fantastic performance from that actress).

      In re: The 43: One of the issues with it, which I just had to ignore, was that the context wasn’t really set up. Like, why were these boys hijacking busses? Nobody really explained it to me, but it seemed – in the world of the film – it was not an out of the ordinary thing to do. So I just had to accept I didn’t really understand why/where those boys were traveling to.

      Besides that, I found it an infuriating story, and well-told with lots of interviews. and the stories from the boys who escaped were just chilling.

  10. Eve says:

    Re: Aquarius…eesh. I was looking forward to seeing it eventually, mostly for Sera Gamble’s and Duchovny’s involvement. (Probably still will, just with my guard up.)

    • sheila says:

      Eve – Yes to Sera Gamble! Season 1 (imo) is definitely worth it – even with their mild futzing of the Manson narrative. There’s a lot of interesting things going on – with good acting – and Gamble is such a good writer. So don’t let me put you off.

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