Old Movie & TV Reviews (Open Thread Too!)

Unless there’s a Hobbit in it, I usually don’t see new movies until they show up on Netflix. Such is the case with Lars von Trier’s 2011 film “Melancholia,” which I recently saw. And was blown away by. Can anyone explain to me why the nephew calls the Kirsten Dunst character “Aunt Steelbreaker”?

Also, I finally broke down and watched the first season and a half of Downton Abbey, and now I get why Michelle Obama leveraged her considerable clout to obtain the third season before it was released in the U.S. I’ve always been a sucker for British period dramas.

What are you watching these days?

218 replies
  1. 1
    smintheus says:

    “The Artist” showed up on Netflix recently. I like the cinematography and obviously the dog, but the story was paper thin.

  2. 2
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    I’m watching/re-watching Alias. I had intermittently watched it when it originally aired, and it’s both better and worse than I remember it being.

  3. 3
    Desargues says:

    Personally, I find von Trier’s stuff soul-crushingly tedious, and only slightly less offputing than the crap of that other pompous ass, mankind-hatin’ European, Hanneke. (I can say this, hailing from Europe myself.)

    I shook with uncontrollable laughter at von Trier’s insultingly stupid move physics. If he expects us to suspend our disbelief at his planetary dynamics, he must be some sort of dimwit.

  4. 4
    gogol's wife says:

    Anything Hitchcock. Anything with Barbara Stanwyck, Cary Grant, Shirley Temple, Humphrey Bogart, Irene Dunne, or Colin Firth in it. Any American movie of the 1930s, preferably pre-1934. I’m just obsessed with the 30s.

  5. 5
    Bill Murray says:

    This has an explanation.


    In this time of crisis, they have to protect the Son, Leo–the nascent Lion King, Harpocrates. Leo calls Dunst “Aunt Steel-Breaker,” i.e., the Grace that will open the Black Iron Prison.

  6. 6
    gogol's wife says:

    After re-reading the original post, I see that “old” means “two or three years old.”

  7. 7
    JGabriel says:

    Bubblegum Tate:

    I’m watching/re-watching Alias. I had intermittently watched it when it originally aired, and it’s both better and worse than I remember it being.

    I sort of like Alias, but I remember thinking that, after Joss Whedon showed everyone how to do prime time serialization right with Buffy and Angel, Alias came along and showed the world how to fuck it up again.


  8. 8
    joel hanes says:

    I’ve seen Lincoln twice.

    I’ll see it again. And again.
    Utterly amazing performances; beautiful staging and lighting, superb costuming.

    If you haven’t seen it, and give one damn about American history or politics, go see it.

  9. 9
    The Red Pen says:

    There is a remarkable amount of nerdy historical research behind Downton Abby. The dresses worn by the women are either from the period or a replica of an actual dress from the period. There’s a book on the production that’s fascinating.

  10. 10
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @joel hanes: I wonder whatever happened to those radical Republicans?

  11. 11
    burnspbesq says:

    Still working my way through season 5 of Mad Men. Hoping Santa brings me Inspector Lewis on DVD.

  12. 12
    JGabriel says:

    Speaking of Alias, what’s up with Abrams’ obsession with Big Red Balls?

    I mean, really, what’s that about?

    I don’t get it.


  13. 13
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @gogol’s wife: I don’t want to be “that guy”, but at least Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart made almost no memorable films in the 30’s. The bulk of their work, and almost everything they are known for today was in the 40’s and into the 50’s.

  14. 14
    catclub says:

    @The Red Pen: Downton Abbey was very well done, and showed the British upper class as a waste of air. I have a hard time sharing their concerns.

    Also, too, The Kings Speech and the British Monarchy, vis a vis, air.

  15. 15

    I watch Yo Gabba Gabba and Little Einsteins the most. If anyone needs some updates on DJ Lance and his crew or Leo’s gang, let me know. We are catching up on Dexter and I convinced my wife to delve into The Wire next. Then Homeland.

  16. 16
    General Stuck says:

    After being profoundly disappointed in Promethius to where I couldn’t watch the entire movie, I been kind of unconcerned about the movies, and don’t have a teevee (exception being a re watch of LOTR’s). Not to mention no real movie theater for 60 miles. This is symphonic Xmas music time for me. Living in that wonder world via XM.

  17. 17
    Betty Cracker says:

    @joel hanes: “Lincoln” is definitely on my list of movies I hope to actually see when they’re available at the local-ish megaplex. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Skyfall on the big screen, but I’m waiting for that to come to our drive-in (yes, they still exist).

  18. 18
    burnspbesq says:

    CNN is playing in the background where I’m having lunch. I’m getting dumber by the second. Gotta get outta here before I turn into AA+ Bonds.

  19. 19
    Aimai says:

    Jekyll, the Stephen moffat six episode bbc series that modernizes jekyll and Hyde. Brilliant.

  20. 20
    James Gary says:

    Am I the only one who found the first season of Downton Abbey brilliantly written, and the second season unimaginatively soap-opera-ish and barely watchable? Just throwing that out there.

  21. 21
    Splitting Image says:

    I’m going through my DVD collection in alphabetical order.

    Recent movies I’ve watched include Psycho, Pirates of the Caribbean, Quick Change, the Princess Bride, Pinocchio, and the whole Pink Panther series.

    I’d never seen Pirates of the Caribbean before. I thought it was a good flick, but like a lot of other live-action cartoons from the past decade it was about a half-hour too long.

    The Princess Bride was so wonderful I watched it twice. I think Quick Change has aged very well too.

    Coming up I have Pulp Fiction, The Purple Rose of Cairo, and The Producers, then I move on to “R”.

  22. 22
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    @joel hanes: It’s great to see Lincoln doing well in theaters.

    …Historically, that hasn’t usually been the case.

  23. 23
    Xantar says:

    @James Gary:

    No, you’re not alone. And in fact some of the actors have said the same thing. I find the third season to be better. It’s still basically a soap opera, but it avoids ridiculous contrivances and miraculous recoveries. It’s unfortunate that it drops a lot of the social class examination that was an important part of Season 1, but it’s eminently watchable.

  24. 24
    scav says:

    I’ll go small and immediate. just this second finished watching this: Chasing Ice in the Arctic. more along the lines of coming attractions or (or non-attractions in subtext, alas!)

  25. 25
    trollhattan says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    Amazon informs me my “North by Northwest” BluRay has shipped and I shall be sharing it with my 5th grader this Christmas vacation. We’re also working our way through the LOTR triology, and she’s getting the books for Christmas.

    In the meantime I caught up with “Boardwalk Empire” on the DVR, cramming in four episodes back to back. Holy moly, that’s some body count and what promises to be quite the season-ender come Sunday.

  26. 26
    Yutsano says:

    One night I was randomly cruising YouTube and came across the first full episode of Maude. I laughed so damn hard that was so genius. And a few of the jokes were dated but it was still fecking brilliant.

  27. 27
    Linda Featheringill says:

    I’ve watched the third season on Downton. The last episode of that season felt like it could have been the series finale. Loose ends were wrapped up so neatly, unlike in real life where there are always questions dangling in the breeze. And frankly, the last one wasn’t all that good.

    Good things happen in the third season, though.

  28. 28
    trollhattan says:

    Also, too, here’s a short film I can get behind.

  29. 29
    Rosalita says:

    I’m also anxiously awaiting the third Season of Downton in January, as well as the next season of SouthLand…

  30. 30
    PsiFighter37 says:

    Shoot me, but I was not a big fan of Skyfall. I’d say it was even weaker than Quantum of Solace.

    Teevee-wise, I don’t watch anything live anymore. I will say that this season of It’s Always Sunny has been consistently hilarious, though. Still sphincter-clenchingly hilarious after 8 seasons…impressive. I also caught up on full season 1 of House of Lies. I really like it, even though the topic and the characters are almost irredeemable.

  31. 31
    the Conster says:

    Homeland. It’s just so good.

    Also, just saw Lincoln and it started me off on a Wikipedia bender, starting with Thaddeus Stevens. Being from Massachusetts though, I think my hero from that whole time was and always will be Robert Gould Shaw. Jeebus, those well bred Brahmins with their courage and their principles really fucking rocked.

  32. 32
    Betty Cracker says:

    @James Gary: I haven’t gotten completely through the second season yet, but I am not finding it as compelling as the first. I’m still enjoying it, but I’m not staying up late to watch the next one. I thought it was just me, but maybe you’re on to something there…

    @Aimai: I’ll have to check that out. I’ve always liked the J&H story…even on Scooby Doo!

  33. 33
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    @smintheus: I wouldn’t call it paper thin so much as derivative. It’s basically a mashup of Singin’ in the Rain and Sunset Blvd, but with a twist – instead of going talkie it goes silent.

    I saw Lincoln and thought it was great. Also, the new Bond film was pretty fantastic if you like that sort of thing. I just tried the first episode of The Tudors last night on Amazon streaming. I’m reserving judgement until I’ve watched an episode or two more, but I wasn’t that impressed.

  34. 34
    donovong says:

    I am seriously contemplating whether to send the required $120 to PBS in order to get Season 3 of Downton Abbey now. Of course, it would be wifey’s early Xmas gift. It’s not for me, I swear.

  35. 35
    trollhattan says:

    Hazy memories, but the Maude character was never as funny on the eponymous show as she was when battling Archie on “All in the Family.” Much like his wars with George Jefferson, they were a thing for the ages.

  36. 36
    meander says:

    I’ve been diving into film noir and other movies from the 1940s and 1950s, among other things. A lot of duds, of course, like the complete story crash at the end of “This Gun for Hire” (which I got because Veronica Lake is a co-star). But also some gems, like “Sullivan’s Travels” (a socially-aware comedy co-starring Lake, written and directed by Preston Sturges), “Side Street” (a desperate man gets more than he bargains for; directed by Nicholas Ray), “Gun Crazy” and the 1939 version of “Hunchback of Notre Dame” (“Sanctuary! Sanctuary! Sanctuary!”)

    I thoroughly enjoyed Nature’s “My Life as a Turkey” on PBS. It first aired in 2011 and was brought back in 2012 for turkey season. The compelling and lovely 1-hour film is a dramatic recreation of a man’s attempt to raise a flock of wild turkeys after he finds a basket of recently laid eggs on his doorstep in the wilds of Florida. Since he is the first thing they see after hatching, they think he is Mother and follow him everywhere. The film has wonderful images, like close-up shots of turkeys hunting for grasshoppers, or a snake drinking water from a cupped leaf. Really top-flight work by the Nature crew.

  37. 37
    Supernumerary Charioteer says:

    Lost my Netflix, so I haven’t been watching as much TV – and what I’ve been watching has been cartoons. Adventure Time, Regular Show, My Little Pony, awaiting Gravity Falls whenever it comes back on and, on the Internet Box, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.

  38. 38
    Hill Dweller says:

    @trollhattan: I came very close to giving up on Boardwalk during the first season, but, thankfully, gutted it out. Season two was much better, IMO. Season three has been very good, and I can’t wait to see how they finish the season Sunday.

  39. 39
    Rosalita says:


    One night I was randomly cruising YouTube and came across the first full episode of Maude

    Move ahead a decade and you’ll hit another show that still is funny as hell: Murphy Brown… I loved her and her Dan Quayle bashing was priceless.

  40. 40
    marindenver says:

    Just watched the finale of Treme – I love that show. Not as good as The Wire but great in its own way – especially the music. I’m going to miss it but now I have the new season of Smash to look forward to. I’m not normally a soap fan but I’m a complete sucker for musicals and they really do a good job with the production numbers. Hope this season is as good as the first!

  41. 41
    Culture of Truth says:

    Homeland, Revolution. You know, realistic shows.

  42. 42
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    @James Gary: No, you’re not. There was a conspiracy theory that they were screwing with us in the second season, it was that over the top. When he regained use of his legs and his wonderful fiance died off (conveniently) I was ready to give up on the show.

    I’m optimistic they’ll be leaving the over the top stuff behind now that the war is over. I think the inheritor who supposedly died on the Titanic will make a reappearance and the squabble over the estate will push the show back towards its roots.

  43. 43
    randiego says:

    I just got the special edition Lawrence of Arabia blu-ray box. Sony really put some time, effort and money into this one. It has some stunning visuals – not nearly as good as seeing it in it’s intended big screen – but impressive for a blu-ray. If you’ve got over 3 1/2 hours to spare, this is fantastic. Also a fairly good primer on middle east problems and the basis of issues that are still unresolved. They don’t make movies like this anymore – Hollywood wouldn’t touch it these days.

  44. 44
    the Conster says:


    Nothing ever will ever be as good as The Wire, but I really enjoy Treme, too. How can you go wrong with David Simon, music, food and corruption?

  45. 45

    @meander: The Duckumentary that PBS put out in 2010 or so is fantastic as well.


  46. 46
    ericblair says:


    I shook with uncontrollable laughter at von Trier’s insultingly stupid move physics. If he expects us to suspend our disbelief at his planetary dynamics, he must be some sort of dimwit.

    Eh, well, the planet’s just supposed to be the Doomy Doom of Doom, and not worth bothering about the eleventy different ways the physics is fucked up. It’s the Hi I’m Depressed movie, told from the depressive’s point of view, and everybody but the main character is a depressive’s caricature of some person in their life. Sort of interesting if you’re wondering how depressed people look at the world, but gets kinda draggy. I’m guessing no sequel.

  47. 47
    Culture of Truth says:

    Is Lincoln necessary to see on a big screen? We concluded Cloud Atlas was, but that’s not always true.

  48. 48
    satby says:

    Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the release of Casablanca tonight by watching it on DVD.

    Loved Downton Abbey and can’t wait for season 3, too.

  49. 49
    trollhattan says:

    @Hill Dweller:
    Completely agree. There was so much exposition and so bloody many characters to try and keep track of I needed a syllabus and film major to halfway follow it–lacking both I reluctantly continued with season two and finally was hooked.

    Since then I think there’s been a 3:1 ratio of bumping off:introducing new characters. Much tidier!

  50. 50
    donnah says:

    Rewatching “Luther” on Netflix. British police crime drama, brilliantly cast with Idris Elba, who plays the tortured lead with amazing skill. I already know what will happen and I’m still on the edge of my seat. Watch the series if you have a chance. It is remarkable.

  51. 51
    Hill Dweller says:

    @the Conster: I’ve been disappointed with season two of Homeland. There were some good episodes, but a lot of bad, too.

  52. 52
    Betty Cracker says:

    @What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ): GAH! Spoiler! (It’s okay…that’s what I get for being a johnny-come-lately.)

  53. 53
    Zifnab25 says:


    Shoot me, but I was not a big fan of Skyfall. I’d say it was even weaker than Quantum of Solace.

    THANK YOU! I was convinced I was the only one that thought this way. It was one giant wank to its own franchise. The villain was magical-hacker crazy-evil-gay, which ranked him below the Russia turn-coat scientist from Golden Eye in terms of lame Bond villains. The plot was thin. The acting was incredibly forced. The fight scenes were almost deliberately anti-climactic.

    Argh! The more I think about it, the worse the movie gets. It’s like Prometheus all over again!

  54. 54
  55. 55
    the Conster says:

    Another little movie that’s been on HBO for a while about a close by planet that just appears, is Another Earth. It’s thought provoking and very indie. The ending is great, and takes place in New Haven, CT, of all places. Low budget!

  56. 56
    Bubblegum Tate says:


    Not a bad summation. At its best, Alias was charming in its ridiculousness, but I remember from watching it back in the day that as the Rambaldi stuff moved from MacGuffin to real things with real plot ramifications, the show got lost in its own mythology and became rather unbearable.

    And while I enjoyed the action sequences for the most part, they became very repetitive.

  57. 57
    lamh35 says:

    I get Downton Abbey free on my new Kindle Fire (I also am paying for Amazon Prime). I tend to not steer towards the hyped thing of the day, but I may just give this a chance when I can.

    Also in the new upcoming X-Men movie (which also heralds the return of Bryan Singer, the original director and best director of the whole franchise, IMHO), Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen return as Prof X and Magneto and Michael Fassbender as young Magneto and James McElvoy as young Xavier from First Class…where can I sign up


  58. 58
    Peter says:

    I recently discovered that Netflix has all of The X-Files, so I’ve been watching that. I missed out on it when it was originally airing, between being too young and not having cable. Just finished season one, enjoying it so far.

    On the Japanese front, I’m watching the new anime adaptation of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. It’s everything I could have hoped for.

  59. 59
    JPL says:

    @Betty Cracker: The Christmas episode of Downton makes up for the season, imo. The writing was great.
    Does episode 3 have a Christmas episode and if so, has it aired yet?
    What has Michele Obama done, that deserved an advanced copy of Downton? Oh yeah, she’s the First Lady.

  60. 60
    Chris says:

    @General Stuck:

    After being profoundly disappointed in Promethius to where I couldn’t watch the entire movie

    I still haven’t seen all the Alien or Predator movies, but I remember thinking what a waste of a good movie it was that Prometheus had to be yet another one of these “meaning of life/origin of humanity/is there a God or were we created by aliens?” movies. Damn it, I don’t watch these movies for the humans! Show me the origin story of the Aliens, or the Predators (wasn’t it established in one of the crossovers that they’re the ones who created the Aliens as “perfect game?”), they’re what keeps us coming back to those series.

  61. 61
    trollhattan says:

    @the Conster:
    I thihk “Treme” tries to be a grand arc in the “Wire” mold but satisfies instead by crafting a string of perfect homan moments. Simon takes his sweet time fleshing out his characters. Likewise, I forbid anybody from watching “The Wire” out of sequence.

  62. 62
    the Conster says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    Their bad episodes are still better than 99.95% of everything else.

  63. 63
    Elizabelle says:

    Slightly OT, but the NYTimes has a front page picture of Lindsey Graham snarling and looking like anything found under a white sheet or portraying Tom Ewell (Mayelle’s father from To Kill a Mockingbird.)

    You have got to check it out.

  64. 64
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Culture of Truth: I watch Revolution as well. Like the plot a lot (I’m a sucker for dystopia and post-apocalyptic stuff), but goddamn the acting is C-level stuff.

  65. 65
    trollhattan says:

    “X-Files” eventually went off the rails but the first couple seasons were FUN.

  66. 66
    JPL says:

    @donovong: Make sure that you can play it on your dvd. If it says British only, you can’t or so I’ve been told.

  67. 67
    lamh35 says:

    @lamh35: they also say that the First Class “Beast” and “Mystique” (Jennifer Lawrence) are also confirmed for the new movie…can Rebecca Romjin, Kelsey Grammer or Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine be far behind….!

  68. 68
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Elizabelle: Jay-zus, you’re right!

  69. 69
    Hill Dweller says:

    @the Conster:

    Their bad episodes are still better than 99.95% of everything else.

    Granted, but Homeland is being held to the standard they set in season one, which is proving hard to duplicate in season two. For whatever reason(s), the creators have decided to fall back on some of the same plot gimmicks they used in 24.

  70. 70
    hitchhiker says:

    @James Gary:

    Raises hand. Me too, me too.
    Been living in the spinal-cord-injury world for more than a decade now & that was just about the most offensive nonsense imaginable. Worse than soap opera.

  71. 71
    Chris says:


    Shoot me, but I was not a big fan of Skyfall. I’d say it was even weaker than Quantum of Solace.

    Well, shoot me too, but I actually liked Quantum of Solace. Shitty camera work was shitty, YES, I am totally on board with that. But other than that I rather enjoyed the movie and thought it got way too much hate.

  72. 72
    Desargues says:

    @ericblair: Got it. It did demoralize me, though.

  73. 73
    Shana says:

    Hubby and I recently watched “Sherlock” after being badgered for months by the L&T daughters. Really enjoyed it and are looking forward to the third season, although it’s so annoying that they consider a season to be 3 episodes.

  74. 74
    Elizabelle says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    It’s his “Mad Cracker” face. Not his Meet the Press “indoor voice” persona.

  75. 75
    gelfling545 says:

    I watched about half the episodes of the Dresden Files on Netflix. This was in consequence of a discussion about light reading recommendations with one of my favorite book people over Thanksgiving. I may take the plunge & buy one of the books. Show was not bad & just different enough to pique one’s interest while not requiring great intellectual investment. (In other words, I could shut it off & go to sleep without feeling compelled to see the last episodes.)

  76. 76
    randiego says:

    @Shana: I just read since all involved are currently busy, the third season probably won’t be completed and shown in Britain until the end of 2013; for US it would be early 2014 if we’re lucky.

  77. 77
    Robert says:

    The Sessions is really good. It’s based on the real story of Mark O’Brien, a professional poet and writer who lived most of his life in an iron lung. He’s hired by a magazine to write an article on sex and the disabled and winds up in one on one therapeutic sessions with a sex surrogate to learn how to please a woman.

    Very funny and filled with a lot of diversity you don’t normally see on film. I’m talking good supporting roles played by older actors, minorities, and even a young woman with a genetic disorder who needs a wheel chair.

    It’s slowly expanding nationwide and should be a big player at the Oscars. John Hawkes and Helen Hunt will probably be nominated in lead actor and supporting actress. Adapted screenplay and makeup seem likely, as well. Here’s my review.

  78. 78
    jacy says:

    The second season of The Hour starts tomorrow on BBC America, with Dominic West, Romola Garai and the marvelous Ben Whishaw. If you stay up late tonight you can watch the first six hours (last season) on Netflix. It’s worth it.

    Other than that, waiting to see if anybody is still alive on Sons of Anarchy for next week’s season finale and waiting not-so-patiently for the return of my two favorites Justified and Suits

    Another recommendation — the single season of Terriers. It was the best series I’ve seen on TV in the last 10 years.

  79. 79
    cosima says:

    What was his old movie? Breaking the Waves? That movie blew me away — I loved that the ending was one that you ultimately had to figure out for yourself. It was so intense.

    This morning my 7-yr-old daughter & I watched the StoryCorps animated clips DVD. We both cried. I cried like a big baby.

    My husband is bugging me to go to Skyfall with him, and we’ll go as a family to see The Hobbit.

    Really like Downtown Abbey, but it’s got nothing on the old Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth (swoon).

  80. 80
    Lolis says:

    It never seems to get mentioned but I love The Good Wife on CBS. I am also watching Homeland and Downton Abbey. I started watching Waking Dead but I think it is so-so.

  81. 81
    Chris says:

    @Splitting Image:

    I’d never seen Pirates of the Caribbean before. I thought it was a good flick, but like a lot of other live-action cartoons from the past decade it was about a half-hour too long.

    Speaking as a Millennial, in an age when movie markets are heavy with sequels, prequels, remakes, reboots and adaptations, I enjoyed POTC as one of the few original action franchises of my era.

    (Yes, I know there was a Disney ride. But the Disney ride didn’t provide them with well established characters, plotlines, formulas, themes, etc, the way comic books or previous movies do).

    And I don’t mean to say that I hated all the sequels, prequels, remakes, reboots and adaptations, I enjoyed most of them. I just like to see original stuff as well.

  82. 82
    Hungry Joe says:

    @Desargues: Yeah, but have you seen “The Kingdom,” von Trier’s 1990’s TV miniseries (available as a 5-hour movie) that takes place in a Danish hospital? Phantom ambulances, a secret doctor cult, an ex-pat Swedish neurosurgeon who hates everything Danish, a baby that grows and grows and grows … hilarious, creepy, mesmerizing.

  83. 83
    Ash says:

    @Desargues: Considering the whole movie was a metaphor I’m not really sure why you were looking so hard at the planetary dynamics.

  84. 84
    Allen says:

    I thought season 2 of Downton Abbey sucked compared to season 1, season 3 is better than season 2 but no season 1.

  85. 85
    gene108 says:


    The big disappointment for my with Skyfall was they completely ignored the story arc they built up with the first two Craig movies.

    The focus of those two movies was a secret sinister group called Quantum. I found it interesting that they were going back to the SPECTRE sort of idea, instead of hashing out unconnected villains.

    Then Skyfall comes out and the earlier story arc is abandoned.

  86. 86
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Robert: I don’t know if I can watch The Sessions unless there’s some way to edit Helen Hunt out of every scene. I cannot STAND that woman; she ruins every movie she’s in. I’m aware I’m practically alone in this opinion, but there it is…

  87. 87
    Steeplejack says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    [. . .] Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart made almost no memorable films in the ’30s.

    Totally true, except for Topper, The Awful Truth, Bringing Up Baby, Gunga Din (Grant) and The Petrified Forest, Dead End, Angels with Dirty Faces, Dark Victory, The Roaring Twenties (Bogart).

  88. 88
    gene108 says:


    Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine be far behind….!

    Too damn tall to play Wolverine.

    In the comics Logan’s 5’3″ tall. That’s what helped make him so bad ass. A little guy, who on first glance you think you can take in a fight, but it turns out you are wrong, so very very wrong.

  89. 89
    JGabriel says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Cary Grant … made almost no memorable films in the 30’s.

    Just off the top of my head, Bringing Up Baby and Holiday are both from the 30s. Also Topper, The Awful Truth, Only Angels Have Wings, Blonde Venus with Marlene Dietrich, and, with Mae West, She Done Him Wrong and I’m No Angel.


  90. 90
    Chris says:


    I think the logic was that they were doing the same thing they had been with Connery – two movies with SPECTRE/Quantum, take a break in the middle with a stand-alone story about an unrelated villain, then bring back SPECTRE/Quantum bigger and badder than ever.

    I expect that story arc won’t be wrapped up until Craig’s last movie, so he can go out with a bang.

  91. 91
    Chris says:


    Ooooo, I loved Gunga Din. For a die-hard fan of the Indiana Jones trilogy, it’s an awesome earlier version of that.

    Next time I watch the Indy movies, I think I’ll round them out with that instead of Crystal Skull.

  92. 92
    Rafer Janders says:

    @James Gary:

    Am I the only one who found the first season of Downton Abbey brilliantly written, and the second season unimaginatively soap-opera-ish and barely watchable?

    I was also extremely puzzled by their timeline. Season One covered April 1912 (right after the Titanic sinking) to summer 1914 (start of WWI). Season Two then jumped two years to pick up in 1916 and ended in 1920, a period of four years.

    However, since both seasons were shot within about a year of each other, you had characters who had aged eight years in show time looking the same from season to season — especially incongruous in the case of the younger cast members such as Sybil Crawley, who was supposed to be 18 in 1912 and had somehow only aged to be 21 by 1919….

    This is only going to be compounded with additional seasons, as they’ve signed on for a Season Four.

  93. 93
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    What are you watching these days?

    EvenTheLiberalMSNBC, where unrepentant Iraq hawk Michael O’Hanlon just said he was glad Condi Rice’s incompetence wasn’t held against her when she was nominated for SoS, and Tweety just announced an upcoming interview with “the great Claire McCaskill”, and he wasn’t snarking.
    ETA: And now he’s talking deficits and cliffs with Alan Simpson. I don’t know what they’re saying, muted, but it can’t be good. Kee-rist.

  94. 94
    Capt. Seaweed says:


    Romola Garai


  95. 95
    handsmile says:

    On most Open Threads over the past several days, a number of commenters have written of their deep appreciation of and emotional reaction to Lincoln. I added my own voice to the chorus of praise on Sunday’s OT “Eye Candy.”

    Lincoln is extraordinary, with a screenplay by Tony Kushner, playwright best known for Angels is America, which will become legendary. The performances, from major to minor characters alike, are of a uniform excellence rarely encountered. Perhaps the film’s one drawback is that it will result in a rather dull Oscar ceremony next spring. It really should not be missed.

    In fact, given the film’s relevance to many of the principal concerns of this blog (spoiler alert: it has nothing to do with pets, sports or food), it might be interesting to have a thread devoted to Lincoln alone or perhaps broadened to favorite historical films.

    @Culture of Truth:

    If for no other reason than the film’s emotional wallop, I’d recommend seeing it for the first time on the big screen. I suspect that like many you will want to view Lincoln again once it’s released on DVD simply to savor the screenplay (by pausing and repeating).

  96. 96
    Culture of Truth says:

    @PsiFighter37: I’m a sucker for that stuff too. What gets me is apparently there only like 12 people left on Earth after the blackout.

  97. 97
    Capt. Seaweed says:

    Japanese movie: Departures. Best movie I’ve seen all year. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen, actually.


  98. 98
    rlrr says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    “the great Claire McCaskill”, and he wasn’t snarking.

    Great compared with Todd Akin…

  99. 99
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Michelle Obama leveraged her considerable clout to obtain the third season before it was released in the U.S.


  100. 100
    JGabriel says:

    @Steeplejack: Heh. Two minds with the same thought. Looks like we posted close to simultaneously.

  101. 101
    Elizabelle says:


    I’m hoping to see an early matinee of “Lincoln” tomorrow. Or this week.

  102. 102
    Ruckus says:

    That was fucking hellerious.
    My lesbian friends don’t do men though. Not even on a bet.

  103. 103
    Ash Can says:

    And in other news, Charles Johnson at LGF has front-paged video of Pat Robertson calling bullshit on creationism and saying that people shouldn’t turn their backs on science. Imagine all the heads that are exploding right now…

  104. 104
    aimai says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    I tried boardwalk, a lot of people I respect love it, but I thought the acting was just abysmal–there wasn’t one actor I liked to watch–maybe I should have stuck it out past the first three episodes. Can I just start again in season two?


  105. 105
    Scott says:

    I watched the Ken Burns documentary “The Dust Bowl”. Found it very good and enlightening. Inspired, I just read “The Grapes of Wrath” for the first time. The movie is next. What is astonishing is that 73 years after the novel was written, we are still dealing with the same issues of banking, dumping on the poor and downtrodden, and generally cruelty to those less fortunate. Just substitute Mexicans for Okies and you’ll find nothing changed. I would recommend Grapes of Wrath to anyone who wants to remember our past and see our present in a clearer light.

  106. 106
    mainmati says:

    Just saw “Argo”. Great character driven film. With the greatest take away line “Argo f##k yourself.

  107. 107
    Chris says:

    Hmm. Only slightly related, but Facebook Wingnut Barometer reports that wingnuts have now learned to like the Hunger Games, now that someone somewhere has come up with the theory that Obammunist America, where “DC has power and wealth while the rest of the country suffers,” is just like it. One of the people comments something like “I know it was written as an allegory for the Bush years, but I like it so much more now that I see it from that POV.”

    Whew! Glad another piece of pop culture has now passed the test into Ideologically Acceptable territory.

  108. 108
    canuckistani says:

    I’m finally getting close to the end of The Wire, and damn, it’s good. If it isn’t the best TV show ever, it’s sure in the top 10. Back to season 2 of Mad men when it’s done.

  109. 109
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    I love Downton Abbey. I good movie I saw recently was Outsourced.

  110. 110
    Chris says:

    @Ash Can:

    I think Pat Robertson’s been gradually sidelined as irrelevant and past his prime even in the fundiegelical community for some time. This’ll just confirm their opinion that they need to find them some Truer Believers.

    (James Dobson was the popular one when I was hanging out in fundie circles in the mid-2000s. Maybe he still is).

  111. 111

    Just finished watching the whole Sports Night series on Netflix.

    Really liked it when it was first on the air, and I still do.

  112. 112
    Cassidy says:

    I’ve been watching Revolution and Arrow. Revolution is getting tedious, but Arrow is surprisingly well done.

  113. 113
    donovong says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Thanks, loads. Damn near succumbed to a virus from that fucking site.

  114. 114
    Steeplejack says:


    With most DVD players, you can look up a code on the Interwebs to make them “region free.”

  115. 115
    VinegarHill says:

    I’ve been obsessively watching The Good Wife. I hadn’t watched it at all but then randomly saw a few episodes at the gym, so I’ve been watching it from the beginning via Netflix dvds. For some reason you can’t stream it anywhere except for Amazon Prime where you have to pay for each episode.

    Is it just me or is this show hugely influenced by The Wire? It’s still network TV so they obviously have certain restrictions. For example, many episodes revolve around a court case that’s wrapped up at the end of the episode, something you would never see in The Wire. It’s hard for me to describe exactly what reminds of The Wire: The ambiguousness of many of the characters? The way it shows the overlap between the legal and political worlds in Chicago? The fact that Wire alums keep popping up? I’ve lost track of exactly how many but so far I’ve seen Sonja Sohn (Kima), Frankie Faison (Commissioner Burrell), Chad Coleman(Cutty), Pablo Schreiber (Nick Sobotka), Gbenga Akinnagbe (Chris Partlow), and J.D Williams (Bodie)in two different roles. Also, doesn’t the character of the drug kingpin, Lemond Bishop, seem exactly like the kind person that Stringer Bell was trying to become?

    Anyway, in spite of it’s limitations it’s a really great show that I highly recommend.

  116. 116
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:


    My understanding was that some of them completely loved it from the beginning. Big oppressive government run by perverse elitists who dressed funny (someone said it was obvious they were liberals) making the lives of normal, rural, hunting and fishing folk miserable. They really didn’t see it the way I did.

  117. 117
    srv says:

    You might very will think you’re not ignorant if you haven’t seen the original House of Cards on netflix. But you are going to look like a boob when Kevin Spacey’s remake comes out in February.

    Merge Downtown Abbey with the Manchurian Candidate and you get the idea.

  118. 118
    bemused says:

    Spoiler Alert to Downton Abbey fans:

    If you read the article about Michelle getting 3rd season, DO NOT click on The Sun link which casually dropped a sentence revealing a key event in season 3. Grumble, grumble.

  119. 119
    WaterGirl says:

    @jacy: Thanks for the reminder about The Hour!

    I see that the first 6 episodes – from 2011 – are playing on BBC America starting at noon ET Wednesday, so I am recording last season plus the new season premier in the evening.

    Edit: and I see now that you also mentioned Terriers. One of the best shows. Ever. So sad that they cancelled it.

    Edit 2: now I see you also mentioned Justified. Loved it the season before, last season left me kind of cold. What did you think of last season?

    Also love Suits, we could apparently be TV buddies.

  120. 120
    Ash Can says:

    @Chris: Then maybe this was his way of saying “Fuck it, I’m outa here.”

  121. 121
    Steeplejack says:


    I haven’t seen the show–I have actually sort of avoided it–but the books are pretty good. As with a lot of series, the first book (maybe two) is a little tentative, but once the fictional world is set things move along quite nicely.

    . . . Ah! Synchronicity. Your comment reminded me to check to see when the next Harry Dresden book is coming out, and it is today. I will download.

  122. 122
    👽 Martin says:


    But other than that I rather enjoyed the movie and thought it got way too much hate.

    The writing was weak, on account of the writers strike. And the plot was very weak considering it was the 2nd part of a story arc. Frankly, it was a bit of a mess.

    That said, it wasn’t a bad Bond. But after going through the star-wars-prequelification of the franchise, seeing it rebuild somewhat with Brosnan only to collapse with Die Another Day, Casino Royale was a much, much welcome reboot. Everyone was worried that this reboot would degrade into the same sort of 80s dreck, so any slip in Quantum was going to be harshly met, and any recovery in Skyfall would be roundly praised.

    It’s the same sort of relative measures that drive politics. Good and bad don’t matter so much as better or worse. Quantum was worse than Casino. Skyfall better than Quantum.

    Personally, I liked Skyfall a great deal. It was a very different formulation for Bond. It took evil mastermind to an absurd level (though well acted) and I would have dialed that back, but everything else around it was quite good and welcome. I think fans want a more grounded Bond – I think Bourne set everyone’s sights a bit more on what an action spy film should look like. It’s not supposed to be a sci-fi or superhero film, and Bond is supposed to be a more flawed character – and we got to see more of that finally. And we might be seeing long-term character development, which would also be welcome.

  123. 123
    handsmile says:

    @Hungry Joe:

    Lars von Trier. His very name is fighting words among cinephiles.

    Love him, hate him, praise him, curse him (I’ve done all); watch some films multiple times, be unable to sit through one even once (that too), it’s indisputable that von Trier has made some of the most celebrated and controversial films of the past two decades (Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Antichrist).

    The bifurcated plot of Melancholia puzzled me more than its fictitious astrophysics.

    Happy you mentioned The Kingdom, a brilliant work originally done as a series for Danish television that deserves to be far better known and appreciated.

  124. 124
    Steeplejack says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I know what you mean. I don’t know exactly what it is, but Helen Hunt really rubs me the wrong way. Just the thought of Mad About You gives me the willies.

  125. 125
    Violet says:

    Watched “Butter” OnDemand over the Thanksgiving holiday. Not a great movie, but funny and made me laugh.

  126. 126
    Steeplejack says:


    Two hours of the Humidity Channel would be better than Crystal Skull.

  127. 127
    Thoughtcrime says:


    I found the von Trier comedy, “The Boss of It All”, quite amusing:



    “The owner of an IT firm wants to sell up. The trouble is that when he started his firm he invented a nonexistent company president to hide behind when unpopular steps needed taking. When potential purchasers insist on negotiating with the “Boss” face to face the owner has to take on a failed actor to play the part. The actor suddenly discovers he is a pawn in a game that goes on to sorely test his (lack of) moral fibre.”

  128. 128
    the antibob says:

    Try the anti-Melancholia end of the world movie “Fish Story.” Available on Netflix. It’s the exact polar opposite of the Lars Von Trier movie. Great Fun. Also, “The Host” starring Duncan Black’s sister-in-law. Fantastic tragicomic monster movie. Nothing like it in American cinema.

  129. 129
    donnah says:

    Oh, I love Helen Hunt!

    esp this:


  130. 130
    WaterGirl says:

    @Hungry Joe: Just wondered if you had seen my (very late) reply to your comment on the artists thread from last night.

    I went to a friend’s house for dinner and the latest 4 episodes of Homeland, so I didn’t get back to the thread until this morning.

    Loving Homeland again this season. There’s some really amazing acting on that show.

  131. 131
    vheidi says:

    @donnah: Thanks, we’d just concluded that that’s tonight’s entertainment
    eta: because we’ve finished the Homeland discs. Also liked Single-handed, beautiful west Ireland scenery + cop show; Love Lie to me, too. Thought Skyfall was brilliant, and well worth seeing in the theatre.

  132. 132
    jacy says:

    @Capt. Seaweed:


    That’s what my other half says. Even I think she’s pretty hot.


    You’re welcome! I have a handy TV database spreadsheet where I keep track of these things, because I’m pathetic that way.

  133. 133
    Violet says:

    @WaterGirl: Just wanted to let you know that I just got your email and am in the process of replying.

  134. 134
    Raven says:

    If you like Dowton Abbey pick up

    My Boy Jack
    about Kipling’s son in WWI

    All The Kings Men

    about the Sandringham Company, the Kings “downstairs” staff at Gallipoli

    Maggie is the Queen in this one. They are both true stories and none of the soap opera gas seen in DA.

  135. 135
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Scott: “The Grapes of Wrath” is quite possibly the best American novel. Ever.

  136. 136
    quannlace says:

    Saw two movies recently where I was floored by the natural beauty of it’s young actresses.

    Jane Eyre. The 1942 version. IIn her childhood scenes at Lowood, her best friend, Helen Burns is played by a very young Elizaeth Taylor, who simply glows in these black and white scenes.
    Re-watched a ‘Room With A View”. Helena Bonham Carter is a bit pouty-lipped, but lovely.

  137. 137
    JPL says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Why doesn’t she just watch the whitey tapes

  138. 138
    Raven says:

    @cosima: Insanely great movie!

  139. 139
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Steeplejack: Compared against Suspicion, Notorious, North by Northwest or The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, Key Largo, Treasure of the Sierra Madre etc etc I’d say the 30’s were not the high points of their careers.

  140. 140
    Maude says:

    You’re in sync with ebooks. An addiction.

  141. 141
    JPL says:

    Homeland is the most compelling drama on tv and after the Petraeus affair, it doesn’t seem far-fetched.
    USA is my online network to watch shows though. I enjoy White Collar, Burn Notice and Suits. They won’t win an emmy for acting but they are enjoyable. I watched four season of Breaking Bad and discovered they are all bad.

  142. 142
    Chris says:

    @Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony:

    I could see that. Guess it’s just the wingnuts on my Facebook, then. They seem to be just discovering that view of Hunger Games.

    @Ash Can:

    I’d love it if one of those grifters came out at the end of his career and said “yeah, I totally milked you stupid shits for money, I didn’t believe a fucking word I was saying.”



    Look, I liked the Star Wars prequels. I liked Clone Wars (the 2008 series that’s still ongoing, not the earlier one). I even liked Young Indy. So you can’t call me picky. And when even I say Crystal Skull sucked, then it must really have sucked.

  143. 143
    jacy says:


    I thought the last season of Justifed was good although you’re right, it didn’t have the weight of the season before.

    The whole Bennet Clan and seeing why Dickie and Raylan are arch enemies and watching poor Boyd Crowder come to the slow realization that is destiny is always going to be on the other side of the law no matter how much he wanted to be a stand-up guy. And nobody writes dialogue better than Elmore Leonard. (Pah, I wish it was January already…)

  144. 144
    Steeplejack says:

    I belatedly saw The Campaign over the weekend, thought it was very funny. Better than I thought it would be.

    I’m probably going to see Skyfall tomorrow. I have liked the Daniel Craig Bond movies, although I get some of the criticism of Quantum of Solace. I haven’t had a slice of big-screen action in a while, so there you go.

    Someone convince me why I shouldn’t erase all 19 episodes of Game of Thrones from the DVR. I just don’t seem to get around to watching them, even though people say it’s the best thing since talkies came in. If I watch the first episode, will I get hooked? I guess I should do that.

    The battle for disappearing DVR space is a continuous one.

  145. 145
    rdldot says:

    @Scott: You should also read The Worst Hard Time – the doc was based on that book

  146. 146
    Steeplejack says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    That may be true, but that’s not what you said. Your exact words were “made almost no memorable films in the ’30s.” Demonstrably untrue.

  147. 147

    “Melancholia,” like a lot of Magnolia Films releases, was broadcast on HDNet the Wednesday before it was released in theaters. So we taped it. It took me two nights to watch it and I still haven’t finished. I kept falling asleep. But I fell asleep in “Lincoln” too. I think it needed more zombies.

    So, in non-film news, Thomas Ricks is reiterating that he did NOT apologize to Fox News for calling them an arm of the Republican Party.

    “Clemente is making it up, and it is sloppy of Hollywood Reporter to not ask him for specifics (what exactly am I alleged to have said?) and also to seek a response from me,” Ricks wrote in an e-mail. “Why are they doing this? Because their MO is that when the facts aren’t on their side, they attack the person.”

    I keep waiting for the day when the MSM wakes up and comes to the same conclusion. It’s shameful that they’re treated as legitimate news media by their peers.

  148. 148
    LanceThruster says:

    Boardwalk Empire and Dexter.

    Tried to watch Costner’s “The Hatfields and the McCoys” on History Channel over Thanksgiving, but while I liked what I saw, it bugged me that THC bleeped out the swear words (even minor ones, even on CC no less), and though the commercial breaks were short, the duration of program they’d show before the commercial break was also maddenly short.

  149. 149
    Steeplejack says:


    It is scary, isn’t it?

  150. 150
    Chris says:

    @👽 Martin:

    The writing, I can see, but I didn’t think the plot was that weak. Tracks down the organization he uncovered in the previous movie, stumbles across one of their operations and monkey-wrenches it, acquiring a ton of useful information in the process. Worked for me.

    Agree that it’s all relative to some extent, though, and also that I liked Skyfall too. For the “grounded Bond,” I’d actually credit Dalton – still my favorite – before Bourne. But I guess audiences weren’t as ready for it at the time, based on his only staying for two movies.

  151. 151
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    @trollhattan: I too was a bit overwhelmed by Boardwalk’s numerous plots and characters at first (though not nearly as bas as Game of Thrones in that regard), but man once you get acclimated, it is simply superb.


    I was incredibly upset at some of the characters who have exited Boardwalk, especially Jimmy and his wife. But the characters that have been introduced have been awesome. Rosetti is one of the few characters I have ever seen that is actually scary to the point where I bet that my pulse actually increases every time he’s on screen. The writing this season has been amazing.

  152. 152
    Rafer Janders says:


    “The owner of an IT firm wants to sell up. The trouble is that when he started his firm he invented a nonexistent company president to hide behind when unpopular steps needed taking. When potential purchasers insist on negotiating with the “Boss” face to face the owner has to take on a failed actor to play the part. The actor suddenly discovers he is a pawn in a game that goes on to sorely test his (lack of) moral fibre.”

    I think I saw this on “Cheers”, when Norm invented a fake owner for his painting company….

  153. 153
    trollhattan says:

    “Justified” partly fills the gaping hole in my psyche left by the untimely end of “Deadwood” and while I got into it late, it’s fine entertainment. Need to see season 1, though.

    It’s all filler until the “Breaking Bad” coda airs.

  154. 154

    BTW on the movie front, if I can put in a plug for “The Sessions” — I thought it was excellent.

  155. 155


    I needed the actors to wear uniforms, like Team Hatfield and Team McCoy or something. They all looked the same to me and I kept getting confused as to who was on which side.

  156. 156
    Susanne Fusso says:


    Thank you! I was at a meeting and didn’t get to answer.

  157. 157
    Steeplejack says:


    Season 1 of Justified is worth going back to.

  158. 158
    Robert says:

    @Betty Cracker: Fair enough. Her performance in this is stunning, but it has that Helen Hunt quirk all over it.

    @mainmati: I’ve been saying “Argo F#ck yourself” in my daily conversation. I will not be surprised if Arkin gets some awards play for that role based on that scene alone.

  159. 159
    Raven says:

    @Uncle Ebeneezer: don’t do that shut

  160. 160
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    These days, not watching much. Big Bang Theory and reruns of Top Gear (British). Waiting for Game of Thrones to come back.

  161. 161
    Violet says:

    @Betty Cracker: Oh, I totally get that. I never understood why she won the Oscar for “As Good as it Gets”. She wasn’t as good as it got for female leads that year. I know exactly what you mean about that Helen Hunt quirk.

  162. 162
    Jim Faith says:

    Re-watching a 3-part BBC series called House of Cards from the early ’90’s. Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson), an ambitious, nasty piece of work becomes British PM – a modern day Richard III.

    His memorable line – You might think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

  163. 163
    trollhattan says:

    @Uncle Ebeneezer:
    Too right, if your character’s name isn’t “Nucky” you’d better read a few scripts ahead to see whether those checks will continue.

    I suppose they can’t write alternative histories for the actual mobsters, like Capone.

    And wow, Rosetti–put him next the most despicable other character and you’re instantly rooting for them.

  164. 164
    Maude says:

    @Jim Faith:
    And when the girlfriend called him Daddy. Gave me chills.
    Edit spell fail

  165. 165
    Brachiator says:

    @Jim Faith:

    Re-watching a 3-part BBC series called House of Cards from the early ‘90’s. Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson), an ambitious, nasty piece of work becomes British PM – a modern day Richard III.

    I understand that there is an American remake in the works, with Kevin Spacey.

  166. 166
    Brachiator says:

    tried to post this earlier, but it wouldn’t “stick.”

    I am currently hooked on the first seasons of the BBC crime drama Luther, starring Idris Elba. Fantastic show. I did not know much of the work of Ruth Wilson, who plays the twisted Alice Morgan in the show. But I now understand why she is considered one of the greatest young actors of her generation. I would pay good money to see her on stage.

    I also understand why she has a fan site suitably called “Ruthlessly Gorgeous.”

    I also recently watched the Alfred Hitcock film “Marnie.” An odd, minor film from Hitchcock, a fascinating near failure. But I think that Tippi Hedren is better than some give her credit for, and Sean Connery is Bond even as he tries to play an upper crust Philadelphian.

  167. 167
    BGinCHI says:

    @jacy: LOVE “Terriers”!!

    It’s criminal that didn’t get extended.

  168. 168
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @donovong: As soon as I saw that link, I wanted to warn you. Took me most of a day to unfuck my machine after the last time someone posted it here. Alas, I was too late.

  169. 169
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Steeplejack: I don’t consider Cary Grant’s screwball comedy stuff memorable. And half of what you mentioned for Bogart I’d identify as Jimmy Cagney movies and not Humphrey Bogart movies. In the light of their total careers 2-3 movies is “almost none.”

  170. 170
    Robert says:

    @Brachiator: Hedren was miserable when she filmed that. It’s the film he locked her to when she tried to get out of her contract after The Birds. I like her performance as well, but the tension on that set was supposed to be remarkable. I read a thick book of Hitchcock’s set notes a long time ago that showed how frustrated everyone was on that set.

    It really is sad to think that one man had enough power in Hollywood to kill a rising star’s career. Obviously, she worked after Marnie, but the roles she was forced to pass on would have catapulted her to superstardom. Everyone wanted her after The Birds and Hitchcock thought she was ungrateful.

  171. 171
    Froley says:

    I’m liking “The Mind of a Chef” on PBS and I enjoyed “The Cabin in the Woods”. Agree with PsiFighter37 — “Always Sunny” has been great this year (esp. the therapy episode). Most of what I watch is on YouTube — a lot of British documentary/commentary shows (anything with Charlie Brooker or Jon Ronson).

  172. 172
    wasabi gasp says:

    UPS just dropped off Pan’s Labyrinth.

  173. 173
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Maude: yeah, I rewatched in on Netflix after having seen the original PBS airing years ago. I’d forgotten the “daddy” thing and it really threw me.

    I’ll probably watch the Spacey version, but I can’t imagine it will be as good. I haven’t seen Spacey in anything in a long time, and it’s such a lead-with-your chin kind of role to assume, like Maria Bello playing Jane Tennyson in Prime Suspect. Lose the name and title and you’ve got a pretty good cop show you can tell people was inspired by the BBC show

  174. 174
    Groucho48 says:

    I’ve been watching Babylon 5, from Netflix. The first season was mostly generic space opera stuff, but, in Season 2, an overarching plot line starts revving up . Considering their low budget, grade B actors and the need to please younger teens, week after week, B5, in seasons 2-5, tried some incredibly ambitious storylines that really keep you involved.

    other shows that I dodn’t thik were mentioned but are worth a try.

    Deadwood. One of the best series, ever.

    The first half dozen or so episodes of Miami Vice. Pretty solid cop show stuff in pretty colors.

    The British Prime Suspect series, with Helen Mirren. Good stuff!

    Netflix also has an extended version of the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy. Worth a watch.

  175. 175
    J R in WV says:

    First, regarding old Bogart films, Key Largo is a masterpiece. Every actor was a super star, even the bit part gangsters. Edgar Robinson, lounging in the tub of cool water with the fan right at the bottom of the tub blowing hot air on him, the hurricane sneaking up on everyone. And I spent 2 years in the keys, Key West Naval Station, so the keys’ mystery is strong in me.

    In TV, Grimm is great, a revival of myth from ancient Germanic tribes come to life – the other, some terrible, some interesting or bathetic, and a hero, learning about the others, fighting some mysterious plot being conducted by the most terrible others with a side-kick.

    The Goodwife is good too. The spouse is into NICS and Criminal Mind, as well as Bones. Too much daily murder for me, Ion TV runs then all day once or twice a week.

    But Grimm is standout drama, with heavy mythology, evil plotting, ancient horror, beautiful evil women, attractive good women, heros, etc. It can’t miss. Oh, yes, cliffhanger endings for every episode, including the last of the season, so everyone who watched it will be drooling for the first show of the next season.

    When did shows’ seasons become arbitrary? Seems like shows are ending and beginning all over the calendar now. Not like it used to be….

  176. 176

    Watched Moonlight Kingdom last night. Really enjoyed it. It was a sweet story with Wes Anderson’s usual touch of weirdness.

    Finished Sherlock Series Two the night before that and am not happy with the news that series three probably won’t be back until 2014.

    Pirates of the Caribbean 4 which was an execrable cash grab.

    Watched Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter which is a bad cinematic masterpiece of absurdity that went great with a bottle of wine.

    And because I am the parent of small kids, I’ve seen all three Toy Story movies, Sofia the First, How to Train Your Dragon, Wall-E, and Madagascar 3 all in the last two weeks.
    Which it could be worse. Prior to my son wanting to watch Wall-E all the time, he kept asking me to play old Dora the explorer episodes on Netflix. My brain was melting.

  177. 177
    Brachiator says:


    Hedren was miserable when she filmed that. It’s the film he locked her to when she tried to get out of her contract after The Birds. I like her performance as well, but the tension on that set was supposed to be remarkable. I read a thick book of Hitchcock’s set notes a long time ago that showed how frustrated everyone was on that set.

    I kind of take the happiness or misery of actors with a grain of salt. This is not to minimize the distress caused to Hedren, but there is not much connection between the stress or happiness of a set and the quality of a film.

    I missed the recent behind the scenes film about Hitchcock and am not much interested in the upcoming film with Anthony Hopkins.

    Still noting any problems that Hedren had, The Birds is a superior film and I think her work there is often underrated.

    I also understand that the stars of The 39 Steps weren’t always thrilled with Hitchcock, and that film is a masterpiece.

  178. 178
    YellowJournalism says:

    @quannlace: I watched that one, too! I will stop and watch that one whenever it is on. The Joan Fontaine/Orson Welles version of Jane Eyre was my first experience with the story and got me to read the novel, which is now one of my favourites. I’ve seen almost every film and television incarnation of the novel since then and, although it is not the most faithful adaptation, it is the one that captures the haunting beauty of the novel best. Also, Orson Welles is kind of hot in it.

    @Brachiator: Marnie is another one I will watch whenever I can. I wish they had made a movie based on the filming of Marnie instead of Psycho. I hear that bio of Hitchcock with Anthony Hopkins is terrible, btw.

    Anyone watching American Horror Story? I’m halfway through the first season and am wondering I will like the second one.

  179. 179
    LanceThruster says:

    @Uncle Ebeneezer:

    The characters that have been killed off really is shocking. Kinda just like in real life, huh? People complained that so and so was so likeable or whatever, and expected that would make them somehow invinceable.

    When I first read Catch-22, I realized somewhere towards the middle of the book that the population of beloved characters was rapidly being thinned out, just like it might happen in real war (same as was portrayed in “Band of Brothers”).

  180. 180
    Jim Faith says:


    As much as I like Kevin Spacey (especially in ‘The Usual Suspects’ and ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’), sometimes you’ve got to simply appreciate the original and leave it alone.

  181. 181
    Steeplejack says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Please accept my sincere apologies. I mistakenly thought that, despite your best intentions, you did sound like “that guy”–an overweening blowhard who dumped on someone else’s comment by informing her that two of her favorite actors made no memorable movies during the period she loves. Oops, sorry, almost no memorable movies. You could have just said, “I prefer their work from the ’40s and ’50s,” but that probably wouldn’t be authoritative enough. Thanks for proving me wrong.

    Now I have to figure out how I remembered all those unmemorable movies off the top of my head.

  182. 182
    LanceThruster says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Almost as confusing as to the claims of who were the good guys/bad guys in the dispute in the first place.

    The scene where the uncle shoots the Union boys for taking apples was tragic. The hair on the back of my neck always bristles when I see any scene where the thinly veiled malevolence of chance encounters can turn so rapidly violent and deadly.

  183. 183
    Jim Faith says:


    yeah – then he pushed her off the roof.

  184. 184
    gogol's wife says:


    Thanks for the assist. My two categories of favorite films were not meant to be identical (Colin Firth didn’t do much good work in the 1930s), but the idea that Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart did no memorable films in the 30s is sort of ridiculous.

  185. 185
    Steeplejack says:

    @J R in WV:

    I am liking Grimm. It started a little slow but then picked up speed and focus. It’s a little like The X-Files: weekly weirdness with an underlying story arc of deeper menace. And the characters grow on you as they get filled out.

  186. 186
    gogol's wife says:


    I think The Awful Truth must be memorable, since I know all the dialogue by heart.

  187. 187
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Steeplejack: Point taken.

  188. 188
    Steeplejack says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    That’s a great one, but for me Bringing Up Baby is the ultimate screwball comedy. There is nothing about it that should work, but somehow it hangs together perfectly.

  189. 189
    Gin & Tonic says:


    Still noting any problems that Hedren had, The Birds is a superior film

    Overweening blowhard mode off, there was a theatrical one-day re-release a month or two ago, which I caught, and couldn’t take my eyes off Hedren’s physical beauty. Not much difference, IMO, between her and Grace Kelly.

  190. 190
    WereBear says:

    I love Boardwalk Empire. Mr WereBear is hooked on Game of Thrones. We got HBO for Politically Incorrect during the election season, but then the series got us.

    My early Christmas present was Hulu Plus, which delivers things at a rate and a place I can track down easily. TV series now don’t seem to show up at the same time and place consistently enough for me to get into them, and they are randomly replaced, cancelled, and restarted often enough to make it not worth the effort.

    No wonder DVR is so popular. How anybody chases down what they like, then sit through 30% commercials to actually see it, boggles the mind.

    So my plan is to catch up with Firefly, Breaking Bad, and whatever else I can try. The only downside is how they are so random with USA series; some of which are great fun.

  191. 191
    gogol's wife says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I love her in Marnie, and Connery is fantastic in it too. But Louise Latham really steals the show.

  192. 192
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @gogol’s wife: Trying to reanimate that grease stain in the road that once was a horse, I didn’t say “no memorable films.”

  193. 193
    vheidi says:

    @Jim Faith: we watched that this weekend too. Just saw that Kevin Spacey will reprise FU in a US version this February.

    eta what Brachiator @165 said.

  194. 194
    Steeplejack says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Tippi Hedren = Grace Kelly?! That’s crazy talk! STEEP SMASH!

    Eh, actually, you’re right. Hitchcock did like him some cool blondes.

  195. 195
    Robert says:

    @YellowJournalism: Yeah, I’m only hearing good things about Helen Mirren as Hitchcock’s wife in that. They did a lot of experimental/4th wall breaking techniques to play up Hitchcock’s humor and the critics haven’t responded well.

  196. 196
    Steeplejack says:


    No wonder DVR is so popular. How anybody chases down what they like, then sit through 30% commercials to actually see it, boggles the mind.

    The DVR is a godsend. Once you’ve experienced it you’ll never go back. You can set it to record new episodes of a series no matter when they come on, so you don’t get screwed by schedule changes or memory lapses or you didn’t get the memo on when the new season started.

    About the last kink they haven’t worked out is when the starting times of shows are delayed by the end of a game broadcast. I’m looking at you, The Mentalist, Sunday night at 10:00 or 10:30 or 11:00. But even then you can tweak the recording to extend past the nominal ending time of the show.

  197. 197
    Hattie says:

    God I loved that movie.

  198. 198
    Allen says:

    I agree completely with the Conster: Another Earth is fantastic, and will almost certainly be my favorite movie of the year. It is truly science fiction as art, and is better than Melancholia–and I say that as someone who liked Melancholia.

  199. 199
    rikyrah says:

    tv addict that I am, I’ve already lost Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue.

    I still have Arrow – LOL

    I am totally into Grimm – so glad that show got a chance to find itself. Best turn of events was Hank finding out about NIck – really has helped the show.

    Love Revolution, except for the young female lead, but everyone else is interesting that she’s tolerable.

    Covert Affairs just went off for awhile, and I loved the end of it.

    Enjoying Burn Notice.

    Vampire Diaries – do not like Elena the Vampire

    Love Downton Abbey

    Love Person of Interest.

    Enjoying Elementary and the new PBS Sherlock.

    still loving Once Upon a Time and Revenge.

    I will miss Fringe when it is gone.

  200. 200
    mclaren says:

    Seven Psychcpaths is currently in theaters and it’s hilarious. Classic absurdist black comedy.

    The trailers for Tarentino’s new film Django Unchained look awesome.

    Older stuff that’s good includes season 1 of Heroes (season 3 was pretty good two, but not season 2 or 4) and Alphas along with Breaking Bad and Revolution, a new series currently running.

  201. 201
    mclaren says:


    Nothing in Skyfall made sense. Why does the evil mastermind want to be captured? Wouldn’t it be easier to assassinate M just by sneaking around unknown and unsuspected? That’s a like a bank robber whose ingenious plan to rob the bank is…to get captured. Makes no sense.

    And why does the villain take Bond to his secret island lair, instead of just killing him? Once again, doesn’t make any sense.

    The writing in Skyfall was poor. Other characters describe the evil mastermind as being a master of fear, able to terrorize people out of their minds…the guy comes across as merely another internet troll. He hacks databases and outs people’s dirty secrets. That’s supposed to fill people with mindless terror? Don’t think so.

    The final absurdity involves Bond grabbing M and hauling her away to a cottage on the Scottish moors. And what does Bond have in the way of weaponry to do battle with the army of assassins (including a minigun-equippd helicopter gunship) that he’s certain is coming?

    Let’s see…one old shotgun. Some shotgun shells. One stick of dynamite.

    Seriously, folks. If you were planning ahead to fall into the evil mastermind’s trap and lure the evil mastermind out to a cottage on the Scottish moors, would you have previously stocked that cottage with miniguns, mortars, RPGs, bazookas, Claymore mines, bipad-based M60 machine guns, grenades, napalm, flamethrowers, MANPAD stinger missiles, flechette grenades, TOW missiles, and on and on and on…?

    The entire plot required Bond and everyone else to act like idiots. Nothing anybody did made any sense. A classic “idiot plot.” Badly written, with a poor carboard-cutout badly-characterized supervillain, and much less characterization of Bond or M than in previous movies (notably Casino Royale).

  202. 202
    Chris says:


    The trailers for Tarentino’s new film Django Unchained look awesome.

    “Anybody bring any extra bags?”
    “NO! Nobody brought ‘an extra bag!'”
    “I’m just asking.”

  203. 203
    lizzeymac says:

    @Betty Cracker: If you want to watch Seasons 1& 2, and 3 of Downton Abbey & the Christmas Special, and other fun series both English and regular American stuff, including some old school, it’s available now through watchseries.eu. As I understand it (not a techie at all) they provide lists of links they do not stream the shows themselves – to movpod, grillavid, divxstage.


    I don’t have cable TV. I know Netflix is inexpensive but I’m saving up to trade up my MacBook Pro to Retina, a want-but-don’t-need expense. I watch most of what I want to see here – True Blood, Firefly, Dexter, Rizzoli & Isles, Treme, The Wire, Luther, Major Crime, Psych. Free, up to date.

  204. 204
    Chris says:


    There are many good points here (though some of that’s been a staple of the Bond genre for years regardless of not making sense), but I’ll just point out that I was defending Quantum of Solace, not Skyfall…

    One objection, though: the Internet trolling should very much fill your mind with mindless terror if you work at a spy agency and he’s outing your undercover moles one by one, which is what he was doing in the movie.

  205. 205
    Brachiator says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Overweening blowhard mode off, there was a theatrical one-day re-release a month or two ago, which I caught, and couldn’t take my eyes off Hedren’s physical beauty. Not much difference, IMO, between her and Grace Kelly.

    Very much agree with you on this.

    @Jim Faith:

    As much as I like Kevin Spacey (especially in ‘The Usual Suspects’ and ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’), sometimes you’ve got to simply appreciate the original and leave it alone.

    Yep. I hope that this remake is well done, but it will be very hard for it to match the power of the original. I am going to try to re-watch the original over the weekend.

  206. 206
    Will says:

    I thought Melancholia was a powerful film, and this is from someone who usually dislikes both Kirsten Dunst and Lars von Trier. Go figure.

  207. 207
    dww44 says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:I saw this and heard a bit of both interviews and when Chris asked Claire how she managed to get elected in a state where Obama lost resoundingly to Romney, A “moderate’ state he called Missouri.(Maybe when Truman was alive, but not now.) I decided that not only did I not want to listen to her answer, but that obviously someone had restored Matthews to his pre Obama election <em modus operandi.

    For a while there, I had hopes that Matthews had given rein to his liberal instincts and they would guide his interviews and his guest choices. But tonight’s program was a real stinker and a return of the centrist Chris. Or the bits that I saw were.

  208. 208

    I watched the first three episodes of Homeland over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. Twice. I don’t get it.

    Claire Danes character is supposed to be some really great CIA agent, but there is no evidence of her greatness, or even her competence, in the first three episodes.

    There are many other things that drive me crazy. One illustration. She calls her mentor saying she’s got something really hot, call a meeting. He says, what is it? She says she can’t say on the phone. Then she tells him. On the phone.

    Does it improve? The disc had previews of Season Two that showed the story taking more than one totally implausible direction.

    Maybe it’s me.

  209. 209
    Ol' Nat says:

    Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome!! It is happening in 10-minute sections on MachinimaPrime!

  210. 210
    Vico says:

    @Yutsano: Too right about Maude.It wasn’t my favorite among the network Golden Age sitcoms. It was sometimes preachy, and I didn’t care much for the characters or the actors, but I’ve always thought it had the best writing of the bunch.

  211. 211
    Rafer Janders says:


    Seriously, folks. If you were planning ahead to fall into the evil mastermind’s trap and lure the evil mastermind out to a cottage on the Scottish moors, would you have previously stocked that cottage with miniguns, mortars, RPGs, bazookas, Claymore mines, bipad-based M60 machine guns, grenades, napalm, flamethrowers, MANPAD stinger missiles, flechette grenades, TOW missiles, and on and on and on…?

    Or, you know, just call up an SAS squadron and have them stand by. They were in Britain, they had phones, they could have been in contact contact with MI6 HQ, they could have had a thousand trained killers there at a minute’s notice. Why go it alone?

  212. 212
    Rafer Janders says:


    Wouldn’t it be easier to assassinate M just by sneaking around unknown and unsuspected?

    Or just by having the bomb in her office go off at a time when he knew she’d be there, rather than at a time he was certain she wouldn’t be?

  213. 213
    Tehanu says:

    Love Downton Abbey, can’t wait for Season 3.

    I liked the 1st 3 Pirates of the Caribbean movies but gave up about 20 minutes into the 4th one. It was especially disappointing because they bought the rights to Tim Powers’ wonderful book On Stranger Tides but tossed practically all of it. Sigh.

    Watched the “Marigold Hotel” movie last week and enjoyed it although Penelope Wilton’s character in it was even more annoying than her character in Downton is. Then re-watched Topsy-Turvy just to see Shirley Henderson’s brilliant performance.

  214. 214
    YellowJournalism says:

    @rikyrah: That’s too bad about 666. It fell under the curse of my husband! Whatever new show he likes best each year is usually among the first to get axed. I think it needed time to get going. It just started getting interesting. Hope they can pull off something that sort of wraps it up at the end.

    And I agree about Hank in Grimm. His character has become less annoying now that he knows what’s going on, and the scenes between him and Monroe alone are usually goo for a laugh. I wonder if knowing the secret would make Juliette more appealing, but I have little hope or such an abrasive character. I’d rather see Nick dating the witch Adelaide.

  215. 215
    fidelio says:

    @Elizabelle: In all honesty, Graham smiling isn’t much better; he reminds me of Chucky, even if he doesn’t have the freckles.

  216. 216
    What Have The Romans Ever Done for Us? (formerly MarkJ) says:

    @Betty Cracker: That may or may not be a spoiler. I haven’t seen any of season 3 yet so the reappearance of the guy who is rumored to have died on the Titanic is a guess on my part. It may or may not happen – it’s my guess as to what will happen.

  217. 217
    gogol's wife says:


    this thread is dead and you’re long gone, but I just had to say that Shirley Henderson in Topsy-Turvy is the greatest, greatest thing I’ve ever seen

  218. 218
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @ranchandsyrup: Did Jack Black ever come back to Gabbaland? His parting remarks were touching, even if the Goodbye Song does sound a little too much like “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?”

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