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Wednesday, May 01, 2019

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (May 2019)

Milch is here to watch, not interfere. He was a notorious micromanager during Deadwood’s original run, ordering reshoots if he didn’t like the way a scene was playing and dictating new dialogue from the sidelines for the cast to repeat. McShane has spoken of top-to-bottom rewrites being handed to actors just before the cameras rolled, the pages still hot from the copier.

This time, Milch is entrusting the day-to-day execution to his collaborators, among them the director Daniel Minahan, a series veteran, and his co–executive producer Regina Corrado, who started out as a writer on the series in 2005.

But his serenity is also the by-product of a greater urge to let go and accept what life has in store, even if it’s not what he asked for.

It’s here that we come to the matter of David Milch’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: May 01, 2019 at 05:48 AM | 969 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: movies, music, off-topic, television, whatever else belongs under the rubric of 'popular culture'

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   201. Dromedary pretzels, only half a dinar (CoB). Posted: May 08, 2019 at 04:30 PM (#5839752)
Flop
   202. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: May 08, 2019 at 04:35 PM (#5839754)
thanks to the need to service a zillion characters and even more fans


You will have real issues with Endgame then. It is super fan service and past movie reference-rific!

I enjoyed it, but it got a bit much even for me in places.
   203. Lassus Posted: May 08, 2019 at 05:55 PM (#5839798)
Ah, I did remember. Thanks, Brianson.
   204. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 08, 2019 at 06:53 PM (#5839811)
Buzzfeed: ”What Happens When Christian Movies Go Mainstream?”
"The alleged popularity of faith-based films is more accurately understood as the reaction of frustrated Americans who support these movies as a way to push back against faith-ignorant entertainment," he wrote. "If half of all Americans go to church, why are so few TV and film characters seen in church or allowed to have normal religious practices portrayed as their other activities are?"

That said, as Erik Lokkesmoe, who owns the distribution and marketing company Aspiration Entertainment, points out, "There are movies that have deeply affected people, spiritually, that are not wrapped in the faith-based label." Aspiration has handled faith-based outreach for titles like last year's Mr. Rogers documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor?, Paul Schrader's First Reformed, and this year's feminist-inflected biblical drama Mary Magdalene, starring Rooney Mara and Joaquin Phoenix. Movies like these may deal with religion, but they don't fit into the same box as something like War Room, which was made with feedback from and the endorsement of a group of pastors — and are much less likely to be taken up as conservative causes.

"The reason there's a faith-based category is that it's marketing,” Lokkesmoe said. “If you say it's faith-based, you've signaled to an audience that it's for them."
   205. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: May 09, 2019 at 04:55 AM (#5839968)
I found 'Utopia' (original name in Australia, possibly under the name 'Dreamland' internationally) recently, a gentle workplace/political farce in the vein of The Office (sans relationship stuff) meets Yes, Minister. Hapless main character wants to get on and do infrastructure projects, but bumbling employees and headline-chasing superiors consistently frustrate him. I really enjoyed 'Hollowmen', which was essentially the same idea but more directly embedded in Canberra, where the PR obsessives are the heroes and the detail people are the nerds trying to frustrate them.

Both shows appear to revolve around Rob Sitch, and make good 'dense dialogue that can kind of wash over you while you do other things' attribute that I like about Veep, The Thick Of It, and so on. It's only one plot, but it's pretty time-tested.
   206. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 09, 2019 at 06:39 AM (#5839971)
800 dollars? Can't I just crawl through a fence and get the whole thing for free?

https://store.rhino.com/woodstock-50-back-to-the-garden-the-definitive-anniversary-archive-1.html
   207. Lassus Posted: May 09, 2019 at 07:42 AM (#5839977)
That is pretty insane, although I'd imagine what's going to make that money is the 267 unreleased tracks, which even to someone like me who abhors around 95% the entire era of classic rock is vaguely interesting.

I'd bid up to $150 on the first one to make it to Ebay.

I wonder if they're doing a vinyl version.
   208. PreservedFish Posted: May 09, 2019 at 09:53 AM (#5840034)
Remember Woodstock '99? Here are the first few bands on the official album: Korn, The Offspring, Lit, Buckcherry, Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit. What were they thinking?

Disc 2 gets more into the mellow hippy vibe with Dave Matthews Band, Jewel, Rusted Root, G Love, among others.
   209. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 09, 2019 at 10:09 AM (#5840037)
What were they thinking?
"Let's light some sh*t on fire, bro!!!!!!"
   210. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 09, 2019 at 10:56 AM (#5840057)
Remember Woodstock '99? Here are the first few bands on the official album: Korn, The Offspring, Lit, Buckcherry, Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit. What were they thinking?

Disc 2 gets more into the mellow hippy vibe with Dave Matthews Band, Jewel, Rusted Root, G Love, among others.


I do not remember, thank Jebus. That is all awful.
   211. PreservedFish Posted: May 09, 2019 at 11:02 AM (#5840061)
Did they put all the aggressive rap/metal groups on one stage, and the mellow guys on a different one? Or did it go Korn > Jewel > Kid Rock? Did the different fan bases clash?
   212. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 09, 2019 at 11:08 AM (#5840066)
Woodstock '99 also had George Clinton, James Brown, Green Day, the Roots, Sheryl Crow, Wyclef Jean, Alanis, Counting Crows, an NWA reunion, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, DMX, Willie Nelson, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others. YMMV on some of those artists, but it wasn't all terrible. Not that I was there, I just remember having the Green Day live album which was pretty good.
   213. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 09, 2019 at 11:13 AM (#5840073)
Woodstock '99 also had George Clinton, James Brown, Green Day, the Roots, Sheryl Crow, Wyclef Jean, Alanis, Counting Crows, an NWA reunion, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, DMX, Willie Nelson, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others. YMMV on some of those artists, but it wasn't all terrible. Not that I was there, I just remember having the Green Day live album which was pretty good.

He didn't list those!
   214. PreservedFish Posted: May 09, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5840085)
It wasn't all terrible, but the story of the show was how the angry Korn & Limp Bizkit (& etc) fans were moshing, setting fires, and generally taking a huge steaming dump on the whole peace/love/understanding thing.
   215. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 09, 2019 at 11:21 AM (#5840089)
I mean, wouldn't you be pretty angry about the state of your life if you'd reached the point where you were a Limp Bizkit fan?
   216. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 09, 2019 at 06:24 PM (#5840431)
@Deadline
Mel Gibson and Kate Bosworth are set to star in #ForceOfNature , an action film that Michael Polish will direct from a script by Cory Miller
   217. Lassus Posted: May 09, 2019 at 07:00 PM (#5840439)
What were they thinking?
"Let's light some sh*t on fire, bro!!!!!!"


I was living in San Francisco at the time, but those were my central NY peeps. Pretty sure my sister was there.
   218. Greg Pope Posted: May 09, 2019 at 07:44 PM (#5840451)
So you're on board with a zombie dragon, but a zombie dragon flying with holes in its wings is too unrealistic?

I always say that you have to grant a show/book/movie its premise. Fantasy world with flying dragons, zombies, and a little bit of magic? OK, tell me a story. But that doesn't mean that you can just do anything. If a person in the show swims across an ocean in full armor, you can't say "You can accept Jon Snow coming back from the dead, but not Tyrion swimming across an ocean?" The premise is violated when dragons fly with holes in their wings and characters more or less teleport across a continent.

Bats can fly with holes in their wings, and their wing membranes heal themselves. Dragons are basically enormous, fire-breathing bats.

Yes, but wight dragons' wing membranes don't heal. At least I don't think so. All of the dead, whether they're human, giant, or horses, have been shown as animated, but still with all of the wounds that they died with.
   219. Greg Pope Posted: May 09, 2019 at 07:48 PM (#5840452)
Fondly? I was five, and they killed Brawn, Prowl, Ratchet, Ironhide, Windcharger, Wheeljack, Bombshell, Kickback, Skywarp, Shrapnel, Thundercracker, Megatron, Starscream, Thrust, Dirge, Ramjet, and ripped out Optimus ####### Prime's heart while he was dying on an operating table.

It made a big impression on me as a kid, and I can appreciate what it's doing now. It's cynical and crass, but epic and probably benefitted from the creative people mostly getting a free hand because it was only a toy commercial. But, uhm, I wasn't fond of it at the time.


I was 15 and took my 5 year old brother. I had the same reaction. He and I had watched the whole TV show up to that point, and then we went to the movie and they killed off everyone from the show in the first 5 minutes. So it was basically a whole movie about all different characters, with everyone we knew dead. I didn't like it at all. I haven't watched it since so I can't say how good of a movie it actually was.

   220. Master of the Horse Posted: May 09, 2019 at 08:21 PM (#5840458)
So got into Boston last night to see Bucks close out Celtics and now in some Irish bar where I realized yelling after a Canes goal not appreciated
   221. Dromedary pretzels, only half a dinar (CoB). Posted: May 09, 2019 at 08:24 PM (#5840459)
A Medieval Warfare Expert Explains the Crossbows on ‘Game of Thrones’


Euron and his forces take out Rhaegal with three hits from a considerable distance. How difficult would it be to hit a moving target from that distance? Is it even possible to do that given their resources?


No [laughs], that’s the short answer. Both cases, no. The ballisti that we know of, the larger ones—they might’ve had that distance, they certainly would not have had that accuracy. To be able to hit three [times], even on a large dragon, would’ve been rather difficult. Of course, at the same time, I’m not sure that anybody would ever fall for that type of an ambush if they had dragons to be out scouting, which they would certainly think knowing they were facing a navy from the enemy side.

There’s a lot of problems with history with that whole thing. I think that was one of the first times I felt really cheated by Game of Thrones—to have such a mediocre defensive stunt pulled and not seen by the people who are supposed to be superior military intellects. I was not entirely thrilled with that whole part of that episode, and the large crossbows taking out the dragon like that. They wouldn’t have had the ballistic power, they wouldn’t have had the aim. It’s hard to aim a crossbow and it would’ve been hard aiming a large ballista like that, certainly because the shot would have to be so powerfully delivered that with the kickback you couldn’t really judge where the crossbow bolt would end up.
   222. PreservedFish Posted: May 09, 2019 at 08:35 PM (#5840462)
I always say that you have to grant a show/book/movie its premise. Fantasy world with flying dragons, zombies, and a little bit of magic? OK, tell me a story. But that doesn't mean that you can just do anything.

Right, this is exactly what I meant.

Zombie physics is sometimes disappointing. On the one hand, the zombie genre usually delights in treating the premise and its consequences with utter seriousness and realism. But in the end, the filmmakers usually make compromises to win cheap storytelling points, as when the Thrones zombies ridiculously punched through stone crypts and sarcophagi.
   223. PreservedFish Posted: May 09, 2019 at 08:39 PM (#5840463)
I think that was one of the first times I felt really cheated by Game of Thrones—to have such a mediocre defensive stunt pulled and not seen by the people who are supposed to be superior military intellects.


I was reading some complaints about this scene on reddit - in the thread, a number of random strangers offered far superior ways that the same scene could have been handled, with the same outcome. Distressing.
   224. Dromedary pretzels, only half a dinar (CoB). Posted: May 09, 2019 at 09:00 PM (#5840470)
Stupid, lazy and insulting; it sums up much of what D&B have offered up in Seasons 7 & 8.

Would you like to know the official explanation for how the ambush happened?

Dany kinda forgot about the Iron Fleet.

Yeah. It's that bad.

Or, as someone posted:


Dany, who has spent the last 8 seasons trying to conquer Westeros, FORGOT about the Iron fleet.

Dany, who worked hard to amass her own fleet, forgot about the Iron Fleet.

Dany, who has gotten her ass kicked multiple times by Euron's forces since entering Westeros "forgot" about the Iron Fleet according to the show runners.

Dany, who lost most of her own fleet and a bunch of her lieutenants/generals directly to Euron "forgot" about the Iron Fleet.

I mean let's not even get into the fact that Dany was flying hundreds of feet in the air and should have never been caught off guard by Euron or ANY naval force with her air reconnaissance and vantage point.

She literally "forgot" about the Iron Fleet.

This is garbage tier writing. Utter f***in garbage.


Don't even get me started on the "why Jon didn't actually say goodbye to Ghost" bullshit ...

   225. Lassus Posted: May 09, 2019 at 09:38 PM (#5840483)
I think I'm realizing now the proper word for me is forgiveness.

With me, there are performance and writing things I don't forgive: The Raimi Spider-Men, the Dexter finale, the Expanse series, etc....

But there are plenty of things I DO forgive, and this last season of Game of Thrones, I have to say, is one of them, and I'm still enjoying it. The awesomeness the last 7 years have brought means they have the goodwill from me for this finish (at least so far). It's like forgiveness for seasons after a World Series win, or even the Mets 2015. I've seen nothing yet from GoT to engender anger or dismissal from me. I realize that's personal, and I don't want it to be preachy (although it probably is), but I really do forgive the faults.
   226. PreservedFish Posted: May 09, 2019 at 10:39 PM (#5840499)
I'm just disappointed. I still like the world, I like most of the characters, and I'll continue to watch. But much of what made it really exciting for me is gone now.

I'm not sure what "forgiveness" means here. I don't know if HBO just never really understand what made GRRM's narrative unusually compelling, or if they think they've actually improved things by subordinating those original charms to all these conventional cheap narrative thrills.
   227. Lassus Posted: May 09, 2019 at 11:40 PM (#5840514)
I'm just disappointed.

I get this, and I'm disappointed in plenty of things. I'm just trying to explain how GoT hasn't crossed that line for me.
   228. Howie Menckel Posted: May 10, 2019 at 12:10 AM (#5840517)
my ex-classmate in college now basically runs the bakery empire in the greater Woodstock region, so for her sake I hope the event comes off.
   229. Lassus Posted: May 10, 2019 at 06:04 AM (#5840533)
my ex-classmate in college now basically runs the bakery empire in the greater Woodstock region, so for her sake I hope the event comes off.

Do you mean Watkins Glen (NY), where the alleged thing might happen, or Woodstock itself?
   230. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 10, 2019 at 09:10 AM (#5840543)
GoT is still in the period of goodwill that persists after what made a show great has disappeared. The short seasons 7 & 8 and the definite termination date have helped with this. It's almost impossible to imagine a high end professional production making some shows in seasons 7/8 that are so bad or otherwise miscalculated that they'd cause a large mass of people to abandon the show. If, for instance, The Walking Dead had settled on season 8 as an endpoint and announced it way in advance, it's likely that the ratings wouldn't have gone into the toilet and the show would've maintained some cultural currency to the end.

(It's of course certainly possible that the GoT endgame will horribly tarnish the show, a la Lost, and make the earlier seasons look in retrospect to be a lot lesser than they seemed at the time.)
   231. Wayne Newton's pet monkey (gef, talking mongoose) Posted: May 10, 2019 at 11:35 AM (#5840625)
Apropos of nothing whatsoever, but assuming that UFOs & such can be squeezed under the Popular Culture umbrella, I learned just now that Doc Medich is "Assistant Director of Experiencer Research" for the Mutual UFO Network. According to their website,

After retirement from clinical practice, he pursued his love of astronomy becoming an amateur astronomer supplemented by university courses in Astrophysics. His curiosity about the UFO phenomenon led to his Field Investigator training with MUFON and an appointment as a Section State Director for Pennsylvania and ERT member. He also participated on MUFON’s Anomalous Foreign Body Removal Protocol Team.

His interest in alien abduction was fostered by years of medical practice, a strong background in physics and astronomy and an interest in UFO phenomena.


Unrelatedly (one hopes), Wikipedia just advised me of this:

Shortly after receiving an M.D. degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Medich had his medical license suspended in Pennsylvania due to a "guilty plea to twelve counts of knowingly or intentionally possessing a controlled substance obtained through prescriptions written to nonexistent patients and to people who never received the drugs."

His license remains suspended and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons voted to expel Medich.

   232. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: May 10, 2019 at 11:36 AM (#5840626)
Just finished, "The Overstory", last year's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. It was okay....a great first half, with a slow back half. I've heard that it benefits from repeat readings, and I'm definitely in the target demographic. It's pretty rare for me to re-read books though.

Looking at the last ~15 years of PP for Fiction, I would place "Overstory" behind all the others that I've read- "Goon Squad", "Oscar Wao", and "The Road".

   233. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 10, 2019 at 12:33 PM (#5840661)

Looking at the last ~15 years of PP for Fiction, I would place "Overstory" behind all the others that I've read- "Goon Squad", "Oscar Wao", and "The Road".

Read "The Orphan Master's Son". I've also read 4 of the last 15 winners ("Oscar Wao", "The Goldfinch", and "The Known World" being the others) and that one was my favorite. I also really liked the first 90% of "The Goldfinch" - the ending brought it down a notch but it's still a fantastically written book.
   234. Lassus Posted: May 10, 2019 at 12:58 PM (#5840679)
I've consistently found the Booker Prize a way better judge.
   235. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 10, 2019 at 01:18 PM (#5840686)
I also really liked the first 90% of "The Goldfinch" - the ending brought it down a notch but it's still a fantastically written book.

Huh. I had the exact opposite reaction to it. I hated the first 90% and was grateful the last part of the book became a conventional potboiler.

Speaking of contemporary books, I couldn't get through Black Leopard, Red Wolf. It was very disappointing. I tried to follow that up with finally getting to A Man in Full, hoping it would be a palate cleanser, and was again disappointed. A Man in Full is just so, so dumb and irritating in other ways I won't bother going into. So now I'm on the Book of Why about causality. The parts I understand are interesting.
   236. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 10, 2019 at 01:31 PM (#5840691)
Anyone have any adult fantasy book suggestions? Something in the same vein of GoT, Joe Abercrombie, Sanderson, Rothfuss?
   237. Dromedary pretzels, only half a dinar (CoB). Posted: May 10, 2019 at 01:50 PM (#5840701)
Glen Cook's The Black Company series. It won't seem as groundbreaking as it was (when he started writing it) if you've started with Martin, Ambercrombie, Grossman, et. al., but all of them are following in his footsteps, to one extent or another.
   238. jmurph Posted: May 10, 2019 at 01:54 PM (#5840703)
Speaking of contemporary books, I couldn't get through Black Leopard, Red Wolf. It was very disappointing.

I've heard this from everyone I know who tried to get into it.

   239. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 10, 2019 at 02:08 PM (#5840713)
Glen Cook's The Black Company series. It won't seem as groundbreaking as it was (when he started writing it) if you've started with Martin, Ambercrombie, Grossman, et. al., but all of them are following in his footsteps, to one extent or another.


Those were good, along with the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. Both became a bit much at the end of the runs, but the first books in the series were very enjoyable.
   240. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 10, 2019 at 02:09 PM (#5840716)
I've heard this from everyone I know who tried to get into it.

I think the problem is it wants to be a grand epic like GoT, but it confines itself to the POV of one character who is kind of an angry asshole and set up as an unreliable narrator. There's even a long chapter in the book where the hero discovers the king isn't the true king by rummaging through a library! That was VERY familiar...For the first chunk of the book I was digging the Africanized takes on fantasy tropes as it was all pretty fresh and different, but once that wore off it was all just grating.
   241. Man o' Schwar Posted: May 10, 2019 at 02:26 PM (#5840725)
Looking at the last ~15 years of PP for Fiction, I would place "Overstory" behind all the others that I've read- "Goon Squad", "Oscar Wao", and "The Road".

I liked Goon Squad a lot. I read a few not on your list - Less, Tinkers, Middlesex, Gilead. Middlesex is by far the best. Less is one of those books that people who don't like fiction would complain about - a rich white guy travels the world feeling sorry for himself for having reached middle age with no one to love. It's well written, but he's not exactly a sympathetic character.

If you like small, quiet, descriptive books about New England, Tinkers is pretty good.

I think Gilead won just because people were so happy to have another Marilynne Robinson book (even though I found her first book (Housekeeping) so slow that I could barely get through it).
   242. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: May 10, 2019 at 02:26 PM (#5840726)
A Man in Full is just so, so dumb and irritating in other ways I won't bother going into.


You're not wrong, but I live in Atlanta, so I recognized everything he was going for. Halfway through, the book just turned into a guilty pleasure.
   243. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 10, 2019 at 02:35 PM (#5840728)
but I live in Atlanta, so I recognized everything he was going for.

I definitely won't fault his research. I remember reading an article about the book when it came out about how he went as far to spend time in the East Bay Eritrean community and they hardly figure in the book at all! I love Wolfe's non-fiction and this was my first crack at one of his novels and it didn't make me want to rush out and start Bonfire of the Vanities.
   244. jmurph Posted: May 10, 2019 at 02:38 PM (#5840732)
If you like small, quiet, descriptive books about New England, Tinkers is pretty good.

I loved Tinkers. I knew very little about it going in and was blown away.
   245. jmurph Posted: May 10, 2019 at 02:40 PM (#5840733)
The Sympathizer is another recent PP Fiction winner that I definitely recommend.
   246. Lassus Posted: May 10, 2019 at 02:48 PM (#5840736)
I love Wolfe's non-fiction and this was my first crack at one of his novels and it didn't make me want to rush out and start Bonfire of the Vanities.

I know we're about the same age, but the fact that I actually read most of this in Rolling Stone really does make me feel kind of old.
   247. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 10, 2019 at 02:56 PM (#5840746)
Huh. I had the exact opposite reaction to it. I hated the first 90% and was grateful the last part of the book became a conventional potboiler.

Oh, I enjoyed the conventional potboiler stuff, too. It was the deus ex machina and the last 10 pages (or at least it felt that long) of overwrought wrap-up by the narrator that I didn't like.
   248. Man o' Schwar Posted: May 10, 2019 at 03:02 PM (#5840755)
I love Wolfe's non-fiction and this was my first crack at one of his novels and it didn't make me want to rush out and start Bonfire of the Vanities.

The drop in quality for his novels is pretty severe after Bonfire. If you gave Bonfire an A (which might be pushing it), a Man in Full was about a B-, I Am Charlotte Simmons was a D-, and I couldn't even finish the last one.

If you like Tom Wolfe, you'll like Bonfire of the Vanities.
   249. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 10, 2019 at 03:14 PM (#5840764)
If you like Tom Wolfe, you'll like Bonfire of the Vanities.

Concur.
   250. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: May 10, 2019 at 03:20 PM (#5840765)
If you like Tom Wolfe, you'll like Bonfire of the Vanities.

I might give it a shot, then.
   251. Cropper Posted: May 10, 2019 at 04:15 PM (#5840793)
Anyone have any adult fantasy book suggestions? Something in the same vein of GoT, Joe Abercrombie, Sanderson, Rothfuss?


(Robin Hobb - Realm of the Elderlings) 16 book mega series broken up into 5 ~trilogies. Not super action packed, more character driven. The only time I've ever cried reading a book.

(Scott Lynch - Gentlemen Bastards) Urban fantasy about a group of thieves. Fun read with a bit of Abercrombie-like humor. 3 books out so far, each one is mostly self contained. The Lies of Locke Lamora is the first and the best.

(Long Price Quartet - Daniel Abraham) Unique series, very Eastern vibe to it. Minimal magic, but used very powerfully. 4 book series that mostly follows two main characters throughout their lives.

(Second Apocalypse - R Scott Bakker) Extremely dark and philosophical. Not my cup of tea, but many love it.
   252. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 10, 2019 at 04:24 PM (#5840799)
@SlashFilm
A rep for “John Wick” director Chad Stahelski has informed us he was misquoted in the original source. The Wachowskis are still not involved in the 'Matrix' reboot.
   253. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 10, 2019 at 06:08 PM (#5840846)
MOST WATCHED MOVIES OF 2019 BY MY 229 LETTERBOXD FRIENDS

1. Us, 120
2. High Life, 98
3. High Flying Bird, 79
4. Glass, 78
4. Avengers: Endgame, 78
6. Under the Silver Lake, 67
7. Captain Marvel, 66
8. Ash Is Purest White, 64
8. Velvet Buzzsaw, 64
10. Climax, 63

11. Alita: Battle Angel, 57
12. Fyre, 56
13. The Image Book, 54
14. Her Smell, 53
15. Dragged Across Concrete, 52
15. The Beach Bum, 52
17. Long Day's Journey Into Night, 48
18. Happy Death Day 2U, 45
19. Shazam!, 44
19. Serenity, 44
   254. Lassus Posted: May 10, 2019 at 10:09 PM (#5840902)
Pop Culture note #1: I have some a marathon of some of the early CSI seasons with William Peterson on. Such a great show, so much fun to re-visit. Probably personal, but it seems to hold up great.
   255. Howie Menckel Posted: May 10, 2019 at 10:25 PM (#5840908)
I missed all of those episodes the first time around, but after partially catching up, they are pretty good.

formulaic, of course, but with a little extra at times. and Vegas is a unique place, and they captured some of that. I imagine they were limited by old-school TV conventions; I wonder if the writers/directors/producers chafed at that.
   256. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 10, 2019 at 10:42 PM (#5840914)
Less is one of those books that people who don't like fiction would complain about - a rich white guy travels the world feeling sorry for himself for having reached middle age with no one to love. It's well written, but he's not exactly a sympathetic character.
What redeems Less (beyond the fact that it's well done, as you say) is that it's ultimately a portrait of someone from the first generation of gay Americans who've been out most all of their lives but who are too young to have lost everyone they knew in the AIDS crisis. At one point the narrator has Arthur Less, during one of his sessions of feeling sorry for himself, think he was "the first homosexual ever to grow old." It's a funny throwaway line about saggy middle aged self-regard, but is also the profound center of the book, because it's sort of true (in a figurative if not literal way). Less's unwarranted self-pity and prolonged navel-gazing are a new luxury for people like him, and a sign of how the world has changed. I liked the novel a lot, I liked Arthur's suit, and I think I even liked Arthur Less.
   257. Lassus Posted: May 10, 2019 at 10:44 PM (#5840916)
Pop Culture note #2: Speaking of writers, I was thinking that Richard Russo had been mentioned here, but no, simply on Belth's Facebook feed.

ANYHOW, Richard Russo is a very good author from my area, and I just picked up Straight Man from a place where people leave books at a pharmacy they don't want any more. Let me show you the back:
In this uproarious new novel, Richard Russo performs his characteristic high-wire walk between hilarity and heartbreak. Russo's protagonist is William Henry Deveroux, Jr., the reluctant chairman of the English department of a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt. Deveroux's reluctance it partly rooted in his character - he is a born anarchist - and partly in the fact that his department is more savagely divided than the Balkans.

In the course of a single week, Deveroux will have his nose mangled by an angry colleague, imagine his wife is having an affair with this dean, wonder if a curvaceous adjunct is tying to seduce him with peach pits, and threaten to execute a goose on local television. All while coming to terms with his philandering father, the dereliction of his youthful promise, and the ominous failure of certain vital bodily functions.
In short, Straight Man is classic Russo - side-splitting and true-to-life, witty, compassionate, and impossible to put down.
I love Russo, but now I feel like I never want to read this book. There's so much responsibility placed on me as the reader here.

I guess it might be a publishing thing from the era - the book was published in 1997, so that's when the back was written. I'd be curious if newer editions have the same blurb. But just in general, I don't want to be TOLD the book is hilarious, or that it's impossible to put down, or how OMG HOW WACKY everything is for this one guy. I dunno, I really don't like this type of promo blurb. Fail, Vintage.
   258. Man o' Schwar Posted: May 10, 2019 at 11:17 PM (#5840925)
I liked the novel a lot, I liked Arthur's suit, and I think I even liked Arthur Less.

Yeah, I sold it short by not mentioning the gay angle, and you're right - it's kind of heartbreaking in that way. I do recommend Less, the writing is very good, and it's got some humor and pathos. The scenes in Japan in particular really stuck with me. But I've also had friends say they didn't like because it felt like just another white guy with money complaining about his life.

ANYHOW, Richard Russo is a very good author from my area, and I just picked up Straight Man from a place where people leave books at a pharmacy they don't want any more. Let me show you the back:

Straight Man is good, if you like novels about college professors/college departments. It is genuinely funny. But I'm very biased toward Russo. Empire Falls is one of the best things I've read in the last 10 years or so.
   259. Lassus Posted: May 10, 2019 at 11:38 PM (#5840939)
I love Russo. I just find that blurb worthy of attention. Even if no one else does.

Have you read any William Kennedy? He may be my favorite author, period.
   260. Man o' Schwar Posted: May 10, 2019 at 11:42 PM (#5840940)
Have you read any William Kennedy? He may be my favorite author, period.

I haven't, but I'm always looking for new authors. I'll check him out. Thanks.
   261. jmp Posted: May 10, 2019 at 11:50 PM (#5840943)
I really enjoyed Terry Goodkind's first couple of novels. Had no idea there were 20 in the series. I kinda felt it was getting repetitive after the first 2 or 3, but the first few I liked.

   262. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 11, 2019 at 03:26 AM (#5840958)
Mel Gibson is attached to play Santa Claus in the independent action comedy feature “Fatman.”

Scheduled to film in early 2020 in Canada, “Fatman” is the story of a rowdy, unorthodox Santa Claus who is fighting his business decline — while a neglected and precocious 12-year-old hires a hitman to kill Santa after receiving a lump of coal in his stocking.

That reminds me of the time Mel Gibson beat his girlfriend when she was holding their infant child and then when she asked him about it on tape he replied "You ####### deserved it."
   263. Hysterical & Useless Posted: May 11, 2019 at 02:48 PM (#5841007)
Have you read any William Kennedy?


I still lived in Schenectady when Kennedy (who was from Albany, nearby) became well-known. I've bought several of his books but have just never gotten around to reading them. I think there's an element of "He's from ####### Albany fer chrissakes, how good can he be?" to my resistance.

Looking him up, I see he graduated from the same college as me--before I was born!--yet is still alive.
   264. BrianBrianson Posted: May 11, 2019 at 04:56 PM (#5841042)
Pop Culture note #1: I have some a marathon of some of the early CSI seasons with William Peterson on. Such a great show, so much fun to re-visit


Great as a TV show, perhaps. But it's been messing up a lot of other stuff as the police are expected to have magic powers of CSI to find and convict criminals. Juries have become reluctant to convict without an implausible amount of forensic evidence, and people have become totally unsympathetic to the police's inability to catch criminals, especially murderers, where they have no evidence at all.
   265. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 11, 2019 at 07:29 PM (#5841101)
I’ve attempted to stay “with it” by watching two big CGI-filled blockbuster spectacles today:

* The Wandering Earth: the second highest-grossing Chinese movie of all-time, this is just a joyless Armageddon knockoff, total garbage.

* Pokémon Detective Pikachu: incredibly boring (I dozed off in the middle), I can’t imagine anyone over the age of 9 enjoying anything about this. Though I did laugh once when a tv screen features a scene from Home Alone in a subtle, clever way.
   266. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 11, 2019 at 07:50 PM (#5841107)
   267. Hot Wheeling American Posted: May 11, 2019 at 08:28 PM (#5841114)
Did you torrent Det. Pikachu?
   268. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 11, 2019 at 09:22 PM (#5841121)
No, I went to the theater. I had like a 2.5-hour window this afternoon with no baby, so, figuring it might be my last chance to go to the theater in a while, I went for it. The Avengers and the time crunch severely limited my options!

The Wandering Earth is streaming on US Netflix right now; it barely got a theatrical release here.
   269. PreservedFish Posted: May 11, 2019 at 09:35 PM (#5841124)
Just added William Kennedy's Ironweed to my amazon wishlist. I'm usually suspicious of authors that mostly limit themselves to writing about their hometowns, and as such had avoided Kennedy. But, judging from the reviews, he's a creative stylist and imaginative writer even within that narrow setting. Let's give him a shot.
   270. PreservedFish Posted: May 11, 2019 at 09:39 PM (#5841126)
I can't claim to be a true Pokemon fan, but I've watched the original cartoon with my kids. Pikachu is an adorable, loyal pet that communicates in squeaks and cute noises. Making him a wise cracking detective ... I don't know if it's as bad as making Dennis Hopper "President Bowser," but it's gotta be up there.
   271. Lassus Posted: May 11, 2019 at 10:51 PM (#5841138)
I think there's an element of "He's from ####### Albany fer chrissakes, how good can he be?" to my resistance.

I can understand and appreciate this (There's a Delillo-lite detective author from Utica - Frank Lentricchia - I want to love but after two books instead just want to punch) sentient, but not only is Kennedy the real deal, northern NY has a real school of great authors - Russell Banks, Russo, Kennedy. I mean, I guess I can't count Robertson Davies, because he's Canadian, but Toronto, well. It's basically northern NY. Right?


Just added William Kennedy's Ironweed to my amazon wishlist.

Ironweed is his most well-known, but I'd personally say that Very Old Bones is my favorite. Changó's Beads and Two-Tone Shoes has gotten amazing reviews, and may end up being his last, but who knows?
   272. Lassus Posted: May 12, 2019 at 06:11 AM (#5841162)
Speaking of Kennedy, he was the co-screenwriter with Coppola on "the Cotton Club". First of all, I had no idea that bombed. I remember it as a big film!

Secondly, this was kind of interesting:
In 2015, Coppola found an old Betamax video copy of his original cut that ran 25 minutes longer. When originally editing the picture, he acquiesced to distributors who wanted a shorter film with different structure. Between 2015 and 2017 Coppola spent over $500,000 of his own money to restore the film to the original cut. This version, titled The Cotton Club Encore and running 139 minutes, debuted at the Telluride Film Festival on September 1, 2017.
   273. Lassus Posted: May 12, 2019 at 06:51 PM (#5841280)
So.

1. New young dragons from Drogon,
2. dragons from under Dragonstone, or
3. Dany TURNS INTO a dragon.

These are all dragon theories I've read for tonight. Any takers?
   274. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: May 12, 2019 at 08:06 PM (#5841304)
Saw Endgame, which had a little better pacing than Infinity War.
   275. flournoy Posted: May 12, 2019 at 08:13 PM (#5841305)
I'll take "No" on all three of those dragon ideas.

I do suspect that we're going to see Daenerys roast Varys with Drogon. (This will make me sad; Varys is my favorite character.) Also much of Kings Landing will probably suffer a similar fate.
   276. Dromedary pretzels, only half a dinar (CoB). Posted: May 12, 2019 at 08:42 PM (#5841321)
Yeah, we're going to get some Varys flambe, this episode or next.
   277. Howie Menckel Posted: May 12, 2019 at 09:26 PM (#5841341)
just found out that the mother of astronaut Buzz Aldrin - second only to Neil Armstrong - had a maiden name of Marion Moon, no kidding.

what goals and thus jobs would Buzz have had if her maiden name matched different celestial bodies?
   278. JJ1986 Posted: May 12, 2019 at 09:48 PM (#5841370)
edit: maybe too early for spoilers.
   279. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 12, 2019 at 10:25 PM (#5841383)
Give Lena Headey the Emmy!
   280. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 12, 2019 at 10:33 PM (#5841387)
(Seriously though you could cut this episode’s runtime in half by removing the reaction shots of Cersei staring off into the distance implacably.)
   281. Lassus Posted: May 12, 2019 at 10:57 PM (#5841392)
Aren't you the one who was orgasming over a 20-minute close-up sometime in the last 6 months?
   282. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 12, 2019 at 11:03 PM (#5841394)
I finally liked an episode of GAME OF THRONES!!!
   283. Zonk, your King of All that Is Real Posted: May 13, 2019 at 12:57 AM (#5841403)
It’s a shame GoT overshadowed it.... because Veep was friggin awesome. THATs how you do a finale. Hilarious. All plot lines tied up. Copious fan service Easter eggs that don’t diminish its awesomeness if you miss them. I can’t eve talk about the eerie prescience - some of which were written and filmed even before reality took its time slot without angering the OTP gods. But that was just glorious.

The best and most perfect finale of any show that I’ve ever loved.
   284. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 13, 2019 at 02:13 AM (#5841406)
   285. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 13, 2019 at 02:46 AM (#5841407)
Anyway, last night's episode...with all the destruction, all the mutilated and charred corpses, all the dead women and children....that's what power is. That's what revenge is. That's what resistance to evil is.

There is nothing redemptive about violence, it only always ever leads to more death. Last night's episode succeeded by showing that in the starkest possible terms.

I think it's great that so many fans hated it. We finally finally finally have a show giving fans what they need, not what they want.
   286. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: May 13, 2019 at 08:31 AM (#5841421)
Got back from Luxembourg last night, having seen Dessa live for the first time on Saturday. I, uh . . . don't think the tour really had a good idea of how small and relatively rural Wiltz is. Town of 6,500 people, about 2 hours from Luxembourg City and anywhere else big. But it was a great deal of fun to be at the gig with at least 35 other people, only some of whom were working at the venue or opening for her. And to tear through her book the day after on my way back, which was an excellent read. I can't help but think that any future tour won't go quite that far from major urban areas in the region, though, considering they moved on to London and Dublin afterwards.

A German-language Luxembourg rapper, 'Nicool', opened for her and was quite a lot of fun, though I understood only one word in ten. She looked a bit sheepish at times - again, small audience - but a good time was had. Aby Wolf also ran through a few of her songs. 'Mute' was especially good.
   287. Wayne Newton's pet monkey (gef, talking mongoose) Posted: May 13, 2019 at 09:40 AM (#5841425)
Great as a TV show, perhaps. But it's been messing up a lot of other stuff as the police are expected to have magic powers of CSI to find and convict criminals. Juries have become reluctant to convict without an implausible amount of forensic evidence, and people have become totally unsympathetic to the police's inability to catch criminals, especially murderers, where they have no evidence at all.


A point made in a book I finished just a couple of days ago ... a book that, remarkably, on the same page repeatedly misspelled the surname of probably the world's most prominent criminal profiler & also made reference to hijacker "B.D." Cooper.

Editors just don't exist anymore, do they?

*sigh*
   288. flournoy Posted: May 13, 2019 at 10:12 AM (#5841441)
I think it's great that so many fans hated it. We finally finally finally have a show giving fans what they need, not what they want.


This was what I wanted and what I needed. (I'll take your word for it that there exist people who hated the episode.) In my mind, Daenerys has been the "ultimate villain" since Season 2. Very gratifying to get that vision fully realized.
   289. phredbird Posted: May 13, 2019 at 11:37 AM (#5841479)

doris day is dead at 97.

she was an immensely talented singer and actress whose reputation suffered for being associated with the frothy comedies she made with the likes of Rock Hudson.

the first time i saw 'love me or leave me' i was riveted. her performance was every bit as nuanced and powerful as james cagney's.

she also suffered from making a string of bad choices in men. her last husband robbed her blind and she was practically forced to star in her TV show for the last five years of her career.

RIP

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/13/obituaries/doris-day-death.html?action=click&module=Top Stories&pgtype=Homepage
   290. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: May 13, 2019 at 12:07 PM (#5841494)
I think it's great that so many fans hated it. We finally finally finally have a show giving fans what they need, not what they want.
Everyone I know so far hasn't liked it...and it's not AT ALL the fact that there was all that destruction and evil, it's *how they got there*. Crucial distinction. They simply didn't lay enough groundwork to accept that sudden turn. (And no, the executions-by-Drogon aren't nearly enough.)
   291. Zonk, your King of All that Is Real Posted: May 13, 2019 at 12:20 PM (#5841504)
I have some "that's dumb" quibbles, but ep3 was the real stinker in my mind. I think it was just bad from all angles. I have less problems with ep4 and ep5. My issues with ep4 are mainly of the "that's dumb and makes no sense" (dragons utterly failing at their fleet screening duties). My issues with ep5 aren't so much the ultimate what, but lack of storytelling for the why (i.e., fine, fine... Dany goes full mad queen... but starts by burning the city rather than the red keep itself? Come on. That was just dumb.)

IOW - I concur with Benji in 290.

...anyway, I'm somewhat happy that the finale does appear to have some real unanswered questions that I can only speculate wildly on - that's fun.

Still maintain that Veep has really nailed its final season - and especially the absolutely perfect finale far better than GoT.
   292. flournoy Posted: May 13, 2019 at 12:32 PM (#5841509)
Daenerys' story:

Season 1: Casually watches her brother killed. Is visably turned on by the idea of Drogo laying waste to Westeros, raping and enslaving the population. Can't understand why Mirri Maz Duur doesn't love and worship her.
Season 2: Threatens to burn Qarth to the ground when they initially deny her entry. Threatens the Spice King again when he declines to give her his ships on some vague and impossible promise. Actually does use the dragons to burn Pyat Pree and discovers how effective that solution is.
Season 3: Burns much of Astapor to the ground when negotiating in bad faith with the slavers. Clearly yearns for the unconditional love and subservience of the freed Yunkai slaves.
Season 4: Indiscriminately crucifies the masters of Meereen. Shows an inability to control the dragons.
Season 5: Arbitrarily feeds masters to her dragons, and is visibly aroused by doing so. Gets another taste of using Drogon to burn everyone as her primary solution.
Season 6: Burns all of the Dothraki Khals and claims their Khalasars for herself. Rouses them with a speech about sailing west and taking her kingdom with fire and blood. Her solution to the Masters' assault on Meereen was to burn their cities to the ground until Tyrion talked her out of it. Instead she just burned their armies.
Season 7: Her inclination is always to fly to Kings Landing and lay waste to the city, but is talked down by Tyrion and Jon. Again, she instead just burns the enemy armies, then executes unarmed prisoners. She agrees to fight the Night King only after he emerges as a direct threat to her by killing a dragon.
Season 8: She is clearly upset the the people of Westeros don't love her unconditionally as their savior. Her advisers all start dying and/or realizing that the true heir (not her) is better suited to the throne. She finally gives in to her natural urges and burns everything down, starting with the people who she thinks betrayed her by not accepting her as their queen.


I submit that the groundwork has been there the whole time.
   293. Dromedary pretzels, only half a dinar (CoB). Posted: May 13, 2019 at 12:40 PM (#5841515)
At this point I am so past the "Germans? Pearl Harbor? Forget it, he's rolling?" point with GoT, I just wave my hands and mutter, "A wizard did it" ...
   294. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 13, 2019 at 12:56 PM (#5841522)
286-I'm happy you had a good time! I've been a huge fan of Dessa's ever since her first album came out. In fact, my wife and I saw her in concert on one of our very first dates, a show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (performing alongside Aby Wolf).

(I'm also happy to see you read her book--and am even happier to see you liked it a lot more than I did!)
   295. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: May 13, 2019 at 01:10 PM (#5841533)
I submit that the groundwork has been there the whole time.
Eh. All of that would be good justification for her taking down the Keep, roasting the King's Landing soldiers, etc. Deliberately targeting the civilians -- when she had already clearly won, no less! -- was a bridge way too far for me, and many others, because she hadn't gone there before, and had no need to here. The writers didn't earn me accepting that leap, in my mind.

starting with the people who she thinks betrayed her by not accepting her as their queen.
If she had even made a hot-headed statement to Tyrion or Jon beforehand to the effect that maybe they deserved such a fate for that reason, it would have been at least a flimsy justification. To my knowledge, she didn't.

Had they not rushed the show to its conclusion I think they probably could have ended up in a similar or identical place and not have it feel so false.
   296. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 13, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5841535)
   297. Zonk, your King of All that Is Real Posted: May 13, 2019 at 01:15 PM (#5841536)
Daenerys' story:


Sounds about right.

One thing that annoys me - and this has come up more at the other place than here - is people still harping on Jon Snow "being stupid".... which is dumb because the difference between Jon and Dany at this point is that Dany learns to be ruthless and murderous and Jon hasn't.

They've both made mistakes - largely with trust where trust was a mistake - that led them to problems... but she's responded by upping the body count.... he's responded by trying not to.
   298. . Posted: May 13, 2019 at 01:16 PM (#5841537)
This is garbage tier writing. Utter f***in garbage.


Since they are the most dominant military forces in any actual or conceivable Westerosian theatre, by orders of magnitude, there was no reason for her to have not deployed the dragons years earlier. The writers lost me at that point, unfortunately. Up to then, it was a fantastic show, right up there with things like The Sopranos and Breaking Bad on a back of the envelope GOAT list.
   299. Srul Itza Posted: May 13, 2019 at 01:17 PM (#5841539)
Episode 4 -- Scorpions on Iron Fleet takes out a dragon, no problem, and Drogon has to flee
Episode 5 -- Scorpions fairly useless as Drogon takes out Iron Fleet and Kings Landing.

Season 6, Battle of Mereen -- All three dragons working together take their time to blast one ship to smithereens.
Season 8, Battle of Kings Landing -- Drogon blows apart ships one after the other.

Now, as a realistic matter (in a show with lots of magic), the Scorpions should not have worked so well the first time, and Dany had some time to think about tactics (fly out of the sun; come in low at the castle so they have to depress, and then soar up and destroy them before they can elevate). It is the earlier success sense, really, including catching them by surprise.

And Drogon clearing out the ships so easily may make, since he is bigger and possibly going at them harder.

Still.

Also, did Euron's Iron Fleet seem a little small? I suppose there is a limit to the number of ships that can be supported at one port, but it just seemed a bit underwhelming.
   300. JJ1986 Posted: May 13, 2019 at 01:22 PM (#5841543)
I really would have liked some last trigger for Dany. The way they filmed it made it look like she was a brainwashed sleeper agent and someone gave her the order to strike. It just happened to her rather than being a decision she made. I think something like seeing Jon celebrated as a liberator would have been the right visual.
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