It's not the size of the screen...

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Warren
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Warren »

lunchstealer wrote: 13 Jul 2020, 18:48
Warren wrote: 13 Jul 2020, 16:28
D.A. Ridgely wrote: 13 Jul 2020, 15:52
Warren wrote: 13 Jul 2020, 14:44
JasonL wrote: 13 Jul 2020, 13:29 Wife just wrapped a Community binge a thon. I got tired of it but thought it was funny in parts. Late seasons were strained as is always the case. I thought Parks and Rec was really strong after the first season and I expected to hate it as I'm not an Office guy.
Parks and Rec definitely more watchable than The Office. I think I'm too geezer for Community.
I generally didn't and still don't like sitcoms of that sort and those years. 30 Rock is something of an exception. You'd have to mark every episode of Community to warn me if Chevy Chase was in it so I could skip those episodes before giving it a try.
But he's the only member of the cast old enough to remember dial phones. His are the only episodes I might want to watch.
Joel McHale is older than I am. I remember when VCRs were the new hot thing, and people still thought that BetaScan was gonna be the one because of the better picture quality, and ours had a remote - with a cord. I was excited when we got a new TV with push-buttons to change channels instead of knobs.
Tell me which episodes you're in and I'll watch those.
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dead_elvis
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by dead_elvis »

A few episodes in to The Great, enjoying it. I would describe it as Sansa Stark by way of Iannucci and Drunk History.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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I am unsure of what I think of midnight gospel. It is very creative and animation is very good - if gross. The forced improv effect is more uneven.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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Made it through one and a half episodes of HBO’s Perry Mason adaptation - a dull, artless, snooze. So slow.

TV is so bad now.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

dbcooper wrote: 18 Aug 2020, 21:25 Made it through one and a half episodes of HBO’s Perry Mason adaptation - a dull, artless, snooze. So slow.

TV is so bad now.
You're so, so wrong about that show. Well, not about the pace in the early episodes, but otherwise wrong.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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D.A. Ridgely wrote: 18 Aug 2020, 21:40
dbcooper wrote: 18 Aug 2020, 21:25 Made it through one and a half episodes of HBO’s Perry Mason adaptation - a dull, artless, snooze. So slow.

TV is so bad now.
You're so, so wrong about that show. Well, not about the pace in the early episodes, but otherwise wrong.
It looks like every other generic "dark" TV show of the last 10 years. There hero is haunted by his past ... zzz. There's nothing there.
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D.A. Ridgely
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

dbcooper wrote: 18 Aug 2020, 22:11
D.A. Ridgely wrote: 18 Aug 2020, 21:40
dbcooper wrote: 18 Aug 2020, 21:25 Made it through one and a half episodes of HBO’s Perry Mason adaptation - a dull, artless, snooze. So slow.

TV is so bad now.
You're so, so wrong about that show. Well, not about the pace in the early episodes, but otherwise wrong.
It looks like every other generic "dark" TV show of the last 10 years. There hero is haunted by his past ... zzz. There's nothing there.
Okay.
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Dangerman
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by Dangerman »

dbcooper wrote: 18 Aug 2020, 22:11
D.A. Ridgely wrote: 18 Aug 2020, 21:40
dbcooper wrote: 18 Aug 2020, 21:25 Made it through one and a half episodes of HBO’s Perry Mason adaptation - a dull, artless, snooze. So slow.

TV is so bad now.
You're so, so wrong about that show. Well, not about the pace in the early episodes, but otherwise wrong.
It looks like every other generic "dark" TV show of the last 10 years. There hero is haunted by his past ... zzz. There's nothing there.
That's a five minute arc in the first episode or two, doesn't really carry though. The rest of the season is B+/A- and I enjoyed it. No flashbacks or hauntings to speak of.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by dbcooper »

Dangerman wrote: 19 Aug 2020, 16:01
dbcooper wrote: 18 Aug 2020, 22:11
D.A. Ridgely wrote: 18 Aug 2020, 21:40
dbcooper wrote: 18 Aug 2020, 21:25 Made it through one and a half episodes of HBO’s Perry Mason adaptation - a dull, artless, snooze. So slow.

TV is so bad now.
You're so, so wrong about that show. Well, not about the pace in the early episodes, but otherwise wrong.
It looks like every other generic "dark" TV show of the last 10 years. There hero is haunted by his past ... zzz. There's nothing there.
That's a five minute arc in the first episode or two, doesn't really carry though. The rest of the season is B+/A- and I enjoyed it. No flashbacks or hauntings to speak of.
I will concede that there is a vanishingly small chance that I may be wrong about the rest of the series.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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I demand that you watch the rest! Either you like it, or you can hate-blog it here which I will enjoy tremendously. WIN WIN.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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dhex wrote: 02 Aug 2020, 09:31 I am unsure of what I think of midnight gospel. It is very creative and animation is very good - if gross. The forced improv effect is more uneven.
Update: the soul prison episode sold me entirely on the show. Highly recommended.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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We've been enjoying Rake (netflix, australian). This especially tickled me; the first episode had what I thought for sure was the Portsmouth Sinfonia playing Bolero, which would have been amusing enough, but the truth was even better. :lol:
IMG_9107.JPG
IMG_9107.JPG (2.11 MiB) Viewed 2076 times
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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That's awesome!!!!
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by JD »

The first few episodes of Perry Mason weren't bad. Yeah, a little generic with the tortured alcoholic hero with his traumatic backstory, but OK. Not sure what it has to do with the original Perry Mason beyond the name.

Watched the first episode of Lovecraft Country. I liked it, but not as much as I wanted to like it. It bugged me that they violated one of the most basic guidelines of horror: they showed the monsters, in detail, pretty much right away. Monsters are a lot more effective when you don't immediately get to see them. Also the writing is about as subtle as a sledgehammer. Yes, 1950s America was a racist place full of dangers for Black people and Black travelers particularly. But when the main characters encounter not just racist but actively murderous White people literally at every single turn, it starts to feel anvilicious. Some of the anachronisms were also a little glaring, like when one character picks up his phone, reels off a string of numbers, and gets connected to Korea right away. That one may have stood out particularly because Perry Mason actually got the long-distance call thing correct.
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D.A. Ridgely
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

Post by D.A. Ridgely »

JD wrote: 22 Aug 2020, 09:30 The first few episodes of Perry Mason weren't bad. Yeah, a little generic with the tortured alcoholic hero with his traumatic backstory, but OK. Not sure what it has to do with the original Perry Mason beyond the name.

... Perry Mason actually got the long-distance call thing correct.
It's clearly a "reinvisioning" (a word I don't particularly care for, but there it is) and a deliberate rejection of the tone and structure of the 1950s-60s television series. In fact, and I don't think this is much of a spoiler, there is a brief scene late in the series that flatly rejects a key element of the formulaic television series.

I've never read any of the Erle Stanley Gardner novels, but my understanding is that the Perry Mason character in the books had next to no background story or characterization of Mason outside his work as a criminal defense lawyer. It's perhaps worth noting, however, that Gardner's first Mason novel was published and is set in 1933, a year after the HBO first season takes place. From what I've read, the novels were more procedurals than what later became referred to as hard-boiled detective stories, while the HBO series does indeed rely on film-equivalent noir conventions and tropes. Either one likes that sort of thing or one doesn't. I do.

In any case, the series is clearly an origin story. Mason does become a lawyer in a manner I found frankly absurd in the series but then learned wasn't all that far off from how Gardner came to pass the bar in California, and all but one or two of the novels'/50s TV series' characters have taken their places by the end of the last episode.

The odd thing to me, and perhaps my strongest criticism of the show, is that while, yes, it's a very slow burn to begin with, Rhys' Mason's transformation in the course of the trial was unbelievably rapid. If you can suspend disbelief over that flaw, it's on a par with the first season of True Detective. Not in the action scenes, of course; it's still mostly a legal drama, not a detective drama, but in the level of sophistication, attention to details, production values and quality of acting. The show supposedly had a production budget of $75 million, and as a period drama it's pretty clear from the first episode that much of that money went "on the screen." As far as I can tell, they were meticulous in the period details, as you noted about the long distance call.

Given that two of the show's principal actors are from television shows Thoreau praised highly (Rhys from The Americans and Maslany from Orphan Black), I'd be interested in his opinion if and when he sees the series.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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Watched the second episode of Lovecraft Country, and it was super-frustrating because some really good acting and concepts were let down by writing and directing. I really thought the plot engine that they'd set up could be the engine for a whole season; instead they wrapped it up in one episode, which felt incredibly rushed.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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JD wrote: 31 Aug 2020, 11:46 Watched the second episode of Lovecraft Country, and it was super-frustrating because some really good acting and concepts were let down by writing and directing. I really thought the plot engine that they'd set up could be the engine for a whole season; instead they wrapped it up in one episode, which felt incredibly rushed.
I had the same thought, but I think the end of the episode was actually some sort of fantasy/hallucination.
I have read the book, and I enjoyed it, but I don’t remember the plot very well.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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The third episode of Lovecraft Country was probably the best one yet, IMO. Yes, it's kind of traditional haunted-house stuff, but it works really well with the theme of the show. AND they actually start hinting at how the things introduced in the first two episodes will influence the rest of the season! It still suffers from some pacing issues, partly just in the directorial sense and partly in how they literally tell you on what day everything is happening and there just does not seem to be enough time for all of the events to happen.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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On the "languages" thread I've been talking about my attempts to learn Spanish, which largely involves watching certain episodes of preschool TV shows (specifically from the Nick Jr. channel) dubbed into Spanish and streaming for free on one of the Pluto channels. One of those shows is "Wonder Pets," about a guinea pig, duckling and turtle who are preschool-classroom pets each morning, then superheroes in the afternoon. It's also a pretty clever show (IMO): each episode is a musical, basically operetta, with a score performed by an actual orchestra. Last night I saw that Nick Jr's regular English Pluto stream was going to air a certain Wonder Pets episode I'd seen in Spanish many times: the one where they "save the swan" and then "save the puppy." It actually felt weird, watching and completely understanding this little comic operetta which, for the past month and change, was the source of immense study and struggle for me, but now that I'm watching in my native language it's gone from "tough intellectual challenge" to "super-easy, and pretty funny too."

Every Wonder Pets episode has a super-dramatic song near the beginning -- same tune but different lyrics for each show -- where the three superheroes sing about the day's challenge. In Spanish, I don't know more than maybe 60 percent of any of those songs' lyrics, but when I heard the swan one in English for the first time, I completely cracked up when Tuck the tiny turtle with the dramatic opera singing voice started booming "O baby SWA-han, your head's stuck in a BUH-cket..." and so forth.

So I watched the swan episode in English -- I already knew from my Spanish viewings that the baby was not "stuck" in a bucket; he was hiding there because he felt insecure about his poor dancing ability compared to the graceful adult swans on swan lake, but fortunately the Wonder Pets taught him lessons about self-confidence and such ... when I watched it in English there were a few puns and jokes I hadn't picked up in Spanish, but otherwise, I didn't really learn anything new about the plot, such as it was.

Break for commercial, then get to the episode's next story where they "save the puppy." I already knew from my Spanish viewings that the gist of the episode was, the puppy does not know how to use his doggie door to exit his human's house, but the Wonder Pets eventually teach him. I didn't get much else out of it; that particular episode was still mostly unintelligible to me, with only the occasional understandable word or phrase popping up here and there.

Turns out the reason I understand so little of the Spanish "save the puppy" episode is because, despite knowing "bano" means "bathroom," I have not learned any of the words or euphemisms to describe what you actually DO there. And the entire theme of the puppy episode is, the puppy needs to go outside to make peepee. Tuck's super-dramatic opera song starts out "O little PUP-py, you need to PEE-pee..." and earlier, when the Wonder Pets get the standard phone call informing them of an animal in need of saving, you could see and hear each Wonder Pet peeing before continuing with their usual formulaic behaviors. That one jazzy/swingy song they sang, where I never could figure out ANY of the Spanish words ... in English, the lyrics start out "Pee-pee! Wee-wee! Tinkle!" before going on about how everyone does it. Later, when they saved the day by showing the puppy how to use the puppy door, the puppy and all three Wonder Pets went outside and peed, and once again you could actually hear them doing so.

I know in the early days of TV shows, they tried pretending bathroom functions did not exist at all -- to the point of showing bathrooms without toilets -- and I recall reading that it was a huge groundbreaking deal when "All in the Family" first aired the sound of a toilet flushing off-screen. But, while I grew up watching TV in a post-All in the Family era where even uncontroversial, "family-friendly" shows had no problem admitting "bathrooms exist, and people frequently use them" -- outside of weird contexts like "late-night cable TV ads for certain types of phone sex lines" -- I don't recall ever seeing (or hearing) any TV show, let alone one for little kids, where they didn't merely refer to bathroom activities but actually let you HEAR them. I don't know if this Wonder Pets episode actually was a trailblazer in that regard (the number of TV shows I actually watch comprises only a tiny fraction of the number of TV shows that exist) -- but those frequent "action peeing" sound effects genuinely surprised me.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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Netflix's The Queen's Gambit scratches a lot of my itches. The look of it is just amazing. Ranging from bleak to sumptuous always in keeping with the story which has equal range. Set in the 50's-60's I really dig the retro vibe. Anya Taylor-Joy is so very easy on the eyes. And I think it's got more actual chess in it than any other chess movie/TV show, which isn't very much but still. The only thing that irritates is the idea that one could make a comfortable living traveling the world playing in chess tournaments. And they don't just hand wave that, it's hammered home. Still, it's a far more enjoyable watch than I expected from the trailer.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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Warren wrote: 12 Nov 2020, 20:11 Netflix's The Queen's Gambit scratches a lot of my itches. The look of it is just amazing.
Agreed. Some really sweet looking cars and fashion. My beefs are mainly with the utterly predicable plot points, dramatic arc, and music cues.

Great to see a world where intellectual pursuits are cheered, but there's way too much "you are a genius", "you're the best player I've seen" kind of stuff that just drags. The chess moves are made too fast and there wouldn't be any talking, but ok, it's a tv show. I like that they cared enough to use actual historical matches, even if I would never recognize that.

It's also a good excuse to watch some old videos of Bobby Fischer. One of the things the show gets right is the creepy killer instinct Fischer had.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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dead_elvis wrote: 21 Nov 2020, 13:12 My beefs are mainly with the utterly predicable plot points, dramatic arc, and music cues.
Fair enough. But the music itself gets full marks.
dead_elvis wrote: 21 Nov 2020, 13:12 The chess moves are made too fast and there wouldn't be any talking
Of course
dead_elvis wrote: 21 Nov 2020, 13:12 I like that they cared enough to use actual historical matches
YES!
dead_elvis wrote: 21 Nov 2020, 13:12 One of the things the show gets right is the creepy killer instinct Fischer had.
Are you suggesting there's a Fischer stand in? Who?
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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Warren wrote: 21 Nov 2020, 14:46
Are you suggesting there's a Fischer stand in? Who?
Beth! The article I linked:
“The Queen’s Gambit” covers a period from 1958 to 1968. That coincides with the peak of Fischer’s career, which ran from 1957, when he won the U.S. championship at 14, to 1972, when he won the world championship at 29 and quit competing.

Beth wins the 1967 U.S. championship. That was the year Fischer won his eighth and final American title.

After her adoptive mother dies in Mexico City, Beth, who is in her late teens, finds herself living alone. *Soon after Fischer’s older sister, Joan, married and moved out, his mother, Regina, did, too, to pursue a medical degree. That left Fischer, at 16, living on his own.

Fischer was somewhat antisocial and one-dimensional — there was little that he liked to talk about outside of chess. Beth is more likable, a necessity for a leading character in a show, but she has some similar traits.

She learns Russian in order to be prepared to face the Soviet players; Fischer taught himself Russian so that he could read Russian chess journals, which were the best sources of information.

Unlike the other top players in the show, Beth is able to make a living at chess. Even Benny, a past U.S. champion, lives in a dingy basement. Fischer was a pioneer as a full-time professional player in the United States. Kasparov has often said that it was Fischer’s demands for better playing conditions and larger prizes that professionalized the game.

When Beth needs money to go to Russia, she asks the government to pay for the trip. Fischer’s mother once picketed the White House to try to raise money for the United States chess team.

One of the reasons Beth does not have enough money for the trip is because she has bought too many dresses. Fischer, even though he was often scratching for money, had his suits and shoes custom made.

Finally, Beth and Fischer have similar, aggressive playing styles. And when playing white and facing the Sicilian Defense, they both play the same system: the Fischer-Sozin Attack.
Not to mention father abandonment. Some of these things might be a bit of a stretch but I find it hard to see "child prodigy from US steadily works their way up to world champion from late 50s through late 60s/early 70s, and is not well socialized" and not think of Fischer.
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Re: It's not the size of the screen...

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dead_elvis wrote: 21 Nov 2020, 19:15Beth!
They're both chess prodigies and they both beat the big bad Russian.
The rest is weak sauce IMHO.
"Killer instinct" is something that is necessarily an aspect of anyone that is the best in the world at anything. I don't see "creepy" in Beth, but creepy is a different look in women. Fischer was creepy because he was anti-social. He just stopped leaning how to get along with other people, and everything else for that matter, once he started playing chess as a boy. I would not characterize Beth as "not well socialized". Her primary character flaw was drug abuse (as distinct from Fischer). Not socializing well is a consequence of excess drinking and pill popping. When she cleans up her act, she socializes very well.
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