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33 Responses

  1. Glyph says:

    I’m caught up on Fargo and I am still not feeling it. If someone can explain a way of looking at it that shows it to have some sort of point, I’m all ears?

    It just seems like a bunch of distracting stunt casting, thin characterization, exceedingly-shaggy storytelling (with completely-implausible plot twists), and tropes borrowed from Coen brothers films, but deployed without the Coens’ skill. I will still finish out the season (one ep left I think), but I can’t say it’s for me and I am surprised it is getting so much critical love.

    Getting caught up on Orphan Black. Bu zna, V fubg Yrrxvr va gur snpr. Vf vg cbffvoyr Qbaavr vf tbvat gb fgneg gb ehyr? Gur nohfvir gbkvpvgl bs Ivp naq Fnenu’f eryngvbafuvc (jvgu Ivp nggrzcgvat gb znxr nzraqf – V ernyyl qb guvax ur’f gelvat gb or orggre – ohg dhvpxyl fyvqvat onpx vagb bofrffvba, naq nggrzcgf gb pbageby Fnenu) jnf unaqvyl qrcvpgrq va guhzoanvy.

    Nyfb, V gubhtug vg n ovg bs n zvffrq bccbeghavgl jura Enpury zrg ure ‘sngure’ (jub V nffhzr fur unq cerivbhfyl cerfhzrq qrnq?) gb unir ure terrg uvz fb fgvssyl (“Uryyb, sngure”) – whfg n fznyy zbzrag sbe gung punenpgre, abeznyyl fb vpvyl-pbagebyyrq, gb oernx (creuncf jvgu n zber puvyqyvxr “Qnqql?”) pbhyq unir qrrcrarq gur punenpgre naq oebxra urnegf, naq Znfynal pbhyq’ir znqr gung f**g jbex. Uryran orygvat bhg “Fhtne Fhtne” bhg bs gvzr naq ghar jnf njrfbzr.

    Game of Thrones season finale tonight. Man, their seasons fly by.

    Also, I was surprised to find last week’s episode was sort of divisive – sure, it had less character work than usual, but HOLY CRAP IT WAS (95%) AWESOME.

    (Though one scene with [REDACTED] was pretty cheesily out of place, so docked 5 points).Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Glyph says:

      I don’t know that I can explain it in a way that will be satisfying, but I love it. And I actually think it’s pretty classic Cohen — which is to say that it takes a kind of classic archetype story and bends and twists that archetype into a film noir type setting.

      It the case of the TV show, it remakes the much-used Crossroads mythology: Man wants a better life, man summons and meets the Devil and makes an exchange of success for his soul thinking he can outwit the Devil, man discovers too late that you can never beat the Devil at his own game.

      For me, one of the joys in the show is watching Thorton’s Devil, who always calmly and politely gives those he tempts a clear choice of which road they want to travel down before he grants their “wishes.”Report

      • Glyph in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Yeah, I’m clearly in the minority on this one. It just feels…empty to me. Looks great, lots of great actors, but it’s just not cohering into something more. When each episode ends I’m still not sure why this story needed to be told. What happened to Oliver Platt? I mean, not literally…but what was the point of that whole storyline here? Why was Adam Goldberg cast, when he was neither truly menacing (because he’s Adam Goldberg) nor funny (because his character wasn’t written that way)? In fact, a lot of the humor on the show just doesn’t land for me, which is rarely the case in the Coens’ actual work, even the dramas.

        Discussing Hannibal elsewhere on this post, it feels like they’ve brought some new facets to that story, but I’m just not getting that here.

        In fact, like Malvo, Hannibal is also explicitly played as the Devil (and politeness/antipathy to rudeness is his defining trait) but I find the choices he presents to people much more engrossing (and his MO of often subtly leading people towards the conclusions or choice he wants them to make; choices they will think were their own).Report

      • Glyph in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Well, ONE of his defining traits.

        That, and eating people.Report

  2. Saul Degraw says:

    I’ve decided to read Ulysses.

    The trick to reading Uylsses is to read it very slowly.Report

  3. Tod Kelly says:

    As I said earlier this week, I reread Columbine this week, which was just as powerful in the second reading as the first. (Though obviously less shocking.) I also finished Roger Zelzny’s Lord of Light, which started so strong but bored me most of its second half. I felt like it could never quite figure out what it wanted to be, and so avoided being much of anything at all. I’m baffled as to why it’s considered such a classic SF masterpiece.

    This week I intend to finish Motherless Brooklyn and begin the latest Terry Pratchett, Raising Steam. I need to find something with a little more meat to sink my teeth into. Any suggestions would be welcome.

    Other than the NBA and the Cup, I haven’t watched much of anything other than the Fargo mini-series, which unlike Glyph I am loving. I hope they do another one after it ends next week.

    Oh, I also kind of watched Thor: Dark World. I finished it in bed in much less than an hour, because I kept getting bored and fast forwarding.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      How are you dealing with the implausibility/non-realism/”magical”, for lack of a better word, factor in Fargo?

      I mean, a lot of completely-unrealistic things happen in Hannibal too, but that thing is a Gothic fever dream. Complaining about “realism” there, would be like blaming the Fall of the House of Usher upon substandard building codes. Hannibal makes little pretense towards reality.

      Whereas Fargo has made a repeating trope out of that “True Story” disclaimer at the beginning. (Also, using “erstwhile” instead of “previously” is annoying – there’s a lot of forced “quirky” here). I like Odenkirk, but we get it already, we don’t need any more of his character (and I do find him, and Key and Peele, distracting). Billy Bob is too old for the part he’s playing.

      I dunno, it just doesn’t seem to have control of its tone. And things keep happening, but there’s no sense of what it means (or, doesn’t mean).Report

      • Tod Kelly in reply to Glyph says:

        See my answer to your comment above.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph says:

        The film begin with the title card “This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred.”

        Every word of that is a lie.Report

    • zic in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      I also finished Roger Zelzny’s Lord of Light, which started so strong but bored me most of its second half.

      It’s my least favorite of his books.

      My favorite is Deus Irae, co-written with Phillip K. Dick; next are the seven books that comprise the Chronicles of Amber.

      Have you tried reading anything by Samuel Delaney? Dhalgren is an essential read for getting to the non-marxist dark heart of 1960’s dystopian-fiction. When it comes to sexual and gender identity, we’re just beginning to get where Dhalgren went long ago. Plus, people walk around wearing holograms.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to zic says:

        Nitpick: The first series of Amber books (Corwin) was five books. The second (Merlin) was also five, The first set is amazing; the second was written to pay for his kids’ college tuition and it shows. Then there are Amber books which written by someone else after Zelazny’s death; I do my best to forget they exist.

        Lord of Light is my favorite of his standalone novels, though that’s almost by default, since few of them are worth reading and none of the others worth rereading. His real genius was for short stories. If you can find a collection with The Doors of his Mouth, A Rose for Ecclesiastes, Home is the Hangman, He Who Shapes, etc, grab it.Report

      • zic in reply to zic says:

        Thanks for the correction; I don’t know where ‘seven’ came from. . .

        on recent re-read, the second set actually held up better; which surprised me; he got the computer technology right-enough that they didn’t seem as silly.

        But it’s the first five that really matter, and I adore them, have since first reading as a teen. I would risk everything to walk the logos.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to zic says:

        That’s not what I would have expected at all. I recall the first five as having a strong story, even if it’s hidden for long periods, ending with the big reveal that brings everything that went before into focus, while the second set meanders around and eventually peters out.Report

    • James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      For reading I’m trying once again to read Justine, the first book in Lawrence Durrel’s Alexandria quartet. I was inspired to give it a fourth shot by Saul’s post on high-brow lit, but again I am reminded of what drives me batty about so much high-brow lit; characters who are in an elite (even the narrator, although he’s poor, by virtue of being a Brit in Egypt, and by palling around with those in the upper social crust), and young characters who are self-pitying and already enervated with life, and trying oh-so-hard to find meaning in life to overcome their spoiled rich kid boredom. 30 pages in and I’m already rooting for them to eat a bullet.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      If you want something with real merit that will last you a while, try Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy It’s about 1200 pages, all of it wonderful: a sprawling Jane Austen novel (if you can imagine such a thing) set in post-WWII India.Report

  4. James Hanley says:

    Finishing our yard sale, and hoping the Swiss hold on to beat Ecuador.Report

  5. Will Truman says:

    I finished Hannibal yesterday! Wow! Now what?!

    Since this involves the first episode of the season, I won’t rot13 it: I think it was a mistake that they did the “show the ending and then rewind to how we got there.” I’m not always against this approach, as it’s a good way to build anticipation. In this case, though, it didn’t build enough anticipation as much as it did take the wind out of the sails of the various twists and turns of the season. We knew who the finger would be pointing at towards the end.

    Other than that, it was well done. The season as a whole, the finale less so. I started off liking The Following more than Hannibal, but for Season Three I may not even watch the former and I can’t wait for the latter. One thing I am less than clear about… jung vafcverq Nynan’f fhqqra fxrcgvpvfz va Unaavony?Report

    • Glyph in reply to Will Truman says:

      “show the ending and then rewind to how we got there.”

      I actually usually hate this trope. It often like a cheat, a way to rope people in at the beginning and create unearned tension. It may not have always been that way, but it went through a period of lazy overuse (Alias did it a LOT). But I thought it worked reasonably well here, since we’ve ALWAYS known Hannibal will get caught eventually, since this is a prequel. And Mads clearing a counter from a standing jump is awesome (is there anything he can’t do?). That was a great fight scene.

      V nffhzr bapr fur fnj Serqqvr nyvir naq ernyvmrq Wnpx naq Jvyy jrer jbexvat gbtrgure gung pyvapurq vg. Fur unf qbhogf nobhg Jvyy’f fnavgl, ohg arire Wnpx’f. Naq pbzr BA, rirelbar unf gb xabj vg nva’g Puvygba.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to Glyph says:

        We knew Hannibal would be caught. The rewind basically let us know that he would be caught 12 week hence. Which meant that anything that happened in the meantime, such as the fingering Chilton, would be very temporary and that Hannibal’s time was limited. YMMV, but it took away more than it added. The fight scene was pretty awesome, though.

        V zhfg unir tbggra zl gvzryvar zvkrq hc. V gubhtug fur ghearq ba Unaavony cevbe gb frrvat Serqqvr nyvir. Gurer frrzrq yvxr n cerpvfr fprar jurer vg unccrarq. Jura fur jnf jvgu uvz. V svtherq bhg jung jnf unccravat, ohg pbhyqa’g svther bhg ubj be jul. Jung gur vzntrel ercerfragrq. V jnf jbaqrevat vs gurer jnf n fgenvtugsbejneq rkcynangvba sbe gung.Report

  6. Will Truman says:

    Audiobookwise, I am working through Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. About to finish up #2. Enjoying it so far. I like spacewar science fiction a lot more when there isn’t the focus on the battle scenes (or strategy). Which is not uncommon. I used to toss around an idea for a play involving superheroes that basically omitted all acts of superheroism. The scene being in their secret lair, mostly in their collective downtime. No Heroics did this, though it went the raunchy route.

    Viewingwise, now that I am done with Hannibal I am moving on to Person of Interest. When the second-to-last episode of the fall season gave me a satisfactory ending, I decided not to watch the last one because I thought it would end on a cliffhanger. Turns out, I was right. I might deploy this tactic more often.

    I need to pick up The Mindy Project again so that I have something sitcommy to watch. Come to think of it, I should have used that for my mental shower after certain episodes of Hannibal. Other than a few episodes of Big Bang Theory, TMP is the only sitcom I have left to complete.Report

  7. Maribou says:

    Reading: More Minx comics, Elisha Lim’s 100 Crushes, an anthology of essays by women about life as an expatriate, Lowry’s The Giver (a reread) and all 3 of its companion novels (new to me) in 2 days (I get to see both her and Jeff Bridges speak at ALA, woo!), Riordan’s The Lightning Thief. And I’m in the middle of a big anthology of Irvin Yalom’s writing and a very fat bio of Thomas More. Those will probably take me so long to read that I will forget to mention them when I am done, but they are pretty good, so.

    Watching: A few Bab 5 episodes. I’m almost caught up!Report

  8. Michael Cain says:

    Two-three weeks ago someone remarked on not being allowed to remove Don Carpenter books from their local library. I picked a couple at random and ordered them from my local library’s inter-library loan program. The bindings aren’t in great shape, and the typography certainly shows it’s age, but both were pulled from university library stacks and delivered.Report

  9. North says:

    If your primary complain about HTTYD 1 was that the theme “everything the adults know is wrong” was too on the nose then you should probably enjoy the sequel considerably since it was most emphatically not that theme and was in fact much closer to the opposite. I adored the first one but the sequel was spectacular.Report

  10. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Edge of Tomorrow (aka All You Need is Kill)
    Winter Soldier (if it is still playing).

    I’m in Lebanon, NH this week, so I might find time to see a few.Report