2004, Movies

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004, Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky)

I’ve been meaning to watch this movie for a decade and a half. Watching Get Back spurned Jenn to insist we watch it and I’m glad she did. But I do wonder if taking so long to watch the movie dulled it a bit for me – what was distinct and unique in 2004 is …

Philosophy, Politics, Society

Are Conservatives Ever Right About Anything?

Sorry for the clickbait headline but this is a question I’ve thought about often over the course of my adult life. You’ve no doubt heard of the famous Stephen Colbert quote “Reality has a well known liberal bias.” (That quote is nearly 16 years old now, which is scary.) And you might be familiar with …

2018, Books, Non-Fiction

The Fifth Risk (2018) by Michael Lewis

This is the first Michael Lewis book I’ve read. Admittedly, that’s pretty weird. I’ve listened to his podcast but somehow never read one of his books until now. And the reason I read this one first is because someone gave it to me, and I haven’t got his more famous ones from the library yet. …

1967, Movies

Samurai Rebellion [Jôi-uchi: Hairyô tsuma shimatsu] (1967, Masaki Kobayashi)

This is an exceptional samurai film from a little bit past the genre’s early heyday, that manages to do nearly everything right. I have only one criticism, but it feels like a minor one given the overall quality of the film.

2019, Movies

The Dead Don’t Die (2019,Jim Jarmusch)

This is a deliberately-paced, usually mildly amusing but occasionally laugh-out-loud funny zombie movie tribute film. To call it something other than a tribute film feels weird to me, because it feels like Jarmusch is more concerned with layering references – and possibly making some vague statement about consumption and climate change – than he is …

2021, TV

Only Murders in the Building (2021)

This is an inventive and consistently funny mystery comedy that pokes fun at our obsession with true crime podcasts. As Jenn said, it fees kind of miraculous, a show like this with a central relationship that is basically grandchild-grandparents, rather than a friendship, a romantic relationship or even a parent-child dynamic. It feels like a …

1995, Books, Fiction

The Island of the Day Before (1995) by Umberto Eco

This is a weird one, full of all of Eco’s typical obsessions but lacking many of the things that make some of his novels classics or, at the very, least enjoyable. I have read just over half his novels now, and this is my least favourite by a considerable margin.

2021, Movies

Red Notice (2021, Rawson Marshall Thurber)

This is a fairly entertaining movie that would be actually pretty fun if it wasn’t so stupid. It’s a frustrating experience to watch a movie where a bunch of the jokes land really well but the script is bad and the plot is ridiculous. The filmmakers don’t appear to trust their audience and the film …

1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 2016, Music

The Early Years 1965-1972 (2016) by Pink Floyd

Full disclosure part 1: I listened to this on a streaming service so a few tracks were missing, the videos were included in the track list, and I really have no idea how it would compare to the actual boxed set. (No booklets, etc.) Full disclosure part 2: the time for me to have listened …

1965, Movies

Obchod na korze [The Shop on Main Street] (1965, Ján Kadár, Elmar Klos)

This is a mostly excellent Slovak film about when the Jews were taken away in 1942. It’s a pretty remarkable film and, though I have some minor quibbles, I think I am willing to say it is one of the essential films of 1965.

2021, Books, Non-Fiction

Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty (2021) by Patrick Radden Keefe

This is a well-written but maddening and saddening biography of the Sackler family, who are best known as the owners of Purdue Pharma and Purdue Frederick, i.e. the OxyContin people. It’s not really the story of OxyContin or the opioid epidemic, but rather just the history of the family. It’s a revealing story about how …

2019, Movies

I Am Not Alone (2019, directed by Garin Hovannisian)

This is a surprisingly slick documentary about the 2018 Armenian Revolution. We need a different word for non-fiction films like this, though because calling it a documentary implies a level of impartiality that is not present in this film. Nevertheless, it’s a “ground truth” view of the protests and it manages to get some interviews …

1988, Movies

Mac and Me (1988, Stewart Raffill)

This movie is infamous for being a transparent E.T. rip off that, for some reason, came out six years after its inspiration. But it’s a lot more than that. Because, I’d like to think that, even if this wasn’t so clearly a rip-off of one of the most famous movies of the 1980s, we’d still …

2019, Movies

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019, Vince Gilligan)

Two disclaimers: First, I watched the final season of Breaking Bad quite some time ago. Not the season it premiered but whenever it found its way to Netflix, so within a year or so of its premiere. Call it 2014 ish. It’s been a while. Second, I hated the ending of Breaking Bad. But my …

2008, Movies

The Incredible Hulk (2008, Louis Leterrier)

So I’ve finally found my way to one of the few MCU movies I’ve missed, the weird one where they replaced the star before things really took off. At this point this feels like a movie from another era, as it has more in common with the first Iron Man, as you’d imagine, than it …

2015, Movies

Jurassic World (2015, Colin Trevorrow)

I have no idea who was clamouring for yet another Jurassic Park sequel over 20 years after the original movie but somebody must have been. My memory is that this movie got some pretty good reviews, certainly better than the reviews for the last sequel. But I imagine the pitch meeting was “This film will …

2020, Movies

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020, Aaron, Sorkin)

Until the ridiculous final season, I was torn between this and Chicago 10. For the most part, this is a better film than Chicago 10, it’s live action, it’s well-acted, and it’s nowhere near as ADD. (Though it’s clearly inspired by that film.) The ridiculous final scene of this film shook my confidence in that …

2018, Movies

Invisible Essence: The Little Prince (2018, Charles Officer)

My father read The Little Prince to me as a child, and maybe I read it myself a few times too. It’s been a very long time. But this whimsical and ambitious documentary does a fairly good job of showing me why it’s such a popular children’s book. I’m not sure it overcomes its nature …

1976, Movies

At the Earth’s Core (1976, Kevin Connor)

This is one of those “hollow earth” films. And it stars the one and only Doug McClure, one of inspirations for Troy McClure. If you ever want to watch one of the great man’s performances, I guess you could do worse than this very stupid film about a land in the middle of the earth, …

1966, Movies

The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t (1966, Rossano Brazzi)

There are movies that more competent than the worst made movies but somehow manage to be almost worst than the least well made films, in how dull they are, or how incompetent they are from a story perspective. This Christmas film was an absolute chore to sit through even with the MS3K jokes.