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Thread: What have you watched lately?

  1. #4751
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Fraiser's great. More than anything, the writing is great. Me and some friends used to just read the scripts in character and that was fun by itself. (Ok, ok, it ended up just being me reading it to them with all the characters' voices, and they laughed along.) I mean they're really funny and clever. I can't think of another show off hand where you could do that and it works so well.

  2. #4752
    Moderator and Priest
    Registered: Mar 2002
    Location: Dinosaur Ladies of the Night
    I wouldn't call it the best scene in the entire series, but it's still a good one.


  3. #4753
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    It's really great isn't it? Shame there is nothing quite like it anymore.

  4. #4754
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Everybody Loves Raymond was my favourite.

  5. #4755
    SShock2.com
    Member

    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: The land of ever sideways rain
    I quite liked Frasier at the time, but I can't be bothered with the repeats. It was funny and clever, granted, but I've seen it. Raymond I watched pretty much because there was nothing else on, not really my style. Too many cliches about a stupid husband and an implausibly hot wife who somehow tolerates him. Simpsons I've seen each episode 20, 30, 50 times depending on season and can watch any time and habitually quote like a moronic fanboy. Some stuff suits me, other stuff doesn't. For every situation in life, there is a Simpsons quote.

    "I used to be with it, but then they changed what "it" was, and now what I'm with isn't "it", and what's "it" seems weird and scary to me. It'll happen to YOU…" - Abraham J Simpson II

  6. #4756
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    Raymond was real bottom tier stuff in my opinion. Like King of Queens or whatever it's called.

    At the moment I'm into Rick and Morty.

  7. #4757
    SShock2.com
    Member

    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: The land of ever sideways rain
    Oh, sweet merciful Darwin...! King of Queens is a more extreme example of what I was just whining about, much worse than Raymond; the old sitcom cliché of the big fat stupid husband and the implausibly hot wife that for some yet unexplained reason hasn't divorced him yet. Like According to Jim. And a million others going back to the 1950s. Simpsons do that too, but at least they have the good sense to parody it.


    Rick and Morty, I like and watch, for at least two reasons. It's reusing and deconstructing cliches. Also it has lasers.

  8. #4758
    SShock2.com
    Member

    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: The land of ever sideways rain
    On the subject of old sitcoms, I've been recently rewatching a lot of old episodes of Scrubs. It does have some sitcom cliches, granted, but some of the stuff still feels fresh, and I remember distinctly how different it felt at the time from anything else that was on.

    It also brought back old memories. Back at university in the 90s, I was the bitter old grumpy cynic who knew everything about computer science, and one of my classmates was the clueless newbie who knew nothing, and came in from a whole different field of study. I was the dr Cox to his JD. I'd roll my eyes and tell him how to do things properly, and give lengthy sarcastic speeches I mostly stole off Monty Python or Douglas Adams, sprinkled with binary or machine code or whatever we were studying at the time. Eventually, we became friends, and I dropped my asshole attitude, at least for him. For many years, he became one of my closest friends, maybe because I opened up and helped him with his girl problems, but we've lost touch since I moved to Scotland, because I'm terrible at keeping up. But all this happened years before the show was on, about ten years later, I just saw myself echoed on screen when it was. I was dr Cox. Or in TTLG terms, I was Daxim, before CFS turned me into JD and had the actual Daxim go dr Cox on me. The irony was not lost on me. Karma can be a bitch. I so had it coming. I should probably look up that guy on Facebook, he made me a better person.

    Similarly, when I started playing WoW a few years later, I met this woman who'd ask me things and annoy me. Again, I was doing the dr Cox sarcasm to get her to piss off and leave me alone, and she was another JD. I've told this story before, to you and her. We got married and I loved her to bits. Happiest days of my life.

    I'm not sure what my point is. Maybe that I've always been a sarcastic pain in the ass, but nice people have still found me somehow, regardless of how much I try to push them away, attached themselves to me and made my life better. Or maybe my point is just that I'm watching an old sitcom again and it's still funny and relevant, and makes me feel things. Or maybe just that I'm old.



    [Edit]

    Gone through all of season one now, and it reminded me of a few more things. I hate to say this about something as simple as just a sitcom, but it probably shaped my personality to some degree, or at least amplified what was already there. Maybe I'd be less of an asshole if it wasn't for dr Cox, and Edmund Blackadder, and John Cleese, and Vyvyan. Nah, I'd probably still be a jerk, just less eloquent with my insults. And I'd still be a miserable grumpy bastard. I do try to be nice, it's just that... I'm not.
    Last edited by Gray; 18th Sep 2019 at 08:20.

  9. #4759
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Third grave from left.
    Saw a documentary'ish thing about "The Abyss" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Abyss ) - which mentioned "Sphere" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphere_(1998_film) ) that apparently came out around the same time. Their tomatometer disparity was mentioned: 89% for Abyss and 12% for Sphere.

    What? I remember Sphere being decently interesting and Abyss being horrendously cliched meh back then when i saw them for the first time. So, decided to rewatch them both. First Sphere and then Abyss a few days later.

    Sphere.

    A few lines of sci-fi nonsense early on - whatever. Strange behavior of actors - engaging. I was constantly wondering why they do what they do. Did not really have any problems explaining away any of the oddities though. Quite interesting. That drive to explain what is presented gave the movie a bad move charm without actually being a bad movie. Especially enyoyable as i had forgot most of the movie over the years. Watched the movie from start to end. Laughing at the movie only once - at the obligatory "bathtub" scene at the end.

    Abyss.

    Bathtub scene early on - amusing. Cliches and horrendous cliches non-stop and no other content at all. Thought i might like the practical effects part before, but was constantly tempted to throw heavy objects at the screen to stop the annoying shit that accompanied the effects. This is much worse than i remember. Brainless cliched idiocy. Around the middle mark the movie finally broke me and i started to skip parts that had really annoying shit going on. That ended up being the majority of the rest of the movie. This movie is literally unwatchable for me.

    Sphere: 89% a slightly flawed but interesting popcorn flick
    Abyss: 12% unwatchable and bland fidget-spinner Olympics

    THE INTERNET IS WRONG! I HAVE THE TRUTH! SHUT UP!

  10. #4760
    SShock2.com
    Member

    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: The land of ever sideways rain
    I hate to break it to you, but in this case, the internet is right. The Abyss is a tense haunting classic, sampled by more bands than I can mention. The Sphere.... was, while somewhat enjoyable to watch once, um.... isn't.

    I don't want to say your opinion is wrong, because you're saying you enjoyed the wrong one over the good one. But you're wrong. But hey, don't take my word for it, I'm pretty thick now and you can easily dismiss my wrong opinion. You don't even have to prove anything, but just say "I prefer A over B, and that is my opinion", wrong as it may be,
    Last edited by Gray; 18th Sep 2019 at 08:05.

  11. #4761
    Sphere was borderline a waste of talents. The adaptation is fairly mediocre, as much as I love the book it's far from Crichton's best and they streamlined a lot of the bits that made it interesting in the first place. IMHO both Hoffman and Stone were miscast, though like the rest that's subjective. The SFX were OK but not groundbreaking. It's as underwhelming as a stale burger.

    Compare that to The Abyss which had a tight cast and amazing special effects for its time (It came out 9 years before, in 1989, that's not a small gap) and James Cameron at the helm... He was such a dangerous hardass that Harris and Mastrantonio almost fucking died and vowed to never work with him again, but his perfectionism shines throughout, he was on his golden streak right between T1 and T2. Of course now some of the SFX are dated (at the end especially) but...

    Nah, no contest. It's almost unfair to Sphere how much these two movies don't even play in the same league.
    Last edited by raph; 19th Sep 2019 at 03:23.

  12. #4762
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2002
    Location: Third grave from left.
    . I am truly glad Abyss worked for you. Given the effort that went into making that movie it would be pity for it to not have an audience.

    For me ...

    It is like unpacking an surprise: awesome the first time, but does not work again once unpacked - all you can do is envy thous who have yet to experience it themselves. Abyss is that for me. I am just way too tired of that kind of fucking shit. That movie was just terrible. I envy you.

    A few random thoughts:

    Abyss: The difficulties on the set etc made the docu VERY interesting - but does absolutely zero for the movie itself. Well, close to zero ... practical effects have a special place in my hearth. Sadly, not enough to save Abyss. I tend to watch movies and not effects. That said, i am slightly interested to watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjbEdZyEiMA (History Buffs: A Bridge Too Far) for its practical effects alone.

    Sphere: B movie with unjustifiable A cast - true, but also irrelevant. At least there was something to watch that is not a horrendous-cliche-bore-fest.

    PS. Did not know it was based on a book. I tend to very strongly prefer books over any movie adaptation - might look it up someday given time.

  13. #4763
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I found the Abyss really boring.

  14. #4764
    SShock2.com
    Member

    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: The land of ever sideways rain
    I couldn't quite decide whether to post in this thread, or the music thread, since there is quite a lot of crossover here. I'll explain.

    I just watched The Guest again, probably for the third time or thereabouts. It stars that guy from Downton Abbey who died, but his character here is very different. Some kind of creepy military guy that weasels his way into the life of a family, supposedly of one of his dead army buddies. His performance is just a joy to watch. I wasn't gonna watch it again given that I've already seen it a few times, but it was on tonight, and I could not take my eyes off it. It draws you in. Certain things are left unexplained, so prepare for a bit of disappointment, but the performances by the main cast are just stellar. Leland Orser and Lance Reddick are brilliant as usual, as are the younger actors. It's so well-written, it could so easily go off the rails several times, but none of the characters do the stupid things people usually do in these sort of movies, they're all very believable. If given a chance, watch it.

    But why the music thread crossover? A long list of reasons, but mainly this:

    Clan of Xymox: A Day.



    Never before have I ever seen a movie that has Clan of Xymox on the soundtrack. They have no less than three songs on there. Yes! Three! And two Front 242, and two DAF. And Love and Rockets. And Sisters of Mercy. And even Hocico.

    Maybe some goths will know who Clan of Xymox are, but almost nobody I know will have ever heard of them. I distinctly remember when I discovered them. My older brother bought their debut album because the LP cover looked cool, and he said I might like it, so I taped it. The first time I heard the opening track A Day I was instantly hooked. I fell in love with it, and I bought everything of theirs I could find, which was quite difficult at the time because they were not widely known in my country. This was before you could find information on the then-emerging internet which was basically just half a dozen of university nerds. It took me years to track down that album on CD, and I was so happy when I finally found it. I gave it a glowing review on the CD review site I had, and singer Ronny Moorings emailed me and thanked me for being so kind to them. I didn't think I was being kind, I absolutely honestly loved it, and still do. I added his quote to the review, before I decided it was a bit smug and self-indulgent, so I removed it again. I didn't really need other people to know he emailed me out of the blue, but that was many years ago and I don't mind saying it now.

    They even comment on the music in the movie, and a mix CD plays a vital part of the plot. With Xymox on it. I don't quite understand why these American teenagers would play Front 242 at a party, given that those songs were made at least some 23 years prior, by angry shouty Belgians, but since I love 242, I decided to ignore that and just soak it in.

    I guess my point is this: watch The Guest if you get the chance, it's a good, tense movie with lots of really pleasing moments. It's weird and creepy, but there is a love and warmth to it, and every character seems like a real person, not like something off a script page. Maybe the writer/director is just really clever, but the cast is also great. It has the sense of realness of a Jim Jarmusch movie. I feel like I've met all these people in real life, or different but similar people. Maybe I am some of these people, I can certainly recognise some traits. Except for the violent psychopath, fortunately. But much more importantly, buy everything you can find that says Clan of Xymox on it.


    [Edit]

    I was trying not to mention this, for the very obvious reason that I post too much whiny crap about my wife already, but I can't let this go. I have to mention it. Sorry.

    Like most people, she had never heard of Xymox until I sent it to her, while we were still living in different countries. She had just got used to Sisters of Mercy, but seemed to take to Xymox even more. Many of the songs could be misinterpreted and misused for the purposes we needed at the time, like lines from A Day, "where are you? So far away. You know you are the most important to me." And even their softer songs, from later albums, like Phoenix or At The End Of The Day, they seemed to describe how we felt for each other. She was the phoenix of my heart. Resurrected and brought me back to life. SooOOOOooo cheesy, I know, but we were very much in love and in different countries at the time. I think we probably had a dozen Xymox on our wedding playlist. Hmm, no, probably more like 20 or 30. So many of their songs were so important to us. (I just realise now I've never actually seen any of these videos before. We didn't have youtube back then and they were never on the TV, or radio, or... anywhere. Yes, I AM old. My wife even said at one point "if I had known how stupid haircuts they had, I'd never given them a second chance." But by then she was already a fan.) I somehow also feel the unnecessary need to point out that after Xymox brief Madchester flirtations, they went back to a darker, gothier sound. They're Dutch, not British. I don't know why that should be important, but it somehow raises their value in my eyes. Maybe I'm just a pretentious jackass that wants to be alternative and reject pop that other people might like.


    So, perhaps you see why I'm so genuinely surprised, nay, properly shocked and stunned when an actual movie uses no less than three of their songs for important plot points.




    [Edit again]

    I just found it on Amazon Prime. It's free if you're signed up. I'm gonna watch it again just now. Yeah, I'm tediously boring, I know. But I'm also too tired and lazy to find something else, over something I already know I'll enjoy for many different reasons.
    Last edited by Gray; 19th Sep 2019 at 17:13.
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  15. #4765
    Quote Originally Posted by zombe View Post
    PS. Did not know it was based on a book. I tend to very strongly prefer books over any movie adaptation - might look it up someday given time.
    In all honesty, it might be the single main reason I don’t like the movie. I liked the book very much and I was pretty hyped when they announced the movie, esp. with that cast. The result was, well... you read my post Things might have been different if it had been an original story.

    It’s not up to say Jurassic Park standards, but it’s a good read. Crichton wasn’t always the best writer style-wise, but he knew how to hook his readers.

  16. #4766
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    The Abyss was a standout from a digital special effects standpoint, that bit with the pseudopod made my imagination spark when I saw it as a kid. Turned out it was Industrial Light & Magic doing their thing, breaking new ground (plumbing new depths?) as was their wont, and you can see how that translates to the liquid metal T1000 in Terminator 2, a few years later.

    The thing about Cameron's movies is they're always technical feats, and character writing has never been his strong point. The Abyss spends too much time on uninteresting characters and plot before sending them into perilous situations (which are done well - tightly crafted, tightly executed). It's a decent popcorn movie in hindsight, with some decent turns. I love it for what it did with its setting, but not for what it did with its people.

    Sphere was mostly a waste of time. It's not bad, but it's not good either from either a plot, pacing, or structural storytelling standpoint. Also, though Event Horizon might have stolen its ideas from the book, EH did come out before Sphere, so it was retreading similar ground. (This isn't to say that EH is a good movie either it's just comparatively better, I guess?)

    I remember being rather unimpressed with the book as well, but I've never really liked most of Crichton's work, so I'm maybe a teensy bit biased.

  17. #4767
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Well if we're having this debate....

    The Abyss stands out in the memory. First there's something enticing about the technical challenges and something evocative about mysteries of the abyssal deep. So it had that going for it. The effects were memorable for the time, right on that cusp of early CG. I liked it at the time. I thought it was fine on later views. I wasn't captured. Well, to the extent I was captured, I think it was by the engineering and technical side of deep sea life, which is still interesting to me. My opinions aren't really strong enough now to put up any fight over its legacy, except maybe in nostalgia for liking it the first time around. But, you know, it was no ET in terms of first-time enchantment.

    The Sphere. So this was (I think) the first Crichton book I read (Jurassic Park & the gorilla one were around then too), and I really understood right away why his writing worked. It seemed like literally every chapter break was a big cliffhanger or reveal or development, and it read like a movie. It was like a Twinkie of literature. You know it's bad for you, but you can't stop eating it. I don't even remember the story that well, but I remember being sucked into it. In that respect the book shines well above the movie just because the book was a better movie than the movie. The movie didn't capture anywhere near the same degree of cliffhangers and reveals. Something like Contact is where the movie & the book basically hit the same plot beats pretty well, to take what's in my mind the definitive comparable example. Sphere the book hit the plot beats harder than Contact the book, but Sphere the movie was a de rigor muddy march through them that lost almost all of the magic compared to Contact the movie.

    ....................

    So I watched Alita: Battle Angel on my flight back from Myanmar this week. Putting aside the allusion to the classic Soviet scifi Aelita, a movie I always found intriguing ... well it's Rodriguez meets Cameron, and pretty much delivered that. The art direction was great. The characters was great. The pacing started respectable but started to fall apart by the end in that Michael Bay kind of school Rodriguez is a member of. The most memorable part about it was the actual personality of the lead, and how the actress (Rosa Salazar) played her... With my recent experience with a woman with BPD, the way she played it (I was more captured by the wildness in the eyes than their size, along with the wry mischievous smile) was actually a flurry of red flags, a woman that is waaaay far into living life that you'd want to check yourself getting wrapped up into her world, which is terrifying to be on the receiving end, but admittedly makes for good drama. Well it was a fun action movie. I liked it. It did play some movie tropes that I haven't settled with, like you see with e.g. Hunger Games, I mean handwaving a lot of the world away and playing up character signals as if it's not even trying to pretend this is a real world that plays by its own rules. It's like the virtue signal school of writing put to movie form. That's a small quibble though. It just means I didn't get as deeply into the movie as I could have. Action was great; characters were great; plot was a mess but ok. It didn't pretend to finish. That's also become a thing of late it seems.

  18. #4768
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    So this was (I think) the first Crichton book I read (Jurassic Park & the gorilla one were around then too), and I really understood right away why his writing worked. It seemed like literally every chapter break was a big cliffhanger or reveal or development, and it read like a movie. It was like a Twinkie of literature. You know it's bad for you, but you can't stop eating it. I don't even remember the story that well, but I remember being sucked into it.
    Exactly



    Re: Alita: You should check out the manga if you're into that. It's called Gunnm, by Yukito Kishiro and it's at the same level as Akira in terms of quality, world building, you name it... It's incredibly dark and violent, they toned it down quite a bit for the movie. Gally (Alita in English) is an incredible character with one of the best arcs out there, and the villains she faces are all multidimensional, fleshed out persons , with their own morals and motivations. It's really good.

    One of the movie's flaws was maybe relying too much on setting up the next volume. With nine volumes in the initial manga, there's a lot to unpack that doesn't fit in a single movie. But maybe they should have focused on making it a bit tighter and self-contained indeed, as for many people this is the first time they meet her and they have no clue there's a whole series behind it... :/
    Still crossing fingers for that sequel though. Rosa Salazar absolutely nailed Gally's spirit and character, and I'd love to see her more in that role. The quality of the mocap in this film blew my mind.

  19. #4769
    Still Subjective
    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Idiocy will never die
    I enjoyed Alita far more than I expected. The graphic on her was odd though. I don't get why they just didn't use the actress.

  20. #4770
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    When I read dema's post, I first read wildness as 'wideness', and I was nodding my head: yes, dema, that is correct. She really does have wide eyes.

    As for why they overrode her face with a digital facsimile? To make her 'other'ness absolutely unavoidable. She's not human, and the way people dealt with her would be on those terms. At least, that's how I interpreted it. The more boring version of the truth is off on IGN where they say Rodriguez apparently wanted her to look like she did in the manga.

    I've got nothing much to add about the movie. Frankly, it was about all right. Good visuals, shallow plot featuring some dependably fizzy Rodriguez direction and action, but about 3/4th of the way through I had the nagging suspicion that nothing was going to get resolved in a satisfactory way, and was promptly rewarded with quite the non-ending. Ah well.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 19th Sep 2019 at 13:12.

  21. #4771
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I might feel differently if I read Crichton now, but back when I read the same novels as you, dema, I always felt that while his prose was just about functional, it did function tremendously well in the terms you've outlined. I never felt that he was one of those writers who's actually really bad at writing prose but who somehow managed to have engaging plots nevertheless. I am kinda curious if I'd still think so now, 25+ years later.

  22. #4772
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    As for why they overrode her face with a digital facsimile? To make her 'other'ness absolutely unavoidable. She's not human, and the way people dealt with her would be on those terms. At least, that's how I interpreted it. The more boring version of the truth is off on IGN where they say Rodriguez apparently wanted her to look like she did in the manga.
    Well there's also the fact she was born on Mars, making her quite literally an alien there on Earth. You'll notice Michelle Rodriguez's character and presumably all the other Martian berserkers have that same look.

  23. #4773
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    Hmm, the original Aelita was queen of Mars, so I can't imagine the renaming is a coincidence now.

    I thought it was fine in the sense they were clearly going for a stylized art direction and her look fit the bill. They wanted her to be in uncanny valley territory, and there she was.

    Another thing in Alita's favor, to counter Sulph's reaction, my flight actually landed with another like 50 minutes left in the movie, just after the halfway point--just after they tore off the big-arm-Asian-guy's arm--and I didn't watch that last half until a few days later. Looking back, it actually finished around the high point, and I'd already formed a pretty good opinion of it. Then the rest of it was just for the record... The roller ball part was what it was clearly moving towards, and it had some cool sequences, but mid-way that's really where I think the whole thing just dissolved into Transformer 2 fight scene whatever, just tell me what happens...

  24. #4774
    LittleFlower
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Netherlands
    Quote Originally Posted by Gray View Post
    I just watched The Guest again, probably for the third time or thereabouts.
    OK, I' watch it. Just because of the music and your recommendation.

    I'll discuss Clan Of Xymox in the music thread.
    Last edited by Gryzemuis; 20th Sep 2019 at 11:14.

  25. #4775
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Quote Originally Posted by raph View Post
    Well there's also the fact she was born on Mars, making her quite literally an alien there on Earth. You'll notice Michelle Rodriguez's character and presumably all the other Martian berserkers have that same look.
    Clearly that's because they're all cyborgs from the same battle unit? Either way, same difference. I had forgotten the origin, though.

    @dema: confused by your timeline. Are you saying the high-point was at the part you left off, with 50 minutes to go? In which case I'd agree, but there's too much focus on the motorball race for the sake of requiring a set piece. It's already a weird device because it's hard to believe that someone winning a violent race would afford them entry to the literal higher echelons of a society - it doesn't jive in terms of what sort of societal advantage that would confer to a presumably upper-crust civilisation; so the viewer's already skeptical about the purpose of it absent any more information.

    The fact that it ends with her winning it after losing weaksauce wossname, Hugo? and we don't see a hint of whether all this work was for her to just get dicked over again sours the final scene, when you're clearly intended to read it as something triumphant and redemptive. But it's not either of those things, really; she's not at Zalem yet, and the dissonance there is hard to ignore.

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