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Russ

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Everything posted by Russ

  1. Nick, why would you want that to be the case? Peggy Olson is awesome-- a person who is able to be great at what she does without making others feel miserable about themselves. There's that great, brief bit where Peggy has to assert herself to stay on the Chevalier account, and she plays the power game without turning into an asshole. Now that she's Wonder-Twinning with Stan, the guy who's there to keep her from forgetting that there's more to life than work, she's even more likely to harness her Draper-level talent without succumbing to Draper-level destructive behavior. Plus, she makes honest ads. The Hilltop ad is a piece of garbage-- a soulless husk in singsong verse. I don't want that stink on her.
  2. Of course Don didn't write the jingle. He just browbeat whichever midlevel McCann employee was tasked to work on it with him. Probably Peggy. So, she probably was involved, after all. Mike, I get it. One more Don pitch would have been great for old time's sake, but I think it's superfluous. Would it have made the eventual ad any less crass or cynical a co-opting of hippie culture if we'd gotten to see his pitch? Sure, it would have been great to see Jim Hobart genuflect minutes after threatening him physically for bailing, but it would have just told us what we already know-- he's a dude who's great at his job and bad at everything else, and that skill will get him as many second chances as he needs or wants. His great yoga insight is recognizing that he's a guy who can touch, however briefly, deep human longing and transform it into something finite and consumable, and imposing that creative impulse is worth living for, all self-created heartbreak notwithstanding. He's just changing the conversation again.
  3. If Max knew the tanker was a decoy, why would he shake his head bemusedly when he sees sand run out of the tanker valve?
  4. My reaction and Ali's right after the credits rolled on Sunday was that last week's episode made a much, much better finale. We've had at least a half-dozen occasions over the show's run where we had a visceral or tentative negative reaction to an episode soften by the time morning rolled around and the characters' behavior turned out to be true or consistent after further reflection. That was largely the case for us here. I have to credit Weiner for commitment to his artistic vision; I like the show's meanderings, but nevertheless always feel like the show's draggiest, most pointless moments are those occurring in Cali with the Anna Draper clan, but Weiner just kept giving them to me, whether I wanted them or not.
  5. I just rewatched it in anticipation of the new movie. They kept Max in the dark that the tanker was just a ruse to let the others flee to safety. In fairness, though, he was accompanied on the decoy tanker by many of the community's best and brightest, who presumably knew that their job was to hold out as long as they could before succumbing.
  6. This is really, really great. In part because lawyers and clerks need to turn off the tunnel vision and get some high culture, and they're most likely to do so when one of their own tells them to do it and leads the way. Plus, it encourages multidisciplinary perspective, which hasn't been tried much with law outside of Posner's Law and Literature bent. I hope he's not violating copyright.
  7. Russ

    On the Way to School

    Wow, this sounds great. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Can't wait to find it and see it with my kids.
  8. FWIW, I also thought the suicide attempt and aftermath were compelling elements which didn't take me out of the intensity of the film, and both seemed entirely consistent with the established character. I have some plausibility issues as to whether the whole bonus-or-job election could ever go down like that in a contemporary first world liberal democracy, though those doubts aren't big enough to make me any less gobsmacked by the wallops the bros deliver in this joint.
  9. I have absolutely no doubt that BOYHOOD will win Best Picture, and I'm also about as sure as I can be that it isn't very good.
  10. The only thing cooler than a new Sufjan Stevens album is hearing from Diane! Happy New Year, Diane!
  11. Hmph. I think I paid around $100 for it when we bought it for my oldest daughter for her fifteenth birthday in '12. This past summer she rewatched it with her sister, who was approaching fifteen. I think we got our money's worth.
  12. Russ

    The Babadook (2014)

    Sure, though there's an interesting dynamic in the film about that unspoken bit. Her sister thinks she needs to stop talking about her dead husband, while the kindly lady next door thinks she needs to talk more about him. Which is just the sort of dizzying ambivalence that afflicts the grieving-- can they say what's on their heart without making others dread their presence? If they don't talk about it to a sufficient degree, are they being untrue to the memory of their beloved?
  13. There's actually a title to that effect at the end of the short, right? Something like "Adopt shelter pets and don't feed them like this."
  14. Thanks! I'll check it out. Do you think 11's too young for something like the new D&D?
  15. Yeah, it's really great. So, screening was probably half-full. Nice turnout, particularly on a cold night. But the couple who sat in front of me left halfway or so through the death metal scene, which seemed to me like a really illogical and senseless thing to do. You've already sat through a lot of wordless long takes, and you know the film's run time and when it would be over (Yeah, guy, I couldn't help but notice you dramatically checking your Indiglo watch.) And then the guy, when leaving, did a little dance move to the metal to make sure we all knew how cool he was.
  16. I'm going to read through the entirety of the existing board game threads here, but wanted to post a separate thread to try to get a specific recommendation or two or three for games I can give my daughter Virginia for Christmas. She's 11 and likes fantasy/sci-fi type things, like Dr. Who, Minecraft, The Hunger Games, superheroes, LOTR, mythology, etc. We've bought Catan and Ticket to Ride and enjoy those, but I tend to think of those as primarily strategy games, and I'd like to get something primarily creative that I can play with her. I'd love to find a RPG, or something that's like an RPG. If there's something out there that's better, though, I could go for that, too. It might well just be her and I playing it for a while, so it has to work reasonably well with just two people. She'll probably get her friend interested, so ideally it could also be played by two 11 year-olds without adult involvement. Dice are cool, but not essential. Any ideas?
  17. I thought I remembered the same thing, but then I figured it couldn't have been her because the sequence would be totally wrong, then. Still seems like such an easily fixable gaffe.
  18. Thanks, guys. Darren, I had pretty much exactly the same thought about RED ARMY, namely, that it won't lose anything when I click on it on Netflix in six months. What it has going for it is that it's the front-end feature before A SPELL TO WARD OFF THE DARKNESS. And there's something about the mere description of THE TRIBE that makes me nauseous.
  19. Don't suppose you caught either THE TRIBE or RED ARMY? I have a chance to see both or either in the next few days, and my non-enthusiasm for them has been checked a little by these awards, though I'd like a little of that personal human recommendation magic.
  20. To be frank, without recalling or perhaps ever knowing the particulars that motivated it, you make your decision to stop going to church sound an awful lot like Piper's rejection of Ames and Robinson's novels. Both seem like rash and somewhat immature responses to a personal grievance with the end result of leaving a fellowship that is imperfect and yet breathed upon by God. I can't pretend to understand what your church experience was like, but if you think the majority of us who go to church-- who feel that it is a place where the Divine is encountered-- are just "parsing verses," then I think you missed the point big-time, Piper-style.
  21. Ken's acquired some flouro green hair spikes and bodymod jewelry in the past twelve months, so you might not have recognized him.
  22. Thanks for your responses, Steve. I didn't mean to imply that the "seen it before" reaction was faint praise-- BH6 struck me sort of the way that GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY did, in that both films feel familiar in lots of ways, but the quality of the characters and the depth of the storytelling in BH6 remind me that the difference between shopworn cliche and inventive genre takes is in the execution, more than anything. I just continue to be bugged (maybe in a way that doesn't flatter me) by the laziness of that scene at the Nerd School. One of the other things that's great about that sibling relationship, which I loved as much as you did, is the ways in which it illustrates the different types of intelligence. Hiro's a savant, but because genius comes fairly easily to him, he has to fight giving up too easily or giving in to ethical corner-cutting. Tadashi's also ridiculously talented, but it's a dogged, earned-everything-he's-achieved intelligence, as we see in that montage of Baymax trials and errors. I love how the whole movie is obviously an ode to intelligence and the freedom that intelligence, cultivated well and used wisely, can bring about, The Nerd School is pretty much Professor X's school, but the mutants are kids who work hard with creativity and intelligence. I had no idea it would become a superhero movie halfway through (I hadn't seen any of the ads) and when it did, I didn't mind much because I'd grown to like the characters and what they represented. I also dug the multi-ethnic composition, and probably because it hit sorta close to home. I took Virginia and the two friends from whom she's presently inseparable. She sees them both every day, even though redistricting put them in separate schools this year. The girl who's at a different school sees Gin every day over skype, where they plan their Minecraft strategies while playing together and live-commenting on ONCE UPON A TIME episodes Sunday nights. For all the supposed "triumph of geek culture," it's not like popular kid friends are plentiful when you're an eleven year-old girl and that's the stuff you like, and like feverishly. So, the message of finding your Nerd School probably spoke in dulcet tones to Gin and her friends. Aside: it's almost funny that the boys' parents are dead, or gone without explanation. It's funny because that's the true cliche, right? When I heard that detail, it almost makes me laugh out loud-- I hear in my head Will Arnett as Batman (DARKNESS. NO PARENTS.) There's really no reason for the boys not to have parents in this movie, apart from the fact that the superhero trope seemingly demands it. Well, I guess there is one reason: to deprive Hiro of present parents plays up the fantastic supportive environment Hiro's friends at nerd school offer him to try to work through his grief. The time the movie spends on encouraging Hiro to seek out sympathetic ears is substantial, unusual (for a movie of this type) and pretty awesome, particularly as we see the deleterious effects of him not taking the counsel of his friends. I actually think the motivations of the villain and the real-life impact of his "goal" are what set this apart from lots of other mostly-great kids' films. As much as I like WALL-E and UP, I'm bored halfway through both because the motivations of the villain are so simple and the necessary plot machinations are so rote. Here, while the final plot points are fairly easy to predict, I'm still engaged in the characters because the villain is just Hiro a few steps further down the route he aborted. Hiro's choice isn't really between academia or industry, but between the example of his brother or the professor. And while we all love a good revenge movie, far better to see what sort of monsters revenge makes us, and how it spoils everything. So in the end, the Hey, kids, that's why "But she started it!" doesn't cut it.
  23. Took my 11 year-old, Virginia, and her two close friends to see this on Saturday. Loved it, even while knowing there's not much of it I haven't seen elsewhere. Anyway, did I miss something as far as the narrative sequence goes, or was there something a little sloppy in the arrangement:
  24. Russ

    John Wick

    Funny Games (EURO) and Funny Games (US) The Thing is pretty distinctive in that it dies, transforms and assumes the head-form of Richard Dysart Cujo, obv.
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