Tuesday, November 03, 2009


The last 2.5 weeks worth, I think...

Castle, Bored to Death, House, SNL, Lie to Me, NCIS, Modern Family, TUF, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, 30 Rock, Community, Parks and Recreation, Dollhouse, UFC 104, Dream 12, K1 MAX, Daily Show, Colbert Report, South Park, The Menatlist

Batman: The Brave and the Bold - a musical episode featuring Neil Patrick Harris? Dominant Win. Awesome.

The Venture Bros - may actually be my favorite show. Edging out 30 Rock and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. "Do you know what Mr Smartmouth called me when he stormed out of the house this morning? A *honky*." - Dr Thaddeus Venture

FlashForward - just barely good enough to keep me watching. Less soap opera, more mind bending physics and shootouts, please.

Friday Night Lights is BACK! Still the best straight drama on TV. This season's setup is pretty damn cool.

NCIS Season 1&2 - hooked on this when I visited home this summer. I blame my father in law. A nice procedural, quirky and interesting characters. Figures, from the same creator who brought you Magnum, P.I. and Quantum Leap. Quality TV. It avoids the military worship that occasionally plagues these kinds of shows by making something like half the bad guys military as well. Mark Harmon as Gibbs is a well drawn character, equal parts butt-kicking good guy and, well, kind of an asshole. The only place it gets on my nerves is the same reason a lot of cop shows do, these days. Gibbs, in particular, ignores laws, rights, procedures, etc, etc and it all works out because it's written that way. In real life, imho, cops like that are jackbooted thugs. But, you know, TV show, so I'll need to rein in my sense of propriety. The ending of Season 2 was a nice gut punch. Didn't see that one coming.

In order to keep up with the Mrs stateside, finally watched a couple DVDs I had picked up this summer - Wanted and Watchmen.

Wanted was better than I had imagined. Bearing only the slightest resemblance to the comic it was based on, I didn't have a lot of hope for it, but it was surprisingly well done. Excellent action-y bits, nice acting and it zigs a couple times when you think it's going to zag - which is always nice.

And then - Watchmen. The Director's Cut, so I don't know how it stacked up to what came out in the theaters. Expectations were high. I've read it at least 15 times in the last 20 years or so. I credit it, along with the 80s Question comic book series with some of my original interests in philosophy, existentialism and post-modernism. There are bits I can recite from the book by heart. So, overall, I'd give it a solid A-. Maybe an A. The visuals were stunning, most of the acting I thought was spot-on [though a couple performances were 'eh'.] The Comedian, Nite-Owl and Rorshach were the highlights for me. I even liked the odd period choices for music that a lot of folks didn't. Thought that was a clever creative touch.

But it gets the - of the A- because, and this will be a quibble to anyone not intimately familiar with the comic, was the way they tweaked and replaced some of the dialogue in the book, for no apparent reason. Specifically, some of the most powerful and moving bits of writing in the book. Made me just say "wha-huh?" a couple times.

So my gripes, and again, it won't even register to somebody who doesn't know the book, but when Ozymandias is monologuing towards the end of the film, the ultimate line in the book, powerful and shocking, is "I did it 20 minutes ago." Why change that to "I triggered it 35 minutes ago" is beyond me. [Though I liked the change from serial movie villain to comic book villain. Go figure.]

From Rorshach's interview in jail, in his speech explaining his actions, the striking bit of dialogue that always stuck with me was "...it's us, only us." It's changed to a far weaker and anticlimactic "We do" it the film. Poor, poor choice, imho.

The whole reveal of Laurie's parentage on Mars was far better, more deftly and dramatically handled in the book than the film. It's really a beautiful piece of writing and art in the book. It was just clunky in the film, the performances and scripting far weaker. Same with Manhattan's speech on his decision to return to Earth.

Finally, in the book, there's an exchange at the end between Manhattan and Ozymandias discussing the morality of what's been done with Ozy postulating that he did the right thing "in the end." Manhattan's response - "'In the end'? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends." And in the next panel you see how this rejoinder gives pause to Veidt, underscoring all his actions, undermining his whole plot. GREAT moment. The movie obliterates this moment, that in a lot of ways underscores some of the major themes of the book, and instead puts the words in Laurie's mouth in the end, as something Jon "would say" - avoiding confronting Veidt with the perspective and uncertainty that's crucial to some of the ideas in the book.

But still, overall, a good film. Hard to imagine it could have been adapted much better.

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