What'cha Watching? (TV or Film)

Great show. You’re correct about Oliphant as he’s so specifically good as Raylan Givens but it’s interesting to contrast him with Walton Goggins who is, imo, even better as the enigmatic Boyd Crowder and has also went on to play some wildly varied roles. I watched this right before I watched The Righteous Gemstones and even contrasting him with Baby Billy it’s wildly different in tone and performance.

Anyway, I love any opportunity to talk about Justified and these are some of my favourite things about it

  • How shitty Raylan Givens actually is at his job beyond being good looking, superficially charming, 20% smarter than the people he’s chasing, and also having some free-rein to shoot people that can’t really shoot back. He frequently gets made to look stupid, gets beaten up or caught fairly often, and also can’t help pursuing personal vendettas or sleeping with people that actively make his job more difficult

  • That the show leans into Walton Goggins performance as the show progresses with characters frequently remarking on how he looks, how verbose he is and enigmatic he is. It really is one of my favourite performances in a show but it’s so funny when characters comment on it.

  • History casts such a shadow over everyone involved. No one can really escape the circumstances of their birth and the class position of people is so overweening that even someone as capable as Boyd can’t escape the mire he’s grown up in.

  • I don’t know if I’d call it colonialist but the relationship Harlan County and its people have to places like Detroit is super interesting. I think the show is great at highlighting how dependent the criminals are on their counterparts from the North of the US and in Canada but also relative to Mexico.

  • The ways multiple characters have motifs. Mags’s, Robert Quarles’s, and Danny Crowe’s being the ones that immediately come to mind. It’s also really funny with Robert and Danny how when they try to use it in a life or death situation with Raylan end up completely eating dirt.

Great show.

The thing that really gets me about what Walton Goggins is putting down (I’m a few episodes into S2) is that, as I’m sitting here wondering what Boyd’s deal is, so is literally everybody else (including Boyd!). What could’ve just been a throwaway “Oh, what a quirky weirdo” performance is suddenly the rug tying the whole room together.

I’d say Season 2 is still worth watching. Some really good scenes and laughs in that one.

I fell off the Killing Eve train a few episodes into Season 3. I didn’t like the direction the show seemed to be heading in and too much narrative focus on Villanelle

With all the mess going on with HBO Max I decided to power through the rest of Season 2 of Gen:Lock this weekend. Who knows which shows will suddenly be removed from the service? I wasn’t taking any chances.

Season 2 was watchable, certainly, but overall felt incredibly rushed. The team clearly didn’t get as many episodes as they needed to let character arcs breath. The character arcs for the main cast were interesting but I really do wish there was more time to build them up.

The new TV-14/Mature rating resulted in more explicit bloody violence, nudity, and sex scenes. These things aren’t inherently bad but it felt jarring/out of place compared to season 1. Comedic relief side characters from the first season didn’t get much screen time in season 2. The tone had shifted and there wasn’t much room for them, which is too bad.

Overall, I’d say it’s certified Fine, I Guess. I still enjoy the leads, the voice performances are still great, the season played with some interesting ideas but there just wasn’t enough time for character/story beats to hit before we were on to the next Big Event.

I’m sure the covid-19 pandemic did the team no favors for development. I can’t imagine there will be a 3rd season.

Unrelated: I’m annoyed that Netflix has already cancelled First Kill. Yes, it’s an over-the-top, campy, corny supernatural teenage lesbian drama but it’s MY over-the-top, campy, corny supernatural teenage lesbian drama. I enjoyed the first season as a show to watch while working on sewing projects. I really wish I had something like this to watch as a teen. I don’t understand Netflix’s constant need to cancel popular shows.

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I need to see Walton Goggins rob a train before I depart this mortal coil

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I watched Prey, thought it was pretty good back to basics Predator movie where obviously the most important thing has to be the person fighting the predator. Y’see I don’t really rate Predators as a movie villain. The universe’s deadliest predator but hides behind a cloaked suit for the first two acts, whilst sniping you with a shoulder mounted laser cannon?

Would like to see more Predator movies fighting through time. Though at that point, the franchise does sort of become Assassin’s Creed.

I also rewatched Predators and liked that movie way more than when I first saw it in 2010. Mainly because I forgot how obscenely buff Adrien Brody got and it is a movie that shows rather than tells. Though the showing is obvioulsly heavily weighted on what you know about Predators already.

The less said about The Predator the better though. One of the worst movies I’ve ever paid to see at the cinema.

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Now, I do like Predators as antagonists - enough that I almost wrote “I do like Yautja” there - but the point of them isn’t really that they’re great predators, they’re misnamed in that sense (it’s not like they actually hunt because they need to). But, yes, they work best as a pseudo-horror-movie-villain where you don’t really need to know much more about them than the bullet-points (“sometimes-invisible, super-high-tech hunter who doesn’t go after targets who aren’t at least a minimal challenge, sees heat, and can mimic voices”), and you can focus on how the protagonists (or the situation in general) react to them being thrown into the mix.
Which is mostly why I felt that Predators and The Predator sort of missed the point - we don’t need some attempt at adding depth to Yautja culture by having “ultimate predators”, or “evolved Yautja who use dogs because we’re trying to half-assedly comment on how many humans are the real evil” - the Yautja are already a comment on things like the Great White Hunter and other human hunting tropes.

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I always imagined Alien and Predator and everything in that lineage as “action horror” movies where yeah, you’d have an action hero doing action hero things but the big bad antagonist doesn’t get to really flex until Act 3. Later movies don’t really get that as much but Prey understands that intrinsically.

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I consider the Predators to be slasher villains, more or less. I think Predator and Prey understand this pretty well. Slasher villains always have some flimsy pretext for why they’re killing these specific kids and why they don’t just burst into the room at slaughter them all in one big bloodbath all at the start of the movie. With the Predators, it’s the “big game hunter” theme.

Anyway, Prey rules. I hope this opens doors for the cast, because they all nailed it. Obviously, Amber Midthunder was the literal and figurative star of the show here, but apparently this is the first acting role for Dakota Beavers, who played Naru’s brother Taabe, which I was surprised to learn considering what a relaxed, natural performance he delivered. I look forward to seeing a lot more of both of them in the future.

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Oh wow, Dakota Beavers carried himself like he’d been doing action movies for years lol.

I also desperately want a Coco blooper reel.

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Yeah, Prey rocked. Love an under-two hour film, just enough time to build tension and have a good finale without having the chance to be a bit slow. Great performances all around, too. I liked how the Predator itself had a slightly different design, that was always a problem I had - among many problems I had - with Alien vs. Predator, it has a scene showing them fighting xenomorphs back in 4000 BC or whatever and the Predators seemed entirely unchanged as a civilization, technologically or even just aesthetically.

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Season 3 of For All Mankind just wrapped up, and it has become one of my favorite shows on TV. The painstaking worldbuilding is such a step up from even the hallowed Battlestar Galactica that I’d even put FAM above that show in the Ronald D Moore cannon. The show literally has it all; tense engineering problems set against the indifferent vacuum of space, fantastic Cold War intrigue on Earth, and well drawn out characters and relationships that we get to see evolve over decades. Heck, we have a great little reveal where something a character learns in the Korean War in the 50s pays off on Mars in 1996. Season 3 is definitely playing with a truly altered historical timeline, and it’s delightful seeing the set design go wild, with stuff like the Apple Newton becoming the iPhone of the 90s or a space hotel with decor straight out of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The setup for season 4 is looking even more wild and I simply cannot wait to see where this show goes.

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Almost all the way through The Sandman. It’s never going to be easy or even possible to take something that has become legendary and has such a distinctly comic book driven style and adapt it perfectly, but it has managed to be a good and entertaining take on the material. Some narrative changes make sense, some less so, and it really feels like more of a translation into a different genre than a strict adaptation most of the time. What if The Sandman were a prestige tv series instead of a horror tv series? The comic had some of the most frightening, disturbing storylines and they mostly managed to avoid pushing it too far into edgelord territory. The series on the other hand is occasionally disturbing but never really horrifying. Still, I’ve been entertained throughout.

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Important Coco update:

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Bit late to everything as usual, but I finally saw Nope. I think this is my favorite Peele film so far. Get Out is still one of the tightest and most effective horror films I’ve ever seen, but Nope is just some straight up great sci-fi that brushes up against some equally great cosmic horror stuff. It’s a directorial showcase too, like the level of technical prowess on display between the shots, uses of sound and score, pacing and blocking and everything else is kinda spellbinding.

I’m glad I was able to see it in a theater too. Not so much for the visuals, I think it would look fine on my offensively large TV, but I think you’d need a Rob Zacny-esque speaker setup to really get all the stuff this movie does with sound (both score and effects-wise). The thing that really stuck with me about it is how so much of its horror is sonic — if you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about. Based on how people had been talking about it, I was expecting it to be a lot gorier and outwardly scarier, but instead it just generated a ridiculous amount of tension almost entirely via implication and suggestion.

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Nope finally released in UK. It was one of my most anticipated movies of the year and it did not disappoint. Must admit, I was expecting Close Encounters or Signs, but ultimatedly got “upside down jaws” and a heavy influences from Tremors, which are two of the best movies of all time in my book…

I’d agree with @diglett above, probably my favourite of his movies so far. Get Out was one of the most memorable cinema experiences I’d ever had, whilst Us was so effective in Peele being able to flex his director muscles to create an opening atmosphere of pure dread and I still think about that movie a lot these days.

But Nope is a straight up horror movie creature feature with such an attention to the smallest details and the big establishing shots. It’s one of those movies that every detail, no matter how small could have a bigger meaning to your reading of the film. Yet at the same time you could just enjoy it as a movie where our heroes have to stop a giant skymouth from mulching people.. Also nice to see Peele’s inspirations from manga, the monster’s final form reminded me of an angel straight out of evangelion and the akira bike slide was great and begs the question whatever happened to Peele’s live action Akira? I don’t think Akira needs to be remade live action, but I’d be interested to see what Peele would bring to it.

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Haven’t had chance to see Nope yet but I’m excited by the reactions here. I’d been trying to avoid too much coverage of it but noticed some of the critical reception was a little lukewarm so it’s cool to have some positive pushback. Both Get Out and Us were excellent and have only grown on me with time - Get Out I think was so hyped up from the start that when I first watched it I was a bit underwhelmed and only slowly realised how much had stuck with me, whereas Us immediately clicked and I’ve come to like more and more on subsequent viewings. Hopefully I can check out Nope soon.

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I remember watching the ending for Get Out in a packed screening. I feel like everyone knew where it was heading, because everyone was expecting the downbeat Night of the Living Dead ending. But when the TSA turns up it just got the biggest cheer and applause. The only other time people have clapped in cinemas is because of Marvel and it’s usually when a returning face comes back, but the fact that Get Out just took everyone in that cinema on the same journey to get to the same outcome was amazing. Reinstated my passion for seeing films on the big screen. It just earnt that reaction.

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The Sandman: TW

My partner and I are expecting a baby in a few months, and that obviously comes with all the anxieties of first-time parents. When Death comes for the baby in ep 5 it hit us both like a truck. It was incredibly well done though, and such a situation could have been so crass, cheap, or heartless.

Really enjoying it. Vaguely remember some of the stories from reading it as a teenager, and it feels like they’re working in the spirit rather than by the letter.

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A little dialogue clip from Justified
“I’ll take a Mountain Dew”
“Oh! An aristocrat”

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