What I Watched, What You Watched #51

Man, have I been busy this week. Not only is this the busiest time of the year for work, but it’s also the start of awards season, when everyone and their mother drops a Top Ten list, a critics guild, or, starting this week, announces their major awards. I myself have split my time writing about these and watching the end-of-the-year docs and contenders that I have yet to see, and while many of these have write-ups coming (more on those in a minute), I did manage to write my review for Darkest Hour, a film I really, really enjoyed. I also managed to see the Swedish Oscar contender The Square, which I found quite interesting and look forward to writing about later this week. Hopefully there will be more reviews coming this week, including one for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which I see next Thursday.

Meanwhile, at home, my movie-watching was pretty much split into two categories: documentaries and modern classics. On the documentary side of things, I saw two show business inside looks: I Am Heath Ledger and Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring A Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton. The Ledger doc was interesting, and had some interesting details about his time making Brokeback Mountain and The Dark Knight, but overall didn’t have too much to say. Unlike the group’s Chris Farley documentary, there’s not much we don’t already know, and there’s not many angles we can put on these things. Meanwhile, Jim & Andy was a little harder for me to watch, mainly because Andy Kaufman is my favorite comedian, and watching Jim Carrey lovingly talk about him was painful to deal with. Nevertheless, I did make it through, and found it provided not only an interesting look at one of my favorite films, Man on the Moon, but also provided a humorously scathing takedown of method acting. It’s worth checking out on Netflix. As for the two modern classics, the first film I watched was Spike Lee’s 25th Hour, and my God, is that a great film. Edward Norton is remarkable, and the film provides a breathtaking look at the mindsets of New Yorkers in a post-9/11 society. It’s truly one for the ages, and marks Lee as one of the greatest modern directors, even if he’s been struggling to make a good film in recent years. The other film I watched was Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation, which works both as a shockingly searing familial drama as well as a wonderful look inside a modern Iran. I feel like it’s a film that almost anyone can watch and still feel moved and captivated by, and advise you all give a watch when you get the chance.

However, it was television that really blew me away this week, as I finally caught up with Nathan For You’s Finding Frances. A two-hour movie in the guise of a season finale, Nathan Fielder’s magnum opus pushes the boundaries of both television and documentary filmmaking to craft something truly different and marvelous. This is not only one of the best episodes of television I’ve ever seen – this is one of the best documentaries of the year. It’s free online, so you should give it a watch soon. Meanwhile, in my quest to catch up on the Best of 2017, I watched the Broad City episode “Witches.” I’ve always thought Abbi and Ilana were funnier actresses than the show itself ever was, and I don’t think this episode’s really different, but wow. It’s really a different, unique take on 2017 as a whole. I also watched my usual shows, the ABC Family lineup and the James Franco SNL episode. And I want to mention that despite a very up-and-down season, the season finale of South Park was some of their smartest work in a long time, providing great political satire, pop culture skewering, and plot/character development. However, when it comes to television this week, I don’t think there was anything I enjoyed as much as Psych: The Movie. I’ve always said that Psych is one of my favorite television shows, and I do appreciate the way it went out on top. However, I miss these characters dearly, and for that reason I was looking forward to the movie with higher-than-usual expectations. As it turns out, the film didn’t disappoint – it actually exceeded those high expectations. The show went all the way back to the early seasons, drawing from the days when two silly child-men/best friends worked together as a team to solve mysteries with kooky shenanigans, as opposed to the later years when they crafted that ingenious into a series of 80s-movie spoofs. By simplifying things and telling a great, original story, it made for a wonderful little film, and one I want to continue for the rest of eternity.

What about you? Did you watch Psych: The Movie this week? See anything good in the theaters? What about Star Wars tickets – have you ordered them yet? Let me know in the comments, and fasten your seatbelts – it’s Oscar season!

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