What I Watched, What You Watched #31

My apologies for missing last week’s What I Watched, What You Watched-being honest, I may have been nursing a hangover from a very special surprise, and become distracted all day. At any rate, it’s been a pretty good two weeks for watching movies. I managed to review the new Beauty and the Beast, which I can read right here. It’s easiest to say that I liked, didn’t love it.

At home, I had many first time viewings of classic cinema. I started with Terminator 2: Judgment Day, coming in as a huge fan of the original Terminator. However, it’s safe to say I was blown away by what James Cameron pulled off here. It’s one of the greatest action films of all-time, and it’s not hard to see why. I also watched the beloved romance The Way We Were, which I was a bit colder on. The stars are great, and the story strong, but it just never comes together the way I wanted it to. Marvin Hamlisch’s score is golden, though. As we moved into this week, I watched the romantic drama Closer, which I appreciated more than loved, but man does Natalie Portman act her ass off, and her scene with Clive Owen in the strip club should be taught in drama and film schools as a lesson in acting and direction. Turner Classic Movies has been showing the best of the villains throughout the month, which allowed me to catch The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. It’s not my favorite of the Western genre, nor is it my favorite of the John FordJohn Wayne collection, but it’s impossible not to appreciate what a work of art it is (I also saw the tail end of A Clockwork Orange, which remains one of the greatest films ever made). Following up my viewing of Eastern Promises a few weeks back, I watched the previous David Cronenberg/Viggo Mortensen team-up A History of Violence, and my god, is it a better film, in every sense of the word. In fact, it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen. It’s a masterwork of the noir genre. However, every coin has two sides, and the other end of this noir coin is Training Day. Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke both do what they can with this interesting premise, but something about the script and the direction just don’t manage to bring the thing home. Washington deserved his Best Actor Oscar for Fences and Malcolm X, not this mediocrity. And finally, in honor of its 45th anniversary, I had my umpteenth-and my father’s first-viewing of The Godfather. I don’t need to add anything more to The Godfather’s legacy, a film many people consider the greatest film ever made, but I will say this: this is the viewing where I’ve gotten the most out of it. I’ve never been as impressed with the film as other people have (although we’re talking in the same way people might say “I’m not sure Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever…”) but this is the closest I’ve ever come to being on the bandwagon (I still think Part II is better, which I will probably be watching next week).

Television wise, it’s been a slow week. Most shows have been on hiatus, leaving me with few things to watch. I’ve been enjoying Making History and Feud, the latter of which is still the one of the best shows of the year. I also got one of my biggest TV laughs in a long time thanks to a brilliant line delivery by John Lithgow on Trial and Error (the show itself needs work, but gets better each week). And I’ve been watching a whole lotta basketball, thanks to March Madness. I do enjoy sports from time to time, as it turns out. That Florida-Wisconsin game is one of the greatest I’ve ever seen. I’ve also been using Netflix a lot recently, thanks to the recent arrival of the all-time great Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the eventual departure of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I highly recommend both shows, especially Buffy, considering it leaves Netflix on April 1st. Oh, and I got to witness my brother play Puck in his university’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Finally, a hint of an announcement. Some time this week, there will be big news from The Sacred Wall. I don’t want to give too much away, but keep your eyes out around Tuesday for an official statement. Until then, you can leave your thoughts and your viewings in the comments below, and I hope you’re all excited for a strong week of content.

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