Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What We've Been Watching: Parrots, Politicians, Psychiatry, Psychiatrists, Prisoner Number 1, and Pubs

We had an epic moviewatching weekend. I rented three films and we also went to the theater to see The World's End.


I'd had a number of people tell me that this film was boring because all everyone did was talk, talk, talk ("and no action!").

Being history nerds who enjoy reading about the personalities of the Civil War, this was fine with us. We bravely settled down to watch President Abraham Lincoln's efforts to formally abolish slavery by getting the Thirteenth Amendment passed in the House of Representatives. It was well told, engaging, and respectful to the history.

I, for one, felt it went on too long after the bill passed and would have been happy to see the film end without taking us to the bitter end. We knew that already and didn't need to be dragged through it again. However, second guess editing aside, I can highly recommend it.


I got this because we have a wild Monks Parakeet/Quaker Parrot flock that occasionally hangs out in our Dallas, Texas, neighborhood. This is a fairly straight forward film which is truly more about the fellow who feeds these wild parrots than about the birds themselves. Thinking it over later, we realized that his life somewhat parallels that of the birds he cares for and that gave it a welcome bit of added depth. A sweet film really and I can recommend it.


This movie surprised me because, although I knew it was a romantic comedy with a mental illness twist, I didn't expect the first half to two-thirds of the movie to really be a mental illness movie with a possible romance somewhere ... ending up with a solid romantic comedy end of the film. A very odd combination but somehow they pulled it off and the acting and story kept us watching even though we were also made rather uncomfortable by the film's first half.

I can recommend it but I can also say that its not a movie I feel I'll ever need to rewatch.


I am loathe to say more than people have seen in the trailers, which is that five old school chums reunite to see if they can finish that 12-pub crawl they failed at when they graduated from high school. They have the common feeling that the town is exactly the same, while simultaneously not feeling quite right somehow. In this case, there is an invasion of the bodysnatchers situation and they've got to survive and save the day.

The combination of reunion and alien invasion is pretty funny and has many nods to the previous two in Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg's "Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy" (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz). I particularly enjoyed all the fence jumping.

I think this is the weakest of the three but that doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it immensely. As with the other two films, this is one that will benefit from rewatching since there were several comic things that only became clear when I was thinking over the movie.

DOCTOR WHO, Season Five

We just watched the first episode of this season (streaming free, thank you Amazon Prime) and while Matt Smith is no David Tennant (but, really, who is?), his Doctor seems to capture that sense of wonder and joie de vivre. I also like that there wasn't a lot of angst about picking up a new companion.

In grabbing this graphic from Wikipedia, I noticed that this season marked a new creative team which explains the new feel also. We shall see how it wears going into the future.

FRASIER, Season Three

Frasier (also streaming free on Amazon Prime) has been our night-time watching lately. I had forgotten how consistently amusing it was until both Hannah and Rose began watching it and commenting approvingly. Just plain entertaining, without that mean edge that some smart comedy can sometimes have.


  1. I'm watching Doctor Who season five on Netflix streaming right now too (for the second time), and I agree with you that Matt Smith's Doctor is a fun departure from David Tennant's spazzy, angsty (awesome) take on it. Matt Smith reminds me of Brendan Fraser in that one movie where he's a fish out of water (oh wait, that's all his movies). I also think Amy Pond is fun. What I don't like is what they've done to River. I'll be interested to see what you think as the season progresses.

  2. Wow, you fit a lot into one weekend! I really enjoyed Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, so I may have to add The World's End to my 'to see' list. I admittedly let me attention drift away from Doctor Who once it started broadcasting in the US (season 6, I believe), instead of syndication, like previous series. I had feared the writers would pander too much to the new American audience, and it really seems like the show has become 'less British' because of that, which is unfortunate, because its Britishness is at the heart of its charm. I am looking forward to finding time to watch Ushpizin-I've been introduced to more than a few books and movies I would have never given a second glance to were it not for your podcast!

  3. Hm. I had a different reaction to Silver Linings Playbook on first view, although I came to a similar conclusion (I expected and wanted to see love under psych pressure because it's not been done much or at all but didn't really glom onto characters for whatever reason). So I felt flat after that first watch.

    But I will give Jennifer Lawrence a VERY wide berth after seeing Winter's Bone. Plus she did get the Academy Award for S.L-Playbook.

    Thus I went back for a 2nd look and LOVED it a lot. But if you want your love story or even romcoms (it broaches that territory) served up with sugar topping on a familiar plate, then this isn't going to be for you. I think this was real: real people with real problems trying to get through despite the problems. And, like its syrupy cousins, this one still has a very happy conclusion.
    Each to their own of course, but I'm just suggesting that there's more to this film than a first look provides imho!

    (pretty well agree about Lincoln although I didn't much care for Sally Field's portrayal, even if it was accurate ;-) nor did I much like the opening scene. I'm not sure why. I'm in Oz so have diff. perception/expectations re: Abe Lincoln perhaps. Anyway, a brilliant film. DDLewis is amazing)