Tuesday, July 5, 2022

TV Snide: June 2022

TV Show of the Month: Breaking Bad (Netflix): It took several years to finally finish, but once my 14-year-old son binged the whole series in a few weeks, I felt obliged to rip though the firth and final season. The Walter White story is one of the best TV shows ever. It's the story of a non-descript nobody played by Brian Cranston (the dad from Malcolm in the Middle of all people) turning into a family-loving, carwash-owning monster who can control cartels, neo-Nazis, the DEA, and the CIA. Gripping at every turn, all the way through the end. 5 out 5 stars

Stranger Things Season 4 Part 1 (Netflix): This show just keeps chugging along and perhaps getting better and better. The kids are almost no longer kids anymore as they fight creative new monsters and Hooper attempts to escape a Russian prisoner work camp. Can't wait for next month's release of the second half of the season. 4.5 out of 5 stars

Movie of the Month: Licorice Pizza (Lufthansa flight): This coming-of-age tale is among Paul Thomas Anderson’s great films, like Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, and Punch-Drunk Love. His strength is never plot, but rather great vignettes that, when tied together, begin to form intriguing character studies. Alana Haim is mesmerizing as the older girl serving as the object of Cooper Hoffman’s affections as they swindle the likes of Bradley Cooper, Sean Penn, and other big stars throughout picturesque Los Angeles. 4 out of 5 stars

The Lost Daughter (Lufthansa flight): Olivia Colman plays a selfish mother who reflects on her youth while vacationing in a small beach community. The flashbacks show how she left her new family to carry out an affair with another star of the Italian translation academic community while the present shows her subtlety sabotaging another young family led by mom Dakota Johnson. A minor story but a dark and moving take on the complexities of having children and the loss of freedom it causes. 3.5 out of 5 stars

Novel of the Month: Swimming Home by Deborah Levy: I wanted to read something kind of set in the Tuscany region of Italy while traveling there this month, and I thought this was, but it turned out to mostly take place in the South of France. That said, what I imagined the swimming pool, one of the story’s protagonists, to look like in my head turned out to be exactly what my swimming pool in Tuscany looked like. All that may be a bit more interesting than this book, which is a minor but entertaining and quick tale of a poet who has an affair with a young, usually naked, muse right under the glare of his wife, daughter, and friends. Odd but better than ok. 3.5 out of 5 stars

Being the Ricardos (Amazon Prime): Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem are compelling as the leads in this talkative Aaron Sorkin vehicle. It tells the story of Desi Arnaz saving Lucille Ball's neck from a rumor that she was a Communist, while their marriage and sensational TV show wound down. 3.5 out of 5 stars

Death on the Nile (Hulu): I love Agatha Christie novels, but this production with Gal Gadot and Kenneth Branagh was pretty unwatchable. Couldn't finish it. No rating.

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