3 Reviews Cubed, or something like that

So I haven’t written anything in forever. We’ve been fighting a nasty bug in our house (typical scenario, it starts with the kids as a cold, but by the time it moves to the adults it mutates into a vicious, ebola type virus.) The upshot of all this is that my 2 week biking vacation I took after the MS ride has pretty much turned into as 4 week one, though I’m feeling fit enough today to get back out this evening after work for a quick spin. The other upshot is that I have had lots of downtime to watch movies and TV. as well as listen to some great records, so I’ve got three recommendations in each category for you below. (spoiler free)

TV: Sherlock, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men

I watched season one of Sherlock (3 TV movie length episodes) and man was that just a lot of fun. I know most of these stories by heart, but they did a great job of updating what can be a bit of a stale character and storyline and make it fresh and new, even if they sometimes try a bit too hard to emphasize that this Sherlock is all 21st Century (He texts! He wears nicotine patches!) A minor annoyance that is easily forgivable. The casting all around is inspired, but especially enjoyed Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson, though you have to admit, Holmes actor Benedict Cumberbatch has one of the best names ever, hands down. Looking forward to watching season 2 online shortly.

As usual, I was late to the party with Breaking Bad, but caught up on the the first 3 seasons thanks to Netflix streaming. That’s a close as I’ve seen a show come to The Wire in terms of plot tightness (By that I mean, everything happens for a reason. Often even seemingly small, random events are significant later in the series. For the total and complete opposite of a tight plot, see Lost, every episode). I really like this show, but there’s just something nagging about it that keeps me from loving it so far and I can’t really explain it. (Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve seen more of Bryan Cranston than I’ve ever wanted or needed to now). Definitely one that I’ll be keeping up with as it wraps up.

As for Mad Men, I go back and forth on this show. I mean, I recognize the greatness of it – it’s extremely well written and acted, but again there was something about it that left me a little cold. The last two episodes, however, were two of the best things ever to air on television, especially the scene with Joan and Don at the bar 2 weeks ago (Hands down the sexiest thing ever to air on television and the entire scene was dialog. Just an awesome bit of writing.) and the bombshell Peggy and Don  scene last week (Elizabeth Moss and John Hamm, go ahead and prepare your Emmy acceptance speeches). Two episodes to go this season, and it will be interesting in the extreme to see where the series goes after last week’s revelations, both of which were worthy of season finales.

Movies: The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods, Drive, Pirates Band of Misfits, 7 hours of Pixar on the big screen

Ok, so that’s more than three. I never was very good with the math. Like the rest of the world, I did see The Avengers and enjoyed it a lot. I’m a big sucker for fun, popcorn movies in the summer, and it didn’t disappoint, and most of that credit has to go to director and new ruler of the world Josh Whedon. His flair for witty, bantering dialog was perfect for the “struggling to make a team out of individuals” plot and made kept the CGI action from completing overwhelming.

Also a big fan of The Cabin in the Woods if you can still catch it anywhere, written by, guess who, the aforementioned Mr. Whedon. Another great twist on a familiar storyline (the horror movie set in the remote location in the woods) that was fresh and a lot of fun.Not much I can say that won’t spoil it, but highly recommended if you enjoy fun and awesomeness.

I finally caught Drive on Netflix streaming (after I nearly passed out from finding a quasi-recent, honest to goodness theatrical release available on there), and also enjoyed that a lot. Didn’t really care all that much about the supposed “leads” (Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan), as this for me was all about the stellar supporting cast: Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Pearlman, and most especially, Albert Brooks, who was downright fantastic.

Being a dad of 8 and 9 year olds who are slowly catching their dad’s cinema bug, I see more than my share of kids movies, so no surprise that we saw the latest Aardman flick, Pirates: Band of Misfits. It was good, better than your average kid flick, but well short of the standard set by previous Aardman productions (Wallace and Grommit, Chicken Run, etc). That’s a high bar to try and meet though, and it was clever to see the plot of the Freshman re-imagined in that setting. I will admit to being convinced that there was going to be a high profile Mathew Broderick cameo at some point, but alas no.

Last weekend, since my wife was suffering from her turn with the family virus, I took one of my sons to a Pixar marathon to watch not one, not two, but three animated films in a row, 7 hours worth when all was said and done. It’s a testament to the great filmmakers that neither one of us was bored for a moment, even though we both had seen all three movies (Wall-E. Toy Story 3, and Ratatouille) multiple times (and the end of Toy Story 3 still makes me sob like a child, it’s that good). Still a lot of fun to see movies that good on the big screen (and not adulterated by the scam that is “3-D” when you can.

My Pixar marathon partner in crime. Just happy that he didn’t succumb to a sugar coma after noshing an entire box of Sour Skittles and a Jethro-sized popcorn.

Saw the poster for this. Really, I couldn’t be less excited. Bring on Prometheus in a week!

Albums: The Walkmen – Heaven, Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory, Jack White – Blunderbuss, Santigold – Master of My Make Believe, Beach House – Bloom, Lucero – Women and Work, Trampled By Turtles – Stars and Satellites

Ok, that’s definitely way more than three, but this post is getting far too long and I’m getting sleepy, so suffice to say that all of these records are worth seeking out, but I’m especially enjoying the Cloud Nothings as well as side 2 of Blunderbuss. Those are my favorite releases of the year so far, though The Walkmen album just came out Tuesday and it is still growing on me even after a positive first listen. Go buy all of these on vinyl and enjoy (or digitally if you must.)

Well, just found out that the 2013 MS Ride is scheduled for April 20 and 21 nest year, so time to get back on the bike soon. I’m toying with the idea of putting together a team for it. Any of you amateur cyclists/fitness freaks interested? It really is a lot of fun and the miles roll by much easier with a team to lean on when the wind picks up. Anyway, more on that to come.



Posted on June 1, 2012, in Movies, Music, TV and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I knew you’d love Cabin in the Woods. And I’m going to pretend you that you said you love Breaking Bad more than life itself. I can sleep better that way. I think season 4 is on Netflix this week.

    • Don’t get me wrong, it’s a really great show. I think I spend too much time comparing it to The Wire, which is unfair, b/c The Wire is the greatest thing that ever was or ever will be. Fingers crossed that season 4 hits Netflix, as I’d like to be caught up before July.

  2. Jimmy, 2 of my top five shows of all time…The Wire and Breaking Bad. The current one creeping up on that list? Homeland. You must check it out. Showtime, and season 1 is complete.

  3. Parker Burden

    For what it’s worth, the wife and I just started in on Mad Men this week…we have watched exactly two episodes…I’m hoping it keeps me as entertained as the Wire and Breaking Bad..best thing about it thus far is my wife is not a big fan of violence and so I’ve never really been able to share Breaking Bad, Sopranos, or the Wire with her…Mad Men should be different.

    • There’s the occasional act of violence, but nothing too graphic. My wife doesn’t like anything more gory than a Nora Ephron movie and she watches with no complaint. Most of the aggression is of the passive verbal type. I’ve blown hot and cold on it but the current season has been their best by far I think.

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