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This Week: Includes Apocalypse Now

So what are the Agents of Doux watching this week?

Shari: The only thing I've watched this week (outside of Roswell, New Mexico) is The Sandman. I'm three episodes in and I love it. I'm also loving your reviews too, BTW! They perfectly capture the spirit of the show. Kudos to both you and Joseph!

I never read the comics but I did listen to Volumes 1 and 2 of the audiobooks (I think they were originally radio plays in Britain) so I'm missing all of the spot-on images that everyone has been clamoring about but I have a clue of what's going on and what's about to happen next. The faces may be different (since the voice actors were different) but it's almost exactly how I imagined it. Despite Neil Gaiman's involvement, I'd been worried. Netflix's track record with comic book properties has been rather spotty.

Victoria Grossack: I've been wrapping up the reviews of The Umbrella Academy. I've been watching The Sandman and enjoying it a lot. And I must report that my husband has just discovered Outlander and recommends it highly. I've been reluctant to start, because so many seasons is a big commitment and other projects are demanding my time, but perhaps I will finally start the series.

Billie Doux: Victoria, I also highly recommend Outlander.

I finally finished up a couple of shows this week. As I posted on the finale episode, I loved Agents of SHIELD. So glad I finally got to it, glad that Lamounier, Mark and Sunbunny reviewed it, and happy with how it turned out. I also finally finished Somebody Feed Phil, a reality show where a really sweet guy named Phil Rosenthal, formerly a sitcom producer, travels to interesting places and tries the local food. The episodes are surprisingly NOT repetitive considering the content. It's on Netflix and it's just delightful. There are five seasons so far but only five or six episodes per season, so it's not a huge commitment. My favorite episode so far was his trip to Rio de Janeiro.


I also finished the second season of Big Sky in time for season three, which starts in September. It was worth the wait for Jensen Ackles. He's been a consistent crush of mine forever and he's such a good actor. I'm looking forward to season three and hoping he won't turn out to be a bad guy, which is a possibility on this show because it's a quirky crime drama with a lot of bad guys.

Mikey Heinrich: In the wake of finally finishing my big Star Trek watch, I've finally branched out to other items on my 'get around to watching' list. I binged season two and three of The Boys, which was good, but you should absolutely never put that much of it in your head at one time. It felt a lot like when I decided to watch all those movies I'd never gotten around to and did a double feature of Apocalypse Now and Reservoir Dogs one night. And then hid under my bed for a week.

It's weird seeing Jensen Ackles in a different part. To his credit, it was a much different role than Dean Winchester, and he did well.

Then I got around to finishing the one and only season of Now Apocalypse (if anybody remembers that that existed). It was really disappointing, but it did feature a brief appearance from Devon Long who later went on to play Flex Mentallo on Doom Patrol, so it wasn't a total waste of time. Now I've hopped to The Good Place (which I watched the first four broadcast episodes of when they aired and decided I wasn't into it and stopped. Poor decision in hindsight.) Finished the first season last night and loved it.

It's amazing how many of the shows on the list are emotionally damaging and thus being currently avoided. Oz, for example, is not going to get started anytime soon, no matter how much of Christopher Meloni they repeatedly show.

ChrisB: Mikey — your note about Apocalypse Now and Reservoir Dogs made me laugh out loud. Years ago, the small town in which I lived still had a single screen movie theatre on Main Street. To compete with the multiplexes in the malls, this theatre would show older movies and wonderful double features. One night, my brother and I went to see Das Boat and Apocalypse Now back to back. We both stumbled out of the theatre feeling the weight of the world. We still laugh about it.

This week, I’ve been back on movies. I went to see Where the Crawdads Sing finally. I was hesitant because the book was one of the best books I have read in the past five years. The movie did an outstanding job of capturing the feel of the book without making it too Hollywood. Yes, Kya is a little too clean and well clothed sometimes, but somehow it worked. And, they managed the ending very well, something I was very nervous about.

And, in honor of Olivia Newton-John, I did a Grease rewatch the other night with my best friend. We sang along and had a great old time.


Josie Kafka: Not quite the same as any double feature that includes Apocalypse Now, but I think I'm still reeling from the (April 2019) Sunday night that I saw Avengers: Endgame in the theater, then ran home to watch the Game of Thrones season premiere so I wouldn't get spoiled on either one at work the next day.

I'm watching very little right now. I'm trying to stay off my phone (news, Twitter, etc) as much as possible, which means books rather than TV. These are the books I've read since Sunday:

Serhiy Zhadan, The Orphanage. It was a gift, and I liked it more than I thought I would. Hapless guy in war-town Ukraine learns life lessons, but not schmaltzy.

Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter. What does it mean that I think Graham Greene books are comfort reads? Am I broken?

Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad. This was not at all what I expected it to be, and perhaps that's why I was so unsatisfied. It followed different characters linked to one another – a structure which made me think of Pulp Fiction and other 90s movies, only this book has very little violence and was written in 2010. I was most excited to read the infamous chapter told in the form of a Powerpoint presentation, since I guess I'd forgotten that Powerpoints are rather dull in any context.

ML Rio, We Were Villains. A Secret History-inspired, Shakepseare-inflected story of murder at a college so elite they call it a conservatory. I couldn't put it down, which is probably why I only realized later that I wasn't clear on any character's motivations.

Terry Miles, Rabbits. I'm in the middle of this now. It's like Ready Player One for the conspiracy-minded corners of Reddit, and so far it's exactly as fun as that sounds. (To me, that sounds fun.)

Billie Doux: My word, Josie. You read more than I do.

Readers, what are you watching/reading/screening this week?

16 comments:

  1. Billie, this just happened to be a very heavy reading week. I'm pretty sure you outpace me.

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  2. I recently bought We Were Villains but I haven't read it yet. I'm trying to decide whether your comment was a thumbs up or a thumbs down, Josie.

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  3. I couldn't put it down and am glad I read it, but the trick is to read it quickly and a bit thoughtlessly. (And, FYI, I am merciless about giving up on bad books. I don't have time or patience for reading something I don't actually enjoy.)

    Then, let me know what you think!

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  4. I read If We Were Villains earlier this year! I enjoyed it while reading although I agree that it falls apart a little on reflection. That said, I really enjoyed the incorporation of Shakespeare's words into dialogue and found the atmosphere it created very effective. It pops into my head surprisingly often.

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  5. I started Euphoria this past week after a long time of being curious about it. I finished the first 4 episodes before needing to take a break. I... think I like it? I'm fascinated. That's probably the better term for it. It's a gorgeous show with gorgeous people doing some very incredible acting with a bunch of characters and dynamics that is every kind of character and dynamic that I love.

    But oh my God there's a lot of nudity. And I had heard that there was. I've read plenty of articles just out of curiosity. But what I had read always gave the impression that (like most media, tbf) the nudity was focused on female breasts. So I was prepared for a lot of topless girls and maybe the occasional shot of a guy's butt. Yeah... I saw more full frontal male nudity in those 4 hours than I have in my entire life. Which was at times very uncomfortable for me personally.

    Also the sex scenes were far more explicit than I was expecting. Solid NC-17/downright pornographic territory. And considering that most of the characters are in high school and therefore minors, that was also something that made me uncomfortable. (All of the actors are of age)

    It makes it a hard show to recommend. It's very, very heavy and very, very sexualized. But if you're okay with that, then yeah, the characters have me absolutely hooked.

    Also, Survivor Update: I'm almost done with Season 28! I continue my quest.

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    1. I love euphoria. The nudity or difficult content continues into the second season. You kind of get used to it? I also respect he show for focusing on male nudity more than female, as women have arguably been more objectified in TV and movies. But yeah it could probably dial it back on nudity and still serve its purpose.

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  6. Mikey - I recently did a rewatch of the first season of The Good Place and my kiddo just started to rewatch. And we both said the same thing - it's amazing the first time round and even better the second time, watching the clues to the twist and certain people's faces that are in on it.

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    1. Mikey here - still haven't fixed the login thing.
      I'm at the end of season two and loving it.

      The thing I love most is how often they get to a place where I think 'I can't even imagine where else they can take the story from here' and then they go somewhere even crazier.

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    2. I watched The Good Place as it was airing and enjoyed it a lot. But it's much, much better as a binge watch, when you don't have to remind yourself of what happened three years ago. I've binged through it three times and loved it every time. It's a television masterpiece.

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  7. My exploration of the obscure genre corners of Streamland continues with:
    "Vivarium" (2019) - Opens with an overly red Lynchian closeup of cuckoo parasitism. Original Bird has laid its eggs. Cuckoo Bird has snuck into Original's nest and laid its egg. Eggs hatch. Baby Cuckoo's first instinct is to nudge all of Original's baby birds out of the nest, plunging them to their infant deaths. Original Bird returns, food in beak, its hormonally stoked parental instinct running full blast. It's gonna shove food into a baby bird mouth no matter what. Even if "Baby Bird" is 3 times its size. And that's how cuckoos make their way in the world.
    With that lovely metaphor shoved into our open brains we meet the couple. They're nice. Imogen Poots is the elementary teacher I wish I'd had. Jesse Eisenberg is her boyfriend, a gardener/arborist. Comfy, long term relationship. Looking to buy a starter home together. They walk into the Real Estate office....
    This is slow burn horror. No jump scares or supernatural. Much like a 90 minute Black Mirror episode right to the ending, but environment rather than human tech the uber villain. 3 out of 5 Malvina Reynolds warnings.
    ---
    "Finch" (2021 ATV+) - post apocalype. A solar flare this time. Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks and does his usual good job. Caleb Landry Jones voices a robot that Tom builds. Seamus plays a character that walks on 4 legs and fetches. Academy Awards are confined to only 1 species, otherwise Seamus would fetch one of those too. Except for a brief flashback they are the whole movie. The robot becomes sentient a little too fast, but this film is not about sciency stuff. It's about the relationship that develops between Tom and the robot. Like raising a child in a few weeks. The bot looks like something that Joel would build for his MST3K bots but that just adds to its charm. It's pretty obvious what will happen to Tom early on, which might be the one thing keeping this from being a great family watch. You may have to have the "D" word talk first. 3 outa 5 talented airedales.
    ---
    "The Empty Man" (2020) - empty movie. I don't always pick winners. Picked this one cause I like James Badge Dale's edgy and anxious under a gruff exterior, but he's wasted in this sad parade of 80's horror tropes. Spends most of it walking through dark places pointing a flashlight. The monster is so lame they show it mostly in silhouette. 1 outa 5 "Don't open that door!"s. 2 if you like deconstructing bad movies or yelling at the screen.
    ---
    In the words instead of pixels department I just finished Laura J. Mixon's "Up Against It". If you're jonesing for some more Expanse and a decent summer read give it a try. The distributed consciousness we know as James S. A. Corey wrote an intro. She has an easy conversational narrative style. Her concept of "ferals", rogue sentient code entities that spawn in the complex computer systems of a spun up asteriod, is pretty cool. She's also good at describing all of the political infighting in such a confined environment. The cardboard black hat villains bring it down a notch, but hey, it's a summer read and the good guys win!
    Also reading Donella Meadows' "Thinking In Systems" and Eugene McCarraher's "Enchantments of Mammon" but those are big reads and this comment is already too damn long.

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  8. Milo, a few people have recommended Vivarium to me. I've only been avoiding it because The Social Network made me permanently distrust Jesse Eisenberg, which i acknowledge is absurd, since I know intellectually that he isn't really Z*ckerberg, but...

    Should I watch it?

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    1. I too sometimes struggle with removing a past character from an actor. Worst case for me: Shatner starred in some cop show after Star Trek flopped. In one ep Leonard Nimoy guest stars as the villain. Double whammy!
      Did not see "Social" as I'm one of five or six people left on the planet who doesn't do FB or Twitter et al, so I didn't have that dissonance. I guess one way to look at it is if Eisenberg's portrayal of Yuck effected you that much it's because Eisenberg is a good actor. So maybe try taking deep breaths and (hard as this may be) repeat "Jesse Eisenberg is a good actor" until he stops being Zuck. Then watch "Vivarium". Namaste.

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  9. So many good shows to check out. I've seen The Sandman while browsing on Netflix and have been curious about it. Will have to check it out now.

    I just finishing my binge watch of True Blood. I know I'm very late tot he party. Sadly I didn't realize Billie had reviewed it until I was almost done with my watch. Would have bene nice to read her reviews as I went along. The first 4 seasons of the show were better than the final 3 (and the final episode infuriated me), but I had to see how it all ended. I still recommended the show to my sister who is currently unemployed with time to kill. She is enjoying it so far, and grew to love Eric (like most fans) even though she didn't like him at the start.

    I just watched Uncoupled on Netflix as well, which i watched all in one weekend. I didn't think I would like it but loved it. Super cute show. Neil Patrick Harris is great in it.

    I'm also late to the party on Stranger Things, which I'm in the middle of watching. It's the case of another show I didn't think I would like but am really into it. I'm kind of surprised someone didn't review each episode for Doux Reviews, as it seems very up the site's alley. But I'll have to make do with season reviews (although any plans for a season 4 review Billie?).

    Also I'm looking forward to the House of Dragon later this month. I hope it' lives up to expectations and that someone from Agents of Doux decides to review it (or having the rotating reviewing system y'all did for GOT was fun).

    And I know we primarily talk about TV shows but I have to give a shout out to Prey on Hulu. One of the best Predator movies since the original. I think you could even enjoy it even if you hadn't seen the past movies (although you would miss some small references to previous films it stands on its own story wise). I think the lead actress has a very promising future in Hollywood. Highly recommend.

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    1. Miguel, as usual, it's too many shows, not enough writers. ;) Samantha is planning to review season four of Stranger Things fairly soon. She also reviewed Prey and really liked it, too.

      So far, no one has volunteered to review House of the Dragon and I'm not a Game of Thrones person so I can't do it. This could change, though.

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    2. Not me! I just canceled my HBO subscription right after watching the last episode of Westworld.

      Did you know there are seven different GoT spin-offs in development?!

      https://www.avclub.com/game-of-thrones-spinoffs-list-titles-hbo-development-1849407995

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    3. I've just finished watching the first season of the Sandman, which I loved. I've read most of Gaiman's books but not his graphic novels so the material was unfamiliar to me and my first impressions were that it was intriguing but odd. The season really gathers momentum as it goes, though and I was totally hooked by episode 4.

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