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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

What I've Been Watching (July 7-14, 2020)

Young Frankenstein (1974) (Greatest Movie of All-Time Podcast) - Starz

- Listen to the podcast on Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Overcast, Pocketcasts, and RadioPublic

The Last Emperor (1987) - HBO Max

- Three Best Picture winners were crossed off my movie watching project list this week as we get the 1987, 1996, and 1985 winners off of the brand new HBO Max. A few things in common between these: they are all over-long and could have been cut to be much better movies, they are all period pieces, and they all involve difficult love stories. For the Last Emperor specifically, Pu Yi spends most of his life isolated from his mother and those that cared for him most, and even eventually his wife and consort betray and leave him like the rest of China seems to have done. His life is a long series of tragedy only to give him the lessons of humility and service by the end that he should have learned as a child. Specifically, that last scene of the movie was very emotional to see Pu Yi revisit the source of his original tragedy and fame only to have been a forgotten footnote in Chinese history.

The English Patient (1996) - HBO Max

- Another of the Best Picture winners and love stories, this depiction of a Hungarian Count who is struggling for life due to physical injuries and his guilt over never being able to realize his full relationship with the woman he loved. It's an enchanted story even if, once again, too long, and big pieces could have been cut out of the movie without losing parts of the story. Additionally, the over complicated narrative device of present day then catching us up through flashback works if many instances, but seemed unnecessary here to depict the kind of story they were going for. Ultimately, it was enjoyable, but there are much better romantic movies and Fargo should have won over this movie.

Out of Africa (1985) - HBO Max

- The final one of our three-part Best Picture love stories, Out of Africa shares the story of a Baroness trying to farm a plot of land in Kenya and her intersecting story with a rugged adventurer and the tribes people who live on "her" land. It has a lot to say in the latter half of the movie about relationships, freedom, and commitment, as well as a quite interesting take on Colonialism and the dignity of indigenous peoples for a movie from 1985 based on a book from 1934. Overall, there are some quite good moments in this movie, and Meryl Streep is her exceptional self with her unbelievable talent for accents as well as a quite charismatic performance by Robert Redford as well (redundant, I know). Overall, it's not one I would recommend to a casual viewer or someone interested in a good romantic period piece, but it would be to a film historian. Again, the Oscars only gets things right every 3-4 years anyway, and the Color Purple should have won here.

My Weekly Shows:

Perry Mason (Ep. 1.4) - HBO Max

- Certainly a bit of surprise at the end of the episode. I won't spoil, but it wasn't too big of a twist given everything that had transpired throughout the movie. However, this episode didn't really reveal a lot more than we already knew, and seemed like a bit of placeholder episode to simply move the story along. I'm not as high on this show as I was a week ago, but I'm holding out hope that this isn't going to be a bad remake trying to copy another concept.

Holey Moley! Season 2 - The Sequel - ABC/Hulu

- I don't really ever watch "reality" TV due to the fact that they all are really scripted shows like the WWE is. However, I do get some good entertainment value out of this show, and it is fun, light viewing. If you like the concept of mini-golf meets ridiculous obstacle course, then I would recommend this to you. It has been a fun two seasons with this show, and I hope they were able to finish taping it before the pandemic came in, or that will be a bummer.

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