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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

What I've Been Watching (October 2020)

What another great month of viewing. I know that we all are going to be shut in for awhile yet, and you may need some holiday viewing as it keeps getting more likely that many of us won't be able to travel or visit our families soon. However, there are other ways of connecting and engaging, and I hope these articles may help you keep even a little of your sanity. Again, the new ratings system is below.

On a quick personal note, we lost someone I admired on October 31, 2020. Sean Connery has been a favorite actor of mine for a long time. I don't have to remind many who know me or have read my work that I am a huge James Bond fan. Now, I realize there are a lot of problems with what the old Connery films represent and their issues with promoting a certain form of toxic masculinity. That aside, they are still fun as hell, and Bond being a certain kind of alpha-male is only part of why I love these movies. That is also to forget how great Connery was in the Hunt for Red October, the Untouchables (kind of sad this was the one he won his Oscar for since he was much better in other things), and Finding Forrester. He was an actor that was so good and prolific that I literally had a moment with my father and grandfather simultaneously as we silently grieved for a second for a man who hadn't done a movie in over 15 years. Thus, I just want to say thank you to someone whose work I admired, and seemed like a genuinely good man. Thank you, and rest in peace, Sir Sean.

Current ratings system:

  1. I wish this was never made

  2. Don't let anyone see this

  3. I'm not suggesting this to anybody

  4. Only if nothing else is on

  5. You can wait to see this

  6. Watchable, but not memorable

  7. Suggested

  8. Highly Recommended

  9. Must See

  10. Rush Home and Put this on Now

Feedback is appreciated. Thank you.

New Watches:

Schitt's Creek (Season 6) - Netflix

- What a great heart-warming end. The season was probably about 3 episodes longer than the ideas they had (although I'm not complaining that we got more episodes), but they did a great job, for the most part of wrapping things up, I'm not exactly sure why Alexis got the short end of the stick in that her ending was much more open ended than the rest of her family, but I certainly felt satisfied with Moira, Johnny, David, Patrick, and Stevie. I personally love when you felt a sense of completeness with an ending that seems to give each of the characters a sense of peace in getting to the place they were meant to be, and Schitt's Creek accomplished a fitting ending that I would put just short of my personal best ending in Parks and Recreation.

Rating: 9

The Kominsky Method (Seasons 1-2) - Netflix

- I honestly love Michael Douglas so much more after watching this. He feels so much more relatable, and this show is so much funnier than you might have anticipated. Alan Arkin is an absolute treasure, and he should be up for almost as many accolades for this part as Henry Winkler is for Barry. Together, Douglas and Arkin are mesmerizing, and a wonderful pairing to have. This was a quick watch, but the end of Season 2 seems like they ran out of ideas really quickly. Finally, I'm sad to see they already announced that Season 3 will be the end. Kinda like my fondness for Dead to Me, since I picked this show up much later, I'm pretty bummed it's already going to be ending. I just hope they do it justice.

Rating: 8

The Trial of the Chicago 7 - Netflix

Rating: 9

Midnight Cowboy - HBO Max

- This is a quite startling movie in a lot of ways. First, we're exploring a lot of themes of sexuality in this movie that never quite clearly settle, and seem to keep moving without resolution. We're also dealing with extreme poverty, particularly pre-1990s New York that isn't nearly the more-or-less glamourized place we think of it as now, and the desperation that comes with that level of poverty. Finally, we're dealing with a lot of trauma that they never explicitly go into, but always seems to be there. I really had no ideas or illusions of what this movie was going in, but, as the Best Picture winner for 1969, it is a rather shocking film in many ways. It is also quite indicative of how the next decade of filmmaking would be so transformative. I'm not sure a lot of the elements of this movie hold up with more and more time removed, but there are a lot of universal ideas that resonate with me further and further the farther I get away from the movie. It's one that does stick with you, but shouldn't be watched without the proper mindset going in that this is a heavy digest.

Rating: 7

The Verdict - Starz

- I don't want to eventually spoil the pod episode that will definitely be coming on this movie, but I honestly have no idea why this is one of the great Courtroom drama movies. It's pacing is awful, the twist was anticipated, the conclusion was odd and undeserved, and the "drama" was uninspired. If you listen to the podcast, you know that I love Paul Newman, but this has to be the least entertaining and poorest use of him that I can remember.

Rating: 4

The Boys (Season 2) - Prime

- This was a thankful addition to the viewing repertoire. I have enjoyed this show as a great subversion given how much I have loved and nerded out on superheroes since I was like 4. However, this season, just like in Season 1, leaves me feeling like something is missing in this show more than that it is complete. The weird Nazi storyline felt forced, and then cast aside way too quickly for something that was seemingly a huge part of this season. I really don't know where the twist at the end of the season is going from here and the Deep's storyline feels so unnecessary at this point, but I'll be ready to watch Season 3 whenever we can get it.

Rating: 6

Moonstruck - Showtime

- Why is this considered a classic or a great romantic comedy? This movie is insufferable. It bats around romantic concepts with incredible shallowness and an unbelievable lack of heart or emotional intelligence. It's overly stereotypical of Italian families to the point that it blows past annoyance into sheer frustration. It is grossly overacted by everyone in the film (save for Cosmo who completely underacts the part), and rightly craps the bed at almost every turn for me. How this has been a "classic" or on the Greatest of Anything list is beyond me.

Rating: 1.5 (I can't decide if no one should see this again or if I wish it were never made)

My Weekly Shows:

This is Us (Eps. 5.1-5.2)

- This show always hits me right in the feels. It has such a strangely wonderful emotional intelligence that always seems to hit the right note. As usual, I will try not to spoil anything, but the two-hour season premiere delivered so well finding ways to address literally just about everything that has happened since they left us in March while also not losing any of the parts that tie back in from before. I am always impressed with the writing on this show, and they hit it out of the park again. Of course, I will only tease that everyone needs to watch til the very last second of the second part.

Rating: 10 (c'mon you should have known by now)

The Mandalorian (Ep. 2.1)

Aaaaahhhhh! I loved this show, and I should have put that I rewatched Season 1 quickly before the new season came out, but what a great episode back. Utterly great action sequences, a slightly darker and more cynical tone, an absolutely great cameo performance by the always engaging Timothy Olyphant, and a "holy $&^!" moment at the end. I could not have asked for a better start to Season 2, and, if they continue this trajectory, I think it's entirely possible this series comes out at some point with a few Emmys wins not just nominations.

Rating: 10

Superstore (Ep. 6.1)

- They did a good job of deftly poking fun at how crazy we've all been about hoarding, Zoom calls, PPE, and a lot of the topics that need addressing for workers at a Wal-Mart like store. However, the narrative portion of this was still limited as they had to use so much of the episode just focusing on the pandemic narrative that they couldn't fit in the more significant aspects of the show. As any regular fan of the show probably knows, America Ferrera is leaving, and that's going to leave a rather big hole. Yet, the show feels rudderless even with her still there. I honestly think this show has run its course outside of the occasionally funny antics of working in a Superstore. I'm really not invested in the plot lines of any of the characters, and I'm getting to the point of staleness with this show. It needs to show something in short order, especially after one of its two primary characters leaves in order to keep me watching.

Rating: 4

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

**Greatest Movie of All-Time Podcast Watches:

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) - Prime

- Listen to the podcast on Spotify, Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, and RadioPublic.

Alien (1979) - HBO Max

- Listen to the podcast on Spotify, Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, and RadioPublic.

The Notebook (2004) - Netflix

- Listen to the podcast on Spotify, Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, and RadioPublic.

Jaws (1975) - HBO Max

- Listen to the podcast on Spotify, Anchor, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, and RadioPublic.

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