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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

What I've Been Watching (Quarantine Edition, Week 7)

Pulp Fiction (1994) (Greatest Movie of All-Time Podcast) - Currently on Starz

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

Groundhog Day (1992) (Greatest Movie of All-Time Podcast) - Currently on Netflix

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

Chinatown (1974) - Currently on Starz

- The "modern neo-noir" from the infamous Roman Polanski, Chinatown tries to reinvent the detective model that was already in place from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. I think there is too much credit by some that this movie worked since its much more gruesome than more wholesome noir movies like the Maltese Falcon or Double Indemnity, but I'm not someone who need more violence or heavier subject material in order to think we're really pushing the mark forward. Crime is crime no matter how gruesome it is. Give me better plot devicing, a better way of revealing the key elements, and a better use of score, and this could have been one of my favorites.

Dances with Wolves (1990) - Currently on Starz

- This was actually a first time viewing for me, and I do think that this movie gets a bit of a bad rap. Off the top, this movie is way too long for what it is worth, and could have used a much better editing job. Second, the first half an hour of the movie could have been cut completely out because it really doesn't add at all to the story, and the last hour could have been much more condensed. However, where this movie shines is in its human relationships, and how it shows not only friendship and romance but true love toward fellow human beings. There are plenty of lessons to be learned here that I still feel apply given that we often generally open up to marginalized groups once we see their humanity, and this movie did a great job in conveying that.

Marty (1955) - Currently on Prime

- This is a wonderfully underrated film that covers a subject many don't come to easily: not feeling desirable in the dating world. I actually think this is a better subject covering than the later and more talked-about Annie Hall. For someone who has struggled with body image and desirability as well as fraudulent syndrome issues, I have connected well to this film each and every time I have watched it, and, considering the higher incidences of attractiveness conscience people currently, I would say this is a great watch for anyone feeling marginalized. The one drawback is the amount of focus we give to only Ernest Borgnine's perspective instead of using the more modern Harry Met Sally dualistic approach. However, that last scene is still one of the most charming and heartwarming pieces of cinema for me, and I am always going to be a sucker for a good speech.

Double Indemnity (1944) - Currently on TCM

- Another Billy Wilder classic film noir that I personally believe is his second best movie behind the Apartment. I know people have issues with an omnipotent narrator, but, when it works, it really works. Wilder uses Fred McMurray to tell the whole story through confession; something that really hasn't been copied much since and really should be despite this movie being semi-remade as Body Heat in the 80s. Every scene just tightens the screw of tension until we come to the climactic ending. This was another true joy to rewatch a master at work.

On the Waterfront (1954) - Currently on TCM

- How do you quantify one of the all-time legendary acting performances in Hollywood history by Marlon Brando? If you really want an acting masterclass, go and watch the most famous scene with Brando and Rod Steiger (who plays his older brother) where Terry lays it on Charlie that Charlie is the reason he's never become anyone, and that he is marginalized because of him. Either that, or the last 15 minutes of this movie are absolutely harrowing. Finally, I absolutely love Lee J. Cobb as an underrated villain. His ability to go from 1 to 100 within the same line is incredible, and the way he menaces around everyone in this movie and one of my other all-time favorites, 12 Angry Men, is absolutely astounding to me. I find him endlessly watchable, and love this movie that much more for him.

Killing Eve (Eps. 2.3-3.2) Currently on Hulu and AMC

- Boy, was I wrong about Season 2. Not only did it grossly up the stakes by the time we get to the final scene of the season, but we are all breathlessly waiting to see how everyone reacts. The love triangle between Eve, Niko, and Villanelle is still hard to grasp, and it could really use some more exploration for Villanelle to see why she is so drawn to Eve. Yet, the relationships are the most tantalizing part of this whole mess. Now that I have started to catch up almost live, I am really wanting to see where they want to go yet, and what part of this world they choose to explore since it has been so dense and rich in the first two seasons and especially with newer characters to use as some of the older ones fade into the background. The one thing I'm still struggling to get is the name of the show. I don't know what Killing Eve means since she is not being hunted, and was the one doing the hunting in the first season.

My Weekly Shows:

Westworld (Ep. 3.8) HBO

-What do we want our world to be? That seems to be the central question of this season. Now that we have graduated beyond whether AI is possible and whether they can live like we do, we now have to grapple with our own world, and whether its sustainable. Do we want mass herding and constriction through AI and Big Data, or do we let the world evolve as it may based on the decisions of the participants? There weren't a whole lot of revelatory aspects to this episode for a season finale, but we did get the fitting conclusion for a few of the original characters. I personally feel the show is in a much better launching point for Season 4 than the end of Season 2. I just don't want to have to wait another two years to see it. ERRR!!!

Blackish (Ep. 6.22)

- Again, I think this show has really done a lot more than most sit-coms to explore a lot of difficult modern topics; this week it was parenthood, single-parenthood, and lesbian adoption. I am constantly amazed when a show is able to tackle these as seamlessly as they do, and, while this isn't one of the best episodes, it's still a reminder of how good daring writing can be in the right hands as well as how many stories we are still missing let alone points of view in pop-culture.

RUN (Ep. 1.4) HBO

- Life is really starting to catch up to Ruby and Billy in this episode. Ruby's son goes to the Emergency Room, and Fiona starts to toy with Billy as she runs down on him for running out on her. Life only can wait so long when you've laid down roots, and things are definitely hurtling toward the inevitable here. Ultimately, I'm not sure how long this show can go since the premise is what roots everything, but, like other Phoebe Waller-Bridge shows, I'm in for the long haul.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - HBO

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