What I've Been Watching (September 2020)
First off, due to moving, and the start of the NFL season. I am shifting this article to a monthly edition moving forward. If you have been following me during quarantine, thank you so much. Sincerely, I appreciate anyone who takes the time to care about anything I do or say.
Second, we're going to try a new rating system of 1 out of 10 with each number corresponding to certain way you would suggest this to someone else. 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. The ratings may update as I go along, but I intend to use these to provide clarity to my opinions.
Feedback is appreciated. Thank you.
Insecure (Seasons 1- 4) - HBO Max
- This is a show I picked up several years ago, and I couldn't get through the first episode. I simply didn't understand or relate to the primary Issa character. However, given that this has been nominated several years in a row for a string of Emmys, I gave this another shot.
I am glad that I picked this up again. What a great show that is so unapologetically black. For someone who does screenwriting, I am refreshed by the seemingly authentic dialogue that is always the center of this show. While the plot is good, it's the interplay of the characters that really gets this show going. It took me a few weeks to bingably catch-up, but it was worth it.
Rating: 8 = Highly Recommended
- Since I was initially without internet when I moved, I had to dig into my back catalog of Blu-Rays and such, and, with the benefit of hindsight, I have to admire how many good comedic movies we received in the mid- to late-2000s. This is especially one of them. I remember when this movie came out, and the buzz surrounding it. There has only been one bigger comedy as far as buzz that I can remember in my lifetime (the Hangover). And this movie really hasn't aged at all. This could be the same movie today (non-COVID times) as it was at the time, and there really aren't any huge cringy moments in here. I enjoyed the rewatch, and I look forward to the eventual appearance on the Greatest Movie of All-Time podcast.
Rating: 8 = Highly Recommended
Knocked Up (2005)
- Another movie from my analog binge, this was another of those mid-2000s comedies that is still pretty good. It's honestly amazing to see how many big stars were in this movie, but I have often said that is the sign of a classic comedy. This movie hasn't aged quite as well, in my opinion, as some of the other Apatow classics, but it is still definitely funny and very rewatchable. The club scene gives every non-classically handsome man hope, and the scenes between Rogen and Paul Rudd are just endlessly rewatchable. Very funny, and a good one to pull out of the collection after a while.
Rating: 7 = Suggested
Dead to Me (Seasons 1-2) - Netflix
- Another show from my post-Emmy nominations binge (still waiting on Schitt's Creek Season 6 on Netflix to drop), I literally started this one one night with my folks just to have something else to watch with them. While some of the twists are a little predictable, they still land extremely well, and, for the twists you don't see coming, it brings me back for more. There is so much nuance and darkly twisted humor to enjoy here. The show does a great job of translating significant levels of grief and loss while not making this an incredibly heavy and difficult binge watch. Honestly, the first two seasons was a great binge, and I loved spending time with these characters despite themselves. The end of Season 2 has me wanting more, and I'm definitely anticipating the drop of the next season almost as much as any other show I watch.
Rating: 9 = Must See
The Usual Suspects (1995) - Prime
- A movie I had only seen once before but was reminded of by a great podcast I enjoy, this is likely in most people's top 10 of Movie Ending Twists ever. I won't spoil it here (even though its 25 years old) because the movie doesn't work as well the first time if you know what the trick is, but it is still a fascinating movie. I would like to say that there is a big and obvious caveat to this given who featured in it, and won an Oscar for it, Kevin Spacey. There is no denying that Spacey was a highly gifted actor who took on a lot of great roles (see Se7en, American Beauty, L.A. Confidential, Glengarry Glen Ross, etc.) I am also not obtuse enough to be blind to people's feelings about him since the #metoo era. If you don't want to watch this movie, can't watch it because of him, or whatever you may feel, I am not here to criticize or object. All I will say is that this is still a great movie if you can watch this without it being a distraction, and it's rather sad that a movie this great is clouded by such a tragic situation. I am still including it as a movie I would highly recommend to others, but a much larger conversation is coming on the GMOA-T podcast in the future.
Rating: 8 = Highly Recommended
Easy Rider (1969) - IMDB TV (AFI 100 - 2007)
- This is another movie crossed off of my list from the AFI in my quest to see every AFI 100 and Best Picture movie. This movie has a long legacy as a counter-culture narrative, and its hard to ignore many of the themes that seemingly have general application in a much different way today. That being said, there are several elements of the last hour, particularly concerning Jack Nicholson's character, that many would see as not aging well. I go the other way, and say that their depiction of intolerance of the time is like a snapshot of otherwise unseen cultural elements of the period. Either way, this movie is still a large part of the history of American cinema with many iconic moments to its credit. I don't think this was a great movie in and of itself, but this is one to eventually see due to its place in history.
Rating: 5 = You can wait to see this
Going My Way (1944) - Peacock Premium
- The 1944 Best Picture winner takes on the same feeling and sentimentality that I get from every Bing Crosby movie I watch. His movies are moving and often uplifting while being kind and generous. They display virtue and understanding that are things I am often disappointed that we are missing anymore. That being said, I don't find this movie overly distinguishable from any of his other big movies. This was an easy watch, but not something I am likely to remember a ton about a year from now other than I left me with a nice feeling of some warm fuzzies by the end. I would suggest this one if you have the Peacock Premium upgrade, but it isn't one I would necessarily tell you to seek out unless you were my grandma (yes, I am suggesting this to her)
Rating: 6 = Watchable, but not memorable
The Boys (Season 2) - Prime
- Just started back in on this show, and catching up after watching a fairly good and interesting Season 1. There are a few mysteries cleared up with several remaining, but I'm not really sure of the direction of this show moving forward in Season 2 yet. Stay tuned for my whole season opinion in the October edition of this article.
Rating: Unfinished - Check Back Later
My Weekly Shows:
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
**Greatest Movie of All-Time Podcast Watches:
The Social Network (2010) - Netflix
Bull Durham (1988) - Starz
Airplane! (1980) - Netflix
Cool Hand Luke (1967) - HBO Max
The Notebook (2004) - Netflix