Le Spleen de Samsung?*
The Turn of the Screw, Again

True Detective, Series 2

I finished watching it less than an hour ago, which I mention because my initial reactions are always subject to revision and often in fact are revised when the dust has settled, when the immediate impact has passed. But I'm going to register what is apparently a minority opinion: I think it's really good, maybe even, in its very different way, as good as Series 1, which is extraordinary.

Yes, the plot is madly complicated, and I got lost. There are too many characters, at least for me, so that as it went on I frequently stopped to ask my wife "Wait--now, who's he? Why are they talking about him?" And as often as not she didn't know either. I can criticize a great many specific aspects of it.

Nevertheless, the broad outline is pretty clear: some very flawed characters trying to get to the bottom of crimes committed by much worse characters--not just crimes, but a whole network of crimes and corruption. And I found it in the end quite moving. I think it can be ranked with the great noir novels and films: with Hammett, Chandler, Macdonald, The Maltese Falcon, Chinatown, and others. The fact that it's set in California makes me wonder if the show's creator, Nick Pizzolatto, was consciously courting that comparison. In any case, I think this work belongs in that company.

If you liked Series 1 but are wondering whether you should bother with Series 2, well, my advice is: yes, do bother--see it. And I'd be interested in knowing what you think. 


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I liked both 1 and 2 a lot, I just did not understand 2 near as much. I did think that Rachel McAdams was fantastic in her role. She regularly plays in romantic comedies, so this was very different for her. Have not yet seen #3.

Actually her casting was one of my reservations about it. I don't know anything about her so I didn't have any preconceptions, but the casting of notably attractive young actresses as tough cops is one of my pet peeves. At least they gave her the knife as an equalizer, and didn't have her knocking out very large men with one punch in fist fights. It's not a criticism of her acting, as I thought she did very well with the role.

Before TD2 the only two things I'd seen McAdams in were To The Wonder and A Most Wanted Man, both dramas. I didn't know about her earlier rom-com stuff until well afterwards.

Im going to try series 2. As I mentioned, I am hesitant about going straight to Series 3 without watching series 2. I just have a completeness thing. Its what the French call 'deformation professionelle' (can't spell it)

I have a bit of that but have learned to defeat it. Or rather I should say it was defeated by too many situations where completeness just wasn't reasonable, or maybe even feasible. Anyway, I've never read all of Shakespeare, so I should be bothered by that before bothering with being bothered by the fact that I haven't seen all of David Lynch's movies. It helps, too, if there are situations where it would just be stupid. Like hearing every Rolling Stones album.

First thing I ever saw Rachel McAdams in was Mean Girls, in which she played the ur mean girl. Have never been able to get that characterization out of my mind when I watch her in other films.

I've seen mean girls and the two Rob G mentioned with McAdams.

After Mac mentioning the Rolling Stones my brain thought that was the Stones album "Some Girls" and not "Mean Girls". I was thinking, what does Rachel McAdams have to do with that album?

You’re thinking of the Stones album Mean Girls Who Were Nice Until They Got Involved With Us.

Off topic, but have any of you heard of the band The Hold Steady or its lead singer Craig Finn? I'd never heard of either until last week, when a friend of mine played Finn's most recent solo album I Need a New War. I found it pretty interesting both musically and lyrically, and when I did a little digging I saw that there is some sort of Catholic influence present. Haven't had the chance to look into it any further, but I do plan to listen to a couple more of the records.

Heard of but not heard.

Rob, I had a flirtation with The Hold Steady a few years ago. Yes, Finn had a Catholic upbringing, though whether he practices I do not know. He's an interesting songwriter, although ultimately I found the songs a little too loose to really stick in my mind. An exception is "Cattle and the Creeping Things": a good song!


You all who've not seen Rachel McAdams in "Midnight in Paris" no longer need to ponder what to watch on your next movie night.

I looked them up on Allmusic and read with dismay that they have a "melodic, contemporary take on mid-'70s classic rock." But that song is better than that.

The only song from the band I've listened to so far is "Your Little Hoodrat Friend," which sounds a bit like a mash-up of Springsteen and Elvis Costello. Interesting lyrics. A couple things I read described The Hold Steady as basically a really good bar band that happens to have a high quality songwriter/lyricist.

From the little I've heard it seems that Finn's solo work is somewhat different than the band's music. The song of his that initially caught my ear is "Blankets."

Just watched Arrival for the second time. What a good movie!

I want to see it again. Seems like Netflix had it available for streaming for a while and I meant to watch it, but they took it off. I see it’s available on dvd now.

I watched it on amazon prime. The first time I saw it, it was in a cinema with reclining seats after a long day at work. I couldn't follow the story. The second time it really touched me.

It really touched me the first time. And it was intellectually intriguing as well. One reason I've wanted to see it again is to see whether that was just a passing reaction or if it's really that good.

Man, I do like these comfy new theaters. I'm wondering how long they're going to be around though. I hope it was an anomaly, but when I went to see Downton on a Friday night a couple of weeks ago I don't think there were more than a hundred people in the whole place, which has something like 10 separate theaters. My wife suggested that football had something to do with it. Could be.

Ours is often full to the doors, at least when I go, which may tend to be weekendish. The last time I was there was with a well known universalist philosophe, to see the new Tarantino. In fact, when I go with this universalist guy, he often has to accentuate his health issues at the cashier to get us a seat.

So he's really betting on the universalism. :-) And not at all hesitant to turn a flamethrower on his opponents, is he? I sure wouldn't try to argue with him.

Anyway, I hope our theaters are actually prospering, too, though I only make use of them once a year or so. Every time I do I think "I should do this more often." Even though I have to sit through some awful advertising and trailers.

I love the trailers. I feel utterly cheated if I arrive too late for the trailers

Years ago (many years) I would have said that, too. But now, if there are ten of them, I'll going to grit my teeth and mutter "that looks awful" through at least seven of them. I might be less that way if it weren't for the advertisements that are like tv commercials.

I have loathed tv commercials all my life. So probably the ads are ruining the trailers for me by putting me in a bad mood.

Watched the BrBa sequel, El Camino, over the weekend. Very much worth seeing. Gilligan perhaps tried to get a little too much into two hours, but it's a small complaint.

Im watching it with other BB fans on Saturday! Cannot wait

I'm not sure when I'm going to get to it. Most likely not till next week at least. Got too much stuff going on through the weekend.

We went to see The Goldfinch at noon on a weekday. We were the only people in the theater. It was great. I usually don't see anything worth seeing in the trailers, but that day, there were about four films that looked interesting.


I think it's only been 2 weeks since I went to see DA, but I cannot recall the name or anything else about any of the trailers I saw.

By the way, I still like the term "previews" better, but have bowed to the mob.

Haven't seen many previews recently but I did note two that looked promising: Knives Out and Motherless Brooklyn.

Also, I haven't seen a trailer for it but Ad Astra looks like it might be good.

Can't remember who all among you likes espionage movies, but I watched a pretty good one over the weekend, Beirut, with Jon Hamm and Rosamund Pike. It's almost, but not quite, Le Carre level material.

Sounds good. I definitely like that sort of thing.

Also watched the Le Carre film Our Kind of Traitor, which despite a strong cast was only so-so. I liked Beirut a lot better.

I assume that was a 2-hour-ish movie? I've never seen one of those productions of a Le Carre novel. I don't see how they could work very well, as so much would have to be left out. Though I guess they could be good on their own terms. The mini-series treatment is more suitable.

Yes, two hours, with Ewan McGregor and Stellan Skarsgaard. It wasn't bad, just not up to par with most of the other Le Carre stories I've seen.

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