Movies and Shows
The Night Manager
This was a bit strange, and thus I’m not sure how to properly rate it. Based on a John Le Carré novel, and updated for the modern age, it follows a night manager at an Egyptian hotel – and former British Army officer – as he stumbles into an affair with a woman connected with international arms dealers. She is murdered, he moves on in his career, and eventually runs into the man he believes responsible for the woman’s death. He contacts a British official who tracks arms dealers and is recruited to infiltrate the network. He does, gets deeply involved, and, eventually, earns a measure of revenge. He also has sex with the main bad guy’s girlfriend.
Where I struggle is in how the series was presented. It comes across as very British, taking its sweet time getting to action. This was most notable when nearly two full episodes early on were devoted to sleepily setting things up. When you have just six episodes to tell a story, this seemed like a waste. But perhaps they were just being faithful to the original story. The finale is also structured far differently that I believe it would have been if the series was made in America.
One Night in Miami
Oh, I am mad at myself for not watching this sooner, because it was excellent. After winning the heavyweight title, Cassius Clay joins his spiritual advisor Malcolm X in his hotel room; good friends Sam Cooke and Jim Brown join them. Rather than a party, it becomes an evening of discussion.
The four leads – Leslie Odom Jr., Aldis Hodge, Eli Goree, and Kinglsey Ben-Adir – are all outstanding. But Ben-Adir, as Malcolm X, was phenomenal. Which is saying something, since arguably the defining performance of Denzel Washington’s dazzling career was his turn as Malcolm X. I can’t say who was better, but Ben-Adir moved me greatly.
There was also a line, spoken by Clay when he and Cooke sneak out for a drink and are discussing the meaning of power. He says, “Power means a world where it’s safe to be ourselves.” This movie takes place in 1965. It is sad that we’re still trying to get our country, and our world, to a place where everyone feels safe to be themselves.
A lighthearted film about the group of investigative reporters from the Boston Globe who broke the story of the Catholic Church’s cover-up of sexual abuse by priests on young parishioners. Yep, super lighthearted. It was really well done, which is tough, because journalism isn’t always the most dramatic of material to base a movie on.
Over the last year I have now started and given up on just two movies. Both were Netflix productions with casts filled with established stars. The first was the Will Ferrell-Rachel McAdams vehicle Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. And now this. I didn’t think you could go wrong with Karen Gillan and Carla Gugino heading a deep cast. But this, which is kind of a send-up of the style of movie I watched in June such as Atomic Blonde, just never works. It can’t commit to being silly. It has weird violence that is neither slapstick nor grotesque. I gave it half an hour then ejected for something else.
That something else was this, which is how you do a satire. It was some funny shit. Robert Downey Jr….how did he not win an Oscar for his performance?
I totally forgot this was an Oliver Stone film until the end credits rolled. That explains why it was so mega-paranoid! The whole Edward Snowden affair broke at a moment when I wasn’t following the news very closely. I remember not being sure what to think about him and his actions. That remains true. Is he a hero or a traitor? I think the truth is probably a little of both. Which sums up the age we live in: we want to give the government leeway to protect us, but that freedom will always get pushed beyond its intended boundaries, by administrations we both like and loathe. The cat is probably well out of the bag and there’s really no going back at this point. I did not like how the real Snowden gets pulled in for the film’s final scene.
The Usual Suspects
I was scrolling through Amazon Prime one night, looking for something to watch, and came across this classic. Which I probably haven’t watching in a good 18–19 years. There are some dated elements to it, and the impact is nowhere near what it was at the first viewing. But it still holds up pretty, pretty well.
Ted Lasso, season one
I had to go back and watch the OG before the new season began. So many perfect scenes. So many moments that people have written about over the past year that hit harder the second time. Rebecca and Keeley’s relationship is one of the greatest things ever put on TV. Such a great collection of characters and acting performances. Barbecue sauce.
Ted Lasso, season two, episodes one and two
No complaints about the new season so far. Roy Kent is a fucking treasure.
Lost Track Atlantic
My old pals Torren Martyn and Ishka Folkwell set off on another epic surf journey, this time through Europe down to Africa. Until a massive storm approaches the African coast and they chuck the European part to experience the incredible waves the storm produced. Some pretty spectacular surfing, some amazing cinematography in general, all built upon an insanely good soundtrack. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
Junk Cabin: Secretly building my wife a COVID office
I forgot to watch a Beau Miles video in June. Shame on me. In the first of these, he attempts to secretly build an office for his wife on their farmland during the early months of Covid lockdown. The result is kind of amazing.
A Mile with May: Adventuring with my daughter
Awwwww, Beau takes a walk with his daughter around his property.
Rap Fans React to The Cult- She Sells Sanctuary
Not what I expected. I thought this would be one of those videos where Black folks freak out when they hear classic rock songs for the first time. Those are fun, but they often seem a little performance-arty. But this couple are true music fans, and interested in hearing new things. I love the way they honestly and openly take in one of my favorite songs of all time and, by the end, are looking to check out some more music by The Cult.
One Breath Around The World
A mesmerizing film featuring world champion free diver Guillaume Néry.
Talk Watches with Jason Heaton
I’ve become a little addicted to the The Grey Nato podcast, in which Heaton and co-host James Stacey talk about watches, diving, cars, and adventuring. Here, Heaton talks about some of the watches in his collection. I have a few watches and have been toying with adding some more, but I’m looking at cheap watches that look nice. I’d love to have a collection like Heaton’s.