Don’t think I’m going to add anything new in the next 24 hours, so I’ll go ahead and drop this and knock one item off my new month checklist.
Shows and Movies
Spring Baking Championship
It’s been awhile, but I finally decided to watch one of these shows that didn’t wasn’t focused on Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Easter. I’m not sure why I enjoy these so much. I’m not a huge baker. These shows are all kind of the same. But the same people have been watching The Bachelor for 20 years. I can watch a damn food show mindlessly.
Formula 1: Drive to Survive, season two
After I blew through season one in February I wondered if L might want to watch season two with me. Indeed she did. She loved it, although I think she enjoyed all the f-bombs that get dropped as much as anything. We’ve both taken a greater interest in F1 in general, which is apparently the new, hip thing to do. I watched much of Sunday’s first race, while she popped in-and-out. I think the show might be more exciting than the races, because it’s still auto racing. Plus I still have no idea who I support. Am I rooting for the driver or the car or the team?
I didn’t think season two was quite as compelling as season one, but providing some good father-daughter time balances that out. We started season three as soon as we got back from spring break.
Coming to America
Coming 2 America
In anticipation of the new Eddie Murphy movie in early March, I had to watch the classic. I tried to get the girls to watch with me, but they weren’t interested. Even when I told them it’s one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. Kids…
Good news is that Coming to America still holds up, for the most part. There are some pacing issues; a few scenes drag on just a little too long and some closing shots would cut away much faster today. But otherwise it remains a classic. S laughed at me laughing in anticipation of my favorite parts.
As for the new version? I read two reviews after I watched. One was effusive, saying despite some obvious flaws it was still a highly entertaining and funny movie, just the flick we needed right now. The other blasted the movie for being lazy, having too many call backs to the original, and generally being mediocre.
Fortunately my view was much closer to the first opinion. I laughed loudly and often. I watched almost the entire movie with a smile on my face. Yes, there were some lazy moments and some plot elements that did not work well. There was almost no way this movie could stand up to the original, though. I went in expecting to be disappointed because of the comparison. The fact it was competent, entertaining, and pretty damn funny made it a success.
Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse
I got down a Wikipedia rabbit hole one night that ended up with me reading about Marlon Brando and, eventually, Apocalypse Now. I did a quick search and found this documentary of the making of that movie on YouTube and fired it up right away. At first I could not remember if I had ever seen it. By the end I knew I had, but it’s probably been 15 years or so. AN is one of the greatest movies ever made, and this is an excellent companion as it shows what madness the main of the film was.
An absolutely harrowing story (fictional, I believe) of a British soldier who, on his first day serving in Belfast in 1971, gets separated from his unit during a riot and is forced to spend the night working his way from a Catholic neighborhood back to safety. After seeing a platoon-mate shot and killed next to him, he is chased and shot at, hides in a public restroom until nightfall, finds a friendly bar that explodes when a bomb intended for an IRA target goes off too quickly, is wounded by shrapnel and then stitched up and hidden by a sympathetic former army medic, kills one of the men trying to capture him, and is on the verge of being executed by IRA men when he is “saved” by undercover British officers who, in fact, also want to kill him because he saw that they were behind the bomb that had blown up earlier in the night.
Whew. A lot of shit for one dude in one night. The riot and chase scenes are wonderfully shot, making you feel like you are right in the midst of the chaos.
Why Mount Everest’s Height Keeps Changing
This month’s Science! entry.
Bee Removal: Backyard Shed
Equal parts fascinating and horrifying.
Beau Miles is back at it again, doing weird stuff in the name of changing his perspective, upsetting the routines of his life, and making his viewers open their eyes to the world around them. This time he walked 90 kilometers from his home to his office. This was not the first time he had done this, which somewhat reduced the impact of this walk. But I still enjoy watching him do his weird shit.
Lost Track New Zealand
Two mates from Australia travel around New Zealand on motorcycles in search of remote surfing locals. Just a beautiful piece to watch, although the guys themselves are not super interesting. What struck me was the courage in people like them, who live lives that are focused on just earning enough money to fund their travels and the gear required for their journeys. I’ve read dozens of books about people like this, but when I was in my 20s I never had the nerve to take even a year off and get out and see the world. There’s nothing wrong with taking family vacations and seeing other places from the very limited perspective that can offer. I’m not big on regret, but I do have a sliver of angst that I was not bold enough to take even one trip like this in my life.