Movies and Shows
“John Lakeman,” his professional name, is dealing with a lot of stuff. He’s trying to sway an election in Iran to prevent the country from gaining nuclear weapons. He’s attempting to pose as an expert in industrial piping as his cover, something he is woefully unprepared for. His boss at the piping firm hates him. Just about every one of his coworkers is on his ass for one thing or another. A detective wants to question him for murder. And there are at least four deaths on his hands. All this from a mission he did not want after suffering a mental breakdown.
Which probably makes it an odd thing to say this is one of the funniest shows I’ve watched in recent memory. There is a strong Fargo/Cohen Brothers vibe to it. Just about every moment of tension and violence is undermined by ridiculously hilarious dialogue and a cast full of kooky-as-fuck characters. The writing is top notch. The cinematography is stunning at times. The actors, both primary and supporting, are outstanding.
I loved this show, and can’t wait to watch season two. I can see how it would be frustrating for some viewers, though, since it is so oddball and artistic at times.
Lost Track Atlantic
Torren and Ishka continue the adventures through Northern Africa. As always, stunning visuals laid over a terrific soundtrack.
Only the Essential: Pacific Crest Trail Documentary
On one hand, a beautiful accounting of an amazing trip. I think this is beyond my physical abilities these days, but long hikes like these still intrigue me. On the other, the narration is so monotone and bored-sounding that it detracts from the impact of the images.
Pearl Jam Live from Rome, Italy June 26th 2018
Love it when I run across some random PJ show that is insanely long and offers both high quality video and audio.
Pearl Jam No Code Concert, October 17, 2014
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of their No Code album, the band put this show up for free last weekend. Sandwiched between a rousing “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” and 22 other songs, the band played the entire No Code album in order.
Untold: The Malice in the Palace
It’s kind of crazy there hasn’t already been a deep dive into the infamous brawl between the Pacers and Pistons in November 2004. This was really well done, although to be clear it was told from the Pacers’ perspective, since Jermaine O’Neal was a producer. I don’t think that completely changes how we should judge the brawl. But it does show that the Pacers weren’t a bunch of thugs mindlessly attacking fans, which was the message most of the media carried in the aftermath of the fight. The players should have made different decisions and avoided the disaster that derailed what may have been the best Pacers team ever (although perhaps they were destined to flame out with the combination of personalities on their roster). But this program shows that nearly every escalation was caused either by fans or by the woefully inept security.
An accounting of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi security forces. This is disturbing on many levels. I was even reluctant to watch knowing that filmmaker Bryan Fogel had access to the official Turkish documentation of the murder. Fortunately for viewers, he only shared the transcripts of the audio the Turkish police recorded.
Fogel spends a little too much time on Saudi dissident Omar Abdulazziz, who believes Khashoggi’s vocal support for him was what led to his death. It is also immensely frustrating that Saudi Arabia does enough for our country’s economy in various ways that our government, under leadership of both parties, continues to refuse to hold the Saudis accountable for the long list of horrible things they do.
I don’t remember this movie at all from when it was released. And apparently it was one of the best reviewed films of 2007. That’s what having kids will do to you!
Glad I got to it, though. It is a first-rate thriller, combining elements of both a standard police mystery and a journalistic hunt for the truth. Which, as we learn at the end, despite decades of investigation, the mystery of the Zodiac Killer remains unsolved.
Bobby and Giada in Italy
I could do with less Bobby Flay, but Giada De Laurentis cruising through Italy eating incredible food? Sign me up!
The $7BN Megaproject to Save Venice
I don’t know, seems like Venice might still be fucked.
Audi R8 vs RS e-tron GT: DRAG RACE
It’s crazy how fast electric cars are getting.
What if THEY played drums on Toto’s AFRICA instead of Jeff Porcaro?
This would probably make more sense if I was a drummer and knew who half of these people were.
Consequence of Sound’s The Opus
The Opus celebrated the 30th anniversary of Pearl Jam’s debut Ten album with a look back at how the band came to be, how the album was recorded, how visual art was a huge part of the band carving out their niche, and how a show at the end of their first tour set them up for stardom. Fun to listen to if you’re a fan, but it also felt a little light and brief rather than exhaustive. Which, I suppose, most people interested in this will have already consumed other deep dives into the history of Ten.