Friday, March 11, 2011

Best of the Week - Second Week of March

Best TV show I saw: Is it me or has there been nothing on TV lately? I honestly can’t think of anything I’ve been watching and enjoying. It must be because of the lull after February sweeps. I have heard great things about Justified, but am skeptical of getting into new shows. I guess the best thing I saw was a rerun of Buffy The Vampire Slayer where she finds out all of Sunnydale and her adventures as the slayer were brought on by some sort of psychosis she suffers from. My favorite part about this episode is they leave it opened ended and I always thought that might actually be the truth. It’s a forgotten episode from Season 6, but a really good one.

Best movie I saw: Without question rewatching Inception was as much fun as I expected it to. I’m glad it cleaned up on the technical awards, but I think it should have won best script. I think I understand why it didn’t, it’s a little to cerebral and there are some possible loose ends that don’t come through. But in the end, those plot points that make your brain hurt and you can’t figure out have two possible explanations: 1) They actually do make sense, you’re just not looking at the movie in the right way or not understanding it fully (Not to say I do, I just have MY understanding of it which may or may not be correct). 2) The movie is about dreams and the unconscious. Perhaps the entire key to everything lies in this exchange:

Cobb: You create the world of the dream, you bring the subject into that dream, and they fill it with their subconscious.
Ariadne: How could I ever acquire enough detail to make them think that its reality?
Cobb: Well dreams, they feel real while we're in them, right? It's only when we wake up that we realize how things are actually strange. Let me ask you a question, you, you never really remember the beginning of a dream do you? You always wind up right in the middle of what's going on.
Ariadne: I guess, yeah.
Cobb: So how did we end up here?
Ariadne: Well we just came from the a...
Cobb: Think about it Ariadne, how did you get here? Where are you right now?
Ariadne: We're dreaming?
Cobb: You're actually in the middle of the workshop right now, sleeping. This is your first lesson in shared dreaming. Stay calm.

Basically if the movie itself is about recreating the experience of a dream anything is possible and everything makes sense. It doesn’t matter what you think you know or don’t know, but you go along for the ride nonetheless. On top of that, the action is great, the music is fantastic and for the most part everything makes sense.

The second time watching it I was able to keep up with the quick changes that came. I wasn’t always playing catch-up in my head. I was simply enjoying the ride. Are there plot points that may run into dead ends? Possibly, but that can be explained away with one simple word: Paradox.

I also enjoyed: Freakonomics – Some of the shorts were better than others (I could have done without the Japanese Sumo wrestler bit, there was too much reading). But over all it was a fun documentary.

And last night I happened to catch Inglourious Basterds for about the 8th time. It really is fantastic. I especially enjoyed the sting in the basement bar this time around. The dialogue between the German Officer and the British posing as the German is just great. “Well, if this is it, old boy, I hope you don't mind if I go out speaking the King's.”

Best thing I read: I read Mr. Funny Pants by Michael Showalter who was in MTVs The State sketch comedy show from the mid 90s. The book is very funny and is more about his process of trying to write a book than anything else. But really the book is just a stream of consciousness and a peak into the mind of a very strange, but funny man. After reading this I really understand his brand of humor and have a better understanding of which sketches from The State were written by him (especially since I basically have them all committed to memory)

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