My Week in Front of the Screen

The Good

“The Eyes of Tammy Faye” (HBO) Not the documentary which was also very good. This one stars Jessica Chastain (former Sac City College student btw) doing a fantastic Tammy Faye. I recall liking Tammy Faye at the end of the documentary. Likewise in this recreated version she is definitely the only sympathetic and likable one of that whole Televangelist crew. Highly recommend!

“One Mississippi” (Amazon) Comedian Tig Notaro stars in this 2015-2017 series which I somehow missed. Notaro uses her own history as a source of dry, dark, irreverent humor. Few taboo topics are left untouched. Notaro’s deadpan delivery guides us through death, cancer, c difficile, family drama and many other of life’s challenges with honesty, compassion and believable character development. Happily starting Season 2.

“Luzzo” If you have never heard the language of Malta before, it’s worth watching the movie if only for that. Although it is considered a semitic language and close to Arabic, polyglots will recognize Italian, French, and English influences as well. The film centers around a young Maltese fisherman and the economically devastating EU fishing policies. Of course he is representative of so many Maltese whose fishing lineage goes back over one hundred years. Beautifully film and very authentic, this critically acclaimed film is a not a feel-good, but a must see.

The Bad

“The Tender Bar” I’m going to get into a lot of trouble for not like this film because several people whose taste I trust do. And even more so because The New Yorker (which up until recently was my go-to review source) gave it a thumbs up. I wasn’t that crazy about the book so perhaps I viewed with bias. I found it claustrophobically testosterone-loaded (okay–of course that’s what it’s about, but no real balance to fully develop characters). I guess the problem with memoir is that it is a story told from one perspective, so if all the women characters were weak and masochistic or weird and oddly snobby, then I guess that’s what they were in the memoirist’s memory. If the dialogue was awkward and completely unbelievable, who am I to say that it wasn’t true? But it was just too much suspension of disbelief and not enough substance for me. The two mothers in the film were grotesques : the author’s mother who somehow never aged–as we all know fifteen years can make a difference in appearance –but somehow she escaped those ravages. And the other is the rich sadistic girlfriend’s African American mother who appeared to be channeling Nancy Reagan. I could go on, but I won’t. It’s not unwatchable, so do so and send in your opinion.

The Ugly

The French Dispatch

Caveat: It looks like I’m in the minority here (The New Yorker, among others loved it, “ of delights” says Anthony Lane) I’ve never been a big Wes Anderson fan., but this one is the epitome of privileged self-indulgence, “preciousness” And it’s boring. I rarely leave a film midway, but I count the $6 I paid as a small loss in light of not having to endure the last segment. Oh Pauline Kael why hast thou forsaken [us]


  1. We just watched the Tender Bar and liked it,
    mostly because we were surprised to enjoy Ben Affleck as the Uncle. The mother could have been a more fully formed human person, but then again, the characters all were really just outlines and caricatures.
    Today we rewatched Good Will Hunting which is basically the same movie, and enjoyed that too in spite of the fact that neither pass the bechdel test and GWH was a Miramax film. Bottom line, neither movie required me to think too much, and the actors were nice to look at, and that in itself made them both worth the time, to me.


  2. I watched the movie Courier recently. Based on a true story it has intrigue, suspense, and Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead. Very good!
    There is also a wonderful series called A Place to Call Home. It was originally on Australian television a few years ago. It is very engrossing and has wonderful characters, wonderful acting. I rented the discs through Netflix home delivery service. I’m not sure where else it’s available. Can’t recommend it enough!


  3. A Place to Call Home is one of my all time favorites. Six or seven seasons and I could hardly get enough. Very classy soap opera complete with villains you love to hate and saintly folks who are the victims of all kinds of travesties. By the last season Sarah (one of the saints) really got on my nerves–she was just too too much. But that said–a fabulous show. Will watch Courier for sure.


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