… is Friday night. Couple of calls from Eldest making her way in the fabled land of Oz over this week, which makes me think she’s nerving up to break some ‘news’.
Anyway news or no news. We have finally seen “The Death of Stalin” which has some of the local lefties whining that it wasn’t ‘historical’. Of course it wasn’t, it’s a bloody satire for heaven’s sake. Which simply reinforces my observation that the extreme left isn’t exactly a hotbed of intellectual finesse, merely a slough of dogma. As is the extreme right, But that’s another story. As a committed very slightly right of centrist, I have no real sympathy for either camp. Both are just as toxic.
Anyway, the movie. Howlingly funny and chock full of dark and bitter parody. Steve Buscemi as Kruschev was great, and as for Jason Isaac’s portrayal of Zhukov, led to some of the best scenes in the whole piece “Where’s a man got to go to get some lubrication?”. Watching the portrayal of a murderous dictator dying in a pool of his own piss because everyone was too scared of him to see if he needed help – utterly priceless. One for the DVD collection.
Tonight we fired up the big screen at home and instead of paying forty bucks plus to sit in a movie theatre with all the attendant annoyances, like people talking through the performance. “What happens next is..” Fidgets and seatkickers, cell phone addicts and those interminable extended advertorials hosted by gushingly embarrassing perfect skinned teen presenters which encroach ever further into the performance. I swear the last time we went three weeks ago, the movie was scheduled to start at ten to three, but the fucking advertorials went on until five past.
So, what was last night’s first movie our home big screen? Ah yes, the star studded CGI-fest “Fantastic Beasts and where to find them” Verdict? Didn’t really like it much and after having bitten all the heads off my jelly baby ration, I fell asleep twenty minutes into the movie, so I can’t really comment apart from that J K Rowlings brainchild didn’t really grab me. Just couldn’t get engaged in the story. I suppose it wouldn’t be a waste of money if you like your ham sliced thick. Otherwise it was a glitter ball of a production. All flash but no real substance.
So for the second offering of the evening I suggested that we watched the low budget made for TV movie “Thin ice” Admirably held together by veteran actor Tom Selleck’s performance as small town police chief Jesse Stone (not to mention the dog). Much slower paced, finer story details, better and far more nuanced performances. I was totally engaged, despite having seen this particular episode in the series twice before.
I like the Jesse Stone series. Solid stories, sound characters and no pointlessly happy endings. Mysteries are solved, sometimes too late and there’s more than a hint of the rebel in Jesse Stone which resonates with me. As he states with no little irony, “I’m a small town cop, mostly I give out parking tickets.” Yes, well it would wouldn’t it?
When it comes to movie characters, I think that what engages me the most is their vulnerabilities. Their weaknesses rather than their strengths. If they’re all weak it makes me want to scream at the screen “Grow a fucking spine why don’t you!” If they’re all strong and are too bloody perfect I want to switch off. But if they’re flawed, human and prone to cock-up, then I’ll watch.