Gobbledygeek episode 326, “The Rocketeer / Pleasantville: Flying Colors,” is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.
That venerated institution, the Geek Challenge, takes to the bright blue sky with a pair of retro ‘90s flicks. First up, Paul challenges Arlo to Joe Johnston’s 1991 Billy Campbell-starring adventure The Rocketeer, a proto-First Avenger that mixes pulp fiction with ‘30s Hollywood. Then, Arlo challenges Paul to Gary Ross’ 1998 directorial debut Pleasantville, which finds Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon zapped inside the black-and-white world of a hunky dory ‘50s sitcom. These films look backward to say something about the present, and while one admittedly has a lot more on its mind than the other, the boys find both to be unsettlingly timely. From populist demagoguery to villains that no longer feel like an historical artifact, Paul and Arlo mine a lot from these goofy, decades-old movies. Plus, Arlo remembers that comics exist.
Next: after a week off, the boys return to discuss experimental arthouse feature Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, which will be of interest to only the most devout cineaste.
(Show notes for “Flying Colors.”)
So THAT happened.
I came out early on this blog to defend AMC’s latest drama The Killing, an Americanization of the Danish “Nordic Noir” series Forbrydelsen, from claims that it was too slow, too bleak, too maudlin. I expressed a desire to see a story like this played out at a slower pace than your typical TV procedural. I have always enjoyed deliberate pacing, particularly when combined with darker, more atmospheric stories. And there’s no denying that “atmosphere” was a major component, practically a top-billed character, of the series. So allegations of it being slow I understand, but that never bothers me. Bleak, or as I called it, “atmospheric,” I also get. But again, it was part of the charm of the series for me. I’m originally from Seattle, so I’m drawn to stories set in those environs. And I’m a diehard Twin Peaks fan, and The Killing is, if not a spriritual brother to that kitschy 90’s classic, certainly a distant cousin.
As for maudlin? Well yeah. It’s called The Killing, so what exactly did people expect? However, in the wake of the season finale this past week, having experienced the story as a complete narrative (only not really, am I right?), and feeling my own frustration and disappointment with the show, I have to ask myself the same question…
It was called The Killing, what did *I* expect?