April 2014 Movie Preview

M: Interestingly, the summer movie season appears to begin in April this year, despite the fact that in most of the country spring still hasn’t even started yet.

C: Certainly not in New England!

E: Yep.  Despite the fact that I still have isolated snow banks scattered in my yard, we’ve got at least one full on summer style blockbuster premiering this week.

M: Isolated snow banks? Heck, it snowed THIS WEEK! Continue reading

The Good Wife: The Last Call

E: If  “A Few Words” was about the narratives we make out of progress, was our best self-promotion, then “The Last Call” is about the narratives we try to make out of tragedy, our search for meaning and reconstruction. How do we face a suddenly unimaginable future?  How do we make sense of the unthinkable?  Yes, it was an exercise in anguish, but it felt true to the way we experience grief. Every thing I’ve ever said in the wake of a shocking death gets said in this episode.  That dumb sense of disbelief that comes over you when a pillar of your world gets taken away; we see a lot of that.  In some ways, there’s more sleepwalking than tears.

Which is all to say, the pain isn’t going to end any time soon.

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How I Met Your Mother: How They Let Us Down

C: What with good shows getting abruptly canceled and once-good shows outliving their watchability, it’s not often I see the preplanned finale of a series I’m invested in. And in fact, I almost gave up on How I Met Your Mother at the end of last year (we can agree, I think, that Season 8 was pretty dismal), but I hung on because I was curious about The Mother. Yes, that ploy got me. And while the premise of Season 9  — the whole season taking place over Barney & Robin’s wedding weekend — should have been terrible, there have actually been some great episodes, especially those featuring the funny and delightful Cristin Milioti. Oh, and let’s not forget Billy Zabka. The gang lacked fizz with Marshall on a too-long road trip, but once Jason Segel was back in the mix, we got some scenes as good as anything in the earlier, classic seasons. I had no fears about the finale.

As it turns out, that confidence was a mistake.

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The Good Wife: An Irish Wake for Will Gardner

E: Nope, it’s not the title of the new episode. It’s merely a suggestion.  At 8:50, let’s have a little private celebration for the fans – an Irish wake, if you will.  For Will, for Josh Charles and the excellent work he did for us for so many years, for the show that was, for the show to come.

So pick your poison, Good Wife fans, and send up a toast to the universe.  Shots like Kalinda and Alicia?  Scotch like Will?  Red wine?  Or just toss around a baseball; it doesn’t have to be alcohol, just something that feels meaningful to the show.  Hoyas for the Georgetowners?  Maybe it’s a little waltz around the living room with your own version of Diane.  But before the show has us all sobbing like babies again, let’s take a little moment together.   I don’t know about you, but I think we’re going to need it.

The Good Wife: Dramatics, Your Honor – Take 2

E: No, it’s still not a recap.  I’m sorry about that, truly I am. But given that I’m not going to be writing a recap this week, I feel like I owe it to myself and to you guys to do more than (to borrow a phrase from Veronica Mars once more) flail my tiny effectual fists at the universe. It won’t be what you’re used to, but I hope you’ll be willing to bear with me to share some observations and anecdotes in a more conventional format.

So instead of going through every word in painstaking detail, I’d like to say a few things about my reaction to the episode.

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The Good Wife: A Few Words

E: Oh, you beautiful show.  You beautiful, beautiful show.

Some of my favorite returning characters showed up for an American Bar Association conference in New York City – at which Alicia is scheduled to give the keynote address about her personal experience as an “opt out” mom – and they really delivered.  This was one of the funniest episodes in ages, which is a pretty welcome relief after the impending doom of the previous (outstanding) episode.  Oh, not that it’s all fun, games, and drunken duets; we have various forms of entrapment, stage fright, and a very serious walk through memory lane, with a very nasty pop up demon/guilt complex in the form of  – well, we’ll get to that later.

The whole idea of opting in and opting out is a huge one for our society and for Alicia.  (And for me, too – anyone want to pay me to write these recaps?  Because it’s getting to be time for me to opt back in.)  Just like last week’s NSA eavesdropping episode, this one is ripped from the headlines. Now, okay. I can’t help feeling that the stunt casting of the very delightful Jill Hennessy moved against the storyline. Come on – did anyone really believe she’d end up at either Lockhart/Gardner or Florrick/Agos?  With a lesser known actress, there would have been doubt.   I’m absolutely thrilled, however, with the writer’s solution for her; that, my friends, is an odd couple spin-off I desperately wish someone would make possible.  (And hey, I am looking for a job…)

At any rate, instead of being a normal plot, Alicia’s vexing rhetorical issues forced her to face her strongly conflicted feelings about the help she got on the way to the top, and not merely the way that she repaid that help, but how comfortable she was with receiving it in the first place.  It wasn’t so much the stuff that happened, even though we did advance the “impending federal doom” plot.  No, this week was about Alicia’s feelings and thoughts, and how Alicia felt about having those feelings and thoughts.  In many ways, it’s her chance at a decision tree; her chance to go over not what will happen, but what has, and how its made her who she is. As for how that might determine her future, that we have yet to see.

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