Stuff I’ve Read, Watched, Done #24 – November 14, 2021

What have read, watched and done this week? Not a lot it seems!

And yet somehow, I’ve still felt pretty busy. How does that work?

I mean I didn’t a tiiiiiiiny amount of work on Stuck, the short time-loop movie that I directed last year–mostly just work that enables other people to do work.

Hopefully, everyone including myself will get onto it pretty quickly and then we can get this movie out there.

From a television or movie-viewing perspective, the only thing I spent any time on (outside of my regular pursuits of Doctor Who, Quantum Leap or my 50 Films series) was two episodes of TV series that’s been around for a while but I’ve only now just began…

The Man in the High Castle

Very Mild Spoilers

Based on a novel by Philip K. Dick that I’ve never read, The Man in the High Castle is an alternate-history thriller, about a world where the Axis powers won World War II, and the United States is now divided into three distinct sections: the eastern half under the control of Nazi German, and Western third or so under control of the Japanese, and a “neutral zone” covering the part in between. The show is one of those Amazon originals which has so far run for four seasons. I’m not sure if it’s totally finished or not, mostly because I’m trying to avoid reading anything about it for fear of giving away any spoilers.

I’ve only watched the first two episodes, but it’s been pretty engaging and gripping so far. It’s pretty violent but refreshingly not full of explicit sexual content (at least not so far). Aside from the central premise of the alternate history, it seems to be largely a “realistic” espionage story except for two things: First, it’s based on a Philip K. Dick novel–he’s certainly a writer better known for his science fiction work. Second, a plot point right from the first episode is the existence of 1940’s newsreel footage showing the Allies winning World War II. None of the main characters know what to make of this yet, but it’s clear it’s of high value to the Nazi rulers.

The cast seems good. The only actor I recognize so far is Rufus Sewell, who plays one of the senior Nazi officers in the former United States. I’m keen to watch more and see where it goes. Although my wife has said she’s interested in it which means I’ll probably go through it a bit slower than I would have (just because we have to coordinate our schedules to watch it).

Actually, after I started this post, my family and I watched something else, which we finished just a few minutes ago…

Agatha Christie’s Crooked House

Full blown spoilers!

This 2017 adaptation of a 1949 Agatha Christie novel which maybe I have read, but I don’t have any memory of. It’s an engaging mystery with solution that wouldn’t have been reasonably easy to guess if it weren’t so incredibly dark–the murderer is the young 12 year-old girl, an evident sociopath. Because of its shocking nature, one just think that this can’t possibly be the correct solution, which is I guess why it was so effective. I read up on the book after we finished it and it turns out that the movie hews pretty closely to the source material, and it’s considered to be one of Agatha Christie’s more famous twists.

The movie has got a cast that includes Glenn Close, Gillian Anderson, Terence Stamp, and a bunch of actors that I’m not familiar with, but who all do a good job with their roles.

And that’s kind of it. I mean, there were other things, but not much too exciting to talk about here. There were some events–like a farewell from Perth for friends of ours who have been with us for a long time. And a nice “honouring / thank you” event for my wife for the thirteen years of effort she’s put into our local Home-School Co-op (which is closing down, at least for a while). I was supposed to do the first shoot for a documentary project but that got delayed.

And I had a nice time hanging out with my friend Rod at our city’s new Taco Bell–a belated birthday present from me–and other places, during which we compared notes on our favorite and least favorite MCU projects. We both listed Falcon & Winter Soldier at the bottom of that list (there are so many problems with that one–I’ll have to write that up some day). We also both found ourselves surprised at how much we liked Shang-Chi–it fell at kind of an upper-second tier for each of us. Our main discrepancy seemed to be with Black Widow–he really hated it, and I enjoyed it well enough.

Song of the Week

I have a playlist on my phone called “Ben’s Mix”, which is made up of 100-200 songs that I like which I shuffle between when I’m driving, etc. I was thinking about how with each of these songs there is a bit of a story about it, about what it makes me think of or why I like it. So I’m going to let my phone pick one randomly and then try to write up some comments on it while it plays.

Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles

Wow, another classic George Harrison composition from the Beatles (we got While Your Guitar Gently Weeps a few weeks ago). I do have a lot of Beatles on my playlist–they’ve long been my favorite band, but I assure you they aren’t all Harrison tunes. This one was obviously from Abbey Road, one of the all-time great albums I think (though I admit my range of knowledge is pretty limited). I’ve got no particularly personal connection to it, but I just love it because it’s such a happy, catchy, upbeat and memorable tune.

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter…the smiles returning to the faces…I feel that ice is slowly melting

It makes me think of the forthcoming Get Back Beatles series from Peter Jackson–I’m looking forward to that.

This next week is looking like it’s going to be busy. I’ll have, hopefully, the first 1-3 shoots on that documentary that I mentioned, starting tomorrow. I’ll do a bit of audio for Stuck–the only bit that I can do before without waiting for everyone else finishes all their bits. Two of my daughters have got exams and assessments for their schooling which is a big deal for them, and my third daughter (actually, my first) is heading interstate for the next few months to do a course in another week, so that is a very big deal for us.

In the meantime, the world around feels like it is going through lots of waves and storms, but we continue to hold onto to faith and hope. I hope you are as well.

One thought on “Stuff I’ve Read, Watched, Done #24 – November 14, 2021

  1. Crooked House (I didn’t read the novel but I’ve seen the film) is indeed very effective thanks to its quite impactful resolution.

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