Monday, February 27, 2006

Sloth Weekend: Post-Mortum

Wow. It had been quite a long while since I gave in so completely to laziness and idleness. Other than a quick trip to the library on Saturday, I accomplished very little that didn't involve a sitting or lying position.

I certainly didn't watch everything on my list (which actually relieves me a little bit), but I did watch some fun stuff, and some not-so-fun stuff. What really surprised me though, was the amount of reading material I tore through. Sunday, I had one of those really intense, multi-hour reading sessions. The kind where you only move to relieve your bladder or get a snack.

Well, on to the wrap-up...

What I Watched:

Timeline - This movie was exactly what I thought it would be. Which is not really a good thing. I watched it while cleaning out my file folder, and I think that was the best way to watch it. I caught the gist out of the corner of my eye, and every once in a while something interesting would happen and I'd watch for a few minutes. The acting was remarkably flat, and Billy Connelly was particularily jarring, as he seemed to have been shipped in from a different, sillier movie. They could have named this movie Generic Adventure Movie, because that's pretty much what it was.

HBO's Rome (eps 9 & 10) - I quite like this show, probably as much as the Sopranos, really. However, this pair of episodes has caused me to question some of the basic structure of the series. It's framed very much like a typical soap-opera, with a bit of Upstairs/Downstairs in the way the two groups of characters are explored. The problem is, recent happenings have damaged this structure a bit, I feel. The treatment of both the incestuous encounter between Octavia and Gaius Octavian, as well as the casual murder of a slave by Titus Pullo, has left me stragely disconnected to the characters and the story.

I understand that moral conduct was quite a different animal at that time, but I'm no longer sure who I'm supposed to be rooting for. If a show wants to treat its subject matter in the fashion of a soap-opera, and in fact spends a good deal of its earlier episodes building up certain characters as "villains" and others as the "heroes", it seems a bit sloppy to suddenly flip things on the viewer, and leave them with no one to support.

The murder bothers me more, I suppose. Titus Pullo had been, up to this point, one of the two "heroes" of the show. The viewer has seen many examples of his loyalty, bravery, and refusal to compromise. And then, with the brutal murder of one of Lucius Vorenus' slaves, all of that character-building is destroyed. Lucius comes out of the incident poorly as well, directing his anger at the fact that Pullo a) destroyed his property, and b) did it in front of his children.

It's hard to enjoy a "buddy movie" when one of the buddies is a brutish murderer and the other is a callous slave-owner.

I'm still enjoying the show, I'm just not sure that I care very much about any of the characters. It's a strange feeling.

Way, wayyyyyy too much Doctor Who-

Um... 10 episodes. Ouch.

Still, it was good, cheesy stuff. Just the thing for a Saturday night spent in. The Sontaran Experiment was a nice little story, but Genesis of the Daleks was clearly the highlight. An epic story that actually warranted the expansion to six episodes, it was easily the high point of my Doctor Who exposure thus far. I'm sure the storyarc would have had more resonance had I seen some of the earlier Dalek episodes, but I got the gist pretty easily (Daleks are a Borg-like destructive race) and really enjoyed this story-arc.

I've watched the first half of Revenge of the Cybermen as well, and boy, those Cybermen are goofy looking. But quite cheerful looking as well. Which is nice, I suppose.

What I Read:

Night Fisher by R. Kikuo Johnson
Minimum Wage by Alex Robinson
The Filth by Morrison and Weston
Doom Patrol: The Painting That Ate Paris by Morrison and Case
Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes
Stuck Rubber Baby by Howard Cruse
New Frontier vol1 by Darwyn Cooke
the South-Western Coast portion of Let's Go: Road Trippin' USA (Honeymoon preparation... Napa Valley, here we come!)
and the 1st half of To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer

I think I actually reached the point of reading overload. Too many differnt types of material battling for position in my brain. What left the largest impression on me?

Honestly, I don't think I understood much of The Filth, and what I came away with most of all was a sense of deep sadness over the (um, spoilers, I guess) fate of his cat. Maybe it's just because this was around hour six of an eight-hour reading blitz, but most of The Filth left me numb in the face of its relentless barrage of, well, filth. Greg and his cat were the only aspect of the book that engaged me, and the eventual result was heartbreaking.

I know Grant is a cat-person (Animal Man #26, for those looking for written confirmation) and I can't imagine what writing those pages involving Greg and his cat felt like, but I can't imagine it was pleasant.

I am looking forward to reading some analysis of The Filth, and hopefully I can get a better, if not appreciation, at leas tunderstanding of what this project was intended to accomplish.

Related Posts:
Pants Optional Weekend


Blogger Spencer Carnage said...

My favorite part of the Filth was them going into the comic books and beating up the heroes within. Don't know why, but that was just amazing. And yes, the filth doesn't make much sense.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Jhunt said...

Yeah, that was pretty cool. Especially watching one of them splat against the page surface. Morrison is one weird dude.

2:09 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

I enthusiastically plonked my money down for all of The Filth, and understood none of it. Either that, or it was a good deal simpler than I was expecting, and I overshot intellectually.

The Borg ripped off the Cybermen (even down to their catchphrase). The Daleks are more like little green Nazis in personal tanks. The Cybermen want to turn all of humanity into other Cybermen, and the Daleks just want to kill everything. There's a great Dalek episode in the new series, and they're doing the Cybermen in the "second" season. Can't wait.

I've heard that there are some substantial differences in the way Rome is cut, depending on whether you're watching it on the BBC or on HBO (it's a co-production), with HBO and cutting out more of the plot stuff in order to have more uninterrupted boobies 'n' blood. So perhaps that's what you're noticing.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Jhunt said...

I wasn't aware that there were any difference between the HBO & BBC versions of Rome. That certainly bears investigating, as it seems I might prefer the BBC cuts.

I'll have to take a look at Barbelith for some Filth info, as they seem to be quite good over there at seperating the wheat from the chaff. It can't just have been about puke, shit, and spunk, can it have? I seem to remeber some talk about it being another magic speel a la Inivisibles, but I can't remeber what it was supposed to bring about....

I suppose I'll have a better handle on the whole Cybermen/dalek compare and contrast after I finish this story arc, as I'm two parts in and all the cybers have done is turn their spaceship, dock at a beacon station, and smile pleasantly as they repel machine-gun fire.

4:19 PM  

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