Wordy Wednesday July 16

Saw "Whatever Works" this weekend, the Woody Allen '09 movie starring Larry David.  Sweet little story.

However, W.A. is so exhausting in that he does the exact same thing in so many of his movies; creates caricatures and juxtaposes them with other caricatures.  In this movie it's Larry David, the erudite 200- IQ-physicist juxtaposed with Evan Rachel Wood, the southern dimwit who calls her father daddy.  In Annie Hall, it was Annie Hall, the wholesome mid-west girl with Alvey Singer, a NYC Jew.  And not only has he done it before, it's an oversimplification to begin with.  Real people are more complex these cultural-sterotypes that he's created.

And the dialogue in W Works has way too many big words, so it's obviously written.  Let's go back to BBC Office........I'll say it again, there's some well-written dalogue.

And how many times is W.A. going to introduce the exact same characters into his movies and have them say and do the exact same things?  Isn't he bored with it by now?  In "Hannah and Her Sisters" the relationship that Barbara Hershey had with the erudite artist was exactly the same as the one the little southern gal has with the physicist in "Whatever Works".  When they are breaking up, both Hershey and Evan Rachel Wood say some version of the line, "You're too stifling.  I've been sheltered from the real world living with you."

But somehow I 'slaved' through this movie nonetheless.  Larry David is cool; I think that he's funnier than Woody Allen....or anyway, W.A. is funny, he just only seems to have about 3-4 schticks, and he's done them all enough already.

I also finished watching the 2nd season of Luther.  The character Justin's line "some people are dirty; some people just get their hands dirty" kind of summarizes the theme of this show.

And so yeah, I spent a lot of time in front of the boob tube this week, and also watched "The Americans"-- pretty much every single episode of the first season.  It started to feel like the pan of brownies that you just can't stop eating.  Since, yeah, after about 10 episodes all of the gruesome killings did make me feel kinda sick.

Overall it's pretty good.  If I binge-watch a movie that basically means it's about a 8-10 on a scale of 10.  I won't get through dreck.  I just lose interest and do something else.

This show has some really cheesy lines; for example, the line where Elizabeth (KGB agent) says "there's a weakness in the people, I can feel it" just after her arrival in the US.  I dunno, I kind of laughed at that line.  The way we regard all Russians as hard-core vodka drinking pieces of steel, and our own citizens as frency-fry eating blimps.  And she says something similar later on; expressing shock that her 3-year old American-raised daughter "just plays" all day long.  What do the Russian 3-year-olds do, seriously?  I mean, how much manual labor can a person do at that age?

The show has a lot of very good lines too; Gregory, the US Citizen-turned KGB accomplice tells Elizabeth; 'I know you.....your marriage ain't real, your husband ain't real....you're lost."  (The first few episodes had a real threme about identity; the characters wondering who they really were; Russian spies forced to assimilate to US culture, raise their kids here, etc.)   And another good line....."We all die alone....before that, we make choices."  Think that the Russian Zhukov says that.  Oh, yeah, he does, to Elizabeth about, I think her relationship with Phillip, the KGB spy who is also her "husband".

Yeah, so the writers say this is a movie mostly about marriage.  And that it is.  "The Americans" makes a marriage look harder than attacking and killing two armed men, singlehandedly and unarmed, since several people pull off the latter throughout the show, yet no one can seem to achieve the former.

By the 6th episode or so there starts to be too many people sleeping with other people.  Kind of the way "Episodes" ended up at the end of season 2; pretty much everyone in that show was sleeping with someone else, and the viewer practically needed to be handed a flow-chart to help remember who was supposed to be jealous of who, etc. 

One final thought....why is there such a pervasive attitude that it's silly and conspiratorial to think that the CIA was behind JFK, 9-11 and the untimely deaths of SOOOOO many people, and yet a spy show like "The Americans" can capture our imaginations and keep us titillated?  

Maybe that's about enough.   

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