Tag Archives: 2019

A few quick words on “Fractured” (2019)

“Fractured” (2019) is essentially a “Twilight Zone” episode presented as a feature-length film.  Like many movies of this type, it would be better suited to a 40-minute television script; it takes too long here to reach its denouement.  It suffers just a little because of that.

That isn’t to say it’s a bad film — it was pretty well executed, despite its unnecessary length, and the final minutes had me squirming.  It certainly held my interest, and I’d rate it a 7 out of 10.

Brad Anderson’s directing was quite good — this is a well visualized psychological horror film that capably builds tension with its unsettling angles and strange lighting.  Sam Worthington does very well in his lead role as a man who has his family admitted to a hospital emergency room, only to see them vanish altogether.  He’s upstaged just a bit by two actors in small supporting roles — the priceless Stephen Tobolowsky and the superb Adjoa Andoh as doctors at the mysterious hospital.

 

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A review of Season 4 of “The Man in the High Castle” (2019)

The fourth and final season of “The Man in the High Castle” (2019) ended the show pretty strongly — I’d rate it an 8 out of 10 for concluding the dystopian science fiction epic just when its ambitious storytelling started getting too unwieldy.

I won’t lie to you … I loved the show, and was the sort of fan that exhorted all of my friends to watch it — but even I have to admit that there were some general narrative failures.  This show tackled nothing less than multiple, detailed parallel universes — each with its own history and analogous characters.  (It is an Axis Powers’ World War II victory that sets the stage for the story’s initial, “prime” universe.)  That’s a lot to tackle, and “The Man in the High Castle” didn’t always follow through.  (It didn’t help that there was a seeming myriad of subplots and character arcs fleshing out its prime universe alone — and that some of Season 4’s story setups seemed redundant with those of prior seasons.)

By the show’s end, there were major plot threads that were left dangling — including key questions about the show’s basic plot elements.  I wouldn’t blame many longtime fans for feeling frustrated at the overall story’s insufficient exposition — and this last season’s deliberately vague, befuddling final moments.

But “The Man in the High Castle” was still simply too good to dislike.  What the show does well, it tends to do very well — especially its grand, sweeping, Wagnerian science fiction world-building.  I’ll bet you’ll never see another what-if-the-Nazis-won story as good as this one.  With everything from its panoramic backdrops to its costuming to its incidental dialogue, “The Man in the High Castle” tackles its sprawling milieu with zeal, style and impressive detail.  You can tell that it was a labor of love for the screenwriters to bring Philip K. Dick’s dangerous multiverse to the screen.

Its cast includes performers that absolutely shine — most notably Rufus Sewell as the premier American Nazi, John Smith, but also Alexa Davalos, Chelah Hordal, Joel de la Fuente and Rick Worthy.   For me, Sewell often made the show; his role here seems like one he was born for.

Despite its admittedly significant flaws, Season 4 was still a great watch.

 

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Happy Holidays, Guys.

I’m not sure why so many turn-of-the-century Christmas cards feature pig-powered elf transportation, but you’d be surprised.  It must be a Norwegian thing — in the same manner as their contemporaneous Americans had a predilection for frogs.  (Hey, it could be weirder, right?  Norway’s cards could features cadres of confused elves running a barber shop for pigs.)

Whatever.  Drive safe and be merry.  If you’re traveling far to see friends or family, remember to gas up your pigs.

 

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Jenny Nystrøm, circa 1895.

A new Thanksgiving friend.

He goes by the name of Jasper, and he’s one mellow rabbit. He was one of my (quite gracious) hosts for Thanksgiving dinner today in the vicinity of Roanoke. Seriously, this guy is chill. He lets all sorts of visitors pick him up and pet him. He has two siblings — one cat and one dog — and I’m told he chases them around the house.

 

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Throwback Thursday: The “WKRP in Cincinnati” Turkey Drop Scene (1978)!!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

I’m not sure if the below scene from “WKRP in Cincinnati” (1978-1982) is overexposed; it annually pops up a lot before Thanksgiving.  (I’ve shared it on Facebook at least once, I’m sure of it.)  It is, of course, the famous “turkey drop” scene from the Thanksgiving episode of the show’s first year.  (WKRP would have been on the air only two months when this episode first aired.)  The title of the episode was “Turkeys Away,” and it’s still quite well remembered by people interested in television pop culture.

The scene is really funny — people went nuts for it back in the day.  I still remember my parents and older siblings truly cracking up over over it.  And it really is all tied together by Gordon Jump’s perfect delivery of its feckless final line.

Hey … there’s actually another bit of WKRP trivia that’s been making the rounds lately on social media.  It turns out that the lyrics for its closing theme, which many people my age remember quite well, are actually nothing but gibberish.  Seriously, check it out.