John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton
jheaton

This week in the arts

I watched three DVDs and one* theatrical film this week:

Labyrinth is a 1985 fantasy movie written by Terry Jones of Monty Python and directed by Jim Henson. I was inspired to see this movie by episode 16 of the Harmontown podcast. Harmontown regulars Dan Harmon, Jeff Bryan Davis, and Erin McGathy were all dressed as Jareth, the Goblin King portrayed by David Bowie, as were about 20 members of the live audience. (This was planned in advance, of course.) As you might imagine, Labyrinth was sort of a running theme throughout the show, and at one point — starting at 36:50, if you care to listen — Harmon and Davis spend two or three minutes ripping into the movie with fiendish glee that is absolutely hysterical, and I figured if it was that funny to someone who'd never seen the movie, it might be even better if I watched the movie and then listened to the podcast again. And it was! Also, it has to be said that their criticisms were not unfair, but it was kind of enjoyable despite the story problems so thorough mocked by Harmon and Davis and a somewhat one-note performance by Jennifer Connelly.

Stalag 17 is a 1953 war movie film written and directed by Billy Wilder. Another movie I watched because of a loose connection to Community! In this case the connection was Richard Erdman, who plays the recurring role of Leonard on Community and Sgt. Hoffman in this movie. It also features William Holden, Otto Preminger, and Peter Graves. (Interestingly, it was early enough in Graves's career that he was billed behind Erdman. Anyway, this was a pretty entertaining film. For a movie set in a German prisoner-of-war camp, much of it is surprisingly light-hearted, like Animal's crush on Betty Grable and Shapiro's overdue car payments, and Wilder does a good job balancing these moments with the mystery of who in the barracks is snitching to the Germans and the increasing danger posed to Holden's character as suspicion begins to fall on him. But of course he would; Billy Wilder was a genius.

Beasts of the Southern Wild is a 2012 fantasy drama directed by Benh Zeitlin. The WUD Film Committee presented it this weekend, and while I didn't have much interest in seeing it, "not much" is more than "none" and it was free. And I got what I paid for! I wouldn't say it's a bad film, but it's certainly a film I didn't enjoy.

Party Down is a sitcom I'd heard nothing but good things about but had never seen, so when I saw the first disc of the first season DVD set at my local library, I decided to give it a try. It's funny! My favorite episode on the first disc was "Taylor Stiltskin Sweet Sixteen," which benefitted from having the great J. K. Simmons in addition to the already crazily talented cast. On to disc two!

I didn't read much this week. I'm still working on Emma; I finished part one and have reached chapter four of part two. Jane Fairfax has arrived in town, and Emma and the others have just learned of Mr. Elton's marriage, though he and Mrs. Elton have yet to return from Bath. I indicated last week that Emma is not one of my favorite Jane Austen novels, and that remains true.

The only other thing of note I read this week was an interesting profile of Dan Harmon at grantland.com, in which I learned that Harmontown's resident Dungeon Master Spencer Crittenden owns a shirt that reads LEGALIZE ARMADILLOS. I knew I liked that guy.

— — —

* Technically I saw three; in addition to Beasts of the Southern Wild, I also went to a WUD Film screening of Wreck-It Ralph, because it was free and I was otherwise unengaged so why not, and Casablanca. But I don't include movies I've seen before in my count.

Tags: author: jane austen, movies, reading: books, reading: online, tv: community, tv: other
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