Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

22 Dec 2008, 7:59 a.m.

Movies, TV, Music, And More! Well, Actually, That's It

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2008 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Previous entry aside, Leonard and I have been staying in from the cold and experiencing media.

Music: Dar Williams's latest CD, Promised Land, has a song about the Milgram Experiment! Timely. And I'm on my way to filking Cab Calloway:

You can stop listening to Weezer
Claim Star Wars memories are blurred
But you still can't hide all those smarts inside
A geek ain't nothing but a nerd

Movies: The original The Day The Earth Stood Still from 1951 starts off looking enough like every other 1950s sci-fi movie that I expected to be bored. But it's not a B-movie, it's an A-movie, and it confronts the profound Otherness of the alien. It also reveals the profound Otherness of an era when a single mother might possibly be okay with the mysterious guy who just moved into her boarding house taking care of her son for a day. Resemblance note: Leonard thought the professor looked like Malcolm Gladwell.

I had to leave the house to watch Quantum of Solace, which was a quite adequate sequel to Casino Royale but not as shattering. How nice to see a really expensive globe-spanning action movie where Bond didn't sleep with every single woman he met. Casino Royale's opening music video made the argument that death is a matter of chance, and that becoming a spy might make you think you can put your hands on the wheel of fate and turn it to your will, but you're wrong and your actions will have disastrous and unforeseen consequences. The music video in Quantum of Solace had an all-flesh-is-grass theme transmuted into shifting sands: all your foundations will disappear beneath your feet. Such stylish cynicism.

TV: Last night we finished Babylon 5. Well, except that now we're going to watch the TV movies and whatnot. Bab5 is a tremendous accomplishment and I only wish stupid real-world obstacles hadn't gotten in the way of its realization. How great could it have been if they'd known all along that they'd have five seasons? Or if Claudia Christian had stayed on as Ivanova for the last year, instead of leaving because of contract confusion? I now agree with everyone who said that seasons two, three, and four are strongest, and would argue that the show's strongest when it is creepiest.

Now Leonard and I have to have the discussion where we seriously compare Bab5 and DS9. Hoo boy.

We've been watching Sarah Haskins's Target: Women religiously (2:12 to 2:30 reliably makes Leonard belly laugh) but I've also gotten him into Ben Ehrlich's Viral Video Film School. These are both segments on infoMania from Current, so we tried the most recent episode of the whole show and liked it fairly well. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are about pinpointing the ridiculous and meditating upon it, while infoMania only does that kind of media critique in its genre-specific segments. Conor Knighton, the host, is more about snarky drive-bys. In that, infoMania is more like a video-enabled Suck than anything else.