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Maureen Tells Liz What Happened In “The Wire” Season 1

Dear Frank,

Hey, people like to tell me stuff! Really! It’s very nice of them. Today, that person is the vunderbar Maureen McEly, whose blog is really, really fucking funny. Here, she is informing me — and by extension the world — about one of television’s greatest achievements. She uses less profanity than I do, but we’ll forgiver her for it.

Love,
Liz

Hey Liz,

The_Wire_-_Season_1I know we mostly love to talk about cryptozoological erotica (you were part of that FB conversation right? Otherwise this just got super weird, right off the bat) and David Duchovny/Gillian Anderson flirtation. But for a change of pace, I thought we’d delve into the Baltimore’s violent and depressing drug trade, as depicted in The Wire! Don’t worry, even though it’s a bleak and complicated universe, it’s actually very (wait for it) addictive. (Get it, Liz? Because of drugs?)

Horrible puns aside, let me get this out of the way: everyone who told you to watch The Wire was right. You should. Ugh, I know. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told to watch The Wire. It got to a point, at the peak of Wire popularity, where I felt like literally everyone I met was recommending, no, insisting that I watch it. It was pretty annoying. I think I’ve had this exact conversation 200,000 times in my life:

Smug Dude: “What, you haven’t seen The Wire?? Wow.” *Looks at me in a sympathetic yet condescending way* “You really should. It’s so realistic.

Me: “Yeah, it looks like you probably know a lot about life on the streets of Baltimore.”

Smug, Now Slightly Offended Dude: “Well, what I DO know is that it’s the best television show ever created.”

Bored Me: “Really? I have never heard that before in my life. The Wire you said it’s called? Let me write that down!”

Then, in my head, I’d fervently declare I’d NEVER watch The Wire< because it couldn’t possibly live up to the hype, and also because I don’t like being told what to do. But then I finally watched it this year and… yeah. They were all right. God damn it. Sorry, everyone I met between 2002 – 2010. Read the rest of this entry

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Liz Tells Frank Stuff She Forgot About “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Dear Frank,

poster_wonderful_470_ixWe’ve had some interesting times this week! We learned what to watch if you’re super in the Christmas mood, and we learned what to watch if you’re SUPER-SUPER-SUPER-SUPER not.

John and Jesse took us to some dark places, and I think today, on CCH Pounder’s birthday, we should try to remember the real meaning of the season. Or at least, try to remember stuff that happened in It’s A Wonderful Life. Because what a weird movie this is!

Of course, I have, like, Christmas to celebrate, so let’s not get too bogged down in details. You know what happens in It’s A Wonderful Life, Frank! We all do! But there are some key details that might have slipped under the radar for you over the years… Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Cloud Atlas”

Dear Frank,

Cloud Atlas German PosterAs we’ve previously discussed, I have a weird fondness for the Wachowskis despite their career ups and downs, and (as we have not previously discussed) I am DEFINITELY a fan of Tom Tykwer. (Run Lola Run is one of those movies that gets you a good two decades worth of goodwill from me. I mean, I haven’t watched it for at least a decade, and it might not hold up, but DAMN that was a good movie when it first came out.)

So a Wachowski/Tykwer team-up like Cloud Atlas, last year’s big budget genre mash-up? A-PLUS IDEA.

The actual movie, though… Sigh.

My initial exposure to Cloud Atlas, the book, was pretty much ideal: I borrowed it from a friend I was crashing with during a 2008 stay in England, and pretty much devoured it while crossing back and forth across the Thames on the bus. It absorbed my attention in spurts, and the structure of the storytelling kept me compelled; some sections I liked better than others, but that’s always the nature of a novel like this.

I’ve only read the book once, but it was pretty memorable — thus, when discussion of there being a film adaptation arose, I felt vaguely well-qualified to understand what a crazypants idea that was. (And that was BEFORE I heard about the fucking sixtuple-casting!)

A year after the film’s premiere, adapting this book remains a crazypants idea; yet I’ve now seen Cloud Atlas a whopping three times and could see myself watching it again at some point. Why is that, you might ask? I mean, what the hell happens in this movie, anyway? Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Head of State”

Dear Frank,

Because you’re a politically aware sort of person, you’re likely aware that the United States is dealing with some financial drama right now. You also might be aware that when our current president, Barack Obama, held a fundraiser to celebrate his 50th birthday last week, Fox News covered the event like so:

I don’t want to get too deep into politics today, Frank, but here’s the thing — I have a theory. There’s only one rational explanation for that headline, which is that the folks at Fox News have confused reality with the events of the political comedy Head of State, directed by and starring the very funny Chris Rock.

Head of State is an important film for one very specific reason — it is a historical remnant of an era when the concept “What if a black guy ran for President?” was a successful pitch for a comedy. For history’s sake, let’s get the timeline straight: Read the rest of this entry

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