Saturday, August 30, 2014

BoJack Horseman

So I checked out Will Arnett's animated show on Netflix. It is quite different from the family sitcom fare that he does for CBS on The Millers, although Margo Martindale makes a couple of fabulous guest appearances. BoJack Horseman is about a washed-up actor trying to regain his past glory by writing a memoir about himself, but he's fighting substance abuse and other self-destructive behavior. The show features lots of in-jokes about Hollywood (or Hollywoo, as it becomes when the D gets stolen from the Hollywood sign), as well as silliness about the anthropomorphic animals. Will Arnett always does well portraying characters with a deep well of sadness inside them, and the dramatic storylines can get quite dark at times. It parodies our warped celebrity culture and how fucked-up the actors, agents, and other people in the industry can become in a soulless business. There's lots of guest actors, though I can never recognize their voices until I see the credits (unless their names are used in the show itself). I wonder if Jason Bateman would ever guest star here, if he thought it would be cooler than to be on The Millers.

There weren't many references to Arrested Development, although the sixth episode featured several puns on Ben Stiller's name as well as a plot from AD's first season (when George Sr. was courted by two rival prison gangs and became "the belle of the ball"). Also there's a Charlie Brown reference during one of BoJack's drug-fueled hallucinations. I'm not sure if the "Silver Spoon" diner is a reference to the sitcom, or if I'm just making an unfounded connection because I've been watching Silver Spoons lately to enjoy the glory that is Jason Bateman as Derek Taylor. He was such an adorable little "bad seed." Too bad that he got written out in season 2.

Anyway, BoJack Horseman has already been renewed for season 2, so there's yet another series commitment that Will has to juggle if there's going to be season 5 of AD. I'm happy for his success, of course, but I'm still wrapped up in the deep well of sadness that is Gob, and I want to see him again.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

At Last

From what I understand about the current ceasefire, Israel's blockade of Gaza will be somewhat eased, and Palestinians will try to negotiate for more rights such as an airport or seaport. I had hoped for more progress, but I guess it is a step in the right direction. I am glad the violence has stopped for now. Someday Israel needs to see that the only permanent way to peace is a two-state solution instead of this indiscriminate butchery. And someday the US has to stop bankrolling their war crimes.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dog Days of Summer

Wow, that ALS ice bucket challenge has really taken off, including such celebrities as Kermit the Frog. I'm ambivalent about the challenge myself, for I fear it is a waste of water (which I've very aware of in a drought-stricken state) but I also think the silly stunt is a fun stress-reliever that people need right now in these days of horrible news. It's sort of like the feel-good power of the Reading Rainbow kickstarter I suppose, so I won't begrudge anybody deciding to do it. I know I definitely need the distraction. I don't even want to read about smarmy Rick Perry's indictment.

I recently read about this cool Lego Friends Super Friends project, and I really like it. I never actually had a problem with the Lego Friends characters having pink colors, because I think in general that all lego sets should have more variety of colors. But I really want the female superheroes. I like Black Widow, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman the most because I mostly don't read comics or know the other characters. I hope Lego will make something like this commercially.

I haven't been to see the Guardians of the Galaxy movie yet, and am still debating whether I'm missing out, given all the praise it's gotten. I also considered going to see the Ninja Turtles movie because Will Arnett is in it, but I don't know if his part is too minor to be worth it; him playing the Lego Batman was totally worth it, though. Jason Bateman meanwhile is in a lot of movies coming out this year. I think I will see This is Where I Leave You because the premise is interesting and it looks like a kooky family. But I will forever crave for him to work with Will more. Even to guest star on Will's show The Millers would be fine, because I love seeing them together, and the sitcom isn't really that bad. No more formulaic that Bateman has done in his past career. Why can't there be more Arrested Development news? Will recently confirmed season 5, but still there's no word of when.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sad week

When Israel pulled troops out of Gaza and said that they destroyed all the tunnels, I had hoped that the violence would be over, at least for the time being. When the 72-hour ceasefire began, I didn't want to celebrate it for fear that I would jinx it. But superstition doesn't work, of course. The war has resumed after the expiration of the cease-fire, and now violence is happening in the West Bank too. Still no end in sight, and it seems to be fading from the news, while Iraq comes to the fore again. It's sad and frustrating, especially if empathy is dead in Israel.

At least Wendy Davis has improved in poll numbers. I'll have to send her money when I get my next paycheck. Maybe there's hope for Texas after all.

In the meantime I can only distract myself with watching various DVDs I have bought lately, such as the new Seven-Per-Cent Solution blu-ray, which indeed has an interview with Nicholas Meyer from 2012. No discussion of his new Sigmund Freud project, but hints that he might do another Holmes story if he has time. It's interesting to hear him talk about why his screenplay changed the mystery from the novel, and how he really wanted to cut out parts of the story that dragged, like the tennis match, because he wanted the movie to flow better and be less talky. I didn't know that Meyer's own father was a psychiatrist.

Afterward I also watched the movie A Dangerous Method, about the conflict between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. There's also an unethical affair with Sabina Spielrein, a patient and later colleague, who became a doctor herself. The film is a good antidote to Nicholas Meyer fawning on Freud as a great "detective" with apparently no flaws. Viggo Mortensen portrays Freud's arrogance and his need to for other psychoanalysts to become obedient yes-men to his theories.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sherlock Holmes stuff

Yahoo! Apparently this happened last year when I wasn't paying attention, but The Seven-Per-Cent Solution has been released on Blu-ray, so I can finally replace my terrible copy transferred from a VHS recording. The last time I tried watching my old transfer, the picture was dim and impossible to see. The new Blu-ray looks like it will include commentary from Nicholas Meyer. I wonder if it will mention his new plans to do a Sigmund Freud TV show?

It looks like there's been a recent re-release of Billy Wilder's Private Life of Sherlock Holmes as well. I'm hoping this means that a lot of obscure old Sherlock Holmes movies like this will be released to capitalize on the current Holmes popularity. I really hope that the Return of Sherlock Holmes movie with Michael Pennington and Margaret Colin will be released. I have to find my old list of stuff I was trying to get.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Back from England

Well here I am home from a trip to the UK. If I had been home I would have posted happily about the Supreme Court denying the Conan Doyle Estate's petition for an emergency stay; I know they're going to keep appealing, but I'm still rooting for Les Klinger to win. While I was gone, I also was pleased to hear that some Texans were welcoming the migrant children at the border.

However, I was stuck without internet for the first day or so, and couldn't get any news. So I was surprised to hear that there was a peaceful Palestinian protest in London on the same day I was trying to do a tour. It made me have hope, and I personally didn't mind that the protest messed up traffic for a while. I still managed to do my tour in a roundabout way. However, I was shocked and disgusted when I realized only too late that I had bought some razors in Britain with "made in Israel" on the back of the package. I'd already used them so I couldn't return them, but I threw them away.

Sadly, it seems that no progress has been made at all about Israel, during my whole vacation. I don't know what else I can do besides boycotting.

Anyway, I'll try to post more about my vacation after I get over my jet lag. I'll also try to update Far From Over soon.