April 3rd, 2013 / 3:14 pm

Considering my Netflix viewing activity

My recent Netflix “viewing activity,” which I discovered to my horror, follows the break. If you would like me to review any of these movies (or shows), or engage in commentary with me about any movie (or show), just list it in the comments. I will tend to this post, as best I can, for the next few days. This post may or may not be deleted, depending on the results.



  1. Blake Butler

      pearl jam 20 / gerhard richter painting / roast of roseanne PLZ!

  2. Jimmy Chen

      Pearl Jam Twenty – it was funny how they tried to mythologize Eddie Vedder, as being some morosely deep Jesus guy who sang into a cassette tape and got the gig, surfed his way from San Diego to Seattle to change music forever. I really like Pearl Jam, feel like their music – despite being
      emphatic and literal — passes the test of time as we begin to assess grunge
      more clearly now, without the Cobain filter. I just get a kick out of seeing
      Eddie Vedder’s pained, or sarcastically ‘insane,’ facial expressions on stage.

      Gerhard Richter Painting – It’s easy to dismiss abstract painting as either an arbitrary application of paint, or a self-involved indulgence; Richter – and his followers, collectors – takes himself way to seriously, but I was touched (and surprised) by how consumed and loyal, perhaps tortured, he was at the surface of the paintings during each of their stages. His work may be theoretically snarky or smug ( images whose contents are empty, therefore self-bestowed with meaning), but I discovered the fragile humility of an old man trying to still “get at something,” after the success and fame.

      Roast of Roseanne – I love the comedy central roasts because the usual boundaries in “mean” humor are almost, or maybe are, always crossed. It’s basically a lot of low-hitting black, jew, gay, fat, short, old jokes targeted at the very people who get to “get back” at them when it’s their turn. It’s like humor is the ultimate democracy here, something which PC pensiveness/denial cannot afford. Tom Arnold’s open apology to Roseanne stunned the crowd. I could tell she wasn’t prepared for it. She almost cried, as did many.

  3. deadgod

      Ha ha — I thought you meant for us to suggest a movie or show for you to watch and discuss.

      What and how is The Dark Ages?

  4. Jimmy Chen

      The Dark Ages is a History channel documentary about the Dark Ages, mainly focusing on the bubonic plaque and rats. I like how documentaries try to reenact grim scenarios using b-actors and stark lighting; it’s always so dramatic, but in a way that is oddly counteractive to the real life, worse, drama of what they’re depicting (in this case, the plaque). I guess it’s the earnest inadvertent artifice which ruins it, but also makes it super entertaining. I’m just really into seeing people suffer while I prepare dinner, centuries later.

  5. Alec

      Steve Jobs/How Stufff Works: Corn/after Porn Ends.

  6. Bigplatts

      I want to know what you thought of Bruno (and pretty much how it compares to any other Sacha Baren-Cohen stuff you’ve seen) I haven’t seen Kramer vs Kramer so I was wondering if you could tell me if that was any good as well? Plus what is Nirvana: Nevermind, just the album played? or a documentary about the band?

  7. Marc van der Holst

      How is aluminium foil made?

  8. Sean Wehle

      Portlandia: Season 2 “Cool Wedding” sticks out in my memory as being one of the more demoralizing episodes in that show…

  9. Jimmy Chen

      Steve Jobs: Visionary genius — I think I got bored with this. I, and with much respect and sadness, just wanted to see footage of him getting thinner and thinner, his covert black shirt draped across surfacing bones. His is a god damn genius though. Apple’s vision is now glaucomic, fogged in hermitry, destined for collapse like IBM and Sony.

      How Stuff Works: Corn — I’m sorry I don’t remember how corn works, only that it’s in a lot of stuff. I think this show is Canadian, therefore a little off.

      After Porn Ends — I watched this for the porn scenes, or at least the filming of those scenes (c.f. Larry Sultan), but was dismayed at the endless lethargic interviews with sad looking people, and so fast forwarded through the preview scroll window for naked people, didn’t see any, and stopped the film.

  10. Kate Y

      “Jackass” and “How It’s Made” light up my life. I prefer watching them on cable on-demand but Netflix has brought great bounty into our home by steering my husband away from the ID Channel with the death/near-death titillation shows and HBO-style docu-pron and – best of all – Swedish and Korean miniseries.

  11. Alec

      All of them.

  12. Jimmy Chen

      I thought they sliced it, like with a grater (like cheese), but they actually keep flattening aluminium over and over under more pressurized rollers, until it’s foil then. Fucking amazing. Speaking of aluminium, one of my favorite lyrics is “hey boys, supper’s on me, our record just went aluminium” (“Dallas,” The Natural Bridge).

  13. Jimmy Chen

      My favorite Sacha Baron Cohen is seasons 1 and 2 (that’s all there is) of the Ali G show, which is political genius I think. I loved Bruno as well; highlights were the ultimate wrestling gay relapse, the fending off of dildos in martial arts class, and Paula Abdul unable to sit on the Mexican (on whom Elton John later had no problem sitting). I was gladly surprised Bono sang with him in the end, despite rather cruel jokes the latter made of the former.

      Kramer vs. Kramer is shows Dustin Hoffman at his best. That his child turned him into an adult, and his wife into a man, shows the subtle breadth of this deeply acted movie.

      Nirvana: Nevermind is about the recording of that album, with Butch Vig isolating vocal tracks (main and harmonies), which exposes, not surprisingly, Cobain’s amazing vocals and sense of harmony (Layne Staley of Alice in Chains crushed at this). It’s sad seeing post-’94 interviews of Grohl and Novoselic, who’ve — despite the former’s success and latter’s political solemnity — subliminally remained the Beavis and Butthead to a dead Christ, kind of.

  14. deadgod

      Aluminum ore is placed under freshly-picked grapes in the wine-making process.

  15. Jimmy Chen

      I’m glad you, as a woman, enjoy Jackass, who lean towards homoeroticism before misogyny, despite general testosterone amped up bro-ness. A lot of it shows more “balls,” however asinine, than politically minded acts of non-conformity. I love How it’s made, especially the Chicken Nuggets. I’m also glad Netflix has helped your marriage, since your husband seems to have compulsion issues.

  16. stefan michael

      Re: The Richter film – it helps to view his body of work and various styles before seeing this film. An excellent piece on his Bader-Meinhoff series appeared last year in The Threepenny Review: http://bit.ly/XYtQl9

      I want to say that the film was a bit myopic, but what else would a film about a painter painting be? It was, indeed, an intimate and touching portrait.

      Also, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this excellent recording by Bill Frisell (“Richter 858”) http://bit.ly/11nUUP2 , music inspired by 8 Richter paintings.

      Your writing is one of my favorite things about this site.

  17. Jimmy Chen

      I like the self-hating Hipsterness of the show, which is like hipsters watching hipsters being made fun of, and the odd mixed-entitlement of feeling both complicit to and excluded from the subjects of its satire. Oh, and this: http://jessandruss.us/

  18. lorian long

      1. who is better ‘ugly woman’–ashley judd (double jeopardy) or charlize theron (young adult)?

      2. why did u sit thru ‘jeff at home’ again

  19. lorian long

      sorry, ‘jeff, who lives at home’

  20. Jimmy Chen

      I didn’t think Ashley Judd was an ugly woman; I saw her (sort of like Oedipa Maas in The Crying of Lot 49) as a woman unwittingly thrown into a dark underworld of her husband’s misdoings. She outwitted Tommy Lee Jones, and got sweet revenge, all the while looking great. Charlize Theron also didn’t play an ugly woman, just someone at the end of their game. Her lapse into Patton Oswalt’s limp (both adj. and v.) character at the end was grievously unrealistic.

      I sat (or lay) through through “Jeff, who lives at home” again because I loved the movie, it was really touching, especially the office fire-sprinkler/waterfall scene. I never understood what the problem with sentimental movies were, as they are the best.

  21. lorian long

      o yah the fire-sprinkler scene when susan sarandon went lesbo with the ethnic co-worker was pretty sweet

      idk if lapse was totes unrealistic. she was drunk and having a nervous breakdown and who knows if they had sex, she just sort of laid next to his soft body, then she left the next morning. ‘grievously unrealistic’ would prolly involve her seeing him again?

  22. Jimmy Chen

      In line with the hopeful, or at least consumerist, momentum of movies, especially near the end, it is implied that they had sex. If you take a look at the screenshot I argumentatively procured, they are in missionary position, only a thin boxer flap away from Patton’s protrusion. Charlize has clearly conceded her will to the situation, whose drunken tilt can only slide one way.

  23. lorian long

      jesus that picture

  24. A D Jameson

      I had no idea there was any problem whatsoever with sentimental movies. They are indeed the best.

  25. Jarrett_Haley

      I like you, Jimmy Chen.

  26. Juan Pancake

      I keep imagining you discovering this “to [your] horror” lol

  27. bemightee

      lots of addiction stuff here. just to go on record i think gerhard richter is pretty great. i’ve never seen him interviewed so he may be a pretentious douchebag but you can’t deny the power of his photorealist stuff. plus the guys got a workhorse mentality that is to be commended.
      that ‘how-its-made’ show sounds cool but i gotta ask about the ken burns one…which war? WW2? and skeleton inc.? pray tell.

  28. Jimmy Chen

      I like Richter a lot too, especially his scraped off photorealist ‘mother and child’ paintings, whose self-effacing surface seem both bold and eerily mutilating. It’s less ‘pretentious douchebag’ than ‘somber eurodude in a huge studio.’

      The Ken Burns one was about America’s entry into WWII. I like war documentaries, especially WWII, since that was the most insane one with actual footage. The narrator is Keith David, the black step-dad in There’s Something About Mary, the guy who witnessed Ben Stiller’s ‘frank and beans,’ a juxtaposition of tone which I’ve always found uncanny, and enlivening.

      Skeleton Inc is amazing. It’s about a family business that strips the skin and meat off animals, cleans the bones, and reconstitutes the animal skeletons for museums or private collectors. It very graphically shows the animals being taken apart. The sons all have this stunted empty stare. Maggots are a problem there.

  29. shaun gannon

      freaky eaters is so great. JJ and the pinch-faced quack are terrible people who seem to be the worst at their jobs. tartar sauce slide.

  30. bemightee

      thanks for the review of skeleton inc. i’m definitely going to check that out (although i’m not sure if i’m ready for graphic shots of animals being pulled apart).

      if you like war documentaries i recommend http://youtu.be/XsW3q0oWhxM an excellent and fairly balanced documentary of the vietnam war.

      ‘somber eurodude in a huge studio.’ that’s awesome.

  31. Wallace Barker

      I have a problem with any historical reenactment in which the people’s teeth seem fine. You can’t tell me historical people didn’t have crazy effed up teeth!

  32. takethisrobot

      The Switch, and United 93, particularly if those were watched back-to-back. A narrative of that entire watching session would be great. Also, National Geographic: Stress: Portrait of a Killer. Thanks!