Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Kevinography, part 12: Bull Durham (1988)

This is part 12 in a series in which, for reasons not really clear, I watch all watchable movies with Kevin Costner. And maybe even some unwatchable ones. I will then comment on them here for you, including a synopsis in case you aren't familiar with them.

Synopsis: The Minor League baseball team Durham Bulls has a new player, "Nuke" (Tim Robinson), with some promise who might help them break their losing streak, but he's his own worst enemy. So the manager brings in aging pitcher Crash Davies (Kevin Costner), whose job it is to mature the boy. This job is complicated by Annie (Susan Sarandon). She sleeps with one up-and-coming player per season, and she can't decide whether it shall be Nuke or Crash. What follows is a journey through the love life of three people, interspersed with a lot of bad baseball.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Kevinography, part 11: "The Untouchables" (1987)

This is part 11 in a series in which, for reasons not really clear, I watch all watchable movies with Kevin Costner. And maybe even some unwatchable ones. I will then comment on them here for you, including a synopsis in case you aren't familiar with them.

Synopsis: In 1930, Chicago is in the grip of Al Capone and his thugs. Elliot Ness (Costner), Treasury Agent, is fresh on the job trying to bust Capone. But the police is corrupted to the core, and so, when Ness meets honest cop Jimmy (Sean Connery), he founds a new task force of untouchable cops. Taking the fight to Capone carries its own risks, though, as the mobster is gunning for lives and families....

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Kevinography, part 10: Thirteen Days (2000)

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!

This is part 3 in a series in which, for reasons not really clear, I watch all watchable movies with Kevin Costner. And maybe even some unwatchable ones. I will then comment on them here for you, including a synopsis in case you aren't familiar with them.

Synopsis: In 1962, the Soviet Union secretly deployed nuclear missiles to Cuba. When the US found out, a deadly game of cat and mouse started as the US administration tried to find a course of action not drawing the world into nuclear war. While the military tries to goad the cabinet into war, Kenneth O'Donnel (Costner), Special Assistant to the President, is among those trying to find a political solution. But events take on a dynamic of their own, and it seems like the world will soon bust in flames...

Monday, February 8, 2021

Kevinography, part 9: Testament (1983)

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!

This is part 9 in a series in which, for reasons not really clear, I watch all watchable movies with Kevin Costner. And maybe even some unwatchable ones. I will then comment on them here for you, including a synopsis in case you aren't familiar with them. 
 
Synopsis: In the spring of 1983, the United States are suffering a nuclear attack. The eastern seaboard is immediately blown to pieces, as are most major cities. The citizens of the small suburban town of Hamlin, California, experience the apocalypse as an incremental breakdown. They try to preserve as much of their previous life-styles as possible, but resources dwindle and the body-count ever increases. We follow the fate of a young family through these travails. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

Kevinography, part 13 - The Highwaymen (2019)

This is part 13 in a series in which, for reasons not really clear, I watch all watchable movies with Kevin Costner. And maybe even some unwatchable ones. I will then comment on them here for you, including a synopsis in case you aren't familiar with them.

Synopsis: In 1934, Bonnie and Clyde are on a murderous killing spree throughout Texas and the lower Midwest. The police is powerless to stop them. Texas governor "Ma" Ferguson employs two former Texas Rangers (Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson) to use their unique talents in employing violence to bring them down without much regard for the law. The two old veterans prepare for one final shootout... 

Analysis: This Netflix production flew under my radar when it arrived in 2019, despite being right up my wheelhouse, at least in theory: It's a period piece set in the 1930s and there's some gangsters. What's not to like?

Plenty, as it turns out. I've remarked often in this series by now that Costner tends to play roles on the conservative spectrum, and while it sure is true that Hollywood as a whole tends to hew to the progressive side of things, it's not like there aren't any right-wing movies. For every Avengers, there's an American Sniper, and every Get Out gets matched by its own Zero Dark Thirty.

This movie is clearly in the right-wing ballhouse, much like the Untouchables. We have gruff cops who have an iron sense of morality, not burdened by such details as the letter of the law. These cops are oh so very male, and violence is of course the only recourse. Sissy politicians and media people do not understand that, of course, which is why we need these manly men to take responsibility into their own firm hands and deliver us from evil, selflessly foregoing our thanks.

I hate this formula, and stuff like this just reinforces a mindset in and about police that fuels police violence all over the world, but especially so in the US. When a movie starts off my introducing our protagonists as belonging to an essentially extralegal killing squad that was dissolved because of the trail of bodies it left behind and I'm supposed to take this as a good thing, you know there's something off.

Things don't improve with the introduction of our main killer-cop, played by a Kevin Costner with a potbelly and rasping voice. He has married well and lives the American Dream, untroubled by the Great Depression, including even randomly having a pet boar in his house. His resolute wife of course "knows who I have married" and makes sandwiches for him to ease his way into a killing spree. Nothing to sweeten up retirement.

Woody Harrelson, on the other hand, plays the other veteran, down on his luck and trying to get away from booze, swaying with every step. Have you seen Harrelson in this role before? Congratulation. It's about as interesting and deep as that.

It's all downhill from there. Costner barks monologues about "the law" at people, as if he and his colleague weren't sent into retirement because they were involved in quite a lot of extralegal violence themselves (and should have been rather sent to prison for it, along with the whole corrupt government functionary caste that allowed for this shit, if you ask me). Magically, getting barked at by a 60-year-old reactionary shows everyone the error of their paths, and along with a bit of intimidation and torture the two cops manage to get the drop on the FBI and other forces of law enforcement and pump Bonnie and Clyde full of lead. Hooray.

I don't think that the one central conceit of the movie is that bad: That the lionization of Bonnie and Clyde isn't good. Those two were killers, a murderous pair, and nothing in their life and career is worth getting idolized. But in setting a counter-point to the famous 60s movie of "Bonnie and Clyde", this one only manages to be a dreary, reactionary rump with nothing much to say other than to let violent men handle stuff and get out of their way. That's an even worse message than the original had, with its allusions to counter-culture and all.

Harrelson himself started his career with the same concept, basically, which makes all of this darkly ironic. In "Natural Born Killers", he played a serial killer who got lionized by the media. In that movie, violence is also glorified, but the role of the media is explored in much more depth and nuance than here, where every democratic element of society is made into the bad guys. Weird. 

Verdict: Another Netflix production you don't need to watch, another modern Costner movie you don't need to watch. I'm starting to sense a pattern here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Kevinography, part 8: Field of Dreams (1989)

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!

This is part 8 in a series in which, for reasons not really clear, I watch all watchable movies with Kevin Costner. And maybe even some unwatchable ones. I will then comment on them here for you, including a synopsis in case you aren't familiar with them. 
 
Synopsis: Ray (Kevin Costner) is an amateur farmer in Iowa who, out in the fields, hears a voice telling him to "build it" and that "he will come". Ray is instinctively sure that he's supposed to build a baseball field and that Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta), who died in 1951, will then come. He does so, and indeed, Jackson's ghost appears. This strangeness is only the beginning. The rest of the White Socks also appear, and Ray gets a new message that gets him into contact with writer Terrence Mann (James Earl Jones). Together, the two of them go on a quest chasing ghosts of the past, while the farm is in danger of being foreclosed...

Friday, January 8, 2021

Kevinography, part 7: The Bodyguard (1992)

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!

This is part 7 in a series in which, for reasons not really clear, I watch all watchable movies with Kevin Costner. And maybe even some unwatchable ones. I will then comment on them here for you, including a synopsis in case you aren't familiar with them. 
 
Synopsis: Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner) is a professional bodyguard. Reluctantly, he takes the job to protect the pop singer and actress Rachel Marran (Whitney Houston) who, her manager believes, is in danger from some obsessive fan. Said manager keeps the news from her, and unsurprisingly, she's in no mood to cooperate. This changes after Farmer protects her in a club, and she falls in love with him. Belatedly he realizes it interferes with the job, they seperate and later reunite, all the while a dangerous killer is on the loose. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Kevinography, part 6: The Postman (1997)

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!

This is part 6 in a series in which, for reasons not really clear, I watch all watchable movies with Kevin Costner. And maybe even some unwatchable ones. I will then comment on them here for you, including a synopsis in case you aren't familiar with them. 
 
Synopsis: In the distant post-apocalyptic future of 2013, a man (Kevin Costner) wanders around rural America with his ass (not Kevin Costner). He shuns civilization, but he's in need of food, and so he makes a living by performing a crude version of Shakespeare in the villages. He gets swept up by the evil General Bethlehem (Will Patton), who recruits him into his army. The man manages to escape and stumbles on the remains of a postman. He opts for a desperate gambit, pretending to be a postman of the "Restored United States" to get some food. It works way better than intended, and soon a fan founds a copycat enterprise that starts a revolution against Bethlehem, drafting the wayward Postman into it as a leading figure...

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Kevinography, part 5: Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves (1991)

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!

This is part 5 in a series in which, for reasons not really clear, I watch all watchable movies with Kevin Costner. And maybe even some unwatchable ones. I will then comment on them here for you, including a synopsis in case you aren't familiar with them. 
 
Synopsis: During the crusades, spoiled aristocrat Robin of Locksley gets captured and tortured by Saracens. During a break-out, he teams up with moor Azeem (Morgan Freeman) with whom he returns home to England, only to find out that the evil Sheriff of Notthingham (an absolutely scene-stealing Alan Rickman) burned down his home and killed his family. Trying to make good on his promise to protect the Lady Marian, he is driven into Sherwood Forest by the sherrif's goons. In the forest, he teams up with a band of outlaws and forges them into a fighting force that carries the fight back to the sheriff....

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Kevinography, part 4: "Waterworld" (1995)

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!

This is part 4 in a series in which, for reasons not really clear, I watch all watchable movies with Kevin Costner. And maybe even some unwatchable ones. I will then comment on them here for you, including a synopsis in case you aren't familiar with them. 
 
Synopsis: After the polar ice caps melted, the whole world is covered in water. The few survivors roughly divide between the inhabitants of artificial atolls, the nomadic Drifters and the ravenous Smokers. The unnamed Mariner, played by Costner, arrives at an Atoll only to be found out as a mutant who can breathe under water. His execution is short-circuited by an attack of the Smokers, who want to get their hands on a girl on whose back there's a tattoo allegedly showing the path to the fabled Dryland. Against his preferences, the lonely Mariner comes to care for the girl and her adoptive mom and protects them against the Smokers. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Kevinography, part 3: "Dances with Wolves" (1990)

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!

This is part 3 in a series in which, for reasons not really clear, I watch all watchable movies with Kevin Costner. And maybe even some unwatchable ones. I will then comment on them here for you, including a synopsis in case you aren't familiar with them. 
 
Synopsis: John Dunbar wants to see the West "before it's gone" and gets an assigment on the edge of nowhere. Arriving at his post, he has to realize no one is there. He settles into a life of solitude that gets disrupted by first contact with the local Sioux tribe. Dunbar tries to get to know them, and after initial hesitation, their medicine man "Kicking Bird" is also curious. Both sides come closer, leading to Dunbar essentially joining the tribe and marrying Kicking Bird's adopted daughter Stands-with-a-fist. The harmony is disturbed violently when the army comes back, incarcerating Dunbar for treason.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Kevinography, part 2: A Perfect World (1993)

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!

This is part 2 in a series in which, for reasons not really clear, I watch all watchable movies with Kevin Costner. And maybe even some unwatchable ones. I will then comment on them here for you, including a synopsis in case you aren't familiar with them.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Kevinography, part 1: "Open Range" (2003)

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!

This is part 1 in a series in which, for reasons not really clear, I watch all watchable movies with Kevin Costner. And maybe even some unwatchable ones. I will then comment on them here for you, including a synopsis in case you aren't familiar with them.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Rewatching Terminator

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!

Together with my wife, I rewatched all three Terminator movies (and isn't it really sad that they never made any more of these?). These are pretty old now. The first Terminator came out in 1984, the second in 1991 and the third in 2003. By the way, isn't it fascinating how much space lies between these? Unimaginable in the Hollywood of today, leaving a brand laying around like that. Aaaanywyay.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

A Dark Guide to Germany, season 3

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!
And for the final season of Netflix' Dark, I'll continue writing about stuff that seems to be typically German or somehow noteworthy in that context. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Activism in the 70s through the prism of prestige TV

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!

A month ago, Hulu's miniseries "Mrs America" about the fight against the Equal Rights Amendment concluded. To give a quick synopsis, in the 1970s, 35 of 38 states needed ratified the ERA so it could become part of the constitution and guarantee equal rights to women. The ratification seemed like a surefire process, but right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly more or less single-handedly turned the issue in a nasty partisan fight, a development that culminated in Ronald Reagan's election, the "conservative revolution" and a large backlash against liberal causes that arguably lasted until the Obama years.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Why you should watch Booksmart

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!
I'm not exactly the target audience when it comes to highschool comedies. I abhor American Pie, Road Trip, 10 Things I Hate About You and these kinds of movies, and the fact that I'm referencing the late 1990s should tell you everything you need to know. That's basically the last time I watched those. Even back then, as a horny teenager, I didn't get the appeal of this genre.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Joker analysis

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!
I finally got around to watching "Joker". I hadn't been keen on seeing it when it came out due to two reasons. One was that the trailers left me utterly cold, and then, after they hit, there was this instantly toxic discourse about it sparked by the director himself in a vainglorious attempt of self-aggrandizing and sparking a sales-boosting controversy. He succeeded in that, I am sad to report. But my wife was in cinema back then and liked the movie, and so we've taken the DVD release as an occasion for a movie night so she can show me the thing.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Tyrion and Cersei, parent ersatz

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!
Another thing that came to me while listening to NotACast's disection of ACOK Sansa III was the question of how the hell Joffrey could be reigned in by the two misfit siblings if they had actually had more ability for self-reflection and cooperation. It's a long shot, I know, but it reminds me of my BLAP about Tyrion and Tywin getting along. Yes, unlikely, and yes, it would be a different story, but how could they actually go about it if they were so inclined? 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Robb Stark attacks through the Ardennes with elephants

This post comes out of a series of writing I do on ASOIAF meta and other topics of popular culture over at the Patreon of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour. If you like to read stuff like this, chime in just 1$ and you get access to everything I write. If you throw in 2$, you even get access to the audio version. For 5$, you get access to the mini-podcasts I'm doing with illustrious co-hosts answering questions by listeners of the podcast. At 10$, you get exclusive access to the Boiled Leather Audio Conversation bonus podcasts. Give the Patreon a look!