Tuesday, September 21, 2004


I’ve decided not to talk too much about the third movie I saw this weekend – Waco: Rules of Engagement. Suffice it to say it hails from the great tradition of one-sided documentaries that are made as deprogramming exercises to (also one sided) popular public perception. The problem is, after being spoiled by really ambitious fully fleshed out documentaries like “Capturing the Freidmans” that aren’t afraid to raise questions they might not be able to answer, I wanted this to address the really hard questions that were implied, but ignored (such as did the ATF push a raid instead of an inspection because they wanted to find something more than just guns – evidence of child abuse, for instance - and, even though this was clearly out of their jurisdiction, would this be right or wrong/legal or illegal if the local government was looking the other way intentionally?). It does raise some interesting questions, though, and does make the FBI look like the FB-CYA.

Some TV notes:

CSI MIAMI 3.1: When the predicted death occurred, I told my wife that that was my favorite character. She said I’m the only person in the world for whom that’s true, as the person in question was boring and not working properly in the show. I thought there was something sort of enigmatic about them: relatively quiet, hints of a Spartan existence, guilt about having an easy life, an odd tendency to attract porn stars (not kidding – women were strangely attracted to this person in this show at odd moments). I need to learn how to use inviso-text so I can talk about these things easier. This episode was typical of the standard quality level for the show established in the first two seasons.

LAS VEGAS 2.2: Thank god! Its like 2.1 never happened, and we’re back to the non-stop brea…fun. I mean fun. Danny is magically cured of his PTSD! Good Las Vegas filmed scenes with this one, even if they were walking in the wrong direction (the Monteceto has been established as south of the Tropicana across Las Vegas Bvd from the Luxor via many CGI shots, now, so there is no reason to cross to the MGM Grand from NY, NY – it would require going over the strip and back for no reason). But by now, travel down the Strip with the hotels in the wrong order is practically a trope (see: “Beavis an Buthead do America” for a particularly flagrant example). This is another show that looks to continue its healthy quality level plateau (in this case mounted in the last third of last season).

TWO AND A HALF MEN 2.1: Nice use of cameos. Elvis Costello taking notes on Sean Penn’s sex life for a song was quite funny. Harry Dean Stanton “they say you’re as young as you feel…and I feel like boiled crap.” Sitcom competition is extremely weak nowadays, and this moderately funny one turns out to be one of the better ones on the air (in a thin field) as a result. My wife makes me watch it.

LOST 1.1: I saw the pilot at the comic-con, and though it was one of the most impressive first episodes I have ever seen. This Lord of the Flies meets Land of the Lost via Swiss Family Robinson effort surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. It premieres Wed., so give it a try. This is a JJ Abrams (Alias) show.

I’ll try to tackle BIG BROTHER after the finale, but I will say that this was the second best season after BB3, and I predicted the two ultimate game masters (Nikomas and Drew) in the second week.


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