Although the posts about movies have been less frequent, I continue to see a number of good movies. I won’t say much about two documentaries — Weather Underground and Arguing the World — since I wrote about them elsewhere. But the Mrs. and I did enjoy these a great deal and have continued to discuss them on different occasions.
In the theater a couple weeks ago — while in Chattanooga — I went out to a late night showing the The Master. I know McMark didn’t like this and I can understand why. P. T. Anderson has made another under-narrated movie that has the feel of There Will Be Blood — a story of unclear progression and ambiguous import — which is a reason to like Anderson’s defiance of Hollywood conventions. Plus, since I am a fan of both Anderson and one of the movie’s stars, Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master gets at least three stogies from Old Life.
This past weekend the Mrs. and I went to see Argo, Ben Afflick’s latest (in which he bears his chest to the female viewers’ delight). It is very good and works on a variety of levels. The inside Hollywood dimension, which features great performances by John Goodman and Alan Arkin, could carry the movie by itself. But the story about the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis is well handled and evokes for this middle-aged boomer some painful memories of a terrible period in U.S. history. And how often does Hollywood make a pro-CIA movie? (My wife and I thought Argo could be well paired with Three Days of the Condor and Burn After Reading.) An additional benefit is the way Argo movie indirectly highlights Turkey’s remarkable success as a Muslim society that embraced secularity and republican government and managed to hold on. Obviously, Iran did not follow a similar trajectory.
Finally, the Harts said a painful so-long to Dr. Paul Weston, the therapist featured in In Treatment. It looks like the series concludes with the third season. This is understandable in some ways because the pattern of weekly sessions with patients is hard to sustain as a recognizable narrative. The natural sequel would be a series that simply follows the life of Weston, played well by Gabriel Byrne. But to see Weston struggle through his vocation with another set of clients in a fourth season would have diminishing returns. Even so, it was a very good series and once again confirms the superiority of HBO in producing first-rate television.