We saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi for a second time a while back, mainly because a large group of friends was going and we had most of the theater to ourselves, so it was sort of like a private screening. During my re-watching, I spotted a number of things that I’d missed the first time, but one in particular stood out…
Note: The remainder of this post is hidden behind a spoiler-hiding plug-in, as the subject being discussed is a major—really major—plot spoiler. This should keep it disguised both here on the site, and in the RSS feed. However, commenters may not disguise their comments, which means you may not want to scroll down at all if you haven’t seen the movie yet.
If you don’t want a major plot element revealed, don’t expand the hidden spoiler!
With 150 or so purchased movies over the years, these dupes make reading through the movie list quite annoying…
Finally annoyed enough to do something about it, I chatted with Apple Support this morning, and they quickly identified the cause…
Why are there two? iTunes is showing both 1080p and 720p versions of each movie (which also explains the size differences), so you can choose which to sync to an iOS device—you’ll save a bit of space with the 720p versions. That makes sense, though the way it’s handled seems quite odd and visually annoying.
To prevent this from happening in the future, iTunes support suggested I open iTunes’ prefs, go to Downloads, and make sure only the “Download full-size HD videos” box is checked (assuming you want HD). My iTunes had both that and the “Download high-quality SD videos” box checked, so I unchecked the SD box.
I don’t really understand how this will prevent the dupes from showing on future purchases, because my dupes are primarily all in the cloud, as noted by their icons, so I wouldn’t think this setting would help. But I won’t know until I purchase my next movie—changing the setting had no effect on existing duplicates.
But what about getting rid of the existing duplicates? That took a bit of trial and error, but this method seemed to work for me…
After hearing my The Committed podcast cohosts rave about Plex (a free media server), I thought I’d give it another shot: I’d tried a few months back, but because of the way I store my personal videos (using our own Usher app), it was going to be a big migration project, and I just never got into it. So today, I resolved to try again.
And today, I’m giving up again. I’ve spent the last few hours fighting Plex, and despite the awesomeness of the streaming (it *is* awesome), it’s just not worth the aggravation in configuration and setup—to me, of course. Plenty of others find it works just fine.
But for me, it doesn’t work at all, basically. Here’s a short list of some of the things that bother me about Plex…
* No, not really. Not even close. But the President’s speech in Independence Day is perhaps corniest, most over-the-top movie speech ever given. And as such, it’s a good basis for this bit of Star Wars: The Force Awakens corny, over-the-top speechmaking…
Good morning. In less than four hours, people from this household will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest opening weekend for a movie in the history of cinema. You, Star Wars Fans, will be doing it.
Star Wars Fans—those words should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our dislike of Episodes One through Three. We will be united in our love of the one Original Trilogy.
Perhaps it’s fate that today is a Saturday, and you will once again be having an amazing weekend, not being subject to the tyranny of one man’s horribly wrong vision of the prequels. You will have freedom from the annihilation of the Original Trilogy through misguided editing.
We’re watching for our right to be entertained, to believe in The Force.
And should we all enjoy the movie, this Saturday will no longer be known as a simple weekend day, but as the day when the world declared in one voice:
“We will not be forced to watch the prequels! We will not endure any more Jar Jar Binks! We’re going to live on; we’re going to survive the prequel era!”
Today, we celebrate our Force Awakens day!
And with that, I’m off to see a little movie this morning.
Noises Off (1992) is a movie adaptation of a farcical stage play about the production of a stage play. The camera moves freely between front stage and back stage, so you get to see both what the audience sees, and the behind-the-scenes action the audience will usually never see. (The movie’s name is taken from a theater term for sounds produced offstage, and there are plenty of those in the movie.)
Just watching the movie, it’s fairly obvious that it would work better as a play (because of the layout of the set and the nature of the humor). But this movie is an entertaining and (according to those who’ve seen the play) faithful adaptation of the play.
The cast is loaded with recognizable names and faces, including Carol Burnette, Michael Caine, Marilu Henner, Julie Hagerty, Mark Linn-Baker, Nicollette Sheridan, and the too-early-gone John Ritter and Christopher Reeve. They’re all quite funny to watch, and the timing amongst them is (and has to be) spot on for the movie to work. Thankfully, the timing is spot-on, leading to many humorous moments.
The movie follows the stage troupe working on their play, starting with rehearsals and opening in Iowa, traipsing through various other small towns, and finishing up with the big opening night on Broadway. Along the way, we get to watch as the group teeters on the brink of disaster, each night’s show bringing a fresh crisis. Whether it’s an alcoholic old-timer or relationship issues between some of the actors, there’s always something going on to disrupt the play’s normal flow. Many scenes stand out, but there’s one involving bottles of alcohol, flowers, and hijinks among the actors that leaves me laughing every time.
Sadly, this oldie hasn’t been remastered for Blu-Ray, nor is it available for legal streaming on any of the services I checked. That leaves just the Amazon DVD, or “alternative solutions” if you’re interested in watching some great actors have a lot of fun with a unique concept. Well worth watching, and probably not a movie style you’ve seen done before.
L.A. Story (1991) is one of my favorite Steve Martin movies, due primarily to its hilarious overgeneralization of the California lifestyle (but the story and performances are both also quite good).
Steve plays Harris Telemacher, a TV weatherman who spends most of his time doing comedy instead of weather because, hey, this is LA, and the weather never changes! Things are going great, until Harris loses his job. This causes a period of introspection, in which he gets assistance from a “talking” (by way of customized messages) freeway sign.
During Harris’ journey, you’ll experience number of jokes (both verbal and visual) about the California/LA lifestyle. These will be even more humorous if you know the city and its peculiar customs. As my dad lived in LA for a number of years, I found the movie spot-on in a number of its over-the-cop characterizations of the city.
Steve Martin wrote the film, and both he and the supporting cast are wonderful. Marilu Henner plays his cheating girlfriend, Sarah Jessica Parker is a stereotypical “valley girl,” and Victoria Tennant (Steve’s real-world wife at the time) has a great role as tuba-playing British journalist.
If you’ve never seen it, and you’re familiar at all with the “California lifestyle,” L.A. Story is well worth a watching. (At the time of this writing, the movie doesn’t seem to be available on Blu-ray; however, both iTunes and Amazon streaming have the HD version.)
A Fish Called Wanda (1988) is an entertaining movie (wonderfully written by John Cleese) with an all-star cast (Cleese, Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin). The movie starts with the gang pulling off a jewel heist, and from there, it quickly evolves into a tale of double-crossing and trickery as each member of the gang tries to outwit the other to steal the loot.
I won’t go into the plot more than the above; it’s more fun to watch when you don’t have any idea what happens. I will add that the scene in the barrister’s house involving the necklace is 15 minutes of pure comic mayhem. The cast all do a great job, but Kevin Kline really steals the show with his performance as, well, you’ll have to watch.
One minor note: the humor here is clearly adult, so send the kiddies off to bed before starting the show.
The Princess Bride (1987) tells the tale of a stable-boy-turned-pirate’s journey to rescue the love of his life; it’s based on the 1973 book of the same name.
The film touches on almost every subject imaginable, including pirates, princesses, sword fighting, adventure travel, large evil creatures, good guys and bad guys, true love, death, giants, and even logic-based drinking games. In short, this is not your average kids’ fairy tale—and because it’s not your average fairy tale, it’s a very fun and interesting movie.
There are many wonderfully quotable lines and short tidbits of dialog (You may have heard the most-oft-repeated one: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” … but there are many others. I suggest you not visit that link until after you’ve seen the movie, though; there are many spoilers in that collection.)
The cast includes a number of faces you’ll recognize, even if you don’t recall their names—I found Mandy Patinkin, as the aforementioned Inigo Montoya, particularly entertaining. Cary Elwes, Chris Sarandon and even the late great André the Giant also do a fine job with their roles. Peter Falk narrates (I could listen to that voice all day), in his role as a grandfather telling this tale to his grandson, played by 11-year-old Fred Savage.
It’s hard to describe everything you’ll experience in this movie, but it’s worth experiencing. So if you’ve been avoiding it (thinking perhaps it was just another kids’ film), stop doing so, and give it a look. If you have seen it, but not lately, perhaps it’s time to renew your acquaintance? That’s what I did over the weekend, in fact.
I cannot recall the first time I saw Real Genius (1985), but it wasn’t in the theater.
Whenever it was, the movie made enough of an impression that it became one of my fave comedies—something that’s still true today. I owned it on VHS, I own it on DVD, and if it comes out on Blu-ray, I’ll probably buy that, too. (I noticed while writing this that the iTunes version is listed as HD, so I may have to invest in that one.)
The cast is a bunch of names you’ve never heard of, except for a very young Val Kilmer. The plot centers on two geniuses at a college, working together on a laser project that just happens to have military applications.
There are any number of hilarious mini sub-plots running through the movie, and Val Kilmer is very funny as the older genius at the college. Toss in a guy living in the basement below the closet, a lottery fix, a sexy woman on a mission, ice skating in a dorm hallway, and a slew of one-liners, and you’ve got a recipe for a very entertaining 108 minutes of movie fun. Thought provoking? No. Well-developed plot? Not so much. But fun? Yea, it’s got that to spare.
Many of you reading this probably weren’t born when it came out in 1985, or were way too young to have seen it at the time. If so, and if you haven’t seen it since, well, you’re missing out on what has to be the funniest “newspaper reporter as undercover druggie selected for murder-for-hire scheme which turns into something much bigger” movies ever made. OK, so it may be the only entrant in that category; it’s still funny.
Chevy Chase plays Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher, who writes an anonymous column on various subjects for a Los Angeles paper. While undercover investigating drug dealing on the beach, he’s offered $50,000 to kill an apparently-healthy, and very wealthy, man.
Suspicions aroused, Fletch starts digging, and what he finds takes him to an upscale country club, to police headquarters and prison, and to and from Utah (a couple of times). The plot line is tenuous (at best), but Chevy Chase carries the movie (yes, I said that) through a series of funny scenarios, improbable disguises, and seemingly ad-libbed dialog. Be warned that if you don’t like deadpan, sardonic humor (i.e. Chevy Chase), you probably won’t like this movie.
The movie is filled with great one-liners, visual gags, and the cast includes George Wendt (then just three years into Cheers) and Geena Davis (in only her second movie role). There’s also a brief but fun cameo from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, recreating his most-famous movie role.