Olympic Opening Ceremonies

I love the UK. It’s my home away, really, and I go back as often as I can. So I really wanted to like the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics, but I just couldn’t.

I’m not sure what went wrong for me, exactly. If I had to guess, I’d say it was a lot of little things, like a lack of unison on the choreography—from what I saw, things that should have been done in time were a bit sloppy. I realize it’s extremely difficult to manage that many people doing something all together, but . . . I don’t know. It was just off somehow.

Too, I think the broadcasting and editing did the show a disservice. Better camera angles might have made the whole of it seem more impressive. As it was, I went to bed disappointed. Though Her Majesty was a good sport about allowing herself to be co-opted, even if she appeared a tad severe whenever the camera turned her way. And the Rowan Atkinson bit was funny.

It will be difficult for me to keep up with the Olympics the way I’d like, what with being on the West Coast at the moment. And there’s only the one television in the house besides. I’m not at the point where I love watching any of these things on my computer, either. Though if I get desperate enough . . . Well, and I can always go out to my sports club and watch while getting in a workout. I’ll never be an Olympian, but I can at least be fit.

Mister Frost

There was, many years ago, a Jeff Goldblum movie titled Mister Frost. It was an understated little flick, something I’m pretty sure only I, my best friend, and my father ever saw. And we didn’t see it in the cinema, no, it was something we found as a rental, back in the day.

Jeff Goldblum plays the title character, a serial murderer who might or might not actually be Satan. The bulk of the film (as I recall it; it’s been so many years since I’ve seen it) takes place in a mental institution where Frost terrorizes a psychiatrist played by Kathy Baker. The movie had lots of those terrible lines that are fun to quote. One of them came early on when Frost is found working in his yard. I can’t remember the exact context, but a visitor (he’s still at home at this point) asks him about something, and he answers in that offhanded, Jeff Goldblum kind of way: “Oh, the bodies. I was just burying them as you were walking up.”

That may not be the exact quote, but you get the gist. Later on Frost tells Baker’s character: “. . . But soon . . . Soon you’ll be on my side of the mirror.” It’s a dumb line, yeah, but Goldblum has made a career of delivering dumb lines quite well.

Like The Prophecy (which I talk a bit about here), Mister Frost is no great film, but I still like it. In both cases they got the right actors, which is key. Both Goldblum here and Walken in The Prophecy are spot on. Playing to type, sure, but a lot of actors build decent careers that way. They do the kinds of things they (a) know they’re good at (i.e., their strengths), and (b) know their fans, such as they are, will want to see.

Then again, sometimes actors take roles because the part is not a challenge and therefore an easy paycheck. And/or they have holes in their schedules to fill. Or nothing else in the offing. Or the movie sounded better on paper. Or it’s a director or co-star they’ve wanted to work with. Or they’re just bored.

And sometimes actors get offered roles not because they’re the best fit but because no one else would touch it.

Ah, Hollywood. Every movie tells a story—even if some of those stories are not very good or are not told very well—and behind every movie is another long story of how it got made.

Revisiting Sherlock

I’ve been e-mailed and asked by a few readers if I’m ever going to post my thoughts about Series (Season) One of BBC’s Sherlock. I had posted quite extensive coverage of Series Two (see below) but never much about the first series for the simple reason that this site began well after that had aired. So I don’t really see much point, though I’m happy to discuss anything about the show anyone cares to bring up.

For those catching up, here is a list of links to the posts about Series Two. I apologize in advance that it’s a bit of a rabbit’s hole of information:

The reason for the labyrinth of links is that I viewed the episodes when they aired in the UK, and then again when they aired in the US, so there were a number of pulse points to cover and different readers from different places to accommodate, &c. So everything is a bit disjointed, and some of it is repetitive besides, but if you’re willing to swim through it, I’m happy to chat about it—anything that’s there or anything I might have missed, and certainly anything about Series One as well.

A Torch for Torchwood

I finally got around to watching that Torchwood: Children of Earth series. I had enjoyed Miracle Day, but I think Russell T. Davies does best when writing more tightly; at five episodes, Children of Earth was definitely more intense than Miracle Day.

I have to also say, I think Russell T. Davies has it all over Stephen Moffat, hands down. Davies can sell the horror and the pathos in a way that works. Children of Earth was honestly scary at moments. And touching at others, too, without it feeling manipulative and forced. Moffat likes to go on Twitter and into interviews with this idea that he’s so clever. He promises people will be frightened by this or crying at that. I’ve yet to have that happen with anything he’s written or produced. He has talent, I suppose, but Davies wins for sensibilities.

I would like to see more Torchwood, but Davies is dealing with personal issues at the moment, and I wish him well on that front. His work is worth waiting for in any case.

More on “St. Peter in Chains” & some K-Pro

Fellow writer Christine Rains will be posting her review of “St. Peter in Chains” on her site on Tuesday. The following Monday, July 9, she’ll publish an interview with yours truly. Thanks, Christine, for the awesome hospitality!

Now to focus on The K-Pro. I’ve given myself a deadline of July 31 to finish the draft. I’m not sure yet how realistic that actually is since lately I’ve felt kind of flat when it comes to writing, but I’m sure as hell gonna try. I sometimes forget that a draft is just that: a draft. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It won’t be. But if I want to try Camp NaNo in August, I need The K-Pro to be done first.

Tidbits

Have a couple script treatments to write, but with my office not even half unpacked and sorted I totally don’t feel like it. My physical space isn’t right, so my mental space isn’t right, either. Gah.

Wondering what I thought of Frankenstein? Wonder no longer: my thoughts are here.

And if you’re wondering what I think of Matchbox Twenty’s “She’s So Mean” you can read a short musing on it here.

Now I am off to continue excavating, and to possibly even do some work (namely writing).

Summary: “The Reichenbach Fall”

And so of course I must post my various thoughts on the final episode of Sherlock Series 2:

  1. Initial Thoughts
  2. Talking Points
  3. Sneak Peek at “The Empty Flat”

Additional considerations:

Let me get clear on the series of events I’m expected to believe have led us to this pass: (a) Mycroft and Co. (including the American CIA agent?) snared Moriarty off the streets in pursuit of the technological skeleton key they believed he was in possession of. (b) To tempt Moriarty to talk, Mycroft fed Moriarty’s obsession with Sherlock by slipping him tidbits of personal information about his little brother. (c) And even though Moriarty failed to give them the key—and showed only signs of growing psychosis—they released him back onto the streets . . . Where Moriarty would use the myth of the key to target Sherlock and surround him with assassins, and use the information gathered from Mycroft to discredit Sherlock and force him to suicide.

I won’t bother to point out all the problems with this. Instead I’ll only ask: What was Mycroft’s actual goal? And is he working against or with his brother?*

Meanwhile, if James Moriarty were a fiction, wouldn’t that have been discovered during the court proceedings? Due diligence and such?

And why would John, who tag teamed with Mycroft during “Scandal,” suddenly find Mycroft’s request that John keep an eye on Sherlock so ridiculous? Particularly when faced with evidence of so many assassins on their doorstep? Not that John has ever really needed prompting to take care of his frequently errant flat mate.

I found some of the edits to the American broadcast a bit strange, too. Removing the music from the scene in which Moriarty visits Sherlock (in the version that aired in the UK, Moriarty’s tapping was set to the Bach he later references on the rooftop)? The UK cut also gave the distinct impression that Sherlock was more on top of things than the American one—after all, even if Sherlock is being a bit slow, he’s had ample time while waiting at Bart’s to sort out the fact that there is no key, as Moriarty’s binary spells out (why does Moriarty say it was “meaningless” I wonder?). There were a number of other odd differences, like the omission of Mycroft reading the paper featuring Sherlock’s suicide, but the lack of music cue in the one scene was the most glaring.

Way to economize on the headstone, Mycroft! I suppose you figure to put the actual dates on later, when your brother is actually dead? Reduce, reuse, recycle.

And how long has Sherlock been hanging around the cemetery? And to what purpose? Just to see who shows up for a “visit”?

As an aside, can we get Benedict some shirts that fit next season? These ones pull funny at the buttons and leave me to wonder whether John shrank the laundry.

*A theory in Mycroft working against Sherlock: If we posit that Jim really IS just an actor, and that Mycroft has hired him (and later tormented him into insanity, whee!) . . . And that Irene was also an actress hired by Mycroft . . . And that Mycroft [and the government] is working with these CIA agents . . . Molly escapes being targeted because Mycroft does not perceive any true affection for her from Sherlock . . . And Mycroft’s people clean up Moriarty’s body before the police arrive . . . Yeah, maybe that could work.

Summary: “Hounds of Baskerville”

Since I viewed this episode a couple times in January, I’m posting the links to my original thoughts here:

  1. First Thoughts
  2. Some Other Considerations

After another viewing this evening, I find any logic you attempt to hang on the episode falls apart pretty quickly. Still, a cute story if you don’t think too hard about it.

As an aside: if Sherlock took the case because of Henry’s use of the word “hound” . . . But then everyone in the area refers to it as a “hound” anyway . . . Do they call it a hound because that’s what Henry called it? Something doesn’t quite jive there, sort of like an uneven fault line.

I do have a slight problem with Sherlock’s use of “disorientate” as well, which I know appears in dictionaries, but “disorient” is generally preferred and what’s more seems like a better choice for someone who (a) has shown himself to be a stickler for grammar (though I understand the use of “disorientate” does not exactly overstep the bounds), and (b) tends to be succinct in thought and speech.

Also, missed opportunity to show whether Sherlock snores and keeps John awake. (I know they didn’t get a double, but the Cross Keys was busy and full enough they must have shared a twin room, right?)