A week in film – week 39

Right: I’ll get the repeat viewings out of the way first. In a frankly day-making turn of events, I found season one of The O.C. in CeX for 2 quid, so I’ve been barrelling through that this week. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I think The O.C. (or at least the early seasons – I’ve only seen the first two) is one of the greatest teen shows ever made, and I stand by that. It hasn’t dated particularly, apart from the technology and that line in the New Year’s episode where someone says that there are ‘only a few days left of 2003’, which leaves you questioning your age. The situations are still pretty unlikely, but they certainly aren’t unlikely situations confined to the early 2000s. I have moments where I love and moments when I (at the very least) strongly dislike most of the characters, which isn’t too unlike how I feel about most actual people. At this stage in the story – midway through the season – I could happily watch episodes just of the Cohens in a room talking because I like that family dynamic so much. I know that it goes a bit wobbly at some point down the line but, right now, I am enjoying it A LOT.

Still, this boxed set investment was completely unintentional, and has actually distracted me from getting into a new show. The day before I bought it I’d started to watch Friday Night Lights, which is one of those shows that gets rave reviews but completely passed me by. If you don’t know what it’s about, I’ve gleaned from the two episodes that I’ve seen so far that it’s about the lives of the coach of a high school football team, the team’s players, and the people connected to them. This is so hinged on an understanding that high school sport – in this case, American football in Texas – is SO HUGE that everyone in the town has some opinion on it, that at first I genuinely found it so baffling that I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t unusual. Then again, I was surprised by just how much I wanted to know what was going to happen to everyone when the episode ended. It’s a bit of a bummer that I got so distracted by another show so early on, because I hadn’t had time to get into it enough before I stopped. I did like what I saw, though, so I know I’ll come back to it.

There have been a couple of cinema trips this week too, which would bear mentioning even if I wasn’t writing a post about everything I’d watched in the week. First up was Bill, from the team who made the Horrible Histories series for the BBC. I still haven’t seen that series (I will, one day) but that has no real bearing on anything so I’m not entirely sure it even needed mentioning. Oh well. Anyway, I liked Bill A LOT, and judging by the amount the people around us were laughing, others did as well. It was completely silly and packed with jokes, so even if one fell a bit flat (though I can’t remember that happening often) another would be along soon enough. I refuse to spoil any on here, because it would definitely ruin your fun and would obviously work better if you were seeing it. Which, if you’ve got any interest in having a laugh, you should.

Everest, though, was sort of laughable in a very different sense. I really don’t like saying that because I know it’s based on a true story, which – spoiler alert for an incident which was in the news about twenty years ago – has a tragic ending. I was also reading an Empire feature about it yesterday and I got the sense of how much work was put into it. Despite all that, though, I just don’t think it was very good. The script felt stilted, and I was so annoyed by a group of brilliant actresses reduced to playing Woman on Phone – even if I think Keira Knightley gave my favourite performance of the film. No character felt particularly developed, and resolution (a weird thing to think of in a real life story, but preferable in a film) was lacking. Still, the visuals were good, and when I got used to the 3D it didn’t bother me that much. I was just frustrated that what could have been a respectful story of a group of people who attempted to climb Everest felt so awkward, and why a film which could have asked some genuinely interesting questions about why things happened in such a way barely even mentioned them, let alone asked any.

These cinema trips, though, might have faded a little bit more in the memory by next week…because The Martian comes out. Prepare yourselves.


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