Turbo blog

Those with short attention spans rejoice! I’m low on time this week, so I’m keeping it snappy with a handful of snippets.

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  • 3rd Rock from the Sun (1990s)

Working through it all over again. As good as ever. Pluses: baby Joseph Joseph Joseph.

  • movie: Kid (Disney schmaltz), 2000

Watchable, harmless couch fluff. Pluses: Bruce Willis being suave, and a funny fat kid.

  • Stranger than Fiction (2006)

Funny and clever. Win. Have never liked Will Ferrell but he does a great job in this. Win. Also, movie has Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman. Win, win, win. Also, is about literature and baked goods. ALL THE WINS.

  • Hope Springs (2012)

Entirely watchable, but don’t bother seeing it at the movies. Funny but cringey. Would be worthless without Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones (who plays his usual crusty old bugger with an intimacy problem).

  • Easy A (2010)

I know, I’m so behind the rest of the world. Fun, with racy dialogue and a Mean Girls-ish flavour. Highlights: Emma Stone is nice to look at, and one of her adorably dotty parents is Stanley Tucci who even The Lovely Bones couldn’t stop me trusting.

  • Body Melt (1993)

My partner – let’s call him the Ministry of Magic – had a birthday so watched this as a gift to him, cause he’s been talking about it for ages. Worth watching just to see various Blue Heelers cast members and Harold from Neighbours being younger, but still wobbly-jowled. Also, of course, for the bodies melting. Would make a great drinking game.

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The Newsroom (Season 1, 2012)

This morning, on my beloved ABC 720AM, Ross Solly won my eternal esteem (well, he already pretty much had it) by mentioning Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom on the air.
The finale of this series has just shown and it was rockin’, as has been the rest of the series.
If you’ve seen The West Wing, you’ll know the format: talky, clever, breathlessly paced, funny and topical as all get-out.
The first episode deals with the Deep Horizon disaster, so it’s a fascinating thing to watch fictional, idealised news coverage of real, and not-so-long-ago, events.
I won’t name them all, because I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who are HOPELESSLY BACKWARD: but suffice it to say, The Newsroom covers it all.
And it is idealistic. It’s a look at how the news could be, not in a perfect world, but in brave one where the purveyors are ready to risk their ratings, their necks and their jobs to get it right, keep it ethical, and not report news that ain’t news just because it’s what the rednecks expect to be fed.
It values truth over balance, a shocking idea for those of us in the business who’ve been taught the maxim that you’ve got to give the opposide side of an argument the same airspace… even when it’s totally, hopelessly dumbarse.
Needless to say, it’s like manna from heaven to a little journo who hasn’t quite forgotten all those uni ethics lessons, and it still a little bruised from the quick, hard lessons that ethical guidelines are really very hard to follow in the real world of zero money and zero time.
So, just as I salivate over The West Wing, I have salivated over every episode of The Newsroom.
Jeff Daniels was born to play the lead, and the Ministry and I have immediately formed deep attachments to the other characters too, already bestowing upon them all manner of nicknames and expectations.
I have heard tell it is viewed by some as sexist, but when following these accusations to their sources (as best I can) I think people think of Aaron Sorkin himself as sexist and are mainly applying this view to his other works, especially The Social Network.
I don’t see it, personally, and I’m one whose hackles often rise when a woman’s not given any cool job in a show or movie except to look pretty.
Sometimes the newsroom women act silly, but they’re not represented as less clever than the men, who often look pretty silly themselves.
I think the show represents the real world. And you know what? The real world is a bit sexist.
Any show worth its salt should represent how things really are, not how they should be.
It’s just like how the show doesn’t try to make it look like reporting the news without fear or favour is easy or always possible.
It’s the real world, Sorkin-style… by which I mean, crazily accelerated and reliably addictive.
FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS.

Man Stroke Woman (2005)

British comedy sketch show is more or less it.

But I like this! Is good! Stars, among other most excellently comedic people, Nick Frost, the guy who was in Shaun of the Dead (among other things).

And just ridiculous enough to please those of a slightly sadistic bent who like things like Shaun of the Dead, The IT Crowd, or Black Books.

Disclaimer: So far, I’ve only watched the first episode.

Turbo blog

Presenting my guide to what I’ve been consuming recently. You’ll be happy to know I’m not including foodstuffs. I don’t want anyone to know these. 

  • Parrot and Olivier in America (Peter Carey, 2009)

Sadly, the picture of the cover is not that of the incredibly DROOLINGLY HANDSOME BLACK LEATHER-BOUND WITH STAMPED TITLE LIMITED EDITION SIGNED BY AUTHOR WITH RED RIBBON BOOKMARK copy that I have been reading. But I can’t really take a photo that will showcase its beauty.

I haven’t finished this yet. But as his novels get bigger and weirder, the more I love them. Even if you start a Peter Carey book thinking “oh, this is set in a place/time/culture that I know” you will soon leave your own realities far, far behind, scrabbling for footholds in Carey’s completely unique universe. No two books are the same, except for his reliably amazing writing, and – so far – this one has not disappointed. It’s talked about By Jennifer Byrne and the team on the ABC’s First Tuesday Book Club Christmas Special, 5/12/10. Watch the video here: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/firsttuesday/

  • SAS: The Search for Warriors. Two-Part Documentary: Military History, 2010 

For the first time in 25 years the SAS has allowed documentary photography. The resulting two-hour-ish experience spread over two episodes is unrelenting, adrenaline-filled, clear-your-schedule viewing and should not be missed. Whether you’re a military history devotee or absolutely not, you have my personal guarantee that you will be fascinated by every solitary minute of this deeply impressive and thought-provoking doco. Watch it here: http://www.sbs.com.au/documentary/program/sasthesearchforwarriors

  • Independence Day. Movie: Science Fiction/Action, 1996

Once again, the L.A.P.D. is asking Los Angelenos not to fire their guns at the visitor spacecraft. You may inadvertently trigger an interstellar war.

You can’t go wrong with this movie. You need to watch this intermittently throughout the whole of your adult life to retain top mental functioning and psychological health. An admirable choice for your Boxing Day stupors, now and in the future.