Of quiet, brutal comedy and John Cusack

When I first started this blog I used to write about television regularly. Here’s a throwback to the olden days.

Something I have had time to do since leaving work is catch up on my film and TV viewing. Or maybe I’ve just felt like I’ve had time to do this as my mind has more free space than it has had in a while. Either way here’s what I’ve caught up on:

Parks and Recreation

I had never caught on to Parks and Recreation. I have been advised by quite a few people that the reason for this was I initially started with Season 1 some time go (months, years?) and it is no good. Unfortunately, I got no further. This was until I loaded all of season 2 on to my iPad to take overseas and there, in a little croft on the Scottish North Coast where there was no broadband reception I started with an episode. And after 2 or 3 I was hooked. I am now totally up to date and I think it is absolutely delightful television comedy.

The Office

With the summer free to air television schedule pretty much full of sport or rubbish I turned to the old DVD collection in search of something to watch. Enough time had passed since I last watched the UK version of The Office for me to whip through it again (Seasons 1 and 2 and the Christmas episodes). I adore it so much. It is genius. All those shots of the photocopier collating paper, and the nothingness of the open plan office are as wonderful as the concept itself. We forget how groundbreaking it was back in the day I think. And even though I love Steve Carell I cannot bring myself to watch the US version because Ricky Gervais is just so perfect.


I had only caught Portlandia in fits and starts when it was airing on TV. I liked it but I think it’s a series that bears binge-watching to catch on to the beauty of the characters and the quietly brutal comedy. Fred Armisen is one of new heroes.

All of this brings us to films.


Firstly, a confession. I have been unable to get on the Will Ferrell bandwagon. But, with Anchorman 2 being released I decided that I should finally catch up with the rest of the movie-viewing world and watch Anchorman. Apparently, it was a classic of some kind.

It is without apology that I say I watched the whole thing all the way through. I persevered waiting for the comedy lightning bolt to strike me. It didn’t. So I won’t be rushing to see the sequel any time soon.

Behind the Candlelabra

Poor old Michael Douglas. He of the sex addiction, the cancer and the separation from Catherine Zeta-Jones. I was interested to see his performance in this Liberace biopic. Again, I had trouble not fast-forwarding. It was all a bit slow-paced for me. Douglas was very good as was Matt Damon, but once you’d moved past being impressed with his portrayal of Liberace there really wasn’t that much to see or care about. Am I hard-hearted? You be the judge.

Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight

Sure, take away any Generation X credentials that I might have left but I had never seen Before Sunrise. What the hell I thought? So I watched these films over three evenings. I can see the appeal. There’s Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, there’s conversations about life, the universe and everything and there’s romance of a kind. I think the third film is the real payoff for the first two. What they have going for them is that somehow the time passes really quickly (I’m not a fan of extra long films…can you tell?) and the characters don’t overstay their welcome. Watch them all for Before Midnight.

School of Rock

Ok so this one is sort of cheating because I have seen it many times. But I just had to revisit it because I loved that Richard Linklater directed this AND the Before trilogy. And I adore Jack Black’s wicked, intense performance. And the kids in the band are super. And it ROCKS.

The Way Way Back

In a way I’m glad I watched Anchorman because it sent me on a search for Steve Carell films where he wasn’t playing a moron. This is a lovely film which was released last year with Toni Colette and Alison Janney, as well as some lovely teenage angst. The real star is Sam Rockwell who I didn’t think I’d seen before in any films but google advised me otherwise. It wasn’t perfect but it was perfectly watchable.

High Fidelity

John Cusack. That’s all you need to know really. And Jack Black playing essentially the same character he plays in School of Rock. But whatever.

John Cusack.


2 Responses to “Of quiet, brutal comedy and John Cusack”

  1. 2paw says:

    I have never hopped aboard the Will Ferrell band wagon either. I have had a huge DS9-fest. It is quite slow and I can watch it in 1/3 fast forward!! I have never seen High Fidelity, there is a song I know though. Glad you have time to enjoy some TV and film again.

  2. Wendy Davis says:

    It is nice to watch some TV and movies without feeling like I should be doing something else. I tried once more with Will Ferrell on the advice of my brother…still no good!
    I love it when I can get stuck into a TV series…sounds like fun 🙂

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