Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

What We’re Watching – Briefly

We could hardly wait to recover enough from jet lag to sit down and watch the final season of The Wire Season 5, generously loaned to us by our son. This season focused on newspaper coverage, how they choose what to run, how newspapers are changing and how they influence city management and police work.

It was a hoot.

McNulty, in the face of huge budget cuts, damaging Baltimore city police morale, creates a “serial killer” using bodies which actually died a natural death. From the beginning, you find yourself saying “No! McNulty, No!” it is just so blatantly self-destructive, so destined for exposure, but, as many con-jobs do, it succeeds brilliantly for a short while, with unexpected assistance from a journalist who builds his own coverage on a fictional phone call he claims to receive from the serial killer. Meanwhile, we follow the familiar faces on the streets, and think often of what our son has said – in law enforcement, the good guys aren’t always that good and the bad guys aren’t always that bad.


At the end of the last episode, they tie things together and show us a glimpse of where the characters we have grown to love end up with their lives. It is a brilliant series, one of the best we have ever watched. If you have never followed The Wire, we suggest you start with Season 1 and work your way to Season 5, so you get the fullest picture.

This weekend, we watched four movies:

Burn After Reading
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Charlie Wilson’s War

I was really looking for Valkyrie and Australia, but the DVD guy says he hasn’t gotten good copies yet.

Twilight – based on a series of book very popular with readers about vampires, at first we thought the movie was pretty bad, but camp. We watched the whole thing. There were moments of good writing, but overall – if you have ever seen True Blood, which has the same Romeo & Juliet premise, breeching the moral barrier between human and vampire, how can two so unalike find true love, etc. . . True Blood is funnier, has better writing. Twilight is interesting, though, and ties in other interesting legends, American Indian, etc.

Burn After Reading – We really like many of the Coen brother’s films, especially Fargo, but we found this one had few of those golden moments and a lot of boring boring boring. Oh well.

The Day the Earth Stood Still – I have always loved science fiction, the way it takes the long view, so I was interested to see how this re-make would do. It was ok – good. We enjoyed the movie, which had some great moments, and makes it’s point – when pushed to the precipice, we CAN change. It had a lot of drama.

Charlie Wilson’s War – Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, golden combination, in how the US got involved supporting mujeheddin against the Russians in Afghanistan. It was an interesting movie. Had many funny moments, so funny you know it probably had an element of real life, as the ridiculous pops up so often – or it does in my life (how about yours?) I was left wondering, though, if anyone ever really succeeds in Afghanistan, and if we haven’t overstayed our usefullness to the Afghanis.

Not a really great movie in the bunch. It’s a good thing we have good books to read. 🙂

January 2, 2009 - Posted by | Entertainment, ExPat Life, Law and Order


  1. I loved Charlie Wilson’s war. I found Tom Hanks character so naive sometimes! I think that the movie explains why we now have problems in Afghanistan. Thoughts?

    Comment by Q8Dutchie | January 2, 2009 | Reply

  2. Australia isn’t out on DVD yet–juat left the theaters a couple of weeks ago. Valkyrie was just released in the theaters last week so it will be a while. We are going to see it today–will let you know what we think. The Wire is the best! It seems very strange to see those actors popping up on new series because they were so good in their characters. Some really fine unknowns made their mark.

    Comment by momcat | January 2, 2009 | Reply

  3. Have you ever read James Michener’s Caravan’s the Bookseller of Kabul, Kite Runner, or any other literature featuring Afghanistan? Did you ever watch The Man Who Would Be King? My thoughts – trying to occupy Afghanistan when we are no longer welcome, when the government is no longer bothering to hide it’s primarily self-seeking (as opposed to nation-building, seeking the greater good) character – it’s a losing game. The old line goes – no one has successfully occupied Afghanistan since Alexander the Great. And if I remember, Alexander died really young, like age 30 something. I don’t think we are welcome any more. It’s hard to make a positive difference when the country doesn’t want what you are offering. My heart breaks for the women of Afghanistan.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 2, 2009 | Reply

  4. LOL, Momcat – In Saudi Arabia, the movies came out on DVD BEFORE they showed up in the theatres. Bad copies – heads poking up in the theatres, sometimes garbled sound . . . really, really bad!

    Have you watched all 5 seasons of The Wire?

    Any new recommendations?

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 2, 2009 | Reply

  5. I don’t know if I clarified my point, my brain was not working that early in the morning!

    I think that the last 5 minutes of the movie explains why we have the problems today in Afghanistan. I personally believe that if the US Government had spent time after the war doing some basic nation building (and I mean that in the constructive sense) that we would not be in there today.

    I have read the Kite Runner.

    Comment by Q8Dutchie | January 2, 2009 | Reply

  6. Q8Dutchie, I think you are right, and I don’t know what can be done to make things work now. Afghanistan fascinates me . . . I’ve always wanted to visit. Iran, too. . . places I wonder if I will ever be able to go. . .

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 2, 2009 | Reply

  7. I saw Valkyrie today. It was surprisingly good. Tom Cruise underplayed allowing the character to come thru. The supporting cast included some of the best British actors out there. We really enjoyed it. Yes, I have seen all of the seasons of The Wire. Remember, I grew up an hour away from Baltimore. I am watching Damages on your recommendation. Glenn Close plays the best hard assed women characters! I also am watching Criminal Minds and waiting for the last season of The Shield to come out. I enjoyed the first season of Army Wives–waiting for the second season on DVD. Haven’t decided where to go with new shows yet. Have you ever watched The Winds of War and War and Remembrance–they were miniseries from the 80s about World War II. They are fabulous.

    Comment by momcat | January 3, 2009 | Reply

  8. Thanks, Momcat! I am hoping we can see it this week or next. I do remember both series – they seemed a whole lot more relevant then, but I have always liked series featuring military families and the challenges they face. 🙂

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 3, 2009 | Reply

  9. Wow that’s a lot of movies this weekend ! I still have many movies in my watch list from 2008 that I haven’t seen. And so many books too not to mention TV series.
    So much to do, so little time 😦

    Comment by Mathai | January 3, 2009 | Reply

  10. Mathai – Every now and then, we have what we call “film fests”. But you are so right about so many books, so little time! We try to not watch movies that are pretty much a waste of our time. Sometimes, the trailers lead us to believe a movie is better/funnier/more worthwhile than it is.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 3, 2009 | Reply

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