I fell down a Paper Girls rabbit hole this week and rewatched the series; SO GOOD. Fuck Amazon for canceling it before it even aired (that’s pretty much the gossip online; apparently they cut the approved budget before filming started, so it was a scrappy production to begin with). I then went back and reread the comic series. Looking at Cliff Chiang’s artwork in this book is inspiring. He’s an incredible draftsman, and the usage of color is exquisite as second and third layer information. Characters look different from each other, and his command of facial expressions is perfect for a story that requires a lot of subtle detail not included in the dialogue. I’ve been reading a lot of comics online lately, and it’s pretty amazing how lousy some artists can be at everything but drawing identical spandex weightlifters.
Finley was ambivalent about reading it early this year, even after I’d reserved the first two books from the library. I put the trade paperback in my Amazon cart to be purchased with our next order; I’ll wear her down.
And speaking of the library, I got an email that notified me my hold on the ebook of Heat 2 was available. Heat is one of my favorite movies—it was probably the second or third DVD I bought, back when they were $40—so I was very excited to hear Michael Mann was writing a prequel to the movie. By all accounts it’s a good read, so I’m anxious to dive in and see where it goes.
I’ve talked about the comic Paper Girls here before, and I just started watching the series on Amazon Prime this week. Overall it’s really good! I’m enjoying the dialogue and direction, and I think they got the casting of the four leads 90% right. (When I see the actress they got for Mac all I can think of is squeaky Edward Furlong in T2). I have NO idea how they’re going to pull off the wider crazier future-world aspects of the story if/when the series gets renewed, but I’m hopeful they can do it justice. And, the music has been excellent so far—there’s a needle drop moment with an LCD Soundsystem song that is perfect, and now this song is stuck in my head:
Here’s a quiet, gripping song called Nothing to See by a woman named Miya Folick:
This is a fantastic melody paired with some devastating lyrics, and it’s on repeat in my brain. She’s got some other really good tracks available on Spotify—Bad Thing is another standout.
I read a retrospective review of an an odd album called Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots on Friday that got the song Fight Test stuck in my head. It was a strange album 20 years ago and it still sounds like nothing else out there today, but the melody here is catchy and the lyrics are really quite perfect.
My good friend Matt sent me a text asking if I’d been to a Soul Coughing show at Bohagers with him back in ’97, and I said, Yes! I was there! They were throwing board games out into the audience! Turns out there’s a recording of the show on the Internet Archive. It’s not recorded through the board, but the sound is good enough. Bohager’s is long gone now; it got razed and developed into a parking garage about five years after that show. And, here’s the inspiration for the name of this website.
Jen and I took some well-deserved time together to watch the new season of Stranger Things and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and while we had some problems with each of them, I enjoyed them both very much.
Stranger Things took a long time to get things going over the first bunch of episodes, and there were several plotlines I could easily have done without. Everytime the action moved to Russia I looked at my watch and reached for my beer. My irrational dislike of Matthew Modine continues—how did that guy get cast by Kubrick? Oh, right, he’s a blank piece of wallpaper. They sidelined Maya Hawke into a caricature of anxieties, when she was the deepest character from last season. But the last two episodes paid off handsomely, and just to have a character play Master of Puppets on a trailer roof in the middle of Hell was worth the wait. When the other characters were bumbling around in the dark, Max took center stage and carried most of the show—and it worked. P.S. I’ve had enough Kate Bush, thank you.
Obi Wan Kenobi was also a fun ride, if you’re willing to look past the obvious plot holes (and as a superfan of the original Star Wars, I knew they would be Death Star-sized.) Yeah, it’s another “save the kid” setup—this, after the Mandalorian spent two seasons showing us how it’s done properly—but it was great to see these characters in a different, non-Lucas situation where a director understands how to engage with people. Ewan McGregor killed it. There’s a scene where he’s got to bust out the lightsaber and take out some Stormtroopers in a hallway, and after he’s dropped the last one, he does the badass twirl-lightsaber-and-return-to-ready-position thing from the Phantom Menace, and that’s when we know Shit Just Got Real. I about fell off the couch. The duel he has with Vader is probably one of the best swordfights in the whole series—Rey and Kylo going through the Red Guards might be the top of that list—but it had me on the edge of my seat, even though I know how the whole thing is going to end. My guess is that Ewan McGregor was thrilled to return to this simply for the opportunity to revisit the character and show what could have been possible twenty years ago. It’s not often in life we are offered a do-over; I’d say he made the best of it.