Boyhood + Jules and Jim

BJaJ

Double feature: Of course I am neither the first, nor will I be the last, to recommend “Boyhood.” But what I may be able to add is the observation that its exploration of time and existence is a uniquely American one.

How so?  Continue reading

Advertisements

Buffy the Vampire Slayer + Northern Exposure

BtVSNE

Double feature: If you live in a cold climate, it’s easy to feel stuck at this time of year.  The temperatures aren’t exactly encouraging outdoor exploration. Things seem to have shrunk. The world feels reduced to a circumscribed bare minimum circuit between the same points A, B, and maybe C.

Continue reading

Buddenbrooks + The Godfather

BTG

Double feature: Goodness knows, “The Godfather” doesn’t need anything else written about it. And, of course, the natural, undeniable impulse is to follow any viewing of it with its own sequel/prequel. But for something less conventional and equally evocative, try double-featuring it with the 1970’s German TV production of Thomas Mann’s “Buddenbrooks” – another multi-generational saga with literary roots.

Continue reading

As Time Goes By + The Good Life

ATGBTGL

Double feature: The obvious link between “As Time Goes By” and “The Good Life” (aka “Good Neighbors”) is the creator/writer they have in common, a fact contributing to their similar tone and shared conversational tics and preoccupations. The deeper connection between these two British sitcoms is their protagonists’ worldview, a specific mixture of humanism in theory and latent misanthropy in practice.

Continue reading

Designing Women + The Golden Girls

DWGG

Double feature: The easy parallel between these two series is the quartet of shared archetypes leading up their respective casts.  In both “The Golden Girls” and “Designing Women,” you’ll find: the sweet one (Rose, Charlene;) the brainy one (Dorothy, Julia;) the sexy one (Blanche, Suzanne;) and the quirky one (Sophia, Mary Jo.)   Also, but less to the point, a semi-emasculated male drifting in and out of the frame (Stanley, Anthony.)

Continue reading

Friday Night Lights + My So-Called Life

Double feature:  Like your high school drama as self-serious and insular as possible? Then “Friday Night Lights” and “My So-Called Life” are for you.  Conversations in both series are at an emotional pitch where “small talk” is impossible, no matter how trivial the words being exchanged. Grainy images with near-bleeding colors give a sense of worlds simultaneously dissolving, or cohering, in every frame.

Continue reading