Wednesday, February 22, 2017
What I'm Watching: Hunted, Unfunny Valentine Movies and Big Little Lies
Since I've been reading less, I thought I might as well tell you what I've been watching. You know I've been watching Riverdale, but here are the other things on my DVR:
Like most great reality TV, Hunted originated in the UK, and has recently premiered on CBS. (You can catch up on past episodes online.) If you're a regular blog reader, you know I love thrillers, and this show, while obviously staged, still manages to be fun for me. Nine pairs of civilian "fugitives" are sent on the run in the Southeastern US. A team of hunters -- former military, cops, FBI profilers, US marshals, etc. has to track them down. Any team that lasts 28 days wins a bunch of money.
What I like about this show is the psychological "cat and mouse" aspect. The "fugitives" are just regular citizens, so they're underdogs, and it's fascinating to see how they adapt to being on the run. It was also really interesting to me to see how tracked all of us really are -- did you know that there are cameras that are constantly record license plates on the highways? Take the back roads!
The drawback is that the show obviously has a lot of staged elements. First off, the fugitives are being filmed -- how hidden can you be with a camera crew following you everywhere? Second, the show's disclaimer says something to the effect that certain surveillance techniques are "simulated." Which means, I think, that the producers know where each team of fugitives are and that the hunters get their information from them. I don't think law enforcement is releasing license plate data to a TV show.
Still, this show is pretty fun. If you're watching, let me know in comments!
Maybe some of you remember my foray into Hallmark Christmas movies? Well, something possessed me to try the Hallmark Valentine's Day special.
My taste in TV really isn't that highbrow. But Love at First Glance was terrible! Main character Mary gets dumped by her boyfriend for being boring. She's wallowing in her misery, eating tiramisu on the subway, when she spots a handsome stranger -- who gets off the train but leaves his phone on his seat. Mary contacts him, and he tells her to hang onto the phone because he's headed out of the country, but he'll be back on ... Valentine's Day.
If that's not cheesy and weird enough, Mary spends the time while he's gone going through his contact list and interviewing all his friends about what kind of a person he is. So basically, this romance consists of two characters who aren't even in the same scene for most of the movie.
Amy Smart is great looking, but in this movie she has something seriously weird going on with her makeup -- too much bronzer, maybe? Bad lighting? And while Adrian Grenier has some chick lit cred from his role as Andie's long-suffering boyfriend in The Devil Wears Prada, he seemed really out of place in this film. Maybe he had it written into his contract that his character would be out of the country and not even in most of the movie?
So I read Big Little Lies and didn't think I remembered much about it until I started watching. Yep, I remember it all -- provided that the show follows the book. So far, I'm impressed by the adaptation. I think the casting is good and the show does a great job of capturing the gossipy narcissism of this group of parents in an upscale California beach community. Nicole Kidman. At the beginning of the sounded Australian to me at first, then American-ish. All in all, she comes off a little robotic, but I think that's deliberate. And I'm not a fan of her hair, which really looks like a wig. But the kid characters (especially Ziggy and Chloe) are really adorable.
Finally, I do have an occasional need for something more intellectual. While I walk the dog, I've been listening to a Washington Post podcast called Presidential. There's a 40 minute episode on every single American president. I'm hooked! I started with Nixon and am moving forward in time and then I'm going to head backward.
Tell me if you're watching any of these -- or what you're watching -- in comments!