Personal Multiplex


With the exception of Prison Break, the second season of which is stacking up on the Tivo in anticipation of a cliffhanger-foiling marathon binge, I'm all caught up on my TV for the moment. Here's what I'm watching this season:

Prison Break
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
CSI: Miami
Veronica Mars
Boston Legal
The Nine
Doctor Who
Battlestar Galactica
Deal or No Deal
The Amazing Race
Las Vegas

That's 21 hours a week. Then add:

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (daily)
The Daily Show (daily)
The Colbert Report (daily)
Good Eats
America's Test Kitchen
Ebert & Roeper
Robot Chicken
The Venture Brothers
Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law
I Want That! Kitchens, Baths, and Tech Toys

and that's another 10-11 hours per week, bringing the total to about 32 hours of television a week. Holy bejeezus, how is that even possible? Ok, thanks to the magic of Tivo, each hour is really only about 45 minutes, and some shows like Millionaire and Deal or No Deal compress even more than that with judicious use of double-speed. So that gets the real viewing time down to about 24 hours. Not all those shows will run all season long, and new series like Jericho might get the boot either by me or the network. And I'm usually doing something else while I'm watching most of the half-hour stuff and some of the dramas. So really it's not as bad as it looks. Ahem.

Anyhoo, for now I'm all caught up. But my Tivo is still bursting at the gills with unwatched movies, some recorded as many as three years ago. Curious, I just counted them. 41. Forty-one unwatched movies. Again I say, holy bejeezus! I know you're curious, so here they are:

Chicken Run
Life is Beautiful
Sleepless in Seattle
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
The Sum of All Fears
The Rundown
Finding Nemo
The Triplets of Belleville
Scream 2
L.A. Confidential
The People vs. Larry Flynt
The Bourne Supremacy
Nine Queens
The Station Agent
Sin City
House of Flying Daggers
Million Dollar Baby
Hotel Rwanda
Shaolin Soccer
Ocean's Twelve
The Interpreter
Hide and Seek
Kung Fu Hustle
Batman Begins
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Bend it Like Beckham
Liar Liar
Cube Zero
Layer Cake
The Forgotten

I expect that before long, the wave of incoming television will crash over me and I'll be fighting to recover enough Tivo space to keep up. When that happens, after nuking any unseen I Want That!s and other fluff, movies are the next to go. Besides Cube Zero, which I'm sure is crap but I want to watch anyway, what should I delete first? Anything on that list really not worth watching?


Peter, can you rank the shows this season for us? I only have time to watch a couple, and I'm curious as to which are the best.

Delete Collateral and Sum of All Fears, they just aren't worth the space on your Tivo.

Watch Sin City and Kung Fu Hustle NOW! Actually, Kung Fu Hustle is one of those movies that's a lot better on the big screen, so you may not like it as much on your itty bitty TV.

Yeah, lots of good new shows this year. My Season Pass is a lot like yours, though slightly shorter. (My list also has Six Degrees, Vanished, Kidnapped, and Standoff, all of which I've been enjoying, though I think the last two are headed for cancellation.) I just got the Series 3 Tivo, so I'm getting rid of my Comcast DVR (good riddance! awful user interface, and so many bugs) and I've been trying to watch all the movies I have saved up on it before they come to take it away on Wednesday and install some CableCards. I don't think it's going to happen, I still have about a dozen!

Of the movies on your list that I've seen, I was pretty disappointed by Bend it Like Beckham, Pleasantville, and The Interpreter. But I can't really say they should be avoided; they weren't bad, just didn't strike my fancy. I really liked Collateral, though, so ignore Larry!

how is it possible you haven't seen chicken run? it boggles the mind. feel free to delete it and finding nemo and borrow them from us instead. i'm sure you could delete a lot of movies on your list that way.

holy crap, peter, thats a lot of tv. im down to two shows a week, maybe three. i watch smallville, eureka, and im starting heroes. after last season of 24 and lost, ive given up on those. i may get sucked back into them, but for now my plan is to stay away from them.

as for movies, house of flying daggers is beautiful, but not that good. layer cake is just another guy richie like flick. if you like the british gangster stuff, youll probably like it. me, im sick of it. and let me know if/when you watch nine queens cuz i want to see that too. :)

Delete all those crap movies- (except for Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer and the Triplets of Belleville) to make room for the Death Clock Metalocalypse series, that would be Metal.

Opinions are like assholes, everybody's got one. With that, I'll give you mine (opinion, that is). But first I'd recommend you delete all the movies that aren't commercial free or in the correct aspect ratio. Most movies can't handle the jarring interruption of a commercial break, and pan n' scan can remove as much as half of the image (and it's evil). That assumed, here are the ones I have an opinion about:

Chicken Run - It was not as well done as it could have been, especially for an Aardman film. Not as good as Were-Rabbit, for instance. But you have to see it just because. Keep.

Life is Beautiful - I think the first half of this film is great, and worth seeing once. Keep.

Sleepless in Seattle - You already know exactly how this plays out before you see it. Still, I cried, I seem to remember. Keep.

The Rundown - I love the Rock, despite myself. I think he's the only thing worth seeing in Be Cool. So with him, Christopher Walken, and big praise from some friends, it was all the more disappointing when this movie sucked cheerio. Dump.

Chicago - You didn't see this for free when it was down the street? I hated it, for what's it's worth. Still, it's a best picture winner and you really ought to judge it for yourself. Keep.

Finding Nemo - This baffles me that you haven't seen it. I think you would really like this. Keep and watch first (and add Monster House to your list of movies to grab when it comes out).

The Triplets of Belleville - A bit of a wristwatch checker in parts, but worth the effort when you get through them. The music is damned catchy. Keep.

Scream - Not as bad as I imagined based on the hype. This month is a good time to watch it, too. Keep.

Scream 2 - Isn't one enough to get the idea? I remember nothing about this to make it worth seeing. Dump.

Collateral - I'm not a fan of Michael Mann, Tom Cruise, or Jaime Foxx. But this was surprisingly decent and probably worth the time spent on it. Keep, but dump if you need room.

L.A. Confidential - One of my favorite movies. Dump, and we'll watch my dvd when we do a movie night.

The People vs. Larry Flynt - I remember really liking this movie. I think this may be the first Edward Norton film I saw. Keep, and in fact I wouldn't mind watching this again with you if we don't hit critical mass some game night.

The Bourne Supremacy - not directed by Identity's Dug Liman, and it really shows. Overly reliant on shaky-cam to hide the fact that the action scenes are not well done, this film gives me a headache. Dump.

The Station Agent - I loved it, but I don't know how it would translate to the little screen (har). Be prepared for it to drag in parts. Keep.

Sin City - Well, how can you not see it? I mean, from what I could tell it's pretty much a panel for panel recreation of the comics. I personally didn't think it was all that great, but you're more of a comics guy. Keep.

House of Flying Daggers - Pretty, though as I recall the ending was too wonky for its own good. Keep.

Million Dollar Baby - Meh, another best picture. This one was at least more involving than Chicago. Keep.

Crash - Ibid. Keep.

Shaolin Soccer - I didn't like this the first time I saw it because it was just too happy with the cheesy computer graphics it used. But upon further reflection (my friends held me down and held my eyes open in front of the movie, ala the Ludovigo technique) it wasn't all that offputting.
Definitely wants to be seen on your tv, though. Keep.

Ocean's Twelve - I actually thought this was better than the first (the remake, I mean). I also think I might be alone in that opinion. Keep.

Kung Fu Hustle - Better than Soccer, though again too happy with cgi. Definitely watchable. Keep.

Batman Begins - How did you not see this on the big screen? Keep and put near the top.

Bend it Like Beckham - I know I'm in the vast minority when I say there's no reason to see this movie. If you've seen any average british comedy for the past decade, then you know the plot progression. Nothing else to recommend it. Dump.

Liar Liar - I caught a bit of this on tv the other day. I don't think it's held up well over the years. I used to think I liked it well enough. Dump.

Layer Cake - Kinda odd, but it reminded me of another film I love, Get Carter. If they take Casino Royale in this direction, then we're in for a treat. Keep.

It doesn't appear that I gave you too many to get rid of. Sorry.


Dump The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The 20+ year old BBC series is better in all respects save the quality of the special effects.

Liar Liar seemed pointless to me, but YMMV.
The Forgotten was kinda boring. And again pointless.

Maybe I'm just too dense to appreciate the subtleties, but those are the two off your list I would dump, were I you. I also second the comment about The Interpreter being just OK. Other than that, there's a lot of good and/or enjoyable movies on your list, sorry!

Tom: Too early to rank the new stuff, but Battlestar Galactica is shockingly good and both Veronica Mars and Smallville are eagerly awaited each week. And, of course, Lost.

Dave, I don't understand your complaint about Lost-- I quite enjoyed last season, and they did actually answer some of the big questions (like why the plane crashed) unlike, say, The X-Files. And I thought 24, which I didn't list only because it doesn't start until January, had a very strong season.

Nate, all of the movies are commercial-free, but also likely pan and scan since they were recorded during premium channel freeviews. With 16:9 aspect ratio screens becoming more and more common, I've got to believe the pay channels will move to a widescreen format soon. But in the meantime, I work with what I've got.

lost's season 2 wasn't nearly as good as season 1, but that's really to be expected. i really liked that they answered some questions as they added new ones.

Just a vote for moving "Crash" and "Batman Begins" to the top of your list... I enjoyed "Bend it Like Beckham", but I have a teenage daugther, who is athletic, so perhaps it was more relevant... lots of kleenex for "Life is Beautiful" - tough one to watch, but terrific...

Also, Top Chef starts soon... I'd add it to your list, plus we enjoy House and the new "Inside the Actor's Studio" on our DVR. Your mileage may vary.

I thought 'Life is Beautiful' was awful. Apparently it works for others -- I'd be interested in your reaction.

I agree with those who say move 'Batman Begins' to the top of the list.

There. One thumbs up and one thumbs down.

I came by to get the Funny Farm link and saw your request for movie feedback:

I enjoyed:
Sleepless in Seattle - when it was new
Collateral -- I thought it was intense
Million Dollar Baby
Bend it Like Beckham -- liked the insight into Indian culture
Cellular -- escapist fun

Did not care for:
The Bourne Supremacy
Ocean's Twelve -- the rat pack version from the 60s was more fun, but may be dated
The Interpreter
Shaolin Soccer -- if this is the movie I think, I did not finish it
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- the 6 part PBS series was much more fun

I loved Pleasantville, and I think you'd like it - my guess is you'd like most of it a lot, but about two-thirds of the way through it changes tone, and while I enjoyed it after that point, my memory of your not liking the second act of Into the Woods indicates that you might not. Worth seeing, at any rate.

I recommend watching Nemo, Chicken Run, Batman Begins, Beckham (not positive you'd like it -- I did, very much -- but worth at least beginning to see what you think).

There are a lot more worthy movie critics than I who've already posted (mr. Beeler, for example), so I shall say the two things:

#1. I happened to have watched Crash last night, and personally I don't think you'll like it. It's well-done, of course, and has some fine performances, but at the heart it's about LA and it's about race. I'm guessing you - like me - find neither subject particularly interesting in and of itself. Either would require a different perspective or some kind of real depth and subtlety ... and IMO at least, Crash doesn't offer that.

#2. The very next time I see you, I'm going to ask you if you've seen Finding Nemo yet. If you say "no," I'm going to slap you upside the head. Seriously.

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