Updated: What’s Good on TV.

Monk has started back up again.

24 has thrown accuracy out the window.

I just watched American Beauty. It has to be one of the best films of all-time. Go watch it now. (Doesn’t Lester Burnham remind you of Philip?) But it made me think, Nip/Tuck is essentially what American Beauty would be like if it was a TV show.

And I finished Invader Zim and added a review:

Jhonen Vasquez’s Invader Zim

Jhonen Vasquez, a deeply-dark comic book artist with an unhealthy obsession with doom, brings his bizarre world to the screen. Premise: An alien invader visits Earth on a mission to destroy it, blending in as a student in the mean time. Normally this stage is only used to parody sci-fi cliches, with only sideways glimpses at Jhonen’s world (the teacher keeps telling the students they’re doomed, the school mispells its name SKOOL, the children jump out the windows when the bell rings) but sometimes the show will point its satire at the wider world (one show was on the problems with the electoral process, another on the media’s obsession with “crises”). Either way, the crazy world makes the show interesting and hilarious. 2x15m, apx. 1 season. (Nickelodeon, BitTorrent, DVD coming soon)

“Invaders blood marches though my veins, like, giant riadoactive rubber pants! The pants command me! Do not ignore my veins!”

Oh, and keep watching the West Wing. What a show! Why doesn’t one of the democratic presidential candidates hire Aaron Sorkin as speechwriter already? (Dean, I’m looking at you…)

posted January 20, 2004 02:30 PM (TV) (7 comments) #


C-SPAN Crossfire
Shorter George Lakoff: The Framing of Politics
Bush Fear
The Clinton-Gore Plan to Stop Al-Qaeda: Would 9-11 have happened?
Suspected Terrorist
TV Update: Monk back, 24 bad, American Beauty great, Zim good
Unintelligent Design
Shorter State of the Union
Liberate Libertarianism
Visiting Libertopia: The Magical Power of Property
Aaron Swartz: The Interview


I found last week’s West Wing (“The Benign Perogative” on Mandatory Minimums) one of the best I’ve seen in a long time, so good that I actually watched it twice. Quite suprising to me that the quality hasn’t gone out the window without Sorkin. Last week’s episode really did what the show does so effectively, take boring issues and make them about real people. It takes this to such an extreme that last week’s episode could better be summed up as “Donna’s relation with the issue of mandatory minimums” than being just about the issue itself.

I highly recomend the Season 1 DVD to any fans (recently released for Region 1, available from Amazon). The episodes are of course amazing, but the commentaries and the “making of” features will excite any Wingnuts.

posted by Zach Lipton at January 20, 2004 03:00 PM #

Good God, Aaron! American Beauty is surely one of the most overblown, pompous and puerile movies ever made. It’s nicely shot but commits the unpardonable sin of being boring. Teenage angst begets middle aged navel gazing: how trite.

posted by KJO at January 21, 2004 06:54 AM #

I didn’t find it particularly boring — the murder mystery made you watch things closely and the comedy helped you enjoy it. I can’t say precisely why I liked the movie so much, but I find it hard to believe that it’s boring. To me it seems the classic text on the reality of suburbia.

posted by Aaron Swartz at January 21, 2004 07:52 PM #

What specifically is inaccurate about recent episodes of 24?

posted by skeptic at January 21, 2004 08:03 PM #

“We can’t get a satellite over”, “it’ll take me 20 minutes to try all the frequencies”, are the ones that come to mind but overall it seems the tech stuff has taken on a new level of silliness, and the getting-thru-a-second-too-late gimmick is getting old.

posted by Aaron Swartz at January 21, 2004 09:04 PM #

RE: American Beauty. Agree to differ on this one, I’m afraid - still thought it was boring; and what suburb did you grow up in? However, a nice little movie about suburbia, in the same style but better done, was ‘The Virgin Suicides’.

posted by KJO at January 23, 2004 07:37 AM #

I’ll take a look at The Virgin Suicides, hopefully it’s more interesting than Lost in Translation (now that’s a movie that is “nicely shot but […] boring”, although I enjoyed it anyway).

posted by Aaron Swartz at January 23, 2004 12:13 PM #

Subscribe to comments on this post.

Add Your Comment

If you don't want to post a comment, you can always send me your thoughts by email.

Remember personal info?

Note: I may edit or delete your comment. (More...)

Aaron Swartz (me@aaronsw.com)