May 18th, 2020 – Victoria Day

Disney + is showing Nature shows through their DisneyNature brand.  They made a big deal about how Elephants is being narrated by Megan Markle.  For me this was more a detractor than an incentive to watching.  It was released at the same time as Dolphin Reef.  I do marvel at the pictures that they are able to find.   As I watch more live safaris from Wild Earth, it is so difficult to predict where the animals will be, let alone getting the light and them doing something movie worthy.   Then to wrap a human story around the footage makes it even more challenging.   For me, te weakest element of these shows are the “human story”, because they are giving human emotion and motivations to animals.   Who’s to say what an elephant is thinking or how they are feeling?   I have little doubt that they do both (think and feel) but I doubt that our interpretation through the words in these pictures are accurate.    The attraction for this film was a recommendation from my eldest son, and also the fact that these elephants are filmed not far away from Kruger National Park in South Africa where Wild Earth films.    Some of the pictures are breathtaking.   I hope you have HD and a large TV screen.   The aerial shots of a large herd are amazing.   Some of the activities of the elephants which I won’t spoil by revealing are remarkable.   So to that end, these stories are worth seeing and spending some time with nature.   The story, forget about it.   The little elephant who is named (as they mostly all are) is cute, and is a youngster so they are just fun to watch anytime.   So in the end, there was no need to pay the former Prince Harry’s wife, and they could have had virtually anyone narrate this.

Much to Alison’s surprise, I revealed Saturday night that I have never seen 1998’s Coen brothers movie The Big Lebowski!   It is on Netflix, and is a good laugh and a lot of fun, in a dark comedy kind of way.   There is an impressive cast with Jeff Bridges starring as “Dude”, and his good friends John Goodman impressively playing his intense Vietnam veteran bowling buddy and Steve Buscemi who is generally told by Goodman to keep his mouth shut.   The entire premise of the film is a mistaken identity, where the unemployed Dude, a hippy pot-smoking flower child, has his hom broken into and he strong armed by two guys looking for money.   The one bad guy urinates on his front hall carpet.   Rather than just throw out the carpet and move on, Dude is convinced to confront the man who shares his last name, Lebowski, and for which all the confusion was started.   He wants money for the carpet, but is rebuffed then asked to do something that only he can do.   The story moves on from there with good writing and performances.   Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro and others are here.   I think that Goodman’s performance was really good.   He is an over-the-top guy who has anger issues, and obvious unresolved Veteran issues from his Viet Nam experience.   He creates more problems than he creates, “am I wrong”?   Bridges too is very good, and sounds less like he has marbles in his mouth, which I think his tongue is still growing in his mouth as he ages.   But it was a good laugh, at a time when we can all use a good laugh.   There are certainly dark aspects to the story, but I kept realizing that this entire story takes place because someone pissed on his rug, and it is a continuing source of laughter. (This is also the high point of the career for later forgotton Tara Reid of American Pie notoriety).   I was shocked to see her here.

Finally I did finish the second season of Narcos, with the story of Pablo Escobar.   Just wow.   It was well done.   The complexity of this cocaine cartel issue was remarkable even as the walls start coming down all around Escobar.   His focus shifts to getting his family out of Columbia so he can wage a war against the usurpers (a ruthless group of former members of the cartel and some right wing extremist mercenaries).    Much of the story is true, as the real life Steve Murphy and Pena were part of the group advising on the project.   As they say in this series “you can’t make this stuff up”.   I am glad I watched.  I know that the Murphy character doesn’t appear in Season 3, so I am less enthused to watch it.   Incidentally, the real life wife of Murphy was said to have “one small gripe” with the series as she says she would have never have left Steve in Columbia herself (and she didn’t) but it made sense to have the story go that way for dramatic purposes.   Fun to watch, and scary too.