28 March 2011

I've been watching too much TV

It's not that I've been neglecting my little website here, I've just become a bit distracted from watching movies lately. I picked up this series called Carnivale, but netflix will only send me a disk with two episodes at a time. In between disks, when I might check out a movie on my netflix instant queue (or finally watch Hang 'em High) I've been watching the entire first two seasons of The Adventures of Pete & Pete, including the commentaries. So - even though this is a MOVIE BLOG and not a TV BLOG. I feel I ought to let you all in on the up&up.

Carnivale (HBO original series) 2003-2005
Nick Stahl (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, 2003)
Clea Duvall (Girl, Interrupted, 1999)
Carla Gallo (Bones (TV), 2008-2010)
Amy Madigan (Field of Dreams, 1989)

I'm almost done watching the first season of this HBO series that was cancelled even before the second season ended. It's about a traveling Carnival during the Great Depression. So first off you've got all the requite freaks, like the siamese twins and the bearded lady. But the main character is this guy who's not one of the performers, he's just a roustabout, tenting up tents and such, except he also has supernatural powers, particularly to heal. Except that whenever he heals someone, something else has to die. For example, a few episodes in he heals a little crippled girl's legs, but all of the crops on the family farm wither and die. So, you know...ironic. Some of the other carnies have mystical abilities as well and it all seems to coalesce into this mythological structure concerning that main guy, Ben, and this other guy in a parallel plotline. The other guy is a preacher named Justin, who also comes into some powerful abilities. At first Justin uses his powers for good, but when faced with extreme iniquity he sort of breaks, and becomes convinced that he is the wrathful left hand of God and I guess he forgets all that nice stuff Jesus said about forgiveness. So one the one part, there's a character drama about carnies, which is cool, and then there's this allegory about the dual natures of good and evil, and that's cool too.

The Adventures of Pete & Pete (Nickelodeon 1993-1996)
Michael C. Marona
Danny Tamborelli
featuring guest stars such as: Iggy Pop, Steve Buscemi, L.L. Cool J, Michelle Trachtenburg

You can probably remember this series about two brothers who are both named Pete from Nickelodeon when you were younger. Watching it again, I'm still impressed by the cinematic quality of every episode, the way every story is delivered in a heroic arc, and the surreal convergence of bizarre and depressing.

In one episode, Big Pete introduces the narrative (usually Big Pete acts as a narrator, recalling adventures which occurred in the past, although in a few cases Little Pete performs this role) by explaining that there is a payphone on the edge of town which has been ringing for twenty-seven years and that no one ever answers the call because they are afraid. Instead, it's slowly driving everyone in the town insane, and no one knows what to do about it. Big Pete finally discovers that the call is for his mother, and when she answers it, she finds out that it's from the telephone company repairman and he's been waiting on the line for twenty-seven years to tell her he's been in love with her his whole life, and then she let's him down easy.

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