Posts Tagged ‘movie’

Television & Movie consumption July 2018

I have no idea how I missed Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul, but they are both on Netflix, and you can take them offline, so in between all the flying I did this past month, I caught up on the entire two shows! They are both excellent shows, and I can’t wait for the next season of Better Call Saul! The TV shows are definitely binge worthy.

500 Days of Summer is surprisingly a good movie, starring both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. It is a break up movie, maybe a bit of a dark comedy, but it is also a movie about self-realisation. It is not your typical love story or romantic comedy. It has a lot of dialogue, reminding me of the Richard Linklater series, Before Sunrise/ Before Sunset/Before Midnight. Like those shows, this was relatively cheap to produce but grossed wonders ($7.5 million budget, $60.7 million at the box office – 709% return!).

One memorable quote, since a lot of people talk about their dream partners. (paraphrased) Why look for the girl of your dreams, when it is better to have X, as she’s real? Gives one a lot to ponder about.

Midnight In Paris was also a good watch – one where the main character, Gil, finds himself throughout the show. Sometimes you miss things right in front of our eyes, don’t we? Memorable quote? Nostalgia is living in denial; denial of the painful present. (full quote on Wikipedia). Another movie with $17m budget, bringing in outsized returns at $151.1m – 789%!

These movies so far have been recommended by the Netflix algorithm, which so far is giving me way over 90% match rates, which suggest that the algorithm for July 2018, at least, is working! I suspect these movies do speak to me to some extent, and that’s what makes them successful in my eye.

Molly’s Game: constant reinvention and perseverance

I recently saw Molly’s Game on a flight. It was so good I ended up getting the audiobook, to see if I missed out on anything. Molly Bloom (her Wikipedia page is a great read) is an entrepreneur. She trained to ski (and had a tough father, and siblings who skied better than her), but due to injury decided it was time to go find herself. From a terrible job as an assistant, she quickly began running poker games for her boss. When her boss decided to cut her off, she became independent and anticipated player’s needs and became an even greater success. Her games even brought in Hollywood celebrities.

When she exited the LA market, she did games in New York. So no stranger to starting from scratch, in an industry that she was already well-versed in. Eventually the law caught up with her, and she had to give up her high life. But with grit, the rebirth seems to have been writing her story, which became a movie that Aaron Sorkin directed.

Constant reinvention and perseverance. Those are my takeaways from both the book and the movie. I recommend watching the movie, then deciding if you are still interested before getting to the book/audiobook.

Movie for our times: Tulip Fever

I was flying and managed to catch Tulip Fever. Interesting show, considering I have had many conversations recently where people had no idea what the Tulip Mania was all about. It’s a good “plane movie”, and maybe gives you some insight into what occurred then, but it didn’t open to great reviews (e.g. NYT). It has two themes – love, and of course the tulip mania. I choose to focus on the tulip aspect of things, considering I’m in tech, and the crypto space is often referred to as one. Naturally this is spoiler filled.

Some gems:

  • Q: Are they a good investment? A: Well the market’s going up, you won’t go wrong
  • Man has 18 Florens in total, and he spends it all in one go – “an excellent investment”
  • “Took his own life over a Tulip bulb”
  • Man: I paid 18 Florens for these bulbs, I’m told if they continue to rise, they will double. Nun in convent: A month ago, you could have had them for 10.
  • “Cut the flower and sell the bulb, you have a rare one”

Shortly thereafter the man gives up being a fishmonger to become a trader! (A bit like crypto today when Uber drivers talk about investment advice).

More quotes of choice:

  • “of course, free money”
  • Nun: “the more they weigh the more they’re worth” – best bulb, sold for 920 Gilders, but we sold it for 18.
  • “I would like to get a foot into the tulip business. Will you help me?”
  • If the market keeps going up why isn’t anybody selling? Because it can go up three times in a month.
  • “All we have to do is put all our eggs in one basket. A single bulb. The rarer the better.”

Eventually at auction, Admiral Maria – a 2,000 Floren tulip bulb, which goes for 1,500. He asks for 1,200 then they agree on 1,400. He is leveraging everything even though he doesn’t actually have the Admiral Maria. Due to his friend’s drunkenness, the bulb goes missing (eaten?), and the fishmonger sadly has been thrown into the sea

Eventually, 8000 Gilders and 2 houses is what the new owner sold the Admiral Maria for.

Then the Government stepped in to ban the Tulip trade. Prices crashed.

All this points to irrational exuberance and the theory of the greater fool.

This is not a movie I’d watch paying full attention to. You could get away with occasional reading on your Kindle/iPad. But it might get more people to remember a bit about the history of the tulip mania. After all, as George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Destination Anywhere

I loved the Destination Anywhere album by Jon Bon Jovi back in 1997. It was an interesting time in my growth. It was only recently that I learned of the film (yes, it was an original soundtrack). I managed to watch it today, and its very interesting – a highly recommended watch, especially if you’ve listened to the album. 

It’s a 45-minute movie, and was apparently created to promote the film. It is a dark and very emotional film. Plenty of references to the Hotel Chelsea (which I’ve seen from the outside, read a lot about and has a vivid history). I enjoyed the movie thoroughly. I highly recommend it.

Movies on the plane recently

Arc de TriompheHaving a few long journeys, I got to catch up with the latest Hollywood had to offer.

  1. Papadopoulos & Sons – show about an entrepreneur who goes thru trials & tribulations, then learns whats important in life
  2. How I Spent My Summer Vacation (aka Get the Gringo) – you won’t think much from the title, but this Mel Gibson show isn’t half bad. I don’t recommend going out of your way to watch it, but it’s a good way to pass time surely. Action, murder, revenge, love, and crime are all covered here 
  3. Arbitrage– Richard Gere stars, also about an intensely wealthy entrepreneur, about to sell his company, cover up his problems, while having an affair. There are several themes & plots here, so you’ll enjoy it overall 
  4. The Words – about a writer who placed his name on his best work, only to find out that he has to live with such a secret. Turns out its a lot harder than expected.

I notice that the plotlines in the last two movies seem to end with a bit of a cliffhanger. Leaves the watcher to understand or continue thinking about what might have been. Unlikely that you’ll see a part two, but maybe that’s how modern movies tend to end. 

Upon arriving home, I did turn on cable and caught Senna. If you like the Formula One (F1), you surely know whom Ayrton Senna was. You probably also know that Senna was the last F1 driver to die while racing. It is an awesome show and I highly recommend all to watch it. 

The Dictator

We had Christmas indoors (Merry Christmas) as pretty much everything is closed in London for a bank holiday. As part of the festivities, we watched: The Dictator.

If you’re a fan of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan or anything from Sacha Baron Cohen you’ve got to watch this show. We caught it on pay-per-view, since as a Royal Ambassador we get one free movie per stay. And what better place to watch it than at the newly opened InterContinental London Westminster.

So back to The Dictator. It is a funny show, will take about 80 minutes of your time, and its well worth watching. Some may describe the jokes as crude, but those one-liners are truly memorable. I’m going to endeavor to watch the unrated version as I’m told its about 15 minutes longer with a lot more scenes of comedy!


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