The History of Literature #423 – Roger Ebert

423 Roger Ebert

Jacke spends his birthday reflecting on Chicago film critic Roger Ebert (1942-2013), the Judd Apatow show Freaks and Geeks, and other literature-and-life topics. Enjoy!

Additional listening suggestions:

421 HOL Goes to the Movies
79 Music that Melts the Stars – Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
149 Raising Readers (aka The Power of Literature in an Imperfect World

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The Man In the High Castle – Best Title Sequence Ever?

I’m three episodes into Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, a new series based on a book of the same name by Philip K. Dick. I’m enjoying the alternative history aspects of the drama – it takes place in the 60s and imagines that Hitler’s Germany won the war (they got the A bomb first and dropped it on D.C., which is not unimaginable) and Japan and Germany have divided America.  There’s a resistance movement, the possibility of a future war between Japan and Germany once Hitler dies and is succeeded, a nation of Americans who have accepted the new regimes, a lawless neutral zone in between the two new occupied territories, and a bunch of people running around with Macguffin-like contraband, a fake documentary in which Germany loses the war. This mysterious film  this is supposed to change everything, if only the word gets out.

(That’s not spoiling anything – it’s the premise of the show and it’s all in the first episode. I’m sure there are a lot of twists and turns along the way, but I haven’t gotten there yet.)

The pilot was excellent. The second episode fell off a bit but was still good. The third episode made some missteps (in my view) and has made me worry.  (New bad guy who’s too cartoonish, lead characters start to seem boring.) I’ll give a few more episodes a try. Hey, my commute’s an hour each way sometimes. Time must be killed.

In the meantime, I wanted to suggest that the title sequence might be the best one I’ve ever seen. Beautiful and haunting:

What’s better than that? The D.C. of House of Cards?

I remember enjoying that the first few times – D.C. has never looked better or more like an actual city – but my enthusiasm has faded. I no longer watch the show, either.

The music and images of Mad Men?

Excellent. I’d say it’s number two on my list. For comedies, maybe The Simpsons? Cheers? This one is pretty damn good too:

Great show, great title sequence. Simple but effective.

Now go binge watch something this weekend! Treat yourself!