Art House Films You Should Probably Watch

There are so many great Art films, and many things that separate an Art House film from typical corporate media. For example, Art films don’t always follow a three (four or five) act structure, or have a decided beginning, middle, climax, and/or epilogue. Sometimes there is no recognizable plot, and characters simply walk through a landscape interacting with each other, or experience events. Sometimes those events are presented with no explanation, or the film is a character or philosophical study.

Art movies can sometimes have a more documentary feel, often with experimental lighting (natural) and camera (hand held) techniques. They are a lot more likely to have narration, but sometimes they don’t, and the viewer is expected to determine for themselves the movie’s point. Many of them are from countries without a large, or formal, movie studio system, so filmmakers are free to make films without corporate interference, as long as they can procure funds.

Art House films are notable for not playing in large theaters for mainstream audiences, (although this is beginning to change), because the subject matter is sometimes controversial, or taboo, or the film is too long to play in mainstream theaters, which are more concerned with the volume of seating, rather than the quality of the movies.

I know this makes Art House films seem intimidating to some people. There’s the idea that you won’t understand what the filmmaker is trying to say, or that the film will be boring, or you may have to read subtitles. But that’s okay. Sometimes you’re not meant to understand what the movie means. Sometimes you’re just meant to simply feel the imagery, or identify with the characters.

Here are eleven Art House movies that are easily accessible to the casual film goer. I tried to pick movies that I found interesting, entertaining, and easily accessed in some streaming form.

Border by Ali Abassi

Border is a Swedish film from 2018, that is based on a short story from the book, Let the Old Dreams Die by John Lindqvist, who is famous for the vampire novel, Let the Right One In. Tina works as a Customs Inspector, where she meets another person who seems to be a lot like her, while she is investigating a child sex trafficking ring. She soon discovers some new and interesting things about both herself, and her new lover, as a result

At first glance the movie seems very strange. Why do some of the characters look like neanderthals, and why are they working such boring regular jobs? Trust me, these questions do get answered, and there is a plot, but ultimately the movie is about one young woman’s journey of self discovery. This is one of those films that is more like a character study, and you’re meant to identify with the lead character, as she has these experiences.

Border is currently available for streaming on Hulu.

Nomadland by Chloe Zhao

This is Chloe Zhao’s adaptation of the 2017 book of the same name by Jessica Bruder. It won 2020 Oscars for best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress, Frances McDormand. McDormand plays Fern, a woman who travels, nomad-like, in a van, after the loss of her husband and home. This is one of those movies that seemingly has no plot. Its more like a documentary, than the fictional film it actually is, but with real world elements. Its also somewhat melancholy, with few moments of hope or cheer, so be prepared for that.

We are given little backstory for Fern, and the other characters , as we follow her from pointless job to pointless job, or meets other elderly travelers like herself, and they all try to make the best of the lives they have left to them. This is a movie that’s meant to be felt more than understood in a plot sense. As you watch, pay close attention to the environment, settings, and times of day, as these are metaphors echoing the lives of the characters.

Nomadland is available to watch on Hulu.

The Fall by Tarsem Singh

This movie is from the director of The Cell, Tarsem Singh, stars Lee Pace, and is quite possibly one of the most beautiful fantasy films ever made. It’s nearest cousin, from a plot standpoint, is Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. Here, a young girl named Alexandra, who has broken her arm, meets a lonely injured stuntman, in a 1915 Los Angeles hospital, who tells her a fantasy story, based on her namesake, Alexander the Great, all while attempting to manipulate her into helping him commit suicide.

Okay, trust me, its not as awful as it sounds, and actually ends on a moment of hope. But it is definitely the kind of movie that would have had a difficult time finding a widespread audience, because the rather convoluted story within a story structure makes it hard to follow. It is, however, well worth the watch, just for the beauty of Lee Pace, and the costumes from Eiko Ishioka, the costumer of 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula!

The Fall is one of the few films on this list that isnt available for streaming anywhere, and is only available on DVD.

Samsara by Ron Fricke

If you like The Fall, and want to watch something else similar to it, but without all the pesky plot points and dialogue, then you should try these modern day silent films. The closest relations to movies like this are the 80’s and 90’s films, Powwaquatsi, and Koyyanisquatsi. This was released in 2012, from the director the similar film, Baraka, and takes place across 25 different countries. Samsara is the Buddhist belief in the cycle of death and rebirth to which all humanity is tied.

These movies are basically extended music videos, and are the very definition of Art House film. There are no real characters, plots, or dialogue, just images, and music. This movie, (and others like it), are created to promote mindfulness and contemplation, as you derive meaning from the images. Also it’s simply a breathtakingly beautiful piece of work, absolutely stunning in its scope, and should be watched just for that alone.

Samsara is available for streaming on Tubi for free, and on Amazon Prime for rent.

Hero by Zhang Yimou

There is a reason why Zhang Yimou is on this list multiple times. Because he is, hands down, one of the greatest filmmakers to come out of China. Hero is his 13th film, starring Jet Li, Zhang Ziyi, Maggie Cheung, and Tony Leung, about a nameless man, commissioned by three assassins, to kill a warlord who is attempting to unite the different territories of China into one nation. This takes the form of several stories within stories, with each iteration of the story told by Nameless, as the warlord challenges each interpretation, each story is represented by the colors, red, green, white, and blue.

Most of Zhang’s films focus on domestic dramas, and this film does contain some elements of that, but this is largely known as a great martial arts showpiece for Jet Li. It is definitely a movie that you have to pay close attention to, as the plot is not necessarily about what you think it is, and because Nameless is an unreliable narrator, (called out for it multiple times by the warlord), many of the characters are not who they seem, either.

Hero is available on Amazon Prime.

Tree Of Life by Terence Malick

Tree of Life is a classic Art House movie. its long, with enigmatic narration, some experimental camerawork, and a plotless plot, that doesn’t work in acts. It’s a gorgeous looking movie, where the viewer has to piece together the meaning and themes for themselves. Its about life, death, birth, and the relationships between parents and children, and siblings, and how those relationships take place in a universe that is so much wider (and yet, smaller) than all of that.

This is one of those movies you either love or hate. Not because the movie is bad, but because of how you, personally, watch movies, what you bring to a movie, and how you feel about the director’s point of view. Viewers who like a certain type of film, and want it to be resolved in a certain way, will probably have some trouble with this, because it is not a film with a concrete plot. Nothing gets resolved. Nothing is quite finished. Its a film with a message, but the message depends on what you see, and how you interpret that.

Tree of Life is Available on Amazon Prime, and ITunes.

Raise the Red Lantern by Zhang Yimou

This movie is can be very frustrating. It’s another beautiful looking film ,and definitely has a point to make. It has a more coherent plot than the above Tree of Life, but it still ends on an somewhat unresolved note. The lead character is a young woman who was taken out of school by her stepmother, to be married off to a man she doesn’t know. Her life is deeply constrained, and many of the choices of her life have been made for her, and she goes along with some of them with malicious compliance, but in her new husband’s home, she finds some agency with which to make decisions. Well, she tries because…

Unfortunately, all of the decisions she makes are either bad, or thwarted by the husband’s other wives, who have agendas that are at odds with her own. She exists within several systems that are designed to make it impossible for her to make good or even ethical decisions, if she wants to experience any happiness. We want to root for her but as she is often as petty and meanspirited as everyone in the environment. There is also a system of favoritism in place, that seems carefully designed to keep the wives at odds with each other. The title refers to the red lanterns that are lit, in the homes of the wives, when the husband decides to spend the night with one of them.

Raise the Red Lantern is available on Youtube.

Paprika by Satoshi Kon

There are a surprising number of animated Art House movies, and this is one of my favorites. I have heard form some people that they find this movie very nightmarish, but I didn’t see it that way. I found it strange and delightful. Its an absolutely bonkers movie, that requires multiple viewings to fully understand the plot, but I didn’t mind, because I like visiting a world where people’s dreams get to run wild. The lead character is a dream therapist, whose dream identity is named Paprika. When the experimental dream device she uses for her job gets stolen, she has to try to find out who stole it, by following the dream logic that person has been imposing on the real world.

For me, this movie was a delight, but since so many people reported being disturbed by it, I guess your mileage may vary.

Paprika is available for rent on Youtube and Amazon Prime.

Valhalla Rising by Nicolas Wending Refn

Viking movies rarely get to go mainstream, and I really like Viking movies, so I feel like this subject is getting short shrift. Well, Vikings or not, this particular movie was never going to get play in mainstream theaters. Nicolas Wending Refn is known for his rather inexplicable films, which take multiple viewing in order to get their meaning. There’s almost no dialogue in this film, and the lead character, a nameless enslaved man who is forced to fight other prisoners, doesn’t speak at all. He falls into the company of a group of misplaced Vikings who are in America, but believe they have found some sort of Holy Land (they’re actually in America). His presence among them takes on an almost mystical importance, as they decide whether or not they are actually in the Holy Land, or perhaps dead, and in some kind of Hellish afterlife.

There are a number of very graphic fight scenes in this movie, along with some graphic death scenes, so take that into account, when suggesting this movie to your friends. It’s also a very quiet film, with long periods where there is no music, and the narration that exists, feels cryptic. Your takeaway from this movie depends on your mindset. You’ll get out of it what you bring to it. For me, this is as close as Refn could get to making a Viking Horror movie.

Valhalla Rising is available for rent on Youtube.

City of Lost Children by  Jean-Pierre Jeunet

I would also like to recommend Jeunet’s earlier film Delicatessen as this is the second film of his I’d ever seen, and its a little bit difficult to put into words. A mad scientist’s creation is stealing the dreams of children ,because he can’t produce his own dreams. The creature makes the mistake of kidnapping the little brother of a circus strongman, named One, played by Ron Perlman, in one of his little known roles. One has several close calls and mini-adventures, while trying to find his little brother, and put a stop to the monster’s schemes.

This movie looks very strange. Although the plot seems perfectly accessible to most viewers, it is shot in an unconventional way, with a faded color palette, and featuring, the very French Jeaunet’s, penchant for unconventional makeup and odd facial features. The movie itself is very dream-like with octopus orphans, a man who uses trained fleas, a brain in a vat, and a diver with amnesia who lives under the lake. its aceptable for children to watch it, although they may not understand the intricacies of the plot. They will perhaps be delighted by the imagery, though.

City of Lost Children is available for rent on Youtube.

Honorable Mentions:

*Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. by Leslie Harris – This is one of the few films directed by an African American woman.

Rize by Davis LaChappelle

*One False Move by Carl Franklin

Angelheart by Alan Parker

Malcolm X, Do the Right Thing, and Oldboy by Spike Lee

*Parasite and Snow Piercer by Bong Joon Ho

Hollywood Shuffle by Robert Townsend

*The Triplets of Bellville and The Illusionist by Sylvain Chomet

*Marie Antoinette by Sophia Coppola

Aguirre The Wrath of God by Werner Herzog

*The Duellists by Ridley Scott

(*Personal Favorites)

10 Of My Favorite Opening Sequences

Here’s a list of some of my favorite opening scenes. The opening scene of a film will often establish a plot, introduce the characters, setting, mood, or theme of the film. Outside of the trailer, its a movie’s first impression. I love all kinds of movies, so don’t be too surprised that there are no Horror movies on this list.


This opening scene from the second X-Men film is action packed, visually stunning, introduces the basic plot, and also a new character, and the rest of the movie isn’t a disappointment either.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

I wanted to put these two movies upfront. This is also an establishing scene of a new character, and just as visually stunning as the first movie on this list. It drops slightly behind it though, because without the theme or plot, its just a gorgeous opening action sequence. Also, the rest of this movie isn’t as good as this opening scene, and this isn’t one of my favorite characters, although this entire sequence says a lot about what type of person he is, is just loads of fun, and makes me wish I had this superpower.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

You would think that this would be a great opening scene for the rest of this movie’s characters, and themes, but no. This opening has almost nothing to do with the plot or themes of the film. Its simply an introduction to the setting we’ll be visiting for the next two hours, which is fine, because this is yet another visually arresting film, but I thought it was lacking in character development, which for me, is one of the more important aspects of getting into such a fantastical film. This opening is a favorite of mine, because I’m both a huge David Bowie fan, a movie extraterrestrial fan, and a Science Fiction fan, and I feel this song was perfectly chosen for this scene.


Here is yet another sequence that introduces the audience to a very specific setting. We know all we need to know about this world, from the opening, and what type of movie we’re dealing with: SciFi Noir. This is a dark world, full of gray characters, scuttling through this rainy, urban, corporate hellscape of auditory and visual noise, or flying through it in cars. This is America’s dystopic future.

It also introduces two important characters, and sets the plot in motion, as it’s the death of the interviewer in this scene, that requires that another Bladerunner be called in. Upon first seeing this movie, these things are all a mystery, but you later learn that all of the primary components of the rest of the plot are present, like the Voight-Kampff Test, the Bladerunner, the speed and power of the Replicant, and just why they’re banned from coming to Earth.


I love this opening. It introduces the three primary characters, the basic plot, and the theme: Regret. This is the autobiographical story of a mobster wannabee, his rise, and eventual decline. This is the scene just after the protagonist and his two friends kill an actual mobster, a Made Man named Billy Batts, and now need to hide the body. Contrast the protagonist’s final statement in this scene, with the look on his face. That is the face of a man who is wishing he were anywhere but where he is….

The Matrix

Sometimes I get a feeling about a movie just from watching the trailer, and I have almost never been wrong when i got that feeling. Even with movies that didn’t do particularly well at the Box Office, when they were released, if it was one where I got that feeling, it would eventually go on to become a Classic, or Iconic film. I had that feeling when I first saw the trailers for Alien, The Thing, and Bladerunner. And I had that feeling for this trailer, too. Not that I’ve never been wrong, but even at a very young age, I knew what movies I was gonna love!

I remember walking out of the theater, after watching this movie, and my brain had to take a few minutes to readjust to reality. I had the unsettling thought that the “real” world wasn’t real. And I guess, I’m not the only person who felt that way.

The Grandmaster

I chose this opening scene, not becasue it’s particularly special, or well done, (although it is), but because I’ve seen a number of scenes like this in other films, and I’ve always loved them. So, when a martial arts movie starts off with some watery ass kicking, its always loads of fun for me. Martial arts movies love to do these types of scenes, because it’s a very easy way to convince the audience that the fighting is real, and that those arms and legs are actually connecting with faces and bodies! Its also a great way to make the scene feel dramatic, and important to the rest of the movie, although really, this is just a scene from earlier in the film, showcasing the lead character’s skills.

Below, is another one of my favorite movies, and of course, the opening scene looks uncomfortably wet. Slow motion ballet fight scene? Check! Fight scene in a tavern? Check! Gruesome fight ending? Check!

Honorable Mention

Baby Driver

This has to be, hands down, one of the most awesome car chase scenes in movie history. I love everything about it, from the introduction of the lead character, and getaway driver: Baby. To the music: Bellbottoms by The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion! (which I used to listen to a long time ago.) To the cutely mediocre compact car with the great gas mileage: The red 2007 Subaru Impreza!

This entire scene just slaps!

Raging Bull

And back down to Earth, with the Intermezzo from The Cavalleria rusticana, by Mascagni, and the opening theme from Martin Scorceses’ 1980 Raging Bull, which is now considered a modern Classic. I was just a kid when it was released, so I didn’t see this until I was an adult, long after I knew this theme from other movies. There’s not a lot going on here, but from this, you know its going to be a somber tragedy, about the rise and fall of a Boxing career. This is way down here at the bottom of my list, although most of these are not in any particular order, because its really upsetting for me to watch family dramas, and I generally hate them. But I liked this intro.

10 Movies That Time Forgot

Some of these movies have been forgotten for very good reasons. Nobody should be allowed to remember them, but I can’t seem to turn my brain off, and I’m putting these here, so unless you wanna suffer with me, you will quit reading this post and go have a soda or something. That said, there are a couple of really good ones here that are worth viewing, so go shake the bad ones off, and go check out the good ones immediately.

Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988)

For a really long time, Id forgotten about this movie, and then I saw Elvira, aka Cassandra Peterson, on some talk show and I was reminded again that I really love this smart ass ,and I need to check out this movie again. If you’re not familiar with her, she comes right of the tradition of movie show hosts.

When I was a kid, there were people, not exactly celebrities, who would feature different types of movies on the weekends (mostly in the daytime, but Elvira’s show was usually in the evenings). They usually had some schtick, or persona, to go along with the types of movies they hosted. Elvira enhanced the experience by making smart ass comments during the movie. It was awful, but it was good awful, and not at all meant to be taken even the least bit seriously. This was my type of humor back then, and quite frankly, its not too different from that now.

Mazes and Monsters (1981)

This movie happened during the Satanic Panic in the early 80s, when a lot of super idiotic people glommed onto the idea that Dungeons and Dragons was a role playing gateway to Hell. I know it sounds utterly ridiculous, but this is actually what happened! There were a bunch of these “panics” during the 80’s about everything from games, to books, to TV, Rap, and Metal music. . It was basically the old guard’s way of protesting modern culture by, literally, demonizing said culture!

This particular Satan attractor starred, of all people, Tom Hanks, as a young man who gets so caught up in his roleplay, that he starts to believe its real, and proceeds to kill several people, thinking them to be part of the game, while his D&D friends try to find and save him. On the other hand, t does star Christopher Makepeace, the star of Vamp, and My Bodyguard, who I had a terrible crush on, because of that 80’s thing, where white men had luxurious heads of hair. Yeah, I still don’t know what the f*ck that was at all about for them, or me!

This movie was as stupid as the philosophy that made it, and gets everything wrong about role playing games, in its sad efforts to make the point that such games were leading the children into Satanism. The same as what was said about TV, music, and basically any leisure activities that teenagers found enjoyable. You also have to put this into perspective that at the time there was a very literal “witchhunt” going on in American society at the time, where white people found Satanic Cults in every suburban backyard.

You can watch this, but be sure to have the liquor handy. You’re going to need to grease your eyeballs from rolling them so hard.

Death Becomes Her (1992)

This is actually one of my favorite movies. its got a got a lot of problems, though, like fatphobia, but it did question the idea of youth culture, and how older actresses get disposed of and forgotten by the industry once they start to age. It stars Meryl Streep (Madeline) and Goldie Hawn (Helen) as rivals for Bruce Willis’ (Ernest) affections.. While none of these are my favorite actors, they are all pretty funny in this movie.

After Madeline steals her Husband Helen encounters a woman offering a youth potion that works just a little too well. When Madeline’s career starts to fade, and Ernest tries to leave her, she meets the same woman played by Issabella Rossellini, after which the two of them spend the rest of the movie trying to kill each other, at some point realizing that the potion made them effectively immortal, and that ain’t no good for either of them.

The Keep (1983)

This movie was based on the book by F. Paul Wilson, about a demon trapped inside some type of Nazi stronghold, that gets set free ,and starts killing. I remember the book better than I remember the movie, but hey, I’m all for killing Nazis.

This movie starred a who’s who of old British men, although I guess, since the movie was made thirty years ago, maybe they weren’t quite that old yet. The acting is surprisingly not that bad, but I cannot, for the life of me, remember the details of the plot, and I know I watched it, because I remember the monster looked like a Dollar Value version, of Tim Curry’s Darkness, from Ridley Scott’s Legend. It couldn’t have been that bad though, becasue it was one of Michael Mann’s first films, and he eventually went on to make the Red Dragon film, Manhunter.

976 – Evil (1988)

Oh, this is one of my favorites, released just after Fright Night, about a nerdy teenager who makes a pact with the devil by calling a special phone number, after he gets badly humiliated by some high school ne’er do wells. This Devil’s bargain doesn’t go all that well for him, as is usually the case, after he starts turning into a demon, and killing everyone. This starred one of my favorite actors at the time, Stephen Geoffreys, who was just coming off the above named movie, as the character Evil Ed. It also starred a loopy Sandy Dennis, as his religious nutjob mother, who if its even possible, was even more batshit than Margaret White from Carrie.

Its not a great movie, but it is a lot of fun, and a kind of tongue in cheek, homage to Carrie, as it contains a lot of the same elements. he movie is silly and knows it. There were, in the the 80’s, a brief spate of these teenagers gone wrong, revenge films, featuring paranormal powers.

White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

Lets make this clear. At the time this movie was released, it was not one of my favorites. It still isn’t. I was not a Wesley Snipe fan, nor was I a fan of Woody Harrelson, and I generally hate sports movies too, but my family members wanted me to watch this movie with them, for which they shall someday pay a horrible price. On the other hand, it did star Rosie Perez. For y’all yunguns, yes, that is the same Rosie Perez from the Birds of Prey movie.

The title pretty much gives it all away. Woody’s and Snipe’s characters (yeah, I’m not looking up their names) hustle people on local basketball courts, by playing on the notion that white men don’t know how to play street basketball. I am fairly certain that this movie pushed a lot of white kids to challenge this notion, and get beat up for talking shit on many inner-city playgrounds.

The Hidden (1987)

This is one of my all-time favorite movies from the 80’s. This is the movie that made me a fan of Claudia Christian, from Babylon Five. Of course I was following Kyle’s career, at that time, before he found a home in Twin Peaks, which I refused to watch. This movie has all of the usual 80’s scifi tropes, in the form of an alien that takes over human bodies, cop car crashes, weird guns, buddy cops, who start out hating each other, but then later come to respect one another, and even some pathos, in the form of a fridged wife and child.

This movie is insane. It starts up high, and pretty much stays there, with a couple of unexpectedly goofy turns, later in the film, making it similar to, but not quite like any of the other films like it at the time, as if the genre had been building up to it. If you find a copy of this, take care to listen to the commentary, because some actual thought was put into certain elements of the plot, that you might otherwise overlook, like the relationship between the two lead characters, and the ending.

Maximum Overdrive (1986)

This is one of Stephen King’s hot 80’s messes, based on a much much better short story, called Trucks, which also happened to be based on Stephen Spielberg’s Duel. After some type of weird comet passes by the Earth, all mechanical objects come alive and kill people. In the short story, it was only trucks, but in the movie, its everything that’s technological, like electric kitchen knives, and lawnmowers.

The movie is deeply, and I mean deeply, ridiculous, and is one of those rare films that has a cameo from King, who gets called an asshole by an ATM. I forget who the directed this film, but whoever it is, should never be allowed to choose any actors for his films, on the other hand he is utterly merciless when it comes to killing his characters off, even going so far as to show, in horrifying detail, a little kid getting run over by a steam roller! Apparently the 80s was the era in which directors would just happily kill children all over the place, but not dogs. Go figure!

So yeah, this is kind of worth watching for the gore, but maybe you don’t want to watch it because its cheesy.

Coneheads (1993)

I was interested in this only because i was fond of the sketches from Saturday Night Live in the 70’s, and starring the same cast as in the film. The movie turned out to be surprisingly funny, even if it was sort of one note. Worse movies have hinged on much flimsier materials. The idea that aliens might be living here on Earth, attempting to disguise themselves as regular human beings, and failing, but people believe them anyway. It had a great cast of Jane Curtin ,and Dan Ackroyd, and the late, great, Chris Farley, who was pretty understated, in his role as the daughter’s high school boyfriend.

The show was a parody of the idea that, no matter how weird you are, or bizarre you behave,White suburbanites will accept you, as long as you look like you’re trying to assimilate (and look white, I guess.) But I just thought it was funny because the Conehead family were such failures at assimilation, and that much of the movie’s humor was about their directly indirect manner of speaking, which just appealed to my nerdy soul. There’s some drama about two immigration agents trying to capture them because they’re on Earth illegally, and a secondary plot about their daughter’s romantic entanglements.

And So It Begins

I’m going to start off my Fall viewing season by trying to cover as many shows as I can. I’ve already given a rundown in a previous post about which shows I was most interested in, which shows are just “meh” and which ones I was flat-out not looking at. Nevertheless,  I’ve probably forgotten by now  which ones ones I said I would cover, anyway.

This one is a little late but we’ll start with:

Bastard Executioner:


I like this show. It looks good and it’s got some great actors in it. I didn’t pay much attention to the plot and I don’t know how much cultural accuracy is involved in its particular version of the Middle Ages. But here’s what I was thinking as I watched the premiere: Boy! are these people dirty. There’s dirt everywhere and on everyone, even the people you would think wouldn’t be dirty, the members of the nobility. At the very least, these people are engaging in living with some powerful odors.

The show opens with people fighting and fucking and at no point do we see people bathe, even  though they were just engaged in some sweaty and dirty activities. Bathing is discussed fairly often, so theoretically, it does exist in this world, but no one seems to want to take the time to do it, and I found this very distracting. Hell, people didn’t even wipe themselves with warm cloths, or do that thing where they splash their faces with water, out of those water bowls people always seem to have in historical dramas.

This show is by the same creators of Sons of Anarchy, so I expect lots and lots of intrigue. I paid just enough attention to the plot to recognize Bill the Vampire as a schemer of the first order, so I hope he lasts a good long while, and that Brattle needs a personality donation. I do understand that his wife and family got fridged on his behalf but, really dude! It’s okay to change facial expressions. I think I saw Katie Segal, but she wasn’t wearing any makeup, so it was really hard to tell it was her. She plays a witch on the show and I kept staring at the actress’ face, trying to see Katie in it, and getting frustrating glimpses.

I think I glimpsed some Black people in the background of one scene, which I found heartening. I like that the writers remember that Black people had been invented by the Middle Ages and had been engaged in  something besides slavery. You know, sometimes, we just hung out with people and farmed or something.

I’m going to keep watching this one, despite the distraction of “dirt”. I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to it though, and if nothing else, this show really makes me appreciate indoor plumbing.

Let’s move on to:



I wasn’t greatly interested in watching the second season of this, as I was not impressed with the first. Also I had some difficulties watching it, which I will get into in a short moment.

I’m a Black woman, who lives in the U.S. Gotham was released last year, right during the height of media reporting of police brutality incidents, against African Americans. Every report left me an emotional wreck. This was true of a lot of people I know.

I, sort of, liked the show. Well, at least I didn’t hate it.  I enjoyed watching Fish Mooney tearing up the scenery and I liked how batshit some of the plots and characters were, but I had to stop watching the show, not just just because the series kept getting worse but because I could no longer watch police misconduct on television, without having severe anxiety attacks and comparing it to real life. It’s called escapist TV for a reason and this wasn’t escapist for me. I couldn’t watch the corrupt Gotham PD beat up suspects, railroad people into prison, accept graft, lying and engage in bribery and consider it entertainment.

I still can’t.

So, I was more than a little reluctant to watch this season of the show, but wanted to try again. As a general rule, I avoid cop shows anyway, mostly because they’re all alike, but I had an especially difficult time watching any of them since last year. Every time a police officer shot someone, I had severe anxiety and had to stop watching. Whenever an officer refused to shoot someone, I had severe anxiety and had to turn the channel. It was best to just stay the Hell away from such shows altogether , as I could no longer approach these shows as entertainment, and could only think of them as an indictment against real police officers, no matter how fantastical the show.

The first few minutes of this season’s premiere had me wanting to turn the channel, again. The only reason I got past Gordon being unwilling to shoot some crazy in the street, is because he had already been established as largely uncorruptable, during season one. But it did get increasingly difficult to watch as Gordon kept getting further enmeshed in the villains schemes. He ultimately chose not to, so I still have faith that he will try to remain a good guy, despite the temptations around him.

That said, I am still not impressed with this episode. I’m still not greatly interested in any of the characters. I hate Selina Kyle. I just hate that actress.  Bruce Wayne is less than lackluster as a character, although, I like Alfred. The women are all paradoxically annoying and characterless, which is an amazing feat of engineering, especially Barbara Keene. I don’t think the writers have a single damn clue what to do with her. This is a character flailing around in search of a plot. I’m still into watching the villains scheme and I may keep watching the show because it says it’s specifically about them this season,  but my question is, considering how awful the GPD is, what makes that different from last season?

Oh,  and the guy who plays the Joker, is just fucking annoying. He’s trying too damn hard to be Joker-ish and it seriously got on my nerves. Like he’s trying to channel both Cesar Romero and Heath Ledger and it’s just not working. I think it’s because he’s just not the great an actor. He simply doesn’t have enough depth to accurately portray the complexity of the Joker, who is technically, not insane, but is insane. But t’s just the premiere. Maybe he’ll develop depth later on, I hope.

I won’t be reviewing this show again unless I see something extraordinary or have something especially poignant to say.

Next we will tackle:

Minority Report


I  was very looking forward to watching the pilot, even though I wasn’t especially interested in the trailer. I’m one of the few people on earth willing to openly admit to being a Tom Cruise fan, so yeah, I actually enjoyed the movie a lot, and I was interested in seeing how the show would handle the movie’s basic plot line.

The show doesn’t start on a good note. The narrator chronicles the history of the pre-cogs, and the children portraying them are awful. I know the scene is supposed to be all tragic and shit but I just thought it was funny. Thankfully, it gets a little better after that.

This world is very clean and modern and run by machines and I enjoyed looking at it. It’s not utopian, although I don’t like the idea of ads that detect when you’re feeling stressed, so you can be offered drugs to calm down. None of the police dress like service professionals. They all dress like they came off some avant garde runway and they talk like teenagers, so it’s hard to take them seriously.

I do like that the creators have a Black woman in the lead. They  are probably trying to capture some of that Sleepy Hollow magic, although this show mostly reminds me of Almost a Human, a show I really enjoyed and wish this one was, instead. And although the actress isn’t bad, she’s less than compelling in this episode but she tries, though. Maybe she’ll develop more personality later. And yes, I was horribly distracted by those tiny gloves she wears. Really, people! Ya’ll couldn’t find some gloves that fit?  I was also distracted by the makeup on that one Asian woman. It’s stupid and I kept laughing at it. She doesn’t look like a professional anything. She looks like she’s going to a rave. Vega is really cute and we get to see her in a lot of really tight clothes, but I keep unfavorably comparing her to the lead from Sleepy Hollow. I know that’s not fair but I couldn’t help it.

The year is 2065, and there are PoC all over this show, so the writers have been paying attention, not just to things like the future of technology but to future social and population trends, as well, and I liked that.  I liked seeing Hispanics in the future. It’s nice to know they’re still around, unlike the TV shows of the past where PoC had all disappeared to their own planet or alternate dimension or something. The movie was really good at trying to predict technology and neglected the social and people angles of the future. I liked that the show didn’t turn the presence of PoC into Hallmark moments. They’re just regular people, working jobs and shit.

I liked that even though Vega (yes, its a dumb name) believes Dash is a precog and is willing to accept his crime predictions, she keeps refusing to believe any of his other, smaller  predictions, like where she should stand or what she’ll be having for dinner. It’s also nice to see she has a family, although that felt kind of tacked on. Her Mom is, like 65, and she has a tiny brother, who I already don’t like. I also didn’t like the cheesy music that was orchestrated to make the viewer feel excitement, but maybe that gets better later.

Dash is the pre-cog who allies himself with her as a way to prevent the murders he sees but doesn’t have the resources to stop. I have a little trouble accepting the premise of crimes you can stop before they happen, as traditionally, that’s not actually what the police do. I mean, they do sort of, but not really. Mostly they engage in the cleanup of crimes that have already been committed, and capturing the perpetrator of those, is what stops future crimes by that person, I guess.

At one point Dash has a seizure in a restaurant and says that phrase from the movie and I know it’s suppposed to be a serious moment, but I laughed at it. Does that make me a bad person? At another moment, they question an old guy who runs away, and Vega chases him, (because there has to be an obligatory chase scene,) and I couldn’t help thinking that this looks like an investigation run by amateurs, or the writers really don’t know about police investigations, and are just making shit up as they go. Anyone who has ever watched the show 48 Hours, knows that detectives don’t operate like this. This is pure TV show detectiving.

I did feel  a little better when the actor from the movie, the one who took care of the precogs, showed up with some tech that allowed Vega to see what Dash sees, while trying to prevent the murder of a businessman’s wife by some diseased birds. I automatically suspected the husband as the perpetrator, so I wasn’t really invested in that part of the plot, which is kind of silly.

Dash’s sister, Agatha, does put in an appearance and she asks Dash some very pertinent questions, which he is very vague about, and she has a few dire predictions,too. His brother shows up to and is a dick. I had those same questions Agatha did, though, and they were not answered to my satisfaction.

I’m probably going to keep watching it, despite that it’s not a compelling show, because Wilmer Valderama is in it and that man is Hawtness Incarnate. I could watch him all day, and I have…in From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series, where he plays a really hawt Mexican vampire. I don’t love this show yet because it could be improved by having Valderama bite somebody.

Lastly, we’ll discuss:



I had no intention of watching this but it was on and I was reviewing, so it wasn’t out of my way or anything. I’m not really into espionage shows and this one looked like a cross between The Bourne Identity and Memento, and I enjoyed both those movies.

Let me be frank in stating that I have no idea who the Hell Jaime Alexander is. She looks vaguely familiar, so she must have starred adjacent to a show I liked, but not actually in one of them. I really like her, though and I’m going to keep watching this.

Jane Doe is a really interesting character. There’s an intriguing mystery and Jaime really sells the despair, confusion and bewilderment, which was giving me all kinds of feels and the episode really seemed very like The Bourne Identity, only this particular episode had a clearer purpose, in which she and Agent Weller  try to stop a Chinese terrorist attack on New York City.

I didn’t buy the FBI’s excuse for letting her tag along with them on a case, though. Those guys are some fairly dense and stubborn MFs, and once they get an idea in their heads, there’s no talking them out of it, I don’t care how angry or determined you act. The real FBI cannot be swayed by temper tantrums or appeals to civility or logic. But it’s a TV show, so I do realize, if she doesn’t tag along on their cases, there will be no show. Agent Weller does seem to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to persuade  her to stay in the car, while he investigates, until she throws some logic at him, about why he’s wrong, and then  he relents.

I did enjoy the scenes where she  kicks some ass. That was kind of fun although I do have to say, watching White people beat up people of color also so makes me feel deeply uncomfortable. Apparently, I like my violence to be intraracial. I don’t know why.

I liked some of the other characters in the show. There are several women and PoC, both men and women, but, once again, we get a lack of Hispanic representation, even though it’s set in NY,  and you’ve got a bad Asian guy. Actually there are several bad Asian guys. I get that this was in Chinatown and that’s where bad Asian guys would probably be found but I still didn’t like it. It didn’t  seem like an international thing, though. Just a disgruntled guy, in a desperate situation. But the whole Yellow Peril thing, in action shows, is getting tired, which is why I’m hoping the series Rush Hour will do better, on that front.

I like that the other characters on the show have a little personality of their own, are quietly snarky to Weller, have some  skills of their own, and some of them get a little mystery attached to them, although we spend most of our time with Weller and Doe.

Weller, whose name is prominently tattooed on Jane’s back, doesn’t have a whole lot of personality himself, beyond squinting and determination, but Jane has attached herself to him as her anchor, nevertheless. She keeps hugging him, and you can see the discomfort on his face as she clings to him, as the only semi-known factor in her life.  I only hope that they remain just friends and the series doesn’t do the whole “will they or won’t they” bullshit, because that’s a very tired trope, and  I’m heartily sick of seeing it.

I really liked the show, though. I didn’t  think I would. I will tune in next week, for it.  I like to plan my viewing habits but sometimes that planning gets broadsided by a really intriguing show and the shows I thought I would love, turn out to be a bust.  I hope this one sticks around and becomes as good as Person of Interest, which I also fell into by accident.