Friday, April 28, 2017

Obsessed by lists?

Long before I started posting on Goodreads I was keeping track of the books I read each year. Unfortunately the earlier lists are a bit thin on some information, but gradually I improved this so that at least I can go back and check out both the title and the author. With the advent of my increasing immersement in the Goodreads world, things improved even further and I now have reviews of all the books I read these days, as well as notes about some of those I read further back. (Isn't 'read' a confusing word on the printed page? It's easy to misunderstand last sentence in print, though if it was spoken it would be perfectly sensible.)

It takes a bit of doing at times, but overall it's useful to me.

On another tack, I've been thinking for the last few weeks that it would be good to keep a better track of the movies and TV series I've watched. It's very easy to forget them - and maybe that doesn't matter - but every so often you think: I wish I could remember what that movie was that made such an impression on me. Thankfully, most of them can be found with a bit of effort on IMDB; occasionally some can't.

IMDB is a wonderful resource. I can remember when it was in its early stages, and a lot of information was missing about individual movies, and a lot of movies were missing completely. Now, of course, as anyone who uses it knows, practically everything ever filmed seems to be on there. Which is an extraordinary achievement. There must be an army of data inputters working on the thing day and night.

If I was to set up a record of the movies and series I've watched, at the end of the year I'd remember that I'd seen Broadchurch mark 3, and I could make a note that I found it more dour than the other two series (I think), that there seemed to be a great deal of emphasis on pornography, and that some of the scenes were brilliantly written, including the one where Miller and Beth Latimer chuckle about the naughty things they used to say as kids, or Beth's impassioned speech to the Vicar in regard to husband having nearly committed suicide. The acting was brilliant throughout, especially Julie Hesmondhalgh as the initial rape victim, an ambiguous character who received a great deal of sympathy, but also had some odd goings-on in her life.

I'd remember that we'd begun to watch 13 Reasons Why, and decided it wasn't for us. And then an Icelandic series called Case which again had an emphasis of pornography that we felt we couldn't cope with any more of it.

I'd quickly be able to find the name of another series we watched in which a young girl was murdered at the beginning and then proved still to be very visible and very real to half a dozen people she knew. It was a series from Belgium. It was Hotel Beau Sejour - thanks, Google. This was a marvellously engrossing series which, even though it didn't explain how the premise could have come about, kept us on tenterhooks for a number of episodes. As did Fauda (Chaos), an Israeli series we watched and which was intense. I did write about this one.

Most of these have been watched on Netflix, which - in New Zealand at least - is a mixed bag: some very good shows, a few very good films, and lots of stuff that is trying to get a second life by being included in the Netflix catalogue. When Netflix first arrived here a year or two ago, you could watch anything from the US catalogue, which was vast. Then, for some reason, Netflix NZ was whittled down to some top quality shows and films and a lot of debris. Sometimes it's hard to decide which is which, though it has to be admitted there are some very good TV series being produced these days, almost none of which (Broadchurch is an exception) appear here on free to air TV.

But you can see how easy it is to forget what you've seen, how many hours you've spent watching True Story, and the other I don't feel at home in this world anymore. The first starred James Franco and Jonah Hill, and was a curious piece based on a (yup!) true story about a man who'd murdered his wife and children and then tried to claim he hadn't. And a reporter who seemed to get sucked in by the murderer's supposed protestations of innocence.
gripping stories. And how easy it is to forget titles, such as the two we watched over the last few days, both movies. One was

The second starred New Zealander Melanie Lynskey, and someone with a considerable connection to NZ, Elijah Wood - although he was so well-disguised, somehow, that it wasn't until near the end that I realised who he was. This was a very quirky, sometimes funny, movie, that became increasingly violent as it went on. There was blood everywhere. Not sure that it was all necessary. But it held together, even though it was quite slow in places, and the ending was satisfying.

So. Plainly I need to make a list, and quickly. Otherwise all these movies are going to drift out of the consciousness. Does anyone besides me care? Maybe...

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