The Lord Of The Rings : Current Shows & Movies

Current Shows & Movies

So, we can start out by discussing Game of Thrones (which is currently in vogue), House of Cards or the slightly dated Breaking Bad and/or any other TV show one is watching (or movie series, whether the Maze Runner, Bridget Jones, Twilight, Hunger Games, etc.)

And toss in Jackson's/Tolkien's works as a point of comparison. That's not quite off-topic, is it? (And if it is, tough).

If Ptero ever comes back, he might be glad to know I watched Breaking Bad earlier this year and actually enjoyed it immensely. It was masterfully made.

I caught up with Game of Thrones and still feel rather ambiguously about it, some of the story-lines being much more interesting than others (not to mention the violence being a bit over the top). Still, it has some intriguing ideas/themes (not to mention beautiful scenery). I just think they could have toned down the violence for some of the non-gamer crowd. It does have some very good characters and actors, but I could never feel comfortable watching it with family (or recommending it to them).

I miss Twilight both for its parody-worthy campiness and the Pacific Northwest nostalgia factor, not to mention the images of Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner all over the place. Those were the days.

Which shows/movies are you watching?

(P.S. If this thread gets deleted, well, it's back to Shatner nostalgia threads for me, if any).


Re: Current Shows & Movies

The one show I'm still watching is My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. I've been trying to catch the newer episodes of TMNT 2012 after falling behind.

Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan

Re: Current Shows & Movies

I remember the My Little Pony series from the late 80s when I was little. Had no clue they had made a new version.

Being a boy, I was more familiar with Thundercats, He-Man and the like (but especially anything that had to do with Nintendo characters like Super Mario Bros. and Link in the early 90s.) My parents never quite approved of the Ninja Turtles for some reason, but they were cool; it was a good start to learning the Renaissance artists' names at any rate.

Re: Current Shows & Movies

Adventure Time.

Look- it's trying to think!

Re: Current Shows & Movies

by kjnics;

"I caught up with Game of Thrones and still feel rather ambiguously about it, some of the story-lines being much more interesting than others (not to mention the violence being a bit over the top). Still, it has some intriguing ideas/themes (not to mention beautiful scenery). I just think they could have toned down the violence for some of the non-gamer crowd. It does have some very good characters and actors, but I could never feel comfortable watching it with family (or recommending it to them)."

I'm also ambivalent about Game of Thrones.
Even for adults once the series (in season 4) got involved with graphic torture and brutality, it became iffy whether I could keep watching it. I just streamed the last couple of seasons for one viewing and don't have a desire to see them again.

Another problem is that the story feels very stretched out; often very little happens to move the main plots along.
I had a similar problem with the second George RR Martin Ice & Fire novel and just gave up in the middle of it.

* I watched two fantasy series on Netflix and Amazon streaming just to find more from that genre;
- The Legend of the Seeker; very campy and in the end, it fell apart after two seasons (which is as long as it lasted).
But overall I enjoyed viewing it.
- The other fantasy series I saw was The Chronicles of Shannara; kind of Twilighty / The Hunger Games ish.
Some familiar faces were in the cast like John Rhys Davies.
It had some different twists on fantasy (like blending it with a post apocalyptic era).
One suggestion is to stay with episode one no matter how bad it seems. The series gets better after that with lots of standard fantasy stuff.

As for Jackson's Hobbit, anything you want to toss around with that is fine with me.
All I know about it recently is that Warner Brothers is so pleased that they forced Jackson to make 3 films instead of 2.
Because the studio got about another 1/2 billion of profit out of that. Artistry be damned I guess and in the end it's a business.

BB ;-)

it is just in my opinion - imo - 🌈

Re: Current Shows & Movies

I'm also ambivalent about Game of Thrones.

Even for adults once the series (in season 4) got involved with graphic torture and brutality, it became iffy whether I could keep watching it. I just streamed the last couple of seasons for one viewing and don't have a desire to see them again.


I haven't read the books, nor do I plan to.

But I think graphic torture, brutality, etc. are very different on page than they are when depicted on screen, and there are different ways of handling such depictions. Even stories like Martin's could be handled with a little more subtlety and less in your face exploitation. I don't know, I feel that the violence (along with the graphic nudity and sex) is there for fanboys (or fangirls) to see "how much they can take" sometimes, to the detriment of the rest of the story and regular audiences.

It somehow cheapens it, shocking audiences for shocks' sake. And, unlike Tarantino, where the violence is cartoonish, this story asks one to care for some of the characters and take it somewhat seriously (as it has serious themes); thus one feels somewhat of a somber sort of guilt watching the brutality (and many of the characters certainly do). It's not gleeful fun like Kill Bill. (Well, I did chuckle a bit with Theon/Reek, but there was only so much I could stomach after a while).

As for Jackson's Hobbit, anything you want to toss around with that is fine with me.

All I know about it recently is that Warner Brothers is so pleased that they forced Jackson to make 3 films instead of 2. Because the studio got about another 1/2 billion of profit out of that. Artistry be damned I guess and in the end it's a business.


Ah, yes, the recent films which one easily forgets. They weren't the worst, but they certainly could have done a better job. As we discussed with Kip, Corsten and others back in the day, the love and care for the actual story was trumped by the desire to make big bucks (and deliver something fast and easy to consume to the multiplex hordes everywhere from Guangxi to Ohio).

As you yourself said, it was a pity Philippa Boyens wasn't given more of a voice in keeping the story true to the spirit of the books. (Although, I did enjoy the last installment in its own way, and Tauriel personally never bugged me). They could have been so much better though (at least they weren't as bad as the Disney "sequels" they used to come out with when I was a kid, like the Return of Jafar).


Re: Current Shows & Movies

to kjnics;

"I feel that the violence (along with the graphic nudity and sex) is there for fanboys (or fangirls) to see "how much they can take" sometimes, to the detriment of the rest of the story and regular audiences...

I did chuckle a bit with Theon/Reek, but there was only so much I could stomach after a while"

Dani or Cerscei being nude for dramatic effect at the end of an episode made sense.
The fairly graphic brothel fornication was unnecessary and just slowed the story down in an already slow series.

As for the torture; with chit chat about castrated genitalia and showing skinned bodies;
after a while I'm wondering, why do I need hours showing Ramsey Bolton's guide to sociopath torture?
Ramsey has dogs tear apart a victim. Ramsey rapes his wife.
Do I need to see more of this?

But I soldiered on through several unsettling and boring episodes to finally see the main story move forward.

And now the TV series has gone beyond the published books. Will George RR Martin finish this thing? Or will it have to be done by the show's producers?

"the love and care for the actual story was trumped by the desire to make big bucks"

Yes. The more I know about the production, that seems to be the story of the Hobbit films.
Jackson did not have control of the final cut. The studio were complete jerks to force him, at literally the last minute, to stretch two movies into three films.

The entire project suffered because of that.

"Tauriel personally never bugged me"

It was the Tauriel / Kili intense romance which bugged me but chalk that down to my putting the Tolkien purist hat on and insisting that Elves and Dwarves would not fall in love and have a relationship.
Without the romance, I liked warrior Tauriel in Desolation of Smaug quite a lot.

"at least they weren't as bad as the Disney "sequels" they used to come out with when I was a kid, like the Return of Jafar"

You are quite right. It's a matter of perspective with the glass half empty / full thing.

If I compared Jackson's Hobbit movies with Bakshi Tolkien or the Rankin/Bass Hobbit / Return of the King, then they are all about at the same level of taste.

What pushes me to be cranky about Jackson's Hobbit is that I still watch his 3 excellent Extended Edition Lord of the Rings movies and yearn for what might have been.

But such is life.

* Other TV shows I've watched recently or am watching are comic book series on Netflix; Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl.
- I also watch some things with my wife which are more costume drama romantic. Such as the first season of Poldark.
Besides seeing that style of BBC period drama (including Downton Abbey) my wife and I watch a lot of different TV series from The Good Wife, Scandal and Justified.

BB ;-)

it is just in my opinion - imo - 🌈

Re: Current Shows & Movies

* Other TV shows I've watched recently or am watching are comic book series on Netflix; Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl.
- I also watch some things with my wife which are more costume drama romantic. Such as the first season of Poldark.
Besides seeing that style of BBC period drama (including Downton Abbey) my wife and I watch a lot of different TV series from The Good Wife, Scandal and Justified.


I haven't seen any of those shows, BB, including Downton Abbey. I was thinking of watching The Wire for a while, but, feeling somewhat blue as of late and with the cold, dark, rainy weather setting here in Kraków again, have been trying to stick to things that make me smile or laugh (lately, SNL's cold opens or some of Tracey Ullman's and Catherine Tate's parodies).

I recall something another user posted here a while ago regarding being tired of shows with anti-heroes as protagonists. Though they can be excellent shows (ala Breaking Bad and House of Cards), one does want to see regular heroes now and again (or more balanced dramas with worldviews that are not so bleak and dog-eat-dog, which do not seem quite "realistic" to me or as complex as many fans claim; at the very least, they are decidedly dystopic, if not completely nihilist, in nature).

Speaking of which, and this is very on-topic (it deserves a thread of its own, really), I disagree with many of Martin's GOT fans' claims that Tolkien's Middle Earth universe is "too simplistic" with its good vs. evil themes (too existentially optimistic or absolutist in its morality) compared to the Westeros/Essos one. I think Tolkien's universe and characters did demonstrate a lot of ethical and moral complexity, both in the Silmarillion and later in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, as well as cast some existential questions and doubts, and its nature was not all sugar and spice.

It did take more definitive stances on good and evil than some of these more post-modern tails, which I think in itself is a very human (or elvish, dwarvish and hobbitish) trait , and indeed had Biblical-like deity figures such as Ilúvatar, Morgoth, etc. Yet it still allowed us to understand the corruption and complexity of certain characters (Sauron, Saruman and even Morgoth), took pity on those who had lost their way (Smeagol, Denethor, Thorin, etc.) and showed how others, such as Galadriel or Elrond, or even Treebeard, were not perfect or had never erred.

Despite the apparent triumphs over Morgoth and Sauron, the outcomes were never perfect, and the resolutions always had bittersweet elements (the ents' or elves' diminishing, Frodo not healing completely, etc.)

Ilúvatar aside (whose full purpose was not known), even the Valar and certainly the Maia were subject to corruption and/or mistakes, apart from Middle Earth's races.

And speaking of deities (I don't know, maybe I'm rambling here, but I find it relevant to discussion on modern drama ), if Martin's universe lacks a clear Ilúvatar or Valar, it certainly has some sort of deity-like characters in it (manifest in Jon Snow's resurrection, the White Walkers, etc.) I read an article about a month ago comparing the "Lord of Light" R'hllor from that show to demigods or deities from Manichean and/or Gnostic beliefs elsewhere (like Seth the Egyptian god or Lucifer - as a non-evil bringer of knowledge and light instead of the Biblical Satan-like depiction of him, etc.)

However, Martin's deities, whoever or whatever they are (and whether "good or evil" or morally ambiguous), seem to be further removed from his human characters' ethics, actions and outcomes than the Valar. (Maybe he himself doesn't have the nature of his deities quite as figured out as Tolkien did his? That could be an explanation for his taking so long to end his books, beyond deciding whether to make the "Mary Sue" Dany character and her dragons Stalin-like, one authoritarian figure from the east fighting another in the west, or redeemable.)

Re: Current Shows & Movies

to kjnics;

"I haven't seen any of those shows, BB, including Downton Abbey. I was thinking of watching The Wire for a while, but, feeling somewhat blue as of late and with the cold, dark, rainy weather setting here in Kraków again, have been trying to stick to things that make me smile or laugh (lately, SNL's cold opens or some of Tracey Ullman's and Catherine Tate's parodies)."

I enjoy some bits from SNL which I watch on YouTube.
Keep warm.

"one does want to see regular heroes now and again (or more balanced dramas with worldviews that are not so bleak and dog-eat-dog,.. decidedly dystopic, if not completely nihilist, in nature"

Yes, I'm tired of anti-heroes on TV and the negative moments used for shock value which are often not realistic.

" I disagree with many of Martin's GOT fans' claims that Tolkien's Middle Earth universe is "too simplistic"

George RR Martin has made comments like; 'I wish Tolkien had written more about Umbar' (or another part of Middle Earth).
Imo a big problem with Game of Thrones is that it goes into too much detail about side stories / events which do not move the main plot along.
Frankly I find much of Martin's mythology boring.

"And speaking of deities (I don't know, maybe I'm rambling here, but I find it relevant to discussion on modern drama ), if Martin's universe lacks a clear Ilúvatar or Valar, it certainly has some sort of deity-like characters in it (manifest in Jon Snow's resurrection, the White Walkers, etc.) I read an article about a month ago comparing the "Lord of Light" R'hllor from that show to demigods or deities from Manichean and/or Gnostic beliefs elsewhere (like Seth the Egyptian god or Lucifer - as a non-evil bringer of knowledge and light instead of the Biblical Satan-like depiction of him, etc.)

However, Martin's deities, whoever or whatever they are (and whether "good or evil" or morally ambiguous), seem to be further removed from his human characters' ethics, actions and outcomes"

I agree with a lot of that.
Game of Thrones (Fire and Ice) has real flying/fire breathing dragons, a real army of zombies, people who can raise the dead, human like beings who can live hundreds of years and yet none of these miraculous things seem to factor much into the main story of Game of Thrones.
- This is where I think that Tolkien's myth makes more sense.
Tolkien's Dragons can control kingdoms. Martin's dragons are a side show.
A being who can live hundreds of years (Saruman) controls a fortress. Martin's long lived beings hide in the north.
An army of orcs with their leader control an Empire. Martin's army of zombies with their immortal leader are still stuck north of the wall.

Tolkien's universe works much better for me.

"Maybe he himself doesn't have the nature of his deities quite as figured out as Tolkien did his? That could be an explanation for his taking so long to end his books,"

That sounds about right.
Martin's world doesn't have a clear understanding of where his wondrous beings fit in terms of power.
Tolkien borrowed ideas from Greek, Finnish, Anglo Saxon, Celtic myths.
He has a much more coherent mix of the realistic and the mythical based on what was written before.

Martin by contrast is often just making an alternate history of the Middle-Ages based on the War of the Roses and other historical events.
And the mythical creatures / beings are layered on top and don't organically blend with the story imo.

And since Martin is making an alternate history, he is just letting the story flow where it's difficult to say, 'when is it done'?
Beowulf kills Grendel, his mother and fights a dragon. Done.
Odysseus returns home Done.
Frodo destroys the Ring. Done.
The Valar defeat Morgoth. Done.

But when is an open ended history ever done?

BB ;-)

it is just in my opinion - imo - 🌈

Re: Current Shows & Movies

Game of Thrones (Fire and Ice) has real flying/fire breathing dragons, a real army of zombies, people who can raise the dead, human like beings who can live hundreds of years and yet none of these miraculous things seem to factor much into the main story of Game of Thrones.

Great insights, BB. I suppose that demonstrates how many different styles of story-telling exist, and which are more effective than others.

Having discussed the anti-hero genre and putting GOT aside for a bit (we'll get back to it later, I'm sure), are any of the other shows you mentioned a little less dark/depressing? Not necessarily My Little Pony (no offense to Fluttershy if that's his/her cup of tea) , but you mentioned Downton Abbey and quite a few others.

I've been curious about watching the TV mini-series Rebellion regarding Ireland's 1916 Easter Uprising. Even if they're not quite light-hearted, I don't consider many epic war movies (or shows) to be as dark as some of the above-mentioned shows if they have a balanced, interesting story to tell. (And, if told in the right manner, they can be educational apart from entertaining).

Speaking of which, I also want to finish watching Oliver Stone's Nixon, which I started a while back. (I would very much like to see movies about more recent presidents and politicians, from the 1970s up to the present, having seen mostly documentaries up till now.) Films regarding the Middle East, past and present, are always interesting for me as well. But to keep this thread non-political we can make separate threads regarding those.

Re: Current Shows & Movies

Hi kjnics;

"are any of the other shows you mentioned a little less dark/depressing? Not necessarily My Little Pony (no offense to Fluttershy if that's his/her cup of tea) , but you mentioned Downton Abbey and quite a few others."

"My Little Pony" comes from a toy company (Hasbro) and Marvel.
- Of the superhero shows that I mentioned the least 'dark' would be DC's "The Flash" and "Supergirl".
Both are on Netflix.
- For a lighter fantasy movie, my wife and I enjoyed the live action "Cinderella" (2015) directed by Kenneth Branagh.
It includes Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden (from Game of Thrones), Stellan Skarsgård, Derek Jacobi, and Helena Bonham Carter.
The film stars Lily James.
It's worth a rental.

"I've been curious about watching the TV mini-series Rebellion regarding Ireland's 1916 Easter Uprising. Even if they're not quite light-hearted,"

Yes, I don't consider 'The Troubles' in Ireland to be light hearted. But it is an interesting topic.
- My wife enjoyed "Outlander" which is a TV series about time travel to Scotland in 1743 and it involved the Jacobite risings.
It's romantic with some fantasy and is not too serious.
Where to get it? Amazon streaming? A video rental store?

"I also want to finish watching Oliver Stone's Nixon, which I started a while back."

Well, that is serious. I may check that out.
For my taste I get a lot of news over the Internet.
And if I want to watch a video biography, some on YouTube are so easy to find.

* Comedies? "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (Amazon streaming), "New Girl" (Netflix), "About a Boy" (movie or TV series on Netflix), "Arrested Development" (Netflix).
Though not current, some past British comedies have also worked for me; "Fawlty Towers", "Keeping Up Appearances", "Monty Python".

I'm open to any suggestions about current comedies on TV or film.

BB ;-)


it is just in my opinion - imo - 🌈

Re: Current Shows & Movies

Hey BB,

About A Boy happens to be one of my favorite movies (I haven't seen the show); I watched it when it came out in 2002 and have seen it over a dozen times (possibly as many as two dozen), sharing it with various friends and relatives. It's not only a hoot, but has a wise message; almost everyone I know who's watched it loves it.

I watched some Curb Your Enthusiasm episodes back in college with a friend who lived across the hallway; since I never saw Seinfeld, Larry David was new to me, but it was humorous in its own way. It's very much its own acquired taste, and since recently LD's been parodying Bernie Sanders in SNL, I might give it a look again.

Monty Python I consider very old-school 1970s British irreverence; I'm not overly savvy, but I love John Cleese. I'll have to see some of it again. Not seen New Girls, Arrested Development, Fawlty Towers or Keeping up Appearances, so I'll give those a look (as well as Cinderella and Outlander).

I have tons of recommendations; but I don't know if you'd like them or not (some of the movies and shows I've watched are, well, rather my own cup of tea, from various genres and time periods). I can think up some and get back to you if you tell me what genres or stories you're in the mood for; like you, no doubt, I really like a wide range.

(I recently re-watched Argo with Ben Affleck, which I liked. Whether a film is good or not, and whether one agrees with the director's point of view or not, I often like watching a variety of films and documentaries on a certain subject - like Iran's history in this case - both from insiders' and outsiders', supporters' and opponents' perspectives. Being an IR and history type, I find the visuals educational and helpful for retention beyond just reading dry texts. Of course, one can always sift through fact and fiction afterwards, cross-compare and come to one's own conclusions.)

I recently re-watched Erin Brockovich too; good entertaining legal drama.


Re: Current Shows & Movies

Hi kjnics;

"About A Boy happens to be one of my favorite movies"

Glad you liked it.
I'm a Hugh Grant fan.

"I never saw Seinfeld"

Almost the same. I tried and watched a couple of episodes and it didn't work.

"Larry David was new to me, but it was humorous in its own way. It's very much its own acquired taste, and since recently LD's been parodying Bernie Sanders in SNL, I might give it a look again."

Larry is sort of like Woody Allen but more over the top.
I love his Bernie Sanders.

"I recently re-watched Argo with Ben Affleck, which I liked."

I should give "Argo" a try. It's highly rated.
Thanks for mentioning it.

"Bridge of Spies" had some espionage and was also based on a true story. Have you seen it?

"I recently re-watched Erin Brockovich"

A well done film with a message.

BB ;-)

it is just in my opinion - imo - 🌈

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Hi BB, I really wanted to see Bridge of Spies (it's the Tom Hanks one that takes place in East Germany, right?), but it was out of the movies before I was able to catch a viewing (that and local friends with not-so-great taste in movies sometimes coaxing me to watch films with lots of special effects and little story quality).

So I still must see it; thanks for reminding me!

BTW, speaking of Tom Hanks, I watched Inferno recently, but as interesting as Dan Brown's ideas are (and despite the great music score), somehow I think there's a certain extra zest that would make Ron Howard's Da Vinci films a bit more dynamic. They're good, thought-provoking stories, however.

(As for political drama and to brush up on Watergate, I'm wanting to watch All the President's Men with Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. I'd also like to see films regarding the Gulf War, which I have an a personal interest in since my father went to it 25+ years ago and we - my mother, sister and I - were living in recently reunified Germany at the time.)

Re: Current Shows & Movies

by kjnics;

"I really wanted to see Bridge of Spies (it's the Tom Hanks one that takes place in East Germany, right?),"
"So I still must see it; thanks for reminding me!"

Yes. It's an interesting (to me at least) Cold War era film.

"but it was out of the movies before I was able to catch a viewing (that and local friends with not-so-great taste in movies sometimes coaxing me to watch films with lots of special effects and little story quality)."

LOL
Yes I know that the big special-effects movies are the most popular ones.

Did you like any of them?

"BTW, speaking of Tom Hanks, I watched Inferno recently, but as interesting as Dan Brown's ideas are (and despite the great music score), somehow I think there's a certain extra zest that would make Ron Howard's Da Vinci films a bit more dynamic. They're good, thought-provoking stories, however."

I saw "The da Vinci Code" and enjoyed it. One of these days maybe I will rent the later movie is in the series.
Thanks for the information.

BB ;-)

it is just in my opinion - imo - 🌈

Re: Current Shows & Movies

Did you like any of them?

Meh, the new Ben Hur movie was okay. (Spoiler) I guess it was relatively touching that they gave the Messala character a redemptive arch, but the movie seemed to be targeted to the "Millennial" and/or "Z" generations overall. It certainly didn't awe or thrill me the same way the old Charlton Heston one did when I saw it for the first time when I was ten years old or so.

I felt it was a teen flick rather than an epic movie.

(As cantankerous yet spot-on social critic Paul Fussell said in one of his books, some classic films like Modern Times, Casablanca, etc. should be left alone instead of being re-made).

A teen movie I did enjoy was the Maze Runner, especially the first one. From the "young adult" dystopian genre, I found it pretty entertaining. Apart from a solid story, the movie's "maze" had a brutalist, chilling look that reminded me of many Soviet-era buildings, public sculptures and even quarries I've seen out here in C&E Europe.

(The protagonist Dylan O'Brien got into a pretty bad accident while filming the third part of the trilogy earlier this year, however, so production is on hold. Fortunately, it seems, he's pulling through).


Re: Current Shows & Movies

Hi kjnics;

"Meh, the new Ben Hur movie was okay. ... It certainly didn't awe or thrill me the same way the old Charlton Heston one did when I saw it for the first time when I was ten years old or so."
"I felt it was a teen flick rather than an epic movie."

Good to know.

"A teen movie I did enjoy was the Maze Runner, especially the first one. From the "young adult" dystopian genre, I found it pretty entertaining. Apart from a solid story, the movie's "maze" had a brutalist, chilling look that reminded me of many Soviet-era buildings, public sculptures and even quarries I've seen out here in C&E Europe."

I haven't seen that one.
A movie with similar ideas that I liked bombed at the box office and got bad reviews. It was "The Giver" which is now on Netflix.
It's just my personal taste that I liked the one that failed.

* My wife and I rented "Love and Friendship" which is a small Irish/European funded Jane Austin film.
We enjoyed it.
- We also saw "Argo" as you suggested. It was intense but well made.

My wife wants to see "The Girl on the Train" but I don't think we will be able to catch it in theaters. A rental it will be.

* And soon the big special effects movies will be coming.
Dr. Strange
Arrival
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

It's going to be a busy Fall/Winter.

BB ;-)

it is just in my opinion - imo - 🌈

Re: Current Shows & Movies

Hey BB, CTS, Lars, etc.

So, after a busy November, personally and as far as following certain recent events in the US go, I'm checking back in here.

How did you enjoy Fantastic Beasts, BB? (Warning: I haven't seen it yet).

I got around to seeing the Cinderella movie you recommended, which was nice (though Drew Barrymore's 1997 version is still my favorite, as far as Cinderella goes). I finished watching Nixon and All the Presidents' Men, which were amazing, but left me drained political drama-wise.

*****

On a side topic, and this might seem out of the blue, but what are your thoughts on the trajectories of the Lord of the Rings' hobbit stars since the end of Jackson's first trilogy in 2003?

As far as I'm concerned, I really had high hopes of seeing more of the Lord of the Rings' hobbit actors (not to mention Viggo Mortensen, Andy Serkis and perhaps Live Tyler, Miranda Otto and Karl Urban) in the years after Peter Jackson's first trilogy finished. They had a momentum going there.

There are many good actors out and about in Hollywood, sure, but Lord of the Rings' hobbit cast had a special something about them. I know some have continued in theatre (Billy Boyd) and others have been in TV series or some indie flicks (Elijah Wood, for instance). They might have been right to take that route; perhaps it's a good choice to have done a few epic movies with first-rate characters instead of various so-so ones.

Something grates inside of me, however, when I recall how much more interesting our beloved hobbits were than many current vulgar or insipid "stars" (some older and many considerably younger).

How uplifting it would have been to have seen them in more epic movies, whether fantasy, sci-fi, war dramas, period pieces or espionage thrillers (or in sophisticated comedies of manner) instead of... well, Liam Hemsworth, who is "okay" (or Kit Harrington, who is meh, along with dozens of other funny but stoner comedians like Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen).

The Lord of the Rings' hobbit actors (Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan) had a special flair and charisma, a palpable team spirit and way of touching their audiences (with their on and off-screen brotherhood and camaraderie), that few others do.

Perhaps their experience in Lord of the Rings, with its truly epic scale, set the bar higher for them than for most other actors? Perhaps, after that, they were in many ways "too classic" for average Hollywood fare (more with the ongoing hipster, bling-bling and other crass or dumbed-down zeitgeist) or the anti-hero TV series that continue to be in vogue?
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