please, sir, i want some less

Some days, it seems like everybody is watching House of the Dragon, or The Rings of Power, or both. And it definitely feels, on most days, like everybody is watching Marvel movies and shows.

(Of course, some days it seems like a lot of people are watching one or two or all three primarily in order to complain about them, but that’s a separate question. That’s not what this is about.)

I’ve read Lord of the Rings several times, starting back in the late 1960s or early 1970s. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Quite a satisfying end, actually. I saw the movies when they came out, and I’ve seen them since as well. Similarly: beginning, middle, and end. Very satisfying.

I don’t need more. I may have seen one of the Hobbit movies, but I don’t remember much of anything about it. There was a dragon, with the voice of a famous British actor.

I’ve seen a lot of Game of Thrones, including the end. Not as satisfying an ending as Lord of the Rings, but it was an ending. So, I’m done with that. Time for something else.

I was never as attached to the Marvel movies (except for Guardians of the Galaxy) as I am to Lord of the Rings, but Endgame was a big finale, so I’m mostly done with that whole thing also. (Well, except for Moon Knight, which was excellent.)

Once again, as usual, I have my finger very far from the pulse.

Even with The Witcher (which I’m still obsessed with), I’m mostly impatient for Season 3 to come out, but I haven’t seen the two spin-offs (one movie and one short series) yet, because they’re not about the same characters. Maybe that’s the problem in general. No Ser Davos or Ser Jorah, no Samwise (or Samwell), or Geralt or Yennefer or Cirilla? No thanks.

On a possibly related note, it occurred to me recently that I’ve never listened to the 10-minute version of Taylor Swift’s song “All Too Well.” I really like the original (especially this version from the Grammy Awards show), but I don’t need 4.5 more minutes of it.

Actually, that’s probably different. I wrote a lot of songs, way back when, and a big part of the art of songwriting is editing and paring down and ruthlessly cutting. Hemingway’s “Iceberg Theory” definitely applies to songwriting, as much as it does to short stories. I don’t need (or want) to read the stuff Hemingway trimmed from “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.”

I have been watching The Peripheral, which is good so far. It works because the present day (near future) stuff in rural North Carolina and the future-future stuff in London are both interesting. There’s never that feeling when you’re in one location and timeline, and you’re just impatient to get back to the other one (at least for me).

I also saw the movie Amsterdam, which was really good. I want to see it again. The first time I saw it I was constantly distracted by all the familiar faces which kept popping up (“Hey, that’s Taylor Swift… Okay, she’s gone.”). It was written and directed by David O. Russell, who also did American Hustle (which I liked) and I Heart Huckabees (which I liked more).


1) I thought of adding that nothing mentioned here compares to Doom Patrol, but it seemed unnecessary, but then I just read that the current season of Doom Patrol will be the last. Sigh.

2) I liked this article: “The Lore of the Rings,” particularly this paragraph:

This is an imperative of the contemporary franchise: everything must be connected somehow in an endless feedback loop (or ring). This is usually achieved through “fan service,” knowing winks and nods to characters and events the audience already knows, but an overreliance on such references seals the worlds off, and the air in them soon turns stale. There is no room for the organic happenstance of real life, for the inexplicable and strange, like Tolkien’s immortal weirdos Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, who were jettisoned from Jackson’s adaptation.

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