What in the world did people do before we had television? Okay, okay, I know... they read books and wrote letters and talked to each other, all of which remain worthy endeavors. But television is truly a vehicle for the mind, allowing you to sit in your living room and travel to distant exotic locations, learn about everything from ancient aliens to how to fry a doughnut. YouTube can put you on the front row at a Prince concert. You can watch Dean Martin flirt with a young Goldie Hawn, or see Johnny Carson crack up with Dom DeLouise. Or binge-watch The Sopranos (1999 - 2007) or the first season of The Old Man (2022) with Jeff Bridges (which I highly recommend). TV is good company and constant entertainment. I have to resist the temptation to rely on it for companionship but on the other hand it doesn't argue, criticize or complain, and it always goes where I want to go. What more can a person ask for... other than a friend to sometimes share a good show or football game?
JEFF BRIDGES IS POSSIBLY THE MOST ATTRACTIVE MAN ON THE PLANET AND THE FIRST SEVEN EPISODES OF THE OLD MAN ARE REALLY FUN! THE DIALOGUE BETWEEN BRIDGES' CHARACTER AND A MIDDLE AGED DOWN ON HER LUCK DIVORCEE IS SPOT-ON AND INSIGHTFUL EVEN IF IT'S A BIT INCREDIBLE THAT TWO PEOPLE WOULD OR COULD EVER BE THAT HONEST WITH EACH OTHER.
I loved this movie from the opening scene where BJ Novak and John Mayer engaged in the most obnoxious, pretentious and self-satisfying conversation since Joaquin Phoenix babbled his way through I'm Still Here in his 2010 mockumentary. Fatally flawed characters are not always that interesting. It says a lot about actor/writer/director Novak that I grew more interested in his character as his character became less interested in himself. And I loved Ashton Kutcher! Sure, the political sermonizing hit you between the eyes like a brick, but the mildly surprising ending brought the message back to a more personal level. This is a movie not served well by its trailer. I strongly recommend it.
And this was my view from my dining table Saturday night. Caviar, champagne and a movie about angst-ridden post Cold War spies with too little to do. The Whistleblower (1986) got a thumbs up from Roger Ebert and I agree with that. All in all, it was a perfect evening.