October 24, 2008


In my apartment we have HBO. Five different channels of HBO to be exact. This is glorious. Also, it is very, very dangerous.

To wit: Last weekend while eating breakfast I flipped on the TV and saw that Atonement was on. I decided to watch part of it, because it was almost to this one scene (no, not THAT one) that is absolutely breathtaking and frankly amazing. It's the one where Robbie and his comrades reach the beach where all the other British soldiers are waiting around to go back home. They basically just walk around and gape, literally gape at everything going on. The amazing thing about it is that it is over 5 minutes long. With no cuts. It is one giant take with hundreds of extras singing, running, dying, fighting and as I said, walking around.

I was only going to watch that one part. Then do other stuff.
Or.....I could watch the whole rest of the movie because I really liked Vanessa Redgrave's performance, oh and Briony in the hospital being all weird and first-namey.

This is why HBO is dangerous.

Oh, and there are no commercials. Again, great and dangerous.

One of the things I have started to watch on HBO is Real Time with Bill Maher. It's a pretty good show. Notice the pretty good? Yes? That is because I love and hate this show. During the course of the hour, it is not uncommon for me to laugh, cringe, applaud, cringe again, furrow my brow, giggle and vehemently disagree.

Specifically, I don't particularly like Bill Maher. I think that he's one of those people who thinks he's really funny, but also is so confident that everyone else thinks he's really, really funny. It's irritating. I usually change the channel during his monologues a few times not because of the content of what he's saying, but the way in which he delivers it.

My absolute favorite part (usually) of the show is the panel discussion.

There are three panelists, and they discuss what is going on in politics, the world, country, whatever. Its been mostly about politics lately because, well, what isn't? Usually the panel consists of one comedian or actor (sometimes two) and either a journalist or political figure. Also, the panel is either made up of 3 more liberal people, or 2 liberals and one extremely conservative person (ie. WSJ columnists).

Here's the part where I'm going to contradict other things I have said on this blog: The panel discussion is best when the three people have generally the same political ideology. I hate it when there is one conservative, and not because I hate conservatives or don't care about what they want to say.

So much for pluralism right?

I say this because the panel ends up arguing for twenty minutes about one thing and everyone starts to repeat and repeat what has already been said. It turns into every other crappy show on MSNBC and CNN and Fox News and I get really annoyed. On the other had, when the panel is made up of 3 liberals, they can talk about what's going on without getting too defensive, and they listen to what everyone has to say. They are also more free to bring in a different point of view and discuss it, because there isn't a huge divide between their beliefs.

This brings me to Ben Affleck.

I've never really thought much about Ben Affleck. I like the movie Good Will Hunting, and Jennifer Garner seems like a nice enough person, but I never thought he was really that great or interesting. He was on the panel last week along with Martin Short (somewhat surprisingly insightful) and Bernie Sanders (Independent Senator from Vermont. He's also pretty awesome).

I was very impressed. Especially by Ben Affleck.

The video below is a part of the panel discussion. I came around to Ben Affleck especially with what he said starting at around 5:20.

Here here, Ben. Here here.