Lonesome Dove

I don’t watch much TV anymore.  I’ve heard there are good shows out there, but few of them really capture my interest.  And, one of the TV genres that I enjoyed the most — the mini-series — seems to have fallen completely out of fashion.

You can argue about the best TV show ever, but in my view there is no question about the best TV mini-series ever.  It’s Lonesome Dove, hands down.  It was much anticipated because the book of the same name was extremely popular and the cast — which featured, among others, Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, and Danny Glover — was fantastic.  When the show finally aired, it was even better than people expected.  The production was fabulous, and you simply could not wait until the next episode, to see what happened with Captain McCrae, Captain Call, Clara, Deets, Dish, Newt, Pea Eye, Jake Spoon, Blue Duck, and the other characters.

My favorite part of the mini-series came near the end, when the resolute Captain Call, fulfilling a deathbed promise, hauled his friend’s body hundreds of miles to be buried next to a stream where he had courted the love of his life.  I always thought that series of scenes, performed against the backdrop of some terrific, stirring music, totally captured the deep, largely non-verbal attachment between Call and McCrae.

There were many great scenes in Lonesome Dove, however — and the scene below, which features Gus in all his glory, is a pretty good one, too.

The Company Men

Kish and I went to see The Company Men today.  It is not a great film, but it had its points of interest.

The movie is about what happens when white collar workers lose their jobs.  The main character, played by Ben Affleck, goes from a highly self-confident yuppie executive to a blue collar family man after he confronts the desperate reality of months of unemployment and rejection.  His wife supports him as he adjusts to the fact that he is not God’s gift to the business world, he reconnects with his family, and he realizes that his brother-in-law, who gives him a mercy job, is a good guy.  His story, alone, would have been a decent plot line for a movie.  Ben Affleck is not the greatest actor in Hollywood, but he did a decent job in conveying a character whose gets torn down by life like a raw recruit gets torn down by the drill sergeant in Marine boot camp.

Of course, The Company Men is a Hollywood product — which means it can’t just tell a simple story.  Instead, it inevitably must be gussied up with extraneous back stories, unnecessary characters, an affair that seems to be in the movie only to allow for a gratuitous nudity scene, the pontifications of a sad-eyed, craggy Tommy Lee Jones, and other predictable Hollywood trappings that detracted from, rather than contributed to, the essential story.  All of the Hollywood stuff slowed down what otherwise could have been an interesting and enjoyable movie about how lives are not defined by jobs and and how money and possessions are not essential to happiness.