The On Deck Circle: The Weekend Viewing Slate

In baseballon deck refers to being next in line to bat. In a professional game, the batter who is on deck traditionally waits in a location in the foul territory called the on deck circle.

Thank you, Wikipedia. My friend Marty and I have a common Friday discussion. It always starts the same. “What do you have for the weekend?”, one of us will ask. And then we rattle off our movie plans for the rest of the day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Sometimes it’s wildly ambitious, and someone will invoke the phrase “I’ve got three or four things I need to get to on my DVR” after already rattling off three or four other films. On other occasions, it’s wide open, ripe for improvisation. “Well, I have these two movies, but I’ve had my eye on a bunch of things from Netflix Instant”. It’s a vast chasm of possibilities. And so with the weekend upon us, here’s what I have standing in the on deck circle for this weekend:

I can only hope that Oliver Stone was thorough enough to include this profoundly historic moment.

Nixon (1995)
It’s been a very long time since my first and only viewing of Oliver Stone’s biopic about America’s train wreck president. I simply can’t stop rubbernecking at the Nixon era of American history. I last watched it in 1996, barely paid attention at the time, and feel the need to give it a fair chance. The cast is humongous- Anthony Hopkins in the title role, Paul Sorvino as Henry Kissinger, Ed Harris as Howard Hunt, J.T. Walsh, James Woods, E.G. Marshall, Bob Hoskins (as J. Edgar Hoover)… the list goes on and on. It checks in at over three hours long, meaning it’s going to be a bit of a marathon. But as a closet history nerd, this is the type of thing that’s right up my alley.

Once Were Warriors (1994)
I’ve had zero exposure to New Zealand cinema (New Zealish?), and very recently decided to correct the error of my ways. The Netflix plot description makes this sound like it teeters on Bergman territory. And that’s a wonderful territory:

Director Lee Tamahori’s (Along Came a Spider) powerful adaptation of author Alan Duff’s best-selling novel centers on the troubled life of a Maori family crippled by poverty, bigotry, alcoholism and domestic violence. Rena Owen stars as Beth Heke, a beleaguered mother who struggles to care for her three children while battling the demons of her erratic, often violent husband, Jake (Temuera Morrison).

Troubled lives? Poverty? Alcoholism? Bigotry? BRING IT ON! I would have watched this one last weekend, but it got left in the so-called on deck circle, ironically, because I lost a few weekend hours when the baseball game I went to ran into a rain delay, a lot of pitching changes, and ultimately a loss for my St. Louis Cardinals. Now back in the on deck circle, I refuse to let it stay there beyond Saturday.

Four Lions (2010)
I’m in a wonderful place to watch this movie, because I know almost nothing about it. I have no pre-conceived notions. The only thing I’ve heard about it came from my friend Marty, who described it by saying, “Imagine Karl Pilkington directing a movie about suicide bombers”. Um… ok? That sounds wacky and fantastic.

Ghostface, why can't I quit you?

Scream 4 (2011)
There is a decent chance I’ll find my way out to the theater to catch Scream 4. After giving the original Scream the Re-Watchterpiece Theater treatment last week, I tackled Scream 2 and 3. While I thought the third film was dreadful, the second one was a very solid sequel. And the current incarnation is doing reasonably well with Rotten Tomatoes, especially for a horror film. My curiosity is piqued enough that I’ll probably drop a few bucks this weekend to see it on the big screen.  

Other options
I tend to keep my DVR full of five to ten films at any time, knowing that I may not watch them immediately but I’ll get to them eventually. There are three staring me in the face right now- The Wild One (1953), Batman (1966), and 3:10 to Yuma (1957). It’s really a shame that I’ve never seen The Wild One and my exposure to early Brando is limited. I snagged Batman a few weeks back in the middle of a peyote-style NyQuil haze and I can only imagine that it’ll be campy, fun, and probably crappy in a really enjoyable way. In other words, it should be a lot like the Adam West TV show. As for 3:10 to Yuma, I certainly enjoyed the re-make from 2007 and seeing the original is long overdue.

Now that I’ve taken my turn, what do you have for the weekend?


18 Comments

Filed under Movies

18 responses to “The On Deck Circle: The Weekend Viewing Slate

  1. Docs, docs and more docs!

    Tomorrow night I’m going to see one about A Tribe Called Quest, and Sunday night I’m going to see Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop.

  2. heyzeus

    Four Lions is the first movie released by my friends at the Alamo Drafthouse here in Austin. I haven’t seen it yet, but gotta admire a lighthearted comedy about suicide bombers.

  3. Enjoy Four Lions. Definitely some truly hilarious moments in it 🙂
    For me, I just received Black Swan and Harry Potter 4 in the mailbox. I will checking those out over the weekend.

    • That’s a great movie weekend right there. HP4 is one of my favorite of the series, and Black Swan was far and away my favorite movie this year (maybe several years, since There Will be Blood).

  4. With finals coming up, my movie time is limited for the next week or so. However, I just watched Cowboy Bepbop: The Movie and Kevin Smith: Too Fat For Forty on Netflix Instant, both were good; Smith was hilarious as always. I did get Black Swan in the mail today, so I’ll check that out this weekend.

    I’ll also be re-watching Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, since I’m going to write my final paper for film on the surrealism of it. Should be pretty awesome!

    • That sounds like a ton of fun for that final paper.

      I watched the Kevin Smith special a few months back. He’s really great in that stand-up/spoken word type of format.

  5. I’ve been on a John Cassevetes trip lately so I have Shadows to watch this weekend (I watched The Dirty Dozen and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie yesterday). I also got a copy of both The Double Life of Veronique and Ponyo, that I will throw on the tube on Sunday. I need to check out the first episode of Treme season 2 before I hear about it from anyone else as well. I guess the weekend will be busy, haha.

  6. I know you’ll enjoy Once Were Warriors, and was interested at the Bergman comparison. If you like it, then I recommend checking out the next best New Zealand films: The Piano (if you’ve never seen Harvey Keitel’s penis, here’s your chance), and The World’s Fastest Indian (starring Anthony Hopkins and partially filmed in my home town!).

    As for my viewing plans, it’s rather sketchy at the moment. I’m going to try and watch Bergman’s The Virgin Spring, and finish Season 2 of Twin Peaks. I’m also going to watch P.T. Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love, which I’ve been putting off for a while, and a film called Mysterious Skin starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The last few months have been incredibly busy for me in the movie department, but now it’s slowing down. 😦

    • Heh… “if you’ve never seen Harvey Keitel’s penis”… I thought that Bad Lieutenant was my chance and that I’d successfully avoided it?

  7. DinoGirl

    Suffering through “Hop” with the kiddies…thank god for popcorn. Should I bring a flask of “grown up juce” too?

    • Tough to say. My 20 year old niece and her boyfriend took my 4 year old nephew to it, and remained sober. Enjoy the jelly bean/fecal jokes!

  8. @da_Rhettster

    So… Batman… What’dya think? Pretty great, huh? “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb!” Best. Line. Ever.

  9. The Wild One is full of epic cheese and win. I recommend watching it for a fun viewing. Plus, it’s Brando.

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