Over the years, writing this blog has been my primary outlet for airing grievances and commendations for the movies and television I consume. Sometimes, those takes stay stuck in a word cloud and don’t develop into fully-formed essays. This new, weekly post, “My Incomplete Takes,” is my latest attempt at getting more of those thoughts on the record, not because you want to read them but because I want to write them.
This is the week of April 27, 2020.
- “Tiger King,” the latest viral obsession from Netflix, was not good; or, it was, for three or four episodes, and then clicking onto the next episode, and the next and the next, was a means to an end. There’s a quote in the last episode that holds up as an apt analysis of where both Joe Exotic and the docuseries went wrong. “I truly believe that Joe started the zoo for good purposes,” Rick Kirkham says. “But as the money rose, I think his care for the animals declined — to the point that he didn’t really care for the animals at all.” The show was entertaining when it was about the animals and when it brought to the screen a clown car’s number of voices not as a representation of the colossal mess Joe’s life and zoo had become but as a vehicle to present a balanced, measured debate on the merits of being one of these zoos keeping tigers in cages for entertainment. For those three or four episodes, “Tiger King” is a well thought out, insightful documentary. Over the course of the remaining three, series director Eric Goode lacks the focus he began with, surrendering control and direction to the duplicating cast of shady characters he’s met. He’s lost in a trash heap of expired Walmart meats and another truck’s backing in.
- “I don’t have a contract.” One of the shows I’ve been rewatching in quarantine is “Mad Men.” I’d forgotten about this scene in the season two finale, “Meditations in an Emergency.” Right as Duck thinks he’s got Don trapped in a corner with nowhere to go, he grows a third arm and clocks him with a right hook he didn’t see coming.
- What I was listening to last week: Nicki Minaj. I’m big on Cardi B, and I’ve also been told that Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat are more recent versions of the same style. These things could be incorrect, but I say, why even bother looking for the next one when you can just go right back to “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.” Of the music that defined my college years, Nicki’s played a significant role.