The Spyglass Chronicles: 9/01

Posted: September 1st, 2016 | Filed under: Cinema, Culture, Music, Ruminations | 2 Comments »

chron“The Night Of” HBO. For many viewers the denouement of this addictive mini-series was as dissatisfying as that moment from yesteryear as the screen went black with Tony Soprano and his family sitting in the diner, with some mysterious dude lurking near the Men’s Room door.

Because Naz’s guilt or innocence remains hanging in the air, along with the fate of Freddy, Chandra, Jack and Naz’s dad’s life as a cabbie, many of the locked in audience feel cheated.

I frankly love the curiously satisfying ambiguity of it all.

Sure, I’ve got theories about the cat, the raison d’être of Jack’s eczema, why Chandra would fall for her client and turn into a drug mule and whether Andrea’s financial guy was really, you know, the guy whodunit. And, as a former barrister, the courtroom scenes, if effective as TV drama, were laughably out of sync with what really happens in front of a jury. But that’s been going for decades.

For one thing, lawyers and prosecutors don’t get to comment to the jury after a witness’s answer. Just sayin’.

I’m taking a macro view of the compelling drama. This was not a “Who killed Laura Palmer?” situation. The murder and its solution were but a means to tell a greater tale.

Matters of consequence in life don’t always end wrapped up in a bow. Chance circumstance can shift one’s whole life path. Initial impressions of people aren’t always correct. Values often are corrupted on emotional whim. Earnest people with flaws fail sometime, and succeed sometime.

This well but not perfectly crafted tale touched all that.

Given all the conjecture about it on the internet, and over the dinner table, I’m supposing the mini series was really popular. I know I was locked in. At 8:00 a.m. last Sunday morning, the day of the final episode, I glanced at the clock, and thought, “only 13 hours until the finale starts.”

The phenomenon reminded of the off season when we all wondered,”Who shot J.R.”? When America was locked in to the original “Roots.” Of the summer of ’67, when you couldn’t go anywhere that “Sgt Pepper” wasn’t in the air.

In these fragmented times, there is a delicious comfort in shared universal obsession. It is rare in this diverse media age.

While “The Night Of” really didn’t reach the proportions of those cultural touchstones I mentioned above, there was significant buzz, and many conversations full with conjecture.

I’m glad the series has concluded. It was a marvelous couple of months of Sunday evening interludes.

I’m sad that Andrea’s dead, that that Naz is a junkie and pariah in his ‘hood, that Chandra let her emotions undermine her career and that Jack’s back to being an itching courthouse schlepper. Charismatic as Freddy has been, I’m glad Naz has escaped his influence.

I don’t think Naz did it, but I’m not bothered a bit not knowing who did.

“As Tears Go By” Marianne Faithfull. Unless you were a lonely teenage boy in 1965, you might not understand how this iconic TV moment resonated.

I was.

Film Noir. Libby Gelman-Waxner “If You Ask Me: The Collected Columns of America’s Most Beloved and Irresponsible Critic.”

I reread Libby most every day with lunch, from the collected works of her columns at the long gone film ‘zine, Premiere. Laughing out loud helps with digestion.

Her take on Film Noir:

Film noir is “sexy and really, really boring.” Films noirs explore the dark underbelly of America, which certainly beats Colonial Williamsburg as a weekend getaway, and they always feature the same characters: a hot dangerous male drifter; a hot, dangerous, bored small-town slut; and at least one disgusting fat man who gets brutally killed, right after which the drifter and the slut have really great sex, usually near a ceiling fan and venetian blinds.

There are no words to express my gratitude that, to provide her unique cinematic insight, Libby took time away from her job as assistant buyer in juniors activewear, her lovely children and husband Josh, an orthodontist, many of whose patients are the children of lawyers of famous people.

You can savor some of Libby’s observant film commentary here.

Flug Tag. Ohio River. Daring young women and men in their self-propelled, thus woefully under-powered, aerodynamically bereft flying machines.

But, it is was all good fun as homemade aircraft after ridiculously designed aircraft plummeted ignominiously into the drink.

The crowd lustily cheered every gallant effort.

Spirit Halloween. Shelbyville Road Plaza. This holiday specific store was open on August 21, when I spotted it, possibly earlier.

Gimme a break.

“Modern Industry” Fishbone. My favorite song about rock & roll radio.

These are the voices, this is the music that brings us together:


— c d k

2 Comments on “The Spyglass Chronicles: 9/01”

  1. 1 Kathy Scheibel said at 4:51 pm on September 1st, 2016:

    I agree with everything you said about “The night of”. Loved it, REALLY loved it, but must say, if Naz DID do it, he like the bedroom, would have been covered in blood spatter. That to me was a glaring error in the case against him and any defense attorney would have immediately used it. Yea or nay?

  2. 2 c d kaplan said at 9:32 pm on September 1st, 2016:

    You are absolutely 100% correct. I’m a former prosecuting attorney — true — and had a conversation with a fellow prosecutor after the first or second episode and we were discussing that exact omission. I suppose it was not mentioned for dramatic purposes to move the plotline along. Legal reality is oft missing from TV and movie drama.

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