Vick's Picks

Claire Danes in "Homeland." Photo provided.

Vick's Picks
by Vick Silkenpen

There are times when you want some viewing entertainment that can tie in various ways to current events. Here are two suggestions that still generate interesting questions.

Homeland - The stellar Showtime series in its fifth season continues to astound and only picks up more and more viewers whether by disc or cable. The unfolding details of the Paris and San Bernardino terrorist events cause viewers to have mental echoes of past episodes clear into Season One as the clinically obsessive on-and-off agent Carrie (Claire Danes) carries out her vow to not miss any intelligence detail or tactic that can prevent one more terrorist act.

Questions our government faces right now of what are the best ways to combat terrorism and warn its citizens of threats have the public and public figures wrestling with what a "new normal" will look like. What constitutes Islamophobia?  Could it all become so absurd that AR-15's could conceivably hang beside fire extinguishers in restaurants to "use in case of emergency?"

Regardless of all the ethical and moral questions posed by this remarkable series, it is still the struggling complexity of the characters and their nuanced ambiguities that keeps me coming back for more. If you have never gone near this series, try watching just the first few episodes and see if you can prevent yourself from plunging headfirst into binge viewing. 

A Boy and His Dog - This 1975 cult film was the directorial debut of character actor L. Q. Jones and it is based on a sci-fi story by Harlan Ellison. It stars a very young Don Johnson wandering a future post-apocalyptic America talking with his telepathic dog named Blood (since dogs can do that now) and the human/canine bond has become tighter in order to survive and scrounge for food and sex.

So why mention this movie right here and now? We are presently steeped in an early presidential campaign where more than a few of the maneuvering possible candidates are touting promises to make America great again and many seem to be pointing to a vague idyllic past period.

About half of this cult film involves a love-sick Johnson drawn like Orpheus into an underworld (literally below ground) to rescue a woman. This just- below- the- surface world is where another America is being staunchly preserved in a past vision/version where pale barbershop quartets are constantly singing and big farm boy robots in bib overalls are enforcing conservative strictures of the culture by crushing the heads of any citizens who might question the status quo or revolt (Jason Robards, Jr. as the presidential Pluto gives the orders).

The macabre depiction is hauntingly unforgettable but as the bombast of the present presidential campaigns roll on and on one wonders what chilling fantasies will be installed in attempts to return or preserve "greatness." 

The Gayly - 1/04/2016 @ 11:53 a.m. CST