"I'm an okay mechanic with a GED. The only thing I do well is outlaw."

Because we don’t get a channel that carries Sons Of Anarchy (imdb) as it airs we’re forced to wait until the season is over and watch it all at once. Like we did this past weekend: we began watching season 4 Sunday afternoon and finished episode 14 late last night.

I know a lot of people haven’t watched it yet and I don’t want to ruin anything, so I’ll just say two things:

  1. Despite the fact that he’s in a supporting role on the show, Ryan Hurst (aka Opie) continues to be the best thing on the show;
  2. So many former cast members of The Shield have shown up that I kind of expected Michael Chiklis to walk into frame at any minute. And, in a way, I guess he kind of did. God, I miss that show.

"It's a bad day to be a rhesus monkey."

The movie-watching marathon continued well into the long weekend, though it seems to have stalled in the face of season 4 of Sons Of Anarchy. Here’s what the last few days hath wrought:

  • Martha Marcy May Marlene (imdb | rotten tomatoes)was an excellent film. And while it’s too dark and off-kilter to be considered for best picture at the Oscars, Elizabeth Olsen should be nominated for best actress. How the sister of the dreaded Olsen twins could pull off such a staggering performance, in what was only her second real movie, is mind-boggling. The movie is one of the best of the year and deserves to be watched on its own merits, but watching Olsen made it even better.
  • Buried (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was our only break from the best-of-2011 list. I know it got a lot of hype, but I think it didn’t have much going for it beyond the gimmick of being filmed in a box. I know we were meant to be rooting for the protagonist, but really…I didn’t care whether Ryan Reynolds got out or not. And that’s poison for a movie that only has a protagonist to work with.
  • I didn’t know what to expect from Drive (imdb | rotten tomatoes)since the last Nicolas Winding Refn film we saw was the savage, ploddingValhalla Rising. How that would translate to Ryan Gosling in a car we weren’t sure. But, uh…it was pretty goddamn awesome. There were brief flashes of pretty severe violence (though, nothing quite like One-Eye’s output in Valhalla) but a great story and just so much frigging style from Refn. The cars, the city (Los Angeles), the pseudo-80s credits, the scorpion jacket, the five-minute window…it all formed this fantastic portrait that seemed like it should have been old and worn out, but wasn’t.
  • Contagion (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was good, but couldn’t quite get over the hump to being great. Which is pretty much how I’ve felt about every Soderbergh movie since 2001. It did a very good job of setting me up for the big emotional kick that I should have felt with this kind of outbreak, but the kick never quite came. I wasn’t looking for something formulaic; I was looking for something that made me understand the fear that would have gripped the planet in this case. But it never came. It just danced around the edge of it.
  • I was surprised when I saw the rating Warrior (imdb | rotten tomatoes) had earned on rotten tomatoes. It seemed like a predictable, by-the-numbers movie about underdog fighters, boozy dads, estranged siblings, blah blah etc., and those movies don’t have 80%+ ratings. But it was just really well done. The fight sequences were really well done, and Tom Hardy was…I was going to say unrecognizable, but he seems to relish taking on parts in which he is unrecognizable. Either way, he was outstanding. While everyone fawned over The Fighter, I was underwhelmed…it just seemed like a showcase for Melissa Leo and Christian Bale to chew the scenery. Given a choice between the two I would take Warrior and its pained, understated performances every time.

And now…back to Jax and SAMCRO.

It's like spaghetti, except it's more square than round

What a goddamn enjoyable day. No one stellar thing to trump all others, just a collection of goodness. Examples:

  • Eating rosemary/olive bread and cloth-bound cheddar and pineapple for breakfast, which sounds disgusting but was awesome.
  • Getting some work done. (Okay, so this isn’t particularly fun, but it feels good to get it out of the way and not have to go to the office.)
  • Listening to the new Elbow album, which is excellent, and the new PJ Harvey, which I hated at first but now cannot shake from my head.
  • Lunch at La Bettola di Terroni which, despite being right around the corner from us, we’d never tried. It was fantastic. I had the braised beef agnolotti in a sage brown butter sauce; Nellie had the chitarra pasta in a lemon cream sauce with sausage & truffles. We also helped the couple sitting next to us, in town from North Carolina, to find a place to spend the day (the Distillery District) and eat dinner (Origin).
  • Gathering supplies at a less-crowded-than-normal St. Lawrence Market, as well as two bottles of Flat Rock (Riesling, Pinot Noir) for this weekend’s meals.
  • Espresso. For which I have apparently developed a taste (need?).
  • Submitting 2010 taxes avec healthy return.
  • Running 4.5km and feeling pretty good doing it.
  • Eating a fairly tasty meal from Golden Thai (after we found out the even-closer Thai place, Ivory Thailand, had been replaced by a French bistro some 3 hours earlier) along with the afore-mentioned Riesling.
  • Watching many episodes of Sons of Anarchy (imdb).
  • Admiring the supermoon.
  • Booking a kick-ass campsite for this fall’s excursion.