Things to Gush About: Sept. 9-15

"The Goldfinch" sounds like the start of the Oscar season, hopefully as good as it sounds. And two other things to divert you before the Fall TV season starts.
Conan in Italy Hadrians Tomb

“The Goldfinch”: Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller by Donna Tartt, this stars Ansel Elgort, Denis O’Hare, Sarah Paulson, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, and many more. Peter and I saw the 1654 painting, by Dutch painter Carel Fabritius upon which this is based, in The Hague. What’s interesting is that the novel is about a 13-year-old boy caught in an explosion in an art museum which kills his mother, while Carel himself died in the same year he painted “The Goldfinch” in an explosion of a gunpowder store that also destroyed much of the Dutch city of Delft.

“Super Size Me 2”: Morgan Spurlock’s first “Super Size Me” gave many pause about the devastating effects of fast-food on the body and most likely spurred measures such as posting calorie counts on restaurant menus and other methods designed to educate the public. Has that stopped anyone? I don’t think so. In fact, I think people love the fact they’re “rebelling” by stuffing their faces. Sigh. Anyhow, Mr. Spurlock is back, this time to take on the poultry industry just at a time when Popeye’s new chicken sandwich has become a national sensation, boo.

“Conan in Italy”: Conan’s trips abroad are immensely entertaining as he appears to have a magical ability to engage with other cultures while also immersed in his own bubble of mirth, and somehow no one kills him. On Netflix, they’ve collected some of these trips (they don’t seem to have the triumphant one where he went to Finland, greeted as a celebrity much because he was a dead ringer for their female President) but they’re all great. The Italy episode sees him tagging along with his pompous Italian-obsessed associate producer Jordan Schlansky, who may or may not be a real person, on a trip from Florence to Naples. Conan mercilessly makes fun of Schlansky who talks about how the clouds are better there than anywhere else in the world and how he tastes the forest in his wine and on an on. A must see.

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