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Ken and Robin Consume Media: Ford v. Ferrari, Ash vs. Evil Dead, and Young Twits vs Old Bats

December 17th, 2019 | Robin

Ken and Robin Consume Media is brought to you by the discriminating and good-looking backers of the Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff Patreon. Each week we provide capsule reviews of the books, movies, TV seasons and more we cram into our hyper-analytical sensoriums. Join the Patreon to help pick the items we’ll talk about in greater depth on a little podcast segment we like to call Tell Me More.

Recommended

Ash vs. Evil Dead Season 3 (Television, US/New Zealand, Starz, Rob Tapert, 2018) Evil comes after the daughter Ash (Bruce Campbell) never knew he had, presaging an apocalyptic showdown between rebel demon Ruby (Lucy Lawless) and the Dark Ones. In its final season, the show goes out big, escalating a unified narrative until it feels like the franchise’s fourth movie.—RDL

Ford v. Ferrari (Film, US, James Mangold, 2019) Brilliant auto designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and maverick driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) partner to win the 1966 Le Mans for Ford against reigning sports car champions Ferrari. The over-eager script doesn’t always fire on all cylinders: It’s a love story between Miles and Shelby, it’s actually Ford v Shelby American v Ferrari as suits (Josh Lucas) interfere with genius, it’s a period piece with motor oil instead of perfume. But mostly it’s a big loud car-racing movie, and a pretty good, very pretty one. –KH

High Life, Low Morals: The duel that shook Stuart society (Nonfiction, Victor Stater, 1999) In the fiercely partisan reign of Queen Anne, a legal dispute over a lucrative estate prompts swordplay between a status-hungry Scottish Tory and a dissolute but diligent Whig. Narrative history at its finest, providing telling social and economic context while never losing touch with its human throughline.—RDL

Highland Fling (Fiction, Nancy Mitford, 1931) Quartet of adorable upper class twits accepts an emergency request to host a hunting party of fusty old counterparts at a Scottish castle. Mitford’s first novel is jokier and less concerned about structure than her best-known works, making it ideal laugh-out-loud holiday reading.—RDL

Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (Film, UK, Albert Lewin, 1951) American singer Pandora Reynolds (Ava Gardner), who breaks men’s hearts just by existing, falls prey to her own romantic obsession, in the person of a mysterious yachtsman (James Mason) connected to a legendary curse. Occasionally stodgy but ultimately haunting weird romance explores the cruelty of star charisma. No one has ever embodied otherworldly beauty more than Gardner as shot here by color cinematography master Jack Cardiff.—RDL

Not Recommended

When You’re In Love (Film, US, Robert Riskin, 1935) Visa-seeking opera star (Grace Moore) enters into marriage of convenience with creditor-dodging painter (Cary Grant.) Creaky time capsule from a moment in cinema history when the affected, now forgotten singer Moore was a bigger draw than Grant.—RDL

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