by Anthony King
Is it really necessary to live every day like it's our last? For a long time I thought so, but, you know, I grew up. Having finally seen Noah Baumbach's latest film, though, got me thinking. And then, of course, there's the lyrics in the song “Non-Stop” from Hamilton: “Why do you write like you're running out of time? / Write day and night like you're running out of time? / Every day you fight, like you're running out of time.” More in a bit.appeared on the podcast this week, I've already stolen the thunder from my column. Allow me, if you will, to write about a television miniseries. For the past three years I've been slowly working my way through Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace. It feels like such a cold weather book that I'll be going back to it as soon as I finish the book I'm currently reading. To gear up for this momentous occasion Bobbie and I started watching Tom Harper's BBC miniseries of War and Peace (2016) starring Lily James as Natasha, James Norton as Andrei, and Paul Dano as Pierre. Initially I thought watching a screen adaptation would help me keep all the names and characters straight. I was sorely mistaken. Nevertheless, it's a gorgeous and epic adaptation broken up into eight parts. As of this writing we're only through the first two parts, but I find the story fascinating, the characters either totally lovable or absolutely despicable, and the historical aspect enthralling. It feels very much like a BBC miniseries in a way that words can't describe, but if you've ever seen one you know exactly what I'm talking about. The battle scenes are shockingly violent, the score by Martin Phipps is the only thing I've been listening to lately, and the performances are to die for. Dano gives an interesting take to Pierre, but ultimately one that I came to love quickly. Norton as Andrei is powerful and sexy. Lily James as Natasha is adorable. And then you have a slew of well-known actors filling out the massive cast: Jack Lowden, Jessie Buckley, Tom Burke, Jim Broadbent, Callum Turner, Stephen Rea, Gillian Anderson, and Brian Cox. If you're at all interested in Tolstoy's novel or the history of Russia, give Norton's adaptation of War and Peace and spin on Prime.
You may say White Noise is Baumbach's blank check movie. After all the critical and general acclaim garnered by Marriage Story, I'm sure Netflix called Noah and gave him free reign (or the Netflix version of free reign) for his next project. While White Noise is certainly the outlier in his filmography, it still fits perfectly in the growth chart of Baumbach. It's big and audacious and mixes in genre elements never before seen in a Baumbach film. Yet at its core is a simple premise; the kind of premise that Baumbach normally writes. White Noise is simply about a middle-aged man who is faced with familial and worldly turmoil. The pandemic affected every single person, but what has really stood out to me is how it affected intimate relationships. Your relationship either came out of the pandemic stronger than before or weaker. So many of our friends went through divorces. On the flip side, so many of our friends grew closer to their partners and spouses. At its core, White Noise is about the test of a marriage.