They canceled Lady Dynamite, but Bamford’s new Netflix special surfs even more absurdist realities. We saw a lot of this stuff live about a year back, and she’s kept shaping it; she hits a new level with this material.
NEVER BEEN MELLOW
Juliana Hatfield, Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John (American Laundromat)
Felt bad about this cheap shot, so I went back and gave Looming Tower second chance. Turns out the pilot sucks, the series holds up. Daniels gives a beguiling performance as John O’Neill, the FBI crank who struggles with his own Catholicism mostly because one of his girlfriends, Annie Parisse, proves such a “good cook.” This analogy between a Catholic’s law and order mindset, the kind of hard-drinking bull who inspires certain loyalty and crashes bureaucratic china plays against his Islamic, spiritual hedonist foes. Tahar Rahim’s performance as junior agent Ali Sufan, a Muslim who carries off diplomacy largely because he speaks the language, has an unnerving emotional resolve. Wanted more logic and insight from the “flash-forwards,” where the principals testify before the 9/11 Commission (at one point they inexplicably swap in actual testimony). But Daniels carries everything; you can feel his presence on the others even when he’s not onscreen.