Ignore my opinions at your own peril
Oh, the joys and travails of DirecTv. Yes, our household (i.e., the roommates and myself) succumbed to the temptation of multiple movie channels and swapped out our overpriced Comcast cable for the satellite service. The primary motivation wasn't the extra channels; it was that we can get more channels why paying less that for basic cable service. So, for a few extra dollars of installation and minor hassle, we now have access to a lot more channels (I haven't done the count yet), including about 15 movie channels.
Frankly, I think that if you can't find something to watch on your 60 basic cable stations, that is a sign to do something else. I come from a generation that remembers TV before MTV, before ESPN, before remotes. Now I have access to more programs than ever, and it sucks you in. There's always SOMETHING on. While this has led to a couple nights (only a couple) of aimless remote fondling, it has produced at least one good result.
The other night, while flicking, I happened opon Shattered Glass, the story of New Republic writer Stephen Glass' rise and fall (it was found out that he manufactured most of his stories). Though critically lauded, I had little interest in renting the 2003 film, so it was thanks to a slow thumb on the channel changer that got me sucked into the movie. The first time, I only watched the last 20 minutes, but that was enough to impress the hell out of me.
It's not an understatement to say the Hayden Christianson (he also plays this guy 'Anakin') owns the role of Stephen Glass. He plays the consummate liar with a slippery empathy and believable deniability -- even when caught in the most obvious of lies, Hayden switches from outrageous excuses to plaintive self-judgement ("I didn't do anything wrong!") that has you wondering if Stephen really believes any of his own bullshit. However, despite Christianson's tour-de-force, I was equally blown away by Peter Sarsgaard's role as his editor who slowly comes to realize that Glass has been feeding them manufactured tales all along. I really can't put my finger on it, but like his role in the overrated Garden State (don't get me started), he has a cinematic presence that is at once understated and riveting. For your four bucks worth, you aren't going to find many other movies with two more exciting performances (and keep in mind they are playing journalists -- not exactly action figure status).
So, what did we learn today? DirecTv bad. Hayden and Peter good. But, if I hadn't gotten DirecTv, it's very likely I wouldn't have ever seen the film. The only rational conclusion is that one of our many meddling gods have been interfering with my life yet again.