Jim Siergey: Adventures In Cable

July 12th, 2018

After many years of haughtily exclaiming that I only subscribe to the self-dubbed “People’s TV”, known to the unwashed masses as Antennae TV, televised entertainment that came in free over the public airwaves just like our Founding Fathers expected it to be, I have had to succumb to purchasing basic cable.

Oh, how the haughty have fallen.

We moved out of the city and couldn’t get reception with our rabbit ears so, here we are, almost catching up with modern times.

Since our wading into the churning sea of cable, we have discovered that we don’t really watch all that much on TV. However, now that I’m paying for it, I’ve become determined to find stuff to watch and let me tell you, boy, it ain’t easy.

There’s only so much rehashing of political minutiae that one can watch, TCM has been airing movies that either don’t interest me or I’ve seen too many times to watch again and I get plumb worn out from flicking past so goddamn many channels that I’m forced to go off and (gasp) read a book.

One night the wife and I came across a movie that was just beginning and it sounded interesting.

It was called “The Mountain Between Us” starring Idris Elba and Kate Winslet. I was not fimiliar with Mr. Elba other than reading somewhere that he was being considered to be the first black James Bond. Kate Winslet, on the other hand, was familiar to me.

I’ve seen every Kate Winslet movie ever made!


Before the was in Mountain, Idris (right) was in The Wire…


Actually, no, I haven’t. I have seen several Kate Winslet movies but not all. At least, as far as I know. I only typed that line as a bit of esoteric self-entertainment.

As a youth, I recall watching a stand-up comedienne on TV whose catch phrase, that never became a catch phrase, was “I’ve seen every Ann Sheridan movie ever made!” She would occasionally blurt this out during her routine. For some reason it stuck with me.

Perhaps because, I too, had seen every Ann Sheridan movie ever made.

Again, I have typed an untruth. I have seen some but not nearly as many as I have Kate Winslet movies.

I do not know the name of that comedienne, only her catch phrase. I have yet to come across any one else who is familiar with it and I have tried finding out her name via the internet but have come up empty. I hope someday to learn her identity.

Pause for self reflection and/or stifled yawn.

So, this movie, “The Mountain Between Us” (remember that?) is set in Idaho and Kate is trying to get to Denver for her wedding and Idris is trying to get there to perform brain surgery on a ten year old boy. An oncoming snowstorm has cancelled all flights.

The intrepid Kate finds a private pilot who will fly her there for a fee. She overheard Idris’ plight and invited him to join her in their skirting of aviation safety warnings in order to reach their destinations.

The pilot is Beau Bridges. He, his dog and our two protagonists board his small plane and take off. The storm hits early, Beau has a stroke and the plane crashes into a snow-covered mountain top.

By coincidence, trying to watch what I just described was akin to being in that storm ourselves. The reception was terrible. The picture kept freezing and buffering and after 15 or 20 minutes we disgustedly turned it off.

We could have gotten the same kind of reception with rabbit ears—for free!

But, the movie had hooked us enough to investigate whether it was available via Amazon Prime via Roku, which is our usual television viewing device. It was, but for an extra fee. We decided against spending even more money than we already have for our cable bill.

Cable TV. Phooey.

A couple of weeks later we visited the Munster Library and became members, obtaining shiny new library cards. As we turned from the desk, we saw a stack of DVDs and right there, beckoning to us like a Bonsai-sized burning bush was “The Mountain Between Us”.

We borrowed it, took it home and watched it without interference. It was a good movie.

Public libraries. Don’t forget about them, folks.

This public service announcement has come to you from me, Kate Winslet and the “Oomph Girl”, Ann Sheridan.


Editor’s note: Jim’s last post for The Third City was Bad Moon


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