Posts Tagged ‘The Wire


Boardwalk Empire is Over

Boardwalk Empire quietly aired on HBO for the last five years, and the final season recently wrapped up. This was an interesting series because it had the pedigree of an all-out hit. It had Steve Buscemi in the lead with lavish productions values, a fantastic period setting, and a pilot directed by Martin Scorsese. Strangely, it never reached commercial mass appeal. It seemed to always be overshadowed by other series like Game of Thrones or whatever else HBO happened to be airing. Boardwalk Empire was always the bridesmaid on the progamming block. That was too bad, because it deserved better. It was a great series.

The story was about prohibition-era gangsters, their battle for control of the bootleg liquor industry, and the rise of organized crime in the United States. While it is ostensibly fiction, there are a lot of historical characters populating the series like Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, and many others. Buscemi’s character, Nucky Thompson, was based on real-life gangster Enoch Johnson. They chose to fictionalize him so they could do whatever they wanted with his storyline, and not have to stick too rigidly to historical fact.

The numerous characters wove a fantastic tapestry of stories stretching over the course of the roaring 20s. The characters all effected one another, not always directly, but each player had a part that could influence events in everyone’s lives. It doesn’t quite get to The Wire’s level of interconnectedness, but it certainly does a good job, anyway. The characters are absolutely fascinating, from the lead played by Buscemi, to Michael Shannon’s rage-proned prohibition agent Nelson Van Alden, to Kelly MacDonald as Nucky’s wife, to Michael William’s Chalky White, to disfigured Richard Harrow, played by John Huston. There are many more characters than this, and they all electrify the screen.

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Pacific Rimjob

Let’s put on our serious faces.

Pacific Rimjob is a 2013 movie directed by Guillermo “I’ve only ever directed one good movie”* del Toro. And guess what? That one good movie is not this one. This is absolutely one of the worst summer tentpole movies I have ever seen. It’s kind of like an old man who has lost control of his anal sphincter. He tries to hold it in as long as possible, but no longer how long he holds out, he’s going to end up covered in shit.
It’s the near future, and giant monsters from another dimension (dubbed Kaiju) are attacking Earth. Humanity quickly develops giant robots that are used to fight the Kaiju, thus ensuring the safety of our planet. This is essentially the setup to every giant robot anime ever created. But unlike those anime, Pacific Rimjob stopped trying right after it came up with a premise.
Del Toro and writer Travis Beacham were so pumped that they were getting to make a live-action giant robot anime, they forgot to write an actual story for their movie. Virtually nothing happens beyond a skeleton of a plot that lumbers along from one CGI action sequence to the next. The CGI is quite good, in fact, I found myself thinking it looked pretty good, but good CGI is no substitute for plot. Without a compelling story or interesting characters (this film has neither), all the CGI in the world can’t help.

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Mute Bond Chick, Assbender, and McNulty all in the same movie? Sign me up.

Michael F. Assbender is a favorite of mine. From his smoldering good looks to his suave English accent to his constant Assbending, he can do no wrong. Not even starring in Centurion can be considered a wrong move. No, despite the movie being a terrible mess, Assbender still comes out like a shining diamond. No matter how much the movie sucks, you can never find fault with Assbender.
Centurion takes place in ancient Roman times, and focuses on a group of Romans who are struggling to hold Britain against the barbarian hordes (i.e. British people). Naturally, all the Romans speak with English accents, completely confusing the matter. Assbender is taken captive at an outpost and later rescued by his comrades.

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Breaking Bad Was Breaking Great But Not Breaking Perfect (AKA Endings Are Hard)

Breaking Bad is heralded as one of the greatest TV series of all time. I recently finished my first watch of the show on Netflix, and I have to admit, it was pretty fantastic. There are very few other shows that have such complex stories and deep characters, and are able to consistently deliver riveting television episode after episode. I’ll admit I was pretty obsessed with the show while I was watching it. I purposefully waited until the show was over to watch it, because I knew I would want to marathon it. Seeing every episode in such a short amount of time allowed me to view the character and story arcs as they naturally developed. Night after night, I couldn’t wait to see what kind of nefarious scheme Heisenberg had cooked up. And time after time, the show delivered things in fresh and satisfying ways. Watching the series, I knew why people were saying it was one of the best shows of all time. It had great acting, dark humor, complicated storylines, and it never pulled any punches. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a perfect series. Despite the writers’ best efforts, the show faltered in its final season and left a series finale that didn’t deliver what it should have.

When Breaking Bad starts, it’s about a schlubby high school chemistry teacher named Walter White who lives a boring life. He’s married to a bitch, his job sucks, and he just got diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say his life is terrible. So, wanting to provide for his family after his death, he does what any normal person would do, start cooking and selling meth. Walter, having such a shitty life, stops giving any fucks about anything, and lives a life that we, as viewers, only wish we could. He talks shit to people he hates, he blows up an asshole’s sports car, and he begins to grow a criminal empire. Living vicariously through Walter was one of the reasons the first season was so damn good.

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March 2018
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