Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Final 2006-2007 Television Standings

  1. The Wire
  2. Deadwood
  3. The Shield
  4. House
  5. The Sopranos
  6. Lost
  7. 24
  8. Heroes
  9. Veronica Mars
  10. Bones
  11. Weeds
  12. Scrubs
  13. Boston Legal
  14. Prison Break
  15. Smallville

And that is that. 1-6 are all easy recommendations for this year. 7-11 had significant faults but were still worth the time spent. 12-13 I am neutral on. 14-15 can piss off.

Overall this was an outstanding year of television. I haven't been doing this long enough to compare it to past seasons but it feels like it could go toe-to-toe with most recent years.

Sadly 3 programs from the top 10, Deadwood, The Sopranos, and Veronica Mars, are already gone from next years list. Those will be big shoes to fill. Hopefully 24 can reestablish itself as a mainstay in the top 3, but outside of that I have to hope that something like John From Cincinnati or whatever else shows up in the Fall can be an instant classic. It gets even worse a couple years from now when I assume both The Wire and The Shield will also be gone. So this may just be the end of an era. Still I am not that pessimistic, there will be others to pick up the slack.

The Wire

1. The Wire

The Wire is the best show on television today. In fact it is the best television program I have ever seen. I would love to be able to say that it is the best thing in television history but I can’t compare it to all the older stuff that I have never seen. I still want to say it. There is a very real chance that the 4th season was was their best yet. All of the previous seasons were approaching perfection but this one may have been the most powerful.

I am actually gonna make this shorter than some of the other detailed reviews. There is a strong possibility that I am going to review every episode down the line because The Wire deserves as much attention as I can give. That means there is no reason to get into detail here. The 4th season used the Baltimore school system as their tool to weave another intricate story highlighting even more faults in our world. Pretty fricking depressing if you ask me, especially since showing the holes in the education system is painful enough when someone is doing it half-assed. The Wire doesn’t do anything half-assed, they use their whole ass and our public school system can suck something fierce. Watching the struggles of Michael, Namond, Randy, and Dukie redefines the term heartbreaking. Each took a different path and only one even approached a happy ending. After everything Michael is a soldier, Randy is a snitch with no home, Dukie only has the corner to survive, and Namond got out but for how long. Even though the spotlight was broadened to include education, politics, the streets, and the police force were still as heavily involved as ever. The way that Carcetti’s mayoral run was woven together with Marlo’s consolidation of power, Lester and Daniels efforts, Bodie’s disillusionment, Omar screwing with everyone, Bunny working with troubled students, each of the 4 highlighted kids, dumbass Herc being a dumbass, and more problems for Bubbles is a chemistry equation that only a fool would think to duplicate. Inside each of these stories are characters that can only be seen on a show like this. Where else will you get Chris and Snoop? Seriously now, Snoop is one of my favorite female or is it male characters in television. And their work in the vacants was a brilliant idea. You know what the craziest part of this whole season was? The Wire got even better without Stringer Bell or Avon Barksdale and merely a cameo from Jimmy McNulty. That is just the ridiculous strength of this cast. There is no lead on The Wire; the story is the star. This season Daniels, Freaman, Marlo, Bunny, and the kids were in the driver seat. But have no fear; McNulty looks to be back with a vengeance next year.

I wish The Wire were on right now. This show is an education. It should be shown to anyone with television aspirations. Then again my head could not handle if all the programs I watched were the equivalent of The Wire. When it returns, the sun will shine brighter and my depression over the world we live in will deepen. The Wire giveth and it taketh away.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


2. Deadwood

In honor of Deadwood this review will be include massive amounts of profanity.

I cannot tell you how wrong it is for me to sit here and write about Deadwood while watching an episode of John From Cincinnati. It is nice for David Milch to still have an outlet for his art but damnit Deadwood was bliss. This was a show with no faults and constant improvement. The characters were still fresh, the storylines were still strong, and and and those cocksuckers killed it. I feel like Dan ripped my eye out in the middle of the thoroughfare.

There has been no other show like Deadwood. I loved it unconditionally. Al Swearengen, Seth Bullock, Dan, Doc, Sol, Trixie, Cy Tolliver, Charlie Utter, Joanie Stubbs, Ellsworth, Calamity motherfucking Jane, Wu, Hearst, Mose, the Nigger General, Hostetler, and every other motherfucker in that piece of shit town. I still hold a grudge that I am not watching the 4th season right now. This is when it would be airing but it isn’t airing and I don’t understand why. I feel like a 5 year old; I keep asking why and nobody will give me a satisfying answer. I will never see drunk Calamity Jane stumbling around and slurring her words, I will never hear Al use the word cocksucker with such panache, I will never be able to witness Bullock snap and beat the shit out of someone at the drop of a hat, I will never get the chance to hear Wu use the words Swearengen and cocksucker to construct a whole conversation, all of this just depresses the hell out of me.

Every season of Deadwood was legendary. In fact I don’t believe that there ever was a single sub-par episode. The 3rd season was no exception. After teasing George Hearst as the goddamned boogiest of men, in walks in fucking Major Dad as the ultimate badass. Beat that casting. The bad back, the discriminate killing, the ability to nearly turn Al face, Hearst had it all. One of the best parts of the George Hearst character was that it forced the ultimate tag-team of Swearengen and Bullock. Those 2 working together was pure magic. The majority of Al’s screen-time was spent in these awesome soliloquies where he would attempt to figure out how to out maneuver Hearst. On the other hand, Bullock would just pick a name out of a hat and beat the shit out of that person. Both of those plans are worthwhile choices when it comes to solving your problems. This doesn’t even touch on the Widow Garret and her bank, Trixie flashing Hearst as a distraction before shooting him, Mose and Jane watching over the children, Hostetler, the Nigger General, Steve, and the livery, scenery chewing Bryan Cox, and whatever else I have forgotten in the last year. It is too painful to go back and read about the specifics.

Deadwood should still be on television. Those hoopleheaded cocksuckers at HBO killed a piece of my soul by getting rid of it. And now all I have are the words of Calamity Jane to hold on to, “every day takes figuring out all over again how to fuckin’ live.” You know what that statement is not strong enough. Calamity take 2, “Custer (HBO) was a cunt. The end.”

Monday, June 18, 2007

Ocean's Thirteen

Maybe Europe was the problem? Wait a second; of course Europe was the problem. But that goes beyond movie making. Bringing the Ocean gang back to Las Vegas recharged the series. Ocean’s Thirteen felt more like Ocean’s Eleven and less like Ocean’s Twelve. The series has a great premise with an all-star cast so if they keep finding good reasons to bring everyone back together then I will am willing to buy a ticket.

Let’s start somewhere else this time around. Instead of talking about the names receiving top billing, I want to highlight the guys who got lost in the shuffle in Ocean’s Twelve. Carl Reiner, Bernie Mac, Eddie Jemison, and Shaobo Qin all get decent amount of screen time and the movie benefits because of it. I know I mentioned it while reviewing Ocean’s Eleven, but Carl Reiner deserves as much praises as I can dole out. His scenes are always perfectly timed. As for Bernie Mac, he was written out of the majority of Ocean’s Twelve but this time around he gets a bunch scenes to shine in. They may not equal his scene with Matt Damon in the first film but watching him pitch dominoes to Al Pacino was a nice replacement. The Livingston character gets his own subplot that had a bunch of good points, the lie detector, teaching Danny, Rusty, and Linus blackjack, and his great phone call to Roman asking him for help. And who wouldn’t want more Yen? So if the supporting players do great work and the headliners are smooth in their roles, there is not much fault to be found. After taking up space praising George Clooney and Brad Pitt for the first 2 films, I’ll just say that they have lost none of their timing. They added a little twist this time around, a handful of their scenes began with them in the middle of a conversation and without any context it is even funnier. The 2 of them slip into these roles so easily that I assume at some point they will be back. Matt Damon plays the role of third banana very well in these movies. The joke with the fake nose was actually funny probably because of his need for his father to admit “the nose plays”. But it is made even better because of the way that Danny and Rusty are constantly amused by how hard he is trying. There were only 2 and a half new additions. The half point goes to expanding Eddie Izzard’s role from a cameo to something more substantial. I like the man so I was happy to see it, plus they used him as a way to get all the boring exposition about the heist out of the way and the least boring manner. Ellen Barkin gets to be the token female role, and also gets to wear a lot of double-stick tape to keep everything PG-13. Finally, are you ever angry about an Al Pacino appearance? It may not be The Godfather, but it is still Pacino and his autopilot is better than every human being on the planet except for about 6 people. And he wasn’t even on autopilot here; you have to love the fake blonde hair and orange perma-tan. It is all about the cast, I don’t really have anything to say about the plot. It is another elaborate heist that works out just as they planned. Hooray.

It was nice to get another Ocean’s movie. These may not be the best films of the year but they are a fun diversion. The cast is great, the stories are all in good fun, and the damn thing is just amusing. Ocean’s Thirteen is definitely a worthwhile entry into the franchise.

8 out of 10

The Shield

3. The Shield

Every single year, I go into the premiere of The Shield thinking this will be the turning point and the show will have a backslide in quality. And every single time I have been amazed at how much better the show has gotten over the break. The 6th season may have been the best so far. Vic was on a role, Shane is a cocksucker, and finally Ronnie was given his due. Now I am completely in favor of one more season that may finally put Shane 6 feet deep.

The ending of the 5th season of The Shield was one of the worst moments in television history ... and how is that for a statement. Shane murdering Lem in coldblood was horrifying. For an absolute piece of shit like Vendrell to actually sink to a lower level was hard to imagine yet there it was on screen for everyone to see. That single action ignited the 6th season. Everything that followed, Vic’s investigation into the murder, Vic’s imminent removal from the force, Shane’s spiral of guilt and covering up, changes to the Strike Team, the confrontation between Vic and Shane, and the team-up of Vic and Acevado has been building for seasons. Some of the storylines may have had an abrupt end but the key threads were constantly being moved along. Vic Mackey may have the most intricate character arc of anyone I have seen on television. There are changes taking place not only every season but also damn near every episode. Actions that have taken place in every previous season were plot points throughout this year. Just off the top of my head there was Terry’s murder, the Money Train, Gilroy’s Mexican contacts, Vic not killing Shane when Shane was working for Antwon Mitchell, and his fluid relationships with Julien, Wyms, and Acevado. Watching Vic first track down Lem’s killer while trying to work as a straight cop is something that only works because the audience knows just how dangerous Vic can be. You can see all his skills both for good and for evil. Vic is both the best cop on the force and a dangerous maniac. Plus him actually teaming up with Acevado to both keep his job and expose the Mexican gang ties influencing city politics makes for a sweet final season. Remember earlier where I wrote that Vic is both the best cop and a dangerous maniac, well Shane is only one of those things. Shane is a horrible cop who has only picked up the worse of Vic’s tendencies. And this shit has been going on for years. I hate that man. This time around he tries to convince himself that killing Lem is something that Vic would have done so he is just protecting his mentor. And then he compounds this by hopping right into a twisted relationship with the Armenian mob. That asshole doesn’t know how to stay out of trouble. Everything he does makes his situation worse and makes me long for the day when Vic puts a bullet in his head. The only good thing to come out of Shane’s murder of Lem was that with no one else to turn to for Vic to roll with, Ronnie finally got to show how awesome he could be. I may not know how the show is going to end but if Shane dies, as he should, and Vic goes to jail or out to pasture, Ronnie is the best possible man to run the Strike Team. He knows all of Vic’s tricks while not having Shane’s fatal asshole flaw. And honestly Ronnie just kicks ass. There were other storylines going on, the relationship between Dutch and Billings, Dutch’s obsession with Tina, Wyms trying to keep the Barn up and running, Hiatt taking over the Strike Team, Vic’s family life, etc and all of this handled just well as the meat of the show. The final year is going to be sweet.

When it comes to a consistent level of quality on television, The Shield is near the top of the heap. There has not been a bad season yet; in fact there hasn’t even been a so-so season. Michael Chiklis continues to make Vic Makey one of the most intriguing characters on the small screen. The 6th season brought on many changes but each one has moved the entire program to the much anticipated series climax. Next year cannot come fast enough.


4. House

If I would have ranked the third season of House sometime in December I am not even sure if it would have cracked the top 10. Yes that is a bit of an exaggeration but the point is that I hated both of the overarching storylines that flowed through the first half of the season. I had no faith that the House can walk would have any long-term repercussions and then it got even worse when Tritter showed up and wouldn’t leave. Still, the House format is so good that once they got back down to business the second half of the season is as good as anything that they have done so far.

My enjoyment of House is a shock even to myself. I hate these types of shows. Patient is introduced, House acts mean, no answers, House acts mean, no answer, House acts mean, no answers, House figures it out and saves the day while being mean. Yet every episode kicks ass. You may know what is going to happen next but it is the character interactions that make the whole thing worthwhile. Hugh Laurie is a machine. It may seem that he is just being a dick but he is always able to show the machinations of House’s mind. Plus I am always in favor of mean bastards playing the hero. It’s just the kind of guy I am. Hugh may be doing the majority of the work, but the rest of the cast has made the supporting characters just as fun. Robert Sean Leonard has always been on the money with Dr. Wilson. He is the perfect foil to House. I am unsure if anyone would continue to be a House’s friend after everything that has gone on between them, but it works for the show. Dr. Cuddy is another perfect foil to House. This one is different because Lisa Edelstein gets to be sexually harassed in every single conversation. Not entirely sure if that is good for the workplace environment. Finally that leaves the minions. House the show and House the character would never be the same without the three of them there to take his shit. Omar Epps has been a consistently strong House Jr. since the beginning. Jennifer Morrison was fine in season 3 but it seems that after being at the front of the three for the first 2 season she was more in the background this year. While Cameron may not have been getting as much screen-time, Jesse Spencer’s Chase was finally given a chance to shine and he took it. Everyone was clicking by the end of the season.

Time to get into more detail about the 3rd season. Like I wrote earlier, the first batch of episodes amounted to nothing. The patients and the discovery the of the illness or disease or whatever is never the problem. But having House walk without pain was something that you just knew was not going to stick. The reset button was hanging over each episode like the Sword of Damocles. Thankfully this wasn’t drug out for too long, then again anything more than one episode would have been too long. But once it finally ended I had hopes that House would get back on track, those hopes were stupid and I should have been shot. David Morse’s Tritter, in a bit of trick casting since he played a cop, appeared in the 5th episode and got a thermometer left in his ass for his troubles. He would then go on to annoy the piss out of me until the 11th episode. The whole damn storyline was unbelievable and would not go away. A detective would not be allowed to shut down a hospital over his obsession. And at the same time everyone who works with House should be shot for the thinking the man would act any other way. This is one of the few times that a show pressing the reset button was the greatest moment in television history. Christ, why couldn’t they have brought back Chi McBride instead? Once House got past all the crap, every episode after Tritter was awesome. There were some classics to be found; chick that can’t feel pain, House faking brain cancer to get painkillers injected directly into his brain, Foreman stabbing children with needles, etc. I even liked the Foreman quits being a House lackey story even if I don’t believe the ending of the season for a second. There is no show without the minions.

There was no real deterioration of quality on House for the 3rd season. The issues that were there in the beginning were fixed by the halfway point if the season and it was all smooth sailing from there on in. Because of the slip-up to start the year, this will not go down as the best season ever but it still rocked. Hugh Laurie is still one of the best actors on television and there are still great stories to be told using the House format.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Sopranos

5. The Sopranos

It seems like endings things allowed for a much more entertaining season of The Sopranos. Whereas the last few seasons have meandered without focus and seemed to have more interest with everyone else but Tony, these last 9 episodes never strayed far from the big man. Almost every episode explored his relationship with one of the revolving cast of supporting characters. And then that ending …

Enough time has passed (9 years but only 6 seasons; no other show would get away with that kind of output) that I do not want to spend what little time I have to talk about The Sopranos reiterating known praise for the acting but here I go anyways. James Gandolfini wears the role of Tony Soprano like it is his alter ego. Whatever that may say about the man, his believability is second to none. I feel sorry that for the rest of his career everything he does will be compared to Tony Soprano. That’s unfair. And everyone else kicks ass as usual. Praise all around. Even to Robert Iler’s Anthony Soprano, something that no one could have foresaw back during the first season. Also I do want to mention 2 other actors who did not play huge roles in the final season but when they were onscreen they were outstanding. Dominic Chianese’s Junior Soprano over the years has played as significant role as any of the other non-Tony Soprano actors. Seeing him as mentally deteriorated but still with the Uncle Jun flashes was amazing. His final scene ever with Tony may have been as good as any other scene in the episode. Just the look in his eyes when Tony told him that he once ran New Jersey was beautiful. And the other name is Vincent Curatola as Johnny Sack. The episode devoted to his dying of cancer while in jail was one of the shows best. Everyone on the show will be missed.

Right off the bat, The Sopranos began testing all of the people around Tony. Everyone got their shot; Tony and Bobby, Tony and Paulie, Tony and Christopher, Tony and Phil, Tony and Anthony, Tony and Carmela, Tony and Dr. Melfi, there was a sense of closure to all of these relationships. Some of it was the best kind of closure, the permanent six feet deep kind. Watching Tony frick up just about every personal connection in his life was great. Tony is and always has been a prick. Due to the popularity of the show, the character has been viewed as some kind of hero but he never was. He is a bad man and a majority of the episodes highlighted this; after he gets in a fight with Bobby he forces him to commit is first kill, he questions Paulie to the point that both of them think their boat trip will lead to Paulie’s death, he gives up on his nephew Christopher then when the opportunity arises kills him in cold blood, and not to mention his constant problems with his wife, his therapist, his kids, and with his partners in New York. Even with all that, the viewer is still there at the end pulling for the man. In that now infamous final scene, the amount of tension that was built-up just by having him sit there in the dinner was extraordinary. I went from lying down, to sitting up, to leaning forward, to pacing around the television, to nearly flipping out when it ended. And that was just over a handful of minutes. They somehow lived up to the hype.

I have been very critical of The Sopranos over the last 5 years. After the first couple of seasons I was right there on the front lines pimping this show to anyone who would listen. I still remember my excitement when seeing the first commercials back in the late 1998 promoting this new gangster family program. It may have gone on too long because of audience demand instead of storyline demand but alls well that ends well.

Friday, June 15, 2007


6. Lost

Much better. The second season of Lost was a severe letdown. Amazingly enough though, the ship was righted between seasons and I now have genuine hope for the series. There are still some nagging annoyances with the format and the cast of thousands yet the batting average for this year was all-star caliber.

From the first episode of the year, there was an obvious up-tick in quality. It began with separating Jack, Kate, and Sawyer from the rest of the survivors for the Fall section of the season. Not only are they 3 of the strongest characters in the cast but their capture allowed Lost to concentrate on Ben and Juliet. The two of them deserve a large amount of the credit for my increased enjoyment of the show. I would be willing argue that Ben Linus is the most important addition to Lost since the show premiered. There were always shades of grey on the show but Ben is the closest thing to a villain we have seen on that island. Having an antagonist for the survivors to interact with has helped revitalize much of the cast. The way he manipulates each and every single person he comes in contact with is a pleasure to witness. The man was holding court while lying on a hospital bed minutes after major surgery. He instills fear even at 5 foot nothing, 100 and nothing, and barely a speck of athletic ability. Along with putting Ben in the forefront, Juliet came on the scene and consistently made my day. All it takes is a single scene showing Kate’s annoyance and Juliet has my undying appreciation. Her interactions with Jack reinvigorated another proud television owner of the Jack moniker, a proud family. I cannot give enough praise to the story of Jack inflicting a potential mortal wound to Ben during surgery and using it as leverage so Kate and Sawyer can escape. Fantastic scenes. Prior to their escape, Kate and Sawyer had a ton of great moments while imprisoned or introducing a bunch of Others who played major roles during the rest of the season. Plus who doesn’t enjoy Clockwork Orange knockoffs. When the episodes switched to Locke and the other survivors there was a drop in tension but they still worked. I wasn’t in favor of killing Eko and I still believe that it was a huge loss to the show. Plus Locke has constantly aggravated me over the years and it just got worse this Fall. His scenes with Eko just kicked his obsession into overdrive. Like a said earlier, it was an all-star batting average not a perfect one.

The people behind Lost have already fixed the biggest mistake of the 3rd season. Taking nearly 3 months off was shit. It destroyed the flow and quelled the tension that was building through the Fall. When Lost returned in Febraury, it was spotty for a couple of months. This is where the size of the cast became a problem once again. I have zero interest in episodes about Nikki and Paulo, Claire, Hurley, and Charlie. And much to my chagrin they all had flashbacks during this stretch. I may feel that Sun and Jin, Desomnd, and Sayid may be secondary players but I can still enjoy their starring turns. Overall I just keep waiting for the camera to show Jack, Ben, Sawyer, Kate, Juliet, or Locke again. Luckily this time around the main characters were always involved. Jack’s imprisonment was updated in nearly every episode with the highlight of course being the tossing of the pigskin. There was also Kate, Locke, and Sayid’s trek across the island to free Jack. This had many good points including the introduction of Mikhail and his first time being murdered. And better than that was the continued revelations about the twisted relationship between Ben and Juliet. Once all the pieces were put in play and the straggling characters were given their screen-time, Lost finally got down to brass tacks. This was a great final month or more of episodes. Nearly all of the important players were given their time to shine. Ben’s flashback nearly lived up to the shadiness of the character. There needed to be some truly fricked up shite to explain the man and murdering your entire village may just qualify. There was also the continuation of Juliet pissing off Kate. It was sweet to watch her call Kate on her bullshit. This also lead to Juliet joining the survivors and some great double and triple crosses. Even the Charlie imminent death story worked. Of course my hatred for Locke doesn’t allow me to enjoy that asshole ever. Selfish prick blowing up submarines, I’m glad his father threw him out a window. Then things got even better when Ben shot him. Even after all that he shows at the end to piss me off even more. As for the finale, it was the Jack Shepard show … as well it should be. We got to witness Jack kicking ass, Jack making death threats, Jack staring down Locke, half-bearded future Jack, drunk future Jack, it was a cornucopia of memorable moments. It was just a fantastic finish to the season.

I am truly shocked at the level of enjoyment I had for the 3rd season of Lost. There were times where I threw in the towel during the awful 2nd year, but I always kept the light on. And when the episodes and stories were so much better to start this new year, it was like the clock was turned back 2 years. It was great to have the feeling again. Now were this goes from here on, I don’t know if it can keep up this quality especially with the wacky flash-forwards that await us. I hope they pull it off.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Ocean's Twelve

I was happy to see a second movie following Danny Ocean and his gang. Ocean’s Twelve may not have approached the quality of the first movie, but it still is a fun couple of hours. The cast is obviously having a good time and that chemistry flies off the screen. And worse case scenario is that the faults of the second movie encouraged everyone to make a tighter third chapter.

I will never complain when these guys find a reason to get the band back together. Of course they all know just how much chemistry they have with each other so each scene becomes almost a competition. Once again, George Clooney and Brad Pitt are just sailing in their roles. The two of them are so effortless that it seems like they just turned the cameras on while they walked around Europe. The train platform scene may be the best in the entire film; Pitt’s mysterious line, Clooney asking if he looks 50, we got a bagman, its all good stuff. Beyond that great scenes, the two of them get plenty of time to just bounce dialogue off each other. These are the scenes that make the move, screw the plot. Besides the top 2 names, Matt Damon starts climbing the ladder this time around. This is describes best when Julia Roberts calls him “Linus Caldwell Junior Varsity.” Plus his mom frees him from jail. Unlike the first film, some of the crew does get lost in the shuffle. Bernie Mac and Carl Reiner are hurt the most; both of them disappear for extended periods of time. The big name brought to the table was Catherine Zeta-Jones. It does seem like the time that the other members of the crew lost in this movie could be found when the camera was on her. She didn’t do anything wrong but her storyline did screw with the Ocean’s Eleven formula. The other introductions were of Eddie Izzard and Vincent Cassel. I have always been a fan of Izzard and he gets to deliver some great lines. As for Cassel, he plays an eccentric French thief who likes to break-dance. What more do you want? Me? I still want Andy Garcia’s wardrobe.

The main defect of Ocean’s Twelve was the thin nature of the plot. There may have been pieces of Ocean’s Eleven that were hard to believe but you could follow what was happening. I can’t say as much for Ocean’s Twelve. It wasn’t incomprehensible by any means. Still the main story was all over the map and seemed to just exist so the crew could gallivant across Europe. And also to nitpick, the timeline isn’t all that clear. Rusty seemed to be shadowing Isabel before he and Danny met with LaMarque. But that would make no sense since Rusty didn’t know that he would need her to arrest the lot of them until after meeting her father. Plus the whole Julia Roberts as Tess pretending to be Julia Roberts may have been a cute idea on paper, but it fell flat when on the big screen. None of these complaints were enough to ruin the movie, but they were just enough to bring it down a couple of notches.

Ocean’s Twelve is the weakest of the trilogy but that in no way means it should be ignored. There is plenty of good here for everyone to enjoy. Clooney and Pitt could play these characters forever and it would not get old. Plus this one had the better Topher Grace cameo. For that alone this movie deserves praise.

7 out of 10


7. 24

Now that time has passed and my anger his subsided, I have decided to soften my position on the 6th day of 24. Don’t get me wrong; it is still easily the worst season they have aired. But really what does that mean? Seasons 2, 4, and 5 were all damn near perfect, 3 hovered somewhere around the B+ range, and the original day was groundbreaking, so someone had to finish last. Prior to the last 7 or so hours of the day, the fate of the sixth season was still up in the air. It is amazing how much a bad ending can affect my opinion of the day as a whole.

The damn thing is still 24, so I do have praise to spread around. The now standard 4-hour premier was just the right amount of crazy to start the day. The day began with bearded tortured Jack, vampire Jack, Dr. Bashir is a terrorist, President Palmer 2, Jack killing Curtis, and a fricking nuclear bomb going off all kicking a decent amount of ass. Skipping the negative aspects for later, Jack gunning down Curtis was one of those all-time 24 moments. The show has always excelled at setting up situations where Jack has to make not a tough decision but an impossible life-altering choice. You could see that Curtis’ arc was heading nowhere good but not that. To actually have Jack shoot Curtis and then have him slowing die in front of Jack’s eyes was one of those high adrenaline/high emotion moments that other shows just can’t create.

The next 12ish hours were dedicated to the Fayed chase. This may not have been the strongest storyline in 24 history but I wouldn’t call it weak. There were just too many nonsensical plot choices that overshadow the numerous good parts. I can’t complain when I get bearded lumberjack Logan, crazy Logan-stabbing Martha, Tom Lennox’s arc, zombie Wayne Almeidaing from the dead, action Milo, physically broken down Jack, shockingly untrustworthy Powers Booth, and the entire hour where Jack single-handedly tracks down and kills Fayed. I would be happy with these developments in any season but it gets clouded when at the same time there was some absolute trash clogging up each hour. It is tough to remember the good times when you are seeing Gredenko cut his own arm off then turn on Fayed thus causing himself to bleed to death with no possible chance for help, every other Bauer family member is evil, tune in to see who gets tortured this week, Morris’ after-school special on working with guilt, the disappearance of seasons 3, 4, and 5 Chloe, another palace coup, and other assorted nonsense that I have already blacked out. Still on a whole I believe the middle of the day worked.

Well this could only be put off for so long, I was going to have to address the final hours of the day eventually. The early dismissal of Fayed was one of those shocking moments 24 delivers every year. At that point in the day, you expected Jack to get close and maybe retrieve the bombs but Fayed would somehow slip away in the confusion. Instead, Jack catches and brutally kills Fayed catching you completely off-guard. But a key aspect in order to make this work was that once the main story is finished something worthwhile needed to follow for the conclusion to the season. 24 skipped this part. They seemed to throw what was left in their bag of tricks against the wall hoping enough of it stuck to please the audience. There were the old standbys of arresting Jack, freeing Jack, the government threatening Jack, spies in the government, and of course people taking advantage of the CTU make-out room. And free of charge they threw in catatonic Audrey, the return of the truly evil Chinese, United States vs. Mother Russia in a game brinksmanship, and goddamn pregnant Chloe. Maybe some of these ideas could have worked under better circumstances, but those circumstances were nowhere to be found. This was a poorly executed final month of the season. On top of wasting 30 minutes of the finale with Ricky Schroeder sitting on a bench, 24 literally threw their hands up in frustration and pressed the reset button to end the day. Well, thank god for that.

So that was the 6th day but I am not finished, I need to get some 24 rambling off my chest. This wonderful show would have to do a lot worse than this for me to abandon my favorite television program of all-time. I still have the build-up of anticipation on Mondays followed by the rush of adrenaline during the better episodes. Jack Bauer is still Jack Bauer. I cannot find any faults with Keifer’s work. Still the 6th day exposed holes in 24’s format. The wholesale slaughter of the cast over the years has turned the supporting cast into a revolving door. You only hit so many home runs with characters like David Palmer, Nina Myers, George Mason, Tony Almeida, Ryan Chappelle, Michelle Dessler, Sherry Palmer, Edgar Stiles, Curtis Manning, and those are just the most obvious names. You can fill 2 all-star casts with 24’s dead. Then toss in the characters that were just written off like Chase Edmunds, Charles Logan, Wayne Palmer, Mike Novick, etc. Each time one of these players is replaced the new names either feel like a replica or feel like the writers are trying too hard to distinguish the new guy. So after six years we are stuck with a so-so supporting cast trying to carry the B and C stories which just weakens the whole product.

I know this review feels negative but believe me I have not jumped off the 24 bandwagon. I trust that the changes made for next season will right the ship. I trust that when Chloe returns it won’t be a complete waste of time. I trust that the best character on television will continue to be Jack Bauer for years to come. This was just a minor setback and only seems awful in comparison to what this show has been over the last 5 years.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


8. Heroes

I wouldn’t call Heroes a surprise when I watched and enjoyed the premiere. I was reading about this crazy new show months in advance. The surprise to me was the quality of the final product. It was quite a shock to not have superpowers come off as a joke onscreen, any Mutant X fans in the house? So hooray for all the high points that came out of the bumpy first year on the air.

As an X-Men fan, I am finding a it difficult to balance my enjoyment of Heroes while still being constantly reminded of the similarities to the Marvel mutants. The powers, the world they live in, and even the storylines feel like someone has read one too many Chris Claremont X-Men books. The familiarity only bothered me when things became on the nose like the Days of Future Past episode. I mean come on I kept waiting for the Sentinels to show up. If Peter become Dark Petrelli, Sylar becomes a Holocaust survivor, a bunch of them move to the Australian Outback, or if the fricking Brood show up I may get a bit perturbed. But this is still future speculation of annoyance so for now it is all happy-go-lucky fun.

Okay now that that is over, back to the first season. The cast is way too damn big. I am growing to despise shows that just keep introducing characters until I need to take notes to remember all their storylines. It does improve the chances of stumbling upon great characters but there is also the downside of creating nearly as many wastes of space. This was painfully obvious during the first chapter of the season. Since the show needed to introduce each character every damn episode included one or two sections that bordered the boring/offensive line. Stuff like Parkman and his wife, anything located in Las Vegas, and whiny Peter held this show back for months. And by held back I mean from greatness; Heroes was still fun just spotty. Peter may have been whiny in the beginning but he eventually realized his potential and all bets were off. Plus the Invisible Man threw him off a roof. That was sweet. I miss Christopher Eccleston. Jack Bennet immediately earned the right to use the name Jack on television. He has a lot to live up to but has made good first steps. His arc might have been the strongest all year even though it seems like something that could have been drawn out over multiple seasons. But then again turning face allowed him to shoot Eric Roberts in the head. Plus Bennet’s changes were in step with Claire’s storyline. And to my surprise, Claire’s character was one of the best all season. I kept waiting for it to slip in quality but it never happened. Although, I was disappointed with how they spent the first half of the season building her relationship with Zach then wiped his memory and if that wasn’t enough all but wrote him off for the second half of the season. He wasn’t the only loss (and at least he can be brought back) during the year, Eden, Eric Roberts, Malcolm McDowell, Simone, Isaac, Ted, Hiro’s girlfriend, and whoever else died in the finale were crossed off the cast. There is a happy medium when it comes to killing folks, it is good to have that real threat but eventually you can’t keep replacing great characters. Hello 24. (Quick note about "great characters" the majority of the characters I just listed were not great just making a point here calm down people).

Now let’s take some time to talk about the best episode of the season; “Company Man” or Jack Bennet’s flashback story. This is the show that proved Heroes could become all-time great. His back-story was perfectly revealed. It weaved in George Takei, Eric Roberts, the Invisible Man, the Haitian, and the pieces fit together. But at the same time the live story with Parkman, Ted, and that other chick bum rushing the Bennet home was nice and tense. And the climatic scene was classic. Burnt Claire walking out of the house was unbelievable. It was too bad that the best episodes aired mid-season. The concluding episodes were all good but not a classic in the bunch. They attempted to not only wrap up all of the storylines but also have them all converge in the same damn spot. What the heck is that? Then that last scene, the prologue for next year, was not this great reveal making me amped for the future. It left me skeptical about the choices being made. Well, we’ll find out soon enough.

In conclusion Hiro kicks ass. Heroes not so much with the ass-kicking. This was a good foundation but it was nowhere near the first season of 24 or Lost in regards to the blowing of my mind. Still it could become great and you can’t ask for much more than that out of brand new programs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Veronica Mars

9. Veronica Mars

Well that was just a big fat disappointment. I took a significant portion of my summer last year to watch the first 2 seasons of Veronica Mars. Now that was time and money well spent and I do not regret it. BUT it did lead to a problem. I immediately began looking forward to the 3rd season. Then the next thing I remember is being kicked in the balls and everything going black.

Why did this happen? Why were entire pieces of the puzzle removed and thrown out the window? The supporting cast was exiled. New characters were introduced and then promptly ignored. I am not sure why Parker was given a credit for every episode since all they did was rape the poor girl in the first episode and then have her be Logan’s girlfriend for about 3 episodes. As for Piz, I was neutral on the man, soured with the Veronica pairing, and then the show was shitcanned and I will never have a chance to reevaluate. As for the old school players; Weevil might as well have been dead; Wallace arrested; Mac excommunicated. Just because of that, season 3 was unforgivable. Kristen Bell may do the lion share of the work, but it is the rest of the cast that provides the oomph to reach that top level. Don’t get me wrong Bell and Enrico Colantoni were still swell for the third year in a row. In fact I would go so far as to say that this was Keith Mars’ best season. There were actually storyline reasons for Keith to be apart of nearly all of the episodes, which wasn’t always the case during the second season. Everything related to Keith wasn’t biscuits and gravy though. The random killing of Sheriff Lamb was criminal. It existed purely to put Keith back in the sheriff’s seat, just to put his new position in jeopardy for the end of the season. Poor sacrificial Lamb. Conversely whereas Keith saw an improvement in season 3, Logan was completely shit upon. The best parts of his character are always there but whiny downcast Logan is nowhere near as fun as crazy dangerous Logan. And you can’t change my mind no matter how many people he beats the snot out of to defend Veronica’s honor. Although I may have had issues with the treatment of the secondary players, Bell was strong throughout the season and by this point in time the praise has become redundant. I have faith that she will land on her feet somewhere decent enough to put her skills to use.

The switch to the shorter arcs weren’t too damaging to the overall product. The rapist storyline was slow to start (mainly complaining about the stolen playbook story) but it did finish off with one of the best episodes of the season. The second arc with poor dead Ed Begley Jr. was stronger throughout but did not have as good a finale, too many guilty parties. Also having a 2-part episode around Wallace’s dead coach in the middle of the dead Dean arc was an odd structure choice. At the end of the Begley story 3 things happened, the episode order was slashed to 20 causing the final arc to be axed in favor of the horrifying arc-less final 5 episodes, the show went on about a 2 month break so the world can be overrun by Pussycat Dolls, and the cancellation of the show was imminent. The final 5 episodes were no fun for me. Instead of a revelations about a mystery, we get terrorists, Paul Rudd, and child soldiers … two-thirds of those plots might as well have been on Law and Order (The answer is Paul Rudd twice). All whining aside, the back-to-back finale was just good enough to depress me as my last time seeing Veronica Mars.

The choices made to please the network and keep the show running left a weakened product on the air. Eh, what’s done is done. The first 2 seasons can be put up against just about anything else on television in the last couple of decades.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ocean's Eleven

The arrival of Ocean’s Eleven was a very pleasant surprise. While it was being trailered it seemed like a mess with all of these major stars squashed into one film, but the final product was great viewing. There was enough chemistry to go around for this who’s who list of a cast. Plus heist flicks will always have a warm and fuzzy place in my heart.

I had been a fan of George Clooney’s previous work like Three Kings and Out of Sight, but then he shows up as Danny Ocean and I had to readjust my opinion of the man. It sure seems like this was the part he was meant to play. It also helped that a majority of his scenes involved him sparring with Brad Pitt to figure out who is the more calm, cool, and collected thief. I may have to give that crown to Pitt just for the fact that he is eating something different in nearly all of his scenes. Sandwiches, shrimp, nachos, chips, etc. it doesn’t matter because the man is hungry. This was topped off with the epilogue where he eats so much that he gives himself indigestion. Great stuff. I definitely do not want to short the rest of the cast. There were no slouches here in fact this was pretty close to an all-star lineup. And Ocean’s Eleven worked because all the names meshed so well. Pitt and Clooney may have been the leaders but Matt Damon, Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould, Don Cheadle, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin, Scott Caan, Casey Affleck, Bernie Mac, Julia Roberts, and Andy Garcia all warrant a piece of the spotlight. That is just way too much talent bouncing around onscreen. Somehow someway everyone gets just enough time to get themselves over. Each one may be trying to steal every scene that they are in but it never comes at the cost of the movie. I also liked that of all those names, and they are some of the biggest names in Hollywood (I am looking at you Shaobo Qin), Carl Reiner is the emotional pull of the film. Comedic timing does not fade away and neither does the ability to sell the classic storyline of the legend coming back to pull off one last job. The bickering between Caan and Affleck is also so natural that they might as well be brothers in real life. And you gotta love Affleck calling Caan and the casino employee “circus animals”. Plus who isn’t a fan of Bernie Mac? There are not many people that can make the line “whitejack” work. I have tried and failed on numerous occasions. While I’m at it, I want Andy Garcia’s wardrobe, Elliott Gould’s glasses, and Don Cheadle’s accent. That is enough time spent on the cast, let’s move on to the story. Everyone loves a good heist and this one is good enough to stand with the best of them. Ocean’s Eleven is fun because the protagonists (can thieves really be labeled as good guys?) are always in control. I even enjoy having a movie swerve me every once and awhile. All of the misdirections work because Steven Soderbergh’s direction was slick. He is able to build the tension by showing us just enough to understand what is going on but not enough to anticipate the next move. The editing was slick, the cons were fun, and the whole story cruised along without any dry spots.

Ocean’s Eleven was one of those unanticipated great films that pop up from time to time. Soderbergh may have been coming off of one of my favorite movies in Traffic, but I was not expecting a second great flick in a row. Then Danny Ocean’s crew showed up and a franchise was born. Its nice to play around with this much talent.

9 out of 10


10. Bones

It is always fun when I find a show that can overcome one of my preconceived hatreds. Bones was able to earn a spot in my weekly rotation even though it is your basic formulaic procedural drama. If I were to wager a guess why, it would be the combination of gruesome remains and the amusing personalities that populate the cast. So there is something to keep in my mind for he future, I like funny gore. And really who doesn’t? I never would have watched an episode of the show if it weren’t for David Boreanz. But since Bones was the show he moved on to from Angel, I thought what the hell I’d give it a shot. Even though that was the initial reason, I actually liked the show more because the Booth character is not really similar to the Angel character. He is definitely goofier on Fox. Although Boreanz may have been the reason I started watching, by the second season I have grown to like all the major players. The Bones/Booth relationship may be a next generation version of Scully/Mulder, but I can’t complain when someone goes back to the classics. Even if it is a facsimile, the banter between Bones and Booth makes it worthwhile. Plus you still have the sexual tension that is always there with these television relationships. Who knows if Bones will be able to hold off putting the 2 of them together, season 2 did not give me hope for the future on that front. It was a main plot point for breaking up Bones and Sully plus it was hinted at heavily during the finale. Hopefully the season long fast tracking of the Angela and Hodgins relationship will forestall any other chemistry killing pairings. Zack was lost in the mix a bit during the second season, all he got was a haircut and then he was sent off to the war at the end of the finale. Outside of that the only real negative for the year was the replacement of Dr. Goodman with Dr. Camille. The deep-voiced guy was more fun running the lab then Booth’s old girlfriend. Well the show has steadily improved since its introduction, so I have hopes that the 3rd season can continue the climb.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


11. Weeds

And here lies the crown of the weirdest show that I continue to watch. The tone of each episode is just all over the map. If Weeds had to be placed into one genre, it would fall under the category of comedy. But there are many parts of this show that are so far from comedy that it can leave you wondering how the hell you are supposed to feel at the end of an episode. That is not complaint. Right now the majority of television programs are cookie-cutter. So it is a pleasure to find a show like Weeds that can pull off such odd choices. They have been able to mix humor with tragic desperation. That is not your usual television equation. There is one person responsible for the whole thing not falling apart and that would be Mary-Louise Parker. She is perfect in this role. The glass-eyed look that she has in every scene is explanation enough for why Nancy Botwin is making such horrible decisions. She is constantly on the edge of desperation and is beyond the point of making it up as she goes along. Television awards may be outright lies half the time but at least when Parker won her Golden Globe it was deserved. Although the lead deserves the credit, the rest of the cast is a helluvalot of fun. How can you go wrong with Kevin Nealon? A pothead Kevin Nealon at that! It is the part that he was born and raised and trained to play. Also deserving points are Elizabeth Perkins, Romany Malco, Justin Kirk, and Tonye Patano. The second season introduced some fun storylines. You had Nancy dating a DEA agent played by Martin Donovan. This was made even better when by the end of the season Martin went the classic route of corrupt cop demanding all the profits. There was also the introduction of Nancy and Conrad’s grow house, which lead to some great moments. All of the second season wasn’t perfect though. Nancy’s eldest son is the type of crazy that you only see in television. Just some really stupid scenes took place due to that idiot. Still Weeds did give me Snoop Dogg rapping about MILF weed so I’m definitely in favor of seeing another season.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


12. Scrubs

Ah sweet syndication. It is because Comedy Central started airing Scrubs reruns from 7 to 8 every day that I decided to actually watch the new season this year. Which would make it the first season that I watched until its conclusion on NBC in probably 5 years. Although, watching the earlier seasons at the same time as the new season was a double-edged sword. On the one hand, let’s say the right, the first 3 seasons kick ass while on the other hand, that’s right left, the new season missed the ass in its attempt to kick it. Even if the 6th season of Scrubs was fantastic, I would still remember it for the audacity of having a main storyline where JD’s pregnant girlfriend fakes a miscarriage to push JD away. What the fudge? Did someone actually believe this was a good idea for a sitcom? Lifetime would have scoffed at that plot. Were they under psychiatric care when this was written? Fine, fine, let’s move on to the other dumb ideas during the season like Carla’s postpartum depression that, the war what is it good for episode, and the random-ass killing of Nurse Roberts. Scrubs always had a better touch with the serious stuff but they flew off the rails at some point in time. I’d wager that that point is located somewhere after Heather Graham left the show in the 4th season. I still find the right amount of good jokes in nearly every episode. That is why I still tuned in every Thursday this year. I still like the characters, I still find them funny, and I still enjoy the way that they show tells its jokes. If I were to hand an MVP award to someone this year it would probably go to Turk. That could be because of Turk’s Booty Breakdown during the Keri Russell episode. But what the heck, I wanted to point out the good work being done by Donald Faison. I am happy that Scrubs will be coming back next season, so I hope that the improvement over that was shown during the final months episodes will carry over till next year.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Boston Legal

13. Boston Legal

Sometimes I shock myself. Honestly, I don’t know why I started watching Boston Legal. I never tuned into The Practice and I have a healthy disgust towards your basic courtroom dramas. But the damn show is so entertaining and it forces me to continue to watch it week after week. Just watching William Shatner and James Spader act either borderline insane or distracted by nymphomania is just odd enough to be fun. I even find the dual tone of the show amusing and by dual tone that would be the 50 minutes of frivolity concluded with 10 minutes of super serious business. This only works because Spader is so sincere when he gives his closing arguments. Boston Legal is such an odd platform for soapboxing all of your political ideas. But here we are. After watching Spader hit on every chick, cross-dressing secretaries, purring lawyers, midgets riding seqway scooters, etc. etc. etc. then it is time to hear about what is wrong with America. Outside of the lunatic nature of the series, there is not much here that usually tickles my fancy. There are no real season-long storylines to highlight. It is lands smack dab in the one and done nature of episodic television. This season did have a trial that connected many of the early shows. Even that was just for a couple of the characters, Spader and Shatner still hit their same format for each of those episodes. Also since the cast is quite large, it is in constant flux. The peripheral characters pop in and out so just as you are starting to enjoy let’s say midget on scooter she disappears for a month. Then Delta Burke shows up only to go away immediately. I can’t remember if Tom Selleck, Betty White, or Michael J. Fox appeared this season but if they did when they left it sucked. Outside of these minor quibbles, I don’t have anything seriously negative to complain about. The show amuses me even if it is this far down on my list.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Prison Break

14. Prison Break

The funny thing is that there was a noticeable improvement in quality from season 1 to season 2. So imagine just how low of an opinion of season 1 I had. This show began with over-the-top development after over-the-top development. Season 2 was at least semi-plausible if still full of constant coincidences. That is my main problem with the show; everyone keeps running into each other. First they all get to know each other in jail, then they all break out of jail together, then everyone meets up in Utah, and finally at the end of the season they all converge in fricking Panama. Gathering in Central America is not exactly bumping into each other in New York City. Now it is time for a recurring theme in my television watching, the cast is huge and I could care less about many of them. Luckily for Prison Break they are not afraid to cull the field when necessary. Abruzzi, Tweener, Haywire, Evil Asian Guy, chick from The Craft, long lost dad, etc. were all removed during this season. There may have been more that I just don’t care to recall. So at the end of the season that left only Sucre, C-Note, and T-Bag as character storylines I can skip without a second thought. To clarify, if it isn’t Michael, Lincoln, Sarah, or crazy-ass William Fichtner I could really give a damn. Usually I choose characters because the acting is strong, but this time around I cannot use that as an excuse. It is not the acting that is the draw, it fact I don’t know what the draw is for me. Maybe these are the characters that at least have something resembling an enjoyable plotline. Remember I said enjoyable not coherent. And I mean enjoyable in the loosest and completely non-binding sense. I wouldn’t wish these ridiculous plot devices on any other show. Even One Tree Hill. Let’s see, there is capture, escape, capture, escape, capture, escape, capture, escape, and one more capture and escape. I also must admit that it is annoying that this show gets to ride the coattails of 24. Damn thing is not even fit to carry Kiefer’s luggage.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


15. Smallville

I have grown to despise this show. It is so unfair because Smallville entices me with tales of Superman then bait and switches to another version of Dawson’s Creek. That is just dirty pool, man. This season was worse than any other that I have watched. There were very few positives coupled with extreme blaring negatives. We’ll start with the rather minuscule plus side of the column. Shockingly, the Oliver Queen/Green Arrow arc was actually interesting. Justin Hartley made the role work and once it was getting good he was written off the show. Best idea ever. Of course the mere existence of Erica Durance’s Lois Lane is always a happy television moment. And once again Smallville takes advantage of this situation by having her appear in about half of the season’s episodes. Thankfully in those episodes, by sheer coincidence each time of course, Lois is constantly playing slutty dress-up. There is also Chloe and Lionel delivering every week giving me at least a handful of characters to anticipate from week to week. I don’t even have a specific episode to highlight, maybe the appearance of the Justice League in action. Still, I believe I liked that episode not because of the Justice League but because someone thought it would be awesome for Chloe to become Oracle. And I agree with that idea. Moving on to the shit side of the equation. The Lana Lang and Lex Luthor storyline was easily the worst thing I watched all television season. It is up there with Teri Bauer’s amnesia in sheer personal annoyance level. By the time Lana became pregnant, I was fast-forwarding any scene involving her and Lex or just her alone. The ending was even worse than I imagined. Lana obviously faking her death was hilariously awful. Not only was that arc foul in and of itself but it also caused Lex to have a shit season. Damn this show would have improved exponentially if they had just killed her when they had the chance. Another huge negative was the flipside of liking the Green Arrow episodes. The first half of the season was at least acceptable. But just as fast as the Justice League was introduced, it was immediately removed. That left a gaping hole for the second half. The final annoyance was the weakass arc Clark was stuck with all season. The escapees from the Phantom Zone showed up all of about 5 times and outside of that all he did was fall back to the tired Clark/Lana relationship and, god, I hate these type of shows. And really the introduction of Bizarro was the final scene of the season? Ugh, this was a disease-ridden year. I can’t wait until we get the Wayne Manor spin-off where a young Bruce Wayne is BFF with a juvenile delinquent Joker.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Jackie Brown

Jackie Brown is one of those movies that have improved every time I watch it. The first time I saw it left me unsatisfied, probably because of the high expectations that I brought to that initial viewing. Now that time has passed my appreciation level for the performances, specifically Sam Jack, has lifted the entire movie. It may not be in the upper echelon but it is a definitely has a place in Tarantino's resume.

The number one reason to watch Jackie Brown is to bask in the glory of one Samuel L. Jackson. Ordell Robbie is a creation that deserves admiration. Let’s begin with the hair. And there lies the manliest sentence I have ever written. You have 3 items to choose from; the ponytail, the string hanging from his chin, or the mane he was rocking during the final scenes. Of course the correct answer is the glorious long hair. When you combine the hair with the clothes, this may be the most memorable visual Sam has ever provided. After wasting all that time on his look let’s cut to why this is a great performance, when Sam is saying Tarantino’s dialogue it becomes damn near poetic. At times it felt like this entire movie existed just so Samuel L. could talk. And thank god for that. Naturally since this a Quentin Tarantino movie all of the spoken words were top notch. Jackie Brown is different than the rest of Tarantino’s flicks. It is taken from an Elmore Leonard novel so the characters are definitely Leonard’s but at the same time they speak QT’s language. And these words are like notes from the pied piper to me. I will follow them wherever they may lead. On top of the characters being purely Elmore Leonard, you can smell this is his plot from a mile away. Stuff is getting stolen, people are being double crossed, and everyone thinks they are in control; yeah that’s a Leonard story. The first time around the plot almost distracts the viewer from all the great character moments. You feel like more should be happening but in actuality that was the whole point. The long stretches of talking and hanging out is what the film is all about. That is your chances to sit back and appreciate SLJ, Pam Grier, Robert Forrester, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, and even Chris Tucker. Everyone is given a chance to shine. Yes that’s right, I included Chris Tucker. This was before he did Rush Hour and decided that he had accomplished everything he ever wanted to in film. And really do ya blame him? Friday, Money Talks, and Rush Hour, anyone would kill for that to be their resume. This was also one of the last great Michael Keaton performances before he disappeared for nearly a decade. Can’t complain about half-dead to the world ex-con De Niro. And of course since it is Quentin, we get the resurrection of Grier and Forrester. And of course they look and sound better here than they have in decades. There is plenty to enjoy here.

It is just damn impressive that when you list Quentin Tarantino’s films, Jackie Brown ends up at the bottom of the list. That is working at such a high level that it is crazy that he hasn’t dropped the ball yet. This time around though, I think a majority of the credit belongs to Sam Jackson. Ordell Robbie may be the best performance of his career and that includes Deep Blue Sea, The Great White Hype, and even xXx (but not xXx: State of the Union that will never be topped). And the best part of Jackie Brown is that once you get past it, there is nothing between you and Kill Bill.

8 out of 10

Mentionable Mentions

Now that I have finished up the shows that were shot dead in their tracks, it is time to move on to the shows that I have no intention of reviewing. I'll get these out of the way before moving on to the shows worth spending time writing about. Here we go. I will not be reviewing:

Saturday Night Live
The Simpsons
South Park
Drawn Together
Harvey Birdman
Robot Chicken
Pardon the Interruption
Baseball Tonight
NFL Today
NBA Fastbreak
The Sports Reporters
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report
Mike and Mike
Mike and the Mad Dog
Late Show with David Letterman
Late Night with Conan O'Brien
Ebert & Roeper
Boy Meets World reruns
24 reruns
Alias reruns
Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns
Angel reruns
Scrubs reruns
The Simpsons reruns
Newsradio reruns (when I can find them)
Star Trek Deep Space Nine reruns
Star Trek Voyager reruns
Baseball games
Football games
Basketball games
College Basketball games
College Football games

If I think of anything else, I'll add to the list.

Sunday, June 3, 2007


1. Kidnapped

I cry shenanigans. This would have easily been in my television top 10. Kidnapped was so damn strong right out of the gate. Whether or not it would have maintained that high level as a long running series, I do not know, but it would have been nice to see it play out for at least one full season. Delroy Lindo, Jeremy Sisto, and Timothy Hutton were all doing great work. Also have to mention Bubba whenever Bubba shows up. I will freely admit that Kidnapped was a 24 clone so I am partial to the format, but the characters (family, kidnappers, police, free agents) were all well written. The pratfalls that you see on 24 may have blown holes in the plot eventually but for the episodes I saw the story was engaging and made you want to tune in next week. Easily the show I miss the most from this television season.

Saturday, June 2, 2007


2. Smith

Now this was just offensive. If I remember correctly, Smith was taken off the air after 3 whole episodes. So officially speaking, I may have been the only person in the entirety of the United States who was watching. Was it just me who thought Ray Liotta as a man who balances a normal family life with being a high-end thief was a great idea for a television show? On top of having a good premise, nearly every episode included slickly produced heists. I really wished it had survived. The entire cast was full of talented players. They may not have been A-listers but Simon Baker, Johnny Lee Miller, Amy Smart, Virginia Madsen, Franky G, Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Chris Bauer are all folks that I know and liked in other projects. Yes, even Franky G. Plus the last episode that aired revealed that Virginia Madsen was a recovering drug addict, it would have been nice to see where that plot was going. But it just wasn’t meant to be.

Friday, June 1, 2007


3. Justice

Now we are getting to the shows that I truly miss. To be honest I am fairly certain Justice was sweet because it had both Kareem Said from Oz and Jack Bristow from Alias. Those are 2 of my favorite characters in television history. That would be a wee bit of bias there. That bias ran up against one of my television annoyances, the monotony of a procedural. Sadly, Justice was no House so it never really exceeded the limitations of the show structure. Then again at least concentrating on high priced defense attorneys was a different take than most court dramas. What was disappointing to me was that although they were defense attorneys; their clients were innocent, or at least not malevolent, in damn near every episode. It would have been nice if a few of their wins put true bastards back on the street. Ah well, it was a slick looking show and I thought it would survive but it wasn’t meant to be.