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Everybody Wants to be Us

Graduate Student at Loyola University Chicago. Check out the blog for what I'm currently obsessed with in film and culture. Michael Fassbender, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Winslet, Christian Bale, Jesse Eisenberg, David Lynch, David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, and Daniel Radcliffe are regulars here.

#HBO

My friend and I were discussing today how all our shows are coming back in January- Enlightened, Girls, Downton Abbey.  

Yes Megan, next semester will be hectic.  You were right. 

"What because we are poor shall we be vicious" - John Webster

Jimmy Darmody in “Boardwalk Empire”

"What because we are poor shall we be vicious" - John Webster

Jimmy Darmody in “Boardwalk Empire”

"To the lost" - Jimmy Darmody

"Boardwalk Empire" Returns tonight!

"To the lost" - Jimmy Darmody

"Boardwalk Empire" Returns tonight!

“I don’t want to freak you out, but I think I may be the voice of my generation. Or at least a voice of a generation.” 
-Girls
Lena Dunham

“I don’t want to freak you out, but I think I may be the voice of my generation. Or at least a voice of a generation.” 

-Girls

Lena Dunham

I watched the entire series of Enlightened and totally loved it. Created by Laura Dern and Mike White, the series follows Amy who returns from an intensive therapy retreat to find her problems magnified.  Living with her distant mother and ostracized at work, Amy struggles everyday to prove she’s changed. Even if you can conquer your demons, the world around you can still be hostile, unforgiving, and most of all un-forgetting. Amy is between worlds- the sun soaked bliss of her Hawaiian recovery and the cold, florescent cubicle of her miserable job.  Laura Dern is flawless as Amy and deserves the Golden Globe she earned earlier this year.  I love that Amy is so unique but also marked by all the hang-ups, obstacles, and hopes of living today.  She wants to make a difference, but is bogged down by debt. She needs help, but burned too many bridges in the past.  She wants to help, but has little focus.  Luke Wilson is a revelation as her ex Levi.  He’s in the darkness of addiction and insists that’s where he’d like to stay.  Despite the guilt trips and judgement Amy hurls at him, he’s still there for her.  Great filmmakers like White, Migeul Arteta (“The Good Girl”), Jonathan Demme (“Silence of the Lambs”), and Nicole Holofcener (“Please Give”) direct episodes in season 1, giving each a definitive arc and cohesive story over the series. It reminds me of a quote, attributed to Lou Holtz and Lena Horne, “It’s not the load that breaks you down - its the way you carry it.”  Sure a positive attitude helps, but sometimes you just want to say “Fuck this fucking load” and throw something.  Amy’s rage is a thing of beauty and her struggle to contain it is magnificent comedy.  

I need the second season RIGHT NOW!

"Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"

When “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders of Robin Hood Hills” premiered on HBO in 1996, I probably watched the film 20 times.  My family went on a vacation to Florida and as the only early riser, I would flip on HBO with a carton of ice cream and watch the documentary over and over again.  Even after everyone went to bed, I watched the film chronicling the trial of three poor misfit youth accused of being in a cult and murdering three young boys.  I went to sleep every night haunted by the images of the crime and trial.  But I couldn’t stop watching it. 

I guess I was fascinated by the film directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky because I had never seen anything like it.  The amount of access the filmmakers had to the trial proceedings, the victims families and Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr provided the viewer with a startling clear view of this community and the crime. After that summer, I never saw or even thought of “Paradise Lost” until last year when the West Memphis Three were set free from prison.  

To catch up with the story that made such an impression on me as a kid, I watched “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” which deftly summarizes the case from the original film and exposes a wealth of new evidence and the fight to free the West Memphis Three. Never clinical or staid, “Paradise Lost 3” is a heartbreaking and fascinating story throughout.  The murder of Michael Moore, Christopher Byers and Stevie Branch was a horrible tragedy.  The film shows how criminal and legal professionals compounded this tragedy by convicting the West Memphis Three and neglecting evidence that has let the real murderer go unpunished.

The film shows how people who were convinced of Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley’s guilt have become some of their most outspoken advocates.  It shows how the film spurred thousands to action, uncovered important evidence, and saved their lives.  It’s terrible to think what would have happened if the 1996 film had not been made.  Damien Echols was originally sentenced to death and would have been killed if not for the legal resources and support the film garnered for them.  

The last scene chronicles the day the West Memphis Three walked out of prison.  Each entered Alford pleas which allowed them to maintain their innocence but plead guilty and walk free.  It’s a scene that filled me with gratitude, but also rage.  Finally, Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley are free but at the cost of truth, justice, and their dignity as innocent men. Baldwin wanted to continue the fight, but only entered the plea to save Echols’ life.  These two friends show each other more humanity than anyone else in the film. I was in tears.  Everyone must see “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” and be reminded how myopic thinking and stereotyping is lethal in our legal system.  

SUNDAY TV LISTINGS

  • Season Finale of “Mad Men”
  • Season Finale of “Veep”
  • Episode of “Girls”
  • Season Premiere of “True Blood”
  • The Tony Awards

Who decided this? Am I supposed to CHOOSE between the Tony Awards and “Mad Men”?

What am I supposed to do with this lineup?

What are you watching Sunday?

I love VEEP.  Love it!

firthofforth:

mrdavidgordon:

therealchipwillis:

betafig:

My next tv obsession!

This show has been a pleasant surprise. Lot’s of F’bombing and silliness, and good acting.

She’s no Malcolm Tucker, but she’s still hilarious

She can’t be Malcolm: He was the guy who saved the ministries from themselves. Jonah, sad to say, would have to be the analogue, but in true U.S. fashion he’s there to make it worse. 

hallekiefer:

(via ‘Girls’ Recap: Don’t Abandon Me | Movies News | Rolling Stone)
Guys, are you watching Girls? If so, can we talk about the scene between Hannah and her supervisor Rich? That was one of the craziest scenes to ever be broadcast on television, right?

Indeed it was. As usual Halle Kiefer calls it like it is and illuminates the episode so perfectly.
Everything in this weeks episode was crazy, not the crazy that surfaces later like, “I wish I hadn’t done that” or “Geez that was crazy.” It was more: this is crazy but I’m here and I’m not turning around.  
I love that Marnie doesn’t know where her boyfriend lives. Why the window, Jessa? 

hallekiefer:

(via ‘Girls’ Recap: Don’t Abandon Me | Movies News | Rolling Stone)

Guys, are you watching Girls? If so, can we talk about the scene between Hannah and her supervisor Rich? That was one of the craziest scenes to ever be broadcast on television, right?

Indeed it was. As usual Halle Kiefer calls it like it is and illuminates the episode so perfectly.

Everything in this weeks episode was crazy, not the crazy that surfaces later like, “I wish I hadn’t done that” or “Geez that was crazy.” It was more: this is crazy but I’m here and I’m not turning around.  

I love that Marnie doesn’t know where her boyfriend lives. Why the window, Jessa? 

dceiver:

theatlantic:

What Veep Gets Wrong (and Right) About Washington

It’s weird that the emerging consensus on HBO’s Veep is that it’s unenjoyable because it’s not realistic, and it’s not realistic because it’s too cynical, given that the meme for the last two or 20 years has been that Washington is broken.
The show, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as an unprincipled and powerless vice president was endorsed as quite accurate by Jeff Nussbaum, who served as a speech writer for two vice presidents. Nussbaum told GQ’s Reid Cherlin that Veep hits the mark with its wall-to-wall cussing (including “pencil f—king”), the portrayal of patronizing presidential staff, the terrible advice offered by civilians, the codependency of some aides, and even the sets. And yet, it is wrong, all wrong—at least according to political reporters.
“If the aim of this show is to get viewers to disrespect everybody in elected office, mission accomplished,” The Daily Beast’s Eleanor Clift writes. On Slate’s Political Gabfest, David Plotz said, “The West Wing was inaccurate in that it left out all the incompetence, hilarity, vanity, self-obsession, narcissism of American politics, and this show left out all the idealism and attempt to accomplish things in American politics… But as it happens, this is a moment when there isn’t a lot being accomplished in American politics, so maybe it rings more true.” Plotz’s colleague, John Dickerson, reported that, no, it’s worse: “A show that’s so soaked in cynicism about politics as a work of art smacks as lazy.” […]
The West Wing’s idealism was more accurate than Veep’s cynicism, Macleans‘ Jaime Weinman says, because “if you look at political gridlock today, and the causes of it, you’ll often find that it’s caused by anincrease in idealism, and more idealistic people working in government. In the U.S., there’s a lot of hand-wringing about gridlock and the inability of government to get anything done, but the reason for that is that ideology is more important than it ever was before.”
Maybe it depends on how you define “before.” The idea that “Washington is broken” is certainly repeated endlessly these days. Take, for example, The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake explaining why Sen. Bob Portman’s support among political insiders makes him a bad choice for vice-president. “People really, really dislike politicians,” they write. “They hate Washington. They think politics is broken — maybe irreparably.” Maybe irreparably? Americans sound primed for a cynical show!
Read more at The Atlantic Wire. [Image: HBO]


Can’t say anything about Veep, I haven’t seen it. But I’m amazed at these assessments of The West Wing. David Plotz has somehow gotten it into his head that The West Wing, “was inaccurate in that it left out all the incompetence, hilarity, vanity, self-obsession, narcissism of American politics.” Point and laugh at David Plotz, ladies and gentlemen. There was plenty of incompetence (the show’s pilot is paced forward by a moment of incompetence), lots of hilarity, an abundance of vanity and self-obsession (two characters were speechwriters, after all) and as for narcissism, well there was a whole very special episode about 9-11.
Even still, what most people don’t seem to remember about the show is that while it did set off with this sort of “go-get-em, public service served up with pluck and gumption” mentality, it eventually passed from Aaron Sorkin’s hands to John Wells, whose idea of what makes good television drama is numbingly melancholy romantic entanglements. By the time the show had entered it’s later years, it was nearly joyless, though there was some redemption to be had in its final season.
I think it’s smart for political reporters to “get out in front of” Veep, since given enough time, I’m sure that Armando Ianucci will get around to depicting them as the typically cosseted and unbearably thin-skinned pussies that they really are.

Totally right about “The West Wing” decline post-Sorkin.  I’ve seen the first two episodes of “Veep” and totally love it.  As a huge “In The Loop” fan, I love the over the top vulgarity and the friendly hatred many of the characters have for one another.  I think this is going to be a great show.  
I wouldn’t get my TV advice from a political reporter.  

dceiver:

theatlantic:

What Veep Gets Wrong (and Right) About Washington

It’s weird that the emerging consensus on HBO’s Veep is that it’s unenjoyable because it’s not realistic, and it’s not realistic because it’s too cynical, given that the meme for the last two or 20 years has been that Washington is broken.

The show, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as an unprincipled and powerless vice president was endorsed as quite accurate by Jeff Nussbaum, who served as a speech writer for two vice presidents. Nussbaum told GQ’s Reid Cherlin that Veep hits the mark with its wall-to-wall cussing (including “pencil f—king”), the portrayal of patronizing presidential staff, the terrible advice offered by civilians, the codependency of some aides, and even the sets. And yet, it is wrong, all wrong—at least according to political reporters.

“If the aim of this show is to get viewers to disrespect everybody in elected office, mission accomplished,” The Daily Beast’s Eleanor Clift writes. On Slate’s Political Gabfest, David Plotz said, “The West Wing was inaccurate in that it left out all the incompetence, hilarity, vanity, self-obsession, narcissism of American politics, and this show left out all the idealism and attempt to accomplish things in American politics… But as it happens, this is a moment when there isn’t a lot being accomplished in American politics, so maybe it rings more true.” Plotz’s colleague, John Dickerson, reported that, no, it’s worse: “A show that’s so soaked in cynicism about politics as a work of art smacks as lazy.” […]

The West Wing’s idealism was more accurate than Veep’s cynicism, Macleans‘ Jaime Weinman says, because “if you look at political gridlock today, and the causes of it, you’ll often find that it’s caused by anincrease in idealism, and more idealistic people working in government. In the U.S., there’s a lot of hand-wringing about gridlock and the inability of government to get anything done, but the reason for that is that ideology is more important than it ever was before.”

Maybe it depends on how you define “before.” The idea that “Washington is broken” is certainly repeated endlessly these days. Take, for example, The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake explaining why Sen. Bob Portman’s support among political insiders makes him a bad choice for vice-president. “People really, really dislike politicians,” they write. “They hate Washington. They think politics is broken — maybe irreparably.” Maybe irreparably? Americans sound primed for a cynical show!

Read more at The Atlantic Wire. [Image: HBO]

Can’t say anything about Veep, I haven’t seen it. But I’m amazed at these assessments of The West Wing. David Plotz has somehow gotten it into his head that The West Wing, “was inaccurate in that it left out all the incompetence, hilarity, vanity, self-obsession, narcissism of American politics.” Point and laugh at David Plotz, ladies and gentlemen. There was plenty of incompetence (the show’s pilot is paced forward by a moment of incompetence), lots of hilarity, an abundance of vanity and self-obsession (two characters were speechwriters, after all) and as for narcissism, well there was a whole very special episode about 9-11.

Even still, what most people don’t seem to remember about the show is that while it did set off with this sort of “go-get-em, public service served up with pluck and gumption” mentality, it eventually passed from Aaron Sorkin’s hands to John Wells, whose idea of what makes good television drama is numbingly melancholy romantic entanglements. By the time the show had entered it’s later years, it was nearly joyless, though there was some redemption to be had in its final season.

I think it’s smart for political reporters to “get out in front of” Veep, since given enough time, I’m sure that Armando Ianucci will get around to depicting them as the typically cosseted and unbearably thin-skinned pussies that they really are.

Totally right about “The West Wing” decline post-Sorkin.  I’ve seen the first two episodes of “Veep” and totally love it.  As a huge “In The Loop” fan, I love the over the top vulgarity and the friendly hatred many of the characters have for one another.  I think this is going to be a great show.  

I wouldn’t get my TV advice from a political reporter.  

"Tyrion Lannister has balls this big.  How does he walk?"
- Indispensable Commentary from Tom on “Game of Thrones”

"Tyrion Lannister has balls this big.  How does he walk?"

- Indispensable Commentary from Tom on “Game of Thrones”

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