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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.

#Mad Men

Absence of MAD MEN movies *Day 69*

Looks like we won’t be seeing Don, Peggy, Joan, Roger, and Pete until 2012.  While we wait to see our favorite ad man, I’ll be watching these films for my fill of 60’s fashion, social and abusive drinking, marital unrest, and the corporate rat race.

THE APARTMENT (1960)

Without Billy Wilder, there would be no MAD MEN. PERIOD. The opening shots of Sterling Cooper offices in the pilot are direct lifts from Wilder’s 1960 masterpiece. The film even gets named checked by Joan and Roger in Episode 10 “The Long Weekend.” Wilder’s snappy dialogue and vivid characters probably provided MAD MEN writers with inspiration as well.  Wilder’s hero, C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) has ambitions for management and lets execs use his apartment for their dalliances.  Once he realizes the murky machine he’s mixed up in through his relationship with elevator operator Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), he longs to be more than a corporate stooge and regains his dignity.  How Wilder orchestrates tender moments with comedy and devastating drama is rarely out done on MAD MEN or anything else.  Two episodes that come close for me are Episode 7 “Red in the Face” from season 1 and “The Suitcase’ from season 4. 

REVOLUTIONARY ROAD (2008)

Don and Betty’s fights on MAD MEN never came close to the fervent hatred trading between Frank and April Wheeler in REVOLUTIONARY ROAD.  Played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, the Wheelers hope a whimsical move to Paris will save their doomed marriage.  Like the Draper marriage, the union crumbles under the weight of a lie.

I’m so excited for tonight’s Emmy’s results.  Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Friday Night Lights, Mildred Pierce, and Mad Men made this an amazing year of TV for me. My heart is pounding in anticipation for my movie goddess Kate Winslet and her nomination for best actress in Mildred Pierce. If she wins, she’s only one Tony Award away from EGOT.  GO KATE GO. 

I’m so excited for tonight’s Emmy’s results.  Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Friday Night Lights, Mildred Pierce, and Mad Men made this an amazing year of TV for me. My heart is pounding in anticipation for my movie goddess Kate Winslet and her nomination for best actress in Mildred Pierce. If she wins, she’s only one Tony Award away from EGOT.  GO KATE GO. 

It’s a good weekend to be Lionsgate  Their newest release “The Hunger Games” is burning up the box office with thousands of sold-out screenings with ecstatic reviews from fans of the book series.  For a non 3D picture, “The Hunger Games” should do well for the production company.  Add to that, the AMC series “Mad Men” returns Sunday after an agonizing hiatus for it’s most devoted fans. Every year, “Mad Men” picks up fans as its following evangelizes the greatness of Don Draper.  I expect tomorrow’s premiere to be unusually profitable.
Dear Lionsgate, May the odds continue to be in your favor!

It’s a good weekend to be Lionsgate  Their newest release “The Hunger Games” is burning up the box office with thousands of sold-out screenings with ecstatic reviews from fans of the book series.  For a non 3D picture, “The Hunger Games” should do well for the production company.  Add to that, the AMC series “Mad Men” returns Sunday after an agonizing hiatus for it’s most devoted fans. Every year, “Mad Men” picks up fans as its following evangelizes the greatness of Don Draper.  I expect tomorrow’s premiere to be unusually profitable.

Dear Lionsgate, May the odds continue to be in your favor!

During commercial breaks for last night’s epic “Mad Men” premiere, my friend and I belted the catchy chorus to Megan Draper’s sexy birthday song “Zoo Be Zoo Be Zoo.”  Thankfully, NY Magazine’s Vulture blog uncovered the history and even lyrics to our new favorite song here.

"Zoo Be Zoo Be Zoo" Indeed!

Is Roger Sterling Corroding? Mad Men Season 5

"Mad Men" is back and within 2 hours made realize what had been missing from my life for the past 17 months. The 2-hour premiere quickly dispatched the laundry list of questions left by last season’s finale with new concerns, excitements, and higher stakes.  Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce is still finding its way back creatively and financially after losing Lucky Strike. The groovy, airy offices that caused so much excitement last season seem eerily sparse.  Less clients, less employees, less work.  I’m excited for what Matthew Weiner has in store for this season.  I’ll leave the deeper analysis to the always reliable and entertaining Slate TV Club, but there was one arc that captured my special attention.  

Has Roger Sterling (John Slattery) hit bottom?  The normally cool and oddly wise account operator struggles haplessly through every scene.  Without the biggest account to shield him, he does not even warrent a full time secretary. Roger seems lost; not making strides to sign new business he resorts to flirting with Pete Campbell’s secretary to poach his meetings.  His name may still be first on the letterhead, but inside the office he barely matters.

On top of his miserable work life, Roger’s personal relationships are mired in resentment, anger, and insolence. Roger and Jane trade insults and are so distracted by their mutual hatred they ruin Megan’s surprise party.  Roger digs his hole deeper giving an impromptu toast to Don that bares his insecurities and insults Megan.  And how about his reaction to Joan and little Kevin! Watching that scene just made me cringe. 

Roger’s descent points to what may be a prominent story line this year: how the civil rights movement will affect the office dynamics.  Roger, playing the ad man pranks of old, blithely suggests SCDP advertise themselves as an Equal Opportunity Employer.  To him, picket lines and protests are a joke.  His bad humor not only shakes Joan’s sense of security, but brings in a slew of Black applicants the company is neither financially or culturally prepared to hire. There is a line forming, dividing characters like Pete who don’t laugh at Black protesters being hit with water bombs and Roger who creates more problems for everyone by not taking civil rights seriously.  Roger is falling fast.  The only question is how far and who will he manage to drag down with him. 

"If I’m going to die, I want to die in Manhattan"  -Pete Campbell

One of the most shocking moments of the Season 5 opener of “Mad Men” for me was seeing Pete Campbell on a commuter train.  For the guy who wouldn’t leave New York during the Cuban Missile Crisis and who said Central Park was good enough for him to play in as a child; I’m concerned about the route the character has taken in the show’s absensce.  Why did Pete cave to suburban life?  I always thought living and working in Manhattan made his and Trudy’s marriage stronger than other unions on the show (no I’m not forgetting the German babysitter).  That last shot of Pete, gazing mournfully at his shadow on the train worries me.  Out of all the characters, Pete is the most sincere.  Now his honestly does not always lead to good results for others or himself, but his inability to lie or hide who he is has been fascinating to watch.  Will this new change in location breed others in his personality and family?  I can’t wait to find out. 

Reminder that you have a crappy office.

Reminder that you have a crappy office.

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