TV postsTuesday October 28, 2008
This season, following the disaster of Medellin, in which, in fat suit and moustaches, Vinnie Chase played (or overplayed) Colombian druglord Pablo Escobar, our movie star's career is in free-fall. He's out of money. He can't get a lead. He's resorted to sweet 16s and modeling gigs to make ends meet. He considered, for a time, starring in a “Benji” movie, then had to fight his ass off to get a supporting role in Smoke Jumpers, a movie about firefighters, when everyone knows movies about firefighters never do well at the box office.
My quick-and-easy prediction? No matter how well Smoke Jumpers does at the box office, Vinnie is nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor — as creator/producer Mark Wahlberg was for The Departed. Then we get all that hoopla. That's my hope anyway. As soon as Walhberg was nom'ed, I hoped they would translate it into the “Entourage” world.
Question: Did Mark Wahlberg ever have a Medellin? Doesn't seem so. Some of his movies may have underperformed, and he's taken hits (OK, pings) from critics (myself included) who thought he didn't bring much to good-guy lead roles, but he's never had a gigantic bomb that prevented him from getting leads. Or so it seems from the outside.
We've come a long way, baby
A thought on the first season of “Mad Men,” the AMC show about a boutique advertising firm in New York in the early 1960s.
The show draws you in with whispers of handsome men and curvy women having martinis and cigarettes and uncomplicated sex in a time before feminism, and then delivers such reprehensible men and such sad, unsexy sex (Don't do it...don't do it...NO!) that you wind up longing for feminism to come along and finally right the effin’ ship. It’s the opposite of what it advertises. In this way it’s closer to art than product.
“The Wire”: An Appreciation
Does anyone else find it ironic that the day after HBO's The Wire came down, Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York became entangled in a prostitution ring scandal because of a wiretap on his cellphone? Apparently Mr. Spitzer didn't watch the show; apparently he's not as smart as Stringer Bell.
I met the Governor a few years ago. When he shook my hand, he didn't reach in so that it was palm to palm; instead his fingers and thumb grabbed my fingers and he shook those. In essence I couldn't shake his hand back, he could just shake mine. I felt oddly impotent. I don't know if all alpha males do this but it's effective. You should try it sometime.
The loss of The Wire is worse than the loss of Spitzer. I wrote an appreciation of the show yesterday for HuffPost. I urge everyone to watch it. It's more than a cop drama; it explains why the world is fucked up: why, in Bunk's language, shit is fucked. You thought it was just your office, your job, your boss? Watch the show. Keep watching for the characters but keep in mind who rises and falls and why; who's in trouble and who isn't and why. It really does explain the world.