Fox Searchlight has released the first trailer and poster for Antlers, a rural horror film directed by Scott Cooper (Black Mass) and produced by Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water).
Martin Scorsese and Netflix’s long-anticipated gangster film The Irishman has been given its first trailer and it’s a doozy.
Where do I even begin? There’s really no way to start an article like this, but here goes nothing. Thus far, Season 5 has, sans the fourth episode, proved itself to be the best of the entire series. It’s taken chances, it’s given Jesse the time to shine he’s always deserved, and it’s put Mike at the center of everything, something almost everyone wanted in Season 4. The introduction of new characters has been astoundingly well done, and the development of old characters (excluding Skyler because she’s just awful), has been just as perfect.
This leads to Episode 5 of Season 5, one of the most heart-pounding, nail-bitingly intense episodes of TV ever put to air. After another strange opening scene involving a small child on a quad putting a very large spider in a jar, the episode starts at 6th gear and doesn’t stop. By now, Mike, Walt, and Jesse have made a deal with Madrigal that ensures both their safety and as much methylamine as they’ll ever need. Their plan? To rob a train that passes through Albuquerque every so often. Of the many liquids contained on the train, one of them is their precious methylamine. How much? About 1000 gallons.
Enlisting the help of Pest Shop Boys employee Todd (Jesse Plemons, who is turning out to be a much more capable actor than I originally thought), whom we first saw in 503 “Hazard Pay”, the guys plan and pull off what is literally the perfect robbery. In one of the most daring and intense train robberies ever committed to film, “Breaking Bad” has solidified its status in the motion picture hall of fame with this one.
Meanwhile, Walt Jr. (who is once more calling himself Flynn), and little Holly are both staying with Hank and Marie. Jr. spends most of his time in his room, not talking to anyone. When he does talk to someone, though, it’s usually a short answer or a question about why he can’t stay in his own home. But a heartbreaking scene reveals an obviously stressed Walt pulling a little bit of Heisenberg on his kid in a way we’ve never seen before. Whereas Walt is usually very fair and explanatory with Junior, this time he pulls a “because I said so” and basically scares Junior out of the house.
Skyler theatrically announces that she’ll continue to launder Walt’s money and “be whatever partner you want me to be” as long as Junior and Holly don’t stay at the house. She feels that if anyone were to come and kill him or kill her, they shouldn’t be in the house to see that or become a part of the danger. While she actually makes a decent point, her approach is always so cocky and melodramatic that I can’t seem to take her seriously. Ever. She just…needs to go.
This is all fine and dandy, and ending the episode like that would have been perfectly satisfying. But it takes an extremely dark turn, even for a show like this. After successfully pulling off the robbery, the little kid from the first scene reveals himself to the group and waves at them. Stunned, Todd is the only one who waves back but suddenly he pulls out a gun, shoots, and kills the child. Now, if you’ve been following this season, you’ll know that Todd was developed excellently as a loyal addition to the group, and I thought the show would actually take a more Ocean’s 11 direction than anything, but nothing is ever as it seems with “Breaking Bad”.
Usually, I’m not a fan of when well-developed characters suddenly flash their dark side, but this one just seemed, in a strange way…natural. Jesse’s always been a fan of kids (he’s almost gotten himself killed over kids he didn’t even know), and Walt, a father himself, was surely appalled by what happened. But then there’s Todd. He’s a young guy with nothing to lose and we really don’t know his predicament when he enters the scene. Of course, that all changes when he reveals himself to be a ruthless killer. I’m interested if cooking meth will even be a major point of the show anymore, or will the manhunt to end all manhunts ensue, ending with Walt’s demise and Hank’s obvious reveal of the identity of Heisenberg.
I though the show was going in one direction, instead, it took a turn that I never saw coming, and I kind of love that.
Victory laps are usually reserved for the revered, the celebrated or the most popular. We are just going to have to settle for the best in this case. As Friday Night Lights made its final season debut on April 15th to tie for last place in the ratings, we must think whether they deserved such an awful way to end its run. DirecTV viewers have been done with the season for months, heck , this fifth season is already out on DVD right now. From a television executive standpoint, you have to wonder, why does this show, the little show that could, even bother? Well, it is the same reason why I was asked to do this article: Friday Night Lights was one of the best damn shows on television in the last decade.
I have been an avid watcher of this show when it first launched back in 2006 to mediocre ratings. I had seen the movie and thought it was worthwhile enough to give the show a shot. Obviously no Billy Bob but hey, life is not meant to be perfect. I remember the pre-launch of the show, and that it had garnered the best reviews, some even declaring the pilot to be one of the best ever made. Granted, critics and opinions do not mean much in the world today of bloggers, or just people who troll IMDB message boards (right boss?), but it was something that had to be seen and watched. I figured, if it is a show about football, it has got to be at least watchable right?
I remember the pilot being easily being unforgettable. It had several moments of intensity, sincerity, levity and just pure fun that pulled me into its grasp. Although it had the same principle plot of the movie, (powerhouse team becomes underdog after horrible injury with a twist), the episode was very well constructed and kept the pace original and fresh to make the idea seem less stale.
Now, I admit, I have a soft spot for dramas. Not only stuff like 24 or Boardwalk Empire or anything dealing with action and HBO, but I love The O.C. I get crapped on about it every once in a while, because let’s face it, it is not something someone would readily admit out loud. The reason I mention this was because for the most part (effin’ Oliver), the first season of the The O.C. was brilliant. They captured the dynamics of friendship, comedy, relationships so well that I wanted to hang with Seth Cohen, crush on Summer Roberts, and have awesome benefactors like Sandy and Kirsten Cohen. The humanity of people was prominent during the season, and the one thing I always noted was the dynamics of the parents relationship. Sandy and Kirsten acted like adults. They had their issues, ups and downs but they got through it because they did not have their heads up their asses. Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and Tami Taylor (Connie Britton) are that couple.
They keep the show, and everyone involved, as grounded as possible. I give the writers a lot of credit. They threw obstacles at them, but there was not an ex, or a ridiculous plot in order drive a wedge in between the two. It was bigger houses, money , jobs…things real couples argue about in life. They were not perfect, they had their flaws. But they were perfect for that show and for each other.
Watching the first season made me come to the conclusion that it was so good, it probably would not last more than two or three seasons. This came out around the same time that Arrested Development was still struggling to find audiences despite the perfection of that show. No one gave any hope to the critical darlings that kept people entertained, or at least those that watched it. They wanted the low-concept projects that the A.D.D generation did not have to think too much about. Which is fine, I am not here to preach about peoples’ television watching habits or their tastes. I am just happy that this show was able to last five seasons after going down to wire like the Dillon Panthers and the end of every game.
The characters drove this show, obviously being led by the Taylors (Chandler, Britton, and Aimee Teegarden) but as with any ensemble show, they are only as good as the surrounding parts. You had Jason Street (Scott Porter), Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki), Smash Williams (Gaius Charles), the Lyla and Buddy Garrity (Minka Kelly and Brad Leland), Kronner’s boy Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch), Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons – Paul), and even Grandma Saracen (Louanne Stephens) in the first season that clicked together.
As the seasons progressed, they added more characters such as Luke Cafferty (Matt Lauria – The Chicago Code), Vince Howard (Michael B. Jordan), Jess Merriweather (Jurnee Smollett), and Becky Sproles (Madison Burge) for the last two seasons but it was always the Taylors that took center stage.
They responded to situations in the most human way possible, whether to compromising, arguing, and not doing overly stupid things. They were the moral compass of the show and their impact showed through the last five years in the growth of everyone, even themselves.
The second season had its hiccups with a plot to build new viewership that was just unnecessary and stupid, but we still had the same base. They rebounded the next few seasons and still helped build a consistent and entertaining show to watch. It is interesting to think that people did not watch the show because it was about football. Or maybe, because it was not about football at all. This is a show about courage, compromise, family, and growing up. Football was just the backdrop. This could have been about basketball, baseball, badminton, whatever, it was just there to help get from point A to point B.
I truly believe that if you give this show a chance, you will walk away impressed and wanting more. There may not be explosions, Kiefer, vampires, or a mysterious island – and the concept may be boring to some, but it truly is one of the best shows on television. There is just something about hearing, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose”, that just makes me smile. Give it shot and it may make you smile too.
Images: NBC, Universal, DirecTV