Friday, May 08, 2015
MAD MEN is my favorite show of all-time having beat out the Sopranos years ago. Unlike other shows that I liked for a while, Dexter, The Shield, and Damages, the show has moved forward rather than re-hash old tropes. Sometimes Weiner will even setup old tropes only to change course and surprise you. In the age where the protagonist is an anti-hero in all of the better shows, Don Draper fits the bill without ever killing anyone. The character is written well, but you have to credit John Hamm for bringing an intensity to the role that makes it special. Hamm is a versitle actor than can do comedy and drama, but he's not really terribly interesting unless he is playing a derivative of Don Draper. His cameo in Bridesmaid could have been played by a dozen actors. His role in The Town is forgettable. He shines in an episode of the UK show, BLACK MIRROR, because he plays a version of Draper.
Mad Men must account among it's inspirations THE MAN IN THE GREY FLANNEL SUIT. It's about a war veteran living a double life and trying to reconcile both while appearing to be a bland commuter. It's a great book and a decent movie with Gregory Peck. Peck is great in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and ROMAN HOLIDAY. I don't think Hamm would have been above average in either, but Gregory Peck was genius in both. But what Hamm does with Draper is far more interesting than what Peck did in flannel suit. Like all actors Hamm wants to avoid being typcast, but it will be tricky because he is superior at that one thing and average at everything else. I don't see a future for him in leading film roles. He probably needs a LOST type ensemble show where even as the main character he isn't the linchpin for success.
Thursday, May 07, 2015
His movies are interesting. It's only the technical problems that make some of them tough to watch. Here is Entertainment Weekly's take: There are some videos including a Dick Cavett interview clip.
The three things to take away from this interview:
1. Welles walks onto the set of a talk show in the 1970s and immediately begins deconstructing the foundation of the TV medium. Welles, tangentially existential: “I still think everything is live. I wish it were.”
2. Almost a quarter-century after making The Lady From Shanghai, Welles is still visibly upset about the music in the mirror scene.
3. Welles on Harry Cohn: “I liked him. He was a monster. But they all were.”
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
This is an interesting interview with an odds maker at Ladbrokes about the British Election tomorrow. Not only are Americans forbidden to bet on elections here we cannot bet on American elections in England.
CB: How big is the betting on the U.S. election?
MS: The 2012 U.S. election compared very favorably to the U.K. general election. I expect £4 million or £5 million to be bet next year. 2008 was huge: The Clinton-Obama [primary] race was so unpredictable.
CB: Is 2016 already a big market?
MS: Not very much. A few people had some big bets on Hillary Clinton. I wouldn’t really expect this to take off until the primaries next year. Once Clinton confirmed she was running, she came in at an 11-to-10 favorite and stuck there. Democrats still are the marginal favorites for their nominee to win. As soon as each Republican candidate announces he or she is running, you see some bets on them. Chris Christie is a big price. I don’t understand why no one wants to back him. [Editor’s note: We do.]