In the first of a three-part series, I look back at The Wire and try to figure out why season five is the weakest entry of this brilliant series.
I first watched The Wire, David Simon’s seminal portrait of the city of Baltimore in five acts, a few years ago. I recently plowed through the series again, this time with the foreknowledge that its final season was generally regarded as its weakest. When I first watched the show, I remembered admiring the newsroom scenes, and especially the performance of Clark Johnson as the Sun’s city editor. So did my rewatch confirm or disconfirm the inferiority of season five?
In this article, originally written in conjunction with ScriptPhD.com, I pick my favorite eureka-bellowers of all time.
An astute cartoonist once observed that most so-called mad scientists are actually just mad engineers.
You can see the original comic here, but the gist is this: A mad scientist proclaims that he’s invented a death ray. A nameless troublemaker asks him if he’s testing any mad hypotheses with mad experiments and mad control groups. Good stuff. That comic served as the inspiration for this list, in which I assemble the best mad scientists from pop-culture who actually act like scientists. They conduct experiments. They record data. And they’re fucking bonkers.
Despite all its inherent challenges, it appears that a big-screen version of Stephen King's The Stand is still on its way. The latest news is that director Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) will direct one gigantic three-hour movie. Here's a look back at a piece of mine that originally appeared both on Geekscape and CC2K.
Before I offer my (totally preliminary) dream casting choices, let me also share my hopes for what the new film will be: I hope it’ll be The Lord of the Rings. Meaning, I hope that King’s sprawling struggle between good and evil will get the LOTR treatment in the form of three or four epic movies. It’s great material, and I think it’s worthy of that kind of production.
That said, let’s talk about the cast. I’m going to offer my first-string choices, as well as some backups if I think of any. And I am very open to suggestion and correction with any of these.
Everyone thinks that Harrison Ford is the only man who can play Indiana Jones. I respectfully disagree.
In response to some talk that Harrison Ford wants Indy killed off in the next installment, I thought I'd repeat my argument: Either pass on the torch to Shia LeBeouf and have him play the new Indiana Jones, or cast someone else in the role, James Bond-style. My pick? Nathan Fillion.
The networks axed Firefly and Mulholland Drive before they could find life. What might they have been like in the long run?
I’ve never seen the pilot to Twin Peaks.
Even though it’s one of my favorite shows ever, Twin Peaks is one of those programs I inhaled on video – VHS, of course, seeing as how they’ve yet to release its second season on DVD in the states. The only version of the pilot episode I’ve seen is a truncated version with a different ending that Lynch and company shot to make the pilot work as a movie, no doubt so they would have something to release in case ABC didn’t pick up the pilot. The Twin Peaks pilot-as-movie thingy works fine; it’s still much cooler than most movie thrillers out there. Furthermore, in Mulholland Drive, we got to see one of those rejected-TV-pilots-as-full-length-narrative onscreen without ever having seen the complete series to go with it, and like the abruptly ending non-pilot to Peaks, Mulholland Drive works fine as a movie, but I wonder what would have become of Robert Forster’s character, or the two guys in the Denny’s with the creepy homeless guy out back had Lynch been given a full TV series to work with. True, as a network series, we wouldn’t have received the mind-blowing lesbian sex scene, but just think how satisfying it would have been to go through, say, 30 or 32 episodes – well into the second season – before having Lynch reveal to us that the whole Nancy Drew/Hollywood starlet sequence was a pipe dream of Naomi Watts’ pissed-off lesbian character. Then we would have had the rest of season two to sort through that narrative wreckage before the season two finale, which would no doubt feature the second appearance of the Cowboy to deal with Justin Theroux, who by the end of the second season would be quite ready to fire his leading lady. And then in season three, would Lynch shuffle his deck of characters again? What would have happened?
I love Julie Taymor. I don't always love her movies.
Watching her lavish new adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest brought me back to a lot of things -- my adoration of the play, my impatience with the play, my early days writing for CC2K. I also found myself reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of film versus theater and how they challenge filmmakers who try to usher Shakespeare's plays onto the screen.
I also found myself contemplating the role of special effects in moviemaking and how computer-generated effects still have the capacity to fail so utterly. I hate to shine so harsh a light on the special effects in a Shakespeare movie, but The Tempest is packed with some jaw-droppingly bad ones. They got in the way, when they should have helped the movie soar.
When I was a kid, I told my mom one day that I was going to walk to Hollywood. I wasn’t angry or running away – I just didn’t know how far away it was, and in my young mind, I thought I could walk there and be back by dinner. I was wrong.
Think of me what you will, but I’ve wanted to live in L.A. for most of my conscious life, and looking back, four movies stood out as having sounded the siren's call from the City of Angels. I submit them for your approval.
CC2K's Tony Lazlo imagines how George Lucas' Star Wars prequel trilogy could have rocked. When I left the theater after seeing Attack of the Clones, I was already pissed off and devastated. I felt this way because the movie sucked, and even if the then-untitled third episode was a perfect, sloppy, wet blowjob of a success, two-thirds of the new…
Orange is the New Black is like a pirate broadcast from a happier, matriarchal universe where women dominate the airwaves, and we just happened to get one of their prison dramas. Season two wasn't perfect, and that’s OK. This show doesn’t need a handicap. It’s not the kind of show where we have to wave away great swaths of imperfection…
It’s time to talk about Black Mirror. Charlie Booker’s remarkable and disturbing—remarkably disturbing?—new show just dropped its third season on Netflix, and as with its first two outings, the reaction from across the critical spectrum is about the same: this show is messed up, but it’s one of the greatest shows of all time. But there are some dissenting voices…
In this article, originally written in conjunction with ScriptPhD.com, I pick my favorite eureka-bellowers of all time. An astute cartoonist once observed that most so-called mad scientists are actually just mad engineers. You can see the original comic here, but the gist is this: A mad scientist proclaims that he’s invented a death ray. A nameless troublemaker asks him if…
Bob here. I met Andi Cumbo-Floyd through Twitter, where she holds weekly discussion with other writers. She's one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I've interacted with, and her writing reflects that. Besides her ongoing pursuit of creative nonfiction, Andi is also a teacher and editor. She recently launched a new online community for writers, and she maintains an artistic…
One of the myriad pleasures of the classic TV series Twin Peaks is sensing the artistic tug-of-war between showrunners David Lynch and Mark Frost. By now it’s received wisdom that Frost—an alum of more traditional story-driven shows like Hill Street Blues—was a necessary correction for Lynch, the dreamy abstractionist.
In competing narrative voices (mostly first with a dash of third), author Mayer ably explores the turbulent headspace of Quinn, a teenager with a condition known as congenital analgesia—he can't feel pain.