Tuesday 27 March 2012

More Movies and TV Series

Lately I've been re-watching some of my favourites, such as "Four Brothers", and a couple of silly ones such as "Private Benjamin" and "Overboard", but these are making me think of movies I loved 100 times more, such as the original "Swept Away" (not the Madonna remake, but rather the original by Lena Vertmuller and starring Giancarlo Gianinni and Mariangela Melato). Aside from those, I have re-watched several other films numerous times, including:

1) The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (my vote for Best Film Ever Made)
2) Godfather I and II (they must be seen together, back to back)
Bad Timing (director Nick Roeg, stars Teresa Russell and Art Garfunkel and Harvey Keitel).
4) Inception
5) School of Rock
6) Red, White and Blue (that's 3 movies not 1)

I'm due for another viewing of The Wire, in my opinion the finest series ever made for television. As CBC TV interviewer George (Strombo) Stroumboulopoulos said, The Wire ruined TV for him: five seasons and one uninterrupted story. It pales even Godfather I+II. As the network loves to say in its ads, "It's not TV. It's HBO." I hope that viewers in other countries can see this work of art.

The same people who made The Wire made Treme, a radical departure from The Wire: it's about what happened to the folks of New Orleans after Katrina, Lots of jazz, some of the same actors from The Wire, very excellent show. These film-makers are Good. The only "problem" with such a series is that it needs to be seen in chronological order, with no episodes omitted. The Wire is perhaps the strongest argument that screenwriting talent has moved away from movies and into HBO. 

Perhaps it began with The Sopranos. Other HBO series followed, lots of them! But there is something singular about The Wire and Breaking Bad. Both are quite simply Awesome!

The people behind The Wire date to Homicide, Life on the Streets, another terrific series, one of the finest ever made for commercial television. Given the environment of commercial TV, they had to pull punches, and so be it, but these creative people pushed on, and subsequently made series far superior to what they were allowed to create within the system. HBO gave them the outlet they needed.

I don't know a thing about who financed what, nor do I care. What I do know is that somehow, some way, The Wire and Treme and Breaking Bad made it through the system. And I would guess that the kudos belong to the producers of same. I don't have the slightest clue how they managed to get these works of art through the system, but I am glad that they did.

Perhaps this could not have been done without Steve Bochco, who led the way with "Hill Street Blues" and then later, "NYPD Blue". While we're on it, let me kneel and acknowledge Denis Franz, who was offered the finest role on TV and who stepped up to the plate and delivered Sipowitz as a character that shall live with me forever, like Raskalnikov. Salute to you, Guru Denis! You deserve a seat beside Sir Alex Guiness at the table of Greatest Actors!

What I found especially interesting in your trajectory, Denis,are the two roles you played in "Hill Street". That's when I concluded that I was in the tele-presence of a Great Actor. I've tracked you ever since then, not like a stalker, but simply as an admirer of a genius at work.

Maybe someday I'll get to meet you, Denis, and repeat all this face to face. I admire your work immensely, and when I see how nice you are on talk-shows, it only reinforces what a great actor you are!

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