I know some of you were planning to watch that new FX show JUSTIFIED – what did you think? I thought it was a good first episode, taking advantage of that good side of Timothy Olyphant that we enjoyed in A PERFECT GETAWAY and other things, the opposite of the one that was in HITMAN. The pilot was adapted from an Elmore Leonard story that I haven’t read, and the moronic neo-nazi villains are definitely very Leonard. So we’ll have to see how much of that flavor they can retain with their original stories. But they’re definitely off to a good start with Olyphant’s character, a marshal who’s tougher and smarter than everyone around him, and who gets sent back to Kentucky after his Old West mentality causes trouble in Tampa.
Favorite conversation: when he tells the Jamaican priest about going to a Peter Tosh concert (he wasn’t into it). Favorite scene (easy): when he not only steals the neo-nazi’s shotgun and puts him back in his car, but suddenly bangs his head against the horn.
The pilot reminded me of KAREN SISCO, a surprisingly good Elmore Leonard based show they had on ABC in 2003. Sure enough both are by the same director, Michael Dinner (Mad Magazine’s hilarious parody character of DEATH WISH director Michael Winner). I thought they could never replace Jennifer Lopez as that character from OUT OF SIGHT (still my favorite Leonard movie I think, although JACKIE BROWN is a contender), but after watching a few episodes Carla Gugino became the definitive Karen Sisco for me. It helped that they had Bill Duke as her boss and Robert Forster as her dad. And they did a good job of supplying the criminal-of-the-week characters with personality.
Every time Carla Gugino has another TV show I think “hey, maybe it’ll be a hit and they’ll finally release KAREN SISCO on DVD.” But it didn’t work for THRESHOLD and whatever other shows she was on that got cancelled. So now we’ll just have to hope this one hits big and causes a demand for other Elmore Leonard TV shows. Rights holders please note that Academy Award winner Kathryn Bigelow directed one episode. Let’s see that DVD.
And while I’m at it I never saw that MAXIMUM BOB show either. That was supposed to be pretty good, wasn’t it?
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.