I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Justified

elmoreleonardshowsI 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.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 at 9:48 pm and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

68 Responses to “Justified”

  1. It would have helped if Carla Gugino was attractive. She’s paper bag material in Sin City, too.

  2. caruso_stalker217

    March 17th, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Them’s fightin’ words, Mouth.

  3. To be fair Michael Winner is a famous restraunt critic as well as a director. Perhaps Mad was actually being clever (Then again maybe not).

  4. I’m with *217.

    Them’s there is fightin’ words.

  5. I thought Justified was pretty cool. Worth returning to at least.

  6. I liked the pilot. Olyphant’s character seems quite similar than in Deadwood.

  7. I know Olyphant’s been around forever, but I still barely know who the guy is. I finally saw DIE MORE HARDERER, and he was pretty weak as the villain. Thought he was gonna cry when his girlfriend bought it — which is, you know, understandable, but not very intimidating. I don’t think Hans Gruber would get all quiver-lipped over the loss of a mere human, or even of a sexy cyborg. (Did they ever explain why she was a terminator? Deleted scene, maybe?)

    What else has he been good in? Feel like I should give him a fair shake.

  8. frankbooth – if it weren’t for his role as a Sheriff with anger management issues in DEADWOOD he probably wouldn’t get the love that he does. So I’d say check out DEADWOOD.

  9. but he was also really good in GO and, as vern mentions, A PERFECT GETAWAY. also, from some things i have read on the interwebs, looks like THE CRAZIES re-make might actually be worth checking out.

    btw the mad magazine joke had me literally lolling.

    and me too, Mouth, i demand satisfaction!

  10. You know I like that we might be the only web sight who liked PERFECT GETAWAY.

  11. Highly recommend Deadwood, though yet to see the 3rd season, but for my money it’s been one of the best shows on TV.
    Had never heard of that Karen Cisco TV show, but sounds interesting. I was just watching Out Of Sight again last night co-incidentally, and can definitely see the the potential in that.
    I like the sound of Justified, but doubt it will screen in Oz.

  12. Sounds all good. Being in the UK I doubt very much we will get The Karen Cisco show (an FBI agent with her own talk show? Now that’s a winner!) but FX HD will give us “Justified” this year, at some point.
    Leave aside my cheap joke on Cisco and I must say that also sounds like it should have been a winner. Like SDAL above me, I just watched Out of Sight for the time in a long time and forgot how good it all was. Yes I also agree Vern, Jackie Brown was another great Elmore adaption and I would be torn between choosing the two. Oh OK…Jackie Brown. Simply because it meanders along at a casual pace and never bores you, letting us really get to know the characters. Forster is a real revelation in the role.
    Anyway, I digress. Olyphant was excellent in Go and was in easily the worst Die Hard film. He wasn’t a great villian but that’s hardly his fault. It was a kids film. I digress again.
    Fuck it. I look forward to Justified!

  13. Olyphant was the fake-friendly porn producer in THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, which he did very well. Pretty much the only good thing in the movie besides the endless teases of maybe getting to see whats-her-name in skimpy outfits which never happened like you hoped.

    Carla Gugino’s face is looking a little rough lately, true enough, but who looks at her face??

  14. I can confirm that Crazies was pretty good and Olyphant did a great job in that movie. It’s weird to see a guy like that in a modern day movie, where he seems tough but not indestructible, smart but not a supergenius, where you believe that he really would get the shit kicked out of him but also figure out a way to come out on top. There’s a scene in Crazies where he has his hand kinfed into the floor and he still manages to fuck up a couple zombies (or whatever they were) and you buy it 100%.

    I already wrote about loving this show in the Potpurri page, but it needs to be said how awesome it is. Loved that first scene with Peter Greene (why isn’t he in more stuff? Dude’s an awesome bad guy in everything) where they go from joking around to “I’m going to murder you” in one line and then back. Loved the shout out to the Getaway. Loved the speech by Raylan’s boss which essentially sets up that every week could be a completely different set up. Loved that crazy bastard who’s apparently on the Shield and here’s hoping they let him stick around. Loved how the wife character seemed almost proud of having shot her husband and got straight to flirting the next day. Loved how the other cops were hard cases to, not just dipshits and losers for Olyphant to look cool against.

    Loved that scene Vern mentions, but my personal favorite has to be that one where the two neo-Nazis see his pulled over car and try to figure out where he went, only to realize to late that he’s standing right next to their car and next thing you know he’s in the back seat holding a shot gun.

  15. *knifed

  16. Jareth Cutestory

    March 18th, 2010 at 6:34 am

    Olyphant starred in a recent Canadian movie called HIGH LIFE where he played a convincing stoner. I preferred his performance to Affleck’s stoner performance in EXTRACT. Not a bad little caper flick.

    SDAL: Season Three of DEADWOOD is as good as the other two. It was a remarkably consistent show. Like CARNIVALE, the individual episodes and seasons were complete in themselves, but seamlessly served a larger narrative.

  17. I saw JUSTIFIED and liked it. I liked Olyphant and the style of the show but I can’t entirely peg why I’m not 100% into it. There’s something that keeps me from loving it. Maybe it’s the lore that when his character pulls his weapon he kills and in 2010 with workplace violence and such it seems far fetched that he may have a track record of killing bad guys. Is it me or suddenly I’m PC? I mean I grew up watching Don Johnson on Miami Vice where every single episode he shot and killed at least one criminal (some episodes he killed several – boatloads actually) and now I’m critiquing the possibilty of this Marshal using excessive violence and having a track record of it. Wow. Anyhow, I’ll probably watch it a few more episodes to see how things go. It’s good, but something prevents it from grabbing me like some awesome shows do.

    It was a cool moment when the people in his new field office proved to be as formidible as Olyphant when there was gunplay.

    Oh, the best scene truly was when he and that guy from the SHIELD sat in the dining room eating fried chicken and discussing how one of them was about to be shot by the other. Very nice role reversal from the opening scene in which the Marshal had the upperhand.

  18. Back when I was in high school, I saw the Kathryn Bigelow episode of WILD PALMS, and it was by far the best part of that mini-series.

    Then when I was in college I saw the Kathryn Bigelow episodes of HOMICIDE, and they were great.

    But I missed the Kathryn Bigelow episode of KAREN SISCO, and have been regretting it ever since. So, yeah, I’m with Vern here. Get that damn thing on DVD. There were only like five episodes anyway, right?!?

  19. Brendan-I agree completely about The Crazies. One of the best horror remakes we’ve got in the last decade or so. I went back and watched the original after seeing the remake and I gotta say that even though the original has a great concept, its low budget and shoddy actors really don’t deliver a good film going experience.

    Kinda like Last House On the Left and Hills Have Eyes in that with better actors and a bigger budget they were able to take a scary concept and turn it into a scary(not that I get scared at movies, I’m a real badass) movie.

    I got this Justified recorded on my DVR, looks like I’ll need to be watching it if this is our TV conversation in between episodes of Lawman.

  20. I liked the JUSTIFIED pilot enough to check out the next few episodes. Obviously it has an excellent lead character, and I liked the potential love interest too, and the story was entertaining enough for generic crime show stuff.

    What I’m curious about in the upcoming episodes is what the format is going to shape into. The pilot didn’t really give me enough of a sense of what the “feel” of the show is, you know? Is it going to tell an ambitious, long-form story like a lot of hour-long dramas these days? Are individual episodes essentially going to be isolated stories, like a CSI or LAW AND ORDER or something, basically just a series of bad guys that Olyphant faces off with, or cases that he has to solve? Could it even be a formula show like BURN NOTICE or HOUSE or QUANTUM LEAP where each episode follows the same basic story beats and the enjoyment comes from its familiarity? I guess personally I’m hoping that it turns out to be a more ambitious show, but I wouldn’t mind formula if its done well.

    The other element that will make or break the show is the side characters. Right now we now that Olyphant is awesome, but there’s little sense of his coworkers. I hope they are fleshed out into worthwhile characters, and that it doesn’t end up like the first season of DEXTER where a very interesting protagonist/anti-hero is dragged down by an inane supporting cast.

    What does everyone else think?

  21. Jareth Cutestory

    March 18th, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Dan Prestwich: Which supporting characters on DEXTER are you referring to? Angel Batista? Harry? LaGuerta? The sister? Is it the acting or the characters that you object to?

    I don’t think the cast of DEXTER gels into a seamless whole the way the casts of SOPRANOS or DEADWOOD or CARNIVALE do, and I don’t get that feeling that DEXTER is a fully realized world, but I’m not sure I’d blame the cast for that.

  22. Dan, I completely agree with what you say and expressed. It’s why I liked but didn’t love the show. If they did not have Olyphant, however, I’d have not bothered to watch 2 minutes of it.

  23. Jareth,

    The characters and not the actors. I probably shouldn’t have said “cast” as it’s more the way the supporting characters were written.

    The show made great strides after the first season, but every non-Dexter subplot in season one was asinine. The characters were interesting only so far as they related to Dexter. I just could not give a shit about Deb’s love life, or Angel’s marital woes, of LaGuerta’s office politics, or any of that poorly handled soap opera nonsense on a show about a virtuous serial killer trying to track down another serial killer. I don’t know how to put it… it would be like if in DIE HARD they kept cutting away from the action to show us a subplot about the bitchy 911 operator having argument with her boyfriend.

    I thought the writers did a much better job of fleshing out the supporting cast, giving them more exciting subplots and tying their stories closer to Dexter in season 2 and 3. Haven’t seen season 4 yet.

  24. Nickmerill,

    Olyphant is definitely the draw so far. I’m hoping the show will widen its scope in the next few episodes and suggest a larger overarching narrative, but my suspicion from the first episode is that it’s going to be more of a HOMICIDE/NYPD BLUE kind of thing where a conflict is introduced in the opening and is resolved before the credits roll. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the show is going to need more than just a great protagonist to keep me tuning in. So that’s why I’m hoping the supporting cast turns out to be solid; I need a good ensemble cast if I’m going to follow a crime-of-the-week type show.

  25. Jareth Cutestory

    March 18th, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Fair enough, Dan. I’m not a big fan of DEXTER, and I largely blame the writing.

    I have to say, though, that I find Lauren Vélez, David Zayas and Erik King very watchable. And I like the guest star performances, Carradine and Smits in particular. I guess it’s like WEEDS: there’s no reason for most of the cast to have followed the principal characters when they changed locations, and the writing struggles to find things to do with them, but Nealon and Perkins are so watchable that I forgive the lame plot contrivances.

    I haven’t seen the Lithgow season of DEXTER yet. I hear it’s good, but I’m wary of it prominantly featuring yet another serial killer.

  26. I really like Olyphant – Seth Bullock, his character in Deadwood was, like Givens in Justified, a perpetually furious man.

    Absolutely brilliant. I like Elmore Leonard, too, but this felt a bit low key.

  27. And Solo, Karen Sisco was broadcast in the UK – usually at some bizarre time in the middel of teh night.

  28. One gripe I did want to bring up about JUSTIFIED, and I’m curious what others think, was the audio-/visual style of the show. From what I can tell by the pilot, it seems like the creators are going for a modern day western with some archetype deconstruction thrown in. So you’d think that there would be some sort of attempt to make the show LOOK like a western, maybe go for more long shots/sense of scope, frontier atmosphere, slow but methodical pacing, etc etc. Instead it had the same tightly framed, handheld, speedy editing of any other generic crime show. And to make matters worse, what was up with the indie rock bullshit on the soundtrack. It just did not seem appropriate at all to the characters or location. The score seemed appropriate, but the pop song at the end was way out of place.

    I’m not saying the show should look and feel totally old fashioned, but its definitely possible to mix old and new school styles in an effective way. I think both FOUR BROTHERS and the remake of ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 did a good job of infusing a western vibe with modern action/thriller conventions, and I’d like to see JUSTIFIED make more of an attempt at that.

    Jareth,

    Yeah, again, nothing against the actors, I just think the writers had no idea what to do with them in the first season. Seasons 2 and 3 did a much better job… and the recurring roles for Carradine and Smits were a big part of that, same with the actress who played Lila… I’d rather see Dexter interacting with eccentrics and weirdos than with the more stock group of characters in the supporting cast.

  29. I’ll admit that it was Walton Goggins that got me to watch this. Dude was great on The Shield and it looks like he is going to nail the “seems like a dipshit but is actually fearless and scary” vibe of the classic Elmore Leonard bad guy. Timothy Olyphant is cool, but I’m much more optimistic about the show because he’s got a good foil, at least for a little while.

  30. I’m with Jareth on DEXTER. I find the show compulsively watchable and I like almost everyone in the cast (Carradine was a joy to watch. Haven’t seen the Lithgow season yet. Jennifer Carpenter is basically acting cancer most of the time though.) If anything is asinine it’s definitely the writing. If you objectively state the main plots and sub plots of each season (again, haven’t seen season four) it’s on some ridiculous soap opera melodrama bullshit. These characters live lives that only a writer could come up with. And the themes are expressed by the protagonist waxing poetic in voiceover narration. The reason why the show works is the cast, and especially since Michael C. Hall appears to be some sort of genius. Also it’s put together in a pretty slick little format and doesn’t skimp on the violence so it feels very big screen. But on a character and story level Dexter is ridiculous.

  31. Jareth Cutestory

    March 18th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Gwai Lo: I think the “soap opera melodrama” that you describe is what almost made me give up on DEXTER. If not for the cast and the over-riding season-long story arc I probably wouldn’t bother.

    But man, we’ve had some good cable shows over the past decade. I’ll talk up CARNIVALE ’til I’m blue in the face, but even less spectacular stuff like JOHN FROM CINCINATTI is so superior to the crap I
    grew up with on television. And the best stuff, like DEADWOOD and THE SHOW THAT VERN MUST WATCH are better than most movies.

    Even silly stuff like DEAD LIKE ME is put together with such care and insight.

  32. Dan Prestwich – Strange you compare AOP13 remake and FOUR BROTHERS since, outside of Detroit I don’t see them as having much compatability. Maybe in that one tried to emulate the 1970s exploitation movies. And the other actually did it right.

    Singleton before he became a murderer on the road knew his exploitation movies. His has a pretty good cast, with a white lead that believably could have come from this impoverished ghetto and be “brothers” with some brothers. Hell even the guy playing the wannabe-rocket emo of the brood was well casted without sticking out like maybe it could have. See that’s the difference between Mark Whalberg and Ethan hawke. I don’t or can’t buy Ethan hawke* as a badass, like that goofy undeserving ending in the AOP13 remake did. Whalberg on the other hand, I buy him blowing someone’s head of with a shotgun at point blank range.

    Also Singleton carries those juicy rich thematic points from the 70s. The villain (forgot that great actor’s name) definately studied up Yaphey fucking Kotto in being simulatenously menacing and awesome. Without overdoing it, making you buy why these guys would take on the Detroit mafia to get revenge for “Ma.” I loved the guys using deductive sense and logic in figuring out who was responsible, instead of just mindless shooting and editing. Also enjoyed them making a snitch talk by threatening to leave his ass out in the freezing snow, or outsmarting a corrupt cop. Or for that matter that ridiculous climax which is so idiotic, yet I loved it.

    Sorry I came off as pissy, maybe I’m just mad that nobody at work knew it was my birthday today. :(

    *=Not that I’m bashing him. He can be quite awesome when used right. In the terrific DAYBREAKERS, he’s suited as the white collar pacifist vampire scientist trying to save the world (and his skin). and hell would Denzel have necessarily won the Oscar for TRAINING DAY as the monster well at ease in the urban jungle, without the great contrast in Hawke being woefully ill-equipped physically and mentally to deal with this shit. even after surviving TRAINING, its not like he pops out a smoke and quip some silly one-liner.

    Or for that matter, note too how out of place whalberg was as the private school teacher(?!?) in THE HAPPENING.

  33. I’ll be the first to admit that the subplots in Dexter can get pretty asinine (the most recent season has a romantic subplot between two supporting characters which is so interminable and pointless it has to be seen to be believed. You’ll know which one by the fifth time you throw an empty wisky bottle at the screen) and the writing is all over the place (its sometimes quite good, other times fairly amateurish).

    But, I eat that shit with a spoon, man. I don’t know that there’s a more consistently entertaining show on TV right now. The way each season has a long slow build to a screamingly tense head as everything sort of falls into place is masterful, and the acting and style of the show carry it handily past the occasional iffy writing and ever-present duex ex machina. If you’re looking for believable, it aint; but come on, there’s not really any way to write the premise realistically. I’ll happily accept something ridiculous if its this entertaining. I think the most recent season is the best since the first, and John Lithgow is everything you want him to be plus a little more naked than you probably want him.

  34. Mr. S – Dexter is a fantasy. A good guy serial killer? Not exactly realistic in any way.

    I agree with you on DEXTER, good and bad. And Lithgow brilliant, more as what a “real” serial killer would be. In contrast to the likeable “hero.”

  35. RRA,

    I’m not comparing the films so much on 70’s terms as modern, urban action movies that both draw heavily from westerns. And both do a good job of it, in my opinion. FB is a remake of a western, and AoP13 is a remake of a movie that modeled itself after westerns. Both borrow heavily from the genre in terms of their stories, but even more importantly both try to incorporate a western influence into their visual styles. Like I mentioned before, talking about JUSTIFIED (which I wish would take page from these movies), my recollection is that we’re treated to more of an expansive, open look in both films… less reliant on close-ups and fast cutting. In particular, both films do a good job of making the streets of Detroit look like the iconic frontier main streets where many a western shoot-out has taken place.

    Ha, sorry about the birthday thing. I tend to have to opposite problem myself… I’d be happy if everyone in my office just forgot my birthday, but ever year I have to suffer through a little celebration.

  36. Jareth Cutestory

    March 18th, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    RRA: Is that why the author of the books DEXTER is based on was pissed off, because the show depicts Dexter as “good”? I read somewhere that the author didn’t like the show.

  37. Jareth — Supposedly the books veer off pretty drastically after the first season, eventually delving into supernatural grounds (where Dex’s “Dark Passenger” is actually some kind of outside evil force). So um, maybe it’s better off not sticking too closely to the literary source.

    That having been said, every new season I wonder how the heck they’re going to keep this shit fresh. Dex meets ANOTHER serial killer? Jesus. Season 2 turned the formula around a little, but it seems like its got to be either Dex vs villain or World vs Dex. One theme I always thought might be worth exploring a litte deeper is to what extent Harry is actually responsible for Dex’s Dark Passenger. Sure, kid Dex was a troubled child but it’s his dad who decided that he was going to mold him into a serial killer for justice. Dex never killed anyone until Dad taught him to. And the more we learn about Harry, the more it becomes clear that he was a guy with plenty of demons of his own. Was he right that this was the only way for Dex to live, or did he leap at an opportunity to turn his kid into a vigilante for his own reasons? These are interesting questions which the show seldom seems to be interested in up till now. Plus, James Remars a badass, let’s get more of him in there.

  38. I liked that the short story it was based on was called “Fire in the Hole” and then we hear that same line right before the church is blown up. I assume that scene is included in the short story.

    I was nicely surprised by this first episode. We have a nice set up between good and evil. My favorite scene was when he was inside the house and the neo nazi shows up. I think my least favorite was with the Priest. I felt the Peter Tosh bit seemed a little forced and awkward. All told, I can’t wait for next week’s episode.

  39. Jareth Cutestory

    March 18th, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Mr. Subtlety: Thanks for the explanation. It almost sounds like the DEXTER books veer off into TWIN PEAKS territory. Probably it was smart for the makers of the show to avoid that route.

    I’m in favor of the idea you describe. The stuff with Dexter’s dad really works well on the show, and it also helps the show avoid the smell of stunt casting that has steadily crept into so many of these cable shows. If anything is going to kill this recent boom of shows, it’s going to be scripts that cater to some slumming A-lister or washed-up actor hamming it up for a few episodes.

  40. just picked up HIGH LIFE, i’ll usually give Olyphant a go, dude has potential, and sometimes it’s realised. but damn Kevin Smith for telling endless stories of Olyphantastic’s IRL douchebaggery. it’s really hard to like the guy knowing that’s how he acts on set.

    Also, B Willis didn’t approve of his half-assed villainy in DIE EXTRA HARDER. takes a lot to forget i heard shit like that.

  41. Dexter’s pretty good, but they all talk about “feelings” and shit too much on that show.

    Carla Gugino is still not hot. I double checked with the googlemonster. Paper bag, dudes. I’ll fight everybody.

  42. I am with Marlow I am going to check this out for Walton Goggins. The Shield is one of the greatest shows of all time and slept on by many. I am glad to hear that it sounds good.
    Dexter is extremely overrated. I know you have to suspend disbelief to get into this show because it is about a good hearted serial killer that works for the police department, but the writing and characterization is so broad and underdeveloped at times it borders on unwatchable. It features some of the laziest writing I have ever seen. However, to be fair the show has it’s good points (mainly anything that has to do directly with Dexter and a couple of great guest stints by Lithgow and Smits), but many of the side stories and supporting characters are like something out of a shitty soap opera. For the first couple seasons his sister was written as unbelievably naive and stupid. In the most resent season they felt the need to develop a boring and pointless romantic relationship Detective Batista and Lt. Laguerta. While that storyline is pointless filler at least it is not as ridiculous as the romantic relationship Detective Batista had in the previous season when he found love after trying to pick up a hot undercover cop pretending to be a prostitute. It is like they have 30 minutes of engaging material an episode and the rest is just stuff they had to throw in there to stretch it out to an hour long run time.

  43. The Face of Jewish Revenge

    March 18th, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Vern, how the fuck can you even compare “Out of Sight” to Tarantino’s masterpiece? It doesn’t even come close. Pam Grier can kick Jennifer Lopez fat ass any day and Steven Zhan is no Chris Tucker either. I would put OOS in the category of “interesting but not so great” Leonard adaptations like the first “3:10 To Yuma” (the second one with Russell Crow was horrible), Martin Ritt’s “Hombre”, Abel Ferrara’s “Cat Chaser” or Paul Schrader’s “Touch”. For my money “Mister Majestyk” and “Get Shorty” are both better takes on Leonard’s world than OOS. The only one who comes close to the Tarantino level of quality is Boetticher’s “The Tall T”. There is also a Jim McBride’s TV adaptation of “Pronto” which I haven’t seen. Did anybody see that? Is it any good?

  44. Jareth Cutestory

    March 18th, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Charles: DEXTER benefits if you compare it to similar but less engaging shows like that vampire show with the girl from FLY AWAY HOME. That one really got on my nerves after two episodes.

    The Face of Jewish Revenge: Are you saying that you don’t think OUT OF SIGHT is as faithful an adaptation of Leonard’s work than the other films you mention, or do you not like OUT OF SIGHT on its own terms? I know some Leonard fans don’t like directors to monkey around with his work, and Soderbergh definitely puts his own stamp on it. I know a guy who thinks that Owen Wilson’s THE BIG BOUNCE is better than OUT OF SIGHT because they “got the tone” right in Wilson’s film.

    I’d give JACKIE BROWN the slight edge in terms of performances, but I think OUT OF SIGHT is masterfully constructed. Frankly, I think Tarantino is half the director Soderbergh is.

    Also, have you seen GET SHORTY recently? It’s fun, but not especially engaging. And a bit dated. Travolta kind of coasts through it in a pleasant enough manner, but it’s not what you’d call engaging.

  45. Haven’t seen DEADWOOD yet. I did see GO, and liked it, but I don’t really remember his performance. He makes Sarah Polley take her shirt off to see if she’s wearing a wire, right? That’s always a good thing. I guess he’s okay.

    OOS, JB and GS are all masterpieces compared to the Leonard adaptations made in the ’70s and ’80s. They really didn’t get him at all in those days.

    JB is a strange case. I always though Tarantino’s early films had a very Leonardish feel, particularly the dialogue, but also the way some plot development out of the blue would reroute where you thought the story was headed. When I heard he was doing an adaptation of RUM PUNCH, it seemed like a perfect fit. But the first time I saw JB, I thought it was all wrong in terms of tone. Slow, melancholy and wordy as opposed to punchy and breezy. Even though he left out an entire subplot about a neo-Nazi arms dealer, the film felt twice as long as the book. It was Leonard as blaxpoitation directed by a moody Russian.

    But now I like it for what it is (like DUNE or HULK, except it’s not a feverish mess — it’s just different from the source material) and agree with the growing contingent who call it QT’s best film. Or his most mature, anyway.

  46. i love both OOS and JB and watch them both about once a year. it’s very hard for me to say which one i like better. and even though soderberg and tarantino definitely both put their directorial imprint on their respective films, i think it’s telling that michael keaton is in both movies playing the same character; both movies seem to take place in similar universes. but The Face of Jewish Revenge i must take exception to your comments about steve zahn. while i love chris tucker in his one (masterfully written, directed, and performed) scene in JB, zahn just totally KILLS it in JB. he nails the clueless but somehow lovable stoner chracter and makes him hilarious but at the same time sometimes strangely touching. best performance ever by an always watchable actor.

  47. oops, should say zahn totally kills it in OOS…

  48. Have to give props to Get Shorty for Dennis Farina as Ray Bones.

    ‘They say the fuckin’ smog’s the fuckin’ reason you have such beautiful fuckin’ sunsets.’

    Also ‘Goddam FIAT of guns’

  49. Like every one else I’d say yeah, Deadwood is Timothy’s crown jewel.

    Carla in Sin City isn’t hot? I must have ‘bated 11 times to some other version then.

  50. I have to pick Jackie Brown over Out of Sight. Jackie Brown, to me, is a real movie, while Out of Sight is more like an entertaining TV show. In spite of the good performances, there’s something weirdly fluffy and inconsequential about it. And Soderberg’s direction, while smart, also strikes me as cold blooded. (It’s like an academic set out to simulate a Tarantino film). I’m guessing a lot of people actually prefer that kind of thing – that gentlemanly removed quality – but it always gives me a slight feeling of sensory deprivation.

  51. Also, I think what happened to Jackie Brown when it was released (a vocal contingent of mouthy nerds calling the movie horrible and whatnot) is probably not much different from what happened on a larger level with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Both movies are essentially meditations on aging disguised as genre films, which is probably not something that young portly nerds trying to cultivate message-boardy smart-ass personas naturally gravitate to. (I’m fully expecting Kick Ass to receive a collective rim job from the internet).

  52. Did anyone read the short story “Fire in the Hole” that was the basis for this episode? I thought it was kind of amazing that (from what I recall) it was adapted almost scene-for-scene, word-for-word in some parts, from the short story. I think the prologue part in Florida (and the introduction of Givens back to Kentucky) was added, but everything else was there from the text.

    Though SPOILER in the short story I think it was implied that Boyd (the Walt Goggins character) was killed at the end. But that was such a good performance of the character that I’m glad they didn’t get rid of him after one episode. /SPOILER But since they already covered the entire events of the original story in one episode, I’m curious to see if the rest of the season measures up to that premiere.

    I hope the show takes off, it seems to have generated a lot of interest based on Olyphant’s involvement (even my mom, who thought Deadwood was too violent and crude, was asking me about Justified, because she really likes Olyphant.)

  53. And without calling anyone’s heterosexual credentials into question… Carla Gugino is smokin’ hot.

  54. Mouth seems gay.

  55. Admit it everyone.

  56. Jareth Cutestory

    March 19th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    WS: Soderbergh is often described as a bit cold or aloof, and I tend to agree with that observation. But I think in both OUT OF SIGHT and THE LIMEY he demonstrates such skill with dramatic tension, and such narrative focus, that I’m willing to forgive the slight lack in the character department.

    I think that JACKIE BROWN really could have benefitted from Soderbergh’s focus and OUT OF SIGHT could have benefitted from Tarantino’s character work.

  57. Mr Subtlety

    Yeah I thought that’s where they were going to go with Harry and Dexter in that last season – they’ve been revealing more and more how Harry was not the white knight Dexter and Deb thought he was, I thought they might show how he basically turned Dex into a killer by forcing this role upon an innocent kid

    I guess they still have that option – the reason he’s a caring sociopath is that he isn’t actually a sociopath…

    Agreed on the soapiness but I have to say Lithgow in that last season just killed- I dunno if you could describe what he does as Vern’s idea of mega-acting but it’s goddamn full-on

  58. Also you know what, Timothy Olyphant and Billy Bob Thornton seem to be morphing into the same guy; I just watched that movie Eagle Eye and there’s a frightening similarity

  59. This was the best pilot I’ve seen in forever. So happy that there is a show like this on now.
    The thing that really put it over the top for me was the way they introduced the awesomeness of his Marshall team. The car/gun fight kicks off and they tell Tim to be on his way, they can handle it – and you youngest whips out a sniper rifle “Kill ’em or wing ’em?” – “Oh, lets start by winging ’em…” And he does! So good.

  60. Finally got around to watching the pilot and ended up loving it (Plot-wise, it reminded me a little of Walter Hill’s “Extreme Prejudice” and a little of John Frankenheimer’s “Dead Bang”). Having never seen Deadwood, I was surprised at how good Olyphant can be.

    And the writing was intelligent and clever, but in a nice not-showing-off kind of way. Good show.

  61. (Just to elaborate on the writing: what I mean is that it doesn’t have that kind of swaggering, “LOOK AT ME! I’M THE NEXT DAVID MAMET!” feel that a lot of post-Pulp Fiction writing has, which I appreciate.)

  62. Another badass episode tonight. This one seemed to lean more on the “funny criminals” sort of story, definitely more comedic then last week’s. It was still awesome, filled with cool characters and interesting scenarios.

    Loved the scenes where he talked with the main guy and how friendly and conversational their back-and-forths were. There have been thousands of those scenes in movies and TV shows over the years, and they are always a great set-up for awesome tension.

  63. I actually found the 2nd episode weak and found the characters lacking and unsustainable. Great shows grab you immediately. I liked the 1st episode but felt it was missing a key ingrediant to being a great show or a show I “have” to see. The ingrediant was explained above. I tuned in for the 2nd show and think it’s dropping in quality/characterization already.

  64. 2nd episode was definitely good enough to keep me on board for a few more. Looks like the show is going for a “crime of the week” format with any larger, overarching narrative only moving forward minimally in a given episode… which I’m cool with, so long as they mix it up enough to keep it from going stale.

    If nothing else, this show has the most purely enjoyable dialogue of any show I’m currently following.

  65. Carla Gugino is mine.

  66. I once convinced someone that ryan seacrest was the badguy in dh4.

  67. Shit. You guys weren’t kidding about this one. Finally caught the first episode and that was some of the best television I’ve seen in a while. This could turn out to be the ROCKFORD FILES for our times.

  68. Ijust came across this since I just watched the show. Love the show. Although what’s with RRA calling John Singleton a murderer? Dude was never even charged and didn’t hit and run, he stayed on the scene. Sounds like a genuine accident. Also, RRA used the word “casted” which only retards use. It’s “CAST.”

Leave a Reply





XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>