James Wolcott certainly doesn't need to make any kind of consistent sense -- he's a professional columnist for Vanity Fair, after all, and can sneer at the likes of me, and probably you, too, with the utmost impunity. Still, it strikes me as weird when someone refers to Scorcese's Oscar win for an inferior gangster movie (inferior to Goodfellas, anyway, which Scorcese didn't win for) as "just and inspiriting", and then, a paragraph or so further on, that same someone waxes all truculent about the new NBC show THE BLACK DONNELLYS, because "I prefer hourlong dramas pivoting around smart men and women -- CSI, House, Law & Order: CI -- to watching borderline psychos lose their tempers and pound the oatmeal out of somebody or the latest baroque method of corpse disposal. I past the point of being interested in idiots who think with their fists."
What I get from this is that for Wolcott, or maybe someone like him, an hour of oatmeal pounding and/or corpse grinding just isn't enough. For sixty sweet short minutes at a time he'll tolerate those smarty pants egghead types on all them goddam ce-REE-brul shows, but if he's going to park himself in front of the tube for any longer than that, he needs him some ultraviolence. Fortunately he's got hisself a hook up; if there's anything Scorcese excels at supplying for hours and hours on end, it's "idiots who think with their fists".
Now, it seems to me that Scorcese's storytelling capacities in this regard peaked with GOODFELLAS and it's been a steep downhill slide into a pretty deep abyss from there, but it's nice to see that VF can still be sated by the relatively tepid thuggishness on display in THE DEPARTED.
Me, I can't watch BLACK DONNELLYS but it has nothing to do with my interest, or lack thereof, in mindless punch 'em ups. I mean, I liked the first few seasons of THE SOPRANOS as much as anyone, and am looking forward to next month's return of THE SHIELD more perhaps than many ones. It's just that nowadays, I really can't stay up that late for anything that doesn't feature indestructible cheerleaders or rogue cops who look like The Commish.
It's possible that Wolcott is just pissy at BLACK DONNELLYS because it has temporarily taken the place of a crappy Aaron Sorkin show Wolcott himself never skips an opportunity to take a dump on, but on the other hand, it could just be he had too much cough syrup this morning. I don't know. I generally only go to Wolcott's blog because it's my fastest route to Jim Kunstler's Clusterfuck Nation page, anyway.
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