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Boardwalk Empire (PICS)

Boardwalk Empire

by Amelia G : September 19th, 2010

I’ve been watching a lot of TCM lately. In particular, the gangster movies from the 1930’s really resonate with me. In a way, the world is such a different place now, and, in a way, so many of the issues are so very current. Those movies took on themes of people with good work ethics and limited opportunities, as well as issues of gender roles, personal responsibility, defining right versus wrong, and how a society can reabsorb men who have been to war and killed people for their country.

I believe we are in a depression now. My mother was an economist for the United States government for many years and, when I asked her what the difference between a depression and a recession is, she told me, without even having to think about it, that it depends on whether your party is in office or not.

I have another definition of the difference between a depression and a recession. They say porn is recession-proof. Everyone I know who does any business in the adult arena says revenues there are down. Way down.

So, in addition to TCM, I’ve also been watching the Boardwalk Empire previews and ubiquitous Los Angeles billboards for some time with great impatience. Everything about the show looked like it was going to be awesome. HBO got Martin “Goodfellas” Scorsese to do a long form cable drama about Prohibition in Atlantic City. Boardwalk Empire was apparently created by Sopranos writer/producer Terence Winter.

Blue Blood Boardwalk Empire Cabaret Dancers

Boardwalk Empire stars Steve Buscemi as the Treasurer of Atlantic City when Prohibition goes into effect. The pilot kicks off with him addressing a temperance group and then telling his driver, a Princeton drop-out back from war, played by a fine-looking Michael “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Pitt, that the first rule of politics is to never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Looks like Michael K. Williams, who played Omar on The Wire, is going to be in this too.

I saw Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt act amazingly together before in the thought-provoking movie Delirious, about a good-looking homeless teen, a lonely paparazzi photographer, and a trapped teen pop diva. I think Delirious would have been a bigger film, if it had just had a name which was not so forgettable. I thought it was really good and I just had to look up what it was called. But I digress.

Boardwalk Empire so far is a ridiculously good story. I keep wondering about its historical accuracy and there are so many fascinating little tidbits, of the sort I’d usually go check if I saw them in a TCM movie, but I don’t want to spoil any suspense on a series I will definitely be watching all of. I just know to take it all with a grain of salt because of that opening disclaimer about the truth and a good story.

I had unattainably high hopes for this series and, so far, it has absolutely met them. If someone were to tailor-make a series perfect for my viewing pleasure, Boardwalk Empire has it all. It is intelligent, witty, tidily plotted, beautifully shot with sets designed with entertaining and inspired attention to detail, flawlessly acted and directed, and features characters ranging from iconoclastic criminals to flashy club girls to artists, all in great outfits, including the best in mobster chic. All this one is missing for my needs is a vampire.

Blue Blood

Treme Hubig’s New Orleans Pie

Treme Hubig’s New Orleans Pie

by Amelia G : April 12th, 2010

treme  hubigs pie new orleans hbo david simonI love long form cable dramas and The Wire is my favorite of all time. So I’ve been looking forward to HBO’s Treme for quite some time. Treme is a brand new show created by David Simon and Eric Overmyer. David Simon created The Wire and Eric Overmyer wrote a couple episodes. Both of them did some work on it and on Homicide: Life on the Street. Eric Overmyer has also done buckets of work on Law & Order. David Simon is also responsible for Generation Kill, starring bad boy 3000-year-old vampire Alexander Skarsgård. (Okay, I’m a fan of the True Blood long form cable drama as well; like that’s a surprise.)

The first episode of Treme did not disappoint. The show is named after a particularly musically important historic neighborhood in New Orleans and the first episode featured appearances by Elvis Costello and New Orleans native Kermit Ruffins, both playing themselves. I’d probably enjoy the show more if New Orleans music resonated with me more, but the general musical lifestyle does resonate, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in New Orleans, I like the food, and I feel like post-Katrina resilience and during-Katrina failures are really important for the USA to examine as a nation. The folks behind this show are not ones to shy away from difficult or important issues. If Treme is anything like The Wire, and I expect it will be, the show will probably demonstrate a full spectrum of viewpoints on problems and solutions. Just one episode in, they’ve already jumped in with both feet on the issues of corruption on government contracts, the economic peculiarities of New Orleans, and . . .

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