Sunday, August 25, 2013

Breaking Down: Breaking Bad Season Five, Episode Eleven

"Confessions" brings us one intense ride into the depths of Heisenberg’s hell. Walt blackmails Hank and Jesse knows. JESSE KNOWS. 

We know Walt. WE KNOW.
Stan Earnest: Speechless.

Craig Scholes: I think Landry is going to have to get his hands dirty again.

SE: I know he didn't tell the Uncles of Anarchy the whole story. He kind of left out that one little detail at the end.

CS: Uncles of Anarchy...LOVE IT!

SE: I stole that from the good folks over at the Breaking Good podcast. 

CS: If you are going to steal Uncles of Anarchy from Breaking Good, I’m going to steal Skysenberg from Talking Bad

SE: The guys at Bald Move should get some serious dibs anyhow. They just jam out with their clams out every week.

CS: I once had deer oysters, but that isn't the same thing.

SE: I can't even put odds on what happens next week. We already have Jesse completely flipped. This is insane. You know what? Fuck it. I'm just going to wax poetic right off the top. This episode is titled "Confessions," and wouldn't it be fitting that Walter's confession is just another scheme, Heisenberg at his best, manipulating every person along the way. He flipped Junior like a burnt pancake. Speaking of breakfast food, why did Walt even try to manipulate Flynn? He could have just started cooking pancakes and bacon. 

CS: Heisenberg is a master schemer.

SE: Along with Walt's "confession," we get a Marie confession, a Saul confession, and, of course, Hank confessing to Jesse.

CS: Actually, Walt had two confessions.

And I killed Jane and poisoned Brock and ate Jesse's soul.
SE: Did you have any thought at all that the Walt confession was an actual confession? I love how Breaking Bad is always fucking with me, just when I have the slight twinge that the show is going to go normal and we get a real Walt confession, nope, still a bad ass show.

CS: Oh yeah, should have known better.  This show is the master of the “okie dokie.”

SE: I'm still floored that Jesse has found out this early on, so how many episodes does Jesse have to live now? One? Two?

CS: Jesse ain't dying. He's too street crafty.

SE: I love that we do these chats while Low Winter Sun is playing. How the hell do they think that show even comes close to anything else they have? Hell, I'd rather watch that Small Town Security show. Well, at least Low Winter Sun provides comedic relief.

CS: I immediately switch to The Newsroom.

SE: Am I the only one that actually had sympathy for Walt when Jesse called him out? Walt is dead inside. He can't feel anything Jesse is telling him, but he still has this weird father/son thing going on. He had Jesse there for a few hours. Saul flipped like a little bitch on Walt though. I think he needs to take a trip to Belize.

CS: No way Saul makes it out alive. And I can't feel bad for Walt, I just don't have any sympathy for that level of narcissistic sociopathy.  Though I guess he isn't a true sociopath since he does have some concern for his family. Though Tony Soprano did also. 

SE: Better Call Saul is going to definitely be a prequel.

CS: A prequel would be better than a sequel anyway.  The show couldn't have any innocence as a sequel.

SE: I loved when Walt told Jesse that he wishes he could trade positions with him. If Walt really thinks about that, he would realize he was saying that he wanted to be manipulated by himself, which--at this point--is what is happening. Walt is so far in he is convincing himself to bring everybody else into his personal hell firsthand, and Skysenberg is head-first. There is definitely some twisted form of masochism in that line because, really, the only person that can punish Walt is Walt, right? And that is essentially what he did with the Whitman book.

If you get this ecard from someone, call Saul.
CS: Thank god we haven't seen the scene of Skysenberg pegging Walt. Walt enjoys the thrill of being caught though--maybe not actually being caught--but just being ahead of everyone else in the cat and mouse game. I don't think there is any way Walt doesn't go down in a blaze of glory because he is just too stubborn to admit any wrongdoing

SE: Next week's episode description kills me: "An unusual strategy starts to bear fruit, while plans are set in motion that could change everything." This could be the description for every episode of Breaking Bad.

CS: Jesus.  Might as well just say. "Walt deceives his loved ones while he does bad shit."

"Things happen, but you won’t see it coming"


SE: Maybe we get a flash forward where the Dr. Pepper man finds a frozen .38 snub.

CS: How in the hell has Walt not used a little coin to arsenal up?

SE: Because he is so fucking bold that he thinks he doesn't need it.

CS: Oh, he needs it. He needs it bad. We really haven't gotten a taste of what Jesse will or won't do.

SE: I think the Mexican restaurant scene is definitely a sign of the times to come. They tried a little comedy and realized that no comedy can be had in this intense family affair. This is elephant shit hitting the fan.

CS: Quite the "Mexican standoff" in the Mexican restaurant.

SE: The future White residence wasn't burnt up right? So I figure we are going to get one hell of a standoff before Jesse can set the fire. I predict the .38 snub will get used and Skysenberg is going to help cleanup. That is too simple though, too simple for this show.

CS: There might have been some minor flame damage, but no, the place didn't get torched. I bet Hank catches him though with that tail.

SE: There are only five episodes left, and at this point, that seems like a LOT.

CS: Yeah, this is going to be just an absurd level of one-upsmanship.

SE: I know I'm going to end up scouring the internet looking at theories, I hope I don't come across anything the level of that info I had on the first episode where I saw everything coming.

CS: I don't get how you can do that.  I just want to bite down on a leather strap and take what Breaking Bad gives me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Six Word Movie Reviews: Part Two

Old Man Duggan is soon to be out of the country for the next couple of weeks and left us in charge, so to honor all hell breaking loose (and the return of misused ellipsis in our Breaking Down posts) Craig and I are releasing another round of six word movie reviews. Saddle up, honkeys.

Dead Man Walking: total bullshit, not one single zombie

Behind the Candelabra: gayer than cum on a mustache

What About Bob?: Who gives a fuck about Bob?

Hoffa: Guess what? They don't find him.

The Big Lebowski: dude, you got the wrong Lebowski

Leaving Las Vegas: drinking, drinking, titties, drinking, drinking, drinking

Drive: Dude gets murdered with a hammer

Dumb and Dumber: John Denver is full of shit

There's Something About Mary: you'll never zip again without looking

The Raid: most bad ass movie ever...  EVER!

Vanilla Sky: you won't see the end coming

Mallrats: kid is back on the escalator

Man on the Moon: Jim Carrey shoulda won an Oscar

Sideways: magnificent shot of flapping man jibbles

Sling Blade: retarded serial killer on the loose

Home Alone: mouse trap: the full house version

American Beauty: it's just a fucking plastic bag

Snatch: last one alive gets the diamond

The Game: it really is just a game.

American Psycho: I've got movies to be returned
Battleship: I’d let Rihanna sink my battleship 

Spiderman 3: emo spiderman can go fuck himself

The Break Up: Aniston has a magnificent turd cutter

Justin Bieber’s Never Say Never: I’ll go ahead and say never

Basic Instinct: you will wear out pause button

Glengarry Glen Ross: Glengarry Glen Danzig would be better

Pretty Woman: Watch out for gold digging prostitutes

Cabin in the Woods: there’s a cabin in the woods

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil: honestly, those guys are totally innocent

Killer Joe: suck on that chicken wing baby

The Man Who Wasn’t There: he is actually there all movie

Bullet to the Head: the title could not be truer

What Dreams May Come: disappointment, thought it was a porno
Goodfellas: that helicopter is really following you.

The Godfather: it's too fucking long, fell asleep

My Left Foot: big deal, elephants paint with trunks

Field of Dreams: if you build it…ghost invasion!

The Godfather Part II: woke up in middle of it

Big: She fucked a 13 year old

A League of Their Own: there’s no fucking crying in baseball

Cast Away: should have just fucking hung himself

The Godfather Part III: How long is this fucking movie?

Follow Craig Scholes @anaveragegatsby and Stan Earnest @StanEarnest

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Breaking Down: Breaking Bad Season Five, Episode Ten

This week's episode entitled "Buried" includes Skyler standing by her man, another road trip, this time to bury a small sum of money, and Hank becoming frustrated with his lack of evidence he hasn't already tainted. Todd saves Lady Banjo Eyes, and the world is at peace, but only momentarily, as Hank versus Jesse is looking to be the best standoff since, well, Hank versus Walt the day before. The pacing is phenomenal.

Skysenberg's new scam: a tunnel to smuggle drugs into Belize
Stan Earnest: *69 episode! Call-backs out the wazoo.

Craig Scholes: Fucking cliffhanger!

SE: Good to see Skyler has gone full on Tammy Wynette on that ass.

CS:  Full blown Stockholm Syndrome.

SE: More like stockpile of money syndrome.


SE: And Bill Burr!

CS: If the Better Caul Saul show takes off, I hope Bill Burr is in it.

SE: Bill Burr is a lock for that show. Of all the things Walt does, by far the dumbest idea ever was to not immediately split that money up when Skyler showed it to him. Then what does he do? Buries it all in one location. This seriously might be the thing that bugs me the most ever on this show.

CS: Why in the hell didn't he rent a bobcat to dig the hole?

SE: Because we had to have the epic return of Walter of Arabia. I'd put that money in thirty different places, Mike-style (but of course not Pinkman-style).

CS: I think you mean Cousin Eddie style

SE: Yeah, son. Stand-By-Me-Jerry-O'Connell-as-a-fat-kid-hiding-pennies-under-the-porch style.

CS: It’s also unfortunate how the GPS is going to kill off the traditional treasure map.

SE: Totally, Walt could have had that shit tattooed on his back like the dude in the ridiculous Captain Morgan commercial.

CS: Or like the girl in Waterworld.

SE: What didn't this episode *69? Cancer is back; Saul being Saul; tighty-whiteys; getting baked in the desert; POV shot from an inanimate object; and Pinkman is in pure self-loathing mode again. What's new?

CS: I think you mean Tighty Walter Whiteys.

SE: All I know is, if the actors are method actors, I don't want to know what they do to prepare. I mean Aaron Paul's eye was sunken out of his head as he slouched in that chair at the cop shop like Sloth from Goonies.

CS: Speaking of those cops, they really needed to work on their Tango & Cash routine.
Probably the two worst actors so far in the show

SE: I'm sure glad that the actors of Breaking Bad don't take lessons from the over-actors in Low Winter Sun.

CS: I’m never gonna watch another second of that show.  Low Winter Sun should have hired Mr. Handlebars that was working one of the desks at the DEA with Hank.

SE: It is still bugging me that all that money is just sitting in one location. So was that a lotto ticket that Walter bought to put the numbers on it? Because it would take the show to new heights if he ended up winning with those numbers.

CS: That was a really clever idea too. I also thought it would be hilarious if they won on those numbers, and the show slowly translated into a typical family sit-com.

SE: I have to wax poetic for a second. So, in the first couple of seasons the viewer wasn't entitled yet to knowing how bad Walter was going to break; therefore, we saw his actions as a man put in a corner doing what he had to do given the situation. Then in Season 4, we know how bad Walt has become, so we get the slow reveal on the whole Brock situation. Now we know he is capable of anything. This show may really struggle with showing Walt's actions in the foreground again now that the audience in on the joke this time around.

CS: We also find out this whole time that Walter White has had a tasty tart Russian fuck toy Tony Soprano style.

SE: I think that is a good point with The Sopranos. The viewer is initially empathetic to Tony Soprano's vulnerability and then we realize he is a straight-up sociopath. The style of the show has to change after that. That said, this was a pretty amazing episode. For me, it was far better than the opener. Hank is sizing up his hand and realizes they are shit cards. If he bluffs, he will get called. That's a bad situation.

CS: Like Tony Soprano, Walter White is able to justify every action he has done, regardless of evil that action was.

SE: So how lucky is Lady Banjo Eyes? She enters situations dead to rights and comes out unscathed. They just leave her down there and voilĂ , Todd to the rescue!

CS: Lady Banjo Eyes is very cut throat, and I once worked with a girl that looked like her, it’s a little eerie actually. Also, Lady Banjo Eyes isn't very good at selecting shoes for desert clandestine shenanigans.

SE: Hey Craig, AM I UNDER ARREST? How many great comedic irony one-liners is this show going to produce?

CS: Hank isn't very good at strong-arming.  He either beats a perp's face in, or stumbles over his words getting nowhere.

SE: What do all the Skyler haters do now? She might be the biggest bad-ass in that household.

CS: That and she has hands big enough to palm a medicine ball.

SE: Perfect for Walt's giant goners. 

Heisenberg's preferred method of transportation
CS: Whenever I see Walt man up, I think of the South Park episode when Randy puts his balls in the microwave to make them the size of a hoppity hop.

SE: How fucking funny was it when Walt told Saul, "I'll send you to Belize."

CS: No way Saul even knows where Belize is.

SE: Then immediately we get Huell laying on a pile of cash with one of the funniest scenes ever in the show. Tell me Craig, would you have balls big enough to take some of that cash? Or maybe all of it?

CS: I'd definitely take some of that cash in that situation--maybe not much of it, perhaps only one bundle--but I wouldn't take it all because I'd be too paranoid--not fear of Walt, but what the fuck would you even do with five cubic yards of cash?

SE: You really want to know what I'd do with that cash? Because this is going to take an essay.

CS: Bet it all on a horse?

SE: And two chicks at the same time wouldn't even be on the list.

CS: You could buy like infinite red swingline staplers and jump-to-conclusion mats.

SE: I had a buddy that said if he won Powerball he would buy as many shares of his company’s stock and then sell them the next day hoping to create a stock crash for the company.

CS: I wouldn't mind doing that to a couple previous employers.

SE: The best way to put Hastings out of business would be to just donate to Pirate Bay to keep it going.

CS: You went there. Guess we can scratch them off the list as a sponsor. But, yeah, fuck them.

SE: Their stock trades next to RC Cola on the Trashdaq.

CS: You know what you could do with all that cash? Build your own Sandals resort!

SE: Oh man, a *69 to a previous Breaking Down write up during the ultimate *69 episode.

CS: People are gonna have to listen to my podcast to get all the "*69" references.  Also, loving the synergy right now.

SE: Anybody over 30 should get the *69 references. It sucked to prank call someone, and they *69ed back and got my father.

Let's take odds for next week: Hank finds evidence and renders it inadmissible (1:2), Marie tries to steal someone else's baby (3:1), Jesse flips (4:1).

CS: Shot of Walt in Underwear (3:1), Skylar freaks out about something (4:1), Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dipshit cops get something out of Jesse (5:1), Marie wears something purple (1:100). 

You won't be able to sleep for a week
SE: So Marie got raped while watching the one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater, right? And she just relives the trauma everyday by wearing purple eating Hank's cock.

CS: Has it been confirmed that it even works again?

SE: If not, you know Hank is pumping the Viagra.

CS: Or she is strapping it on for him.

SE: OK, I think we've gone places we shouldn't have gone. Let's end this.

CS: I thought we already did.


CS:  Honestly I didn't find that as funny as you did

SE: That's how good Bill Burr is. Anything following him is hilarious, even if it is an intense drama scene.

One last thing, so there is talk circling the interwebs about how Walt takes on the characteristics of characters he has killed: cutting off bread crust like Crazy 8, stonewalling Lydia at his place of business like Gus, ordering his drink “on the rocks” like Mike, etc. So do you give any credence to the flash-forward where Walt rearranges the bacon like Skyler? 

CS: It’s gonna be great when we get a flash-forward of Walt wearing a purple Adidas track suit on crutches, calling someone a bitch while ordering minerals on ebay and drinking a Walterbrew.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Breaking Down: Breaking Bad Season Five, Episode Nine

The Breaking Badocalypse is finally upon us. The opening episode of Season Five Point Deuce brings us a flash-forward to a decrepit future White residence, Jesse deciding to become charitable, and the best scene to happen in a garage since Rose McGowan got hung up in Scream.

Stan Earnest: Shomer Shabbos, bitches!

Craig Scholes: So of all the scenarios I had going through my head on how this would pick back up, an homage to Tom Petty's “Free Fallin’” music video is not how I saw it going down.

Twitter has just dialed Skynet, send in the drones.
SE: Thank God it's devoid of Johnny Depp. Johnny Depp is unfathomable. Best fucking ever in Fear and Loathing; sucks in everything else.

CS: Wait, Johnny Depp?

SE: Yeah, isn't he in the “Free Fallin’” video? No wait, that was something else.

CS: You're thinking of Pirates of the Caribbean.

SE: Pirates of the Crystal Ship.

CS: As long as it’s got a quirky character, Johnny Depp IS IN!

SE: Why are Skinny Pete and Badger talking about Star Trek? Shouldn't it be like Squidbillies or something?

CSSquidbillies returns tonight too!

SE: This show has totally jumped the shark: Crippy McFlynn is eating supper.

CS: Also, it sure didn't take Holly very long to become a better walker than Flynn.

SE: I love Walt "oh shit" moments. This episode is going exactly like I thought it would.

CS: Hey, they even got the homeless guy with the golden voice that is now doing mac and cheese commercials. Man this show has EVERYTHING! But, why wasn't Jesse yelling "CHARITY BITCHES!" when he was tossing fat stacks out his car window?

SE: I didn't think anybody could blow cash faster than Michael Jordan at a craps table.

The 21st item when Googling "Charity Bitches"
CS: Perhaps Jesse could just buy the Bobcats. Couldn't possibly be worse.

And now Hank knows that Walt knows that Hank knows. And now Walt knows that Hank knows that Walt knows that Hank knows.

SE: I don't get all the critical acclaim for this episode. It was a fantastic Breaking Bad, but it is just the beginning of all hell breaking loose.

CS: The last 5 minutes were fucking great though.

SE: I've never seen someone portray a panic attack quite as well as Dean Norris.

CS: I really thought Hank was gonna spontaneously combust during his panic attack car wreck thing.

SE: And for the record Lady Banjo Eyes is no match for super cunt Skyler.

CS: Lady Banjo Eyes is the least intimidating crime boss of all time.

SE: I think that title will be taken over by Flynn in a few months.

CS: I can't wait to see the scene of Flynn trying to shoot someone while holding both crutches.

SE: There was a great eureka moment on The Nerdist podcast where Chris Hardwick thought that Walt isn't necessarily concerned with "breaking bad" per se, but that--in everything he does--he just strives for significance. I think this is why so many people root for Walt, myself included. We all have an undying need for significance, and being drubbed by alpha males one's entire life is enough to make anyone burn down the State of New Mexico.

CS: That and his testicles have grown as many sizes since he started taking chemo as the Grinch's heart grow at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

SE: The great scenario this show has set up is that Walt is getting cocky because he thinks he is out and there isn't evidence on him, but he isn't out.

CS: Kind of a lose/lose scenario for Walt.

SE: Oh shit, the ghost of Gale Boetticher just showed up on Low Winter Sun. Looks liked I'm hooked now.
The flash-forward works again! Walt sees Heisenberg pasted on his house and part of him says, "You're goddamned right!" But then he has to think about the decay of everything else around him because of it.

CS: Hello Carol.

SE: That was intriguing, I wonder if she wasn't supposed to see him to alert the DEA, so we can set up the inevitable Scarface ending, a 3-way between the bad guys, the good guys, and the baddest guy.

CS: Carol was pulling the strings the whole time, she was just surprised he wasn't dead.

SE: We all know in real life Walt would have gotten all petty with Hank, "No one feeds my son shots of tequila by the pool but ME, MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"


SE: "And for the record Hank, you convinced me to cook meth. Remember that little drug bust we went on back in the day?"

CS: Yeah, I can't wait to see how this spirals out.

SE: What is your prediction going forward? I'm just trying to picture a scenario where everyone knows Walt is Heisenberg, but they can't find him.

CS: I think eventually Walt just disappears, then comes back with his heavy artillery.

SE: The next episode will be really telling as far as how fast this thing moves. I'm just going to say flat out that Jesse is going to spill the beans. And when Jesse spills the beans, Walt tells him everything. Everything: Brock, Jane, the ricin cigarette. 

CS: I didn't think it before, but now there is no way that Jesse doesn't die.

SE: I'd still say he is doing well after originally being killed in the first season's initial script.

CS: And it’s probably gonna be at the hands of Skinny Pete, when Jesse tells him that his "Star Track" script sucks.

SE:  Let's take odds for next week: Hank talks with Jesse (2/1), Lady Banjo Eyes threatens Skyler (1/2), Badger creates a homeless shelter using Jesse's money (8/1). This show has some real balls just saying to the viewer, "Look this shit is gonna unravel at epic levels, let's just give you a glimpse. Told you, but you have no clue how."

CS: Holly beats Flynn in a foot race (4/1), Hanks first batch of homebrew is shit (8/1), Food is eaten at a table (1/10), Lady Banjo Eyes burns down the car wash (20/1).

Yeah, I'll be honest I didn't love this episode, it was really slow, but it was probably necessary to set up the epic balls-to-the-wallness that is about to go down.

SE: Remember that it has taken about three episodes in the past for a season to really kick into high gear. It's a motherfucking chess game.

CS: They can't wait three episodes with only seven left.

SE: So who dies first? I'm going with a curve ball: Gomez.

CS: I wouldn't be shocked if Jesse commits suicide.

SE: Dear Vince Gilligan, if Bill Burr doesn't make one final appearance I will never forgive you.

CS: Bill Burr has really been the most unsung character on the show. We never pitched an M. Night Shyamalan ending.

SE: If it was an M. Night production the first episode would be the best, and it would just get worse and worse. For the most part, it has been the opposite of that.

CS: Yeah, and it would just turn out that the trees are running the meth business.

SE: Not gonna lie, zombie Mike Ehrmantraut would be bad ass.

CS: I can't wait for a Network of the Stars cross promotional campaign.

SE: Alright, time to flip this bitch up quick for anyone in dire rehashing need, tell the folks why they should listen to the Eureka podast Craig.

CS: You should listen to the Eureka Podcast, because just like these recaps, it’s me trying to derail a conversation about things. And like Breaking Bad, there is a lot of talk about drugs.

SE: Sold!

Follow Craig @anaveragegatsby and Stan @StanEarnest

Friday, August 9, 2013

Name that Prop: One Last Gear Up for Breaking Bad's Final Episodes

As if your not already geeked-out enough about the last eight episodes, I posed a question to Mr. Scholes about what Breaking Bad prop he would most enjoy and the following top-10-list post grew out of it. Check back late Sunday night for episode five point nine commentary. 

 Craig Scholes:

1. Garage Roof Pizza - Because I'm kinda hungry
2. Walts epic 10 foot long fly swatter - Because you know flies kinda suck.
3. Gale Karaoke Machine - Clearly this would be used to make me even more of the life of the party.
4. Gale's badass Coffee Maker - Just to have, I actually hate coffee.
5. Twaughthammer Stage Banner - Just to spice up my digs a bit.
6. Teddy Bear Eye - Clearly the show abandoned what ever the fuck it was for, so give it to me.
7. Erlenmeyer Flask - For all of my Erlenmeyering needs.
8. Tio Salamanca's Bell - Just so I can easily announce when I've entered a room. ring ring.
9. Mega UHaul Electro Magnet - Because MAGNETS BITCH!
10. Carwash air freshener - It's been raining like a mother fucker lately and I have tendency to leave my windows down, so my car smells like a wet dog right now.

Stan Earnest:

1. The Aztek – This is a no-brainer, running over drug dealers is fun.
2. Danny Trejo turtle head – When you want to really scare the fuck out of your guests.
3. Los Pollos Hermanos bucket of chicken- Because I bet that shit is delicious.
4. Beneke mug – This will set outside my house to be used as an ashtray for guests.
5. Hank Schrader DEA badge – I’m bald, so this could be used as a killer Halloween prop.
6. Vamonos Pest stage equipment carriers – To hide guitar equipment.
7. Gale inscribed Walt Whitman book – For some good toilet reading.
8. The storage unit money – I’d put this in the middle of my living room for about a day before I tried to spend it all.
9. Saul Goodman LWYRUP New Mexico license plate – Man cave wall hanging.
10. Jesse Pinkman’s Roomba – Maybe it could find all those guitar picks I’ve lost…YEAH, BITCH!!!

Follow Craig @anaveragegatsy and Stan @StanEarnest
Listen to Craig's Eureka Podcast here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Man on Film: Iron Man 3

Perhaps it was a blessing that the resounding opinions I had heard about Iron Man 3 were negative ones because I was not nearly as disappointed in the third film in the series as I had anticipated being. Hearing from everyone you know who saw a film that it sucked will do that. Of course, when I first found out that Shane Black had been brought in to write (credited with Drew Pearce) and direct this one, I was excited, so there was only so much tempering of expectations possible by way of negative chatter.

While Iron Man 3 was far from a perfect event flick, it actually achieved a better narrative balance than the previous two installments. It's easy to gloss over these points, but the first two Iron Man flicks sputtered toward their respective conclusions, and the villains were far from well-drawn. Their pacing was sorely lacking, and each narrative lacked a cohesion and direction that inhibited the ultimate success of each film. Iron Man 3 may have been somewhat lacking a bit in the huge action set pieces, but what was lacking in the area of genre-prescribed bombast was compensated for in pathos, snappy dialogue, and a more personally affective narrative. Tony Stark's struggles were at least as much internal and psychological as they were conflict put upon him by antagonists, and Black's entrant into the franchise deftly shifted back and forth between the two, maintaining strong pacing that walked the fine line between being deliberate enough to still tell a nuanced, personal story and moving along just quickly enough to not give cause to look at your watch.

Of the films in the series, this one gave Robert Downey, Jr. the most room to stretch out and exercise his deft acting chops. Tony Stark is run through an emotional gamut in this film, and we get to see Downey knock it all the fuck out of the park. The audience is also treated to a film in which Tony Stark is rarely actually in the suit as Iron Man, a problem for some but frankly those scenes are less compelling to me than if we are treated to Stark himself having to work through problems, at least in part because the Iron Man action scenes are so inorganic. Gwyneth Paltrow, Rebecca Hall, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, and especially Ben Kingsley are all serviceable at the very least, but Iron Man 3 is the Robert Downey, Jr. show, make no mistake of that. Thanks to Black's flair for writing magnetic but struggling action heroes, we get to see Tony Stark and Robert Downey, Jr. at their best in the series.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Prick Tunes: Breaking Bad Edition

August 11. August 11. August 11.

Today let's chronicle some of Breaking Bad's best songs to gear up for August 11. Here are two extraordinary songs from the show, plus a bonus: Weird Al's "Albuquerque" cut to basically every scene ever from Breaking Bad. I recommend watching all 12 minutes of glory, but if you haven't seen all the episodes up to this point, serious spoiler alert. You have been warned.

The first video is the official Alexander Ebert video for "Truth." This song aired during the Gale lab notes reveal at the beginning of season 4:

This song is the most fitting of any Breaking Bad song: Apollo Sunshine's "We Are Born When We Die." The imminent doom portrayed in these 2 minutes is immaculate:

I don't want to bombard IP with 10 of my favorites, so here were just a couple to whet your appetite. Honorable mention to Ana Tijoux's "1977" and Timber Timbre's "Magic Arrow." Finally, this magnificent Weird Al/Breaking Bad splice:

Friday, August 2, 2013

Prick Tunes: The National NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

Well, since it feels like I'll never actually get to see Tom Berninger's documentary about The National, Mistaken for Strangers, I guess I can quench my thirst for more material on my favorite band by just watching this Tiny Desk Concert on a loop. Lord knows I've listened to Trouble Will Find Me non-stop over the past couple months. Here's to hoping they add a non-festival show in Austin.

Man on Film: Red 2

It's weird being the youngest people in the theater by at least 20 years, but when TSLF and I went to Red 2 Friday afternoon, that was definitely the case. This was TSLF's choice, as she really enjoyed the first entrant in the series. That isn't to make like I was an unwilling participant. When I gave threw out the option of going to a movie when she got home from work, I did so under the unspoken assumption that, when I let her choose the movie, she'd choose Red 2.

Red 2 is a far cry from a groundbreaking film, but if you saw the first one and liked it, you're probably going to like this one as well. Bruce Willis miraculously isn't in mailing it in mode, something that has occurred with far too much frequency of late. Anthony Hopkins is surprisingly funny. Helen Mirren and especially John Malkovich are rock-solid. Neal McDonough takes to the role of the villain with the flair that anyone who's been paying attention for the past ten years or so has come to expect. Byung-Hun Lee, Mary-Louise Parker, and Catherine Zeta-Jones fill out the rest of the cast sufficiently, if not spectacularly.

Dean Parisot's direction is serviceable, the action sequences are well choreographed. The script, penned by Jon and Erich Hoeber--who also wrote the first one (and the forgettable Battleship)--strikes the right tone for the action-comedy genre. Of course, the film gets by on the audience's ingrained affection for the its stars, and the bulk of the audience isn't going to take the film back home with them, thinking about it for days afterwards, but this is a perfectly passable movie in the same vein as The Losers that you'll likely end up watching part of more than once while it's making its way around the premium movie channel rotation.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Breaking Down: Taking Odds on Season Five Point Two of Breaking Bad

We are back at it folks, gearing up for August 11. We have running commentary up on all previous episodes of Breaking Bad. In this preview you won't learn how to bet, but hopefully you will be amused.

Check back in shortly after each episode airs for further shenanigans. 

Craig Scholes: Full disclosure, this is going to go down whilst I listen to Kyle Kinane's Death of the Party album.

Stan Earnest: I'm so old. I grabbed a pad to write down what I need from the store, and by the time I got to the pad I forgot.

CS: So apparently the first item should be Depends.

SE: Walt burns New Mexico to the ground (4:1)

CS: ?

SE: 4 to 1 odds.

CS: I'll take the over. Is that how that works?

SE: Bet $1; win $4. Now that would be like: Over/under on people Walt kills in the last eight episodes: 18.

CS: $4. Now am I doing it right?

SE: No, you bet $1 and hope to win $4, or you bet $4 to win $1.

CS: I split then.

SE: Herding cats today folks.

So who makes it out alive:
Walt (5:1)
Hank (2:1)
Skyler (bets are off)

CS: Crippy McFlynn

SE: Crippy McFlynn (1/5). He's as good as dead. Can't outrun that M60.

CS: So basically it’s just pray and spray, and let's go sort the dead?

SE: Should be: how does Walt die: Cancer (150,000/1)

CS: Cut to a scene with Landry, Jesse, and Walt standing in a room together:

Jesse – “ That got out of hand.”
Walt – “Yeah, Landry killed a guy.”
Landry standing there holding a grenade
Walt – “Where did you get a grenade?”
Landry – “I DON'T KNOW!”

SE: Ghost of Gale splashes coffee on the grenade.

CS: I think Walt goes by suicide by cop on the brink of death with cancer.

SE: My favorite choice for an ending would be Walt just killing everyone and slips away to Tijuana whilst Hank slipped out alive and is hiding in a palm tree.

CS: I’m still sticking with a scenario where Walt joins witness protection and that’s how he becomes the dad in Malcolm in the Middle.

SE: Walt sniffs the blue...whatever the odds, I'm taking them. Then we learn Pinkman secretly bought the Aztek, and he comes rumbling in bowling over cartel members.

In all seriousness, it was pure fucking genius to show Walt alone and with a machine gun in the future. It might go down as one of the greatest flash-forwards of all-time.

CS: Oh, without a doubt Walt tries some crystal at some point.

SE: It’s like the show just says, "Sit back, buckle up. You know how this goes down."

CS: Hopefully off the back of a stripper.

SE: I'm thinking Pinkman teams up with Hank. It's gonna be weird. No one wants Pinkman to die, but I'm putting him at 2:1. Marie will probably escape with all the money and her red stapler. Scratch that. Purple stapler.

Walt's daughter. Hmm... I don't want to put odds on this.

CS: Somehow I always forget Walt has a daughter. Real cat's in the cradle situation that’s gonna turn out to be.

SE: It is going to be real strange when we find out that kid is Mike's.

Ricin gets used (∞:1)
Pinkman teams with Hank in some form (1:2)

CS: Walt does Ricin (all bets off)
Crippy McFlynn dies (20:1)
Crippy McFlynn takes over (50:1)
Jesse and Hank start a buddy cop show where Jesse is the loveable goof reclamation project (150:1)

Pinkman isn't going to die.

SE: We know Saul makes it out because there is serious talk of a spinoff involving him. Unless it is a prequel. Jar-Jar Binks is his first client. "Meesa didn't mean to use the ricin, Saul!"

CS: I’m just gonna ignore that Jar-Jar Binks bullshit because fuck that guy.

SE: So what happens in the episode on August 11? Does Hank immediately flip out?

CS: Oh no. Hank is going to play the long con. He may even go over there for a BBQ the next day all cool as fuck. He won't tell his wife. He is just gonna roll into work, "Oh hey guise, how wuz yer weekind... (closes blinds) OH YOU WON'T BELIEVE WHAT I FIGURED OUT!"

That cliffhanger definitely had a The Usual Suspects feel to it.

SE: So Hank is really Heisenberg?

Some serious shit has to go down in the first ep back because there is no true preview to it. Just close-ups of characters' faces all pissed off.

CS: I've read that the first episode doesn't disappoint.

SE: Is that from the same source that told us that Walt was going to choke out Skyler last episode?

CS: I never heard that rumor actually

SE: Someone apparently knows what happens because: 

CS: I don't even want to click on that. I can see the BB people leaking fake scripts to throw people off.

SE: Let's face it: this show is great, and we really have no clue where it is going other than Walt is going to blow some shit up.

CS: Walt wakes up, it’s all been a dream, and the last eight episodes or so is just him playing online bridge drinking tea.

SE: His calculator watch beeps. Checks the microwave. And a nice TV dinner is ready.

CS: But the real mind-bender will be that Crippy McFlynn isn't actually a Crippy.

SE: Jesus fucking Christ, the guy is that way in real life. Burn in hell Craig!

CS: We find out the producers took a night stick to his legs to convince the audience.

SE: Well folks, I think we have completely done nothing any justice today. What we do best!

Anything else to say?

CS: Listen to my podcast #bflerp

This is easily some of our worst work

SE: Now that is something you can bet your ass on.

Follow Craig on Twitter @anaveragegatsby
And Stan @cuntfacedzombie
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