Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jonathan Banks Learns About Menstruation

BREAKING BAD's Jonathan Banks made his acting debut in this film about menstruation, produced in 1974 when Banks must have been about 50.

You owe it to yourself to watch the entire thing.

You learn something new every day, don't you?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Why You Can't Kill Gustavo Fring

[NO SPOILERS about Sunday night's BREAKING BAD episode here. Just a SPOILER ABOUT LAST SEASON'S FINALE... which is probably only really a spoiler for people who are waiting to watch the entirety of Breaking Bad at a later date.]

Right. Are we all here, now?

I've been carrying a torch for this theory since the Season 4 finale. The show drives home the point that people can't kill Gus Fring because of his Chilean connections. During the flashback where we see his partner killed by the pool, while he is spared because his past connections. In the scene where a cartel sniper is killing off Gus's men and Gus walks out like The Terminator because he knows that they can't kill him. So when Walt kills Fring in last season's finale, I was wondering, "What are the repercussions of killing Gus Fring...?"

I was sure that Season 5 would dive into those Chilean connections. Thought it might even cold open with a Gus Fring flashback. And now, 7 episodes into an 8 episode abbreviated season, it's pretty clear we aren't going to Chile. We're dealing with the repercussions of killing Fring, sure, but his death hasn't triggered some Caravana de la Muerte to visit Albuquerque.

And, of course, now I've dug up this old Times interview with showrunner Vince Gilligan, from October 9, 2011:
As you mapped out Season 4, was this always the ending you were building toward: a conclusive showdown between Walt and Gus?

Yes, it was, and it was something my writers and I worked on pretty much the whole season, knowing that at the end of the year, one of them would have to go. The town wasn’t big enough for the both of them, as it were. In the best sense of the movie “Highlander,” there could be only one.

And yet the show this season started to flesh out Gus’s back story, though it didn’t do so completely. Are there threads you might come back to later, or was that a deliberate choice to leave some things about him ambiguous?

Right on both counts. We may come back to it in the future. As I told Giancarlo Esposito, and I told him a few months ahead of time what we were planning for the end of the season, I was very apologetic that we were going to lose his character. But I also hastened to point out that even though characters may die on “Breaking Bad,” they don’t necessarily rest in peace. In other words, we flash back in time quite often on this show, and we revisit old characters who have already met their demise. And because of that, who knows? We may well see Gustavo Fring again in the future.

But as to the second point, we talked a long time, my writers and I, about what exactly was Gus’s back story? How bad a dude did he have to have been, back in Chile, for the cartel to spare him, even though they were very insulted by his actions? And we went back and forth, we talked about Pinochet and his government, what did he do back there, precisely? And we borrowed a bit from “Pulp Fiction,” I suppose. Because in “Pulp Fiction,” Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta are carrying around a briefcase, for the entire movie, that the contents of which are only hinted at. At one point, you see a glow emanating from inside the briefcase, but you never do find out for sure what it’s in it. And I always liked that, as a viewer. To me, the audience’s imagination as to who Gus was in his past life is potentially more interesting than any concrete answer we could give them.

Given that Walt and Jesse know even less about Gus, and don’t know why he was so important that the cartel could not kill him, could their assassination of him come back to haunt them?

That’s a good question. We will be getting into that when the writers’ room reopens in November. But I can think of one gentleman who may have a problem with it, who’s a bit closer to home, who is Mike, played by Jonathan Banks. [laughs heartily] Mike may have a problem with what transpired, and I wouldn’t want Mike mad at me, I can tell you that.
More at the link.

Sooo... I can see how we might not get to Gus's backstory. Though there are now 9 episodes left of the series. One next Sunday, 8 more next year (if I manage to live to see them), and Gilligan — when asked about the potential for a feature film after the series ends — is insistent that he wants to exhaust as many story opportunities as possible in that allotment. So perhaps... Chilean Death Squads next summer?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mayostard Inside Joke

Hey look, I made some GIFs for when I have to go to work again.

Best part of work is leaving at the end of the day, amirite?!

That and you know... getting a paycheck.


There's this old MR. SHOW sketch about competing brands of mustard-and-mayonnaise spread (like Goober peanut butter and jelly in a jar), featuring alternating commercials where the gag is essentially that we must be freed from the tyranny of the Separate-Mustard-and-Mayonnaise-Industrial-Complex:

One commercial, clearly patterned after the iconic Apple 1984 commercial, features a machine-gun-toting Abraham Lincoln -- decked in mustard and mayonnaise colors -- bursting through a door and exclaiming, "LET'S GET THE HELL OUTTA HERE!"

Referring to this sketch, Work Friend X and I would use "Mayostard" as short-hand for "Let's get the hell out of here!" (Even though, technically, the brand being advertised in this particular commercial is "Mustardayonnaise".)

For good measure, here's the final commercial in the running gag -- the prestige, if you will:

Enjoy your weekend, lurking horrors. Let's be careful out there.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mr. White Hates Brock

I've really fallen off on updating this thing regularly, haven't I? I've been busy/preoccupied. But it's also my computer that's gotten downright lethargic in its old age. A fucking Vista machine that's running on 6 years. Can't afford to upgrade until I make a big sale and Hollywood has been taking its own sweet time.

Point being, the computer's gotten bogged down and it can be cumbersome to update this thing sometimes.

Onto my latest thoughts on BREAKING BAD with possible mild *SPOILERS*...

There's some debate over how unsympathetic Walter White has grown over the course of the series. Vince Gilligan openly talks about his idea for the show, from the start, being the story of this mild-mannered man's evolution into Scarface. And that's certainly been the trajectory.

I think, however, it's gotten a lot more difficult to *root* for Mr. White by the start of Season 5. Six episodes into the season and he's become a different animal. Leading up to this season, we've had many scenes of a man trying to survive in a desperate situation. A man who's been given a death sentence by the Universe, who's trying to provide for a family that's falling apart. We continually see him backed into a corner by all sorts of circumstances. By the end of Season 4, he's defeated one of his greatest nemeses. Season 5 begins and suddenly Walter is playing the manipulative kingpin in every single scene.

And yet, I can't stop rooting for the guy. From a writer's perspective, it's clear that this story isn't going to end happily ever after. But on a human level, I see this as the story of a man who failed to achieve something when he was younger. A level of career success he fully expected to achieve. When we meet him at the beginning of the series, he's a man who has come to accept a reduced lot in life. Who has lowered his expectations. He could have owned part of a multi-billion dollar company and instead... he's a high school science teacher who has to supplement his income by working at a car wash.

Then he starts cooking meth. At first, just as a desperate measure to earn enough quick money to pay for his medical bills and provide for his family after his death. But as his journey progresses, he discovers that the expertise he brings to this underground business gives him a unique advantage. Suddenly, he's starting to get all the things that he lost with his former career: money, power, respect. And yes, it's gone to his head. And I think there's a way he could have played it wherein HE COULD HAVE HAD IT ALL. But I still have sympathy for the man. And I still hope we get to revisit some of his humanity before the inevitably bitter end he reaches.

Two more episodes before the show takes a year-long break. Really, really, really hoping there's some sense of season-end closure at the 8th episode, even though it's technically just the midpoint of the "final 16 episodes". A year's a long time to wait for a sense of closure.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tony Scott Has a Posse

Anthony David "Tony" Scott
June 21, 1944 – August 19, 2012

Tony Scott has a posse.

He directed TOP GUN and TRUE ROMANCE and other films.

He was one of the first directors to pass on a script I wrote last year; to be fair, fucking everyone ultimately passed on it.

This one's a suicide. I want to know about the note he left. Night fell fast on Tony Scott.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mr. Game Show 2012

Mitt Romney reminds me of this boardgame from the 80s called MR. GAME SHOW, which featured this crude animatronic automaton of a game show host grotesque:

While we're here...

What Does Paul Ryan Know About Foreign Policy?

How Paul Ryan Will Screw You

Paul Ryan Attacks His Own Budget

Romney Wants to Kill Sesame Street

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pee Wee's Bourne Adventure

They stole the one thing he loved more than anything in the world.

He'll do whatever it takes to get it back.

Man gets his bike stolen. Finds it for sale on Craigslist.

What's a man to do?


((Apologies for the half-assed Photoshop job.))

Intense action below:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Hello, Readers Who Are Getting Used to Not Checking This Blog So Frequently.

I just wasted too much time trying to upload a GIF to my "All Night Arcade" tumblr... and failing because tumblr gets peculiar when you have too many colors in a GIF or something.


The WEEDS episode "Allosaurus Crush Castle" ends with this track by alt-J called "Fitzpleasure":

The song, to the best of my knowledge, is inspired by the character of Tralala from the great book "LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN".

Jennifer Jason Leigh, who plays Nancy Botwin's sister in WEEDS, played the character of Tralala in the 1989 film adaptation of "LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN".


Thursday, August 09, 2012

Honey Boo Boo of the Apocalypse

Just when you thought it was safe to respect America...


Between this and SMALL TOWN SECURITY, reality television is turning into a phantasmagoria of trailer park grotesques.

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Worst Show on Television

The savvy executives at AMC must have looked at their lineup and had this discussion:

We've got the new season of BREAKING BAD coming up.

A lot of critics agree it's the best show on television.

What should we schedule after it...?

Stay with me here... what if we follow it up with THE WORST SHOW EVER MADE? And we'll stick an extra preview for the next episode of BREAKING BAD in the middle of it, so those die-hard BREAKING BAD fans will be forced to check it out?

Done. Now send in the hookers.

It's difficult to say that AMC's SMALL TOWN SECURITY is the worst ever, but I'd hazard to say it's one of the worst shows ever. Certainly the worst show I force myself to watch.

It's half an hour long, they stick an extra teaser for the next episode of BREAKING BAD in the middle of it, but so far I've watched each episode through. It is a depressingly bleak reality show that seems to think it's funny and quirky... when it's simply depressingly bleak.

It's filled with characters that are somehow worse than backwater rube stereotypes. They're revolting grotesques. Fat and slow-moving, rejoicing in scatological humor. In one scene, the bloated matriarch "Chief" asks her underling to fix her a snack consisting of peanut butter mixed with Cool Whip which she proceeds to eat out of a mug. In the latest episode, the entire crew nearly (literally) wet themselves laughing at a prank they've devised to fool an old man into thinking he'd just urinated his pants. (They look so unhealthy, they honestly look like they're dying as they laugh.) In the same episode, some time is devoted to the the Chief's husband describing how he keeps a "shit stick" in the bathroom to help him break up his large shits.

It's like watching a fucking Skeksis dinner.

The characters are uniquely unpleasant to look at. Half of them look like they're about to drop dead. For what they lack in looks, they lack even more in charm.

Pete Vonder Haar from the HOUSTON PRESS put it succinctly:
With Small Town Security, AMC seems to think it has something "quirky" and "off the wall." In reality (no pun intended), it feels like something the North Korean government broadcasts to sap its citizens' will to live.