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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I've Got a Bad Feelin'...


Are the Boston Red Sox breaking bad? Was that just a terrible pun that doesn't even apply to the Red Sox current performance? Do I wish I could clear my history and remove that terrible opening line from my memory? Was that just an even more terrible pun that made the first one look mildly clever? Have I spent the better part of the last week scoping the nude pics that have leaked of Lindsay Lohan in her starring role in The Canyons? I've got the answers to all of those pun-believeable questions, and more. OK, not much more. But you should hit the jump, anyway. Because, ya know. I'm gonna link you to some bare breasted LiLo. Don't care if you've seen her naked before, either. You know you're down for seein' it again...

So have at it, friends. And there's no need to tread lightly, either...

The long awaited showdown has finally arrived...
I've been consistently critical of AMC's Breaking Bad ever since the show made it's debut post Mad Men in 2008. Mostly because I feel I expected more double-wide trailer fires from a show about producing Meth. But mostly because I've long felt the show was too much about "waiting for the pay off" than it was about actually giving the viewers a justifiable return on their investment. Too much blatant foreshadowing, too many scenes with characters that don't seem to be advancing the story, and too much of a cyclical nature that seems to prevent that show from really moving forward at any faster rate than a dramatic crawl. Which I've always found odd, given it's intentionally limited time frame...

That all being said, I'm really glad that I tuned in for the re-boot of the "final episodes" this past Sunday. I didn't think this was one of the greatest shows of all time?, eh Well, it looks like in an effort to tie up all loose ends in an 8 episode span, Vince Gilligan and friends have set out to prove me wrong. And if "Blood Money" was any indication of how they plan on doing, then i would have to say I really like their chances...

I'd put Breaking Bad ahead of The Wire, but still
well behind The Sopranos & Mad Men...
It's a risky proposition, trying to back load a show, as they've done. But where a show like LOST failed (mostly because they were just stringing people along), Breaking Bad could easily succeed because they've legitimately had an ending in sight for the majority of the series. Not to mention the fact that, as opposed to LOST, Breaking Bad doesn't inherently suck. Granted, I'm sure they writers and producers have tinkered with things as characters have developed and whatnot. But Walter White has a definite character arch, and it seems that after 4+ seasons of more or less treading water, fans of the show are finally going to get to see him self destruct in truly epic fashion. Not sure what that self destruction will ultimately lead to, but the fact that his fall from glory has finally begun is definitely incentive enough for me to see this thing through...

That's where I feel I'm in disagreement with the fans that want to put this show in the pantheon of Mad Men or The Sopranos. They talk about how Cranston's Walter White has slowly transformed into some maniacal drug lord and murderer right in front of our eyes, and how that transformation has made the show so great and so moving. While I contend that the Walter White we see in the final scene of "Blood Money" is more or less the same guy we saw jump his son's bully in the pilot. Only now he's operating under very different circumstances. Tony Soprano? Don Draper? They're sociopaths, too. Just like Mr. White. But I'm just of the opinion that their transformations and mood swings did more to move their shows forward, and dominate their respective show's action, than those of the chemistry teacher turned Meth kingpin. Maybe that's because both Don and Tony felt like more established characters when their respective series' began, and why their ebbs and flows had all the more impact. I'm not sure. But there's a noticeable difference in their character progressions, and it's in that where I find the key elements that make those the "better" shows...

It's nit-picking, I know. Breaking Bad has been a very good show that's provided me with a decent dose of entertainment, and the fact that I'm even comparing it to those great shows should serve as a testament to that belief. I just think that, unlike those "great" shows mentioned, all of the talk when it's finally over will be about these final set of episodes, rather than the brilliance of the series as a whole. Not necessarily a bad thing, given that these final crucial segments have yet to unfold. But not the hallmark of a truly great show. At least not in the mind of this nerd...

Bill Hader is typically useless, but the other 3, led by David,
are the ones who make Clear History go.

Quickly getting to the other review type commentary of the week, I highly recommend that everyone blessed with access to Home Box Office check out Larry David's latest, Clear History. Most importantly, it's Larry David at his "old Jewish lady in and old Jewish guy's body" best. Aimlessly floating around in a universe of one and constantly perplexed by the actions of those around him. It's also wonderfully cast, featuring a more subtle than you're used to Danny McBride (I like him better that way) and a bustier than you're used to Kate Hudson (never been a fan of hers, but she channels her inner Diane Lane in this one and it really works for me). It's also set in Martha's Vienyard and heavily features the band Chicago. Which works out great, because where better for an aimless wanderer to wander than a disconnected island filled exclusively of yokels and snobs. And because Chicago's songs fit so effortlessly as more or less the movie' score...
Is that Kate Upton or Kate Hudson? #schwing!

At the root of the story, we have David's "Nathan Flomm", who through a disagreement with his business partner, Jon Hamm's "Will Haney", is forced into hiding after selling his stock in a would be billion dollar company, and being made a laughingstock by the national media. And while it's not quiet as funny as I had hoped (I was thinking Office Space), it's right on par with one of the better episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Which I think we all can agree would make it prett-ay. prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay damn good...

It even has Curb regular, JB Smoove along with great character turns by Michael Keaton (village idiot, Joe Stumpo), Liev Schreiber (sketchy Chechen, Tibor) and Amy Ryan as Wendy the waitress. She looks hotter than usual, too. But that could be because you spend a chunk of the movie imagining her going down on most of the horn section of one of the 70s & 80s most popular bands. A few "Chicagoans", if you will...

Long review short. It's funny, so you should watch it. If for no other reason than it will give you a Larry David fix while Curb remains on hiatus...


Oh, and before I finish up with some actual sports. Here's the link to those Lindsay Lohan photos. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know I'm allegedly the only one that thinks she's hot, anymore. But that just makes the lot of you a bunch of lying Teds! Besides, apparently that Diane Lane look is goin' around. Because, unless I'm crazy, LiLo even seems to have it goin' on with those bedroom eyes in the picture above. OR maybe it's just that I have a thing for the now certified cougar-iffic, Ms. Diane Lane. Guess I'll have to look into that...immediately, via a Google image search...

Yep, I've got a thing for her. Whatever. Lindsay Lohan. Naked. If your browser allows, I suggest you have yourself a gander. Ladies, too. Because if not for you girls loving her early tween work, we as a society probably wouldn't be currently blessed with seeing her in all her untethered ginger glory. So, yeah. thanks for watching that Parent Trap remake. We owe ya one...

Now, moving on from the red box to the Red Sox. OH! What? It's not my fault that bad puns are more or less the theme of this post...

Mike Napoli has struck out in 37% of his at bats since the All Star break. A span
which has seen him only collect 8 extra base hits.
Promptly after my reluctant praising of Jake Peavy, he went out and got lit up by the Royals (5 IP 10 H 6 ER). Adding insult to injury, Drake Britton, whom I had also praised, played his own less than stellar roll in that 9-6 loss. Giving up just his 2nd and 3rd runs of his shortened season it only 2/3 of an inning of work. This all happened while the Sox were busy losing 3 of 4 to Kansas City, too. Words you never want to hear if you think you're team has a legitimate shot at a World Series. It's like your favorite football team losing to the Raiders, save maybe the fact that not as many of your fans were assaulted in the parking lot...

That's the bad news. That, and Mike Napoli's continued regression (Even Lindsay Lohan thinks he could use a hit or two. OH!). The good news? The Royals are the somehow the hottest team in baseball. So no shame in losing there. And thankfully, nobody in the AL East has taken advantage of the Sox recent .500 stretch. Though i can't say I'm all that encouraged by the Yankees scoring 14 runs last night. Yeah, yeah, yeah. The Yankees have been garbage for most of the season. But they've never fallen below .500, and still sit fewer than 10 games back. I'm not saying they're a threat. But I'm not saying they're done, either. Even though they probably are. But you didn't hear that from me...
Whitey Bulger and the Stanley Cup.
Guessing that's #1 Bruins fan,
Bill Simmons standing next to him...

Oh, and did I mention Mike Napoli's been so bad lately that people on Twitter were hoping the Red Sox would trade him for Whitey Bulger? Nah, they weren't. At least not that I saw. But, then again. I'm sure they probably were. Because Twittah, guy. And I think we all know that guy kids will say anything on Twittah, guy...kid...

No, but really. He's been terrible. And while he's not as important to the team's success as their front line pitchers. it certainly wouldn't suck to see him go on one of those patented tears come playoff time. Which would sound about right, wouldn't it? Harshly criticized for the bulk of the regular season only to be hailed a bearded hero in the playoffs? I know it sounds about right to me. Although Napoli might wanna be careful. Because there's always a good chance his bearded brother John Gomez tries to steal that crown with another spirited walk off homer...


Other than that, things are what they have been for the bulk of the Summer. They're fun to watch, but I won't believe they're good enough to win until they get more consistent front line pitching. We'll see if Jon Lester can take another step in that direction tonight (though I still think he'll never quite get back there), and obviously it wouldn't suck if Clay Buchholz decided to take the hyperloop back from the DL instead of apparently depending on the pony express. And that's not a shot at his alleged "fragility" either. Just, come on. Hurry the fuck up, man. OR tell us you're done for the year. It's the not knowing at this point that's killing me with that guy...

Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that Koji Uehara has been the best closer in the majors since taking over the job. Because that's obviously fantastic. So fantastic he's become automatic. Automatic to the point where we've all seen to missed how truly great he's been. So, you know. If you see him out in the streets, buy him some coffee. OR be borderline racist and offer him some sake. I'm sure he'd be pumped. OR offended. You know what? On second thought. If you happen to come across the Red Sox closer on the street and want to offer him something. Heed this advice. Tread lightly...


Have a good week, friends...

#BAGSMUMAN

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