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phew - just watched ep.1 of S5 and it promises to be some ride. Quite depressing really - though previous seasons were undeniably gritty and moving, the elements of the 'urban western' and gangster genres somehow rooted it in the world of conventional storytelling. Now, with the media angle added, and the city hijacked by political manouverings; there seems an inevitability about the outcome. It being 'the Wire'; I guess one knows it's not going to end well ...
"I knew Rawls was p*ssed; I didn't know how p*ssed." Landsman to McNulty
Just finished watching Season 5... extremely good... depressing... see Swapmeet if you have Seasons 1-3 to sell.
Just finished it myself; and I agree that it was both up to the standards of the previous seasons (some critics had said otherwise), and depressing. Apart from the subject matter, it was like finishing a really good book.
Not really interested in selling the previous seasons yet.
Trudat - don't know if you have bought S5 yet; but it's screening on TV from next Tuesday (19/5) on Ch. 9 (at 1 am - so technically Wednesday !)
Thanks for letting me know, I was just about to purchase; it's now available on itunes for $2.99 an episode. I won't bother now, shame its on so late, i might have to find a way to copy it, i recently threw out my VCR(D'oh!), is it possible to copy programs to hard drive from digital tv? Otherwise I guess I will just have to be a bit tired at work, The Wire takes precedence over work. How are you finding it? Look forward to having a chat about it once I have watched it. Ive just finished watching Season 1 of 'Homicide, Life on the Street' which is based on a book by David Simon. Its pretty good. Theres a character in it called Frank Pembleton, a headstrong, self righteous cop, a bit like a black McNulty!
$3 an episode sounds like a good deal, tho' download times would be a hassle. Do they have the prequels on I tunes ? Apparently there's one of Prop Joe and Omar as youngn's.
My dad's got a hard-drive recorder which can pre-program to record hours of tv - me; i've only got a set-top box at present. Of course, a lot of pc's are tv ready; though Telstra's copper network probably isn't !
'Homicide' was the best show on tv for a while, though I think it got tired near the end. Was Frank Pembleton the Baldwin brother ? Apart from the great Yaphet Kotto (almost unrecognisable from his 'Hogan's Heroes' days, who died late in the piece); you'll also undoubtedly clock some characters from 'the wire' - Pete Geherty (the judge), McNutty's ex, Clarke Peters (director of a no. of episodes, and starring in S5 as Gus Haines) and Frazer the coroner. Look out for 'Munch' in a cameo appearance in S5.
You whet my appetite for more Simon projects with the tip on 'Treme'. You probably already know that Wendell Pierce (an Orleans native) is to star in it, along with Khandi Alexander.
I've never really got into 'Oz', but I recently caught Lance Reddick and Dom Lombardozzi in a couple of repeat ep's on SBS ... there's a character that echoes Hauk in 'Homicide' too, I think - though he's not as 'truly f***ed up' as Herc.
Enjoy the ride !
'I've killed millions ... and they killed me' - John Doe
d'oh myself - you said Frank Pembleton was black. Prolly Clarke Peters, though my recall obviously isn't to good. I still remember the female Forensic Examiner with the come-to-bed-eyes from 'Homicide' - don't know which seasons though.
I think Pembleton is played by Andre Brauhgher. Great actor, though haven't really heard much of him since Homicide. Munch is hilarious too, much better than his character in that Law & Order nonsense. I think I know the episode of Oz you are talking about, its back on SBS now, 'Hauk', albeit with a bit more hair, is painting that twisted female death row inmates cell. Oz can get a bit depressing at times, characters get bumped off with monotonous regularity, but I still think it was the pioneer of shows that go against the grain of commercial tv, and it probably paved the way for the wire to a degree. The prequels you speak of aren't that great, they only go for about five minutes, just a scene showing Mcnulty and Bunk meeting for the first time, and Prop Joe hustling in the schoollyard(hes a bit like a younger Randy). I am also looking forward to Treme, I watched 'Ray' the other night, it also has Wendell Pierce in it; what a great movie, I hadnt seen it before, and I was really impressed. Jamie Foxx definitely deserved the Oscar."So are you going to interrogate him?" "What you will be priveleged to witness will not be an interrogation but an act of salesmanship as silvertongued and thieving as ever moved used cars, Florida swampland or bibles, but what I am selling is a long prison term to a client who has no genuine use for the product"FP
Yeah; I was walking home from a friend's place this arvo, and I thought - "Andre Braugher !" He owned that show. I think he had some personal/health problems. He was on some other cop show for a while ... Never been a fan of the Lora Norder franchise, but it was interesting how two of the nastiest characters in Oz were played by such 'cleanskin' detectives on Lora; that twisted female inmate you mentioned, and the guy called 'Elliot' (?) on SVU . Lombardozzi's character on Oz only lasted one or two episodes - killed over a mobile phone - poetically ironic considering Hauk's antics in the Wire.
I thought 'Ray' was great too - especially Jamie Foxx's performance. Gee, that closing montage spoils the movie, though - from the sublime to the ridiculous with the closing flashback to his childhood fading to black ... and then a list of his Grammy wins and record sales; like some b-grade telemovie biopic.
Anyway, Wendell Pierce was good as the thieving road manager.Dunno if this is a spoiler, but Wendell Pierce narrated one of the audio commentaries on S5 of the Wire, and said he doesn't usually smoke. Did you notice Robert Wisdom in 'Ray' ; as the record company man (Jack Lauderdale?) almost unrecognisable with the rug he was wearing !
I won't worry too much about tracking down those prequels, then ... disappointed they didn't come with S5 anyway.
Yep Chris Keller and said twisted female inmate were nasty pieces of work in Oz. 'Elliot's' partner in SVU is played by Mariska Hargity, who has an interesting bloodline, her mother is Jayne Mansfield, and she and her brother were in the back of the car when it crashed and Mansfield was killed. SVU is watchable at a stretch, but they try to tug on the heartstrings a bit too much. That other one with female inmate and Goran is rubbish, I think so anyway, Goran tries a bit too hard to be the intellectual, slightly twisted cop, who gets inside the head of his quarries because he is like them is a bit rich. As for Ice-T playing a cop, I think thats SVU also, that was ridiculous, especially given his views on the constabulary during his Bodycount days. So thats my take on the whole Lawn Order franchise, although its made a shitload of money for all concerned. I still place it way above CSI Miami/NY/ etc, I wish physical harm on that red-headed ****er who is always taking off his sunglasses for dramatic effect, I can't even say his name! But then most cop shows seem mediocre compared to The Wire.
Spot on about the ending of Ray, I don't know why some directors or more likely producers feel the need to wrap everything up neatly and put a bow on it, but I guess mainstream America had to get it.
... her father is 'Micky' (?) Hargitay; who was a bodybuilder, 'Mr. Universe' type, who I think worked as her bodyguard before becoming (one of her) husband(s). You can certainly see a resemblance to her mother in her face. Poor Jayne Mansfield wasn't a bad actor, but unfortunately, and probably predictably, got pigeonholed due to her obvious female assets.
You probably already know,but the bloodnut you mentioned is David Caruso. He was quite good in NYPD Blue in the mid-90's, before launching a short-lived movie career with a couple of turkeys. I know there's a vicarious element to all crime drama, but I've always found the whole CSI franchise quite repulsive ... especially, as you said, when one measures shows of that ilk against the Wire. S5 particularly focuses on that paradigm between the commodification of crime and poverty, the public's fear of it, and how the media drives so much of the beaurocracy's priorities in 'the war on crime' and 'the war on drugs'.
I suppose actors have to work, but shows like Lora seem to bring out the worst acting traits of otherwise decent actors like Sam Waterston, D'Onofrio and Gary Sinise. Maybe they'll become the 2010's versions of screen tough-guys turned f***-ups like Robert Blake, Gary Busey, Nick Nolte and Melba Gibson who start believing their own bs. Vinnie D'Onofrio will probably just disappear up his own orifice.
I must admit I was blissfully unaware of Jayne Mansfield's acting abilities! There seem to be quite a few washed up actors, who were actually pretty good in their day turning to tv franchises to fund their retirements. Case in point; Tim Roth, and that 'Lie To Me' drudgery. Also Lawrence Fishburne, who is taking over aforementioned bloodnut's mantle, or is it the other guy. It's a shame, because it sort of devalues their legacy in film. Although with the advent of hbo, tv isn't necessarily the poorer cousin of cinema. But in the case of C.S.I., its more of an inbred half cousin thrice removed. Gabriel Byrne, who I always thought was a very underrated actor, appeared in this real dud of tv show, I forget what it was called. I guess he was short of cash.
Bunk, can you recommend any good movies worth watching, possibly in a similar vein to The Wire, although not necessarily. I've seen most of the classics by the likes of Coppola, Scorcese, Lumet, Coens etc, but any more obscure gems you rate would be appreciated.
I'm looking forward to The Wire tomorrow night, one more sleep!
I guess the closest thing to the Wire in movies is film noir. Don't know if you're into b&w & know, or like, movies like The Third Man, The Maltese Falcon, The Big Heat and Double Indemnity. Sometimes older movies are more enjoyable for their actors than the quality of picture - guys like Mitchum, Robert Ryan, Joseph Cotten, Burt Lancaster and Peter Lorre can often make an average movie watchable. I think of movies like On the Waterfront; which is pretty ordinary and preachy, and compromised by the director being a stool pigeon for the McCarthyists, but has a star turn by Brando and that classic 'I coulda been a contender' scene with Rod Steiger.
Angel Heart was an interesting psychological thriller directed by Alan Parker in the late '80's ... unless you have a Mickey Rourke aversion. It's like Barton Fink, but darker. Oh, and set in New Orleans rather than LA.
I've read most of James Ellroy's books, and though I think the man is a'gaping a**hole', I thought the film adaptation of La Confidential was pretty good. But then, one of my favourite films is Bad Santa; so maybe my taste is questionable.
Theoretically, I alo like historical films; but most of them are so full of anachronisms and Hollywood-ness, that in reality I generally loathe them. Queen Margot; a French film set in the 16th. century,starring Isabelle Adjani and Daniel Ateuil, I thought was an exception.
Enjoy the show tomorrow night. I'd like to hear what you think.
Ok cool, Ill check some of them out. I must admit I struggle with some of the old b&w movies, I think you have to be in the right frame of mind. But I'd like to see them at some point, its good to have a wider appreciation of whats out there, not just restrict yourself to the last 20 years or whatever. One b&w movie(although it was made fairly recently) I really enjoyed was 'The Man Who Wasn't There' , its got Billy Bob Thornton in it, I think its The Coen Brothers.
I ended up getting an itunes voucher so i'm going to download S5, I want to watch it without ads and at a reasonable hour. I will be savoring every moment, knowing full well there will be no further re-up after this season!
Sounds like a good idea to watch it in your own time - especially as ch. 9 have changed their scheduling and the Wire wasn't on tonight !
I remember their ads were particularly annoying in the a.m. too.
Billy Bob Thornton is a great actor. Apart from the afore-mentioned Bad Santa and The Man who Wasn't There, he was very watchable in Slingblade and Monster's Ball. School for Scoundrels was sh*thouse, though.
Have you watched any movies by Jim Jarmusch ? If you like films by the Coen brothers, then films like Down by Law (b&w), Mystery Train and Ghost Dog might be up your street. Being John Malkovich by Spike Jonze owes something to the quirky style of Jarmusch and the Coens, I think.
Talking about 'classic' modern directors, I think Kubrick is worth a look, or a re-look. Apart from Barry Lyndon and Eyes Wide Shut.
Well, I won't make any more recommendations unless specifically asked, but hope to get a few 'react quotes' as you get into S5.
Dead Man is one of my all time favourites. One of the most amazing films I've ever seen. Slingblade was pretty cool too. Kubrick is definitely one of the masters. I havent seen the other Jim Jarmusch films, or Angel Heart so I will check them out. I'm about half way through S5 of The Wire. I wasnt that thrilled with it to begin with, but its starting to build up some steam now. What the **** is McNulty thinking?! I guess his heart is in the right place. Noble Cause corruption, I think they call it. Reminds me of a high ranking cop we had in W.A. some years back by the name of Don Hancock, he was known as the Silver Fox, and was a particularly cunning devil; he would basically do anything to gain a conviction if he thought the person was guilty. 'Noble Cause' corruption was his m.o. He engineered the conviction of the Mickelburg brothers for an elaborate raid on the Perth Mint, through McNulty-like methods, using a plaster cast of a hand to plant a fingerprint on a cheque, and bashing and/or concocting confessions out of said brothers. He was later killed in a car bomb attack by a bikie gang.
"Half-late every third night, dead-drunk every second. Nut-deep in random pussy. What little time you do spend limp-dick and sober your'e working murders that don't exist" Bunk
I've heard a bit about the large number of cases overturned in WA - and; coming from Sydney; assumed it was an institutional thing !
I've never heard of Hancock before - but he sounds very much like a 'McNulty'. Of course, NSW has had a proud tradition of detectives perverting the course of justice for purely venal reasons - like Ray Kelly and Roger Rogerson ...
Simon and Burns often make the point; both in commentary, and in their screenplays; that good detectives are often motivated more by the affront to their intelligence and sense of justice by criminals, than by empathy for the victims.
I don't want to say too much about S5; as I'm not sure where you're up to ... but I do agree with you that at times it hasn't been as good as previous seasons. On reflection, there's the element of expectation in that it's the last season - but I think the main reason is the focus on the newspaper office. I realise this is where a lot of the writers like Simon and Zorzi's expertise lies ... but let's be honest - most media opinion-making is done in the world of tv and radio, rather than newspapers. Ten or 20 years ago, the season's emphasis on print media would have carried more punch (but then, the internet was less relevant).
Anyway, there's still some great scenes throughout the season.
"Whatever it is, it's not true" McNulty to Dozerman.
You are right. The corruption in the W.A. justice system was and is institutional. One of the key figures in the Mickelburg saga was a guy called Bob Kucera. He was the detective in charge of Belmont Police station when Peter Mickelburg was allegedly bashed. He went on to become Health Minister in the recently deposed Labor government. So much for weeding out the bad apples. I would highly recommend a book called 'The Mickelburg Stitch' about these events, one of the most rollicking crime stories, in the style of Chandler or Elmore Leonard, that I have ever read, but its all true. It was banned by the WA Police Union for 20 years, and was only recently reprinted. In the later developments not covered by the book, Hancock waged a personal war on the Gypsy Jokers, after they groped/abused his daughter at his pub in remote Ora Banda. He went to their campsite and assassinated one of them. For all his faults, he definitely had balls for taking them on. When police investigating the murder came to interview him, after telling him by phone not to change his clothes etc so they could test forensically, they found a freshly showered Hancock calmly eating an orange!(The citric acid cleanses gunshot residue from the skin) The bikies later blew him and his friend up with a remotely triggered car bomb that scattered debris three kilometers away. I believe Hancock was good friends with Roger Rogerson. Birds of a feather and all that. Have you seen Blue Murder? It was a brilliant ABC drama about Sydney's Underworld in the 1980s; Rogerson, Neddy Smith, Flannery et al, way before Underbelly.
I am about to watch 'Took'(Episode 7) of Season 5. I agree the whole newspaper angle isn't as compelling as say the schools or the towers. Even the Steve Earl(aka Waylan) version of 'Way Down In The Hole' that accompanies the opening credits is less evocative of the grimy, urban feel of previous seasons. Once you heard that music, you knew to expect something good. It really set the scene. The advantage previous seasons had was the freshness, and the fact that no end was in sight. The story could evolve at its own pace. Now I think Simon feels obliged to tie up loose ends and create cliffhangers, which were less apparent previously. Its all becoming a bit cinematic, what with Omar's miraculous escape out the window and Prop Joe's murder. But anyway, I will reserve judgement until the end is nigh.
'You want this story to fly, you got to give us something different. Keep what you need in the file, but give us something with a twist.'
McNulty: 'A sexual serial killer isn’t enough?'
'Cold world, i know.'
Last edited by trudat; 27-05-2009 at 12:39 AM.
Sorry 'bout the delay in replying, and thanks for the tip on the book. I'll definately have a look for it. Sounds like its supression by the WA police parallels Blue Murder ; which was kept off NSW screens for the best part of a decade I think, by court action. Shows how the power of tv (and the viral nature of the internet) has grown; when Underbelly was only delayed by weeks last year by those pesky judges.
I read one of the Underbelly books - god, it was badly written. One case where a screenplay was written better than the original book. Though being able to write "Insert breast here" on a script doesn't require much skill.
Blue Murder was very good - though it's delay in playing in NSW did delay its power somewhat. Also, Tony Martin was in the middle of Wildside by then (some critics said at the time that its scripting and camerawork was influenced by Levinson's 'Homicide: Life on the Streets'), playing a straight cop. They were a little soft on Neddy Smith anyway. Burnt into my memory is the story I read about him as a young man in Balmain. He bought a pet rabbit for his mum's birthday, and when she wasn't best pleased, he twisted it's head off in front of her.
I agree with you about Steve Earle's version in S5. I think he plays his character well, and his song through the closing montage of S2 was great; but this was simply soulless.
Also, I think that episode after Omar jumps out the window was poorly directly by Seith Mann. He must have had half a dozen establishing shots where different characters looked up at the building, without showing clearly which balcony he jumped out of !
Gotta run - a dinner engagement to go to.
I love that scene where McNulty says to Freamon : "You're a supervisor's nightmare ! ... I mean, what the f***!"
Roger Rogerson was a bad mother****er. That guy who played him in Blue Murder did a good job. I think the first Underbelly was based on the book 'Leadbelly'(I haven't actually read it), while the Tale of Two Cities series may have been based on the actual Underbelly books(there were about 8). I quite enjoyed the first series of Underbelly, it was compelling viewing, but the second series just didn't cut the beef. Matthew Newton with his faux Kiwi accent as Terry Clarke was just ridiculous I thought.
Well Ive finally watched the last installment of The Wire. Overall I would say it was pretty good, if not quite up to the high standards of previous seasons. I think a lot of it reflected David Simon's bitterness with authority in general, things just seem to carry on as before, despite new faces being in positions of power. Carcetti, once the idealist is becoming more and more like Royce, playing the game for his own advancement. I didn't quite get the whole McNulty wake scene. Why would he and that John Goodman lookalike(Landsman) be embracing? I thought they hated each other. It almost seemed like a cast and crew get-together somehow made it on screen. But anyway, I don't want to sound too critical, I will probably watch the whole thing again, and see if I get a few more things. It was a great show, and at least they used the original song in the closing montage, which I thought was quite good, I must admit I had to mute the opening credits (that Steve Earle version was a bit grating). "Stop squealing like a bitch" Greggs