Tag Archives: Woody Harrelson

2014 Emmy Award Winners

Full disclosure:

Despite writing a film and television blog that focuses heavily on the awards season, I rarely pay much attention to the Emmy Awards. There are a number of possible reasons for this: I’ve never seen most of the nominated shows; It’s timing doesn’t coincide with the rest of awards season, and thus just doesn’t feel right; Just plain apathy. Pick any reason, and there’ll probably a little truth to it.

So I didn’t watch the Emmys last night. But they went on nevertheless. And unlike Dr. Schrödinger’s eponymous kitty, their outcome was unaffected by my observation, or lack thereof.

Looking back on the night, the big surprise turned out to be Breaking Bad beating out True Detective in every category except directing. But is it that much of a surprise, really? Yes, True Detective is one of the absolute greatest things I’ve ever seen on television, and Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were revelatory and every bit deserving of recognition for their work. And yes, most pundits expected them – or at least McConaughey and the show itself – to get that recognition.

On the other hand, not only is Breaking Bad also one of the greatest TV shows ever made, it’s also being rewarded for it’s outstanding final season. (Personally, I’ve got about 6 episodes left to go, as of writing this.) Honestly I don’t know how you DON’T recognize that. It’s kind of like the final Lord of the Rings sweeping up every award it was nominated for at the Oscars.

Here are last night’s winners…

  • Drama: Breaking Bad
  • Comedy: Modern Family
  • Miniseries: Fargo
  • TV Movie: The Normal Heart
  • Variety Series: The Colbert Report
  • Reality: The Amazing Race
  • Actor – Comedy: Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
  • Actor – Drama: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
  • Actor – Mini/TV: Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
  • Actress – Comedy: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Actress – Drama: Julianna Margulies
  • Actress – Mini/TV: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
  • Supporting Actor – Drama: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
  • Supporting Actor – Comedy: Ty Burrell, Modern Family
  • Supporting Actor – Mini/TV: Martin Freeman, Sherlock
  • Supporting Actress – Drama: Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
  • Supporting Actress – Comedy: Allison Janney, Mom
  • Supporting Actress, Movie/Mini: Kathy Bates, American Horror Story
  • Writing – Drama: Moira Walley-Beckett, Breaking Bad, “Ozymandias”
  • Writing – Comedy: Louis C.K., Louie
  • Writing – Mini/TV: Steven Moffat, Sherlock
  • Writing – Variety Special: Sarah Silverman, We Are Miracles
  • Directing – Drama: Cary Joji Fukunaga, True Detective
  • Directing – Comedy: Gail Mancuso, Modern Family
  • Directing – Mini/TV: Colin Bucksey, Fargo
  • Directing – Variety Series: Glenn Weiss, 67th Tonys

Breaking Bad S5 screenshot

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Brad Pitt in Season 2 of True Detective?

It’s far from a done deal, and may very well not happen, but it seems there’s real interest in casting Brad Pitt for True Detective’s second season.

The first season, which just wrapped up a few weeks ago, was a smash success in every instance of the word. That season’s stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson have already confirmed they will not be returning. That leave a vacuum that can only be filled with rampant speculation.

Still, if this happens, it would be excellent news. If nothing else, I believe Se7en proves he’s up to the challenge. It would also be just another sign that the film industry is recognizing the small screen’s recent knack for high quality filmmaking, as more and more big names in film are moving to TV.

Brad Pit in Se7en

Brad Pit in Se7en

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Review – True Detective, Season 1 (HBO)

true_detective_matthew_mcconaughey

If you haven’t seen True Detective yet, you owe it to yourself to address that. Don’t have HBO? Whatever. Find a friend with an HBOGO account. Find a torrent. Sign up for one of those cable promos they’re always offering and then cancel it when you’re done. I don’t care; just do what you have to.

I’m serious, I’ll wait…

OK, if you STILL haven’t watched it, I’ll keep this spoiler-free. But just know that there’s nothing I can say that will convince you more than just watching the first episode. This show gets its hooks in you quick and never lets go.

Rust Cohle and Martin Hart are cops on a 17-year quest to catch a serial killer in southern Louisiana. That’s about all you need to know about the plot going in. I don’t want to spoil the wonderful way it spools out through the 8 episodes. It’s Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson’s instantly iconic characters that draw you in.

Rust is the ultimate eccentric skeptic genius. There are shades of Spock, Locke*, and Sherlock**, but that doesn’t even begin to describe him. Ultimately he’s all McConaughey – another knockout performance in his recent “McConnaissance” win streak. This may have even influenced his recent Oscar win; several episodes aired during the voting period. Even if it didn’t, the last scene of the final episode proves how much he deserves that trophy. Harrelson, meanwhile, has been having his own “Harrelssance” of sorts. (Check out most of his work since 2009’s The Messenger.) In less deft hands, Hart could be a thankless role: the straight man to counter all the crazy. But Woody reveals a man in many ways as damaged and destructive as Rust.

As the title suggests, classic tropes of true crime and murder mystery figure heavily into the narrative. But the genre is a structure. It sets the stage for a masterful script that will surely inspire not just filmmakers and storytellers, but modern day philosophers for a long time to come. As fantastic as the actors are (and all the actors are fantastic, not just the leads), they have the benefit of expertly constructed characters to start with. The dialogue, though often hard to understand (watch with subtitles if you can), is stunningly crafted and infinitely quotable.

The technical crafts are top form as well. The cinematography is gorgeous. The soundtrack by T Bone Burnett is haunting. And from Cohle’s sparse apartment (complete with an eyeball-sized mirror) and surprisingly arranged storage unit, to the house of a demented hoarder and an overgrown labyrinthine fortress (of sorts), the set design is truly inspired.

But the real genius is that, while it transcends its genre trappings, this show never becomes so arty that it loses sight of what makes that genre so enjoyable. As dark as it gets – and make no mistake, it gets pitch black at times – it never loses that feels of excitement and anticipation and, dare I say it, yes even fun.

As I write this review it occurs to me that most of it could be used to describe another groundbreaking TV show about a murder mystery from almost 25 years ago. Actually they don’t feel all that similar. True Detective eschews the soapy melodrama that Twin Peaks revels in, and ultimately I think the newer show is a bit more accessible. But lined up side by side, there are surprising similarities.

Then again, maybe it’s simpler than that. As Rust Cohle explains, “It’s just one story, the oldest, light versus dark.”

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*Lost (ABC)
*Sherlock (BBC)

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