Tag Archives: Chicago

Boardwalk Empire: 3.05 – “You’d Be Surprised”

Last week can be summed up pretty easily- “Your vagina and you”, dead smartass mouthy kid, Owen watch your back, and Masserria wants heroin money.

This week? There was just way too much going on. Granted it was all important stuff, okay that’s debatable but for the most part each story line from this week did move things forward. Some in a much more naked pace than others.

As for the less interesting ones- Apparently Gillian is in deep denial or she truly believes Jimmy is still alive and just on some adventure. Yea he’s on an adventure, it’s called the afterlife you incestual loon. Seriously though, I have to make myself care about this entire story arc. It’s a struggle. The only reason I keep hanging on is the hope that I’ll catch a glimpse of Richard. Where is Richard? WHERE?!?

Whenever they go back to the Congress/District Attorney/I’m not totally sure who all is involved here storyline, I literally have to go back to my notes because I can’t be bothered to remember anyone. I could not care less about the legal battle going on. There are people being shot and I need to see that, I don’t need witty back and forth in a Senate hearing.

Granted I do love James Cromwell but even my love for Captain Dudley Smith, or Andrew Mellon as he plays here, couldn’t keep my attention during these scenes. Even sadder, Stephen Root made an appearance and the only highlight was him busting out the S.A.T. word, dishabille.

Amazingly enough, I actually liked the VanAlden appearances. I still don’t want to like him, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult, especially with that wife of his, Sigrid. She is very entertaining… and has no problem bashing a man in the head! I was watching that unfold and of course the cinematic masterpiece Anchorman came to mind.

It does (hopefully) finally bring about some cohesion to seemingly random things going out in Chicago. I imagine VanAlden’s association with Dean O’Banion won’t end once the agent’s body is disposed of. Those threads have been waving around loose for way too long, let’s get them back to weaving something.

Oh Billie Kent. How I dislike you so. I can not for the life of me figure out what Nucky sees in you, besides a piece of ass, and why he is with you. You don’t really need his help and you certainly don’t want it. Nucky is a “rescuer” and you just do not fit the bill. So why don’t you do everyone a favor and disappear. Immediately.

The only thing Billie Kent did accomplish is involve Eddie Cantor in a great way this week. I loved how Nucky brought him some Passover vodka. It’s one of those, look I brought you vodka completely free of grain and signed off by a rabbi… now find a way to fix my girlfriend’s show because otherwise I’m going to send Chalky and Purnsley over to beat your ass. Surely Nucky, of all people, would understand the importance of honoring your contracts. I mean come on. It did seem like Eddie going to New York added just a little bit more to Arthur Rothstein’s derision over being pulled into shit dealing with Tabor Heights. As he said, only things in New York matter.

Billie Kent also worked her way directly into Margaret’s storyline. Now I’m not up to date on “Keeping a Mistress 101″ but it seems to me that one of the major highlights of that course would be “Don’t take your floosie to the same shop that your wife visits on a regular basis.” Apparently Nucky isn’t up to date either because there they were and come on Nucky, get it together. Margaret is giving you carte blanche to basically do whatever you want as long as you allow her to keep up appearances. You are failing Nucky. Failing hard. You best believe Margaret is getting her shit in line with a bank account and all and don’t be surprised if you come “home” one day to find yourself all alone. No one left to rescue but yourself-someone who desperately needs it.

What I’d love to see from Margaret is for her to just sack up and take over the world. I had started to dislike her at the beginning of the season but she’s come back around. Now if she were to smack that annoying ass nun who sits in her vagina class basically clutching her pearls the entire time, I’d build a statue of her likeness in my front lawn.

The big story of the episode was the aftermath of Gyp hijacking and killing Nucky’s delivery guys on their way to Rothstein. We finally got to see Rothstein lose just a little bit of his cool. I think he’s one of those tip of the iceberg kind of guys, basically the exact opposite of Gyp Rosetti.

This scene actually drove me a little nuts because they showed AR picking up that spoon at least three times in two seconds.

The writers have set up the audience exactly as they wanted. Every time we see Gyp we expect him to go ape shit and kill someone. Then they show us a couple of times that he can laugh things off so we relax a bit and then he goes and sets the sheriff on fire. This week we saw him enjoying himself with the aid of a belt. Who would have ever thought that the belt would be what saves his life? Well the belt and the naked chick he used as a human shield.

The title of the episode “You’d Be Surprised” was quite accurate because I would have never guessed the result of Rothstein and Nucky’s screaming match was Benny showing up at the Kinnernet Lodge shooting everyone he came across. Of course it does set up the rest of the season because now we get to watch how Gyp, who will kill a man for looking at him crosseyed, reacts to Rothstein sending a guy to kill him. Not only that but Gyp worked for Masseria? The same Masseria who is already pissed at the trio of Rothstein, Luciano, and Lansky? It’s going to be insane.

I did like how the episode wrapped up with Eddie telling Billie that she is nothing. She may think that she has landed this big fish in Nucky, but really she’s just a flavor of the week. You tell her Eddie!

Lucy Danzinger was of course Paz de la Huerta‘s character…at least before she was fired prior to season 3….

Whew, there was a lot of stuff in this episode. Some of it wasn’t so great, others was damn near perfection. That scene with Gyp walking through the dead bodies and pools of blood? Very reminiscent of Taxi Driver and just an incredible scene.

Going to have to go with a four out of five on this one. Gillian Darmody and the boring Senate hearing drug it down.

In the news section of today’s review – Boardwalk Empire has been picked up for Season 4! I don’t think anyone saw this as a big surprise, but it is nice to know. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know for myself, I’ve been burned by canceled shows enough times that when something hasn’t been officially announced as renewed, I just assumed it’s going to be gone.

One could hope that now they are certain they are a go for another season, perhaps they can spend a little bit more time with their other storylines. Hahaha, that’s never going to happen. Just ask Chalky White.

For now, I’m going to go sit in my Miller Chair (just kidding, I don’t have a Miller Chair but it is mentioned in the song that Eddie and Billie are singing at the end) and wait for next week.

Boardwalk Empire: 3.02 – “Spaghetti and Coffee”

This should be universally understood, but it needs to be said again: This is a review of this week’s (Season 3 Episode 2) episode of Boardwalk Empire. If you have not seen this episode and wish to not learn of what happens in this episode, do not read this.

To recap from last week: Nucky and Margaret are on the outs thanks to Margaret signing over the land deeds. Because Nucky can no longer just sit back and enjoy the riches he didn’t make off the highway project, he now has taken on the role of full-blown gangster. Richard Harrow killed Munya. We’ve got a new gangster in town, the Sicilian, Gyp Rosetti. Please don’t insult his intelligence, or lack thereof, because he will beat you. Chicago has troubles, we only see a snippet of them. Lady has a miscarriage in the lobby of the hospital that Margaret is now on the board of due to her generous donation that led to the building of a pediatric wing. Oh and Nucky is shacking up with the showgirl, Billie Kent.

Let’s move on!

I sometimes wonder what a psychiatrist would say if they were to analyze the fact that I can watch television people be shot all day long but sweet jesus don’t you dare let that goldfish die in the sink! That analysis will have to wait for another time because luckily, the goldfish was spared. It is yet to be seen if the same can be said for the rest of the Boardwalk Empire world.

Eli is out of jail! Yay! Mickey picks him up and then Eli asks the question that every single person that has ever watched the show has wondered – “How the hell are you still alive?” Mickey says something about bringing people together, I thinks it’s more that he is just a lucky bastard.  I sort of hate this episode because it made  me want to like Eli, or at the very least, feel sorry for him. He gets out of jail, obviously nothing has stayed the same, and he doesn’t know where he fits in anymore. He goes home to find that even his own son has taken his place as man of the house. I really don’t want to like Eli but damn, if that scene with him building the plane he bought for his son didn’t pull at the ol’ heartstrings.

The writers and Bobby Cannavale have done a wonderful job and creating tension every time Gyp Rosetti is on the screen. After his incredible overreaction to the 3-in-One guy, I fully expected him to beat the ever-loving crap out of the pump jockey. To the point that every time Gyp came on-screen, I was looking for a dead young man in a gas station uniform on the ground somewhere, all over a map scale. It appears as if in the span of one episode he seems to have grown up a bit. Instead of  hauling off and killing the kid, he instead buys the gas station. Oh and he pays off the cops. All so he can stick it to Nucky and Rothstein. Look out Nucky, the hot head is playing for keeps.

Owen is just a go-between for Margaret and Nucky now…Awkward. What I really want to see in a coming episode however, is someone haul off and just smack the shit out of Phillip. Dude has a smart mouth and I would have sworn that the “help” should be seen and not heard in this time period. STFU Phillip.

I loved the scene between Margaret and the lady who had the miscarriage there in the hospital lobby. You can just see that Margaret is trying to relate to this woman, they both have similar stories, but too much time and experiences have passed in Margaret’s life that the woman just isn’t buying it.

I’m continuing my love/hate relationship with Margaret though. I love when she gets all “who are you to talk to me like that?” but she doesn’t do it enough. She goes off on Dr. Mason but only after he provokes her. Had she gone in there, guns blazing, right off the bat, he’d never even had a chance to be an ass. Come on Margaret, sprout a set and don’t take no shit from nobody! I did have to laugh though when at the end of the episode after the maid tells her that Nucky won’t be coming home for some award thing with the diocese, she tells her to go ahead and get the suit ready anyway because “I’m afraid he’s mistaken.”  Granted we aren’t all married to gangsters, but that statement has been muttered by wives the world over since the beginning of time.

Nucky is up in New York, doing nothing but Billie Kent, who he thinks looks like the White Rock Girl. He does take a break from those activities to go and pay Daugherty. He arrives to find an empty room with just a bowl (the goldfish bowl from the first scene) and a note telling him to leave money. Of course he isn’t going to fall for this! So we get to meet none other than Gaston Bullock Means.

Mr. Means is played by the always enjoyable, Stephen Root and is another historical figure. Dude was quite the dirtbag, but he is so well spoken in the show and I’m always a fan of someone who superfluously uses adverbs. However, I am not a fan of people who talk about themselves in the third person so when Remus showed up, I was incredibly happy that he didn’t speak.

The scenes with Chalky and his family are always a hit. Well with me at least. This episode was no different. Maybelle’s beau (why did we stop using that word I wonder?) is back and asking Chalky for her hand in marriage. Problem is, Maybelle doesn’t think he is interesting enough to marry. Perhaps my favorite line of the entire episode is when Chalky asked her what she would do if she was married to a man like him, she says “I’ll write a poem about it.” Oh you foolish little girl.

I wonder what her poem would look like after this:

Apparently asking someone to stop running into your table is a knifeable offense. Of course the dude got that crap beat out of him and Chalky standing there asking if Maybelle was still interested was the highlight of the episode.

The greatest irony of the episode came towards the end when Nucky was baring his soul (well sort of) to Billie. He tells her that he wants nothing more than for “everything to run all by itself”. In reality, because he’s been lounging around getting jealous each time Billie’s phone rings, his people have been done over quite well by Gyp and the now wealthier Tabor Heights sheriff. So much so that they’ve tucked their tails between their legs and turned the convoy back around to Atlantic City.

All in all, this was a very laborious episode. I understand the need for building up storylines but man this was just full of it. I did like the Chalky storyline and the various historical nods, especially the one about Methodists in Tabor Heights. I’d imagine this had to do with Mount Tabor that was a Methodist camp there in New Jersey. Also lacking in this episode? Chicago! We did catch a glimpse of Rothstein as he and Nucky discussed who killed Munya but that was it.

So yea, it’s was a disappointing episode but hopefully the slowness of this will quickly build into some better episodes down the road. Not to do with just this episode, but if you have access to HBO GO and are an “extras” junkie like I am, I highly recommend watching the show on there. They’ve got a new “interactive features” that is quite informative and entertaining.

I have to give this episode, only a 3, because of the slowness.

I will leave you with this- in case you were wondering, meatballs are indeed, balls of meat.

Revolution: It Doesn’t Quite Smack of It… Yet

When you combine transportation by horses, bows and arrows and swords, and small villages that farm produce and raise sheep, you would think that you’re stepping into a historical drama, possibly one from Medieval Europe.  However, this is actually the setting of our future, according to one new TV show.

The much-anticipated pilot of J.J. Abrams’ Revolution (directed by Jon Favreau) was shown on NBC two days ago, and the response has been mixed. Some say that the concept of the show is fascinating, that instead of humanity being threatened by zombies or infection or alien invasion, we have to face the reality of living without electricity.  Others say that everything else in the show falls well below expectations.

My thoughts?  I think we have to wait and see.

I wholly agree with those who think the concept of Revolution is unique.  After the scores of technological dystopias that have come our way the last several years, this idea of living off the land without electrical power is appealing.  The only other time I remember seeing any idea similar to this in current popular culture was in The Hunger Games, and even then some of the Districts still had electricity.

Also, maybe it’s because I built scenery for plays during my college years, but I found the effort put into the set for Revolution to be splendid.  While it’s a bit funny to see a cul-de-sac turned into a mini village with corn growing out of the ground and someone planting herbs in a broken-down Toyota, it’s also consistent and realistic with the situation in the show.  It’s also terrifying to see famous American landmarks like Wrigley Field in Chicago being overcome with crawling vines.  But I’m sure that’s what would happen in a world without electricity, so the image fits very well.  Finally, any CGI used is not very noticeable, which can be difficult for some shows to achieve.

The foliage-laden city in Revolution reflects the early concept art

Small touches in Revolution really help to cement its presence into the brain as well, such as a “parking in rear” sign placed at the entrance to The Grand Hotel, now turned into a bar.  A computer power symbol is cleverly tucked into the show’s logo.  Charlie, the female protagonist played by Tracy Spiridakos, stores various items she has collected over the years, including an iPod, in a vintage Return of the Jedi tin lunch box.  That’s pretty hard to forget, especially for all the science fiction fans bound to be watching.

Despite all of these production qualities, the script felt lacking in several points, especially in regards to exposition and background story.  The pilot starts with a voice over describing very clearly the current state of affairs as we see images of the decrepit United States.  I felt like I was being talked to like a child who didn’t understand what 2+2 was.  Fortunately, the character voicing the lines was soon shown on screen, and he was indeed a teacher talking to a few students.  Lead-ins to shows can be tricky for the writers, but this one definitely felt awkward.  At another point, I was wondering why it mattered that we were watching Charlie and a few others sit around a campfire talking when the same exposition could have been revealed in a more creative manner.  In addition, many of the lines are not that compelling.

(Courtesy of slate.com)
I can’t figure out her mood.  Confused?  Worried?  Not thinking?

My main concern was with the acting and character development.  The “bad guy” did not feel intimidating to me, nor even the least bit creepy.  The village doctor dating Charlie’s father felt overly grim , and Charlie herself did not seem to have the ability to show emotion other than grief or frustration.  Spiridakos delivered her lines well for the most part, especially the ones where she started to cry, but otherwise I didn’t agree with her father’s character who called her “strong just like her mom.”  Spiridakos may play Fallout, but despite her involvement in that digital wasteland, I did not get a vivid sense of who her character was in this current wasteland of Revolution.  The only two character fates I was truly curious about were Charlie’s brother Danny, and an ex-Algebra teacher named Grace.  Their stories made me care to want to see the next episode.

The Revolution pilot did end with a few twists that made me tilt my head a bit and say, “Well, that’s interesting.”  The show does have promise, and I find it very difficult, if not hasty, to judge an entire series on just the first episode, especially when stories, characters, acting, and production tend to improve over the course of a show’s life.  As it stands, Revolution may not actually start one on TV, but it could have a very good chance to do so with a little improvement.

Courtesy of tvequals.com
This fight was pretty fun to watch, though.

Boardwalk Empire: 3.01 – “Raise the Toddy”

This should be universally understood, but it needs to be said again: #1- This is a review of this week’s (Season 3 Episode 1) episode of Boardwalk Empire. If you have not seen this episode and wish to not learn of what happens in this episode, do not read this.

Should be universally understood, but needs to be said again #2- RICHARD HARROW, LET ME LOVE YOU!!!!! Whew, it feels good to let that out.

Where did we leave off? Well screw the whole “who shot JR” catchphrase because holy shit we know who shot Jimmy Darmody and now we get to see the aftermath. Not only that but we had a “pen is mightier than the sword” moment as we watched Margaret sign over the Land Deed to that annoying priest’s church.

We pick up at the end of 1922 – all our gangster friends are preparing to ring in 1923 in style. Oh and we’ve got a new gangster friend – Gyp Rosetti. He’s a little bit of a hot head and whatever you do, do not step on his toes. Especially if they are covered in 3-in-One.

One of my favorite things about this show is how they work in references to real people and events of the time. Right off the bat, as Gyp’s guys are working on a flat tire he mentions Walt Wallet of Gasoline Alley.

Enough of Gyp, what about Nucky?. How has he dealt with killing Jimmy? Is he as broken up about it as Jimmy said he would be? Did he blow a gasket about the Land Deed? Did he have Margaret offed for it? Where are the kids? I have so many questions!

As he is talking to someone, he seems in pretty good spirits. Eating breakfast, enjoying coffee, mentioning his children (so perhaps things are still good in the Thompson household), and then ordering Munya to shoot a thief in the head after toying with his emotions for a while. Oh Nucky, you seemed to have stepped in the “full gangster” shoes quite well.

As for Margaret, she’s busy putting the final touches on a New Year’s Eve party and telling lippy chauvinist servants named Phillip to shove it. Oh but wait – we find out where the land money went to! The “Enoch and Margaret Thompson Annex”, a pediatric wing to the hospital. Not only that, but she is also on the board of directors. A young doctor points that out when telling her that the woman Margaret witnessed actively miscarry her child in the hospital lobby could have been spared had their been proper prenatal care and education. I think we all know where this is going – welcome to a storyline for Mrs. Thompson.

Speaking of women having sex and getting pregnant (this wins for the award for worst segue ever), Gillian seems to have decided that she’s going to run a brothel.  Not only that, but she’s hired Richard Harrow (who, just as a reminder, I love) as Tommy’s caretaker. Seriously, if there continue to be scenes built around Richard and Gillian, my husband is going to be convinced that I’m bipolar as I was screaming at the TV last night alternating between “I hate you Gillian! I love you Richard! How dare you call yourself his mother Gillian! Richard I just want to hug you!” Just look at this picture and tell me it doesn’t make you want to punch that incestual creep of a woman in the face. And then take moonlit walks on the beach with that fabulous man.

The Van Alden’s have moved to Illinois and Agent Van Alden is now a door to door salesman. Oh wait – we also got caught up on what Johnny Torrio and Al Capone are doing nowadays. I’ll admit that the Chicago storyline has never done much to keep my attention, probably because like in this episode, it always seems like a “Oh yea we’ve got these characters over in Chicago and everyone knows Al Capone so we should probably throw them in this episode as well” kind of situation. Stephen Graham does such an incredible job as Al Capone that I feel badly about not really caring about them. Perhaps this is the season that Chicago will get the airtime it deserves.

That being said, Chicago can be summed up in these few words: turf war, deaf kid, Capone is pissed, Van Alden saves the Irish guy’s bacon and has a new baby with the nanny turned wife.

It’s party time! The Thompson’s have all their friends over for an Egyptian themed NYE bash and outside of Gyp Rosetti, everyone is having a great time. He wants rum and what the hell? Nucky has decided to sell only to Rothstein. Gyp is going to be a great character to watch if for no other reason than he has the best insults. He called Nucky a “breadstick with a bowtie”. I mean come on, that’s poetry right there.

It seems as if everything is right as rain with Nucky and Margaret, even when Margaret inadvertently insults the doctor. Of course he thinks she is barking up the wrong tree about the prenatal care and how dare she even suggest that it was the hospital’s fault and yea, this is her new hill to die on it appears. When the last guest leaves and the door closes, I fully expected a little rebuke perhaps, but a hug and kiss and let’s go to bed dear. Why did I expect this? Because I bought the setup hook, line, and sinker. I was drawn in to this “everything is okay between Nucky and Margaret, look they are having a party and everyone is laughing and singing and Nucky is dancing and Margaret is smiling” facade without even questioning it. That door closed and Nucky’s transformation took my breath away. We learned that things are not okay in the Thompson house. Things are far from okay. Nucky isn’t even living there! He’s back at his suite and surprise, surprise he’s shacking up with another brunette showgirl. Because that worked out so well for him last time.

My disappointment over the Nucky/Margaret situation (in my mind they walk off into the sunset hand in hand and live happily ever after), was quickly lifted as we saw Richard again. Well first we saw Manny and his wife having a nice moment, she bought him a new hat, how sweet. Then the door opens, there’s Richard. BOOM- Head Shot!

Richard FINALLY! takes revenge for Angela’s murder. Watching his face as he told Tommy of his mother (his real mother not that hobag that is trying to convince the poor boy otherwise) was just heartbreaking.

The episode closes out with the obvious “Margaret wants freedom” scene. She decides to go out and see the female pilot, Carrie Duncan pass by and her face is filled with that “I wish I could just fly away by myself” look.

Outside of that storyline, I thought the episode was fabulous. Especially the introduction of Gyp and how well they fooled the audience (me at least) on the whole Nucky and Margaret thing. It did present more questions though- will Van Alden join the dark side so he can buy his nanny/wife a house? Is Richard going to hook back up with a crew or just meander aimlessly taking care of Tommy and resisting the urge to smack Gillian on a regular basis? How is this whole “Nucky only sells to Rothstein” thing going to work out? What new insults is Gyp coming to come up with? How much are Teddy and Emily going to love their new dog? So much to look forward to!

4/5 Bears for this one.

Upcoming 2011-12 NBA Preview: Central Division



Last Season: 62-20, Division Champions, 1st Overall in East, Lost to Miami in Eastern Conf Finals

Key Losses:  Rasual Butler, Kurt Thomas

Key Additions Richard Hamilton, Brian Scalabrine (resigned), Nikola Mirotic (draft), Jimmy Butler (draft)

Main Rotation:  Starters – Derrick Rose, Richard Hamilton, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah;  Key Reserves – Keith Bogans, Ronnie Brewer, Taj Gibson, Kyle Korver, C.J. Watson, Omer Asik

The Bulls definitely improved their chances to getting to the NBA Finals this year.  They were good enough to get to the Finals last year too but they needed another scorer/shooter.  Enter Richard Hamilton.  After the Pistons bought out Hamilton, it was no surprise he was going to choose the Bulls.  At 33, Hamilton still has plenty of gas left in the tank and has something to prove after the last two seasons.  Hamilton is going to love coming off curls here in Chicago.  Noah and Boozer are going to be Hamilton’s best friends.  Although more valuable coming off screens, Hamilton can be trusted to create his own shot which the Bulls sorely lacked during the Eastern Conference Finals last year.

Chicago will still be one of the favorites to win it all.  Everyone knows what Derrick Rose can do and will be even better this year.  That’s a scary thought.  However, this team cannot go another year and get inconsistent play from Carlos Boozer.  He’s got to be the big man and put up consistent double-doubles and be that second enforcer on the block.  The front office will need to look at a way to bring more of a scoring punch to their bench unless Ronnie Brewer can provide that threat.  This is the one weakness that teams will look to target.

Other than keeping an eye out on MVP candidate – Okay…he’ll be MVP again.  I’m calling it – Boozer and Hamilton will be the main focus.  Are they going to bring the consistent second and third all-star options to Rose.  It’ll be fun watching this team in its half-court sets, on the block, and the screens being set.

Prediction: 52-14, Division Champions, 1st Overall in East, Championship Contender

Continue reading Upcoming 2011-12 NBA Preview: Central Division

Dexter: Season 6, Episode 3 – “Smokey and the Bandit” Review

In “Smokey and the Bandit”, Dexter sees himself in the Tooth Fairy… a serial killer who keeps teeth as his trophies. Instead of teeth, Dexter has blood slides, and he fears what he will leave behind for Harrison once he is older.

The episode shows Deb’s struggle with her new promotion. She is her ex-boyfriend Quinn’s boss, she has LaGuerta up her ass every second, and on top of all that, she has to decide who to promote to detective to fill her spot. With the new murders to solve, Miami Metro cannot afford to be down a detective. She chooses someone from Chicago as a transfer against Maria’s better judgment, and has to set him straight right away. It is hilarious, as she does in that famous sassy Deb way.

After Dexter picks his car up from the repair shop, Brother Sam invites him to join the shop in Nick’s, a fellow employee’s, baptism. Dexter, however, is spend a lot of time throughout the episode finding out if a member of a senior citizen home, Walter Kenney, who has alienated everyone around him. Dexter poses as “Dan”, a man who is looking to place his father in the facility, and gets close to Kenney. He takes him to a storage facility, where Kenney says he will take the bus from there. Dexter goes into his storage locker when he leaves, and finds a box of teeth: his trophies. Dexter suffocates him.

Continue reading Dexter: Season 6, Episode 3 – “Smokey and the Bandit” Review

NFL Grizzly Picks of the Week: Week 4

You get 1 point for picking the favorite correctly, and 2 points for an upset win or a pick’em game. Our picks will be in BOLD and upset picks are denoted by a *

So, here are the scores headed into Week 3…

Kaiser      Kronner
14                    9 

And our picks for Week 4:

Rev. Kaiser

Carolina @ Chicago (Vegas Line – Bears by 6.5)
Minnesota @ Kansas City (Vegas Line – Viks by 1.5)   
*Tennessee @ Cleveland  (Vegas Line – Browns by 1) 
San Francisco @ Philly (Vegas Line – Eagles by 7.5)
N’Orleans @ Jacksonville (Vegas Line – Saints by 7)  
NY Giants @ Arizona (Vegas Line – Giants by 1.5) 
Denver @ Green Bay  (Vegas Line – Packers by 13)
NY Jets @ Baltimore (Vegas Line – Ravens by 3.5)

Kaiser can get up to 9 points this week.

Dr. Kronner

*Detroit @ Dallas  (Vegas Line – Cowboys by 1)
Buffalo @ Cincinnati  (Vegas Line – Bills by 3)
*Washington @ St. Louis (Vegas Line – Pick’em/Line is 0)
Pittsburgh @ Houston (Vegas Line – Texans by 4)
Atlanta @ Seattle  (Vegas Line – Falcons by 4.5)
New England @ Oakland (Vegas Line – Pats by 4.5)
Miami @ San Diego (Vegas Line – Chargers by 7)
Indianapolis @ Tampa Bay (Vegas Line – Bucs by 10)

Kronner can get up to 10 points this week.

So there we have it, check back next week to see how the grudge match it working itself out…

Feel free to post your own picks in the comment section below…

‘The Playboy Club’ Review: Series Premiere

We’ve talked a little about NBC’s The Playboy Club, and the time has come to take a look inside the club. Based on the real clubs from the Playboy franchise, we get to see a gritty period piece set in Chicago during the early 60’s after the sexual revolution has ignited. The club’s were a place for the VIP’s of the era to stake their claim as valued members of society. The Playboy Club takes us in a little deeper to the seedy world of big business, sexy bunnies, and Amanda Heard. While it’s an obvious attempt at replicating the success of AMC’s Mad Men, it just might offer us something different.

The show opens (with a 14 rating proving that chances of nudity are even slimmer) on the landscape of Chicago, with a surprising voice-over from the man himself, Mr. Hugh Hefner. He speaks of the gritty, corrupt dark city as the camera shows exactly that, until it focuses on the brightest sight in the area; The Playboy Club.

It’s a place where every room unlocks a fantasy for everybody that walks through those shining doors. Enter Mr. Suave Nick Dalton (Played by Eddie Cibrian), who immediately begins to enjoy the atmosphere of the club. A Bunnie sings on stage, and we are told that this is a place where anything can happen. And cue the reason I’m watching the show, Ms. Amber Heard. She stares longingly at the stage, a hint picked up by her co-Bunnies. So automatically we get an idea of Maureen’s ambitions to be the Bunny on stage. Isn’t that really what we all want out of life, anyway?

We are introduced to what I’m sure will be a central theme of the show. Creepy old white guy. The Bunnie finishes her driving rendition of Frank Sinatra’s Chicago, as Creepy Old Man #1 whisks Maureen across the dance floor as her two comrabbit’s watch. What follows is of course, a little bit of inappropriate touching deftly evaded by Maureen. The spotlight seems to be on her as she makes her away around the room, being noticed by all. Including Nick Dalton, who we briefly met earlier.He is standing with David Krumholtz (Numb3rs, Harold & Kumar), who heads off to handle the dancing Bunny.

As Maureen is shooed back to work she meets Mr. Dalton, who has a perpetual raised eyebrow that I have yet to see drop. As the singing Bunny walks off stage, she heads to Dalton, who is obviously the BMOC around here. We learn that she has indeed noticed the new girl who is longing for her act.

Speaking of the new girl, she is confronted by the Creepy Old Man once again as she is refilling her cigarette tray in the back room. This is bound to go bad. The rest of the club continues as the singing Bunny starts another song, and things get more heated in the back room. Creepy old man attempts to force himself on Maureen, and she responds in kind. Dalton, who really really needs his cigarette’s heads to the back room, arriving at the right time.

A fight breaks out, and for some reason Dalton isn’t able to handle the Creepy Old Man, forcing my favorite gal Maureen to take care of it. With one well placed kick of her obviously sharpened heel, she plunges it into his neck, and we are shown our first murder of the series.

Cue opening titles.

And really, I’m already sold on this show. It has sexy ladies, murder, music, and a voice-over from Hugh Hefner. And all that before I even find out what show it is.

Over the next few minutes we see just how easy it is to clean up after you stab a guy in the neck with a shoe. Seriously! They clean up and get that body in the river faster than the opening titles played. And we learn that not only is the Now Dead Creepy old Man Mobbed Up, but Dalton’s eyebrow is never going to drop. Oh, and Maureen bosomed the dead guy’s Playboy key.

We head to Dalton’s swinging bachelor pad, which actually looks quite similar to the penthouse that was used to film Playboy After Dark way back in the day, so I thought that was a nice touch. Of course Maureen is urged to shower by Dalton, and we find out that not only has she lost the key, but she looks great even when seen through glass shower doors.

Singing Bunny and gal of Dalton’s Carol-Lynne (Played by Laura Benanti) walks in on the bartender Max and very sexy Bunny Janie (played by Jenna Dewan-Tatum… Yes, as in ‘Married to Channing’ Tatum). As the girls change in the Bunny Hole (that’s what I’d call it) they discuss the new cigarette girl. Carol-Lynne comments how she tried to steal the show from her with her dancing, and we learn that “you can’t be a bunny forever”. This is true, because eventually you’ll become a rabbit.

Alice (Played by Leah Renee Cudmore), One of the co-Bunnies from earlier, heads outside to be picked up by Sean (Played by Firefly‘s Sean Maher), and we learn that she is skimming off the top. (FYI, she is Canadian, and smokin hot). Cue ominous music. But then it’s back to Maureen and Dalton, who declares Maureen needs to get out of the city. He’s a lawyer, and he knows how dangerous the Mob can be. But she isn’t having any of that, cause she’s a tough old gal who can take her of herself. Keep in mind at this point she’s wet and wearing Dalton’s shirt.

Enter Carol-Lynne, who immediately locates her brand new rival. She storms out, despite thier actually not being any hanky-panky. Unless you count the murder as hanky-panky. Everyone heads home leaving Dalton all alone with his eyebrow. Back at the Mansion, she chats with her roommate, easily the shortest Bunny, Brenda (Played by Naturi Naughton).

The next day Dalton and Rosen meet at the Club, and questions are already flying concerning the whereabouts of the Creepy Old Dead Guy AKA Clyde Hill.It looks like the anonymity of the club will only help them sweep the murder on the rug, and we learn a little about Dalton’s character. And even more of Rosen’s.

So by this time we already have a number of plot threads on the go, with appropriate dramatic tension and suspenseful musings. Things go from bad to worse as Carol-Lynne is fired by Rosen, and Dalton is approached by a Made guy who drops a bombshell. The reason Nick knows so much about the Mob? He used to work for them.

Back in the Bunny hole, which I am looking forward to more and more, and we learn of a party at the mansion. Rosen receives a call from Hef, and all of a sudden recently fired Carol-Lynne is now queen of the Bunnies. And she takes no time in making clear the fact that she’s Boss with a capital Bitch. The new rule is that Bunnies are forbidden to date keyholders. Guess who she was looking at when she said that!

And then we get more musical numbers! I love musical numbers, as long as it’s not on Glee. And when things couldn’t get any better, all the Bunnies head out onto the floor to dance along to Shake Ya Tailfeather, and my PVR is put into use immediately. Even Maureen joins in on the fun, despite her misgivings about her new secret. Meanwhile a couple of shady gentleman watch from the balcony.

After Dalton swings and misses on his attempt to re-woo Carol-Lynne, she calls Maureen to the back office. She plays the nice boss with the hidden bitchy demeanor, and drops the best line of the night. WTF!

“Why the face?”

I missed most of what happened next as I was laughing uncontrollably, but it turns out that they each stake their position, and set up a season of tension and competition. As Maureen leaves she runs into one of the shady gentleman from the balcony, who starts to question her about Clyde Hill. And just when you think Maureen might break down she flips her shit and starts playing this guy like he was a 1964 jukebox.

Max and Janie argue briefly, and Dalton recieves a call from his old boss, the Bianchi family. Alice and her man talk over the phone about thier thievery, when another bomb is dropped, and we learn her man is in a secret relationship with another man. DRAMA!

Dalton heads out for a meet with the Bianchi’s and learns that Maureen’s story involves going home with him the night of the murder. He uses this as an opportunity to kiss my girl with them watching. So now he has to worry about me killing him as well as whatever other shenanigans are brewing.

Shouldn’t have touched my girl, Dalton!

The discussion continues in the car, and it seems all signs point to Maureen, despite her smooth talk with the jukebox. We learn even more about Dalton’s connections to the mob. It goes deeper than we thought, and turns out he’s a Bianchi himself. But I’ll still call him Dalton, cause it makes me think of Road House.

The episode is beginning to wrap up, and we learn that Alice and her man (Firefly’s Sean Maher – who actually isn’t in a secret gay relationship, he’s just secretly gay in a time when it isn’t as accepted) are holding a meeting for the Mattachine Society of Chicago, a pro-homosexual group fighting for improved rights.

And finally we get to see what most of us will never get to see. A party at the Playboy Mansion (which was in Chicago at the time). Carol-Lynne cozies up to Hef, the Bunnies party and the music is pumping. Another voice-over from Hef describes the Mansion as being the only place in the world that a Bunny can be anyone they want to be. For Maureen, we see her on stage living out her dream.

The camera focuses on an inscription on the gate of the mansion. Si Non Oscillas, Noli Tintinnare, which means “If you don’t swing, don’t ring”. Dalton and Maureen lock eyes as the party heads into full swing mode. And that eyebrow doesn’t move once. The episode ends with a couple of city workers on the side of the river finding the missing Playboy key.

“Hey Paul, Wanna go to the Playboy Club?”

I have to say, I really enjoyed the episode. Earlier I likened it as an attempt to hit the Mad Men market, but it turns out to be so much more than that. With a full cast and a ton of rich side stories, there was always something to keep me watching. And If I got bored then they threw in a gratuitous Bunny dancing scene.

The cast works well in their roles, which are clearly defined throughout the episode, and I just can’t get enough of Amber Heard. She starts off as a girl trying to life her dream, and turns into a girl willing to do anything to see that dream come true. You can almost see a change happening within her personality. And Dalton is likeable enough, I just can’t over the amount that eyebrow is up. This guy could give the Rock some lessons.

I give the episode 4 Grizzly’s out of 5, and actually can’t wait for the next one.

What did you think of the episode? Was it worth all the hype and build-up? Were you let down or excited for next week?

Sound off in the comment section below!

And if you want to see more of the Bunnies then you need to click here for a full on gallery of all the stars of The Playboy Club.

See you next week!

2010-11 NBA Season Review: Eastern Conference

Last June the Los Angeles Lakers walked off the court as NBA Champions, and that wrapped up the 2009-10 NBA season.  Three weeks later the 2010-11 season began with the phrase:

“This fall I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat.”

These were the words of unrestricted free agent LeBron James on his ESPN show “The Decision” (highly unnecessary in my opinion) as he chose to leave his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, and join forces with fellow superstar Dwayne Wade, and recently acquired all-star power forward Chris Bosh.

This created a powerhouse team, probably the most “physically” talented “Big 3″ ever to be assembled.  It was party time in Miami as President of Basketball Operations, Pat Riley, held a celebration in Miami introducing the new “Big 3″.  LeBron stated it was time to win not just one championship, but two, three, four, five, six, seven championships.

I focus on Miami here because this was the main headline of the 2010-11 season.  Whether you wanted to see them fail or succeed, they were the team under the microscope throughout the year.

The new season brought in other storylines as well. Can the Lakers three-peat? Will Carmelo be playing ball in the mile high by the end of the year?  Do the Bulls take the next step with the addition of Carlos Boozer? Will Amare energize the Knicks? Do the aging Celtics and Spurs have another title run? How much of an impact do rookies John Wall and Blake Griffin make?  Here is an analysis on how each team fared during the regular season. Let’s start with the East.


Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics (56-26, 3rd overall)


The defending Eastern Conference champions looked primed and ready for another championship run this year as they jumped out to a 23-4 start w/o their starting big man Kendrick Perkins, who was still recovering from a knee injury.  The additions of Shaq, when he was healthy enough to play, and Jermaine O’Neal covered for Perkins fairly well.  Yet it was still their Big Four – Pierce, KG, Allen, and Rondo – who lead the way.  Rondo fueled this team early on with his play at point including a career high 24 assists in one game.  The first month and half he was throwing out dimes at a rate of 14 apg.  Prior to the trade deadline, the Celtics made a gutsy move by trading the defensive presence Perkins, and rarely used Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic, and signed Troy Murphy after New Jersey bought out his contract.  This trade I think hurt the team’s toughness.  Although Green and Kristic played solid, it seemed there was something missing from a toughness and edge level.  Either way the C’s had a terrific season and were still a favorite to win the championship.

Grade:  A- (Would have been a solid A if it weren’t for the trade)

Continue reading 2010-11 NBA Season Review: Eastern Conference