Category Archives: TV

TV Review – Is Ray Donovan Over?

Boston gangsters + Hollywood = Departed with Palm trees.

BQB here to talk about the surprise ending to the Season 5 finale of “Ray Donovan.”

SPOILER ALERT.

Repeat – Spoiler Alert.  If you haven’t seen the Season 5 finale yet, read no further.

“Ray Donovan” has always be an acquired taste.  In my mind, it always seems as though the show suffered from a bit of schizophrenia.  Is it about a family of South Boston hoodlums who relocate to LA in the hopes of leaving their past behind only to bring their demons with them?  Is it about the baseball bat wielding fixer that celebrities call when their nights of drinking and debauchery get out of it?

Short answer: It’s both.  Sometimes it’s A.  Sometimes it’s B.  In my opinion, it’s more A than B.  We come for the Hollywood fixing but we stay for the relocated Boston crime family drama.

It’s inevitable that a fixer would have a past.  The idea of a show about the man actors/musicians/etc. call to get them out of a jam is interesting and original.  It makes sense that we see how the fixer became such a gruesome bastard, but there’s only so much time in one hour and historically, the family drama often beats out the Hollywood fixing.

Ray’s clients are often caricatures of famous celebrities.  For example this past season, there’s a run in with “Jay White,” an African-American actor who starred on a popular sitcom as a teenager only to become a blockbuster action star.  (Will Smith anyone?)  Meanwhile, Ray has a tryst with a comic book style movie series actress who is reminiscent of any number of interchangeable silver screen hot babes.

That’s the rub.  The show’s challenge has always been to make you believe the people Ray is working with (or working over with his bat) are big time stars and yet, they’re invariably played by no-name B listers.  Occasionally, some A-listers will stop by for a season.  Ian McShane and Katie Holmes fought over Ray’s loyalty as a father/son sports franchise owner team last season.  Susan Sarandon plays Ray’s benefactor/client/movie studio executive this time around.  Personally, I always wondered if the show strayed too far from the first season formula where Elliot Gould played the aging yet powerful Hollywood agent who always called on Ray to get his talent out of hot water.

In short, it’s tough to make the viewer think a fictional famous client is important when the actor playing the role isn’t that famous.  As a longtime fan of the show, I’ve often wondered why some real celebrities don’t show up to request Ray’s services but then I realize a) people are stupid and some might think that Actor Joe Blow asking Ray for help in a drama might mean Actor Joe Blow really did something that requires a fixer’s help in real life.  B) getting real actors to play themselves would result in a parody, i.e. the slew of famous people who make cameos on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” as Larry David’s Hollywood friends/enemies.

But I throw that all aside for the fact that the show’s concept is original and as far as I know, never done before.  I can’t think of another TV show about a Hollywood fixer.  If there has been one, let me know.

Ultimately, the family drama is more gripping.  While Liev Schreiber plays the show’s namesake, it’s Jon Voight who steals the show as Ray’s conniving father/Southie hoodlum Mickey Donovan.

If you want to know what Mickey is all about, there’s one scene I can point to.  There’s an episode where Mickey, well into his seventies, takes a seat at a retirement home next to another old timer.  The old man is Mickey’s age.  The old man talks of bingo and crafts, dinner at four and so on.  Mickey finds this all distasteful and runs.  He is forever a young man trapped in an old man’s body.  His only thoughts are a) pussy and b) pulling off heists/scores/scams to obtain said pussy.  Mickey invariably gets his family members into trouble and Ray spends most of his time bailing his family members out of Mickey’s shenanigans.

Yet, when all is said and done, Mickey puts on the old Irish charm, tells a joke, cracks a smile and somehow convinces whoever he wronged that it was really their fault, because he’s just a dumb old man.  Worse, his lack of remaining years means he just doesn’t give a fuck, so he doesn’t care who he hurts.  Occasionally though, it does appear that he legitimately feels bad about hurting his family. He will feel bad, but he’s got a short attention span, so he’ll pull more shit next week.  Ray is the only one who sees through the bullshit.  The remaining family members often get roped into the bullshit.

Ray’s brothers include the lovable man-child Bunchy (Dash Mihok), a grown man who never really grew up.  Easily fooled and gullible.  Often tricked into doing stupid things.  Really wants to prove to Ray that he’s smart and can hold his own.  Often fucks things up when he tries too hard and bites off more than he can chew.

Also, Terry (Eddie Marsan), ex-boxer suffering from Parkinson’s who owns a gym and trains young fighters.  Only member of the family who actually wants to obey the law and be legit.  Suffers when he is pulled down into the bullshit.

Also, Daryll, the family’s half-African American brother from an affair Mickey had with a black woman, Mickey’s insatiable fetish for nubian goddesses being a running source of fun throughout the show.  Daryll yearns for family acceptance.  He’s young so he wants to make something of himself but often gets tricked into Mickey’s schemes.

Longtime suffering wife Abby (Paula Malcomson), and spoiled kids Bridget and Connor (Kerris Dorsey and Devon Bagby) round out the show.

OK.  Where was I?  The finale.  So, I didn’t quite realize it until Ray was standing on the edge of that building, but it would seem that if the show were to end here, it would be the perfect ending to a series where everything wraps up nicely and all of the characters’ arcs, save for maybe one or two, are accounted for.

At the end of the series 5 finale, Ray sees a false vision of Abby, who dies earlier in the season from cancer.  Ray follows her to the edge of a tall city building rooftop.  He stands on the edge.  The moment is drawn out.  Will he jump?  Will he step back?  Will he wait there and we’ll find out next season if he takes the plunge?

Finally, he jumps.  He falls a long height and plunges into the water below.  The future of the series is in doubt.  I mean, honestly, for most normal people, a fall from that height, just the shock alone, would kill them.  The plunge into the water would likely be fatal.  I mean, it’s water, but still, there’s force involved.  Force that’s not good for the body.

Ray plunges deeper and deeper.  His eyes close.  The show could end here…or Ray could magically swim to the top and take a deep breath of life at the start of Season 6 if Showtime asks for another round.  This could be Ray’s death or his baptism and absolution.  Maybe he’s died having realized he can’t escape his demons or maybe he’ll be reborn, pledging to forget what he’s done and start using his fixer skills for good.  (Or maybe a draw in the middle where he swims to shore, does his usual schtick of bagging some bimbo, drinking too much, punching one of his dumb brothers in the face then starting on a new fixer adventure.)

If the show ends here, it’s a perfect ending for:

RAY – His shrink just told him to undergo years of therapy to remove his past trauma.  In Ray fashion, he takes a shortcut and dies.

ABBY – The long suffering wife.  Put up with  years of Ray’s cheating due to an old fashioned idea of standing by her man, staying in for the kids and ultimately, because she does love Ray and Ray at least lies about his affairs although rarely convincingly.  She’s dead and does not deserve to be.  She deserved some sort of happy ending but at least she doesn’t have to put up with the bullshit anymore.

BUNCHY – He’s finally somebody.  He’s finally successful, doing something he can do.  He is a bar owner.  He has money.  He has learned from his stupidity.  He looks like a man with a plan when he lays out his vision to revitalize the bar.  He has his daughter.  He mustered up the balls to tell his cheating wife to take a hike.  He’ll always be somewhat stupid, but he has found a little piece of the world where, if he sticks with it, he’ll probably be alright.

TERRY – Finally training a young fighter who could be the next big name boxer.  Was ominously charged with looking after Bridget, so if Ray is dead, he has a quasi-daughter.  He might finally find fortune as a famous boxing trainer and be able to fund his life without being dragged into bullshit schemes.

DARYLL – Now a big time producer, but it came at a price.  As far as we know, he gets to live a life of fame and fortune, but he’ll always be haunted by the shit his family dragged him into.

MICKEY – In jail.  Sort of unfair that he didn’t commit this murder but, you know, he’s done shit a lot worse, like tons of shit much worse he never got caught for so, yeah, he’s where he deserves to be.  The DA offers to let Mickey live out his life in a prison’s elderly wing if he confesses.  If he doesn’t, he’ll face lethal injection.  Mickey shows the true power of old age by telling the DA to do his worst and then the gambler boats he’ll be returning to his game of solitaire, one he might actually win (he’s a card player throughout the series.)  Ray has finally gotten his revenge against the old man.

BRIDGET – Going to school in New York.  Boyfriend Smitty lives.  Told by Susan Sarandon’s character that not everyone is lucky enough to have a father like Ray Donovan.  I wanted to thank Susan for that.  As shitty as Ray is, he has used his shitty skills to extract Bridget from stupid mistakes that her young, dumb brain did not think through.  She would inevitably trash talk her father afterwards and though yes, Ray is a bad man, I found myself yelling at the screen often, asking if this dummy ever realized that if her father was, say, an accountant and not a baseball bat wielding sociopath, she’d probably be dead or in jail or worse because of space brain?

CONNOR – The last scene with Connor puts on full display on ongoing dispute between fathers and sons, any parent and any kid really.  The Greatest Generation thought the Baby Boomers were dumb hippies who wanted to dance all day instead of getting jobs.  The Baby Boomers thought Generation X and Millenials were just pop culture crazed imbeciles who never had to brave the dangers of a Vietnam.  The good news is, thus far, the world has been getting better, but the bad news is that parents, as they get old, rarely are happy their hard work has led to lives of comfort for their kids.  Instead, they are often jealous their kids have so much while they had so little.

It’s a running problem throughout the series.  Ray and Abby rip Bridget and Connor a new one constantly, telling them they’re spoiled brats and they’re soft and weak because they have had it too good.  Parents, be careful with that, as it appears Connor has heard this one too many times.  Apparently, Dad can only tell his son he’s a pussy one too many times before son joins the Marines and vows to turn himself into a bad ass motherfucker and return to make Dad his bitch.

Honestly, I kinda hope there is a sixth season just so we can see Connor make Ray his bitch.

AVI – Ray’s longtime partner in crime is hopefully on a beach in South America somewhere.

LENA – Ray’s lesbian, messy haired partner in crime was one of the cooler characters of the series, somewhat underutilized though there was one cool episode where she pretties herself up to take a mark down.  We never really got to know her that well.  We aren’t told what’s next for her.  As far as we know, she’ll stare at the computer eating Chinese food for a day or two before she realizes Ray is never coming back and looks for another job.

CONCLUSIONS:

So, yeah, if the show ends here, it had a good run, and it all ties together nicely.  Part of me hopes it isn’t brought back.  I’m not sure what more can be done.  For some characters, say Bunchy, Bridget and Terry, it’s a happy ending.  For others, Mickey and Ray, it’s unhappy but more or less the ending they deserved.  Lena is the only question mark.

If they bring it back, they’ll be hard pressed to come up with a better ending and also, they’ll need to let us know if Lena finds the lesbian of her dreams.

 

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TV Review – Rick and Morty

Oh my God, Morty!  We have to review a show about Rick and Morty, Morty!  BURP!  The review has to be good, Morty!  The BQB Blog only has 3.5 readers, Morty!  What are we going to do, Morty?

Hey 3.5.  So after years of hearing about Rick and Morty, I finally checked it out and I am hooked.  I haven’t laughed so hard in so long.  That’s a good thing because I thought comedy had more or less died.

The first thing is this is a TV show on Adult Swim and is NOT for kids at all.  Surprising, for some reason I did think it was a kids’ show but I was wrong.  Lots of gratuitous sex talk, innuendo, situations and swears galore.

The gist is that Rick Sanchez is a Grandpa who, after disappearing for 20 years, returns to his family.  He is a mad scientist and in this show, the most intelligent being of all time, yet it’s hard to wrap your head around it because he is always burping and swearing and engaging in boorish behavior.  Confusing things is that Rick often uses his scientific know-how to travel a) through space b) through time and c) through time lines…meaning more than one version of himself pops up often.

Rick drags his nerdy grandson Morty along on his adventures and it really tears Morty up.  Morty just wants to be a regular kid and can’t deal with the stress of being his grandpa’s intergalactic time traveling helper.  Is this a metaphor about sometimes kids have to grow up too early and help their elders?  Maybe.

Anyway, it has given me a lot of laughs.  I recommend it, Morty.

Burp.  Time to end the review, Morty.  Because we have to, Morty.

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One Year Anniversary of David S. Pumpkins

I can’t believe it’s been one year since David S. Pumpkins.  I’m David Pumpkins, man!  I’m my own thang…

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Always Man the Anti-Dragon Crossbow

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

I’ve watched the final scene of the latest Game of Thrones episode a bunch of times now, the one where Khaleesi burns the shit out of the Lannister army with her dragon’s red hot fire breath.

Truly, some bad ass shit we fans have been waiting seven years to see.

Question – why was the anti-dragon crossbow just sitting in a covered wagon, all wrapped up and not ready to fire?  Why did Sir Bronn have to fight his way across a battlefield to get to it?

I mean, seriously?  WTF, people?  If you know there’s a crazy ass blonde bitch with a fat ass fire breathing dragon at her command, you would think that it would be common sense for the big ass anti-dragon crossbow to be manned at all times.

Day.  Night.  Weekday.  Weekend.  Holiday.  There should always be some dude behind that crossbow waiting to shoot a damn dragon.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

 

 

 

 

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Game of Thrones Review – Season 7, Episode 4 – The Spoils of War

Hey 3.5 readers.  BQB here.

This episode is one that fans have been waiting to see for years.

First, there was the long awaited reunion of the Stark children.  They were babies when the show started, young adults now.  Any one of the actors/actresses could have gotten too big for their britches and abandoned the show.  Sophie Turner in particular has landed some big roles like Jean Gray in the X Men films.  But they all stuck with their first gig and remained loyal to the fans so this day could come.

Second, how long have we all been waiting for a big time dragon warfare scene?  Pretty awesome.  Pretty devastating.  It would truly suck to be on the business end of a fiery dragon hole, let me tell you.

Want a sign that the writing on this show is fabulous?  It’s that you simultaneously root for all the characters to win.  As Sir Bronn of the Blackwater goes for that big ass anti-dragon crossbow, you simultaneously root for him to blow that dragon out of the sky and also for the dragon to sit Bronn on fire so Khaleesi can survive.

It’s all in the backstory.  We’ve seen Bronn go from rags to riches so we want him to hang in there.  But we’ve seen Khalessi do the same so we want her to stick around too.

We cheer for Khaleesi’s dragons to burn up the Lannister army yet we also cheer Jamie on as he fends off the Dothraki.  What a show that can make us feel for both sides.

Seriously.  The standard for most fantasy fare is one side is so absurdly evil that you can’t wait for them to die at the hands of the good guys who are unwaveringly good.  Here, you get the backstory.  We understand why the Lannisters have done what they have done, just as we understand Khaleesi’s motivations.

Ultimately, it looks like Khaleesi would do the best as Queen of Westeros, but we feel for Bronn and Jamie.  We know how they ended up on that battlefield.  We know under different circumstances they might have chosen better sides.  We don’t want them to become dragon chow.

Plus, when Tyrion says, “You fucking idiot.”  Who is he talking about?  Khaleesi for landing her dragon right in the middle of the battlefield to tend to his wound or Jamie, for charging in the general direction of a damn dragon?  It’s certainly open ended.

Oh and how long have we waited for the Dothraki invasion?  Khaleesi’s loyal army of foreign, wild card warrior rapists have been cooling their heels for a long ass time now and are ready for action.  Also rape.  Not gonna lie.  They’re probably gonna do a lot of raping.  That’s what Dothraki do.  I mean, I don’t want to engage in harmful stereotypes, but always wear a cast iron chastity belt when you’re around a Dothraki.  It’s just common sense, really.

By the way, is it me or have all the rules about how fast armies can travel in this massive continent suspended?  I feel like in the beginning it would take armies half the season to move anywhere.  Now you’ve got Euron Greyjoy taking down Khaleesi’s fleet right away and Khaleesi and dragons and Dothraki make it from Dragonstone to High Garden within the span of an episode.

Oh well.  The writers on this show are suffering some mild senioritis.  I suppose we can overlook travel time rules for more awesome dragon scenes.

 

 

 

 

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Game of Thrones Recap – Season 7, Episode 2 – Stormborn

So, the Khaleesi is planning her invasion.  Her cohorts all want a full assault on King’s Landing.  The Khaleesi has other thoughts in mind.  She doesn’t want to be Queen of the Ashes, i.e. to destroy the city.  She wants to surround it and starve the Queen out.  Meanwhile, Grey Worm and the Unsullied will take Casterly Rock.

Sam is working to cure Mormont despite advice against it, namely, he could catch the disease in the process.

We finally see what eunuch sex looks like.  Ladies, keep an open mind about eunuchs.  They may not have much downstairs, but they make up for it with a little mouth to the south.

Cersei looks like she might have a surface to air anti-dragon weapon.  She also scores the first victory as ally Euron Greyjoy defeats his niece and nephew at sea.  Reek really wusses out.

Khaleesi confronts Varys.  He has a history of conspiring against those he has served to save the realm and also his hide.

Jon Snow decides to meet with Khaleesi despite advice against it.

What say you, 3.5 readers?  Will the Khaleesi pull this off?

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Should Ed Sheeran Have Had a Cameo on Game of Thrones?

Pro – he’s probably a fan who had a good time doing it.

Con – This show is bigger than the actors.  It has never had to rest on large personalities or gimmicks, so this seemed cheesy.

Discuss.

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Game of Thrones Wrap-Up – Season 7, Episode 1 – Dragonstone

It’s a Game of Spoilers, 3.5 readers.  Look away, I say.

Basically, Cersei and Jaime are screwed, and more so than the usual screwing they do to each other.

To the South, the Dornish Amazons are pissed.  To the North, Jon Snow is King.  The Whitewalkers are headed for the Wall.

Oh, and the Khaleesi has landed.  Repeat, the Khaleesi has landed.

Arya has taken out all the Freys with her ninja skills.  Oh and all the kids have officially grown up.  Arya, Bran and Sansa are all super tall and look like they ate their Wheaties over the past year.  Sigh, this decade really has moved fast, hasn’t it?

Yes, things suck big time for Cersei.  And with her children and family gone, Jaime asks the inevitable question of what are they even fighting for?

Her only potential ally at this point seems to be Euron Greyjoy, who promises a fleet and a special mysterious gift if he can get all up in Cersei’s lady business.

Don’t do it, Euron.  You know she’s packing a steel bear trap in that thing.

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TV Review – House of Cards – Season 5

As they say in Gaffney, this review is for people who have been watching the show from the beginning and are all caught up.  Otherwise, the SPOILERS will ruin it for you.

BQB here with a review of “House of Cards-Season 5.”

I thought this show had jumped the shark a couple seasons back where Frank and the fictional Russian President had a personal showdown in the desert but I was wrong.  The shark not only jumped this season, it did backflips.

Here are my observations:

#1 – Surprise Murders/Attacks

The show got a lot of bang for its buck when Frank tossed Zoe in front of that moving subway car with literally no warning.  It made for great, disturbing viewing and heightened the stakes, letting you know the show could turn on the drop of a time.

Sadly, now they always seem to be trying to recreate that moment.  Frank pushes Kathy down a flight of stairs at random in the midst of a conversation with her.  Claire kills Yates with her vagina.  Speaking of…

#2 – Claire Did Not Kill a Man with Her Vagina

I thought maybe she had as Yates died mid coitus.  Maybe she had some sort of top secret CIA device inside her cooter but nope, it was poison (in his drink, not in the vagina.)  Still, another surprise murder.  I mean, not really because Yates had threatened the Underwoods and that’s never a good move for your health but I think the sex part was to trick you into thinking Claire was going to let him off the hook but nope, she just wanted one more turn on that penis before Yates bit the big one.

#3 – Elysium Fields

I had mixed thoughts on that.  First, it was funny.  Second, I think we all assume the rich and powerful get together to divide up and rule the country/world but still, to see it unfold brought the show to a different place.  It was creative and fun though.

#4 – Claire Becomes Vice-President/President

I never really bought that.  It could happen but usually if the First Lady is an asset, they just keep her and put her out there more and then try to add a VP who is also an asset.  In other words, if someone is on your team and scoring points for you, then you’ve got them, so you just add another person to score points.

#5 – Frank Frames Himself

That was way out of left field and total bullshit.  The whole premise of the show is that Frank does evil shit and then does more evil shit to get himself off the hook, that if you are willing to do the most evil shit then you will always win in politics.  He loves power and his own ego so that he’d somehow be willing to hand his wife the presidency and take a powder while she rules seems highly unlikely.

#6 – Claire Acknowledges the Audience

Frank has always had his little asides, breaking the fourth wall to let us in on what he’s up to.  Now Claire is doing it, so to me, that seems like the show is moving towards a final showdown between Frank and Claire.  I kind of yearn for the early days when Frank was the boss and Claire his evil consigliere.  That dynamic just seemed to make more sense.

#7 “I’m Fucking You Because I Hate You”

That lady whose husband died so Frank could have his liver knew Doug did it all along and had sex with him because she hated him?  Please.  I’ve had women completely dump me and abandon all contact because I left the toilet seat up or forgot to wash a dish so I can’t imagine the vengeance a woman would have if a liver was involved.

8 – Real TV Reporters

Does it ever bother you when real TV reporters make cameos in which they “report” on Frank?  If they’re able to act that well, makes you wonder how much of the real news involves acting.

9 – It’s getting boring.

I try not to get too deep into the weeds on some of the more complex conspiracy theories.  At this point if they say it happened then it happened.  I can’t keep track of it all.

10 – It should wrap up soon.

I feel like they’ve gone as far as they can go.  It should probably end with Claire besting Frank or maybe they both take each other out in one last Mr and Mrs Smith style battle royale to the finish.

Your thoughts, 3.5 readers?

 

 

 

 

 

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Hodor’s KFC Commercial – Chicken with Rice

Hey 3.5 readers.

Hodor was in a KFC commercial.  Just as “hold the door” became “Hodor,” so too does “chicken with fries” become “chicken with rice.”

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