A Letter for the Town

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Dear Cocksuckers,

I hope the next few paragraphs persuade you to purchase, stream, steal ( like, from your friend), pirate ( like, from the internet), the show that is “Deadwood”. It’s a western that aired on HBO from 2004-2006 before being cancelled prematurely after the third season. All of the actors gave their best performances of their careers, and launched a few to the top (Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker, John Hawkes, Ian McShane). Others would go on to have crucial roles on other television shows, including Dayton Callie (Sons of Anarchy), Paula Malcomson (Ray Donovan), Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope), Titus Welliver (Sons of Anarchy), Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), among others (now that I think of it, half of the cast shows up on “SOA”). This incredible ensemble was lead by the genius who also brought us “NYPD Blue”, David Milch.

You watch “Sons of Anarchy, you experience “Breaking Bad”, but you embrace “Deadwood”. Some shows place the emphasis on their lead character. Others want to show as much gore and blood as they can. Milch’s masterpiece was about the real life town of Deadwood. That was the main character. And not only that, but it felt like YOU, dear reader, were a part of that town. Game of Thrones is gut wrenching (in the best of ways), but you don’t ever feel like a Stark or Lannister. In Breaking Bad, as tense and exciting as it is, you’re on the outside looking in. When you watch Deadwood, you are there. You can taste every shot of whiskey Steve the Drunk took. When tragedy strikes the town, you also bonded together with the townsfolk. There was a seat saved for you every important meeting at the Gem. You become a part of that community. Community. That’s what this show is in one word. About a large group of people (mostly cuthroats) forming a community in the early days of our country. And you’re a part of it.

Sad as it is, there is not much traction for a Deadwood revival. It would be near impossible to bring all of the actors back. Their contracts ended after the the third season. So if you are expecting to jump into it when a movie comes out (like Veronica Mars), you will be waiting until the end of eternity. Yet the highly praised Firefly gets petitions it seems yearly. Monthly, Daily. And I mean in no way to disrespect Firefly. But it did only get one season compared to the three Deadwood gifted us. Let me attempt a comparison. Firefly is like that one night stand that was incredible, but ended up never seeing the girl (or guy) again. Think “Before Sunrise” if they had never made sequels. Deadwood is more like Mandy Moore from “A Walk to Remember”. You spend much more time with her, she changes you for the better, you fall in love, until one day you find out she has cancer and will die shortly. Clearly “Before Sunrise” is the superior movie, but Shane West literally has his heart ripped out. That’s the feeling of not having this story run its course.

I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. Deadwood is dark. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of laughs throughout the show. E.B is one of the funniest written characters in drama. But as you go on and get closer to the end, you will know my meaning. And while it is dark, it is life. It’s realistic. There are little people in this world who don’t always get justice. Bad people will get away with doing bad things. It reminded me of  the “Sons of Anarchy” season two finale. The main antagonist, Ethan Zobelle (played wonderfully by Adan Arkin), escapes death after all the pain he unleashed on the club. Sometimes, those guys just get away. And that’s life.

If none of the above has convinced you (and it probably hasn’t) I give you two words: Ian. McShane. As I’ve previously stated here, McShane is on the Mount Rushmore of Anti-Heroes in Drama. You are unable to take your eyes off of him from scene one. The transformation he makes from the Pilot to the last scene in Season Three is on par with Walter White, Don Draper, and Tony Soprano. I might as well state it as a fact. He is, to put it simply, a joy to watch.

And so I will end on that. There is a special kind of love I have for this show. Just browsing at pictures of the characters gives me goosebumps. It’s like looking at old friends from back home. Old memories of good times and bad. It’s not the best show ever made, but I can honestly say it’s in a league of its own. Special in it’s own fucking way. But do not fret. There is still time folks. It’s not the end of the world. To partially quote a friend of mine, “…the world ends when you’re dead…”. You’re sure as hell not dead yet. Now shut the fuck up and watch some Deadwood. Ya cocksuckers.

With Regards,

M.O. Alexander

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Michael Jordan is the Michael Jordan of Michael Jordaning

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How often have you heard someone use the phrase, ” So and so is the Michael Jordan of so and so’s profession”. You know, Beethoven is the Michael Jordan of classical music. Stephen King is the Michael Jordan of horror novels. They even use it with other sports. Wayne Gretzky is the Michael Jordan of hockey! Hey, I get it. I agree with you guys. It’s overused and a bit tacky. Having said that….I’m super curious as to what would be considered the Michael Jordan of television dramas.

The thought crept up on me after viewing the True Detective finale. Those eight episodes are as good as any one season of television. Still, I couldn’t claim it to be the “Michael Jordan” of dramatic television. What I’ve decided to do is rank the best twelve players in NBA history. As well as pair them with the twelve most influential television dramas of our generation. How did I so choose the TV shows you ask? It was quite simple actually. I stole them from this. Bear in mind that this idea may or may not have come about under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Lets get to it.

12. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar / Oz

Oh boy. I just realized I’m saying Kareem is the 12th best player ever and Oz the 12th best TV show ever. Oh man. Might not have thought this through. There is one strong similarity these two have in common. You could put them in any environment and they would thrive. If Kareem (in his prime) plays for the Lakers this year, he’s the best center in the NBA. Even on that putrid squad. Sure he might get banged on defensively but he would equally be unguardable. Even in the late 90s into the early 00s I think he would be an all star caliber player. You put Wilt or Russell into this generation they become a role player. No ifs, ands, or buts. Same with Oz. That show is holding up with Game of Thrones, True Blood, Breaking Bad, and all the rest. Hell, Game of Thrones practically stole a page right from Oz’s playbook in Season 1. That show invented shocking deaths.

11. Jerry West / The Shield

Both show and player had a hell of a run. Jerry only ended up winning one title and The Shield only claimed one major award (Chiklis for Best Actor at the Emmys). To be honest, I had to put Jerry West on here. He’s the logo. I usually don’t like putting players from the older generation on here. Their stats usually don’t compare (looking at you Oscar and your garbage triple double record). I think the main link this show/player have is the high note they both left on. Jerry West ended his basketball career by being perhaps the best NBA General Manager in history. While The Shield has arguably the best finale of all time. As many of the shows on here can attest, it’s not easy to do a finale.

10. Wilt Chamberlain / LOST

One word connects both of them. Over hyped. I could of sworn that was one word. Fair enough. Two words connect these two. If you put Shaq on any team from 1950-1965 he would put up the same numbers as Wilt. Or Georgetown Ewing. Or David Robinson. They would all put up monster numbers against undersized white guys. I’m ashamed I even put him on this list. Not the first time I’ve been ashamed of myself, but still. The same goes for LOST. Yes I know the following it had (or has) and the viewership numbers it produced. But there was nothing else on network television! It had like two competitors. And one of them was House. LOST was dunking on the likes of Dr. Vegas , The Mountain , and LAX . It seemed like they both listened to their fans too much at one point. Oh you want more smoke monster answers? BOOM. Terrible episode with a cop out of an answer that never had the chance of appeasing fans. Oh you don’t think I can lead the league in not fouling out? Goes ahead and tries his best not to foul out every game to the detriment of his team. Talking about these two makes me nauseous.

9. Allen Iverson / Deadwood

This one really hurts. Deadwood should be much higher. Sadly I lumped it together with AI. My main line of thinking was this. Allen Iverson put his 76er team on his back year after year leading them to the cusp of greatness. Al Swearengen did the same for Deadwood. The town and the TV show. David Milch’s writing is some of the best I’ve seen on screen and I’m sure that’s where most of the praise for Deadwood should go. But Ian McShane put Al on the Anti Hero Mount Rushmore. It’s Walter White, Tony Soprano, Don Draper, and Al Swearengen. It’s just a shame there was so little of it to appreciate. And when you think of it, the same goes for Iverson. He had a respectable fifteen year playing career. But those three years or four years from 2000-2004 were where the magic happened. The MVP year. The practice rant. The Lue Step. Even more to his credit, he has a whole city ready to die for him. That’s how strong the love for him is in Philadelphia. On paper, Donovan McNabb should be widely as appreciated. Obviously that’s not the case. I feel the same way, as do many, about Al Swearenger. Deadwood isn’t close to being my favorite show of all time, but I can honestly say he his my favorite lead of any show. And I’d do anything to see him on the screen again.

8. Shaq Daddy / 24

Shaq was the most dominating force the league has ever seen. 24 is the most intense show that’s ever been on television (the Breaking Bad fan in me just punched me in the nuts). There’s something about Jack having to save the world in 24 hours that just keeps you on the edge of your seat. Shaq and 24 both came at the right time. 24 right around our 9/11 fear of terrorists and bombings and middle eastern looking people really took hold. And it hugely benefited from it. It took it and ran. The Diesel came right when the 90s were being born. And EVERYONE was better for it. It’s no coincidence he came into the league during the best decade ever. Unfortunately they both have been largely forgotten. People only remember Cavalier Daddy. Or the Daddy who screwed up EJ, Kenny, and Charles mojo. Same goes for Jack Bauer. People got sick of the same old after a while. Doesn’t it seem like people consider 24 a fad we all went through when Bush was president. Kind of like they never admitted to liking it. Exactly how nobody admits to liking Creed when they were all over VH1. We all did!

7. LeBron James / Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I had to put LeBron here. And I guess Buffy deserves to be here. The fact that Buffy succeeded on the WB is a feat in itself. What I should be (and will be) comparing, is LeBron and Whedon. After all is said and done they might be the top two that have ever done it. There really doesn’t seem like a brave soul that will step in and stop LBJ’s dominance. Myself? I’m hoping Silver rigs this coming draft so the Lakers get Jabari, sign Durant and Kevin Love in the next few years, Kobe forces Jabari to be sixth man and they win a ton of rings. Will it happen? Probably only the part where Kobe forces Jabari Parker to be his Manu Ginobli. As for Whedon, he will continue to successfully make Avenger movies and have fans suck all over his cock. I think he still has one great TV show left in him. Maybe two. Probably two.

6.  Kobe Bryant / Friday Night Lights

Man…have these two had their ups and downs or what? Kobe’s rape allegation. Tyra almost getting raped leading to Landry killing some dude. Kobe almost getting traded in his prime. Tyra almost getting raped leading to Landry killing some dude. Kobe having to tell Shaq how his ass taste. Tyra almost getting raped leading to Landry killing some dude. But there’s no denying the high points. Kobe’s first three peat. One of the best first seasons in TV history. Kobe’s 81 point massacre of the Raptors. Kyle Chandler winning Best Actor over Jon Hamm. Kobe wins two chips with a new cast of characters. FNL having two incredible seasons with the ghetto Panthers. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Black Mamba.

5. Tim Duncan / Battlestar Galactica

Tim Duncan and BSG are so disrespected Rodney Dangerfield bows before them. If TD beats the Heat last summer, he goes number 2. He plays in a small market so he clearly never gets the attention he deserves. He’s not flashy. Sticks to the basics. But he wins. Battlestar is kind of the same. It’s in a genre that doesn’t get much view time. When you want drama, Sci-Fi isn’t the first place you look (and who can blame you. Star Trek is fine but it’s not top shelf stuff). It’s a remake of a laughable 70s television show. Yet it turned itself into the most thought provoking series to air. Also influenced by 9/11, it had characters make some of the most brutal calls I’ve seen. TD and BSG get talked about far less than they should. If you put Tim in New York or you change the shows name to Stark Trek : Battlestar, then they might have gotten the recognition they deserved. Alas.

3.& 4. Magic and Bird / The Sopranos and The Wire

“The Sopranos is the best TV show in history. I mean Tony Soprano! Amiright?”.

“Dude watch The Wire. So many twists and turns. It’s a masterpiece”.

When arguing who is better between Magic and Larry it really comes down to preference. Or hometown affiliation. It’s like arguing about vanilla and chocolate ice cream. One isn’t better than the other. We just have different tastes. I would argue that goes for the top two HBO shows of all time as well. I would concede The Sopranos probably has a bigger following (like Magic) and ran for longer (just like Magics career was longer. Though it turned ugly at the end). But the faithful who claim The Wire to be the best ever will fight their point to the death. That’s how much they love their show. They’re like a cult (whereas a future show to be named is so big it’s more like a religion). I don’t know which is better and frankly I don’t care. I just know you need to watch both before you die. And like Bird and Magic, they will always be grouped together.

2. Bill Russell / Mad Men

Bill Russell is not the second most talented basketball player ever. What he is, is the way basketball should be played in the form of a man. He was never bigger than the team. True, Russell was the center piece, but he did everything in his power to make sure the people around him would succeed. He is all a basketball player should be. Mad Men is what every television show should aspire to. I don’t just mean by subject matter, but how every scene means something. There is no filler. Every actor feeds off each other while Jon Hamm leads the show. Hamm never won an Emmy (as of yet) and Russell never led the league in scoring. All he wanted to do was win, and I don’t know if Hamm felt the same way, but as a show, Mad Men dominates come award time. Guess what? It dominated during the golden age of television and AGAINST THE MICHAEL JORDAN OF TELEVISION DRAMAS.

1. Michael Jordan / Breaking Bad

I’ll let this make my point for me

I’d make an Honorable Mention list but I think this was enough of a disaster. All I wanted to say was Breaking Bad is the Michael Jordan of TV shows.

Elijah in the Phonebooth

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10 years from now, some studio exec will come up with the bright idea to remake the 2002 smash hit “Phone Booth”. I guarantee it. And I’d like to tell future Hollywood Exec, pump the brakes. “Grand Piano”, starring Elijah Wood and John Cusack, already stole your mediocre idea. I’m not joking. “Grand Piano” is “Phone Booth” for the upper class. Allow me to show off my uncharacteristically bad summarizing skills.

Elijah Wood plays a pupil to the recently deceased “best piano player in the world”. He was some old guy who was up there with Bach and Beethoven in skill. And apparently, he left a huge sum of money after he died. Elijah ( I don’t recall his characters name. Or any characters name for that matter) comes out of retirement to play one last concert in his teacher’s honor. Oh yeah, Elijah has MAJOR stage fright. During his performance he suddenly learns Cusack has a sniper pointed at him. One wrong note and boom! See you later Elijah. Also, Elijah’s wife is in the crowd. She will succumb to a bullet in the head if he dares cry for help. Very Phone Booth-ish. I didn’t dislike this movie, yet I probably should have. Instead it brought three distinct things to my attention. I’m not sure how distinct they are, but here we go.

    1. First I’ll address why I liked this movie. It’s simple. I will always support Elijah Wood. And for the most part, really enjoy what I watch him in. Lord of the Rings, Green Street, Wilfred, Eternal, Happy Feet, etc. We all have THOSE actors we fully support. No matter what. It can be for a variety of reasons. The actors who were in a role you will hold on to forever (Elijah Wood and Sean Astin as Frodo and Samwise respectively), the actor who attended your high school ( Mike Vogel ), the hidden gem you knew about before anybody (Paul Rudd because you knew about him in Wet Hot American Summer. What’s that? He was on your radar since Clueless? I meant Wild Oats…), and of course the actor that stops you from completely hating a family name (Dave Franco for saving the Franco legacy after James desperately tried to tarnish it).

2.  Bill S. Preston is back! I couldn’t take my eyes off him throughout the entire film. He plays Cusacks evil right hand man. And guess what? He nails it! Totally pulls off the charming yet creepy killer. Not surprisingly, he brought the funny in a couple of scenes too. This really got me pumped for a new Bill and Ted. I wasn’t sure if he had been working and I just haven’t noticed it, so I took it upon myself to peruse his IMDB page. Spoiler alert, he hasn’t been up to much. In the last ten years, one Robot Chicken episode, a couple TV movies, some show called “Saul of the Mole Men” (I won’t lie, this intrigues me), and an episode of Bones. There is legit reason to get excited. If you don’t see this movie out of dedication to Frodo, see it for Alex Winter

3.  Hey John Cusack. What the fuck is going on? From the late nineties on, it’s as if he doesn’t know what kind of market he wants to be in. He was red hot at first (I’m not going to include Anastasia, but I should. Criminally underrated). It looks like he’s going to produce critical darlings with High Fidelity and Being John Malkovich. Then he takes a sudden turn to chick flick and thrillers (Serendipity, Identity, Runaway Jury). All pretty crumby in my opinion. A few years later he jumps into the horror genre with 1408. I actually found that film rather enjoyable. But Johnny M is done with horror. He smells the green over at “Apocalyptic Movie Headquarters” and stars in 2012. Generally considered a pretty bad movie. One year later we get the glorious Hot Tub Time Machine. Cusack really does well in this raunchy comedy setting and I’m surprised he didn’t try another one. Or at least a sequel ( which is apparently in the works. Four years too late?). Instead of sticking with comedy, he decides to go back into horror. And oh MY god was that a mistake. The Raven was an abomination. We finally come to a stop at Grand Piano. He now is the villain in the Bourgeoisie Phone Booth. What I’m saying is John Cusack doesn’t know what the hell he wants. And I’m concerned.

But not concerned about you enjoying Grand Piano. If you like Phone Booth you will enjoy this. If you hated Phone Booth, well, this is a bit better so there’s still a chance you will enjoy it. Here is their website where you can download it from iTunes.

I love you, Mijo

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Nah…we don’t want to do this. That’s what I told my hands as they signed me up for this site. Me? Write a blog? Do I really want to be just another statistic? I’m already the guy who exclaims, “WAIT?! You HAVEN’T seen Breaking Bad yet?! It’ is the best drama ever to grace television. What? No, dude. The Wire isn’t even close. So what if they used real gang bangers. Breaking Bad is…I honestly can’t believe you haven’t watched it yet”. My “douche” level is pretty high already. I don’t need to raise it by starting my own blog.

But here I am. AND HERE I STAND. Sorry. Still on that Frozen kick. I’m doing this because I don’t enjoy verbally speaking to people. At the same time, I NEED to let people know how I feel about the True Detective finale. The public has a right to know what my favorite books of 2013 were. And for the love of god, do you not yearn for horribly placed Road House references?! Hell, maybe yer all too stupid to have a good time.

Listen. The odds of this post being read, let alone this blog, is a million to one. Yeah, I’m saying there’s a chance, but I’m not celebrating like Lloyd Christmas. I’m content with being a safety net in case you need some garbage to read. Hopefully you all will have taught me as much as I ever taught you. Okay. Alright. That reference was unnecessary, but it’s one of the best moments in the film. Long story short, I plan on being the Wade Garrett to your Dalton.

I love you, Mijo.

Some quick points

  • The majority of what I write will probably be movie/television related. I don’t claim to know much about either. For example, I tend to say things like “The cinematography in Prisoners was really good”. To be honest, cinematography just makes me think of cinnamon. So there’s that. These posts will just be venting, moments after finishing a certain episode. You will not find the next incarnation of Alan Sepinwall here.
  • Reading is a passion of mine. There should be a fair amount of rambling about Fantasy novels. I can almost guarantee a post on why Boromir is the greatest Middle Earth character.
  • I tend to make lists. Top 10 lists to be exact. If I recall correctly, the first book I ever read was “David Letterman’s Book of Top Ten Lists“. We also share the same hair deficiency. I’ve already thought about making a Top Ten list of Top Ten Lists. So far it’s a battle between Letterman and Sportscenter Not Top Ten.