Tag Archives: Steve Buscemi

“Boardwalk Empire” is back, and still awesome. The newest most ridiculous infomercial product ever. And an “Archie” comic from 1972 that’s eerily prescient.

It took me a few days, but it was well worth it. I watched the season premiere of “Boardwalk Empire” on Wednesday, and man, I have really missed this show.

If you’re not a fan yet, this would be a good time to get in, because the show is going through a little bit of a re-boot after Atlantic City gangster Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) killed his rival/former protege Jimmy Darmody at the end of last season.

OK, SPOILER ALERT FROM THIS POINT FORWARD ON SUNDAY’s EPISODE.

I thought the season premiere was fantastic. Clearly, Margaret and Nucky have issues; was genuinely surprised to see Nucky shtupping the showgirl from the New Year’s Eve party. I love Bobby Cannavale’s new character Gyp Rosetti; that scene in the basement where he insults every other gangster in the room was fantastic.

So happy the kosher butcher from Philly was back in the show, until he wasn’t. Good on ya, Richard Harrell. Jimmy’s mother still creeps me out, I love that ex-FBI guy Van Alden (sorry, Mr. George Mueller) accidentally helps save a gangster’s life in a flower shop, and I can’t wait to see what happens with Nucky’s brother, who we haven’t seen yet but is lurking in the shadows.

A fantastic show. Looks like it’ll be getting even better this year.

**OK, someone please tell me this is a gag, or a rejected “SNL” skit, or something. Because there’s now ay this can be a real thing. This thing makes the Snuggie look as important as the invention of the cotton gin.

May I introduce you to The Popinator, a popcorn machine that directs kernels into your mouth when you say the word “pop” by following the sound of your voice?

We have this now. And yet … AIDS goes un-cured.

**Finally, this freaked me out a little. In 1972 there was an “Archie” comic where Archie traveled ahead in the future by 50 years, and this is what music is like.

Not all that far off, eh?

Thoughts on “Boardwalk Empire” and “Parenthood,” my two fave shows going in opposite directions. And a crazy hoops shot I’ve never seen

I have been grossly negligent on this blog in discussing my two favorite television shows right now, “Parenthood” and “Boardwalk Empire.” Both are still awesome and you should be viewing them regularly if you like great drama, terrific writing, and wonderful acting.
However, they’re going in opposite directions in terms of quality. Let’s start with the show that’s pissing me off and going downhill, at least a little bit.
“Parenthood” was so good during its first two seasons about not falling deeply into cliched storylines. Yes, Crosby the eternal bachelor sleeping with the nanny right after getting engaged to Jasmine was a little cliche, but the show handled it really well. Yes, Amber and Haddie fighting over the same boy could’ve been trite, but it was dealt with so beautifully (that scene from Season 1 of the girls at the gas station? So perfect).

But this year, even though a few storylines are still strong (I’ve grown to like the Julia adoption thing, and I’m loving shy boy Drew with his cute new girlfriend), “Parenthood” is torpedoing in the wrong direction. First it was terrible of Lauren Graham’s Sarah to invest so deeply again into her ex-husband’s alcohol issues, at the expense of her current boyfriend (played by John Ritter’s son Jason, who every woman I know thinks is really handsome). I just didn’t believe a man who had wronged her so much would engender Sarah’s support again.

But even that wasn’t as bad as this idiotic Adam/Kristina/hot new girl at work plot device going  on now. First of all, it was ridiculous and totally unrealistic that unemployed Adam, with a third kid on the way, would buy in with his dummy brother to a fading recording studio. But I got over that.
But now this new secretary kissing Adam, and him basically flirting with her for a few weeks, and then Kristina (whose character I intensely dislike, and Monica Potter is no great thespian in my book, either) going all crazy on Adam last week, accusing him of liking this new girl Rachel, and them throwing up this ridiculous roadblock in the marriage, just reeks of desperation and stupid cliche writing. No way in the world Adam would cheat on Kristina, we know too much about him already that he wouldn’t do that, and for her not to trust him at this point just stretches credibility (even when we consider she just had a baby).

Still, it’s a show worth watching just for Craig T. Nelson as Zeke and the adorable moments it gives us each week, like 6-year-old Sydney throwing a temper tantrum after losing a game for the first time. I love this show, but it’s been significantly worse this year.

Now on to HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” As good as it was in Season 1, this year has been even better. The transition of power in Atlantic City, as young Jimmy and his friends like Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano overthrow Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson, has been fascinating. The stunner of this last episode I totally did not see coming, and each week I wonder which of a thousand ways they’re going to take the show.

Buscemi is brilliant, but it’s the supporting players (injured war hero Richard, angry Philly butcher/bootlegger Horvitz, and an in-his-prime gangster Arnold Rothstein) who make “Boardwalk” so entertaining and fascinating. If you’ve never seen this show and have HBO, you have no excuse. Go watch a few episodes; you’ll thank me.

**Finally, check out University of Detroit guard Ray McCallum, who came up with a new way to score on Nov. 23 in a game against Austin Peay. Can’t say I’ve ever seen this before; man, if he could perfect this, it’d be an unbeatable H-O-R-S-E shot.

“Boardwalk Empire” keeps getting better. And the most amazing “Wheel of Fortune” contestant ever

If you have HBO, and aren’t already watching “Boardwalk Empire,” you absolutely should.
Yes, I’m telling you what you should do with an hour of your week. Watch this show.  My friend Tony, who is the king of hyperbole, says after seven episodes that it’s already as good as “The Wire,” which is only the best show ever on TV.
I don’t think it’s quite ready to take its place with the Barksdale crew, but “Boardwalk” is pretty freaking good. Steve Buscemi gets better every week as Nucky Thompson, the boss of Atlantic City during Prohibition. The characters are getting fleshed out more and more, the character of Arnold Rothstein is simply fantastic, and he steals every scene he’s in, and the writing of the show is incredibly sharp.
My only quibble is that there are too many characters, and keeping them all straight, remembering who’s in cahoots with who, has been a little tough. But then again, “The Wire” had that same problem in the beginning and it worked out OK.
Seriously, go watch “Boardwalk Empire.” It’s utterly fantastic.

**So a while back I linked Chris Jones’ excellent piece in Esquire about the guy who hit the Showcase Showdown exactly to the dollar on “The Price is Right.”
Well, here’s another incredible game show feat. Watch how long it takes Caitlin Burke to solve this puzzle, last week on the show. Pat Sajak had to pick his jaw up off the floor.

A brilliant start for “Boardwalk Empire.” And when a kid dies during a football game, STOP THE GAME!

A few housekeeping notes before the main blog post today:
1. I haven’t forgotten about my first-ever book giveaway contest, to the reader who sends me the worst summer camp horror story. I’ve got several really good entries so far, but I”m looking for more. I’ll keep the contest open through the end of this week; for details, read this post I wrote last week.

2. My Twitter account is sad. I only have nine followers so far. I’m trying to get better at putting fresh stuff on there, not just re-posting the blog. I’d like to get into at least double-digits in followers. So please, follow me, follow me to freedom!

3, An update on my bet with Ali Taber, good friend, excellent blogger, and Patriots fan: Ali lost our bet since the Jets beat the Pats Sunday, but she has as yet been unable to find a Jets jersey to wear, be photographed in, and post said photo on her blog and my blog. She said she’s tried, and I believe her. I’m seeing her in 10 days, so we’ve agreed if she can’t find a Jets jersey to wear by then, I’ll bring one up to her in Boston and she’ll put on one of mine. Don’t worry, I ain’t forgetting about this bet.

OK, on with the show…

For months I’d been eagerly anticipating Sunday night’s debut of “Boardwalk Empire,” the huge, wildly expensive new HBO show.
I heard so much about it: How it’s from one of the big writers of “The Sopranos,” how Martin Scorsese is directing it, and Steve Buscemi is the star. It’s set in Atlantic City, 1920, just as Prohibition is getting started.
It looked awesome from the previews. I went in expecting it to be fabulous.
And it totally delivered. What a fantastic first episode. They set up so many of the characters so quickly, and the writing was incredibly sharp.
The scenery was breathtaking, the acting fantastic (Al Capone’s first scene in particular was brilliant), and a whole bunch of other aspects were terrific, too.
Definitely check it out on HBO if you get the chance. First great new HBO series in a long, long time.

**OK, so this story angered me immediately when I heard it. Last Friday night, at a high school football game in Texas, a kid named Reggie Garrett suffered a seizure moments after throwing a touchdown pass in a game for West Orange-Stark High School.
Garrett was immediately rushed to the hospital, and according to reports, word began to spread that he died during the third quarter of the game.
And the teams kept playing.

That’s right. They kept playing, even after they learned of Garrett’s death. Disgusting. Despicable. You find out a kid on one of the teams dies, something that happened during the game, you STOP THE GAME. Have some respect for the kids involved, who saw their teammate collapse and never recover on the sideline, and have some respect for everyone in the boy’s poor family.

It’s a stupid football game, OK? It’s not life or death, it’s not that important. Stop the game, and allow the players to mourn. This isn’t a difficult call, yet these idiots involved apparently couldn’t figure it out.