Herodotus told us to call no man happy until he is dead. The same is true of television: no series, no season, no episode can be called good until it is over. All endings matter. And it is for this reason that the first episode of HBO’s Ballers is good, while the subsequent two are bad.
The three things that you need to know before you keep reading are a) Ballers is the new Entourage, b) I do not like Entourage, but c) I kinda like Ballers.
Point A is not debatable. Everyone agrees that it is the new Entourage. To be more specific, it’s the “Entourage of the NFL,” and remember that Entourage was always “Sex and the City for men.” Which makes Ballers the “(Sex and the City for men) of the NFL.” (Sex and the City, if you cannot remember it, was the Girls of the late ’90s and early oughts.)
Regarding my dislike for Entourage: I have only seen two episodes. The first two. There was not a single moment during those first two during which I thought to myself that I should continue watching. I gave it two, rather than one, out of a sense of fairness,and because I’d finished The Wire and needed something else to watch. The second episode of Entourage is the worst episode of television that I can recall finishing. It’s a terrible way to spend thirty minutes. I would rather spend thirty minutes on an episode of Duck Dynasty or the first ninety pages of a Dan Brown novel.
The reason that Entourage is so bad is that it is nothing but watching good things happen to bad people. (I am aware enough of Entourage to know that, yes, the show continues within the mold of bad people, good things, throughout its run). There is nothing more boring than a television show in which the characters continually get what they want. But enough about Entourage. Let’s discuss the trouble with Ballers. Continue reading “What exactly is Ballers supposed to be?”→
We are close to the end of what is, quite possibly, the greatest franchise ever: The Fast and the Furious films. While I initially disliked these movies, (referring to the fifth installment, prior to actually seeing it, as “more-or-less the same shitty movie they made the last four times”), I had a change in opinion after seeing Fast Five. Sure, I’m still uncomfortable being lumped into the same category as the kinds of people who choose to see films that are fast/furious, because I drive a station wagon and because I get the impression that many of the films’ fans (although, notably, not their creators) place a higher value on people driving fast cars quickly than they do on character development, realistic dialogue, or really any aspect of films other than cool shiny fancy cars.
But all of my arguments against the Fast/Furious Films are ultimately irrelevant because of one thing: they are very, very entertaining.
Furthermore, there is nothing pretentious or forced about these films. In fact, they’ve been (rightfully) praised for their progressive approach to race and gender (you can find good articles on the genius and progressive attitude of these films here, here, and here, among many other places) . The Fast/Furious films feature a variety of talented actors, brilliant cinematography, and clever, straight-forward, emotionally-driven plots on par with the original Die Hard. Additionally, while most franchises lose steam after the second or third sequel, the Fast/Furious films have both maintained all the positives of their first installment (family drama, moral conflicts, cool cars) while continually diversifying and innovating (shifting emphasis from racing to heisting, adding talented actors such as Dwayne Johnson, Tony Jaa, and Jason Statham). And yes, I have previously written about this shift in my perspective, in the post Why Bale should be in the “Fast Five” Sequel.
Unfortunately, it seems like that Fastest Seven is the end of the franchise. Paul Walker’s death, along with the inevitable ending of all franchises, means that the Fast and the Furious cannot exist forever.
Similarly, Daniel Craig cannot be James Bond forever.
While, yes, Craig will portray Bond in 2015’s Spectre, it’s unlikely that he has too many good Bond films left in him. Audiences grow bored, actors grow stale, and the dark-and-gritty-reboot seems to be on its way out.
The next step is simple: Vin Diesel as the first American James Bond.
A lot of movies happened in 2013. Only a few of them had Bale in them, but many were connected to Bale, either through themes, tone, extended universes, future sequels, Nolan-esque qualities, etc. This is a list of the Top Ten Christian Bale films, whether or not they actually had Christian Bale in them.
10. Man of Steel
It’s on the list, but barely. The strangest thing about this movie has to be that it’s ostensibly a gritty reboot, yet it still features basically the exact same opening as the Superman movie from the 1970s. Why so boring?
Remember when I suggested that The Sound and the Furious be made? (If you don’t remember, click the link). Recall, “the other option would be to just make Five Fast, Five Furious, more-or-less the same shitty movie they made the last four times.”
Welp, they did that. I realize it’s old news, but because it has not been talked about yet, it must be dicussed now. Now we have to hope that instead of The Six Fast, Furious, Etc., someone will realize the huge potential of a Faulkner-inspired prequel/spinoff starring Christian Bale.
Is there really any need for another installment in the “The Fast and the Furious” franchise? A pessimist would say no. But an optimist (who is also a Bale fan and a Faulkner buff) would see this as a chance for a whole new beginning.
The film must be set in the world of racing, to stay in the same canon as the previous four films. However, there will be several changes in setting. Our time is the “Golden Age of Thoroughbred Racing,” also known as the 1920s, and the location is Yoknapatawpha County in Mississippi. Our three main characters are ripped straight from The Sound and The Fury: Edward Norton as depressed Quincy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the mentally-handicapped Benjy, as Christian Bale as racist anti-hero Jason.
The Sound and the Furious will involve similar themes as first four films: racing, sex, and acting tough. Yet it will be flawlessly combined with Faulknerian themes and techniques such as crumbling legacies, racial conflicts, and stream-of-consciousness narration (the film will feature voiceover shifting between the three central characters.)
The other option would be to just make “Five Fast, Five Furious,” more-or-less the same shitty movie they made the last four times.