I am in love with Deadwood. Openly. If you haven’t already, set your TiVo for a Season Pass. Trust me.


I am continually blown away by David Milch’s write-as-you-go script and the fiercely passionate and independent female characters. Milch, who also wrote Hill Street Blues and created NYPD Blue, has chosen to move on to new projects for HBO following this season of Deadwood, but at least the raw beauty of this powerful western will live on, on DVD.


Robin Weigert’s role as Calamity Jane is phenomenal and fun to watch, as is Paula Malcomson’s transformation of Trixie from high ranking whore to budding bank bookkeeper.  Add Kim Dickens’ portrayal of conflicted Madam Joanie Stubbs and Molly Parker’s stubborn Alma Garret, and this series packs one hell of a feminist punch. Seriously. In an era and location where prostitution is the number one occupation, these four women are constantly striving to rise above their circumstances and by doing so, each in their own way, they quietly and subtlety control the men and dictate the social climate of the camp.


Pop culture tidbit: Creator David Milch was a Yale fraternity brother of George W. Bush. Also, Geri Jewell, the actress with cerebral palsy who plays a saloon employee on Deadwood, was Blair’s cousin Geri on The Facts of Life.

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I actually saw The Break-Up. On purpose. I had designated the movie an obvious rental as soon as the trailer appeared months ago, but I had a few spare hours yesterday (and I’d seen every other film now playing at my local theatre).  I’m not onboard with either Team Brangelina or Team Vaughniston, but morbid curiosity and sheer boredom were enough of an impetus for me to shell out $7 for the matinee.


In a nutshell, The Break-Up is a harsh glimpse into the uncomfortable airspace between two adults living together after their relationship implodes and unravels in a very quick and ugly way. Although I was impressed by the script, I was not sold on the chemistry between Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn at all (which may or may not be an indication of their potential or longevity together off-screen).  


I am not surprised that the movie was marketed as a comedy, given both the stars and the few funny scenes that were chosen for the trailer. But this is not an entertaining two hours; the interaction between the lead characters is unpleasant at best. As a matter of fact, I would not recommend The Break-Up to anyone who has been through or never recovered from the painful dissolution of a long-term relationship. Watching this film is not a therapeutic experience, and there is a good chance that you might leave the theatre more unresolved and depressed than you anticipated.


Pop culture highlight: Peter Billingsley, who plays Joey Lauren Adams’ husband in The Break-Up, was the infamous Ralphie in A Christmas Story. Now a successful television and film producer, Billingsley and Vince Vaughn have been best friends since they appeared together in an After School Special about steroids early in their careers. Awesome.

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Some of the best television programming airs during the summer, including two of my favorite shows. I am very excited about the third season of Deadwood, which begins next weekend on HBO, although I am among the legions of outraged fans disappointed by the cancellation of this stellar series. Deadwood is a beautifully crafted Western with Shakespearean language and cadence. The entire cast is awe-inspiring, and there has not been a contemporary television villain in recent memory as visually menacing as Al Swearengen, played brilliantly by Ian McShane. And then there is Rescue Me, an intense and engrossing drama with just the right dose of comic relief, co-created by and staring the underrated Denis Leary. Thank goodness this show airs on cable channel FX, because without the realistic raw language and sexuality, Rescue Me would not pack as much of an emotional punch.


As for guilty pleasure summer viewing, I am always entertained by the boys of Entourage and have transitioned from casual to dedicated fan of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List. Although I tend to have strong opinions about certain stars (which I occasionally share in this blog), I aim to avoid the outright slander of famous people. That is why I enjoy watching Griffin toy with and agitate the very celebrities I read about and only quietly pass judgment on in my own head.

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