Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Classic Leading Man Test

(Hat tip Gerald)

Your result for The Classic Leading Man Test...

Humphrey Bogart

You scored 45% Tough, 5% Roguish, 33% Friendly, and 19% Charming!

You're the original man of honor, rough and tough but willing to stick your neck out when you need to, despite what you might say to the contrary. You're a complex character full of spit and vinegar, but with a soft heart and a tender streak that you try to hide. There's usually a complicated dame in the picture, someone who sees the real you behind all the tough talk and can dish it out as well as you can. You're not easy to get next to, but when you find the right partner, you're caring and loyal to a fault. A big fault. But you take it on the chin and move on, nursing your pain inside and maintaining your armor...until the next dame walks in. Or possibly the same dame, and of all the gin joints in all the world, it had to be yours. Co-stars include Ingrid Bergman and Lauren Bacall, hot chicks with problems.

Take The Classic Leading Man Test at HelloQuizzy

Bogie's a bit tougher than I am, but otherwise sounds pretty good.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend Update

I'm saddened by the loss of Paul Newman on Saturday. He was a good actor and an old-school movie star. I watched Road to Perdition in his honor, and was finally able to get a copy of Harper. I'd wanted to see Harper for a while since it was based on a Ross Macdonald book and stars Newman and Lauren Bacall (one of my favorite actresses). However, I didn't get the chance to when I realized that The Simpsons and Family Guy had their season premieres last night.

I thought the Simpsons premiere was pretty good. It's still an example of the formula the show has fallen into recently (open with a silly plot that's forgotten after the first commercial break). I liked the homages to classic cop movies. I was able to spot Bullit and The French Connection. Anyone see any others? The appearence by Robert Forster as a bailbondsman was nice. Wonder if his name was Max Cherry? :)

Also glad to have The Unit back, but not with the new timeslot. Sundays at 10 seems like a death slot. Glad to see Benito Martinez (The Shield's David Aceveda) in a guest spot as the President Elect. He's not the first Shield actor to guest on Shawn Ryan's other show and probably not the last. I've spotted Rebecca Pidgeon (David Mamet's wife) as the Colonel's wife and Abby Brammell plays the wife of a Unit member. Eagle-eyed fans will remember her as the prostitute Aceveda frequented while working through his issues after his rape.

Looks like Harper will have to wait until the weekend as most other TV shows return this week. Definitley going to watch Chuck and the return of Life (both NBC) tonight. If you havent' seen Life, you should check it out tonight or in its new timeslot at 10PM on Friday.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

PNC Park

After reading (and commenting on) Dave's Hot Stove baseball post, it got me thinking. I put up pictures and notes from my first visit to Nationals Park, but haven't put up pictures from my last trip to PNC Park in Pittsburgh. I was there last weekend for the final homestand of the season. Pittsburgh won Saturday's game by a score of 6-4. Here are some pics:

I've been to about a dozen baseball stadiums, and Pittsburgh is my favorite.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Shield: Genocide

Another good one this week. Vic and Shane try to keep t he war between the Armenians and the Mexicans going, but they’d rather it be a cold war. Unfortunately, things are starting to get hot. We start off with the Mexicans torching an Armenian safe house – killing two of Rezian’s lieutenants. Rezian now wants a meeting with the Mexicans to explain that he doesn’t have their blackmail box, but Pezuela only wants to meet if the entire box is returned intact. Vic set up the meeting and doesn’t tell Pezuela that Rezian doesn’t really have the box. The meeting doesn’t go as Vic planned and now Pezuela thinks the Armenians really don’t have the box. Vic and Aceveda leak one file from the box, hoping to push Pezuela in the Armenians’ direction. The leak has dire consequences for one of Aceveda’s colleagues.

Meanwhile, Vic’s daughter, Cassidy, is causing all sorts of trouble. After ignoring her younger brother - who is autistic - while underage drinking, she starts fighting her parents and digging into all the rumors about her father’s misdeeds. At one point, she goes do Danny’s house to ask about Vic and to visit her half-brother (Danny and Vic had a kid, but kept it secret). First Dutch and now Danny. Vic has to be getting worried that his daughter thinks he is a monster. He’s tried the entire series to keep his family together, but now it seems he’s been slowing tearing it apart.

At The Barn, Dutch gets to put his profiler hat back on. What appears to be a simple act of self-defense during a robbery could actually be the beginning of a serial killer. Billings wanted to go for the simple answer, but he knows that when Dutch’s radar goes off, there’s usually something behind it. Dutch doesn’t get the teenage suspect to crack, so I’m betting we haven’t seen the last of this storyline.
Vic and Shane seem to be starting to play well together again. As we saw last week, Vic still holds a grudge for Shane’s murder of Lem, but he starts to share a little more about his Mexican/Armenian plan with Shane.

We got a couple more things to anticipate in the coming weeks. It looks like Shane is going to try to turn Ronnie against Vic. Of course, Ronnie can’t stand Shane, but he doesn’t like all the crap Vic is making him do in order to clean up old messes. So it would be interesting to watch. Could Ronnie start playing both of them against each other? Could he possibly bring down the Strike Team where Aceveda, Kavanaugh, and others failed in the past? We also find out that the new ICE agent Olivia Murray is in Pezuela’s blackmail box. We all know that Vic is somehow going to swing this into his favor.

My favorite quote of the week is from Shane: “Mmmmm…s’mores!” (you’ll get it if you watched it).

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Mentalist

Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) used to use his advanced powers of perception pretending he was a psychic. Now, he uses them to help police solve crimes. That’s the basic setup of CBS’s new show The Mentalist. The pilot last night was pretty good as far as pilots go. They spent more time focusing on the character and mythology of the show instead of this week’s murder. My one problem is Robin Tunney. I’ve never really liked her acting style, so I’m hoping she doesn’t put me off the show. Baker is charming as Jane and deserves some good co-stars play against.

I’ll be tuning in next week.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Another Way to Die

The latest James Bond theme, "Another Way to Die", has shown up online today. I liked some of the recent ones, especially Chris Cornell's "You Know My Name", but I'm not sold on this one. Maybe a bit to heavy on the percussion and the lyrics aren't that great. Still, not as bad as Madonna's "Die Another Day". Take a listen and see what you think.

Another Way To Die (Feat. Jack White) - Alicia Keys

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Shield: Snitch & Money Shot

Last week’s episode was more of a standalone episode than part of the whole story arc. It starts out with Vic and Shane continuing to incite gang war between the Armenians and the Mexicans. Pezuela puts a hit out on Rezian (the Armenian leader) and the boys try to keep him alive. Vic is worried that other people know about his involvement in the Money Train heist and doesn’t want Rezian dying before Vic finds all the pieces of the puzzle.

I enjoyed the Dutch/Billings story this week. The lead singer of a band was killed when a cinderblock was dropped on her head during a smoke break. Of course, none of the tenants of the apartment building where they practiced saw anything. The “Billings minimum” involved him hitting female tenants while Dutch tried to sweat them all for info. But, he did provide the one or two sentences back at The Barn to help Dutch close the case.

There is a sudden eruption of other gang violence brought on by the mayor’s “Top Ten” list of dangerous gangs in LA. Of course, bangers treat these like MLB standings and up their game to rise on the list. It provides the boys cover to enlist the help of their old pals the One-Niners to bodyguard Rezian. Eventually, they track down the guys involved in a couple senseless killings: Spook Street bangers upset that their gang was left off the Top 10. Claudette’s interrogation of a juvenile suspect lends the writers opportunity to delve into social commentary contrasting the current hip-hop culture with the aims of the Civil Rights movement. Claudette’s dressing down of the kid is a powerful scene.

On to this week. Vic interjects himself in Shane’s dealings with the Armenians to speed things along and get his family out of danger. He takes credit for the Money Train heist and says his accomplices were Lem and two of Lem’s buddies from out of town. Throwing himself into the fire, he absolves Ronnie and Shane of any guilt as far as the Armenians are concerned. Back to his old ways of giving a deal and expecting someone to take it (rather than negotiating), Vic says he will grant the Armenians three wishes in return for his family’s freedom. Wish number one is to steal a cache of weapons from police lockup.

Shane’s the inside man and Vic’s the lookout, but Vic gets called away for a family emergency. His daughter was caught drinking underage and his wife is put under arrest. Meanwhile, Ronnie is working with Julian and Tina on a sting operation. A local porn producer is paying his actresses with drugs, so Julian and Tina go undercover to bust him. When they find out the producer’s supplier is a drug kingpin the cops have been tracking for months, Ronnie calls Vic in for backup. Vic is busily dealing with the family situation, so Ronnie and Shane are on their own. Shane makes out OK, but Ronnie gets attacked by a vicious dog and has to go to the hospital for 19 stitches.

Vic tips off ICE about the gun heist, but shows up in time to get Rezian out of danger. With the guns now back in police hands. Vic convinces Rezian that he has a mole in his operation. Rezian hands over the list of his most trusted people; a list that Vic believes contains the names of anyone who knows about his involvement in the Money Train heist.

Billings sits out most of this episode, so the B story involves Dutch and Danny working a kidnapping case. Danny goes into interrogation with the kidnap victim and discloses a disturbing story about her past. Dutch, feeling protective of both Danny and Claudette, tries to get Danny a desk job as Claudette’s assistant.

Aceveda shows up only briefly. Vic was going to use the blackmail box in his gun heist plan, but the box is missing. He shows up at Aceveda’s office and berates him for taking the box. Aceveda, correctly, says he couldn’t trust Vic not to be tempted with the box. Their alliance appears to be falling apart.

Ronnie once again grows in this episode. He makes some mistakes, but looks to be coming into his own as leader of a new Strike Team. At the end, he tells Vic that he’s not going down for any of the crap Vic and Shane are involved with. He said every time they try to get out, they end up getting deeper.

At the end of the ep, Shane hands over the “last copy” of the blackmail file he has on Vic (he still has a copy in a safe spot) to gain back Vic’s trust. Vic knows Shane is lying, but shows gratitude for the handover of the file. He also says he understands why Shane felt he needed to kill Lem. But after Shane leaves the room, we can tell it’s just another Mackey Mind Game ™ to keep a close eye on Shane.

After last week’s one-off, we get back to an arc episode. More pieces were added to the puzzle and the narrative is getting more focused. I’m already looking forward to next week’s installment.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nationals Park

As I previously mentioned, I was away Labor Day weekend. My brother informed me that the Phillies would be in town to play the Washington Nationals for a day game on Labor Day. I decided to pick up on his hint and traveled down to D.C.. Over the past couple years, I've seen a number of games in different major league stadiums. I'd seen three (or maybe four) games in RFK, but hadn't gotten a chance to see the new park since it opened this year.

Nationals Park is another beauty. It is in the newer style inspired by Camden Yards. Good seats, good views, lots of conveniently located places to eat. Our seats were on the upper level between home and first. I think you might be able to see the Washington Monument from right field, but I'm not 100% on that. You could see it from one of the walkways on our way to the seats, so that's why I'm guessing you could see it from the park. It looks like the area is starting to be revitalized by the addition of the stadium (at least based on all the construction) which was part of the idea of building it by the Navy Yard.

Too bad the Phillies lost because they're not making much headway in their drive to the playoffs. Here are some pics.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Where Am I?

Posts are going to be light for a little bit. I was away all last weekend and I'm on vacation next week. Just so you guys know I haven't fallen down a hole.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Shield: Coefficient of Drag

Last night was the seventh season premiere of The Shield. We start off shortly after the end of season six with Vic retaliating against Shane for kidnapping his family in last year's finale. Shane is able to convince Vic and Ronnie that he was trying to save Vic's family from the Armenians' retribution for the Money Train Heist. During the episode, Vic and Ronnie corroborate much of Shane's story, but plan to keep a close eye on him. Vic also has Shane convince the Armenians that their biggest threat is the Mexicans…and not the perpetrators of the Money Train Heist.

Later in the episode, Vic and Aceveda disagree on how to use Pezuela's blackmail stash (obtained in the finale). Aceveda wants to use it to build a case against Pezuela and nothing else. Vic also wants to build a case, but wants to use some of it to help keep his badge. Since he knows Aceveda won't budge, Vic goes to Pezuela to tell him an employee of his is selling the blackmail stash. He also sets things in motion for a gang war between the Armenians and the Mexican gangs.

Back at The Barn, a man comes in and confesses he hired a friend to kill his wife. Since he was already tried and acquitted, he cannot be tried again for the same crime. Looking at the old case files, Dutch sees the man got off the first time around because of some shoddy police work by Billings. He calls Billings in (he’s currently suing the department for “injuries” suffered in season six) and tricks him into breaking down the false testimony of a trial witness. Armed with a tape and the newly closed case, Claudette and the force rescind their settlement offer and force Billings to return to work.

A solid episode to kick off the final season. It wasn’t mind blowing, but sits comfortably with those of previous seasons. One of the biggest shocks of the episode was a quiet shock as opposed to the big ones we’ve come to expect (Lem getting killed, Terry, Aceveda’s rape). Ronnie kills an unarmed, injured Armenian hit man. In the past, Ronnie always seemed to be untouched by the filth his fellow Strike Team members did. Sure, he was heavily involved with the Money Train heist and all the banger shakedowns, but he never got into the really bad double-cross/murder stuff everyone else did. The shooting seemed to take Ronnie off his game for the rest of the episode. On a his career front, Ronnie was offered a job in SIS that he is considering taking (especially if Vic is forcibly retired), but Claudette put him in charge of the Strike Team. It’ll be interesting to see how the murder will affect his career choice (sure to come later this season).

The clips from upcoming episodes make this look like another high-octane season with plenty of bloodshed between the Mexicans and Armenians. I’m already looking forward for next week.