Some stuff from this weekend:
Here’s the difference between In Plain Sight and Mad Men. After watching both shows Sunday night, my wife and I first talked about Mad Men, about the intricacies of it, about how the show writers can make it appear like nothing is happening, when in reality, everything is happening. It led to a discussion about the out-of-place new Xerox machine as a metaphor for the characters on the show, none of whom seem to know where they fit in the office or in their lives. Then we talked about In Plain Sight to which the jist of the conversation was “I think I like the city cop. Why isn’t he on more?”
And there it is. Whereas Mad Men offers layered questions that turn into discussion pieces on issues like women’s rights, the evolution of our society over the last 50 years, fidelity and ethics, In Plain Sight leaves us with the eternal discussion, ”I still can’t figure out whether Mary McCormack is hot or not.” That is the difference between the two shows that now run opposite each other Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
It’s a testament, then, to the state of our current society that IPS, in its ninth episode of its mainly formulaic first season will triple (at least) the ratings of Sunday’s second season premiere of Mad Men, the best and most complex show on TV right now. Sunday’s episode showed why we loved it last year and while we’ll continue to love it this year. The one thing I worry about is there seems to be too much re-introduction of characters too early, making for a some unnecessary clutter. But overall, it’s still the best show on TV. MAD MEN GRADE: A- IN PLAIN SIGHT GRADE: C+
It’s always depressing watching the decline of a superstar. No one wanted to see MJ wearing a Wizards uniform, we cringed when Brando took on The Island of Dr. Moreau and watching Laverne and Shirley in California was enough to make our stomachs turn.
So when we see a two-time Oscar winner and crowd favorite picking up a paycheck in a one-note performance that could signal the beginning of the end of a career, we worry. We worry a lot. That’s why Kevin Spacey in the blackjack bust 21 is so frustrating. Forget about the fact that 21 is 30 minutes too long and still doesn’t explain how this whole “counting cards” system works. Sorry I didn’t go to MIT like these kids, but my brain just doesn’t'w work that way. I shouldn’t feel that bad since neither does 99.9% of the world, meaning you’ve just alienated that much of the audience. This book never, ever should have been made into a movie.
Forget about all that. From 1994 to 1999, Spacey gave us four unforgettable characters (Buddy Ackerman, Verbal Kint, John Doe and Lester Burnham). Since then, his biggest role was Lex Luthor in the disappointing Superman reboot. As if he hasn’t sabotaged his career enough, he finally sank to his lowest in 21 as the professor we know will turn out to be the devil-type and will get his comeuppance anytime now. I’m not sure why he’s taking such atrocious roles and making such poor decisions, but Kevin, geez, for the love of all that is good, make it stop. 21 GRADE: D KEVIN SPACEY GRADE SINCE AMERICAN BEAUTY: D-
If you’re into gambling you’re always intrigued about a new casino opening. Over the last two years, we’ve had two open in NEPA, and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs just completed the second phase of its building that includes about 2,000 new slots, three bars, a nightclub a huge food court, a buffet (finally) and some high-end specialty shops. Made the trip this weekend and I gotta say — I’m not impressed.
Maybe it’s because they got rid of what I thought were their best games on the bottom floor of the old casino at the race track. Maybe its because that bottom floor has been eliminated altogether and is apparently being converted into office space. Or maybe it’s because the design of the new place — a big circle with a bar in the middle and the restaurants and shops lining the outside of said circle – is 99% identical to the Mount Airy design. Yeah, that’s it. It’s too close to Mount Airy’s design, with one exception — it’s more cramped. There doesn’t seem to be much open air, nowhere to stretch out and be able to sit in front of a machine and just push buttons for a half-hour. It’s just too cramped for its own good. NEW CASINO AT MOHEGAN SUN GRADE: C-