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The Bronx is Burning...

 
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jdw
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Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 17128

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 7:41 pm    Post subject: The Bronx is Burning... Reply with quote

I love this show. :)

The Bronx Zoo as the total trainwreck that it was. Steinbrenner as the egotistical control freak asshole. Billy Martin as the insecure, boozing, womanizing mess that he was. Gabe Paul as the weasely bastard he was. Lou Piniella as the weasle backstabber that he would grow into. Nutty Mickey Rivers. I love their willingness to portray the dead Thurmon Munson as the prick he was that no one really liked. And of course Reggie Jackson as the Straw That Stirs The Drink. :)

Lots of great scenes. My favorite was the early setup in the scene where Reggie gives the reporter the famous "Straw" line:

Reggie is at the bar with the reporter. Billy is over in another part of the bar with Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford, a pair of legendary boozing and whoring son of a guns just like Billy. Whitey decides to pull a rib on Reggie to exchange shirts. The rib, along with the shit eating grines on Whitey, Billy and The Mick, going right over Reggie's head. The reporter almost rolling his eyes at Reg not getting it... but largely keeping it in because he wants the interview.

I was worried at the begining that they might have Munson too small of a character, which would really miss the boat on his roll with the team as the Captain who was an total asshole. Luckily it was a slow burn, and overtime they've expanded his role more and more.

The acting is more "fun" than "great".

Oliver Platt is a wonderfully fun, larger than life, over-the-top Steinbrenner. Platt is a Red Sox fanboy, so he's got to be having the time of his life playing The Boss. :)

John Turturro is a load of fun as the totally fucked up and tormented in the head Billy.

Daniel Sunjata is solid as the Reggie, hitting the right notes of Reggie rubbing everyone wrong... and thinking none of it's his fault. Erik Jensen is solid as Munson. The Lou and Gabe are really good as well.

Anyway, a lot of fun.


John
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tdcheetah



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 487
Location: The Cheetah's Lair (aka Clarendon VA)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2007 9:22 pm    Post subject: !" Reply with quote

jdw wrote:
I love this show. :)


I've been catching it in little bits. I tried to watch the first episode straight thru, but it wasn't completely holding me. I really like the baseball parts. The other contextual of the time stuff -- the Son of Sam saga, the blackout, etc. -- mostly bores me and makes me click away, often returning only to escape Barry Bonds. :)

jdw wrote:
The Bronx Zoo as the total trainwreck that it was. Steinbrenner as the egotistical control freak asshole.


As an Orioles fan from that era... to quote Kurt Angle, "It's true! It's true!"

jdw wrote:
Billy Martin as the insecure, boozing, womanizing mess that he was.


I do think that's a very accurate description of Billy as far as it goes... but it's actually the one characterization that isn't quite working for me.

jdw wrote:
Gabe Paul as the weasely bastard he was.


When Gabe Paul is your voice of sanity...

jdw wrote:
Lou Piniella as the weasle backstabber that he would grow into.


Oh, this may be my unexpected favorite piece of writing and performance in this whole thing. I had to watch the scene where Thurman and Pinella break in on "My door is always open... except during weekdays and weekends" Steinbrenner a second time, because it was so made of awesome. It's like the really stupid Pete Rose of the denial '90s gimmick grafted onto a beautiful physical rendition of Pinella's most annoying ticks and pushy "let's you and him fight" lack of character.

jdw wrote:
Nutty Mickey Rivers.


Man, I had almost forgotten Rivers. I'm going to have to pull out my copy of "Bronx Zoo" soon and savor the alternate universe that was the Yankees *pitching* staff around that time. Was Rivers a loon or what? I always looked at Rickey Henderson and wondered, "How did he escape becoming the next Mickey Rivers?" because he seemed to have that same kind of bouncy, flakey personality that often deforms oddly in pressure cookers.

jdw wrote:
I love their willingness to portray the dead Thurmon Munson as the prick he was that no one really liked.


Which again, was something us O's fans knew long ago. :P :) It's actually a more nuanced performance than I expected out of this. I kinda worried they would make Munson some kind of hero in comparison to the rest of the team; I was more worried that they would totally heel him up.

jdw wrote:
And of course Reggie Jackson as the Straw That Stirs The Drink. :)


Hmm... has Phil Hellmuth been watching old Reggie tapes?

jdw wrote:
Lots of great scenes. My favorite was the early setup in the scene where Reggie gives the reporter the famous "Straw" line:

Reggie is at the bar with the reporter. Billy is over in another part of the bar with Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford, a pair of legendary boozing and whoring son of a guns just like Billy. Whitey decides to pull a rib on Reggie to exchange shirts. The rib, along with the shit eating grines on Whitey, Billy and The Mick, going right over Reggie's head. The reporter almost rolling his eyes at Reg not getting it... but largely keeping it in because he wants the interview.


And then the reporter just reels him in perfectly. "You sure you want me to print that, Reggie?"

jdw wrote:
The acting is more "fun" than "great".


I've actually been mostly happy with the acting. I can imagine how much worse it could have been. After all, I watched a little bit of "Playmakers", too. :P

jdw wrote:
Oliver Platt is a wonderfully fun, larger than life, over-the-top Steinbrenner. Platt is a Red Sox fanboy, so he's got to be having the time of his life playing The Boss. :)


Oh, totally. He's got the absolute key of "I don't care whether you love me or hate me as long as you do whatever I say -- and win." And the goofy sideburns and bulky, bad colored 70s suits. Has he worn anything plaid yet? :)

jdw wrote:
John Turturro is a load of fun as the totally fucked up and tormented in the head Billy.


This is the one part I'm not liking, and I think it's why I'm not being kept interested by entire episodes. I think Turturro is talented, and he's doing obsessed and skewed priorities and screwed-up pretty well, but... his Billy just isn't quite intense and fiery enough, and doesn't seem to have even the minimal street smarts I was expecting from someone who's been around baseball that long. And he's Portuguese-Italian, dammit, not a dumb hick from Texas. It's almost like he's channeling the Ents from Jackson's Abortion or something. :P

jdw wrote:
Daniel Sunjata is solid as the Reggie, hitting the right notes of Reggie rubbing everyone wrong... and thinking none of it's his fault.


Yeah, Sunjata is doing an amazing job in the role. He's not quite heavy enough to play Reggie (Ron Simmons would be perfectly cast physically...) but he has the total blinders-on, ego-stick-up-his-ass insensitivity down.

And again, as an O's fan who suffered through an entire Year of Free Agent Reggie Taking Up Space In Our Outfield, it's nice to see an accurate portrayal of the Candy Bar rather than some nostalgia haze of "Gee, he was rather a great player, wasn't he?"


Lee, still wondering where that Ratatouille review is :)
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