Review: The Newsroom “I’ll Try to Fix You”

Ringing in the New Year with Bigfoot! That’s the start of this week’s episode of The Newsroom. This episode will make you laugh, and possibly make you cry in this sex scandal filled montage aptly titled for a culmination in a galvanizing moment that instills the fervor within the Newsroom.There are two overarching themes throughout this installment of The Newsroom. They are led by Neal (Dev Patel) and Will (Jeff Daniels), respectively, and like Don (Thomas Sadoski) says: It’s time to start the New Years with a bang!

Bigfoot is real; just ask Neal Sampat. Throughout the entirety of the episode he desperately tries to get Will, and the other members of the Newsroom to believe in the man, myth, legend, that is Bigfoot. Going so far as to create an entire presentation to illustrate the information available on the apex predator; Neal finds this task of convincing Will to do a story on this lovable oaf is harder than he thought.

That’s not the only hard thing on this episode, and to Will’s detriment a flurry of women with whom he’s dated have been seen splashing drinks into his face and forcing stories about him to appear on page six of the daily news. Problem after problem and mishap after mishap riddle Will’s personal life full of meaningless holes that he can’t seem to fill without the obvious necessity of the lack of an intimate Mac (Emily Mortimer) in his life. Although he is the star, this isn’t the only love story that’s taking place. There’s also a nicely timed piece concerning Maggie (Alison Pill), Don, and Jim (John Gallagher, Jr.).

It begins on New Year’s Eve, like all train wrecks do, with Don forcing Maggie’s roommate to go out with Jim. Everything boils down to a lie, of course, and when Maggie finds out Jim lied to her about spending the night with her roommate; tensions flare on an early Saturday morning where Jim is force to use his position to take control and order her into a timeout of sorts after he apologizes for his betrayal of her trust.

With the revelation between Jim and Maggie and Will’s negative status on the cover of tabloids coming to a head; Charlie (Sam Waterston) realizes the key to all of their problems. That key was that ACN owns that tabloid, and the owner of ACN is trying to deliver on her promise to fire Will if he doesn’t cool off on his reports on her Tea Party friends. Just as things seemingly couldn’t get worse; they do, but they all come together to produce a broadcast of brilliance on reporting the near fatal shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday, January 8, 2011.

Rating: 4.8/5

Don’t miss The Newsroom Sundays at 10pm on HBO

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Review: The Newsroom “The 112th Congress”

Spanning six months, this episode delivers astute political criticism towards the Tea Party and news that ceases to be informative to the modern voter. This shows seeks to explain, or at least try to, the decisions of voters and how educated they truly were in the 2010 American election. It begins with the most simply complex thing possible: An apology.

Aaron Sorkin delivers another masterpiece in this; the third episode of a series that is making leaps and bounds in an attack on the politics that corrupt own daily news broadcasts. This idea that is so eloquently delivered throughout the broadcasts of News Night is that the facts are what matters and not the spin on stories that are of little concern.  This point is made clearly as we begin talking about the “Times Square Bomber” which, on News Night got fairly little coverage due to the fact that the system actually worked in capturing the bomber while little consideration was given to the actual person that reported the bombing, an immigrant from Senegal, who turns out to be Muslim.

This show takes big risks by attacking certain political parties, but does so brilliantly in exposing the flaws in not just one party, but all parties as everything is fair game in the political arena. This does however cause great distress to the network which causes another main focal point of the episode in a time skipping meeting involving Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) and the CEO of Atlantis World Media, the parent company of ACN, Leona Lansing (Jane Fonda). This episode, and the conspiring events, is what led to this eventual meeting that had taken place after these six expedited months of newscasts which all culminated with the coverage of Election Night 2010.

Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy is brilliant in his delivery of information and retaliation against political extremists, but also towards MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer) as he brings date after date into the Newsroom to more than entice McHale into retaliating with her own solution–a secret boyfriend–which is discovered by Will during the Election Night newscast which sends his tripping over his own feet on the way back to his desk in a troublesome disbelief, but with everything it did to him it didn’t distract him from his job: delivering the facts. This isn’t the only love-line on this show; as time goes on and the multiple break-ups and get-back-togethers of Maggie (Alison Pill) and Don (Thomas Sadoski) influence his actions, Jim (John Gallagher, Jr.) tries to keep his cool long enough to ask Maggie out, but every single time he is shot down before he can take off with the appearance of Don to sweep Maggie away before he can even arrive.

This episode is a fantastic piece of political examination from the previous election. I would highly recommend you start watching from the beginning as this is still a new series, and it gives you insight into facts that you may have not known had you been otherwise misinformed.  I have to give this episode a 4.6/5. Don’t miss an episode on HBO Sunday nights and 10!

Review:True Blood “Let’s Boot and Rally”

Being caught about to screw a Werewolf is one thing, throwing up on his shoes is another. This is where we find out protagonists this week in the HBO series True Blood. After being captured and released by The Authority for the sole purpose of hunting down and killing the malicious Vampyr; Russel Edgington (Denis O’Hare)… again. Having escaped from his cement burial with the help from an unknown woman from The Authority. This episode, however, is probably the least bloody episode I’ve seen to date.

Starting with Bill (Stephen Moyer) and Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) finding Sookie (Anna Paquin) and Alcide (Joe Manganiello) about to get busy, this episode is more of a preparation for next week rather than a true story line of its own. If there is a story line here, it’s Sam (Sam Trammell) finding his support group–excluding Luna (Janina Gavankar)–shot dead at their usual meeting spot. After alerting the police, who are having supernatural problems themselves, Sam decides it’s best to warn Luna, but as he’s leaving her house gunshots ring and both of the remaining shifters in the cast are wounded and presumed dead on Luna’s front lawn with her daughter shifting into her wolf form to escape unharmed.

All the while this is happening Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) is struggling to come to terms with the evil inside of him that he absorbed from his recently murdered boyfriend Jesus (Kevin Alejandro). Lafayette’s visions of the demonic face and Jesus’ severed head riddle his conscious moments. This, however, is a severely under-told part of the story this week.

Another significant turn in “Let’s Boot and Rally” is the acceptance of Tara (Rutina Wesley) being a Vampyr. She and Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) hashed out their problems as any child and parent would while getting Tara to realize her new place as a Vampyr. This new life doesn’t come without costs, however, and thus a friend finds her and begins to relate and express concern. This friend is non-other than Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll), who had gone through the same things after being turned by Bill in the first season. Still with feelings for Hoyt (Jim Parrack), Jessica–now trying to move on–ends this latest episode in finding Tara feeding on him in the stall next door.

I would say the true main story for this episode would have to be the one involving Terry (Todd Lowe) and war-buddy Patrick (Scott Foley) as they go to uncover the fire starter that had killed the other men in their previous unit. They find, to their dismay, a crazed friend who was convinced that it was a demon all along from a cruse long ago before they all left the Corps. Little did they know, the demon is real!

This episode receives a 4.3/5

If you haven’t seen it yet tune in to HBO Sundays at 9!

Book Review: Tucker Max Book series

I was first introduced to the legend that is Tucker Max when I saw the film “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell”, while the film was pretty entertaining, my mind was not truly blown until I found a copy of your book in my dormitory (yes, I stole it, College Student Budget means you have to do unethical things from time to time). I read the book as if I was possessed by the will of some perverse god; when I finished it, I immediately set out to the nearest book store to buy the sequel. While I have never had the pleasure of meeting Tucker Max, it is far from exaggerated to say that he influenced my life to a certain degree.

Tucker Max, author of ‘I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell‘, ‘Assholes Finish First‘, ‘Hilarity Ensues‘ and ‘Sloppy Seconds‘ took the writing community by storm when he published the first book containing his wild and unbelievable stories. This author, who is often compared to a Frat boy, does not hold back on the crude, gritty, inappropriate details in his writing, which is somehow crafted in a way that makes it next to impossible to stop reading his work. Going from blogs to print to the big screen, Tucker Max has been riding the successful author wave for a long time. However, all good things must come to an end, and Mr. Max, I believe that your end has come.

Before I go any further, I want to make this perfectly clear: I am a huge fan of Tucker and his lecherous personality; I read the first and second books, and own the film adaptation of his first book, and when he released his third book, I was quick to order it off of amazon. You could say that Tucker Max was one of my role models, and while I know I will never get on his level of wildness, I can’t help but admire his brutal bluntness, liver of steel, and horrible habit of ‘dipping his wick’ in anything that moves. I derived a great deal of amusement from his books, which I chose to read rather than pay attention in class.

Unfortunately, his third book ‘Hilarity Ensues’ failed to have an effect on me.

Within reading fifty pages of his new book, I put it down and never picked it up again. Why? It wasn’t because his writing was poor, nor was it because of a sudden burst of maturity that lifted me above such things. No, it was repetition, a killer of many great things.

With ‘I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell’ we were introduced to the jaw dropping narrative that was so vivid that I couldn’t help but wonder if such profane thoughts were allowed to be printed and distributed by the public. When ‘Assholes Finish First’ came out, we were introduced to the same profane nature of stories, though the second half of the book contained Tucker’s experiences after becoming famous, which gave it a breath of fresh air. With the third book however, I found myself unable to put up with the now predictable stories and while there might be a redeeming feature in the book, I couldn’t read it long enough to find it.

Some things just get old after a while, and though people love to read about people who have a more entertaining life than themselves, a story can only be retold so many times. This is a classic “same song, different verse” situation, and frankly, the song is kind of old now Tucker. Perhaps it is time to rest the print-publishing industry aside. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to stop telling us stories about your experiences,  I just don’t want you to turn them into a book and sell them. Stick to blogging. Books are a different beast entirely and no one enjoys reading four copies of the same thing.

Hell, you don’t even need to resign to just blogging; your books are stuffed to the brim with potential film plots; why not fictionalize your personal, not to the point of making Tucker Max to shit that he never did, but by making a character based on yourself. I can see it now, HBO’s newest hit: “The King of Duke” or something along those lines. People would eat it up. But stay away from books. Please?

Anyway folks, don’t let this review discourage you from reading Tucker Max books, they are awesome! Just don’t buy all of them because you will risk boring yourself after the second book.

And to Tucker Max, if the supernaturally unlikely event were to occur, and you read this blog, don’t think I hate you or anything like that man. I love your shit. I just don’t want to spend thirty bucks to read the same story told with different words and settings.

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Review: The Newsroom “News Night 2.0”

Is this information we need in the voting booth? Is this the best possible form of the argument? Is the story in historical context? Are there really two sides to this story? These are the new rules introduced in the latest episode of The Newsroom. This episode begins on what would seem to be the established order of events in each episode. First; the preparation. Starting out we find our newly formed newsroom in a meeting to lay out the allocated minutes per segment of the News Night broadcast. The aptly dubbed meeting of News Night 2.0 claims the title of this episode, although the real story of this episode is; the email.

Starting their meeting with a note from the tech support, the staff finds out a new format for sending emails to individuals and to the whole staff–which is used throughout the episode to a fault to release personal information between MacKenzie (Emily Mortimer) and Will (Jeff Daniels)–concerning their break-up. The ensuing drama occurs as a fight about who should be broadcast on the segments, and who will replace a proponent of the Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act–which requires immigrants to carry alien registration documents at all times, requires that state law enforcement officers attempt to determine an individual’s immigration status during a “lawful stop, detention or arrest”, or during a “lawful contact” not specific to any activity when there is reasonable suspicion that the individual is an illegal immigrant–that Maggie (Alison Pill) had lost during a phone call. With tensions on the rise and an overall resignation between Will and MacKenzie about the state of this night’s show their problems were magnified across the whole office when an email was mistakenly sent that described why–in fact–their relationship ended and was, again, mistakenly sent out to all of corporate which amounts to over 100,000 people.

There was a bright side to this episode, however, which introduces a new member of the main cast in Sloan Sabbith played by the taunting Olivia Munn of whom the job of hosting a five minute segment during News Night was offered by MacKenzie due to Sloan’s looks and personality. She made a point about being educated with a degree in Economics from Duke University in response to a comment about gathering an audience to watch her legs. Of course, in the end, she understood that her brain wasn’t the only part of the show that had to be exploited to attract viewers. All in all it was a very solid episode to complement the rush of the previous one. With some time to get somewhat established; the staff still found a way to screw up, but not without a serious warning from Senior Producer, Jim Harper (John Gallagher, Jr.). He greatly emphasized the need for this show to prosper, or he would get “very unhappy.”

In my opinion this show gets better and better every week as it tackles the real life issues that had struck the United States over the recent past. Each week I wonder what will be next, and each week I find myself enthralled with the politics–be it in house or on show opinions–and stunned by the beauty of the female leads who manage to put their brains before their looks to get ahead in the workplace.

For this episode I give it a 4.3/5

Catch The Newsroom on HBO, Sunday nights at 10!

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