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Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

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Entries in dick cheney (98)

Tuesday
Sep032013

In Which We End Things On A Sour Note

All Farewells Should Be Sudden

by DICK CHENEY

Objectively we know Jesse Pinkman has the right to be ungrateful. "He cares for you," Hank tells Jesse about Mr. White. "He has done things to bring you closer, to keep you around." It is not so much that Jesse does not believe these words, but that they are only words. I have to admit that there is probably something missing in me, because I had made up my mind about what Walt should do about Jesse the moment the words Old and Yeller were invoked. God knows I hated that fucking dog.

too bad there is no extant video of the krysten ritter murderNot as much as I despise the prick who hosts Talking Bad. The thing I need least in the world after an involuntary hysterectomy is an actor geek explaining to me how mad Walt is now. Inserting it between the commercials is embarrassing amateur hour, AMC. The performers don't mingle with the audience during intermission you selfish fucks. If you're going to analyze the last scenes of the best show on television, bring the emaciated corpse of Terry Eagleton, the scalp of Elvis Mitchell, a painting resembling Camille Paglia or nothing at all.

they could call the after show Peaking Twins... "What does Shelly want right now?"

Imagine if during the commercials of Twin Peaks David Lynch was muttering about the tragic dream he had the previous night while nibbling on a Snickers bar: "Chris, in my vision God was dressed like a prostitute with gold teeth..." If Twin Peaks had a godawful wrap-up show, it would never have been around to turn to shit shortly after they revealed the murderer of Laura Palmer. Some bespectacled doofus would interrogate the man with, "Where did the thinspiration for the character of Donna come from?" and Lynch would just gargle and beatbox.

you know what's a much better lie Mr. White? "I spilled some gasoline." End of story.

Weak after-show aside, it was tough to see the internal machinations Walt had to go through in order to justify his decision to spare and then murder his former partner. This precocious indecision was also slightly unbelievable, emphasized by Mrs. White observing, "What's one more?" in her swanky hotel room. Things have been pushed so far beyond the brink already that my own internal compass was smashed the minute Saul Goodman's nose was broken or, really, when Gus Fring had half his face blown off. Walt is retired now, and when he gave up cooking meth, the curtain dropped for me - this extended wrap-up is like the third part of "November Rain."

Jesse's final surge of energy and rage reminds us that all heat seeks a lower state to rest. Dissauded from burning down the White homestead, he passed out like an overdosed addict at Burning Man. Sleeping it off in Marie's guest room we were reminded that a right turn resembles a wrong turn in all the most superficial ways.

still better than alaskaIt is hard to remember the epilogue of anything that was really enjoyable, the way all goodbyes should be sudden. The end of Cheers was a 60 minute view of Ted Danson's bald spot, the only other show I can remember the ending to was M.A.S.H. and that was because it was entirely self-congratulatory. Most finales reek of stale death.

I've booked you a flight to a dome. No tears only security checkpoints now

Ending Breaking Bad - or anything worthwhile - gracefully requires a high degree of skill. We have seen Jesse and Walt butt heads so often that the feel good route might have been to pit them both against Lydia. That would have been a false equivalence and a cop out, but the path we tread now shows how difficult it is to make Walt vs. Jesse fresh again. Here every last word spoken is like an invocation, just like Twin Peaks' "fire walk with me." I think I have mixed approximately 80 metaphors since this essai began, I need to go lie down and dream of bombing Syria after this.

remember him on sex and the city. yeah you do

Breaking Bad would be easier to deal with if every possible ending for these two jokers was not so unhappy. By the same token, Walt living in a retirement community and intimidating seniors wouldn't feel fitting either. When Twin Peaks began to fall apart shortly before ABC executives forced David Lynch to reveal the central mystery at the heart of the show, he resisted. He knew that once we knew that MacGuffin was bullshit, the threads the show's characters hung on would fade as well.

I have a similar look on my face every time Lynne suggests going to Applebee's

Breaking Bad already unraveled the moment Mike died. (I'm still not sure how that happened but I blame Jesse, or possibly Todd.) Now the mysteries of the show have been vanquished, and the remainder is merely obituary, the lowest form of art after reporting on college football. Vengeance is the only motivation left for Mr. White's antagonists, and revenge constitutes a state of being without thought. We can't, don't engage with it, we simply witness what occurs.

lara flynn boyle aged 40 years during this show and another 20 during the practice, making her true age 124 today

During that fateful final season of Twin Peaks, Mr. Lynch argued with co-creator Mark Frost, who felt they had to detail the perpetrator of Laura Palmer's murder in a train car, after a parrot named Waldo had pecked her shoulders bloody. By that point it had already become obvious Laura Palmer was the most useless person in the town, making her death itself a kind of mercy. Frost was incredibly wrong in wanting to explain the reason for her death, since no answer would have been satisfying, and the one given led to nothing afterwards.

So too with Walt and Jesse: they already survived their lives. The rest is a footnote.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He sometimes sips gasoline when he is cranky. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.

"Alive" - Empire of the Sun (mp3)

"Disarm" - Empire of the Sun (mp3)

Friday
Aug302013

In Which Our Love For The Dome Will Be Forsaken

Inappropriate

by DICK CHENEY

I have so many things to say about the portrayal of mental illness on television and only 20 percent of it is thinly veiled jokes about Matthew Fox's acting ability. But first I have some pertinent questions, all of which you must answer without delay.

1. In We Bought A Zoo, was Matt Damon's character supposed to be slightly less than all there?

2. Chris Pine in everything, same question.

3. Norrie on Under the Dome....what's happening there? She just makes some dude be her boyfriend? I don't think that's allowed.

4. Have you guys seen Diane Kruger on FX's The Bridge? She makes Matt Damon look like the guy in Plano performing an all-cowboy version of Glengarry Glen Ross. (She's incredible, reminding me of myself were I a lithe blonde woman.)

sonya at her high functioning best

My apologies to Chris Pine's family. Before now, if you did not know all the pertinent elements of Aspberger syndrome, you could be mistaken for thinking that Sonya Cross, a homicide detective investigating a series of murders by a serial killer called the Beast, was simply eccentric.

A prevailing lack of social skills is the pervasive factor in Sonya's life. When the son of her Mexican colleague approaches her romantically and she finds herself unable to deal with it, she turns her entire body to face in another direction. In another scene, she meets a junkie mother who cannot care for her children. In a matter of seconds she has alerted everyone else in the room to this state of affairs. Sonya's illness does not limit her very much as a police officer, for the simple reason that police are always saying the obvious.

this man should have been the new doctor who

Set in El Paso and Juarez, The Bridge pairs Sonya with a Mexican cop named Marco Ruiz (the awkward Demián Bichir) to investigate the murder. He is slightly more ethical than other Mexican police, but not very. He cheats on his wife with great frequency, but at least he does not outright lie to her when she accuses him of it. He and Sonya make a good team because he is sorely in need of a person in his life who accepts him for who he is, and she has no other way of understanding the world.

Sonya has made me realize how often I do not say exactly what I am thinking, for example that I think all barbers are arrogant pricks, or that Chris Pine looks like he got his face smashed in by a car door. The violence that runs through El Paso and Juarez is extreme, but no more than the smaller violences Sonya has to conquer simply by existing. The Bridge reminds us that these horrors are equal. It also suggests, like no other show on television, that most people who do destructive things do them for entirely valid reasons, and that makes their crimes all the more repulsive.

Your eye shadow disgusts me Norrie

Repulsive is a word I never use lightly. I guess in my heart I was really upset by Norrie because she blamed Joe for the death of her mother the same way that Lynne once blamed me for the death of non-combatants in Iraq. Joe should have told Noreen what I told Lynne then: "Eventually you'll thank me."

Under the Dome is truly running off the rails now as the showrunners desperately find ways to extend painfully thin premises now that it's a hit. It was funny when Big Jim killed one person, but now that he's basically a serial killer I have a lot harder time taking things seriously. This week he killed Mare Winningham; it would have been emotional except she had been introduced to Under the Dome twenty minutes earlier. Then again, all he did was dump her, handcuffed, into the middle of a lake. Possibly she could breathe underweather like the semen of Hugh Jackman.

at least she's not spending 90 percent of her time complaining Timothy Olyphant works too hard

Big Jim's latest adversary is Mare's daughter Maxine (Natalie Zea), who is running some kind of fight club where she sells drugs and other vices (presumably the GoT DVD sets that are all the Domers have left). Maxine has threatened both Big Jim, historically a questionable move, as well as Dale "Barbie" Barbara with the secrets she has on them. Now that her mother is swimming with the fishes, this plan may well have been put in jeopardy.

at least throw on a caftan b4 you summon a god

The women of Under the Dome are the forgiving sort. Angie got over being kidnapped and imprisoned in an underground shelter within the space of a single episode. Norrie lost her mother and returned to the boyfriend that inadvertently caused Mom's heart attack without a second thought. Maxine was betrayed by Dale Barbara (military customs dictate he must be referred to by his full name or playstation handle, Brbie420, at all times) and in the very next scene she was shoving her forked tongue down his throat.

he looks relieved he didn't have to put her down as well

The magically gorgeous Julia Shumway (Rachelle Lefevre) found out this week that the Dale Barbara she had been sleeping with, because why not, lied about killing her husband. Since she discovered that her husband was just trying to set her up with a sweet life insurance policy, she forgave Barbie his lie. He was incredibly surprised by this, but since there are very few Jewish-American ingénues imprisoned under this dome, he was unable to contain his excitement for what she may allow him to do in the bedroom next. Most likely both are suffering from an undiagnosed case of narcissism.

Has no one ever thought of touching their penis to the dome? In my experience, doing that makes a lot of things go away.

trying to find a way to break it to her that there is no room for a french braid under this dome

Finally, Breaking Bad. All this Walter White backlash is starting to get to me. The greatest man alive was threatened by a DEA agent who didn't know there was a criminal mastermind in his own family? Pssshtttt. The confession video Walt made was a hilarious stroke of genius, and the first true surprise of this final season. Hank's resigned look and ensuing, "You killed us Marie" was a fantastic callback and twist.

don't talk back to your father. really. don't.

The reason I can't abandon my feelings for Walter is this: he never, absolutely never, destroys those who respect him. The things that Jesse Pinkman said to him, the things that his brother-in-law said to him...when he never did a single thing to disrespect either man. This means that whatever Walt decides for them is righteous and correct. Some vain and immature people think they can control others, even those they know are powerful, because this is just their way of life. Walter White is the end of their fantasies, and they must wake up to survive. 

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location and will be manning a F-15 to take care of this Syria problem personally in the very near future. He's thinking Tuesday. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here. OK see you guys

"Until I Am Whole" - The Mountain Goats (mp3)

"Until I'm One With You" - Ryan Bingham (mp3)

Monday
Aug192013

In Which We Do Nearly Everything In Our Underwear

Crime Potpourri

by DICK CHENEY

No one I know remembers anything they do. It's only television characters that are constantly reminded of their failures; it's called, you know, continuity, unless you work for J.J. Abrams, then they call it what? who gives a shit.

What is real? I have no further knowledge of this. When I meet a child in the real world - this usually only happens in church or when I'm buying schnapps  they talk like adults. But when I see them on television, they talk like babies. Did I ever tell you guys what my first word was? I'll give you a hint: racism was huge in Nebraska in the early '40s. There is a similar problem with the Detroit presented in Chris Mundy's new AMC series Low Winter Sun.

why are no crime dramas set in St. Tropez?

I was only ever in Detroit a couple times of times because it's so shitty. Viewing the repulsive vistas of the place in constant eponymous dusk, it's worse than I remember. Homicide detective Frank Agnew (Mark Strong) is haunted, we know this for sure because there are constant flashbacks to him telling a prostitute that he loved her and he wants to "know everything about her." This is the most disturbing thing about Frank, the second most disturbing thing is that he murders one of his colleagues by drowning him in the sink and framing it as a suicide.

always missing u gale

Frank is appointed to investigate the murder he committed. This would appear to make his life a lot easier, but internal affairs scion Simon Boyd (David Costabile) is watching his every move. Both men are relentless in their aims, and this is true of nearly everyone on Low Winter Sun. Since there is not really much to have in Detroit, it stands to reason that it's a lot harder to get what there is. Costabile's muted performance is so captivating that the show would do well to focus on him more than it does, and his interplay with Frank is more nuanced than most marriages.

this is the holmby hills of detroit, the rest is just charred newspapers and jpegs of automobile factories

We get the sense that Frank is a capable police officer despite his flaws. His counterpart in the criminal world is the whoremaster with a heart of gold Damon Callis (James Ransome). Through the cooperation of the cop Frank murdered, Damon planned to put a rival operation behind bars and open a magnificent house of ill repute in what I believe is Detroit's Champs-Élysées. As a young godfather, Ransome shows so much charisma he nearly blows everyone else off the screen completely. Once I saw him without his shirt off and I literally gasped.

he was also fantastic in Ken Park

Low Winter Sun is very grim, constantly implying that the auto bailout was a horrid idea at nearly every turn. I would keep talking about it, but I usually save my analysis of inner city race relations for my private journals about Treme. Here's a sneak peek though:

Who is this person? Is he a musician?
Are they divorced?
Who is this black person?
I thought the parade was over. Oops.
Who is this black person?

Low Winter Sun, as magnificent as it is (hiefly because of the direction of Spike Lee cinematographer Ernest Dickerson), also serves a more important purpose  making Breaking Bad seem lighthearted and fun in comparison. Just make sure you don't stick around for Talking Bad, or you will be gifted with the realization that without smarter individuals to script their dialogue, actors all sound like Jesus during cocktail hour.

Lydia you look so fantastic I have forgiven your appetite for destruction completely

Last night marked the return of the great Todd to Breaking Bad. Have you ever met a Todd who wasn't a complete dick? Respect to Lydia for not settling for meth with 64 percent purity. She is a stickler for that extra ten percent. The pairing of Todd and Lydia reminds me of a variety of great tandems: Mario and Luigi, or for a more recent example, Justin Bieber and any woman. Their romance shall span the ages.  I guess I finally understand the deeper meaning behind Martin Lawrence's 1996 masterpiece A Thin Line Between Love And Hate.

an opportunity was missed here to use Alicia Keys' "Fallin'" but whatever
Skyler White also knows the meaning of this. Her loyalty to her husband was not particularly surprising in this episode  I sense she did not really like Hank, partly because you can never really embrace the person who becomes more important to your sister than you are, and partly because you can trust a bald man, but only one bald man at a time. "I can't remember the last time I was happy," she said at one point last night, and Walt's reaction indicated that it was a common ground between them.

you know they could just beg him, it works when brad pitt wants sex I never realized that people don't like Skyler; I guess because she was so mad at Walt and sexed up Ted? I never argue with a woman with lips that large out of fear I could eventually be swallowed whole. There is something about a wife who stands by her husband's choice of underwear that we all can respect. Then again, the idea that loyalty, even blind loyalty, is a virtue killed more people than firearms.

The idea that anyone could not like Walter White, or begrudge a single thing he has ever done, strikes me as so completely insane I can barely fathom it.

when I look at this I see a speedboat made of gold and whimsy. When our president does, he sees an investment for solar powered tacos

What Walt does with his money is his business. When I was a kid I used to wonder why they didn't just print more money, until I learned the reason. (Paul Krugman never did find that out.)

The best scene by far featured Walt in his office with his lawyer Saul Goodman, subject of the rumored spin-off. For that to happen, Bob Odenkirk would have to imbue the character with something more than a light anti-Semitism. Actually the more that I think about it, it's just nice to have an openly Jewish character who doesn't speak like they are from Parsippany.

I keep my extra cash in a hollow safe I had surgically installed in my wife's cervix
Walt's immediate rejection of the idea of killing Hank was hilarious, but it also makes logical sense. It's not like Marie wouldn't know the culprit. Still, there would be more tension surrounding this revelation if we did not know from the flashforwards that Walt is definitely going to be revealed to the world. At least we can take solace in the fact that he is still alive and well, leaving open the possibility of Walt as the lead in a male version of Orange Is The New Black.

let my people go jokes are a relic of our wordpress daze

My wife Lynne tells me that too often I jump from subject to subject. Women don't like this, she says, because they sense that if you can so easily abandon a subject on your mind, then you might well move on as quickly from the idea that you love them.  "Who is that black person?" I replied. She said it was Alfre Woodard.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is the former vice president of the United States and a beacon of subsistence for every citizen who comes in contact with him. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.

reminders of the numbers on Lost always take me to that dark place

"A Moment's Grace" - Boy & Bear (mp3)

"End of the Line" - Boy & Bear (mp3)

why don't we just relocate the population of Detroit here. I guarantee they will be happier and if they dig a bit they will find millions