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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 6:36 pm 
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The steady improvement continues, but I'm not feeling any more invested in the outcome of this, and to a lesser degree the outcome of the main characters.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 11:11 pm 
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This post will age incredibly well in 3 or 4 years when there's absolutely no context as to what episode/moment/whatever you're talking about aside from the datestamp.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:33 am 
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Somebody on the show cannot wait for Twin Peaks to return. Plenty of Lynchian moments so far.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:24 am 
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TMDaines wrote:
Somebody on the show cannot wait for Twin Peaks to return. Plenty of Lynchian moments so far.

Yes, and I don't find this affectation very becoming. I, too, thought the second episode was an improvement on the first (I got a kick out of the allusion to JUDEX during the final scene), but I found the third episode to be pretty weak with little forward momentum. I'm getting the sense that this season will be a random play of crime drama cliches with some Lynch-like weirdness applied to make it all seem unique.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
That the "death" of Farrell's character was resolved so quickly and with little consequence was especially disappointing.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:08 pm 
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Really surprised by how warmly this is being received over here. Even the lukewarm responses feel generous to me--I've been bowled over by how awful this season continues to be. The writing has taken such a colossal hit from the first year and I haven't found a single reason yet to care about any of the characters. The performances are certainly doing nothing to elevate the material--watching Vince Vaughn stumble his way through faux-Milchian monologues is alternately hilarious and sad, and the rest just blend together in a vague, undefined mess of "brooding intensity" and "troubled pasts." I'm not typically one for hate-watching, but I might make an exception with this to see just how far up his own ass Nicky Pizza can take things.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 2:10 pm 
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The real question is: will the terrible response from fans and critics kill what HBO anticipated being a new brand after the surprise success of the first season? Even if there is a season three, will name-brand actors be as eager to jump aboard after seeing what happened to the A-List crew assembled here?


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:00 pm 
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domino harvey wrote:
The real question is: will the terrible response from fans and critics kill what HBO anticipated being a new brand after the surprise success of the first season? Even if there is a season three, will name-brand actors be as eager to jump aboard after seeing what happened to the A-List crew assembled here?
I think the anthology structure of the show protects it from many of these sorts of repercussions better than a traditional serial. If HBO is willing to more or less reboot The Leftovers, I don't see why they wouldn't be willing to give a big hit or miss show at least one more chance at being a hit (assuming this season is indeed an unequivocal miss; at this point in the first season, almost no one had yet given themselves over to the hyperbolic praise it eventually received). The most likely result is HBO moderating some of Pizzolatto's worse impulses and pushing for more talent behind the camera. Also, my understanding is that the show's ratings aren't out of line with those that usually result in renewals...


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:07 pm 

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Good post pzadvance -- "faux-Milchian monologues" is dead-on. I've been convinced ever since I read about Pizolatto's love of Deadwood (the first thing he did when meeting McConaughey and Harrelson was give both box-sets of the series) that at heart he's really just a pale Milch wannabe. You can see this by the affected way he talks, like in that recent hilariously gushing Vanity Fair profile, or simply in his dialogue (either this season or last, though S1 at least made it work most of the time). He wants that monologue from Vince Vaughn about his father and being locked in the basement when he was little to land with the same resonance as an Al Swearengen childhood-revealing blowjob soliloquy, but it's just silly instead. He doesn't have the heart or the compassion, not to mention the oddball genuine genius of Milch -- True Detective seems to have only two modes: intense brooding and lower-grade brooding. This season is like a creative writing project by an angsty 15 year-old who worships Tool; all darkness and darkness and despair, no character left smiling in any scene... and I'm usually the person who balks at the people who criticize films/TV on the basis of "there's not enough levity/humor!" But man, Pizolatto just gives such a childishly one-dimensional picture of the world. It's not even comparable to the noirest of noirs anymore, which usually had if not levity then humanity in them; on TD every single character seems to be not simply corrupted or flawed or brooding, but deeply scarred-for-life. OK, maybe such material could be pulled off by a more agile artist, but Pizolatto has a monstrously unsubtle way of broadcasting his themes and ideas.

If you couldn't tell from the above paragraph, I actually am enjoying this season so far. I don't think it's bad -- I think parts of it are bad, but other parts, like Farrell's performance/character, McAdam's performance, some visual glitz, some intriguing scenes (c.f. end of episode 2) and the hint of an interesting story, are quite good and are definitely keeping me watching. In particular, I thought the third episode was a good step above the first two; it was both more visually evocative than Justin Lin's rather unusually bland opening episodes, as well as more smoothly-directed with less horribly clunky lines. But it's indeed a messy stew; if S1 felt fine-tuned with nearly every ingredient just right, S2 lays on the bitterness far too thick, and it makes one want to gag at first. But I won't say that this is without its pleasures. And we do have five more hours to be revealed to us, none of which critics have yet seen.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 9:57 pm 
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[Reveal] Spoiler:
Donald Trump's favorite episode.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:12 am 
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Last night's shootout on the streets of Los Angeles could have easily ended up looking like a bastardized version of last season's one take gunfight, but give credit to director Jeremy Podeswa for staging a dazzlingly constructed action sequence that serves as a worthy successor to the bank heist in Heat. I hadn't felt that sort of unnerving tension with a television action scene since Breaking Bad wrapped.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 12:25 am 
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"Dazzling" is about the last word I'd use to describe that scene.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I found it to be quite brutal, in good ways (the W. Earl Brown character getting shot was quite effective in it's quick harsh manner). And bad ways, too. The one guy unloading his automatic weapon into a bus full of civilians felt a little too much.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:34 am 
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I thought it was sufficiently tense, and it did seem to come out of nowhere, for the most part. I especially liked

[Reveal] Spoiler:
the conclusion of the scene, where the three detectives faced each other again. They seemed genuinely traumatized by what had happened. To me that's where this series differentiates itself most effectively from the large majority of other cop shows––in that it charts the psychic damage of being a cop in very visceral ways, and it doesn't shy away from damage. Many other shows might have treated this scene as one where the cops are forced to commit to violence, and then once they're committed, then they don't bat an eye at the results. So when you look at the characters at the end of this, the feeling is that the horror of what they lived through won't ever leave them. Velcoro and Bezzerides look overwhelmed, and even though Woodrugh is very collected, even after the battle, we've seen that his battle traumas play themselves out over the rest of his life. So it doesn't look like these cops will walk away from this the same as they were. Honestly, that's what I like so far about both seasons.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 5:36 am 
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He's been having some really clunky, and at times cringe-worthy dialogue to chew through, but I like what Vince Vaughn is doing. And I am someone who normally can't stand his shtick.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:20 am 
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The shoot-out was a much-needed set-piece for this season and partially redeemed the rest of the episode which I thought was pretty tedious (I can no longer suspend my disbelief in regards to Vince Vaughan's performance nor what his character is asked to do). Judging from next week's preview, it looks like there will be a significant time jump for the second half of the season.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:38 am 
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Roger Ryan wrote:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
That the "death" of Farrell's character was resolved so quickly and with little consequence was especially disappointing.


I felt that
[Reveal] Spoiler:
1. There was no debris from his body or clothing or anything (he didn't seem especially wounded when he fell after the first shot), it had to be a non-fatal weapon, and (more importantly) 2. Velcoro needed to feel the impact he was so accustomed to being an arbiter of and being able to feel this makes him able to understand things previously out of reach for him (the consequence). He is now capable of honestly considering the well-being of others without doing it through self-obsession (we've seen this in the most recent episode) and is willing to have discussions with people (and even start the conversation (or in the case of the beginning of this episode completely determine what the conversation is in a manner he feels is constructive)) rather than being dismissive as was clearly a habitual behavior before.


I'm loving this season to a degree I could not have expected. The first season's calculated narrative was not as interesting as the conversations the two main characters were having but this season has been firing on all cylinders (and also added some sick rims and a driver that knows his goals). Not only is the dialogue more intriguing with its many changes of pace that forces one to think throughout the show (as opposed to the first season's dialogue being dryly didactic) the acting is the best of anything on television or film from this year, at least. I was weary of the use of handheld cinematography when I saw it in the first episode but it is masterfully integrated with the locked down shots in a way that necessarily draws expression from the faces of each individual and the architecture of each area (I'll expand on the latter more in the future). The editing is the most important visual aspect of this season and if it wasn't obvious enough then the shootout should make that clear. Everything about the first season was too on-the-nose making this season concerned with the rest of the face.

Edited to add: I've never considered watching any of the first season again but I've watched all four of these at least twice. That's about the last thing I'll say comparing the two as the last line in the paragraph sums it up.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Thu Jul 16, 2015 12:54 pm 
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I'm still in, and will be for the entire series, but I'm finding it harder and harder to be positive about it.

My wife hates it. She only enjoys the scenes between Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams, and I agree, those two have a nice connection when sharing screen time. She laments the loss of atmosphere from season one, and feels betrayed that Pizzlatto isn't doing more of the same. I think that's completely unfair. He's only ever said that this is going to be an anthology, each season a different story, with different characters and storytelling techniques. And, honestly, after the success of the first season, he's beholden to deliver nothing to anyone but his own muse.

But, she makes an interesting point. I almost feel like he threw everything he had to give into the first season, and now the idea well is coming up dry, so a reliance upon cliché is being used. In the first season, there were genre tropes peppered throughout, but it was aware of them, and it played with our expectations of those tropes. Here in season two, they just are.

I like other things about the show, and find the mystery intriguing enough (although there's no real allure to it), but there are so many instances of amateurish writing and clunky dialogue, I'm finding my patience for the show is slowly being worn down by attrition.

Chief amongst the missteps, at least for me, is the the "faux-Milchian" speak pzadvance mentioned above. I can stomach a somewhat ho-hum generic mystery/conspiracy (although it's too early to have an opinion on that yet), but having every character traffic in poetic, tough guy banter and metaphor, regardless of their gender, orientation, ethnicity and social/cultural circumstances is exasperating. And because there's such a barrage of it, the whole series feels almost overwhelmingly false (again, at least for me). It takes me out of the show. I see the writer's hand rather than characters actually interacting with each other or their universe.

That style works in Deadwood (still my favourite television show of all time) because the setting was so removed from our own experience, and it just seemed natural to have characters sing-song in this oddly poetic, almost Shakespearian vernacular (Hugo Jerry and A.W. Merrick, I'm lookin' at you guys, here). But in True Detective, it just seems like they aren't real people, and they aren't really talking (especially Vince Vaughn), they're just the Pizzalotto trying to show off.

Even Mamet can only pull it off a quarter of the time.

I actually quite liked the spacial logic and craft of the shoot-out in episode four, and like others here, appreciate it not using a single take like season one's show-piece did. But some of the plot contrivances to get it to the level of tragedy that it finishes on really bothered me. Things like,
[Reveal] Spoiler:
the news reporter/protesters just happening to be there on the exact afternoon of the raid, the police not clearing them away before going in, the police/swat team not having anything more than handguns for the raid, the protesters not scattering after the gas explosion (never mind the torrential hail of machine gun bullets approaching from a block away), other police vehicles not showing up until 2 minutes after the final dude (who just happened to be their suspect) was killed, but during the preceding 10 minute gun battle, which, itself, followed an explosion that rocked the entire city
].

Of course, there's much more to like, but there just as much to dislike, and the two often walk hand-in-hand in the same scene. And honestly, if I owned Vince Vaughn's watering hole, I'd give the sad singing chick her walking papers, with the crowd she's clearly not drawing into the establishment. But, who knows? Maybe its a tax shelter.

I really hope I'm proven wrong, and that the whole thing comes together, because I was deeply affected by season 1. If not, I'll just have to hope for a better season 3.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 3:26 am 
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Sooooo ... this is just an updated version of L.A. Confidential?

Completely on board with firing that singer at Vaughn's dingy watering-hole/tax-shelter.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2015 8:33 am 
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Andre Jurieu wrote:
Sooooo ... this is just an updated version of L.A. Confidential?

Completely on board with firing that singer at Vaughn's dingy watering-hole/tax-shelter.


There's a lot of The Big Nowhere floating around in there, too. Aside from a lot of lifted Ellroy slang and world-building sensibility (i.e., relentless corruption), Velcoro and Woodrugh are very close to Buzz Meeks and Danny Upshaw, two of the book's point-of-view characters.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:06 am 
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So, not everyone will feel this way––it looks like a lot of people on the board have given up on this show––but last night's episode really delivered on the exceptionally slow burn the season has been building on until now. Not to say that there is some deliberate genius behind it all, I don't really feel that way about the show, but this episode was pretty thrilling in all the right ways. People you've waiting to see slapped down get slapped, sexual tension gets released, awful twists of fate happen to the good guys, and there's a surprising amount of plain sympathy between our lead characters, which I find really winning. I kept expecting the three detectives to be at each other's throats as they teamed up, like good guys in a Marvel comic book. They turned out to have a much more nuanced relationship, which is one of the best things about this season. Watching Vince Vaughn finally finding his mojo and going into action, shooting goons and torching clubs, was my favorite thing, though. In a sense Vaughn is the 4th detective in the storyline––tons of the actual sleuthing in the series is stuff he finds out and puts together and hands to Velcoro. I had the theory that he had a split personality, and that he had killed Caspere himself and didn't know it––but that theory got taken apart in this episode. Still, it got taken down in the best way possible. I did have trouble buying Vaughn as the tough guy, but I feel like his grit has been building over the series, and it finally flowers here. McAdams is really good in this episode, too. Colin Farrell could spend a whole movie grating cheese and reading from the phone book, and I'd still watch that. The settings continue to be interesting––the abandoned train tunnels are particularly sinister.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 7:39 pm 
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I'm pretty indifferent on last Sunday's episode. All season I've been enjoying the unintentionally bad dialogue, the somewhat-inspired Lynch homages, and the overall terribleness that is this season's True Detective. The previous episode, the one with the Eyes Wide Shut party, was the episode where the show finally delivered. This past week's episode abandoned a lot of the show's weirdness in favor of an interesting albeit predictable shootout and some clear character motivations. I think we're heading into a finale, not unlike last season, that resolves plotlines and character arcs at the expense of betraying everything that's come before it.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 12:54 am 

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This season is incredibly schizophrenic in terms of quality -- it veers between awful and near-great many times an episode, and the overall plot comes off as an uninteresting mishmash which, though attempting to ape the impenetrability of good noir, just ends up feeling muddled and extremely generic. The interesting parts are the characters (or, more accurately, what the actors bring to them) -- Farrell and McAdams have been consistently pretty great. Then there are some great individual scenes or set-pieces, like the bird-mask guy and Farrell at the end of Episode 2, the Ayer/Mann-on-steroids L.A. shootout in Episode 4, or (best of all) the eerie and beautifully composed 'orgy' sequence in Episode 6. (Though the problem is that many such scenes, like the big shootout, feel so divorced from the rest of the narrative by virtue of their 'bigness,' their epic quality; so while that shootout was powerful and great it had virtually zero real connection to the rest of the narrative it seems; in a season of only 8 episodes, this is irritating).

This past episode was helped by an able directorial hand -- Daniel Attias is one of the more reliable directors in the HBO/premium-cable stable -- plus a well-paced air of dread as the walls closed in on our protagonists. But it still seemed like such a muddle to me. I just don't care about so much that's going on; I care about Farrell and McAdams, because they are very well-played with somewhat interesting stories, but the conspiracy and the murder of Caspere (plus a certain pivotal person at the end of the episode) just fall flat with me. Vaughn is only especially convincing or good when he's in full-on gangster mode, as in this past hour, but even then the character is just so bland and cliche'd without much distinguishing features to intrigue.

I can't describe this season better than to say it is a giant mess. I think Pizolatto needed more time to write it, and that aspect is likely why Season 1, while quite flawed, feels like so much more of a coherent and satisfying whole. Really, Season 1 seems like a bona-fide masterpiece for the ages compared to this thing. It's been said many times, but I believe losing Fukunaga (or at least the one-director-per-season thing) was the greatest mistake Pizolatto made (with miscasting Vince Vaughn being a close second).


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 6:37 am 
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I'm only at the 3rd episode, but the issue I have with the season so far is how everything seems loose. Episode 3 has many sequences that just feels absolutely useless to both the narration, the main plot or the main characters' characterisation. It's hurting a lot the pace of the show because there's so many things completely unconnected, that at some point, one starts to wonder "what was the story again ?"


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 6:57 am 
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Don't worry there are two really clunky scenes of full on exposition in episodes 6 and 7 to help viewers and cast alike catch up with events


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:16 am 
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My goodness, the season finale was awful.


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 Post subject: Re: True Detective
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:24 am 
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Luke M wrote:
My goodness, the season finale was awful.


The season climaxed in episode 7. This entire season was just network TV material on premium cable. Sure they wrapped pretty much everything up but each time felt so fleeting. Text book detective drama overall with little to no direction and plenty of convenience.


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