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Himbo private investigators Cody Allen (Perry King) and Nick Ryder (Joe
Penny) immediately become smitten with a blonde bombshell (June
Chadwick) they meet at the supermarket and each make fools of
themselves trying to pick her up before she gives them the brush off.
To their surprise they discover she is police Lieutenant Joanna Parisi
and they end up working with her on a case.
The case is a grisly spate of gun murders of young women. A distraught shoe salesman (Robin Strand) is convinced his room-mate is the killer. He has hired the Riptide Detective Agency to prove or disprove what he suspects. His attempts at being helpful only result in Cody, Nick and their book-smart but socially inept associate Murray 'Boz' Bozinski (Thom Bray) becoming more bewildered which could be fatally inconvenient for the next victim.
I welcomed the addition of gorgeous June Chadwick (I've had a crush since I was 10) to the cast of this show even though she replaced the scene-stealing Jack Ging who portrayed the hyper-macho, gleefully hostile nemesis Lieutenant Quinlan for 29 episodes. The show needed more of him, not less and certainly was not as good with him gone completely.
I always wondered why they couldn't have kept Quinlan and brought in Parisi as another cop or as trouble-making journalist, crusading public defender or some other role where she could be involved in their cases. Instead the show lost the kind of "angry dad/irresponsible sons" dynamic audiences could project on to Quinlan's relationship with the Riptide boys which was so much fun.
Blue-collar visionary Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) has an idea for a
revolutionary new home-cleaning product. With the help of her failed
lounge singer ex-husband Tony (Edgar Ramirez) and despite the
machinations of her crazy family she pitches the product to a home
shopping channel mogul (Bradley Cooper).
The film Joy is what you would get if ingested psychedelic mushrooms, wrote an infomercial about Miracle Mop and got an excellent cast of Hollywood stars to appear in it. Nothing is more absurd than the very idea of this movie getting made as a wide release feature with the exception of the inexplicable critical acclaim it has garnered.
Auteur David O.Russell (Who wrote, produced & directed) has been so successful in recent years with films like Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle that it has perhaps made him complacent and even bored. Sometimes when that happens an artist can go off on an experimental tangent. Equally as often the same artist can take on a challenge that they shouldn't. That is what Russell did here in trying to turn an idea that wouldn't normally have been considered for a movie of the week on the Lifetime network and making a feature film out of it.
I feel like seeing it again just to make sure the actors were really saying the goofy lines of dialogue I heard. Some of them appear to be gleaned from a motivational speaker's teleprompter. Others sound like what you hear in a dubbed version of an awful Mexican soap opera. I'm embarrassed for the distinguished cast that they had to try to make sense of this weirdness.
Tinged with Fellini-esque surrealism the bizarre rhythm of sequence suggests it was absolutely butchered during editing by somebody on speed, then Ritalin, then speed again. I often found it incoherent. It probably made perfect sense to drug users.
If the film accomplishes one thing it is that everyone who sees it is gonna wanna buy a Miracle Mop. I started scouting for one online right after I saw it.
Denis Leary plays Johnny Rock - a manipulative, egomaniacal, Washed-up,
womanizing, drug-addict rock legend who is loathed by other musicians
and particularly his former band-mates. He continually attempts to
revive his career and vents about the excesses of the music industry
that are holding him back.
Formerly the front-man of the Heathens - a much loved late 1980s/early 1990s band Johnny has gradually ended up further back in his career than where he started as the series begins. His ultimate low-point comes when he puts the moves on Gigi (Elizabeth Gillies) a woman young enough to be his daughter who actually turns out to be his daughter.
The hits keep on coming as she coerces him into re-forming the Heathens to serve as her own vehicle to pop stardom. Johnny is still on board to write songs with Flash (John Corbett) the former band-mate who despises him. But Gigi, who turns out to be ten times the singer her father ever was has displaced him as Heathens lead vocalist.
Johnny does his level best to be a father to his long-lost daughter whilst scheming to feed his substance abuse and to regain the momentum his career once had. Diplomacy remains far from his strong suit and as self-appointed arbiter/guardian of rock 'n' roll's legacy he pulls no punches (Like Leary's stand-up act).
A music historian with impeccable accuracy for someone whose mind has been blasted on booze and hard drugs for decades, his scathing criticisms and prescient observations strike with the accuracy of a stealth bomber. The show itself stages epic send-ups of rock star excess right down to the minutiae of the song-writing process which are absolutely side-splitting.
Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll is nothing less than a brilliant satire of the music industry and I speak as a music critic (Uber Rock Magazine in Britain). The opportunities for mining a raunchier/grittier kind of humour that prime-time network TV won't touch make it a perfect sitcom for cable TV.
Denis Leary hasn't lost any of his bite as a writer and this show is a perfect outlet.
Newly elected state senator Fielding Carlyle (Mark Harmon) narrowly got
elected whilst virtually drinking non-stop and having an affair with
Lane Ballou (Cristina Raines) a woman who works in a brothel and who
used to be stripper. Pretty much the whole town knew about the affair
before his wife Constance (Morgan Fairchild) did.
With Carlyle busy at making Florida better in trips to the state capital as well as getting tanked and sniffing around Lane, Constance feels neglected and jealous. Crooked town sheriff Titus Semple (Howard Duff) attempts to assure Constance that he is at work trying to figure out how to get rid of Lane. They aren't the only ones out to get her either.
The trouble is Carlyle isn't the only one who wants Lane to stay. Wealthy playboy construction magnate Sam Curtis (John Beck) continues to bond with Lane (friends very much with benefits) and Curtis is far too powerful for Titus or anyone else in Truro County to cross. Yet again Sam makes it clear that he has his friend Lane's back.
Ultimately Lane remains the belle of the ball because she is an adult. Earthy and erudite she is comfortable in herself. As sexy as Constance is she remain a temperamental brat and a colossal snob.
The actors look like they found their footing by this point in the series in recognition of improvements to the script. The material itself begins to mine its potential for a Tennessee Williams/Faulkneresque interpretation of a prime time soap that would maximize its critical and commercial appeal.
Skipper Weldon (Woody Brown) - son of local town power baron Claude
Weldon (Kevin McCarthy) was inconsolable for months after his beautiful
fiancé Annabelle Troy perished in a mysterious fire at his father's
Lane Ballou (Cristina Raines) always blamed crooked town sheriff Titus Semple (Howard Duff) for the fire and accused him of orchestrating it. Annabelle had been Lane's best friend. She had also been a girl that Titus loved like a daughter.
Annabelle's mother arrives in Truro County after 20 years absence to find out what really happened. Skipper, Lane and local newspaper publisher Elmo Tyson (Peter Donat) try to help her get to the truth.
In Florida, political campaigns don't have the most pristine of reputations. Indicative of that is Fielding Carlyle (Mark Harmon) in his run for the state senate. Carlyle has cheated on his wife with Lane Ballou a woman who works in a brothel and used to be stripper. But he has found something potentially more damaging on his opponent Mike Drucker that would cinch victory.
Fielding's wife Constance (Morgan Fairchild) goes public with the information much to the consternation of others including her candidate husband and his campaign chairman Sam Curtis (John Beck). Sam, a former supporter of Drucker and still on friendly terms with the man has asked him about the allegations and heard him deny it...At least mostly.
So now we're getting somewhere! The focus on a more character-driven approach to the narrative and shunting of implausible events in to the back-story goes a long way toward gaining back some credibility with viewers. We also see Fielding developing more as a character and because of that Mark Harmon was clearly getting a better feel for the role.
But ultimately the 'Who's your daddy?' fact which pulverizes credibility in soap operas still surfaces yet again. Somebody is revealed to be the illegitimate offspring of somebody else. So much of that was going on in Truro County it was like a very isolated trailer park.
Truro County, Florida's favourite son Fielding Carlyle (Mark Harmon),
candidate for state senate, has an important speech scheduled in
Talahassee. His gorgeous wife Constance (Morgan Fairchild) is excited
to go until he tells her he is going alone. By 'alone' he means with
his mistress Lane Ballou (Cristina Raines) with whom he has rekindled a
Crooked town sheriff Titus Semple (Howard Duff) is too invested in Carlyle to see him court potential scandal by taking up with Lane, a woman who is not his wife & who works in a brothel & who used to be stripper at a carnival midway. But Titus has been unsuccessful in railroading Lane out of town.
Titus attempts to concoct a more effective form of persuasion to derail Carlyle's dalliance with Lane.
Strapped for cash needed to modernize his paper mill, town power baron Claude Weldon (Kevin McCarthy) sells land to construction magnate Sam Curtis (John Beck). The land had been in his wife Eudora's family for generations.
This episode focused on a more character-driven approach to the narrative yet still featured over-the-top performances as well as one-dimensional ones. As far as night-time soaps go Flamingo Road lagged far behind Dallas and Falcon Crest and even Dynasty and Knots Landing.
After seven and a half minutes of opening titles montage (with theme
music that sounds like the one from 'I Dream of Jeannie') and recaps of
the pilot TV movie they finally got around to having an episode.
Truro County, Florida's crooked sheriff Titus Semple (Howard Duff) is busy collecting kickbacks from local criminals which include drug trafficker Lorca (Alejandro Rey). Soon after he has looked in on Lorca's operation to get his cut the place is cleaned out by thieves. Lorca thinks Titus tipped them off.
Fielding Carlyle (Mark Harmon) and his new bride Constance (Morgan Fairchild) are honeymooning in the Bahamas. They meet Nick (Joe Penny) and Terry (Judith Chapman) another handsome young couple who take them hostage aboard their yacht. They have been sent by Lorca.
Skipper Weldon (Woody Brown) - son of local town power baron Claude Weldon (Kevin McCarthy) is holed up boozing at the cabaret/brothel run by Lute Mae Sanders (Stella Stevens). Skipper's beautiful fiancé Annabelle perished in a mysterious fire at his father's paper mill.
Lane Ballou (Cristina Raines) works as a torch singer/hostess at Lute Mae's and continues to bond with wealthy playboy Sam Curtis (John Beck) who is back in town looking to buy land owned by Claude Weldon.
Goofy, pulp novel silliness with a talented and distinguished cast who deserved better.
Continuing from part 1 which opened the debut season of the series
Fielding Carlyle (Mark Harmon) and his new bride Constance (Morgan
Fairchild) are held hostage aboard the yacht of glamorous
ne'er-do-wells Nick Walker (Joe Penny) and his wife Terry (Judith
Chapman). Their drug trafficker boss Lorca (Alejandro Rey) is
blackmailing town power baron Claude Weldon (Kevin McCarthy) demanding
half a million dollars for their safe return.
Claude, who can only come up with one-fifth of the ransom convenes a meeting of the 'committee' local power brokers in a suite at the cabaret/brothel run by Lute Mae Sanders (Stella Stevens). Since Fielding is their candidate for state senate and they are too invested in him they raise the remainder of the sum. The drop is made.
The wild cards remain Lorca, Nick and Terry as well as 'committee' member/wealthy playboy Sam Curtis (John Beck) who decides he wants to play the hero to impress Fielding's former mistress Lane Ballou (Cristina Raines).
Part 1 of this two-parter was so obscenely goofy that it was difficult to believe anything else could come off as so facile and vapid. Part 2 was actually far worse with its hokey, insipid and wholly improbably action/adventure scenes leading to an inadequate resolution.
Midway stripper Lane Ballou (Cristina Raines) quits the carnival before
it leaves Truro County, Florida. She meets deputy sheriff Fielding
Carlyle (Mark Harmon) and they begin a fling. Carlyle, son of a
respected judge and fiancé of Constance Weldon (Morgan Fairchild) -
daughter of town power baron Claude Weldon (Kevin McCarthy) has a
future planned out for him that the wrong kind of woman might
The crooked sheriff Titus Semple (Howard Duff) who is grooming Carlyle, railroads the mysterious Lane out of town. Semple's manipulations enable the wealthy and powerful who live on Flamingo Road - the town's most exclusive neighbourhood, to hold on to what they have. Continually Semple must also remind Flamingo Road residents that a price must be paid. Their lives need to be lived a certain way to keep things as they are.
Life in Truro County is not disrupted by love for long. Marriages are arranged to manage social order. As a result there is a lot of heartbreak and lamentation communicated between residents in stolen moments.
Lane returns unexpectedly but not in time to offer objection to Carlyle's marriage to Constance. Instead Lane takes a job working for Lute Mae Sanders (Stella Stevens) - owner & main hostess of a cabaret/brothel. There Lane meets wealthy playboy Sam Curtis (John Beck) and because of Semple's fear of him she is able to stay in town.
This is what night-time soaps used to be. Almost all the people were beautiful. Their surroundings were a little too opulent and none of the work they did to get where they were in life was depicted. Too much happened in too short a period of time for it to seem real or have the real impact on the narrative that it might have.
But at very least it was a starting point for the exploration of relationships between powerful people and family.
Welcome to Rayburn House - a quaint family inn situated in an idyllic
part of the Florida Keys. It is the perfect place to forget troubles if
you're there on vacation. But it is a near constant reminder of
tragedies that have plagued the family who own and operate the resort.
The place in the sun the Rayburns enjoy is one they have carved out through hard work and determination guided by the vision of their folksy yet menacing ex-sailor/ex-ranch-hand patriarch Robert Rayburn (Sam Shephard) and his adoring yet industrious wife Sally (Sissy Spacek).
Though seemingly every tropical acre evokes painful memories they have put far too much in to consider leaving. Life there is just that much more sweet than bitter. The very thought of losing it makes them so defensive it scares them.
Their dutiful children - John the cop (Kyle Chandler), Megan the lawyer (Linda Cardellini), and Kevin the boat captain (Norbert Leo Butz) each maintain their own strong presences in the community whilst helping run the inn in various capacities as needed. John and his own wife (Jacinda Barrett) and children live in one of the bungalows the inn used to rent out.
The periodic return of the troubled eldest son Danny (Ben Mendelsohn) elicits feelings of anger and guilt for all of them. Often an embarrassment, hard-living low-level criminal Danny is their chief tormentor yet also the victim of past family excesses. His cringe-inducing antics are continuously forgiven because they know they own the biggest stake in why he is the way he is.
All the men in this family, as it turns out, have criminally violent tempers. All, including the women, tend to like their alcohol a little too much and do illegal drugs and have sex in inappropriate places. Danny will pretty much take a leak anywhere. If anything this is a soap opera family people might look down on. Their tendencies are THAT redneck.
This is a more realistic take on the genre of night-time soap opera. Unlike the super wealthy families of other night-time soap operas of the past the Rayburns don't seem that different than the average viewer. Innkeepers who live where they work are obviously more down to earth than oil tycoons or corporate raiders.
Megan is a lawyer who attended Florida State instead of an Ivy League school. Kevin has a boat and a business which repairs boats but he is no yachtsman. Failed restaurateur Danny went to cooking school and is a decent enough cook but he's no world class gourmet even though he acts like one. Their parents aren't educated people and the most romantic night of their marriage was spent in the back of a pick-up truck.
The Rayburn family fortune is presumably substantial but it isn't so much to be beyond comprehension. The less they mention amounts of money the more identifiable they seem. They have been successful because they picked the right location (even if it is in the way of hurricanes) and somehow stayed there long enough to learn the business, establish a reputation and manage their expectations. They live well mostly by living at their own inn.
There is a precariousness to it. These people are also highly sensitive and suspicious. Danny gets the worst of it. They cloak their treatment of him in family but to them he is more like the jittery member of their criminal gang that they are afraid will talk. They watch everything he says and does looking for signs of betrayal of their secrets.
The rivalries within families about the direction of their legacy play out in a more compelling way in a more believable setting on this show. But where the narrative really takes it a step further is in capturing those private moments we all have with family making it seem that much more common to the experiences of audiences. That recognition elicits real emotional attachment.
Danny bonds with each of his siblings, his mom and his young niece in ways that suggest this family has hope. But the tension beneath the surface bubbles up every once in a while particularly when something happens that reminds them of past friction. The normalcy of it has a disquieting effect when juxtaposed with ruthless criminality.
This is a story that with universal themes and timeless appeal. It could be set in Australia. It could be set in South America or the Mediterranean etc. It could even be set in a different age up to a hundred years in the past if not more. That is how good the writers were in finding that commonality.
The opening montage with its time-lapsed view of the beach during a thunder storm is coupled with suitably haunting theme music beginning each episode with dark mysticism. It is perfect for the intricate rhythm of each teleplay.
Bloodline is nothing less than exceptional viewing worthy of multiple Emmys particularly for writing and for the acting portrayals delivered by the entire brilliant cast. A show this subtle, nuanced and thoroughly appealing could only be on cable or Netflix.
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