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Social Awareness After 10:30 am : Webbed Prose – June 23, 2014

24 Jun

This extra long bit of prose is inspired from an extra special place in my heart.

Social Awareness After 10:30 am

There was a kid who graduated from a private college with a double major in political science and business. He wasn’t the most impressive student at the school, but knowing the education he was receiving was beyond the measure of monetary value he believed his education would thrust him into the earning elite. He took out the maximum amount of loans and refused to make any effort while enrolled to contribute toward his education costs. It was a great time in his life. He lived the life of luxury and leisure while pursuing his intellectual fancy. And while he publicly stated many times how much he enjoyed developing superior life skills while he was still enrolled in college, it wasn’t until after graduation and the completion of an unpaid internship that he truly realized how sweet he had it.

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The NBA Conspiracy Minute: 6-15-14 Game 2

15 Jun

I knew that there was going to be another conspiracy right around the corner. This one isn’t a huge one, but it is worth pointing out because it adds a whole new layer of genius to the San Antonio Spurs and the basketball omnipresence of Greg Popovich. But before I dive in to the conspiracy, I just want to give a little backstory on my relationship with the Spurs. I never really liked them, even when uber-Christian David Robinson was being jammed down my throat by every Sunday school teacher who noticed that I liked basketball I wasn’t a fan. As a kid there was more than one moral lesson revolving around how Christians were better at basketball allowing them to defeat the vile worldliness of crass hooligans like Charles Barkley. All I knew was Barkley beat Godzilla and in my elementary mind there was no amount of Christian magazine features on David Robinson that could take that away from me. So, not a huge fan to begin with. The 1996 season when David Robinson and Sean Elliot were out the majority of the season, thus allowing them to win the Timothy Duncan lottery, my favorite team the Denver Nuggets only had 2 more wins than the Spurs. WE COULD’VE HAD THE GREATEST CENTER/FORWARD IN THE WORLD!! So, for the next decade I held a grudge against the Spurs, so much so that I actively booed Avery Johnson when the Nuggets picked him up. I rooted against them in every playoffs series they played in, which broke my heart because that meant I had to root for the Lakers some years. I grew up thinking they were boring and outright villainous when they regularly beat the Suns. In summation, I’ll say the Spurs had a long way to go to earn my respect. And this is an old story, the stories of people hating the Spurs and coming around to respect them were in vogue two or three years ago after they changed their style to be more seven-second-Suns instead of their former grind-it-out selves, and it happened for me then also. I appreciated them the same time everyone else did, but now this years version of the Spurs are possibly the best basketball team I have ever seen in my life. And they are crushing the Miami Heat. And doing it in the most joyful, entertaining way.

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Having said that, there is a conspiracy theory tied to these Spurs. As I said before, it’s not a very deep one, they don’t need a Deep Throat to uncover it. My theory is that the Spurs knew they were going to crush the Heat, just down right embarrass them, like they’ve done the last two games. And because they were so confident they would win the title they lost game two on purpose so they could win the close out game back on their home court in front their fans who would appreciate it much more than faux-fans of Miami. Well, it didn’t look like they actively tried to lose, but in contrast to their dominating performances in game 3 and 4, it is a wonder how they could have ever lost a game to this Heat team. What I think happened was that Popovich implicated a game plan that didn’t focus as much on ball movement or elements of the game they knew the Heat could react to. It was the playing-everyone version of letting Duncan and crew skip the game in Miami during the regular season. I think it is a very unlikely scenario that any team, especially the Spurs, would willingly lose a NBA Finals game, but after the last two games it makes me wonder how they lost game two. What likely happened was that Pop made the proper adjustments which allowed the Spurs to let their super-dominate colors shine. He is such an amazing basketball mind that he could for two consecutive games anticipate every thing that the Heat were going to do to try to stop their attack and not just design something that Erik Spolstra won’t be excepting, but something that will exploit every hole he didn’t even realize existed. Spolstra is a good coach, but he relies on having the horses. I get the sneaking suspicion that Popovich would still get a team like the Bobcats (RIP) to fifty-plus wins just because he is a master at understanding the game and utilizing his personnel. This is why I think that there is a good chance that Pop willingly allowed his team to lose game two. If that isn’t the case then maybe LeBron is really as good as people say he is because this Spurs team looks flawless. They look invincible and play together so well, I’m a little shocked that they even lost one game the whole year. 

-C.Charles 

A Stupid Opinion about The BFG Movie

3 Jun

Over the last 18 months I’ve read a lot of children’s literature while teaching English to Korean children. More often than not I’m bored to death with the Captain Underpants, the Arthurs and the Katie Kazoo Switcheroos to the point where I water down literary theory and writing techniques and watch a classroom of blank faces as I give the most rudimentary explanation of allegory or metaphor solely for my own amusement. But I get a little more interested every few months when I get to read a Roald Dahl book. It’s not just me though, the kids seem to perk up more too. The students try to understand the story more and one class even grasped the concept of similes while reading one of his books.  Thus, proving a universal truth that children everywhere love Roald Dahl. His imaginative stories tickle the children’s minds in ways much different from CGI films pieced together by slightly different sight gags and word play. Then combine Dahl’s stories with simplistic style of Quentin Blake’s illustrations and there is a nice uniform feel to his books that instantly puts children of any age, from any country at ease and piques their interest in creative fiction. As a teacher, I’m a fan of the books. Which is why I’m a little upset that Steven Spielberg is going to direct the feature version of The BFG.

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The BFG is a story of a Big Friendly Giant who takes an orphan, Sophie, to giant land after she accidentally sees him blowing dreams into the room of a kids on her street. It’s a fun little book that has some nice world building and plays with language in an especially whimsical way, even by Dahl standards. And being a fan of cinema I would usually love to see a beloved book come to the silver screen, but not a Dahl book and not by Spielberg. He’ll make a fine movie, but I don’t want to see his version of a Roald Dahl book. Well, at least not one as fantastical as The BFG. This book is going to require a lot of special effects and at this point of his career he’s just going to make The BFG into The CGI. And I don’t care how much Andy Serkis enjoys wearing spandex and ping-pong balls, but I don’t want to see more motion capture giants. Or anything thing from the mind of Spielberg or his team of creative mercenaries. 

I feel not every book needs to be turned into a film. The trend of seeking out properties that already have a built-in audience is miserable. By making movies and TV shows from books, comic books, articles and twitter feeds it is just a step toward discounting the original creations. There is the argument that adapting brings a new audience to the original, but for every one person inspired to read a the original because of the movie there will be a hundred who will come to think of the film as the only variant of that story. Which isn’t a bad thing, but without understanding the nuances of filmmaking, cinematic techniques and the same type of filmic grammar as there is taught about the written word the film versions will just be empty intellectual calories and delegated to the snack shelf in the pantry of pop culture. I’m glad there is going to be more of Roald Dahl in the world via Spielberg’s The BFG, but I’m sad that now the unlimited reach of children’s imaginations will be lassoed in to contain the CGI world portrayed on-screen. Every generation will produce its own great art, but this constant piggy backing, remaking and rebooting seems to be society saying “Everything’s been done. Nothing is original. Might as well not try.” Which could very well be a product of the unlimited access we have to information. Every good idea can be found before and therefore it’s just easier to draw TARDIS in a thousand and one different ways or relaunch Star Wars, Batman and everything that already has a loyal audience. It is a sad era. Can art change or are future generations just doomed to continue to paint Darth Vaders helmet and call it art? Jonathan Franzen is right when he says “It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.” And without good fiction not only will there continue to be no new properties to adapt into movie trilogies, but it also means that I will have suck it up and find some new way to teach Korean children English.

-C.Charles

The NBA Conspiracy Theory Minute 5-25-14

25 May

I do not believe in conspiracy theories. There are way too many factors, individuals, egos and money involved in all circumstances to say there is an overarching shadow agency running the show. Just the notion of such is a bigger leap of faith than any religion has ever asked of its followers. No, no, no, conspiracies are just a way for people to force connections which add meaning to the mundaneness of life. I don’t just actively ignore them, I go out of my way to shine a light on the stupidity required to believe any event has someone pulling the strings behind it. Conspiracy Theories are stupid and I don’t have time for a single one of them. Except when it comes to the NBA. NBA Conspiracy Theories are Faaaaaaantastic!

My reasoning is that, sure, large-scale conspiracies are nearly impossible to pull off, but inside one association? That could go down. There are too many things that don’t add up, breaks that seem too convenient, and luck never felt like Lady Luck and always had the hint of the smug condescending ways of David Stern. And the added bonus of conspiracy theories just being fun to ponder. Now, I love the NBA and I have no doubt that it will become the most popular sport in the world within the next 20 years, but to get to that level of popularity there’s got to be some bodies buried somewhere. And spring and the early summer are the P-R-I-M-E time for conspiracies, so this is going to be the first post exploring NBA Conspiracy Theories, both recent and up coming (there will undoubtedly be some shady officiating in the Eastern Conference Finals). So, get out your foil hats, pour yourself some florid-free water and feast your eyes on this NBA Draft conspiracy:

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Cleveland won the NBA lottery for the third time in three years, well, let’s be fair, they won the number one pick three out of four years, but they also moved up a spot in they year they didn’t get the number one pick. So, they’ve had a lot of lottery luck since LeBron James left Cleveland. Which is the sole reason for their luck. When Cleveland lost the greatest player in the league, who will one day be considered the greatest in the history of the league it was more than just another a tragic day in Cleveland sports history, it could have been the day the killed Cleveland, not just the franchise, but the whole city. The NBA didn’t want the blood of an American city on their hands so they rigged and continue to rig the NBA Draft until Cleveland gets back to championship contention. The Decision was the worst possible outcome for the NBA and Cleveland. As much as they placed prodigy in the loving arms of his hometown team in 2003 by fixing that draft, the NBA did just as much to drive him out in 2010. If the NBA didn’t allow its players to play in the Olympics, Lebron, Bosh and Wade would have never realized that they could play together, coexist, have fun and win while maintaining their elite identities. Allowing NBA players to participate in the Olympics is great for the NBA brand as a whole, but actually hurts the individual teams in the league, if they’re not in a large market and don’t have the draw of weather, celebrities or no state tax. So once they joined forces in Miami the NBA knew it had to offer retribution for this tragic displacement of talent to overly tan, ungrateful hands of Miami “fans.”

It was a no brainer that the Cavs got the first pick in 2011. That was obvious retribution. They lost their star unfairly and were embarrassed along the way. Sure, we collectively agreed they deserved the first pick. Here’s the thing, they were never supposed to be this inept at running a basketball team. I believed that the NBA agreed to do whatever it could to get the team back to something that wasn’t a laughing stock, but with the combination of poor drafting and even more poorly running the team the NBA is stuck. They can’t admit they played no part in allowing James to jump ship in such a scandalous fashion, so they have to keep giving the Cavs number one lottery picks until it is no longer a place players flee after their rookie scale contract. Which probably means that Cleveland will keep getting lottery picks until the team is moved Austin and renamed The Strange.

-C.Charles

Stupid Opinion About Almodovar’s View on Body vs Mind

17 May

The line between mind and body isn’t as thin as it once was. At a time when the link between the body and the soul should be examined even more thoroughly, it is instead being used to sell underwear and Weight Watcher point programs. However, master filmmaker Almodovar examines what everyone seems to neglect: our relationship with the body. But instead of looking at universal examples, such as changes in puberty or when I first felt my back fat jiggle when I ran down a flight of stairs, he looks at the obscure, unique and extreme examples of our mind’s relationship with our body. Live Flesh, Talk to Her and The Skin I Live In all dive head first into the once sacred, now exploited relationship between body and soul.

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Live Flesh is the story of a love triangle, or a love hexagon, or whatever the shape is where all the corners are having sex with each other, and all of the characters undergo physical transformations during the film. The most obvious is the contrast between the living flesh of Victor (Liberto Rabal) and the dead flesh of David (Javier Bardem). Victor, a scrawny twenty year-old kid, shot and paralyzed David. The story really begins to pick up when a very beefed up Victor is released from prison after having watched David rise to fame as a now paraplegic basketball star. David finds success after his body becomes half as efficient as it was. Though both of these characters have drastically different circumstances and bodies in the second act of the film than from the first, they are spiritually still the same characters. The physical change for David has only led to an upgrade in women and change of career, but he’s still the same jealous, insecure asshole, but now he doesn’t have a gun and authority from the state to back him up. Implying the physical change of the body, even in extreme examples, has little effect on the intangible spirit. Victor, despite his prison body, has the same sweet, hopeless-romantic, optimistic spirit he had as a youngster even after he’s been released from prison where he gained the strength and mass to be able to do clap-push-ups. The arch of his story is transforming his body to match his mind. After being released from prison, he seeks a mentor to help him become the best lover in the world. He needs his physical body to support his internal ideal of himself. The film is about dealing with how the two characters’ spirits change. Victor is willing to change spiritually as well as emotionally, while David, even though he’s faced with a bigger physical change, refuses to change himself at all. How the characters change fortunes, lovers and bodies suggests that it isn’t the physical element of the person that is the most valuable. Live Flesh preaches the unity between the two and champions the character who has the ability to physically and emotionally adapt, and the stubborn character is left cold and alone. 

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In the 2002 film, Talk to Her, two very different men become friends after the women they love go into catatonic states, leaving behind a physical body without a trace of a spirit. In the film Benigno (Javier Cámara) is madly in love with Alicia (Leonor Watling) despite only watching her from afar and having a single conversation. His urges and infatuation are based primarily on her physical appearance and dwell exclusively in the realm of his thoughts, emotions and spirit. After she goes into a coma, he becomes her primary nurse and takes care of her while discussing and projecting all types of feelings and ideas on her un-animated body. Her body and the ideal he’s created of her in his head consume his whole world. Surely, if this film was set in Tokyo instead of Spain there would be no story because Benigno would have already married his Nintendo 3DS character, but in the land of tapas and perpetually-unfinished La Sagrada Familia he has to project his image of perfection in true analog fashion on a catatonic ballerina.  This projection of spirit warps his reality to the point where he engages in the idea of marriage with Alicia, and unfortunately, lets his perceived spiritual connection lead him to force a physical connection. In the film it is the projection of spirit that gets Benigno in trouble when he commits a monsterly act against Alicia, but the same projection of spirit allow for the gracious friendship between Benigno and Marco (Darío Grandinetti). Marco doesn’t understand the depth of Benigno’s infatuation with Alicia when they first meet, but since they both are taking care of women in comas he finds out more about Benigno. At a point in the relationship Marco begins to relate to and project on Benigno his own thoughts of love and emotions towards a loved one. Marco would never hurt someone in the way that Benigno does, but the thoughts and connections he projects on Benigno are so embedded that his view of Benigno isn’t changed when he learns of the horrific act. The projection of personal spiritual ideals onto another person allows Benigno to become a complete person in Marco’s eyes. Both Marco and Benigno are unable to separate their own projects of spirit from the physical reality. They both are unable to see how the reality of a body’s soul is different from the projection they created in their mind. The projection of soul on another person is vital to all human interaction, but it can lead to a warping of reality when the spiritual element is allowed to project onto disembodied entities. (See YouTube comment sections)

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The last film is The Skin I Live In (2011). In this film, Almodovar once again looks at the separation of body and mind. Here Dr. Robert Ledgard (Antonio Banderas) is consumed with regret and rage over the deaths of his wife and daughter. The mother could not mentally handle her dramatic physical change after an accident and his daughter, who witnessed her mother’s suicide, never developed a stable mental condition and ends up committing suicide after a failed rape attempt. The doctor, who initially appears to be a sympathetic character, turns into a sadistic villain when his revenge spans from physical pain to psychological torture. He kidnaps the attempted rapist, Vincente (Jan Cornet), and gives him a nonconsensual sex change. Then the doctor keeps the victim as prisoner and begins molding his body to replace the lost bodies of his wife and daughter. This transformation was so complete that he renamed the captive Vera Cruz (Elena Anaya). Vera now becomes the victim who is a prisoner in the doctor’s home as well as in her new body. Vera, even in her unwanted skin, has the natural instinct to protect herself and refuses to give in to numerous rape attempts from a home invader and the doctor himself. The penultimate scene in the film is when she is so complete as a woman that the doctor attempts to seduce her. Vera admits that she no longer has the will to resist him and Dr. Ledgard appears to have created a subservient partner who is entirely devoted to him. However, the Doctor’s projection and manipulation of the physical body can not change the spirit. She becomes the manipulator when she takes the first opportunity to escape by fatal force. Vera, though completely different from who he was at the beginning of the film, in a physical sense, is still at the core the same person. A new perspective and identity is forced on Vera, but through examining the situation through journaling, meditation and longterm escape planning she’s is able to adjust to the situation. Thus, showing, again, that the connection between body and soul is malleable and the will can not easily be broken despite how temporary the physical state may be.   

Almodovar doesn’t seem interested with traditional concepts of the body.  In a nearly every film he’s made in some way he challenges the physical existence of his characters. To him their bodies are just the adaptable projections of their souls. These extreme examples and ambiguities in these films stand as a touchstone of that thin line that separates physical from spiritual. In these extreme examples of Live Flesh, Talk to Her and The Skin I Live In Almodovar embraces and explores the issue of body and soul, seeking truth from the most preposterous of situations. In the end, these uncommon cases of physical changes project just as much universal truth as putting on a few pounds after the holidays or a thinning scalp. The more different we are the more we’re the same. 

-C.Charles

A Stupid Opinion about Spider-Man that Aimlessly Wonders Off Topic

8 May

Whoa, another month off, how nice was that? I didn’t have to bother the world with either my stupid opinions or my whining about nobody reading my stupid opinions for thirty days. It was truly an inspirational time for everyone involved with the hiatus; me, my carpel tunnel syndrome, the four people who follow this blog and everyone within earshot of my occasional whining. But I’m back again to wipe off the dust from the old keyboard and resume slangin’ stupid opinions written poorly. So, to get me back into the poorly written spirit I’m going to start with an especially stupid opinion about something I don’t quite get: Spider-Man.

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I know everyone loves Spider-Man the character, but live-action Spider-Man should’ve kept suing Facebook or have been content being a clone who drew and left the real spidey business to Nick Carraway. I’m not shocked when a character as beloved as Spider-Man keeps showing up in movies, but I do reserve the right to be shocked at why he is so beloved, especially when this movie does everything in its power to negate every reason for liking the web-slinger in the first place. Respectable folks like Patton Oswald claim Spider-Man as their favorite superhero. I see why; Spider-Man is just a teenager, he’s got to balance fighting crime and being a student. It’s fun to watch his day-to-day life as he kicks back, catches a few bad guys and drops some witty quips on ‘em before handing them over to the authorities. I get it. It all sounds great, but this “Amazing” re-boot zaps any joy from the wealth of built-in potential. But I don’t want this to be another review.

Comic book movies have such an established and built-in audience that it gives the studios the security to spend lavish amounts on them, but the financial freedom doesn’t translate to artistic freedom. The formula seems simple enough, cut and paste enough from the comics to make the diehards happy, put enough pretty, famous faces on-screen and hope more people like it than don’t. The character of Spider-Man is so popular that there’s no reason to take a chance or develop the character to reflect contemporary human nature. As far as I can tell, everyone loves Spider-Man for being an underdog, which is a timeless trope. But in Amazing Spider-Man 2 it’s an undeveloped cliché the audience has to accept just because we already know Spider-Man’s backstory. Now, Spider-Man is still an underdog, but it’s the franchise, not the character, that fills the role as it seems woefully mismatched when standing next to the Disney owned Marvel-verse. Even the potentially dreadful Thor 2 turned out to be a more complete and entertaining movie than this.

Was that film more artistically developed than a Spider-Man 2? Any of the Disney Marvel films? Not necessarily, but they don’t treat their characters with white gloves. And they can afford to, they have the rights to so many characters in the Marvel Universe, that they don’t need the super star Spider-Men and X-Men. The anonymity of their characters allows them to 1) get better deals on actors 2) portray the characters with more depth, because if they make a mis-step with a character they can just kill ‘em off and let another character take their place. But Sony isn’t as lucky. Spider-Man is only allowed to desire the girl and miss his parents. He has to have the most fundamental desires to keep this franchise rolling. The film touched on a slightly interesting themes of modern isolation and desire for attention, but in another “safe” move it was given to the villain of the film. Instead of investigating these themes the filmmakers damn them and discount them. It’s a sad state of affairs and as A.A. Dowd suggests in his review this film reeks of the less sophisticated 90s era super-hero films.

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There is more than enough in this film to write a positive or a negative review of the film, and that is what is going to happen. There are already a million and one of each, with another million right smack dab in the middle and I think what that really means is that this is a mediocre movie. It might be successful, but will be forgettable. The way of the modern blockbuster is such. It’s competently put together, but there is very little character-development to it. All movies are too safe for their own good and super-hero movie all the more so. There was a long time in my life when all I wanted was to see movies based on characters, but now in some kind of Twilight Zone irony the comic book characters are driving the show, but there is still no room for developed, unique characters.

-C. Charles

A Stupid Opinion About That Fucking Epic Shot in True Detective 

1 Apr

True Detective was such an amazing experience. The show was near perfection on every level. When I suggested Caitie dust off her keyboard and write a stupid opinion about it she responded by saying, “What could I write about it other than, “this is the best” over and over again until I reached a thousand words?” And that pretty much sums up the futility of tackling True Detective on a whole. It’s too perfect to write a critique about it that wouldn’t end up as a gushing summary of the events of the show. I’d end up like Chris Farley on The Chris Farley show just asking “Wasn’t that awesome?” over and over again. Instead I’ve decided to breakdown the most memorable moment from the first season, where every episode has more than one memorable moment. The moment is that epic steadicam shot during the drug heist. I don’t just think that this is the best shot/moment of the series, but I think that is the best steadicam shot in the history of moving images. That’s how fucking cool that shot is. Just an amazing piece of cinema, which I will attempt to gush over for the next thousand-ish words.

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The scene is simple in its story telling. Rust (Matthew McConaughey) participates in a raid on a stash house in the projects in order to make a vital connection in the case. The raid is poorly planned by a strung out, high-as-a-kite group of bikers with too many guns and a closet full of issues from their childhood that can only be numbed by violence and meth. Nothing in the set-up of the scene implies that it will go successfully, which is why this show is so wonderful; it gives the audience exactly what it says it will. No tricks, just high quality stories told in the highest possible way. Which leads to the presentation of this scene. 

Once the events of the scene are set in motion, it is going to be an intense situation. Instead of opting to play up the tension of the scene through editing, the choice was made to shoot it all in one shot via steady cam. This kind of shot requires an Elysium-type robot suit with a camera attached to it. It is a huge contraption, which makes Christopher TJ McGuire, the steadicam operator, a hero and champion of the moving image. The two previous shots leading up to the Fucking Epic Shot (FES from here on out) set the visual queue for the audience. The prior shot shows Rust get out of the truck before the rest of the biker gang approaches the stash house. We get a medium close shot of Rust where the camera moves around him priming for even more movement. Then as the truck drives off leaving our hero, the camera racks its focus to the truck making the turn onto the next street. This is setting up the importance of the background information. The background details will be so vital in FES, there’re going to add to the tension of the scene. The next shot is from Rust’s point of view and again goes to queuing the audience to notice the background. It’s a wide shot of him looking out across the yard to the bikers and their hostage getting out of the truck and approaching the house. With this shot the audience readies its eyes to subconsciously be on alert for the wide, deep elements of the shot, and once that’s been established BOOM! disorient the audience with the FES pretty tight as the camera follows Rust as he disarms the lookout of the house.

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Once they enter the house, the camera floats tight around a frantic Rust as he tries to keep the situation under control by searching and clearing out the rest of the house. When Rust rejoins the rest of the reckless posse the background action begins to take off. We see the grenade-triggered booby trap on the door to the drugs, then we see the biker groping and harassing the girl on the couch and finally we see the shadows of the rowdy crowd outside approaching the window. We get all of this information while the camera is still focused on Rust and his unease with the situation unfolding. This is another great example of Matthew McConaughey’s skill that he can hold the audience’s attention, but not so tightly that it distracts from the important world of the scene.

When the scene turns deadly, it briefly shifts to slow motion as the first shots are fired. The action slows down, the sound slows down, but only for a fraction of a second before Rust snaps back into action. The few frames in slow motion are the only seconds he wastes before taking things into his own hands. Rust checks his escape route, grabs his man, Ginger, and makes his exit.

From the moment of the first shooting the audio becomes a huge element of the shot. First, when slowed down, everything is silent except for the gunfire, when the sound comes back the music is replaced by gunfire and screams of terror. Then outside, the sounds are replaced by police helicopter as the camera quickly pans up to show. The helicopter appears and shines a spotlight right on guys as they’re beating a man dressed as a police officer with a baseball bat, thus giving justification for the hell-fire of police cars that are about to be brought down on the projects. The next major audio queue is the overwhelming beating of a heart while Rust is calling Marty, Woody Harrelson, to tell him where to meet them.

So now the audience (lucky us) have been queued to notice the background and the sound. As the FES progresses these established elements of the shot are used to put the viewer in the action. As Rust leaves the house, there is a close up on him, but as punishment for not being aware of the whole situation, he’s attacked by assailants who come from off screen, where our eyes have been trained to observe. Then the background becomes the focal point of the scene. We’re constantly scanning the depth of the shot for potential danger. When we see police cars in the background and hear the gunfire, shouting and panic, we are there in the same situation as Rust. That is what makes this shot so special, it’s an epic steadicam shot where the majority of the information is in the background, whereas every other steadicam shot is designed to display the main focus of the scene. It’s unique, masterfully executed and woven perfectly within the story, adding and enhancing the richness of the show.

This one shot rivals any Saving Private Ryan Normandy Invasion shots for realism and putting the audience in the action. What is amazing is that this beautiful shot didn’t have to be experienced on the big screen to have its full impact. This versatility required by the filmmakers and actors in this shot is simply amazing. It’s my stupid opinion that this should be studied in every film class from 101 to doctorate thesis. Now I just lay awake at nights imagining the filmmakers racking their brains on how they will top this scene in season two. This is the sign of great television.

-C. Charles