Golden Globes 2017 – Predictions

January 8, 2017

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The Golden Globes kick off the Oscar races and that is why I mainly watch this awards show. Sure, it’s fun to see all of the year’s most famous celebrities get together in one room, and occasionally get drunk and make a fool out of themselves. But for me, the Emmy’s are the true awards for television and the Oscars are the true awards for movies. With the Oscars nominations just around the corner (Jan. 24), the Golden Globes actually do matter a lot more than they used to.

So what is at stake? We all know that La La Land is the clear front-runner going into the awards season. There is nothing that the Golden Globes can take away from La La Land, because it’s expected to win most of its 7 nominations (the most of the night). Even if they don’t win certain categories like Best Score or Best Screenplay, that won’t hurt it at all until the guilds start announcing their winners.

The two films that do have a lot riding on the Golden Globes are Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea. These two films are fighting against the La La Land giant at the moment and can sure use the momentum by winning big at the Golden Globes to possibly upset the feel-good musical come February 26. Therefore, the two major categories to look out for during the Globes will be Best Drama Film and Best Director. If either Moonlight or Manchester by the Sea takes both of these awards, it will give it a nice boost going into the Oscar nominations. I have a feeling that Moonlight will be the film to receive this boost, but these two awards can easily be split by both films.

Here are all of my predictions for the Golden Globes…

Movies

Best Film – Drama:

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Prediction: Moonlight. I feel like the HFPA will go for the more daring and talked about film between critic circles, but it’s practically a toss-up between this and Manchester by the Sea.

 

Best Film – Musical or Comedy:

20th Century Women

Deadpool

Florence Foster Jenkins

La La Land

Sing Street

Prediction: This one is La La Land, end of story.

 

Best Performance in a Film – Drama

Actor:

Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea as Lee Chandler

Joel Edgerton – Loving as Richard Loving

Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge as Desmond T. Doss

Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic as Ben Cash

Denzel Washington – Fences as Troy Maxson

Prediction: I’ll go with Casey Affleck mainly because Manchester by the Sea is a real threat for Best Picture early on in the Oscar race. Denzel Washington was incredible in Fences, so if there is an upset it should be him.

 

Actress:

Amy Adams – Arrival as Dr. Louise Banks

Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloane as Elizabeth Sloane

Isabelle Huppert – Elle as Michèle Leblanc

Ruth Negga – Loving as Mildred Loving

Natalie Portman – Jackie as Jackie Kennedy

Prediction: I haven’t seen Jackie, but it’s hard not to expect Natalie Portman to win for that role. I’ll be rooting for Amy Adams here because her performance and the movie she starred in, Arrival, are going unnoticed.

 

Best Performance in a Film – Musical or Comedy

Actor:

Colin Farrell – The Lobster as David

Ryan Gosling – La La Land as Sebastian Wilder

Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins as St. Clair Bayfield

Jonah Hill – War Dogs as Efraim Diveroli

Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool as Wade Wilson/Deadpool

Prediction: Ryan Gosling because La La Land is on another level compared to any other film in the Musical/Comedy category this year. Gosling wasn’t as good as his co-star Emma Stone, but who else can the HFPA give this award to? Ryan Reynolds? Don’t make me laugh.

 

Actress:

Annette Bening – 20th Century Women as Dorothea Fields

Lily Collins – Rules Don’t Apply as Marla Mabrey

Hailee Steinfeld – The Edge of Seventeen as Nadine Franklin

Emma Stone – La La Land as Mia Dolan

Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins as Florence Foster Jenkins

Prediction: Emma Stone truly sparkled in her role in La La Land. She should win and well deserves it. But I have a soft spot for Hailee Steinfeld for her great performance in The Edge of Seventeen.

 

Best Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight as Juan

Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water as Marcus Hamilton

Simon Helberg – Florence Foster Jenkins as Cosmé McMoon

Dev Patel – Lion as Saroo Brierley

Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Nocturnal Animals as Ray Marcus

Prediction: Mahershala Ali. If Moonlight is truly as big of a player in this Oscar race like people have been suggesting, he will walk away with this award.

 

Best Supporting Actress:

Viola Davis – Fences as Rose Maxson

Naomie Harris – Moonlight as Paula

Nicole Kidman – Lion as Sue Brierley

Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures as Dorothy Vaughan

Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea as Randi

Prediction: Viola Davis was a powerhouse alongside Denzel Washington. She pulled enough of her weight around the screen that she could’ve and maybe should’ve been considered for a leading actress role. But in this category, she should be a clear winner.

 

Best Director:

Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals

Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge

Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

Prediction: My favorite award of the Golden Globes because it’s the award that can truly match up the best films in both drama and comedy/musical categories. But to be fair, the director who has won the Best Director award at the Golden Globes, his movie has only won Best Picture at the Oscars once in the last seven years (Argo – Ben Affleck). So in hindsight, maybe you don’t want to win? Anyway, I’m predicting Barry Jenkins to win this award, just so La La Land doesn’t seem like such a clear runaway winner so early on in the Oscar race.

 

Best Screenplay:

Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals

Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

Taylor Sheridan – Hell or High Water

Prediction: Manchester by the Sea probably has the best plot and story-line of any film nominated here. That’s why I’m going with Kenneth Lonergan.

 

Best Original Score:

Nicholas Britell – Moonlight

Justin Hurwitz – La La Land

Jóhann Jóhannsson – Arrival

Dustin O’Halloran & Hauschka – Lion

Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams & Benjamin Wallfisch – Hidden Figures

Prediction: Doesn’t La La Land HAVE to win here? The score for the film was simply lovely.

 

Best Original Song:

“Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (Max Martin, Shellback & Justin Timberlake) – Trolls

“City of Stars” (Justin Hurwitz, Pasek & Paul) – La La Land

“Faith” (Ryan Tedder, Stevie Wonder & Francis Farewell Starlite) – Sing

“Gold” (Stephen Gaghan, Danger Mouse, Daniel Pemberton & Iggy Pop) – Gold

“How Far I’ll Go” (Lin-Manuel Miranda) – Moana

Prediction: Again, doesn’t La La Land have to win here? But to be fair, I still have “Can’t Stop the Feeling” stuck in my head from the first time I heard it. Then again, Lin-Manuel Miranda is having quite the year… could Moana upset?

 

Best Animated Feature:

Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

My Life as a Zucchini

Sing

Zootopia

Prediction: Zootopia.

 

Best Foreign Language Film:

Divines (France)

Elle (France)

Neruda (Chile)

The Salesman (Iran/France)

Toni Erdmann (Germany)

Prediction: Elle

 

Television

Best TV Drama:

The Crown

Game of Thrones

Stranger Things

This Is Us

Westworld

Prediction: This is an awesome group of new shows, which makes this category extremely exciting. It’s hard not to pick Game of Thrones here as it’s arguably the most popular show on television, but it is surrounded by a bunch of new-comers that everyone has been talking about. Stranger Things is surely a popular pick and Westworld was the talk around every office week-after-week. But I’m going with The Crown. GoT has never won Best Drama at the Globes and likely won’t until its final season. Therefore, The Crown seems like the most appealing choice to the diverse HFPA.

 

Best TV Comedy:

Atlanta

Black-ish

Mozart in the Jungle

Transparent

Veep

Prediction: Veep is an Emmy darling, but for the Globes, they love rewarding new and refreshing shows. This year should go to Atlanta, Donald Glover’s comedy on FX.

 

Best Actor – Drama

Rami Malek – Mr. Robot as Elliot Alderson

Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul as James Morgan “Jimmy” McGill

Matthew Rhys – The Americans as Philip Jennings

Liev Schreiber – Ray Donovan as Raymond “Ray” Donovan

Billy Bob Thornton – Goliath as Billy McBride

Prediction: I would love to see Matthew Rhys win here, but if I was betting on this category my money would go to Rami Malek.

 

Best Actress – Drama

Caitriona Balfe – Outlander as Claire Beauchamp Randall/Fraser

Claire Foy – The Crown as Queen Elizabeth II

Keri Russell – The Americans as Elizabeth Jennings

Winona Ryder – Stranger Things as Joyce Byers

Evan Rachel Wood – Westworld as Dolores Abernathy

Prediction: Claire Foy. Done and done.

 

Best Actor – Comedy

Anthony Anderson – Black-ish as Andre “Dre” Johnson Sr.

Gael García Bernal – Mozart in the Jungle as Rodrigo De Souza

Donald Glover – Atlanta as Earnest “Earn” Marks

Nick Nolte – Graves as Richard Graves

Jeffrey Tambor – Transparent as Maura Pfefferman

Prediction: Donald Glover.

 

Best Actress – Comedy

Rachel Bloom – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as Rebecca Nora Bunch

Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep as Selina Meyer

Sarah Jessica Parker – Divorce as Frances Dufresne

Issa Rae – Insecure as Issa Dee

Gina Rodriguez – Jane the Virgin as Jane Gloriana Villanueva

Tracee Ellis Ross – Black-ish as Dr. Rainbow “Bow” Johnson

Prediction: Julia Louis-Dreyfus is the safe pick here so I’ll go with her, but from Rachel Bloom to Gina Rodriguez, and Issa Rae from Insecure, this could be anyone’s to win.

 

Best Mini-series or TV Film:

American Crime

The Dresser

The Night Manager

The Night Of

The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story

Prediction: The People vs. O.J. Simpson will win here. No questions asked.

 

Best Actor – Miniseries

Riz Ahmed – The Night Of as Nasir “Naz” Khan

Bryan Cranston – All the Way as President Lyndon B. Johnson

Tom Hiddleston – The Night Manager as Jonathan Pine

John Turturro – The Night Of as John Stone

Courtney B. Vance – The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story as Johnnie Cochran

Prediction: Courtney B. Vance. Let’s get all these O.J. awards handed out early, okay?

 

Best Actress – Miniseries

Felicity Huffman – American Crime as Leslie Graham

Riley Keough – The Girlfriend Experience as Christine Reade/”Chelsea Rayne”/”Amanda Hayes”

Sarah Paulson – The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story as Marcia Clark

Charlotte Rampling – London Spy as Frances Turner

Kerry Washington – Confirmation as Anita Hill

Prediction: Sarah Paulson.

 

Best TV Supporting Actor:

Sterling K. Brown – The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story as Christopher Darden

Hugh Laurie – The Night Manager as Richard Onslow Roper

John Lithgow – The Crown as Winston Churchill

Christian Slater – Mr. Robot as Mr. Robot / Edward Alderson

John Travolta – The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story as Robert Shapiro

Prediction: John Lithgow.

 

Best TV Supporting Actress:

Olivia Colman – The Night Manager as Angela Burr

Lena Headey – Game of Thrones as Cersei Lannister

Chrissy Metz – This Is Us as Kate Pearson

Mandy Moore – This Is Us as Rebecca Pearson

Thandie Newton – Westworld as Maeve Millay

Prediction: Chrissy Metz.

 

 

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Game of Thrones – “Mother’s Mercy”

June 15, 2015

Season Five, Episode Ten

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Grade: A

Pardon my language, but at the conclusion of the season five finale, the only words that I could put together to make some kind of sentence was: What the fucking fuck?

Okay, I think it’s out of my system for now. Let me start with the conclusion of the season five finale. Jon Snow has just been stabbed six times by his fellow crows, and he falls on his back as the blood pours out of his body, turning the white snow into a dark red mess. I just kept waiting and waiting for there to be a sign of hope that maybe this was all a dream. Or maybe he wasn’t about to take his last breath. But it didn’t seem like there was anything or anyone who could save him from those final moments. As the viewer, I really thought this would never happen. Sure, GoT has time and time again kicked me in the ass for expecting a major character to live a long and eventful life, but come on! This is Jon Snow! He’s been the voice of reason, the underdog among competitors, the sad misfit who’s been kicked around by everyone, and somehow throughout all of these seasons he has faced adversity and continued to conquer every obstacle thrown his way. So it’s no exaggeration that the entire GoT fan-base was in awe.

I haven’t read a single line from any of the books, but I understand from friends who have that this was where the latest book ended. So now the show and the novels are (somewhat) caught up with each other. In my opinion, that’s very exciting for the TV-viewers but disappointing for the novel-readers. But at least we can all band together and admit that this is a crucial loss, unless it isn’t! I’m sorry, but I still cannot accept that Jon Snow is gone forever. Maybe he does die, but there are elements of the show that suggests GoT has the capability to turn to magic. It took a while, but Frankenstein Mountain is alive and kicking again. And I doubt it’s coincidence that Melisandre roams into the crow camp right before he dies. While I’ve never been a fan of the Lord of Light story, it’s clear there is some real magic there. And it’s obvious that Stannis was the wrong leader to follow. Will the Lord of Light have anything to do with Snow’s possible resurrection?

As for Stannis, season five really dealt a lot with him, just to have him killed off at the end of a failed attempt to take Winterfell. I was really rooting him on up to the point where he chose to burn his daughter alive (oh how those screams still keep me up at night). But what happens here is slightly vague. Brienne steps out at the end of the battle and swings her sword at Stannis, but it’s never shown that he dies. That could mean she didn’t kill him after all, but I do honestly believe he’s dead. The last time I wanted to believe someone wasn’t dead because GoT didn’t show it immediately was Ned Stark.

So Stannis is done. Jon Snow is very likely dead. That means the Boltons have defended Winterfell and Ramsay will continue being the jackass he is. But as expected, Theon assists Sansa to try and escape. Unfortunately, this involves the bright idea to jump off the freaking wall. Are we supposed to assume that Sansa is going to survive that fall?! That would require a huge leap of faith, one that I don’t even think Sansa had when she decided to jump. But once again, we don’t see her land so we don’t know what happens. It’s just that this cannot be the last we see of Sansa. And if it is, this is definitely a weak way to go out.

Now let’s go over that extremely difficult-to-watch scene with Cersei walking through the streets to the Red Keep. If this doesn’t land Lena Headey any awards buzz then I don’t know what will. She displays such great control and ability during the scene, portraying a wide arrange of emotions until she’s finally able to let it all go when she reaches home. Cersei has never been a character who was liked, and even through this walk of shame I couldn’t feel bad for her. She has simply done too much to ever receive sympathy from me. But this is classic GoT here, taking a much-hated character and springing life into their story. It happens with Jaime Lannister, Theon, Stannis, etc. But I don’t believe one bit that Cersei has changed from all of this. She just did what she had to do to start planning how to destroy the Faith Militant.

Speaking of not able to let go, Arya finally finishes the deed of killing Meryn Trant. By doing so, she goes against everything that Jaqen H’ghar has been teaching her at the House of Black and White. And just as it seems he has killed himself, it’s all trickery. I don’t have much to really say about this story-line because there is too much unknown about the Faceless Men. I have no clue how it works and what is happening to Arya as she’s going blind, but all I know is that it has become one of the best plots in the fifth season. I’m excited to revisit Arya in the next season.

And then there is Daenerys, stranded in a far away place where Drogon is too lazy to bring her back home. I’m not sure where she thinks she was going, or how she could possibly be surprised by hundreds of Dothraki riders surrounding her in an open field, but her fate is left up in the air as well. One thing I am looking forward to for next season is the ruling of Meereen by the misfit team of Tyrion, Varys, Grey Worm, and Missandei. If there was a Big Brother After Dark series of them living together, I’d watch every second of that. Also we have our new odd-couple, road trip tandem with Jorah and Daario.

After all is said and done, we still have to return to Jon Snow. I love how GoT has felt so real at times in such a fantasy world, but that is definitely one of its strengths. But recently the role of magic is becoming greater than I anticipated. From the murdering shadow to the wildfire used at the Battle of the Blackwater; the Frankenstein Mountain to the powerful dragons; Bran’s ability as a Warg to Beric’s resurrection. There has been so much magic within GoT and I believe the sixth season will be the most magical yet. Hopefully Bran does come back so we can have answers about his prophecies, and hopefully Snow is able to come back through some kind of resurrection. I’m probably way off with this, but I really hope I’m somewhat right.

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Game of Thrones – “Hardhome”

June 2, 2015

Season Five, Episode Eight

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Grade: A

By this point, we’ve become aware of how GoT likes to progress. Its penultimate episode every season contains such memorable moments that as a viewer, the slow-burn throughout the first half of the season is tolerated with anticipation for the ending. And even though this wasn’t that far off from the penultimate episode, I’m sure we were as surprised as Jon Snow was when the white walkers stormed the wildlings camp. But let’s back up a little bit.

Leading up to this epic battle, Jon Snow along with Tormund entered Hardhome to try and convince them it’s in everyone’s best interest to team up against the walkers. It was going to be a tough sell, but as Tormund discovered himself, Snow is a very good leader and everything he says makes a lot of sense. But the wildlings are a stubborn group of people, led by the Lord of Bones who stops them in their tracks only a few meters from the dock. If there was any question that Tormund would back-stab Snow, it was squashed the moment he beat the Lord of Bones to death (this was a great, dark comic relief to get on with more important and urgent matters).

When Snow and Torumund meet with the elders to discuss the proposal, you can feel the tension building inside of the tent. The wildlings and crows have been sworn enemies for decades, and now Snow is asking for the two to fight side-by-side with each other. No one trusts each other and no one can forget the pain both have imposed, but when asked Tormund tells the wildlings that he is behind Snow on this matter. This divides the wildlings as only part of them board their ships and rafts to travel to the Wall while the rest stay behind. And this is when the fun begins.

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Unlike the last few huge battle sequences (Blackwater and at the Wall), this comes out of nowhere. GoT wasn’t leading up to this epic event like it was with Stannis storming King’s Landing and the wildlings sprinting towards the Wall. This was a surprise assault on the wildlings by the white walker army, and boy was it intense! I don’t know if I can compare the battle of Hardhome to the others quite yet, but for starters it helped that this battle mainly centered on two characters: Snow and Tormund. It made the chaotic sequences a lot more focused, but gave me a feeling that neither of them would die. Nonetheless, the showdown between Snow and the white walker was great in all fronts. The action was great, plus we learn something new: Snow’s Valyrian steel sword not only withstood the walker’s strike, but it cut through the walker and shattered him into pieces. Go Snow!

All of this happens during the last 20 or so minutes of the episode, and while this was the most heart-pounding event all season long, that didn’t mean nothing else occured during “Hardhome.” For starters, we continue where last week left off with Jorah and Tyrion in front of Daenerys. The dialogue between Tyrion and Daenerys is everything I was hoping for. She boats her thick skin and cold stare at the Lannister, whom her family has always hated. Tyrion continues with his mildly sarcastic tone, but rich with logic and advice. He soon realizes that Varys was right, there is something about Daenerys that is worth staying alive for and even helping out. Those two are going to make one hell of a team.

The central theme throughout “Hardhome” was forgetting the past and moving forward with what’s best. The Targaryens and Lannisters have never been friendly, but these two main characters figured out that they’re a lot stronger with each other than they are by themselves. The same goes for the wildlings and the crows. It’s imperative they team up with one another to stand a fighting chance against the white walkers.

Continuing one with the theme, Arya attempts to forget her identity and take on a new one, Lana, an orphan who sells oysters to learn everything she can about a gambler from Braavos. It’s always exciting to see Arya’s journey with Jaqen H’ghar and that smile on her face as she learns her mission explains everything she’s feeling.

And then back at Winterfell there’s Sansa, screaming at Theon for betraying her yet again. We get a glimmer of good from Theon, who likely does feel he’s doing the best for Sansa by not helping her escape. Like he says, Theon tried to escape but Ramsay caught him and made him pay the price. He would do the same to her. But the real moment here is when Theon admits to Sansa that he didn’t kill Bran and Rickon. Right there, you see a flickering hope in Sansa’s eyes for the first time in a long while. Maybe there is something worth fighting for now that she knows she has family out there, somewhere.

Finally, there’s Cersei, unwilling to confess her sins to the Fath Militant and finds herself rotting in prison, sucking up every last drop of water from her own prison floor. She’s someone who simply cannot escape her own past and move forward. She knows what she has done and has made plenty of poor decisions up to now. She has made enemies, but none that she hasn’t faced the consequences for. With the sparrows marching around, her plan to keep her status at King’s Landing backfired tremendously. She keeps trying to hard to maintain everything that she has lost throughout the years, but like “Hardhome” has shown, her inability to leave the past behind her has forced her inside a dark pit with no hope of getting out. While everyone else are making changes and adapting to their situation, Cersie kept on plotting for her own gain.

With only two episodes left this season, I wonder if there will be anything close to as exciting “Hardhome” was, or did GoT use up all of its budget for that one sequence. That being said, there are still plenty of things that must be addressed. Will Stannis march onto Winterfell and will the Boltons be able to fend them off? Will Jaime Lannister be able to retrieve his daughter? Can Brienne rescue Sansa? What is Ramsay’s plan where he only needs twenty men? Let’s see what kind of surprises GoT will throw our way during these final episodes of season five.

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Game of Thrones – “The House of Black and White”

April 20, 2015

Season Five, Episode Two

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Grade: B+

Power. It’s what everyone wants in Game of Thrones, but only one person can rule at a time. At this very moment, it seems like Daenerys is the most powerful in Mereen with the Unsullied (though without her dragons she loses a lot of points). Her power is why we’ve been spending so much time with her in the early going of the fifth season. It’s also the reason why Varys and Tyrion feel it’s important to travel to her. Does she really have what it takes to rule? We get a glimpse of that in this episode.

As ruler, one must always make difficult decisions that can be crucial to keeping order. There is no doubt that Daenerys is good at heart and wants the best for the world and the people who live in it, but when she has to be tough she can often let her emotions get in the way of her judgement. By all means, her decision to execute Mossador makes sense to continue the law and justice she’s trying to enforce, but he murdered the man who killed an Unsullied. Mossador has always been one of Daenerys biggest supporters, but she’s trying her best to unify the former slaves and the masters. I’m not sure if that’s going to be possible, but that’s not going to stop her from trying.

Meanwhile, Stannis rules with the way of fear. He’s tough. He knows that he’s tough and everyone else around him knows it too. It’s his fearlessness that forces people to follow him and have his way. Once you appear weak, the people will no longer respect and follow you. It’s a similar approach to how Tywin ran things, but we all saw where that got him. At the Wall, Stannis wants to promote Jon Snow away from Castle Black and as his adviser of the North as Jon Stark. He never intends to accept the offer, but is surprised when the Night’s Watch nominates him as the new Lord Commander. It was a great scene that turned Snow’s misfortunes into fortune very quickly.

As for Cersei, she’s doing her best to act the role of ruler at King’s Landing, but without much success. We all know her son isn’t fit to rule anything anytime soon, but she’ll also never have the respect of the council nor the people despite her royal name. That doesn’t leave her with much options, but for now she is most definitely the acting ruler. As for Jaime, he’s off with Bronn to Dorne to try and bring Myrcella back. Personally, I cannot wait to see more of their adventure together.

Finally, Arya gets invited into The House of Black and White with Jaqen H’gar, which should be the start to a very exciting future. What’s in store for her in Braavos? I honestly have no idea, but it’s good to know she still remembers the people she wants to kill. Oh, and that she got her coin back.

Last but not least:

– Poor Brienne. No one wants her on their side. Sexist pigs! But no, it’s the Starks who don’t trust her, which is that much more frustrating. At least she saved Podrick so we can follow them following Sansa.

– I’m still surprise how Petyr Baelish is still around and relevant. But what’s his endgame with Sansa?

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Favorite TV Moments of 2014

January 20, 2015

There were plenty of great television moments of 2014, but unfortunately I’m only one person and simply couldn’t watch everything that I wanted to. So in this post I’m going to count down my favorite eight television moments from the past year.

Warning: There will be plenty of spoilers!

8. The Americans – “Echo” (Finale)

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The finale of the second season was one to remember. The Americans has always been an underrated show without enough recognition since day one, but as long as they keep renewing it then I don’t care how many people watch it. In “Echo” we lose Fred during an undercover mission, and Larrick in a battle after he kidnaps the Jennings. Most importantly, we learn that Jared was the one who killed his family and that he was recruited as a KGB agent, and now Claudia wants Paige to be recruited as well. Of course Philip and Elizabeth say no, but I can’t wait to see this conversation run deeper in season three.

7. Orphan Black – “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” (Finale)

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The second season of Orphan Black had its ups and downs, but the show still remains an incredibly gripping science fiction series with the amazing Tatiana Maslany at the center of all the action. The big reveal during the finale was that Project Castor is a line of male clones in the military. So they just keep on piling on the clones and to be honest, I don’t know how I feel about it but I’ll give the writers a chance to weave another season full of twists and surprises. Also, the second season showed my favorite clone, Cosima, get weaker. She shares an intimate moment with Kira during the finale as they go through The Island of Dr. Moreau, and the touching scene winds up being uber important when we see that’s where Duncan’s cipher is! Finally, if there is any image to remember from the second season, it’s the one with all the clones dancing in Felix’ loft. What a fantastic scene that was for Orphan Black. Through all the stress every clone is going through, they’re able to let go, be silly, and just dance when they’re all together.

6. The Leftovers – “Guest” (S01E06)

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The Leftovers was a strange, new show on the HBO lineup that many couldn’t make the jump into. The premise was how two percent of the world’s population disappeared, and viewers wanted to know why. But The Leftovers wasn’t about why’s, it was about what next. My favorite episode of the riveting first season was “Guest” and featured Carrie Coon as Nora Durst, a young widow when her whole family disappeared. The Leftovers has always been strongest when it explores the mindset of its troubled characters, and in “Guest” we’re able to watch Nora as she attempts to not only heal from her wounds, but finally move on. We do see this after she meets with Wayne and embarks on her involvement with Kevin. It’s a minor triumph, but any of the kind should be considered a miracle in her situation.

5. True Detective – “Who Goes There” (S01E04)

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One of the finest new dramas was seen on HBO that involved star actors: Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. True Detective was an exhausting and winding murder investigation that was able to stimulate your mind as much as any other show this year. The spacy and cynical thoughts of Rust Cohle with the troubled Marty Hart made up one of the best combos I’ve ever seen on television. And the highlight of the season took place at the end of the fourth episode when Rust goes undercover with the Iron Crusaders and how Rust stays close to Ginger until finally turning on him and dragging him away through the violent neighborhood until Marty picks them up. It was one of the most suspenseful scenes from the whole year and more impressively, it was done as a tracking shot! Brilliant!

4. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

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One of the most pleasant surprises of 2014 was John Oliver’s once-a-week Daily Show-type of program on HBO. I had my doubts along with plenty of others, but realized that this format was brilliant. While The Daily show is great, Last Week Tonight was able to do a much better job at researching and pressing deep into an issue, exploiting problems and offering solutions (though many were silly). And the main strength of this show was Oliver’s ability to deconstruct a complicated issue and explain it to the public with such clarity. He also is able to make the most boring subjects hilarious, keeping our attention the entire time. While it looks easy for him to accomplish, I assure you it’s not and that’s why he’s one of the biggest stories of the year.

3. Game of Thrones – “The Mountain and the Viper” (S04E08)

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Game of Thrones has always been consistent at keeping you guessing, and have always had a knack at surprising the Hell out of you. This is no different. Earlier on in the season King Joffrey dies due to poison and naturally Tyrion is accused. So to leave his fate in the hands of the Gods, there is a battle to the death between The Mountain and Oberyn Martell, and things don’t end well for Martell (seriously, that scene still haunts my nightmares).

For the show, Season Four was a great one for Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. He continued to give great performance after great performance from his speech on trial to the conversation in the dungeon with Jaime, to the final sequence of the finale. And while there is a whole lot more going on with the show, Dinklage keeps on stealing every scene. As Khaleesi marches on with her army, Snow fights alongside his brothers, Brann follows the raven, and so on, Tyrion is ranked as my favorite character.

2. Mad Men – “Waterloo” (S07E07)

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One of my favorite shows ever is coming to an end this year, and in 2014 AMC rolled out the first half of the final season (Breaking Bad style). Things have completely turned upside-down since the beginning of Mad Men and now Don Draper is working for Peggy, something I never would’ve imagined would happen. Another huge event that happened was Bert Cooper’s death, which affected everyone in the company. But his death represents how the agency is moving forward and leaving behind the past in a rapidly-changing world. The same goes for its characters, especially Don Draper, who has to deal with leaving everything behind and working on what matters right now at the moment.

The finale had a great scene were Peggy pitches to Burger Chef and there are a lot of similarities that can be drawn to Don Draper and the way he pitches to clients. There is a lot that Peggy has learned from Don throughout the years and she nails it! Everything has changed and as we’re gearing up for the final episodes of Mad Men, it’s the change that seems to stick out the most on the show. And we’re sent off by a dancing Bert Cooper in Draper’s head, telling him to find that place of happiness and bliss inside. It was a great end to the beginning, and now it’s time for the beginning to the end.

1. Fargo – “Buridan’s Ass” (S01E06)

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My favorite television moment of 2014 takes place in a cold and snowy area in the United States. Fargo was my favorite TV season of the year for the reason that I just feel it was closer to being flawless than any other show. And “Buridan’s Ass” was the stand-out episode of the mini-series. This is the episode when things begin to break down, and it does so instantly one after the other. When watching a show that we can somewhat get behind the villain, there are morals we can agree with, such as Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men. Sure, he’s a murderer but he does allow his victims a flip of a coin to stay alive. But this balance that exists goes haywire for the characters of Fargo in “Buridan’s Ass.”

The scene that stole all the spotlight here was the whiteout scene when Molly and Gus chase after Malvo. They’re so close to him yet so far since you can’t see past a few feet in a whiteout like that. There is so much tension in this scene, it’s like you’re with them in the significant storm. And up to this point, Molly and Gus have been slowly putting together the case against Malvo. Now that they might finally have him, the good guy Gus accidentally shoots Molly. It’s devastating and even more so when you really aren’t sure if she’s going to live or not. Just a brutal event from the universe tipping its side to evil.

In addition, Malvo kills Chumph (a character that we really shouldn’t have liked at all but somehow cared for especially when he gets shot up by the police), and Stavros’ son and bodyguard die from a fall of fish from the sky. “Buridan’s Ass” is just one cruel event after another, and really loosens the reigns from what the audience thought they knew about the show. That seems to be the point of the episode, named after the paradox where a donkey that is hungry and thirsty is put equidistant from hay and water. He’s so caught up between the two options that the donkey can’t make up its mind and dies instead of choosing one over the other. Plenty of characters make tough decisions in this episode, but would they have been better off not picking a side at all? Nonetheless, “Buridan’s Ass” is the finest TV moment of the year.


Game of Thrones – “First Of His Name”

May 5, 2014

Season Four, Episode Five

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Grade: A-

We’ve reached the halfway point of season four and have been faced with plenty of important events, most notably the death of King Joffrey a few episodes ago. While Tywin, Cersei and others try their best to keep order at King’s Landing, as the word spreads the threat becomes more and more dire. So Tommen is now the new king, but we all know he’s just a puppet to what the council will be telling him to do. He’ll do them proud though, because he’s not a lunatic like Joffrey was.

Interesting enough, this episode pushed the women to the center of attention. In a show like Game of Thrones where women are treated very poorly (and that’s an understatement), “Fire Of His Name” concentrates on the women who are in power, or at least are living better than the majority of females in this world. Starting with Cersei, she contemplates about her daughter, whom she hasn’t seen in quite a while. And even though Oberyn Martell attempts to assure her that she’s safe with “We don’t hurt little girls in Dorne,” she drops this crushing line, “Everywhere in the world they hurt little girls.”

In the GoT world where there are still slaves and it’s very common to have servants and whores around every corner of the wealthy houses, there isn’t much hope for the women. If you want to become of power, you must marry into it. Cersei has already done this and is expected to do so again, and Margaery is expected to marry Tommen to tie together the Lannisters and the Tyrells. But while this seems to be the most effective way for a woman to be respected, it’s not the only way.

Both Brienne and Arya find themselves on the road and not bound to slavery or prostitution. They’re free and live with purpose to carry out the duties they seek. Even though Arya is driven by hate and revenge, like the Hound says it’s as good a reason as any to keep going on. I must admit I’m very pleased that the show is exploring Brienne and Podrick on the road because I knew they would be a fun odd-couple. I loved the grin on Podrick’s face when Brienne finally asks him to help her take off her armor.

This brings us to Daenerys, who has risen to power as the mother of dragons and the one who is freeing the slaves. Apparently she now has a fleet of ships and when news hit her ears that Joffrey was killed, you could see the her face light up. “I will do what queens do. I will rule.” I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I wouldn’t mind Daenerys, the Unsullied, and her dragons marching to King’s Landing and wiping everyone out.

Even though there are important female players all over, some are still struggling to survive. Poor Sansa, always being pushed around and shipped all over when she hasn’t seen any family for what feels like forever. Now she’s under the spell of Littlefinger and Lysa. I don’t know how anyone can fully trust Lysa, because I definitely don’t. The scene when she accuses Sansa of being with Littlefinger was horrifying. Will Sansa be able to escape their grasp? Is this just going to be another temporary home?

Finally, we get action at Craster’s Keep where the Night’s Watch eliminate the men there. Locke tries to capture Bran, but instead Bran uses Hodor as a deadly weapon to kill Locke. And just as Bran watched his brother Jon Snow just feet away from him, he leaves trusting the visions that he should continue to head North to find the three-eyed crow. It was a moment where I almost yelled for Bran to scream for Jon. It would’ve been a great reunion, but at the same time I’m completely invested at what is North for Bran.


Game of Thrones – “Oathkeeper”

April 28, 2014

Season Four, Episode Four

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Grade: B

Game of Thrones slows things down during the season’s fourth episode, but the theme of justice weighs heavily throughout “Oathkeeper.” The title refers to the sword that Jaime gives Brienne as she leaves King’s Landing to find Sansa to keep her oath she had given to Lady Stark. Killing two birds with one stone, Jaime lends Brienne Podrick, knowing he’s not safe with Tyrion accused of murder. Something I always enjoyed about GoT was how they masterfully paired up characters to extract entertainment from every situation. Brienne and Podrick being on the road together should be great.

At Castle Black, Locke finally reaches the Wall where Jon Snow is training a group of willing crows to fight wildlings. Snow puts together a handful of volunteers to travel to Craster’s Keep, including Locke, to stop the wildings before they gain the knowledge that there aren’t thousands defending the Wall. But surprisingly, Bran, Hodor and company are nearby and get captured by Karl’s men. Karl is one wicked customer and he’s someone whom I’m not entirely sure what he’s capable of. But just front his snarl, he doesn’t seem like someone who is just and fair.

At Mereen, Grey Worm and a group of Unsullied enter the sewers to give the slaves weapons for the uprising. It was a very powerful moment when Grey Worm told the slaves they have to earn their freedom by taking it. Daenerys keeps on getting more powerful. It’s hard to imagine anyone being able to stop her at the rate she’s going. So while the mother of dragons is doing some dirty work freeing slaves across the land, Littlefinger explains to Sansa how he organized Joffrey’s death in order to climb the ranks of power once again. But to create a bit of confusion, Lady Olenna speaks with Margaery and admits she had something to do with Joffrey’s death because she didn’t want Margaery to marry a monster. Hmm…

Staying at King’s Landing, siblings Cersei and Tyrion still are at large. Like Tyrion said, there is nothing that will convince Cersei that he didn’t have something to do with Joffrey’s death. This seems troubling for Tyrion, but it looks like Jaime is on his side, plus it’s clear that Cersei has gone mad and wants to take out her anger on Tyrion. Meanwhile, Margaery has begun winning Tommen over by sneaking into his room during the night. I can see this backfiring eventually, but for now it’s all politics.

Finally, we get a white walker scene at the end of the episode. These damn white walker scenes are rare and what happens is as puzzling as ever. One of the walkers, the king?, looks to have turn a baby into a white walker. What does this mean? I have no idea, and I don’t anticipate any questions to be answered anytime soon. But with so many plot-lines in action, it’s only a matter of time until big events happen. Who will make it out alive by the end of the season?


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