This is where I tell you that I’ve never seen Boardwalk Empire, but I’m going to write about it anyway, and you scratch your head like you do.
I found that showreel of special effects for the show fascinating. I think that the technical part of the production of movies, TV, music, and so forth has become so versatile and realistic, and engrossing effects readily achievable, that it’s overshadowing the stories or music or whatever the locus of attention’s supposed to be in the first place. The actors can’t act, they’re told to say ridiculous sentences and do unbelievable things while everything explodes, with deserts of filler in between the plastic oases of action. Singers barely mumble into a microphone and have it turned into a robotic melody while they hop around like second-string cheerleaders, all decided beforehand by committee. That sort of thing is driving me to the abandoned island of hardcover books, LP records, and David Lean movies.
Boardwalk Empire‘s coterie of participants hints that it might be better than your average teleplay, but I’m not that likely to go out of my way to look at it. I’m tired of gangsters. Do you know any crooks? They’re deadly dull, generally, and kinda thick for the most part. I’ve known some really interesting honest people. Hollywood dug a shallow grave for honest people a while back and rolled them in. It’s much easier to get conflict and action going if someone pulls out a gat from the get-go. But it’s kinda lazy, and it gets old pretty fast. The pistol is the official deus ex machina of American entertainment. Got a plot hole? Fill it with a bullethole. Problem solved!
I suppose I should just enjoy The Old Man And The Sea And A Nine-Millimeter And A Shirtless Chick by Michael Bay like everyone else, but I’m having a hard time with it. I’m still interested in the process, and astonished by what the people that aren’t in charge are capable of doing. Hardworking and talented people can put anything on the screen. It’s not their fault if you hired Pauly Shore to play Sam Spade in a musical.
I’d –ahem– kill to put words in these actor’s mouths, surrounded by these visual wonders. First, you kill all the characters’ fathers. Writes itself after that, really.