Tuesday, June 13, 2006

T'ain't Nothin' To it

Thanks to one of those once in a blue moon convergences of our schedule and our babysitter's, Marian and I went out on what you humans refer to as the dinner and a movie date. Despite my unease at putting any kind of money into Crazy Tom Cruise's pocket (does he get points this late in the release window?), we took in "Mission: Impossible III," which was, as Fienberg pointed out, the best "Alias" episode ever made. (There's even a babbling techie who's Marshall with a British accent.) Staging action sequences has never been JJ's problem -- hell, he even convinced me that Felicity could be a gun-wielding badass -- and while the real Cruise squicks me out, I'm still okay with him in panting, grimacing action hero mode. Plus, Capote makes a great no-nonsense bad guy, even if he doesn't have enough screen time.

Because we were out and about, I didn't get to watch any live TV, but fortunately, I had already seen the season premiere of "The Closer" and the pilot of "Saved." I even reviewed them in yesterday's All TV column, which I forgot to link to yesterday. Don't know that I have a lot to say about either one beyond what's in that column, save that my uncanny memory for faces of Hey It's That Guys always gets me into trouble with mystery shows like "The Closer."

Ebert has his Law of Economy of Characters, which says that, because budgets are limited, any character in a thriller or mystery who has a lot of dialogue for seemingly no reason will turn out to be the killer. I think there should be some kind of corollary to that: the Law of Economy of Character Actors, which would say that if a recognizable face pops up in a mystery or thriller playing a seemingly innocuous or irrelevant role, they'll turn out to be the killer. As soon as I saw Kevin Kilner as the dead cop's ex-partner and realized he was a much bigger name (relatively speaking) than the guy playing the dead cop's current partner, I knew he had done it. After that, it was just a matter of waiting to see how Brenda Leigh did it. Now that the show's dialed down the sledgehammer attempt to make her an underdog, this isn't a bad little show, so I'm sure I'll check in on it occasionally through the summer.

"Saved" is a little more intriguing. As my friend Ellen Gray said in her review, the show is basically a watered-down version of "Rescue Me," and I don't think Tom Everett Scott has nearly Denis Leary's ability to be charming in one scene and an ass in the next, but I like the visual style and the paramedic world doesn't feel nearly as played-out as police procedurals do at the moment.


Anonymous said...

RE: Law of Economony of Characters

My sister and I have a shorthand we use. When an actor shows up that we know better than the regular cast the first sister to shout "Guilt by Casting" wins.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Catchier than my phrase. Mind if I steal it?