Michael Griffin
  • 'Justified' Recap: Trust Issues
    By: Michael Griffin Jan 22, 2014
    .FX Networks This episode was all about the main characters dealing with problems and how to trust even those closest to them, including family. Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) was having a grand old time in the opulent home of Charles Monroe (Xander Berkeley), a money launderer for the Detroit Mob. He had company: Alison (Amy Smart), who was Loretta McCready's (Kaitlyn Dever) case worker. They weren't discussing work. Givens got interrupted twice, once by his boss, Art Mullen (Nick Searcy), who told him the case against Monroe was falling apart. The second interruption was a in the form of a rather large man named Henry Granger, outside with a baseball bat. Granger wasn't there to intimidate Givens: he may have been part of a plot to rob the Monroe house. It also turned out that Allison had planted evidence that wound up having Granger, who was a meth cook, lose custody of his child. Givens later visited Granger and set him straight and told him to never bother Alison again. Then, luck fell in their lap: Gloria, Monroe's 'maid'/girlfriend, came over and tried to open a hidden safe with bars of gold in it. It turned out the safe had been installed by Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns). So they had Gloria plant the idea that Duffy was the one who stole the money from the safe. Monroe took the bait and tried to kill Duffy, but got shot by Duffy's goon with Givens and Marshal Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) present. That problem solved, Givens and Allison picked up where they left off, though the seed of doubt had been planted that she was another in a string of no-good women that Givens was turning a blind eye to. Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) started off trying to figure out who had stolen his drug shipment in the last episode. Aft first he thought Duffy had double-crossed him. After the bushy-eyebrowed criminal disabused him of that notion, he had a drug dealer, Cyrus (Bill Tangradi) brought in. After Duffy terrorized him by shooting a BB gun at his face repeatedly. Cyrus blurted out that he had told a hooker who had a thing for ... ahem ... pleasuring men with candy like Pop Rocks. (These events with Duffy all took place before the shootout with Monroe at Duffy's bus.) Boyd visited his fiance, Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), in jail to see if she knew who the hooker was, since she used to be a madam. Ava didn't seem too impressed by his efforts to spring her and they fought about why Ava was there, exactly. She did apparently did give him the name of the hooker, though. Of course, Boyd, being a career criminal, had multiple problems. Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson), the man Boyd had beaten into a coma, was now awake and and wanted the sherriff, Mooney (William Gregory Lee) to kill him. Boyd, wanting to stay on this planet as long as he could, partnered with Paxton's wife, Mara (Karolina Wydra) and got her to get the jump on Mooney. Well, not exactly the jump ... she got a grip on him, if you know what I mean, while Boyd aimed a gun at his back. It looked like Mooney was Team Boyd again ... for now. They were going to have Mooney tell Lee that he had killed Boyd, and Mara was going to show him a picture of a dead man's hand with the same tattoo as Boyd's on it. That was an easy enough job, since Mara ran a funeral parlor and there would be no shortage of bodies. Boyd then brought had the hooker brought in a trunk. He took her cell phone and called a number and said, "Hello, cousin Johnny." It appeared that Johnny Crowder (David Meunier) was the traitor. Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman) had problems of his own. His cousin Darryl (Michael Rapaport) was still there, despite his obvious displeasure. Darryl told him that he was being ripped off, since he should have been making more money than he was. He pointed to a hotel that cost half of what Dewey had paid Boyd for this whorehouse. Dewey ran to Boyd to get a refund but the silver-tongued Crowder told him to stand up for himself, which he did. After he chewed out Darryl and told him to hit the road, Darryl, who admired him for his stance, took him to a back room and showed him why he was making less than he should. His employee, Wade Messer (James Le Gros), was skimming on behalf of Boyd. Darryl told Dewey that he needed to kill Messer, since he had stolen from him. Death Count Nobody died in this episode, though it doesn't look good for Messer. Givens also gave Granger quite the bloody nose and Monroe apparently pulled through despite being shot by Duffy's bodyguard, Mikey. Best Lines "You wanna tell me why you had Captain Fauxhawk drag me over here?" -- Cyrus to Boyd. "If you take those headphones off again, I'm going to staple them to your g-----n head!" --Boyd to Ava's lawyer, who wore them during their jailhouse chat so as to not hear their illicit discussions. State of Boyd/Ava There are already cracks in the relationship. Ava was very dismissive of Boyd during her jailhouse chat and Boyd and Mara seemed to be very sexually charged the scene when she looked over his chest and arms for a tattoo. It doesn't look like there will be wedding bells. State of Raylan Givens Well, there wasn't mention of Mullen looking more into the Nicky Augustine murders, but there was the sense that his boss was going to keep treating him like a child. First, there were the phone calls while Givens was at Monroe's place and then he had Brooks babysit him after the first run-in with Granger. On top of that, nobody seems to believe that Givens has good taste in women and that Allison is not going to be another woman who steals a piece of him, either physically, spiritually or materially (Yes, a woman once absconded with his money). State of Boyd Crowder Boyd's in a bad place now, but that's usually the spot where the head of a criminal empire is. Everybody's gunning for him and he's dealing with them as quickly as his facile mind can. It's going to be interesting to see how he takes on Johnny. He seemed to take a step back from that edge of insanity that he had teetered on in the season premiere, but it's a short stumble away. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @literateartist //
  • Will Dwight Schrute Hound Rainn Wilson in His New TV Show?
    By: Michael Griffin Jan 22, 2014
    FOX Rainn Wilson, who we all remember as Dwight Schrute from The Office, is going to be on his own show, Backstrom. He'll be playing a detective who has trouble relating with anyone and speaks his mind all the time. Basically it's House as a police detective. Oh wait. That would be Sherlock Holmes, another character known for his sharp tongue and inability to tolerate anyone who he deems an idiot. That's all well and good, but will we be just be seeing Schrute trying to play detective when we watch this show? This is another case of an actor possibly having a role that might dog him in other shows. Wilson's a good actor, but has Schrute ingrained himself in our minds and we may just have a hard time unseeing that. In other words, he might be pigeon-holed into Schrute-type roles if we can't get past this. Sure, Jeremy Irons said that all actors get stuck in situations like that, but then again, Irons can say that, since he's actually had a very diverse career. Hearing things like that must drive other actors nuts. It's like Bill Gates saying that everyone struggles with money sometimes. There are actors that only get certain roles. You'll only see them as maybe a mafia tough goon as opposed to an intrepid newspaper reporter. That's OK. You'll know what you're getting when you turn on the TV or attend a movie, but those tend to be the peripheral or background characters. Those people are immediately relegated to the background of your mind as you focus on the main characters. It's more disappointing to see a more mainstream actor get out of that. For example, after the whole Avengers/superhero movie craze completely dies down, will Tom Hiddleston be able to get past the role of Loki? He may be fully embracing it now, but what about five years down the road? Is he still going to want to be remembered as the guy who got beaten down by the Hulk? (I admit I still watch this scene when I'm in a bad mood.) I know that when I watch Backstrom, there are times that I might expect the camera to cut to a confessional-type interview and watch the detective try to explain what he did. Who knows? Wilson may surprise us all and manage to give us a side of him that we haven't seen in The Office. People may look back at this piece and say, "What was he thinking?" I'd love to be wrong here. Then again, people couldn't catch me to tell me that, since as Schrute himself said, "I'm faster than 80% of all snakes." Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 'Shark Tank' Recap: Muddied Distractions
    By: Michael Griffin Jan 18, 2014
    ABC Television Network First In Tank The first entrepreneur was Lauren Padawer of Alaska Glacial Mud, which creates all-natural facial masks and other skin care products you might find at a beauty spa. She wanted $100,000 for 20% equity. The problem was that she had very weak sales and that was what kept the Sharks from biting on the deal. They pointed out that the spa business was very difficult to break into and that she didn't even have a retail presence. They were more impressed by the fact that she was a commercial salmon fisherman who ran her own ship and pulled in $100,000 a year - Barbara Corcoran wanted to buy into her fish business. Second In Tank Mike Barzman and Bryan O'Connell (who looked unsettingly like Henry Thomas of E.T. fame) were pitching Invisplug - extension cords that blend in with the floor. They wanted $125,000 for 10% equity, a valuation that the Sharks immediately pointed out was way too high. Several sharks immediately jumped out, but Lori Greiner made an offer. She offered the $125,000 and they haggled on royalties, but eventually she refused to budge at $1 per unit until she got her investment back and then 25 cents in perpetuity after that - a deal structure that Kevin O'Leary usually offers. Robert Herjavec's interest was piqued and offered the same deal, no royalties and a 20% equity contingent on them agreeing right then and there. Like idiots, they dithered and asked to be able to confer and Herjavec retracted his offer. Fortunately for them, Greiner didn't do the same and they took her deal. Update Tom + Chee, a soup and sandwich restaurant that first appeared on the show last May, was doing really well, having grown to 80 employees and hit a million in sales in just three months after the company's founders appeared on the show. Barbara Corcoran, who was their investor, got her own sandwich on the menu. She also has her own doll, though I'm afraid it might be making an appearance in a new Child's Play movie... Third In Tank Greg Cronin and Dr. Stephen A. Coachys were pitching LockerBones, a series of easy-to-install locker shelves to help students stay organized. They wanted $175,000 for 10%. There were two issues: first, they were initially going to sell on consignment to Amazon, which meant they would have to take any unsold units, and second, they only had a design patent, not a utility one. They had also stayed away from Staples, which almost caused O'Leary to have a conniption fit at their short-sightedness. They got lucky though: Greiner and Robert Herjavec combined for their price, but took 50% in equity. Last In Tank The final entrepreneur was Balloon Distractions, a company that sent people to make balloon items to distract unruly kids. The pitch opened with balloons falling from the ceiling and he gave the Sharks personalized balloons for them. It was run by Ben Alexander, who seemed to be an overgrown hyperactive kid himself. He was so overly emotional that he had to stop a couple of times to keep from crying. Of course, the Sharks were worried that he was like that all the time. His presentation was pretty much a rambling mess, though the gist was that he wanted to franchise. He wanted a recruiter. The problem for the Sharks was two-fold: he hadn't recruited the right salespeople for different regions, and he was not focused or organized. None of the Sharks invested and O'Leary even stomped on some of the balloons after Alexander left. Best Sight It was a tie between seeing O'Leary wear a mud mask and conduct his line of questioning while still wearing it and seeing all the Sharks with balloon hats on their heads during the Balloon Distractions pitch. Dumbest Entrepreneur Move Again, a tie: between the InvisiPlug people dithering their way out of a deal with Herjavec, and the LockerBones people not even considering selling their product to Staples. O'Leary nearly had a coronary at that. Bad distribution strategy. He was so unfocused and babbling that Mark Cuban had to yell at him.  No Sharks bit, but they gave him good advice. Most Dated Reference O'Leary doing a Dr. Evil pinkie finger to mouth gesture and saying "One Million Dollars!" I think the last time that was relevant was when President George W. Bush was in his first term. Best Quotes "That's a Kevin deal." -- All the other Sharks to Greiner at her first offer to the Invisiplug people, since it involved royalties, an O'Leary staple. "I have to ask an important question: Are you like this all the time?" -- Mark Cuban to Alexander during the Balloon Distractions pitch "I'm very worried you may spontaneously combust." -- O'Leary to the overly-emotional Alexander "You don't want to piss off the clown community!" -- Herjavec responding to Alexander's saying that the clown community had been belittling him online after he opened Balloon Distractions "SHUT UP!!!" -- Cuban to Alexander after the entrepreneur went off the rails for the 50th time when Cuban was trying to give advice. Follow @Hollywood_com Follow @literateartist //
  • 'White Collar' Recap: Player Vs. Player
    By: Michael Griffin Jan 17, 2014
    USA Network Ever hear of an Elevator Pitch? That's where people summarize their ideas or job history and qualities in the amount of time it takes to ride an elevator to the lobby. This is an Elevator Recap for this episode of White Collar. Ready? Going down. Oh, please don't put in those earbuds... After carefully inspecting the home of the woman that Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) thought was Rebecca Lowe (Bridget Regan), he and FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) decided to play things like he didn't know what the situation was to avoid spooking Lowe. He was going to meet her for breakfast while the FBI continued searching Lowe's place and adding bugs, but she showed up at his place early and after a quick call by Caffrey, pretending he was going to be late which alerted Burke that it was OK to continue searching her home. An idiot FBI agent dropped a file on a tripwire on the door and it alerted Lowe, but Burke's quick thinking of leaving a Chinese delivery menu made her think it was the menu that set it off. Oh yeah, and Caffrey  had told Lowe that he was falling in love with her to buy more time before she left, turning her into a near-giggling schoolgirl.  Burke and Caffrey decided to change the angle and had her come in to the office, where Burke told Lowe that he thought it was Caffrey who had murdered Curtis Hagen (Mark Sheppard) and that she should keep her distance. She then quickly called Caffrey and met him at a nearby park - with about 50,000 undercover agents and Caffrey having a directional mic pen. She was about to blurt out who she was but then spotted the undercovers and fled, comandeering a taxi. Now that her cover was completely blown, Burke and Caffrey were examining her apartment - with a brief interelude of Lowe sending a warning shot through a window that grazed the debonair con man - and found her go bag with money. After that, they found the gun that she had used to kill Agent David Siegel (Warren Kole) - it was in a construction site that had just had cement poured on the day Siegel died. Burke sent Caffrey home - telling him to stay off the grid. But Caffrey contacted Lowe and then met her (whose real name was Rachel Turner, a traitorous M-5 agent), at a location that she had texted after he promised to give up where the diamond was in exchange for the blackmail video that Hagen had taken at an abandoned church and lured her to kiss him by pretending he didn't want the blackmail video. He handcuffed her to him and destroyed the thumb drive with the video. She tried to escape, but the FBI caught her. All's well that ends well, right? Burke finalized his going to Washington, telling Caffrey and then his wife, Elizabeth (Tiffani Thiessen), who had been in D.C. in hiding after Burke found Lowe/Turner had a file on her. They toasted to new beginnings. Elsewhere, Caffrey and Mozzie (Willie Garson) were toasting to trying to find the diamond without Lowe/Turner. Caffrey then got a call from the woman herself where she promised she would see him again. Dun Dun Dun. OK, that was an Elevator Recap where I was a jerk and pushed every button so we'd stop on every floor on the way. Caffrey's Level of Secrecy Fairly low, but he did decide that he was going to forge ahead in trying to find the diamond since Burke was moving to Washington. It's going to be interesting to see how he handles dealing with Agent Clinton Jones (Sharif Atkins) as his main handler. Jones, while showing some sympathy to what Caffrey was going through in finding out that he had been conned, isn't as trusting as Burke. Silly Plot Devices Lowe suddenly recognizing an FBI agent in the park by the way they stopped acting normal and blatantly standing there with a sign saying, "HI. I AM AN UNDERCOVER COP WATCHING YOU." Of course, it was to keep the plot going since it was halfway through the show, but it always irritates me. Mozzie's Quirkiness Level Medium. He was being supportive of Caffrey in the beginning as he was processing that he had been had by Lowe/Turner. "I even profiled her," he said. When Cafrey said he had reached out to the con lady, he said, "This may end with me reciting Proust over your grave." In the end, when he was trying to remember the equation that could lead to the location of the diamond, he did ask for complete silence and rosemary while he meditated. All in all, he was fairly muted this episode. Caffrey's Relationship Status What relationship status? He was just completely taken by a woman he had fallen for. Caffrey will probably be off the singles market for a minimum of three episodes into the next season. Right now, his status on Facebook would be "It's Complicated". Burke Self-Torture Level Low. He just closed the case on the dead Agent Siegel and he's moving to an even more challenging job in Washington fairly soon. He's happy now. Eventually something's going to get him back in Manhattan, but it'll probably be at some point next season. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @literateartist //
  • Jonathan Banks Makes A Smooth Transition To 'Community'
    By: Michael Griffin Jan 16, 2014
    NBC There's a new cast member on Community - Jonathan Banks. I couldn't be happier. Banks is replacing a very well-known person on the show: Chevy Chase. That's not an issue, though since many people still remember him as Mike Ehrmantraut on Breaking Bad. That's his main cachet now. Well, he's playing a slightly more vulnerable version of him in this show - a man who is not afraid to admit that he hasn't given up on his dream of cartooning. His doing this is like Andre Braugher doing Brooklyn Nine-Nine. A usual dramatic actor doing comedy, though Banks has stepped out that zone more by doing shows like Parks & Rec, Two and a Half Men and voiceover work on Axe Cop . He's the second Breaking Bad alumn to make the switch - Betsy Brandt did too. I always like seeing actors do things counter to what they are known for, so when I see them in their regular role, I can remember things like this. Banks' character, Professor Buzz Hickey, has already had several memorable scenes in his three-episode arc, including trying to find the "Ass-Crack Bandit" and ragging on perpetual student Leonard Rodriguez (Richard Erdman). He's already fit into the mediocrity of the Greendale Community College faculty, though he has enjoyed the cafeteria-line cutting perks that the professors enjoy. His deadpan style is perfect for the zaniness of the other people on the show, especially with Dean Pelton (Jim Rash). There's even a running joke about his replacing Chase on the show - John Oliver's Professor Ian Duncan called him by Chase's character's name, Pierce, and snarked that he was glad that he got rid of the hairpiece. I hope they keep building him up on the show and maybe give him a really big subplot in a later episode. It's a pity that Community and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are on separate networks. I would love a crossover between the two shows, where Banks could match up against Braugher. Then again, with how much they command the screen, the film might just be all chewed up. Still, I'll enjoy this run of Banks on Community for as long as it goes on. I just hope they don't do something like have Hickey get shot and stuffed into a barrel of hydrofluoric acid. Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 'Night Court' at 30: Timeless Laughter Is In Session
    By: Michael Griffin Jan 16, 2014
    freyman1976/YouTube 1984 was a great year for movies, but it was also the year that one of the great sitcoms came on the scene. I'm talking about Night Court. Yes, you already hear the theme music in your head, don't you? No? OK, for those of you who haven't heard it, here it is. While the first season, like many shows, took tiny steps towards achieving the greatness that lay ahead (Markie Post, who played Christine Sullivan, didn't join the show until the second season), there were glimpses. Harry Anderson's Judge Harry Stone was a jurist who was still caught between stunted adolescence and adulthood. John Larroquette, the man who should have had the best supporting actor Emmy just named after him during his run as Dan Fielding, was a lothario who had the stirrings of a soul underneath. Who can forget Fielding running for a city council slot and losing to a dead man? Selma Diamond, may she rest in peace, was really the glue that held that show together with her deadpan deliveries. She was the perfect one to ground Richard Moll's Bull Shannon. It was a shame she died right after the first season ended. Of course, the main attraction was the absolutely insane people that appeared before Judge Stone in his courtroom. There was a man in a lobster suit, to begin with. The thing was, the show, while acknowledging the sheer absurdity of these defendants and plaintiffs, it also stopped just short of labeling them as cartoon characters. The vast majority of them were imbued with a humanity that made us laugh more at the situations they were in rather than completely at them. There was the hooker with the real heart of gold, to begin with. As the seasons went on, the people in the courtroom got zanier, weirder and the cast just jelled perfectly, with Charles Robinson's Mack and Marsha Warfield finally beating the curse of the Female Bailiff, after Diamond and Florence Halop died in quick succession. It was an ensemble comedy with all the cast members hitting on all cylinders. I'd even put it up there with The Golden Girls as best comedy of the '80s. Of course, fans of Cheers might disagree with me. Right now, Larroquette, Moll, Post and Robinson are all still appearing as guest stars on various shows. Anderson has done sporadic work after playing Dave Barry in Dave's World in the '90s. All the seasons are on DVD - I highly recommend picking them up or renting them through Netflix. Heck, it might get you into Mel Torme too. Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 'Person of Interest' Recap: Thank You For Flying Air Chaos
    By: Michael Griffin Jan 15, 2014
    CBS Broadcasting Inc. John Reese (Jim Caviezel) was taking a trip to get away since he was still disconsolate at the death of Joss Carter (Taraji P. Henson), but apparently the Machine had other plans. First it oversold his original flight to Istanbul and then opened up a seat in first class on another flight. Reese then got bumped from his seat to another due to a honeymooning couple wanting to sit together. One with someone being monitored by two marshals, one of whom was immediately knocked out in the lavatory after going to the bathroom - a situation that Reese discovered after the machine called a cell phone that he'd taken from a jerk who was talking too loudly on it and ignoring warnings to turn it off as the plane was taking off. He called to ream out Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), who said he hadn't sent him a number. Reese wanted no part of it and tried to warn the other marshal, who told him to vamoose. Seconds after the marshal said that, he collapsed and someone tried to stab the asset with a needle. The would-be assassin's head then met Reese's knee. It was ascertained the marshals had busted an online drug market and the person being transported, named Owen Matthews, was a witness. The person who tried to kill Matthews was a member of the drug cartel with its leader known for being absolutely ruthless. To make matters worse, Matthews, who resembled a typical computer nerd, and looked about as threatening as a fruit fly, had a mouth on him. Reese had to resort to a bit of electroshock with Matthews' stun belt to get him to get a bit more in line. Sensing a bad situation, Finch had to send Samantha Shaw (Sarah Shahi) to see her former employers, The Activity - the people who wanted her dead before - to see why this person was of interest. On the plane, the situation got worse for Reese. The honeymooning couple turned out to be assassins - Mossad agents. They tried to kill Matthews, but Reese intervened again while all the while everyone on the plane was distracted by an airline disaster movie. One of them stabbed Reese in the shoulder with a fork. "I guess the honeymoon is over," Reese quipped. After threatening to disembowel one of the members, the one who booked all the flights for the agents, Shaw found out that there was an Activity agent - the one who replaced her - on the plane. Forwarned, Reese saw him and dispatched him, but Matthews fled in the confusion. Which, considering he was on a plane and trapped inside for several more hours, NOT A GOOD IDEA. Reese found Matthews in a lavatory, knocked him out and moved him into the cargo hold, with assistance from a pretty flight attendant he had befriended earlier. On the ground, Shaw tracked down Hersh (Boris McGiver) - who had survived that blast from Vigilance and looked worse for the wear becaise of it - at a restaurant and drugged him. He told her that I.S.A. had an interest in the situation. In a bit of a comedic situation, Hersh then passed out at the table while Shaw walked away. It turned out that Matthews was The Sphinx, a notorious underworld figure. After Reese had to dispatch of the I.S.A agent again, he discovered that there there was another cartel assassin on board, this one disguised as a flight attendant and he was going to crash the plane to kill Matthews ... and everyone else on board. The assassin shot the pilot, disabled the co-pilot and began putting the plane into a descent, intending to crash it on the tarmac in Rome. The flight attendant was unable to override the door's locks, but Reese, taking a page from United 93, grabbed a food cart and rammed it into the door, smashing it open. Inside, he began fighting the assassin, while no one was controlling the plane. Everyone was doomed. Ah, but on the ground, Finch was able to hack into the airline's controls and by using the controls from a flight simulator joystick, was able to safely land the plane. Of course, all the passengers were blissfully unaware that they had come thisclose to dying. After all the passengers exited, Reese went to the baggage area and grabbed a large travel crate. Matthews was inside and Reese sent him off to a safe house where Finch would contact him to set him up with a new identity and place to live. Later, Reese met the flight attendant for a drink in Rome. She gave him her card and told him to call her when he got back in the United States. After she left, he met Finch, who was sitting at a cafe table nearby. Finch had come personally to set up Matthews' new life. There was a bit of awkward conversation, but Finch admitted that he missed Carter terribly too. He also said that he had purposely set up the Machine to always have a human element decide the fate of someone. He offered to have Reese join him at a museum. Reese declined, which made Finch's look crestfallen, but he said that he had wanted to go to a tailor ... so he could be fitted for a new suit. That made Finch's day, since he knew that mean Reese was coming back to work. Best Lines Matthews: "Who are you?"Reese: "A concerned frequent flyer." "You seem like an angry guy. Do you want to talk about that?" -- Matthews to Reese "I didn't like my boss's boss." - Reese "What do you need hairspray for? That salt-and-pepper hair is catnip for soccer moms. Go au naturale." -- Matthews*death glare from Reese, who had been looking for a possible weapon* "I thought you got rid of that walking steroid?" -- Matthews to Reese as the I.S.A. agent bore down on them for the second time. Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @literateartist //
  • 'Justified' Recap: Kids Do The Darndest Things
    By: Michael Griffin Jan 15, 2014
    FX Networks There were two storylines going on in this episode: one was with Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) trying to get Loretta McCready (Kaitlyn Dever - returning to the show that gave her a big break) and the other was Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) scraping money together so that he could get his fiancee, Ava Crowder (Joelle Carter), out of jail. Things seemed to play out with more urgency in this episode, given the news that there would only be one more season after this. The episode opened in Tennessee with a pot dealer being beaten by two of his cohorts (played by Steve Harris and his brother Wood) due to his being shorted on a pickup of dope from two kids in Lexington, Kentucky. "Hot Rod" Dunham (played by Mickey Jones in a very different role than in his Home Improvement days) came and told the two thugs to take care of the situation. After Dunham left, the thugs filled the third with enough lead for a pencil factory. Lee Paxton (Sam Anderson) was in a coma after being brutally beaten by Boyd. Mooney (William Gregory Lee), a cop who had it out for Boyd, got Paxton's wife, Mara (Karolina Wydra) to say that it was him, but she recanted when she went to Boyd's bar for a visual confirmation ... which alerted the slender criminal that he hadn't finished the job earlier. Givens, after confiscating items - including a really nice Mercedes - from someone who laundered money for the Detroit mob, went to see McCready in jail after she had been caught selling marijuana to a cop's kid. He left her in the cell to stay overnight and then brushed off her boyfriend, Derrick. As he was leaving the courthoue, he ran into Alison (Amy Smart), McCready's social worker. She flirted heavily with him and then reamed him out for making McCready stay in the cell. Givens, who viewed himself as a big brother figure to McCready, decided he was going to go talk to Derrick and convince him to break up with McCready. Boyd went and talked to Mara and tried to suss out why she hadn't given him up. She said she wanted the money that Boyd had mentioned before so that she could go home. When he said he couldn't get it quickly, she basically insinuated she was blackmailing them. Givens saw a truck with Tennessee plates outside Derrick's house and found the guys from Dunham's crew beating him up (Gee ... so THEY were the kids who had shorted Dunham's people). Givens intimidated them out of the place and then told him break up with McCready. Outside, he arranged a date with Alison. Slick, playa. Boyd and Wynn Duffy (Jere Burns) were trying to deal with a possible insurrection among his dealers. Duffy had to field the questions first and one of the dealers was mouthing off at Duffy, which is never a wise thing. Boyd, who showed up late due to his meeting with Mara, assured them that they would get a shipment in a day and a half. At the Marshals office, Givens talked about Sammy Tonin with Art Mullen (Nick Searcy, who got a lot more screen time this episode than the premiere), He also arranged to be able to stay at the home of the money launderer, given that it was now federal property. Once the meeting was over, Givens found McCready waiting and she told him that her boyfriend had disappeared. Turned out the Tennessee Duo had got their hands on him and were having him dig up the money that he and McCready embezzled. They decided it was going to be his grave. Givens showed up at the nick of time with a shovel to whack Steve Harris' character in the head. Once the situation was in hand, he found out that Derrick was tangled up with Hot Rod. Mara got pulled over and intimidated at gunpoint by Mooney who said that he was going to arrest her for trying to kill her husband unless she brought Crowder in. Givens met with Dunham, who had done business with Arlo, Givens' late father. Givens laid it out: the Tennessee people were to not come into Harlan again and they were to leave McCready alone. Dunham tried to put fear in the marshal, but he was having none of it. Givens then drove McCready and Waters to a corner, kicked Waters out and McCready decided to stay with Givens. Givens drove all night and dropped her off at her home but not before finding out she had actually moved the money and played him so that he would investigate everything. Poor Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman), he got interrupted again in his possible fun times with his hookers. This time it was his cousin Darryl (Michael Rapaport), who had come to town, and Dewey was none too happy to see him as evidenced by his pained expression when Darryl hugged him. Alison and Givens were having wine and she told the lawman she wasn't going to jump in bed with him. Givens asked her to go bowling with him. Paxton woke up with a grunt ... though it wasn't certain if he was cognizant. Boyd found his shipment had been hit and all the people involved laying around dead on the road. He was impassive and told his men to clean it up. He seemed calm, but he could be very close to unraveling. Best lines "You mean to say you're not crooked? Just incompetent?" -- Dunham to his soon-to-be-doomed drug dealer "Are you being funny? Because I can't tell anymore." -- Rachel Brooks (Erica Tazel) to Givens "My general rule is, you keep talking, I put you in the trunk." -- Givens to the Harris brothers "In other words ... I'll kill four of you before you clear your weapons and I'll take my chances with the other two. And you see this star? That's going to make it legal." -- Givens to Dunham and his crew Follow @Hollywood_com // Follow @literateartist //
  • These Movies Are 30 Years Old? (Or 1984 Was A REALLY Good Year)
    By: Michael Griffin Jan 13, 2014
    Orion Pictures Corporation via Everett Collection It's 2014 and I was looking back at the movies that came out in 1984. I was blown away by the number of good movies that came out that year. I was then moved to tears that they are now 30 years old ... which means I'm getting older, since I saw most of, if not nearly all 10 of these in the theater. The Terminator Conan The Barbarian had put Arnold Schwarzenegger on the map, but this was the one that made him an A-list action superstar. The funny thing? He originally was supposed to play the role of the good guy, but he decided to be the unstoppable killing machine instead. Somewhere, in an alternate universe, some puny wimp is uttering "I'll be back ..." and their movie world is much poorer for it. 16 Candles Molly Ringwald and John Hughes formed such a perfect tag team in the '80s Teen Movie genre that they could have probably won the WWF (it was called that in the '80s) Championship. Anthony Michael Hall also owes SUCH a huge debt of gratitude to this movie. There's also a very strong chance that the character of Long Duk Dong would probably not exist if this movie was made today. Beverly Hills Cop This was another star-making vehicle, this time with Eddie Murphy driving it. The former Saturday Night Live actor played wisecracking Detroit detective Axel Foley to perfection. Add Jonathan Banks as a dead-eyed hitman and Judge Reinhold as a hapless Beverly Hills Detective and it's no wonder this movie stayed in the theaters as long as it did. Gremlins Admit it - when you saw this movie, you SO wanted a Mogwai. Gizmo was SO cute and it was very sad that he was really a mechanical creature. The Gremlins, though. They scared the living daylights out of me. But Phoebe Cates ... mmm. Yes. Phoebe Cates. Ghostbusters I'm amazed that I'm at the fifth movie and am JUST getting to Ghostbusters. Who can forget Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis as they tracked down supernatural ghosts. Dean and Sam Winchester would have learned a thing or two from these guys, like answering Yes if someone asks if you are a god. Ooh. I think I hear a doggie that someone left outside. The Karate Kid Forget the Jackie Chan/Jaden Smith remake: this is the best Karate Kid. Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita gave us an unforgettable film, and it also helped keep Billy Zabka in the spotlight, with his recent guest appearances on How I Met Your Mother. Wax on, Wax off, indeed. Also, I had SUCH a huge crush on Elizabeth Shue back then. Red Dawn Another classic that blows the horrible remake away. Sorry, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen's combined starpower incinerate the cast of the 2012 version. Also, that opening scene with the Russians parachuting to the ground gave me nightmares for MONTHS. Footloose Kevin Bacon's version didn't even NEED a remake. I don't understand what the powers-that-be were thinking when they greenlit the new film. As cheesy and corny as it is, it's also awesome, what with John Lithgow and Lori Singer turning in some fine performances. Also ... Kenny Loggins, man. Kenny Loggins. That is all I have to say. A Nightmare On Elm Street This is the only movie that I didn't see in the theater, because I am a huge wimp and I do NOT like seeing gory horror movies. This was such an innovation though, what with the genre being populated by the silent Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. Freddy Krueger and his persona were such a huge change. That was before it devolved into silly sequels before the remake tried to breathe new life in the franchise. This Is Spinal Tap This is the mockumentary to end all mockumentaries. It's hilarious from the get-go. Who can forget Harry Shearer getting stuck in the chrysalis? One word: Stonehenge. Also, despite the dangers that this movie espoused, I am a drummer to this very day. I can proudly say that I have yet to spontaneously comb Follow @Hollywood_com //
  • 'Shark Tank' Recap: Don't Bounce Out of This Deal
    By: Michael Griffin Jan 11, 2014
    ABC This was the first new episode of Shark Tank in 2014 and it was quite a good one. Then again, I may have just been really hungry for a new episode after the Christmas/New Year's lull. First in Tank First was Thomas Hill, a former NFL Draft Pick who had been let go due to an injury that he had suffered in college. Tired of seeing kids be obese, he created Bounce Boot Camp, which was an inflatable bouncy obstacle course that also had stations for other exercises. He wanted $30,000 for 20% and had visions of one in each city in America. It would cost $40,000 for someone to get one. The problem was that the Sharks found the business model to be flawed. He was also only devoting one day a week to this, since he had a job as a pharmaceutical rep. That is fatal to try to get a deal with a Shark. They need nearly fanatical devotion to that product, but they gave Hill a lot of good advice since they loved what he was doing and sent him on his way to go out and hustle. Second In Tank Next in the Tank was Dr. Jim Lewis, a forensic pathologist who was selling Wall Doctor RX. I was glad he wasn't marketing home forensic equipment. He wanted $150,000 for 20%. The product was a patch that was placed over a hole in any wall and then two days later, removed, leaving a spackle -like substance over it which would need to be sanded over. Sensing a great opportunity, four sharks - Kevin O'Leary, Robert Herjavec, Lori Greiner and Daymond John made individual offers of varying amounts and equity, ranging from twice what Dr. Lewis asked for all of it to $150,000 for 15%. The doctor tried to get a little too cute, asking Greiner and Herjavec to work together, with both of them balking quite hard at it despite his cajoling. Only the fact that they loved the product kept them from telling him to sticking it where the sun don't shine. Dr. Lewis finally took Herjavec's deal but was made to sweat since Herjavec didn't like that he had originally wanted Greiner to join with him. He was acting like he was going to retract his offer, but finally relented, making everyone happy. There was an Update about Nuts and More, who had gotten a deal with Herjavec and Mark Cuban. Things were great: they had generated $1 million in 7 months after they appeared on the show. The company had grown to 12 employees and locked in a deal with Whole Foods. Third In Tank I admit that I was befuddled at how Eyebloc even got on the show. The presentation started with C.J. Isakow stomping in, wearing sunglasses. He looked like a heavier version of Andre from The League. He immediately jumped into a pitch about how webcam security is at risk, with hackers being able to to take over the camera and view what is going on. His product? A little doohickey that could be placed over the pinhole of the webcam. He was charging nearly $10 apiece. and wanted $50,000 for 10% of his company. The Sharks correctly laughed him out of the room, pointing out that they could just stick a Post-It note over the hole and not pay 10 bucks for it. He had sold a whopping 45 of them. I'm astonished the producers thought this might even be something the Sharks would consider. Last In Tank The last entrepreneurs were Brian Whiteman and his "Baby Mama" Julie. Yes, he actually introduced his wife like that. They wanted $150,000 for 20% of Groovebook, an app that allows people to get a book of photos from pictures from their smartphone for $2.99 a month, they could get a book of 100 photos that were perforated for easy removal. They showed a picture of young John, which prompted a bunch of "You had hair?" cracks. The thing that made them able to do that for so cheap is that they owned their own printing press. They were still far from even being close to breaking even and they wanted to keep the prices low so that everyone could get them, a sentiment that made all the Sharks roll their eyes. Cuban and O'Leary eventually joined for their own deal after the Whitemans almost shot themselves in the foot with a new $6 million valuation, where they would handle the one-off things and the Whitemans could still own some equity, whereas Herjavec and Greiner wanted 50% of the company. Both sides were basically yelling at each other that their deal was horrible (I love when billionaires get snarky at each other). The Whitemans took the Cuban/O'Leary offer of $150,000 for 80% of the rights to license Groovebook (I have to keep reminding myself not to type GrooveShark) to other companies. It ended with Whiteman sweeping his wife off her feet and carrying her off the set - I think that was a make-up for the 'baby mama' intro.  Highlight Of The Night Seeing Cuban, Herjavec and John act like little kids horsing around with each other in the Bounce Boot Camp segment. It's like they all became 12 years old again. Best Quotes "I think I ripped my trousers. But I'm good." -- John after doing the Bounce Boot Camp. "It got a little confusing there." -- Herjavec to Dr. Lewis after they had sealed their deal with a hug. "Only to you, Robert." -- A clearly exasperated Cuban immediately thereafter. "Don't lose those (samples). I've already sold them on Amazon." -- Isakow to the Sharks when distributing examples of Eyebloc. "You could use this as home plate in your cockroach baseball league." -- Cuban commenting on Eyebloc. Follow @Hollywood_com //