Preacher Episode 2.05 Annotations: John Wayne and Dallas
Welcome back brothers and sisters to our weekly feature, the Preacher Book Club, where we talk about the latest episode of AMC‘s Preacher, dissecting the episode at hand, annotating the changes made from the Garth Ennis/Steve Dillon comic book series and attempting to predict about what will be coming next. So let’s dive right into our thoughts and annotations on Preacher Episode 2.05!
As pointed out last season, this whole subplot of Jesse and Tulip as bank robbers that work for the mysterious Danni is an all new addition to the series and was not in the comics. Jesse and Tulip also never had a pregnancy that was lost and they never worked with a guy named Carlos. However, it is nice to see the scene being set for what was done in season one in this episode, especially since the show kind of blew everything up there in that finale.
In the comics, Jesse’s obsession with John Wayne stems from a few different places. When Jesse’s father fought in the Vietnam War, Wayne visited his platoon and every soldier a custom lighter with “F*ck Communism” etched into, the very light that Jesse carries around with him. Later still, after seeing his father die, Jesse is watching a John Wayne movie on television (specifically McLintock!, the same movie seen in the episode) when John Wayne himself reaches through the TV and starts talking to Jesse. Wayne follows Jesse around throughout the comics as sort of his guardian angel or imaginary friend, offering guidance and pushing him along when he needs it. It’s a shame that’s not happening on the show, but they’re working around it well enough. There is another nod to Wayne later when we see the type of cigarettes that Jesse smokes: Pilgrims.
Like this whole backstory, there never was a Reggie in the Preacher comics.
Tulip is correct. Boo-Berry IS awesome.
“Going back to Annville”
In the comics, the thing that tears Jesse and Tulip apart is Jesse’s family, who kidnap him and bring him back home, and not Jesse’s own choice to leave and start over. It’s certainly a dynamic change from the source material but offers a little more opportunity for dramatic exploration than a simple misunderstanding.
“I was rich once”
Cassidy makes this remark after he enters Viktor’s home, but in Cassidy’s past that we know from the comics this isn’t true. In fact it’s quite the opposite, he just travels from city to city, making friends and seeing them dissolve from drug addictions, and living in poverty. Perhaps he said this as a way of concealing the fact that this remains true in the series.
“Why should I trust a lying, junkie Vampire…”
This line from Jesse, and Cassidy’s reply, is a perfect summation of their friendship. They bust each other, sometimes they come awful close to hitting each other, but deep down they’re brothers and they have a bond that can’t be broken.
A conversation with two of the screenwriters of Spider-Man: Homecoming.
A Creative Screenwriting interview with Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley who share a co-writing credit for the newest iteration of the Spider-Man franchise along with Jon Watts & Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers, screen story by Jonathan Goldsetin & John Francis Daley, Marvel comic book by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko.
Let’s get that obvious question out of the way — being that this is the third cinematic iteration of Spider-Man, what did you consciously try to do differently to set your version apart?
Goldstein: We went in with a take that was diametrically opposed to the Spider-Man movies that had come before. Instead of a movie that focused on the drama and weight of the tragedy that leads to the origin of Spider-Man, we would lean into the high school movie aspects of it.
We really let the adolescent issues that Peter Parker faces breathe, to imagine what it would be like to be a real kid who gets superpowers.
Daley: We think that aspect of the character is what sets him apart from any other superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s a kid that doesn’t have his shit together, is immature, and is very often using his powers for his own personal gain — at least in the beginning.
We liked the element of a learning opportunity, for him to not only learn to be responsible with his abilities, but to also learn how to survive the atmosphere of high school.
Speaking of that high school angle, a name that has been tossed around in reference to the film’s storytelling is John Hughes. Can you talk about his influence on the screenplay?
Daley: We’re huge John Hughes fans. A movie that we wrote and directed, Vacation, is a reboot of one of his beloved movies. We are very familiar with his work.
What he did so well was find the relatability in his characters. Even characters that you wouldn’t think you would relate to, like the jock in The Breakfast Club, ends up having a whole backstory where he is just trying to fit in. He’s as desperate as the nerdy kid.
We think there’s something very cool about being able to see the world through the eyes of someone like Peter Parker who we can truly relate to — unlike Captain America or any DC Comics superheroes, where you don’t really know what’s going on in their heads.
Goldstein: Another thing I would say that John Hughes did so well was to embrace the reality of what it means to be a kid, and not shy away from it or sugarcoat it. I think that’s why his movies resonate so well with each generation. That’s what we tried to with Peter Parker’s world — put him in a real high school, have it be a real coming-of-age story, and just add spider powers to it.
Here’s a breakdown of cinematographer John Alcott’s techniques.
Make no bones about it: John Alcott is a legend. Stanley Kubrick’s cinematographer is responsible for some of the most stunning imagery in cinema history, including Barry Lyndon, which was meticulously shot using natural light and may as well have been a Romantic painting, and The Shining, which features ingenious camera movement.
Kubrick was a perfectionist and cinematographer in his own right; he demanded much of his DPs, both technically, physically, and emotionally. As a result, the turnover rate for lensing his films was high. Alcott, however, held his ground and was able to deliver on some of the director’s most challenging demands.
In a new video essay, YouTube channel Wolfcrow breaks down Alcott’s techniques.
John Krasinski talks about filming Jack Ryan for Amazon
It was announced back in 2015 that Amazon was doing a Jack Ryan series, based on the character created by Tom Clancy. In 2016, John Krasinski (The Office, 13 Hours) had taken the title role. While doing press for the upcoming Disneynature film Born in China(see photos below), which he narrates, we got a chance to chat with Krasinski about filming Jack Ryan. Krasinski told us about how this feels like a film, how we’re going to see the character before he becomes a hero, and doing his own stunts.
“It’s been awesome,” Krasinski said of shooting. “We’re shooting something that I think is really special. I certainly love what we’re doing. It’s one of those things where I’ve been a huge fan, too, so it’s great to hear that you’re a huge fan. I hope the huge fans are the most happy with what we’re doing. But I think at the end of the day, the idea of going back to the days where Jack Ryan was an analyst, where he’s sitting at a desk, crunching numbers. And then you get taken on the full ride. I think the movies always start with him as kind of this established hero figure. And in our show, he really starts as a guy who’s just crunching numbers. And one of the things he was researching was something real, and he’s the only one who can go. So it feels like, you know, you get taken on a ride from the beginning, so it feels really, really nice.”
He continued, “And the other thing is, we’re shooting it in this epic way, where all eight episodes are cross-boarded, so we’ll shoot one day, the end of episode three, and the second half of the day, you’re shooting episode 1, the opening shot of the show. It’s pretty wild. I’ve never had anything like that. It’s really exciting and it’s a lot of hard work, but we’re really pumped about where we’re headed.”
Krasinski talked about shooting in this style. “It feels way more like a movie than it does a TV show,” he said. “I think because the days are really long. There’s a lot of hard work that we’re doing, because there’s so much ground to cover. We’ll do a talky scene where we’re giving out all this information and then we’ll go right into a scene…a crazy hand-to-hand fight scene. It feel more more like a movie, than, certainly, The Office. I’ll put it that way. It just feels like we’re shooting one giant movie.”
We asked Krasinski about doing stunt work on Jack Ryan. “It’s been awesome,” he said. “I’m happy to say I’ve been doing all my stunts, and most of the fight stuff, I do first. We definitely have an incredible stunt team that will come in and do certain things, but they’ve been really cool to teach me to do a lot of my own stuff, so it’s been great.”
Are you guys excited for Jack Ryan and John Krasinski playing the lead? Are you going to see Born in China? If you see the film the first weekend, a portion of all proceeds go to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), with the funds earmarked for helping snow leopards and pandas. Let us know your thoughts in the comments or tweet us @ComingSoonnet.
When Carpenter released the original Escape in 1981, the modestly budgeted pulp action flick was a huge hit, both domestically and, surprisingly, in Europe (especially Italy) where, along with 1979’s Mad Max and its 1982 sequel, every savvy producer tried their hand at ripping it off. That Carpenter chased it with his biggest movie – and at that point biggest failing – 1982’s The Thing says much about the filmmaker’s creative and commercial trajectory. When Carpenter taps into the zeitgeist (Halloween), he’s a tastemaker. When he fails to do that, he’s simply ahead of his time. I don’t think he’s ever made a legitimate bad film. And yes, I am one of the few that cite Ghosts of Mars (which was originally written as the third Escape movie) as one of his best and most undervalued works.
The latter category of being ahead of its time is exactly where Escape From L.A. falls into. The ’90s were a notoriously dismal time for genre movies, due primarily to a generational shift. The odd bright spots to really define their times were things like Rodriguez’s 1996 horror hybrid From Dusk Till Dawn and Wes Craven’s same-year slasher send-up Scream. Even if you didn’t dig those picture’s camp approach, they were unarguably fresh entertainments that locked onto what fans wanted and both – especially Scream – were huge hits, both catering to the kind of movies young people were interested in absorbing. Escape came out the same year as Scream, a sequel to a movie that, by 1996, was a bit played out, having long since cycled through its TV and video runs and a follow-up felt a bit late-out-of-the-gate. The original film cost $ 6 million to produce and despite its success, it pretty much remained a cult film. The character of Snake Plissken ( played by a young and hungry Kurt Russell) was not particularly ingrained into the mainstream pop culture subconscious and so when posters for Escape from L.A. were released, screaming “Snake is Back!”, many mainstream viewers were like, “Who the Hell is Snake?!”
The movie was released in the August via Paramount Pictures, a Summer movie that probably would have stood a better chance smashing into theaters in February, a dry season where a built-in cult title like this would have hooked its audience better. Instead the movie, which cost twice as much as the original earned (New York raked in 25 million whereas L.A. made the same but cost 50 million) and critics were lukewarm to it. Hardcore Escape From New York fans were generally divided, with many just happy to see Russell’s one-eyed outlaw back on screen and many other sneering at what they thought was a too-campy approach.
And sadly, the ensuing years haven’t found Escape From L.A. many more admirers, with people almost universally citing it as inferior to its predecessor. And I get that. The original was raw. Messy. Angry. It swelled with innovation and urgency, another one of Carpenter’s neo-Westerns, an inversion of Rio Bravo. Escape From L.A., with its sunnier locales and a narrative repeat of the original’s city-as-a-prison gimmick is, on the surface, a bit lazy, true. But 20 years later, L.A. not only holds up beautifully as a high-octane romp, it’s a bit of a marvel; a tough, shiny, comic book fantasy with broad performances, a to-die-for cult cast, outrageous set pieces and, most importantly, sharp social criticism that is infinitely more potent and prophetic today than it was in 1996.
The film stars Cliff Robertson as a President who, after being “elected for life” has deemed to Make America Great Again by shipping off every person he deems “undesirable” to L.A., which, due to a massive earthquake and flooding, has become an island. Stripped of their citizenship, this mixed bag of “morally unfit” Americans run wild, setting up micro-civilizations, most of them bewildered by a country that has forsaken them. Among their ranks is charismatic revolutionary Cuervo Jones, who has charmed the President’s comely daughter via the internet (or at least a holographic version of the internet) into stealing a classified weapon that has the power to effectively disable every electronic device on the planet. If triggered, earth would essentially revert back to an instant stone age.
Enter our man Plissken, played here with even beefier swagger by Russell, who in 1981 was a young actor emerging from a life as a teen star (thanks in no small part to Carpenter who directed him in the amazing 1978 Elvis TV movie) and by this time was a bona fide Hollywood movie star. Plissken version 2.O. feels angrier, rougher and closer to Clint Eastwood/John Wayne hybrid he was conceived to be in the original (Russell actually co-wrote the script with Debra Hill and Carpenter). Sentenced to life imprisonment in LA, the President offers the grizzled outlaw a full pardon if he can get into LA and retrieve the weapon. To ensure his compliance, Plissken is injected with a deadly virus that will kill him in 10 hours if isn’t successful in his mission. Soon, Plissken is outfitted with weapons and gadgets and shot into the prison city, where he meets all manner of eccentrics (including Steve Buscemi as a lovable grifter tour guide, Bruce Campbell as a psychotic plastic surgeon and Pam Grier as a transgendered assassin) before facing off against the righteously vengeful but megalomaniacal Jones.
No matter your take on Escape From LA‘s social themes or success as an action picture, only the coldest, deadest heart would deny that the movie is anything but a tsunami of pure escapist fun. I mean, Russell future-surfs with Peter Fonda for crying out loud! Carpenter himself has cited that the movie is a better film in every way to the original and he’s right in that this a much bigger and ambitious picture. But fans of the original loved seeing actors like Donald Pleasence, Issac Hayes, Harry Dean Stanton, Ernest Boirgnine, Adrienne Barbeau and Lee van Cleef flail around in what was a really, really grimy movie. L.A. is not the urban sleaze-fest that was New York. The actors here are clean, the trappings garish and circus-like. And of course, the sets are considerably pricier. But taken on its own terms, it all makes sense. Viewed as a jacked-up, sun-baked remake of the original, it works perfectly.
And the satire is on point. Carpenter sticks it to L.A. but good, showing a city whose shallowness and ego has mutated to lethal levels when left unchecked. And the very idea of a weapon designed to destroy technology is even more potent today, where we are so addicted and reliant on electronics that if we ever lost our power over it, our collapse would be just as swift as it would be via Nukes or gas or disease. And have we mentioned the music? Carpenter’s iconic synth-based Escape From New York theme is wonderfully rocked-out with the aid of the late, great Shirley Walker and both that theme and the entire score are fantastic.
If you’re one of the fans who have filed Escape From L.A. way back in your Carpenter Rolodex, we urge you to dig it up and give it another look. It’s one his strongest non-horror films…
Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, hosts of the Independent Spirit Awards, went full-savage on Hollywood, President Donald Trump, and everything else under the California sun on Saturday. In doing so, they achieving new levels of «they did not just say that» at the one awards show that seems to re-define the limits of awards-show-season jokes every year.