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kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Skeesix posted:

This is interesting in terms of his later depictions of Marlo: doesn't he get to be a higher-up eventually?

Also, don't they foreshadow a Marlo-esque future for Kenard, who is about as close to evil as anyone portrayed in the series?

I dunno, I think viewing Kenard (or anyone) in anything resembling a dichotomy of good/evil is doing a disservice to both David Simon and the show itself. Kenard is a walking metaphor for a specific aspect of institutional decay in America, like many characters on the show both major and minor. He is one particular example of the many consequences that come from an inner-city school institution that is rotted out to the very core, and in some ways a particularly prescient example given recent events in the news. The Wire has to have reached some sort of unofficial record when it comes to being uncannily prophetic about the years that immediately followed it's ending.

Also, I recently watched this interview that David Simon did on Bill Moyers back in like, 2008:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qulcqNMHVic

It's pretty fantastic stuff, undoubtedly old content for some of the folks in this thread but for those of us who missed it before, this is a REAL treat. One of those things where I clicked on it and didn't really have the time to watch the whole thing and was in the middle of a bunch of work... And 45 minutes later I had watched the whole thing and was really freaking sad there wasn't more.

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kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Oh my god this is like, perfect timing. It's been at least 2 or 3 years since I've had a Wire rewatch, and I've been meaning to for a while - but I wasn't expecting to watch practically a different show! I'd wait to buy it on blu-ray, but it just seems redundant when all 60 HD episodes are up on HBOGo.

Watching it, I must admit the Pilot at least looks very pretty and sharp and fills the screen nicely and all, but I always sort of liked the 4:3 SD aesthetic of The Wire; made the show feel more like a cousin of "Homicide" and a bit more closely related to that legacy of '90s cop television shows whose conventions The Wire played with and turned upside down, more or less.

Also, it's very odd I just finished watching The Affair which starred Dominic West - I hadn't seen him in anything in a while and it was strange to see how much older he was and how much better his American accent had gotten, I did get used to it. Now I'm back to Dominic West looking all young again right after I got used to him being old :eng99:

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Sypher posted:

How is it depressing? I tip my hat to HBO for actually keeping Simon in the loop with the transition. They could have easily just done it quick and dirty and released it back in Sept.

With that said, I just got done watching the first episode and while it does look extremely crisp and downright beautiful, it definitely feels different without that grainy 4:3 SD look.

To be honest, I didn't much like it after an episode - not sure it's for me, really. It just loses something. It shouldn't look this crisp, and the closeups feel downright claustrophobic, which is wrong.

I think this is a good thing ultimately, though, because quite frankly The Wire has never been a particularly visual show. Rarely did I watch the show and think "Wow, these are gorgeous and striking visuals!" The whole thing is set on city streets and in cramped buildings/offices/housing projects/vacant and condemned buildings... And there is a certain urban beauty to it all in a weird way, which really works especially well in seasons 3 and 4 - when Simon said they really threw themselves into it. Hamsterdam and the vacant houses and such are all such memorable locations, though season 2 especially is probably visually the most exciting and well-done season from my point of view.

But my point here really is that on this show it's so much more about the story and the writing and the characters and the social commentary. If presenting it in 16:9 means a lot more people watch the show for the first time because it looks as sharp as everything else now (which quite frankly is significant) then it's ultimately a very, very good thing.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



I am totally getting sucked into a rewatch, right from the beginning. God, this show is so loving good.

One thing I am really noticing (this is either my third or fourth rewatch in the last 7 or 8 years) is how much Lester Freeman is just the living, beating heart of the entire show from nearly the very beginning to the very end. And he's often right there with the audience, because he's probably one of the characters on the show who has the broadest, most truthful perspective on how hosed everything truly is - which makes him, in many ways, the only real consistent audience surrogate from the first season all the way through the last.

Yeah, he's got a bit of that "magical negro" crap going on, but at least they hang a lampshade on it once in a while by playing with that trope within the show. I honestly think that if I were to choose one scene, out of the entire show, to point to as my favorite/most satisfying, it would be the one where Lester (with a bemused Bunk watching) wordlessly figures out what's been happening to all of Marlo's bodies, and then declares "This is a tomb." Something about that moment always stuck out as ominously real, like... there is this light-hearted attitude that Snoop has about the work she does, and yet she's doing these incredibly dark and hosed up things. Lester figuring that out in the dead calm of a bright and frigid mid-winter day is just perfect.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Oh man. I just go to the point in season 2 in my "rewatch" of the new widescreen remaster where you have that odd, wordless scene/montage of Kima and Daniels at dinner with their wives (right after taking the case in the southeast in lieu of pursuing a more profitable law career, to the disappointment of Cheryl/Marla) and the camera just rotates around, alternating between all four characters as Cheryl and Marla get more and more upset and pissed off.

In the original 4:3 I never liked this bit. I always thought it was just a bit too ambitious/weird/out of step in terms of cinematography and direction for the show - this just really isn't the way information is generally conveyed on The Wire, and with the box-like aspect ratio the rotating camera just didn't work for me.

But in the 16:9, it's a *totally* different story. The whole scene actually works on a visual level, and so its presence and significance actually make more sense. Now the characters are framed by the candlesticks on the table as the camera rotates, and the differences between the two apartments are more pronounced, and the facial expressions and whats being communicated is clearer because the rotating is way less distracting due to the overall clarity of visual fidelity. Now it actually *feels* like you're at the dinner table. It's probably one of the best instances of the 16:9 taking a moment I always disliked from the original show and turning it into something like a lot.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Royo had this fantastic role on Fringe in season 2 I think, in an alternate universe, where he played the nicest NYC cabbie ever - but maybe cabbies in the alternate universe are just nicer. But anyway, I could have sworn the writers were making a "The Wire" joke/reference, because they didn't have time to give Royo's character much background, but he does have a brief monologue where he talks about how he was in a bad place a while back and only got his life together because of real help/support from other people, which is his justification for helping Olivia. And I always liked to think that Royo's character was Alternate-universe Bubs, who maybe did a little better for himself and got clean with a wife and kid.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Yeah, I mean, I would say it runs pretty deep to the comments the show makes about how your class and your background and your upbringing and your education are so much of what makes you are what you are, and one can only change that so much. So many seasons reiterate this point; D'Angelo practically spells it out in that wonderful, key scene where he talks about Gatsby - he's not just talking about himself there, he's also talking about Stringer, and all the people who are not at peace with the station in life that fate has given them. Interestingly, folks like Avon or Marlo know exactly what they want and how to carry it, and have the cruelty and amorality and lack of internal pathos to be fairly clear-headed about going after it.

But ultimately with the money, for String, it's absolutely all about pride. It's about the fact that he's the one who is supposed to be running the games, and this guy just ran the most simple, basic, retarded con in the world on Stringer because he knew that Stringer, being a total stranger to how political cons work, could be taken like a fuckin' child. And bear in mind this was a LONG loving con on the part on Clay Davis, and who the gently caress knows how many hundreds of thousands - or millions - of real estate Stringer invested in on the promises of Clay Davis, and how much money overall Davis really took him for. Remember Clay Davis' crooked driver? Davis had his people regularly leaving the towers with trashbags full of drug money in season 1.

But I dunno, maybe he got a legit return on that money? I'm not sure. I was under the impression that Davis had been long-term loving over Stringer, ultimately, and it wasn't just a case of 250 grand ultimately - that it sorta threw into doubt all the supposed business he had ever done with the guy and all the promises that were made, because now he knows that Davis sees him as mark and not a partner.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Ohhhh, man. I'm about halfway through the fourth season on my rewatch, and this is always when I remember how great the show was, like.. The first three seasons are *fantastic* and engrossing and do all kinds of things amazingly well, but the fourth season just blows my mind. It really is like the show was pulling near straight-A grades before then, and then it just upped it to another new level above while refocusing the main cast on four child-actors. That's just unheard-of insane. The fact that it's just so drat good is what keeps blowing my mind. I mean, if it weren't for season 4 I don't think The Wire would push ahead of all the other "greatest shows of all time". At least not in my mind.

A few things I'm noticing:

-Marlo was never that smart to begin with, from his introduction at the beginning of season 3 to his final scene. If you look closely, you will see that he practically never makes a decision himself. Nearly every last major move he makes is counseled on (and really, ultimately decided by) Chris Partlow. Take, for example, the beginning of Season 4 when Bodie and his independent crew of Barksdale leftovers are still on the corner, and the poo poo with Lex capping Fruit over Patrice goes down.

Now, Marlo's boys go to him and they want to crack down on Bodie's whole crew, and Marlo seriously considers this... Before glancing over at Chris, who gives the barest shake of the head. Then Marlo turns and tells them that they're leaving the crew alone and just taking down Lex. Chris makes that decision - not Marlo. There are a lot more instances of this that I'm not quite recalling or haven't gotten to, but I've been trying to make note. It's just interesting, though, because Partlow is really nothing like Wee-Bey or the Barksdale muscle at all. He's totally his own entity, and he definitely wields a *huge* amount of influence over Marlo.

-The closed captioning really loving blows. You'd think they'd get it right on the HBO site, at least? But they even transcribe "narco" as "knocko" which is absurd, and get the street language all wrong half the time. It's sort of funny how you develop the ear for Wire dialogue, whereas the show feels nigh-unintelligible at times if you're new to it.

-Cutty seems like way, way, WAY more of a scumbag this time around. Maybe it's personal bias because I don't like the actor, but practically everything he does ends up seriously rubbing me the wrong way. I never noticed just how much Michael actively despises Cutty as well, this time around. Before I perceived it as more of Michael just averting himself from the guy, but it's really more that he's one loving second away from killing him, and the later incident on the corner between them (which seemed a little bit like extreme out of the blue violence to me) was foreshadowed much more effectively than I thought.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Grumpwagon posted:

I can't comment on the captioning as a whole, since I've never used it, but bizarrely, "knocko" is the correct, Baltimore-centric term. I don't have a link handy, but David Simon has said that explicitly, and it is written that way in his books too. See The Corner for more.

OK - setting that aside, just to take an example from something I just say in the last episode (409 I think) Prop Joe and Marlo are hookin' up and Prop Joe is givin' Marlo the word on what he learned with his funny accents about Herc, and as he hands the card to Marlo he says "Might could be a problem." This is transcribed by lazy subtitlers as "Mike could be a problem." This is exactly the sort of mistake they make over and over - the quirky grammar that black people use is often misheard and transcribed into some absurd way that's "correct" but meaningless in context like that.

edit: And just to add, it is loving unbearable to watch Herc in season 4. What he does to Randy and Bubbles makes him arguably among the evillest motherfuckers on the show. It is just loving painful to watch.

-Another point I wanted to add: I'm starting to think Dominic West was a poor casting choice as McNulty, and that having so much focus on McNulty is ultimately detrimental to the show. It really sunk when I realized that every single I time to get season 4, I reach episode 9 or 10, and realize McNulty has gone the entire season so far while only showing up in barely half a dozen scenes - if that. And in most of those he's background noise. The guy who beats up Bubbles is a bigger character in season 4. Hell, Kenard is a bigger character in season 4, with way more lines and screen time.

And I know I'll get to season 5 and get really, really tired of Dominic West's schtick as McNulty really, really quickly, and that will almost certainly cause me to even fast forward through certain McNulty-heavy sequences (which would be an unthinkable notion in any earlier season - fast-forwarding at all on a rewatch).

But seriously, I was getting to thinking about it, and imagining an alternate universe where, say... Matthew McConaughey got cast as McNulty - which might be an unfair and silly comparison, but still. I also was thinking this: if Idris Elba had been cast as McNulty, he would have been freaking fantastic and it would have transformed the show. Of course, Luther was the germ of that thought experiment, but still.

Anyway, I don't know. I've been thinking about it more because I thought West was similarly mediocre in The Affair which I was shocked to see do so well at the Golden Globes. I know lots of people love McNulty/West and think the character is great or that the actor did a good job, and will give me poo poo, but there you go. Both the actor and the character really fail to impress me, and I honestly don't think it's a coincidence that the consensus best season for the most part (as far as I know) happens to be the only season without McNulty as *any* sort of protagonist.

kaworu fucked around with this message at 15:36 on Jan 17, 2015

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



team overhead smash posted:

I don't see how you could get this opinion of Cutty. He makes mistakes (like going out with the mothers of his students) but he tries hard and does his best to help people.

Michael doesn't like Cutty because he distrusts his friendliness due to the abuse Michael suffered from Bug's dad. If anything Cutty being a typical street gangster who was happy to beat people down over nonsense, sling poison and be a stand-up soldier willing to kill people over drugs would have made Michael trust him more. He understands and accepts those relationships but he just can't work out adult men who try and get to friendly with him without an ulterior motive besides wanted to help he. He can't see it as anything other than grooming.

I don't disagree at all - that's a totally valid interpretation of the relationship between Cutty and Michael and the one I was working with. I had just read it before as Michael being, well, more confused and frustrated by Cutty's behavior, in the same manner that he felt confused and frustrated by Prez's behavior. But this actually isn't the case; Mike trusts Prez way more than Cutty - in spite of Cutty being a street gangster and Prez being ex-police - and both are adult men who are friendly towards him. While Mike is hating on Cutty he is coming to trust and like Prez. I noticed this time around that while talking with Duquan, Michael really was seconds away from deciding to take his problem to Prez, and then only changes his mind after Cutty is recommended in the same manner, which is when he complains about everyone being "too motherfuckin' friendly" or whatever.

And again, I hadn't noticed as much before how antagonistic the relationship between Cutty and Michael was, following the fight they go to. Michael ignores everything Cutty says, except when Cutty is trying to appear heterosexual to Michael and saying that he was inside a while and "ain't no angel" and Michael acidly says "No. You ain't that."

neckbeard posted:

I think the character of NcNulty is quite important to the show. He's the embodiment of frustration towards all the bureaucratic bullshit that exists. Once he got Bodie killed though... Rawls was right.

I don't have a problem with the character, so much as the actor and the way the character was portrayed. I think a character like McNulty was totally essential from the beginning; I've just come to realize that I don't much like the McNulty that we got, and watching season 4 and realizing how I don't even notice missing him really makes me realize that.

freebooter posted:

I'm really surprised by that. I work as a live subtitler, and the non-live subtitlers (at least at my company) are absolutely detail-oriented and pedantic about getting everything 100% right, down to the tiniest, most irrelevant bullshit in throwaway game show episodes. Is this on the official DVDs?

Most subtitles are quite correct. I have a habit of watching things with the captions on just to make sure I'm getting the dialogue right, and just from watching enough foreign films/TV for a while you get really used to it.

I've been alternating between watching HD Wire on Amazon Prime and HBOGO depending on where I am (mostly on Amazon Prime now) and I honestly don't know if they were subtitled by different companies, but it feels like there are more mistakes on the Amazon Prime titles. To be fair, The Wire isn't the easiest show in the world to subtitle, with a lot of mumble-mouthed characters like Snoop speaking in what basically amounts to its own dialect of English - while the cops practically speak their own language too.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Dead Snoopy posted:

The Whitlock Academy: Class in Session

http://youtu.be/qdS6mwpcuxY

There aren't even words. How does this only have ~5,000 hits? This sheeeeeeeit's gonna explode.

edit: Okay, I'm getting seriously pissed at this poor-rear end subtitling over on Amazon. I'm on the final episode of season 4, and it's that awful-but-incredible scene where dopesick Bubs comes into the police station at rock-bottom to confess what happened to Sherrod, and winds up vomiting on Landman's shirt before trying to hang himself, then tells him the truth. Landsman is talking to Norris and memorable says "gently caress the clearance," with a sigh, and says to send him someplace with "soft walls" since he'd probably try to kill himself again if they just cut him loose.

Except it's subbed as "softballs". Send him someplace with "softballs". Well done. There really has been at least an error per episode - it's stunning. This one was just especially bad because it ruins a moment when you're on (or past) the verge of tears from watching Andre Royo at this point in Bubs's arc.

kaworu fucked around with this message at 10:12 on Jan 18, 2015

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



freebooter posted:

Stringer calls the Western District and shortly afterwards Colvin gives McNulty a slip of paper with the address of Avon's safehouse, refusing to name the source. Later in the episode Stringer meets Colvin in the graveyard and again gives him a slip of paper, the dialogue indicating that it's just the same information. Why do this twice?

I think you might just have your chronology mixed up here, because there is only *one* slip of yellow paper with Avon's safehouse in it. McNulty figures it out when he sees the Western District number pop up *twice* on the wire - the first time when Bell contacts Bunny to give him information so Colvin knows he's a confirmed C.I. and not somebody loving with him, and the second time to set up the meet at the graveyard where Bell gives Colvin the safehouse info. It's only after that when Colvin and McNulty meet up at the Western District (the place with the beer cans alllll over the roof) and Colvin hands off the slip of paper - "the last bit of real police work in a long career" - which as I recall actually ends the episode in question, since it's when we finally get that great shot of the roof of the Western Districts with its thousands of beer cans.

One episode really bleeds into the next when you're doing a rewatch like this, though.

kaworu fucked around with this message at 12:21 on Jan 19, 2015

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Akileese posted:

Finally getting around to watching it in HD. I appreciate how much clearer and detailed the picture is but eh the aspect ratio just feels so off. Maybe it's because I've seen the whole series five or six times but the shots just don't seem tight enough. They're missing their true purpose.

It actually gets a lot better after the first few episodes of season 1 - after that they rarely use any closeups or tight shots on people, which is generally the only thing that really draws my attention to the aspect ratio feeling "off" - when you get that overly close/tight shot where things feel unreasonably close; it felt like this rarely happened in the latter parts of season 1 and seasons 2, 3, and 4 at least (not into 5 yet) and more often than not a lot of shots/sequences felt improved. They fell into the habit of using a ton of medium shots almost as a rule later on which (to my eyes) ultimately translated well to a 16x9 remaster. Even tight, enclosed spaces that I thought could feel weird (like Franks union office/trailer) work just fine ultimately. And to be honest, much of the show is shot outdoors (with medium shots as I said) and the streets of Baltimore look great in 16x9, in general. I felt like season 4 especially look good in the remaster but maybe it's just 'cos it's season 4.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



forever whatever posted:

Carver also mentions to Herc in season 5 when they were talking about his decision to charge Colliccio that when Herc dropped the ball on Randy (Herc was supposed to hand him over to Bunk as a source of information for one of the Chris/Snoop murders), it actually mattered. It was definitely a formative experience for Carver. He had to move on from Randy, but it impacted him deeply.

God, what a great moment that was. So many shows would have milked that for some cheap dramatic payoff and used it to create like, conflict and enmity between Herc and Carver or something. But instead, they're actually realistic about it, because Carver gets it. It was all so formative and he learned so much that he understands that Herc truly did not intend to do anything wrong, and that the best he can do is learn from it and not make the same mistakes, and make sure such things don't happen anymore. And it's all there, but it's all implied and unspoken. I just miss shows where you really feel like you're being treated like an actual adult.

Also, it's downright surreal seeing David Simon and the President talking like that. What I hope is that they had some serious talk when the cameras were off, you know? Simon strikes me as the sort of guy who wouldn't let an opportunity like that go to waste, and would be incredibly eloquent and heartfelt talking off-camera with Obama in ways that aren't possible on-camera about these issues.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Jeffrey of YOSPOS posted:

What would Ziggy have succeeded at if not the docks or selling drugs/boosting poo poo? I don't think he'd have been much better off at the community college.

There are LOTS of people like that - like Ziggy. Maybe they're a little autistic, a little mentally ill, a little damaged, whatever. There are people who simply do not fit into the world they are born into no matter HOW they try, and the best they can ever do is manage a pitiable impression.

I think when it comes to young men a lot of it has to do not necessarily with being an inborn fuckup, but just not having the same skill-set as those around him. Critically, a lot of those people have serious issues with masculine gender roles - either not fitting into them or bucking against them. Both of these things were true of Namond and Ziggy - they weren't queer but because of their appearance (having long hair or being scrawny/weedy) they were never really treated as MEN proper in the tough communities they were coming up in.\

But it's a very very common story. That's where all the drug addicts generally come from... pitiable kids like Ziggy or Namond or even Dukie of course who simply weren't built to have guns pointed at them.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



I think it's also very unfortunate that the objective worst season comes right after the objective best season. I hope I don't offend anyone by saying that - it's not that I think season 4 is OH MY GOD SO MUCH BETTER than the first three seasons. But I do think it's the best season, partially because of timing and execution, and partly because it still feels like such a masterstroke, in a way.

I mean, poo poo - if there was any kind of main focus to the show during the first three seasons, it absolutely was the exploration specifically of drug crime in Baltimore and the absurdly recursive and destructive game that both sides play, feeding the beast and all that. And if we have a major story arc that we keep coming back in the first three seasons, it is specifically the game going on between McNulty and Stringer, which of course turns absurd and becomes little more than a matter of pride for both men - it's very funny to me, because through it all both Stringer and McNulty want to beat the other go so bad and go forward with this
the ends justify the means!" bullshit. But they know it's bullshit, because it's never about ends and means, and in the end it barely matters who started it once blood is shed. I always remember the Kimmy scene and the speech that McNulty gets from Rawls - that's such a fascinating and great season 1 moment, it perfectly gets Rawls and the kind of guy he is.

I sometimes wonder, how did Dean Norris *not* play Rawls on this show? I think the only real reason was because this is an east coast show (legitimately filmed in bmore of course) and as such used mostly all actors based on the east coast to fill out the ensemble. That's why you see more guys from The Wire playing bit parts on Law & Order back in the day than most shows.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



I actually don't think it's the newspaper plotline that is the drag on Season 5 and makes it feel tedious - more than anything else it's the material with McNulty and his "serial killer". Part of it is that I have a particular visceral reaction of disgust at alcoholics, and his portrayal in season 5 is honestly one of the most convincing portraits of alcoholism I've ever seen, to a *frightening* degree. I hope it was just good acting, writing, and makeup, which it probably was. But really - he was obviously gaining weight over that season and had that slightly bloated facial appearance you see in aging male alcoholics. He also had the perfect amount of redness around his ears and neck that you also see in alcoholics. And there was that exact almost frightening randomness in his actions, too. It was seriously almost too real.

Given that he looks and acts pretty much normal by the end of season 5 it's not like I really think he was drinking heavily at the time, but who the hell really knows. The Wire's cast was kinda infamous for being fairly wild, and West is obviously someone who likely grew up having a pint at dinner from age 12 onwards like a good English lad and there are some legendary (albeit very boorish) stories of his nighttime exploits while doing The Wire. I figure it's more a matter of him knowing exact;y how to act and appear like a real alcoholic, probably from knowing quite a few in his time.

But anyway, my point is really that I found all of that stuff with him and Lester really kind of tedious, because it was fairly obvious how it would more or less play out. And the schtick with Bunk and McNulty felt really tired at time, it was just Bunk acting disgusted at McNulty's actions and making scathing comments and doing nothing. Something about the entire thing felt "off", even when they got "The Wire" up. At that point I felt like the whole initial concept of catching people on "The Wire" had been played out to its logical end in season 3, and it was clear that technology had changed too much from that point on. Something about it all just felt... Really "off" and a little contrived.

One of the great things about The Wire, I think we can all agree, was the show's ability to continually re-invent itself while still incorporating its most important characters into the forward-moving plotlines. Obviously this is most prominently exemplified in Seasons 2 and 4 (probably the two best seasons). I think Season 4 especially, though - one of the things I love about The Wire is that the final episodes of each and every season have certain similar traits, most notably the musical montage at the end but there are other parallels. I always assumed this is because the show was constantly on such a tight leash while airing they could never ever be sure of renewal. I always felt like Season 3 felt like it gave a great deal of finality to the entire series, in a way. Hamsterdam was kind of the logical endpoint of what I'd consider a sort of 'though experiment' on the part of David Simon. And the final scene with Colvin and Bubbles - in some ways it would have been just as good an ending for The Wire if it had ended as a three-season show as the ending we actually got.

I guess that's why Season 4 impresses me so much. The Barksdale plotline was wrapped up, the "Cops and Drug Dealers" plotline had reached its conclusion, the political stuff was still ongoing but definitely could not sustain the show going forward. There wasn't much narrative potential in revisiting characters from Season 2, and The Greek is far more effective the more mysterious he is. So the decision to COMPLETELY re-invent the show, casting 4 unknown child actors as the new leads - and they truly were the main characters! That is really ballsy and it's really amazing that they pulled it off so well. And it wasn't just the 4 of them, there were lots of other very young actors who did unbelievably good work in that season especially. Certain performances really stick in my mind - like the girl who was being flashed with the mirror and you could see her slowly smoldering in the background for minutes before she just explodes - that really stuck with me. That was based on a real moment in a class Ed Burns was teaching and apparently went down just like that, and I don't doubt it for a second.

The other wonderful part of season 4 was watching those 4 child actors turn into real actors. There was a real sense of honest legitimacy to the material that I just... deeply responded to. Normally I can't stand movies with kids playing main characters, because normally kids suck at acting. But when they do a good job, it can hit notes and go places that resonate VERY deeply, especially for those of us who had difficult childhoods and do not have children - you became very detached from that part of yourself, so seeing an accurate artistic portrayal of childhood/growing up can just be... well, very affecting to someone like me.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Hello, my fellow Wire fans! I have been considering a rewatch, especially since I don't think I have seen anything other than *some* of Season 1 since HBO remastered the show. It'd be cool to watch it again, this time in FHD instead of standard 4:3. I feel like The Wire must've been one of the last 'prestige' dramas to have been made in 4:3, on HBO or anywhere else. By the time The Wire finished its final season, things were very different. It really was a frighteningly accurate mirror of society.

I don't know if it needs to be said now, but I think The Wire has grown exponentially more prophetic, more haunting, more relevant, more... everything. I'm obviously speaking in light of the Covid-19 epidemic, yet it seems not everyone sees any sort of connection; after all, it's not like The Wire ever deals with any literal diseases or sicknesses, and it's not as if they have a season devoted to the dysfunctionality in the health care system in America - it's about other things.

But I honestly do think it is extremely relevant in the midst of this pandemic, and I'd wager most of you folks agree. I mean, this whole ordeal is a massive test of the competence of local., county, and state officials. This is THE BIG ONE. This is putting major pressure on each and every one of the major institutions that he focused on season by season. The cops and the dealers, the blue-collar longshoremen and manual laborers, the goddamn loving politicians and local officials/community pillars, the schools and the children, and finally the *media*.

Each and every one of those institutions/groups of people are going through some seriously intense and dire times. And since we have watched the show, we should have a pretty solid idea of just how dysfunctional they can truly be; not a happy thought.

I think the only ones who are truly thriving and doing better in the face of covid-19 have GOT to be the drug dealers - I include legal dispensaries and liquor stores in this category as well, mostly because their presence on the list of "essential businesses" is a little eyebrow-raising to most of straight America, I'd wager. But that is precisely where they belong. By the same token I have NO DOUBT that drug dealers across the country are just doing utterly amazing sales numbers, with everyone sheltering at home and nowhere to go.


edit: Another thing! I read Simon's book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets which is... well, you guys probably know drat well all about this book and I don't need to waste time with a summary, right?

It was a really fun, engaging, rewarding read. I can't imagine any fan of David Simon's TV work not voraciously tearing through it. I've never seen the TV show Homicide, and really didn't know much about the real-life Baltimore detectives who served as inspiration for both shows. It was just fascinating to read. And stuff definitely does come up - at one point one of the more interesting detectives tells the "Snot Boogie" story, and it is very cool to read that (written in 1991) and remember watching the scene it inspired on The Wire for the first time over *15* years ago. And it still rings just as true as ever.

kaworu fucked around with this message at 00:01 on Apr 4, 2020

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



zenguitarman posted:

That scene when Walon visits Bubbles in the hospital is soul crushing. His whole arc is the best thing about this show (tied with like 4 other things)

I'm going to be frank, like... probably the one and only character about whose story I remained completely and totally emotionally invested in from the first episode through the very last episode was Andre Royo as Bubbles. I mean, I honestly feel like his story is probably the only one about which you can feel almost totally and entirely happy, and he's the only one still in the picture who gets anything resembling a "storybook" ending.

It's actually kinda funny, it can be argued that despite changing at some point during the interim, McNulty ends up right where he started, while Bubbles ends the series being allowed to go upstairs, earning back some of his sister's trust at long last :unsmith: There are probably some other characters who also appeared in all 5 seasons as well as the first and final episodes, but I can't think of them right now... Maybe some of the cops like Herc, Kima, Daniels or Carver, maybe Avon? Tough to recall.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



I'm rewatching The Wire right now for what must be the first time in like 10 years, maybe more. I remember the last time I watched The Wire, streaming services did not exist and I believe I watched via renting the DVDs either from Netflix in its pre-streaming era or just from the store! So it's definitely been a while, and although it's not something I really think about in this context but I was a very different person the last time I watched this, and I've gotten quite a lot of education about how hosed-up the world truly is - so I guess it's not surprising I am finding the show even more eloquent and resonant at times. And there moments and scenes that I never truly understood.

Like, I just watched the fourth episode of the first season, and it's the one in which McNulty winds up dragging Bubbles along to his kid's soccer game in lieu of missing it entirely. I don't think Bubbles says a single word in the soccer game scene; McNulty introduces him, and Bubs smiles and extends his hand - to which McNulty's wife sighs somewhat and crosses her arms, turning away, not speaking a word to him. Bubs looks ashamed and backs away further while McNulty and his wife argue about who gets to use their child to inflict more pain on the other. The scene, however, is idyllic with happy and well-socialized middle-class kids, all of them white-faced. Bubs just sits on the hood of the car and watches.

We cut to black childlren in the street at night running circles in some anonymous man in a hoodie, in a filthy and dangerous looking area full of trash, with big rats wandering about. McNulty pulls up, dropping Bubs off, and he remarks "Thin line 'tween heaven and here." I sort of got it, but as a white upper-middle class individual who was still in his early twenties and under the financial and medical umbrella of my parents at the time, I did NOT truly understand it. I didn't really quite get why his experience at that soccer game could be described as 'heaven'. I just didn't really GET it. I didn't notice the dramatic match-cut from the happy white kids playing soccer in the daytime with parents and responsible adults watching, to happy black kids running and playing in the dark of night, in a sketchy west-side alley with only a faceless man in a hoodie with a brown paper bag watching, garbage lies in piles and a rat wanders around. That is a VERY stark contrast, and I feel almost embarrassed that this whole bit kind of... passed me by.

There are a number of other things I just... had not lived quite long enough to pick up on the nuance of. Daniels' marriage and wife, at the start of season 1, for example? What we see is that he is living in a very nice house, eating a very luxurious dinner, and that his wife has no compunctions with giving him very frank advice about his job. We learn that Daniels is dirty, and has a few hundred thousand stashed away. The implication, to me, is that Daniels makes far less money than his wife, who is clearly the primary breadwinner in the household, and judging by the money stashed away I would say he has some issues about this.

Am I mis-reading this? I can't really remember whether his wife was in on the dirty money and they had spent it together to achieve that lifestyle. Not entirely sure. Regardless, Daniels psychology makes a lot more sense to me, same with many adult characters I think on this rewatch.

kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Re-watching this show at age 34 really is a radically different experience than watching it for the first time at age 20 in 2006, or rewatching it 4 years later at 24 in 2010 after the recession and the spectacular collapse of the multi-national criminal ponzi scheme referred to as "Keynesian economics" I thought that I'd reached a somewhat more enlightened place and I understood the show much more fully. Of course, that was useful bullshit, and now... well... now I'm just very aware that I will always be ignorant and always have more to learn, more to glean, more to understand. It's inspiring that I always find more and more subtleties in great pieces of art like this.

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kaworu
Jul 23, 2004



Now this here?! This is some motherfucking BULLSHIT@!!!

I was watching The Wire on Amazon Prime very happily last night. I was at the end of Season 2, watching the last few episodes, and I was DEEPLY engaged. I mean... When you are at that part of the story, where they're ripping up the passports, and Frank is practically imprisoned already behind the fence of the Grain Pier before he goes to meet his death. So I am watching that, the AMAZING sequence set to Stelios Kazantzidis - Efuge Efuge, which is unbelievably fabulous music and I believe the only non-diegetic song used on the soundtrack, season-ending musical montages notwithstanding.

So I finish that episode up, and now it is 12:30 on the West Coast where I am. Oddly, instead of going to the finale which I wanted to see, I was kicked back to the list of episodes, and yet, for some weird reason it now says The Wire is no longer on Prime - in fact, I need to pay $15 to get a special HBO subscription to keep watching. And this had JUST fuckin' happened at midnight apparently. DURING MY REWATCH.

I find this deeply upsetting and while I know it is just business, it reeks. Does not make me want to pay corporate assholes more money to fuckin watch it

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