Barry: HBO’s Best Show in Years

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That’s right, we’re about to get a special brand of hot take-y up in this piece. I don’t mean HBO’s best comedy. It might be HBO’s best comedy of all time (hot take number two). Barry is a dark action comedy about a Midwestern hitman turned LA actor created by SNL alum Bill Hader and longtime HBO producer Alec Berg, and I want people to know my opinion is exactly what the headline says: Best. Show. In. Years.

When I say years, I mean four years. Specifically, 2014’s True Detective premiere. Season 1 of True Detective was a piece of art with compelling characters, irreverent humor, and tight action sequences. Everything on HBO since then has been an attempt to capture the phenomenon of that first season and the hype of early Game of Thrones. 2016’s Westworld came close, but apparently cowboy boobs are more niche than dragon boobs (hot take three) and it didn’t hit the public consciousness like Game of Thrones did, despite the Emmy nom.

Meanwhile, Veep has been HBO’s comedy darling since it premiered in 2012. It’s grabbed a nomination for best Comedy Series for each of its six seasons, and has taken the win the last three consecutive years. Veep is sharper and quicker than nearly any show out there, but its crass abrasiveness has kept in from being a cultural icon (hot take number four). America isn’t ready for premium cable comedy yet. They still want Young Sheldon and Last Man Standing.

Along comes Barry. If you haven’t watched it this is your moment to stop, take four hours, and watch every episode. I’m not planning on spoiling anything major when I talk about the show, but you should watch it anyway because you trust my taste and judgment. Seriously it’s only four hours. Eight episodes. Do it.

Did that convince you? If it did, awesome. If not, whatever. Keep reading. I’ve got some strong arguments coming up.

First of all, the show meets my primary benchmark for any comedy: is it funny? The answer is yes. I rank it as the third funniest show out right now, following NBC’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place (not the hottest take but i’ll count it, FIVE), but comparing the humor of Barry to either of those shows does it a disservice. The humor in Barry sneaks up on you. I would start laughing before I knew I was laughing, and before I even remembered I was watching a comedy. The jokes are incredibly organic to the realism of the show and its world. Almost every scene of Bill Hader as Barry acting like someone who has never acted had me in stitches. It’s simultaneously over-the-top and grounded in a way that a show with a different concept wouldn’t be able to be.

The show’s well-crafted jokes act as the perfect tension release for the show’s high drama. Don’t get me wrong. This is an 8-episode emotional roller coaster. Again, I’m not going to drop any spoilers on you, but you’re gonna get sad. You’re gonna get really sad and you’re going to like it. One of the benefits of a show so real and human is that it’s easy to buy into the journey Barry takes. Barry Berkman is a character who is sure of who he is and what he does, until he isn’t. The struggle of wanting to be someone new, of wondering if maybe you’re not your “best self” living your “best life”, is a relatable one. Maybe the grass IS always greener on the other side. You’ve had that moment. You’ve maybe even had the moments that follow where you live with one foot in both worlds, trying to keep what you have and get something new at the same time. If you’ve experienced this very common and human moment/emotion, you can relate to Barry even if you’ve never been a hitman or an actor or both.

If you need more of a reason to watch, consider that the show is beautifully acted and crafted. Hader shines as the titular Barry. Stephen Root’s performance as Monroe Fuches is a character so uniquely self-serving that over the course of the season you’re not sure whether you’re watching a hero, villain, or both. I’ve never seen a love interest so drastically unavailable as Sarah Goldberg’s Sally Reed. Glenn Fleshler and Anthony Carrigan play two of the best, most entertaining “villains” on TV right now. The cast performances are aided by stellar direction from Hader, Berg, Hiro Murai (Atlanta), and Maggie Carey (Silicon Valley, Brooklyn Nine-Nine). The show is as comfortable sitting in long, quiet shots as it is with firing through loud, frenetic action sequences. The episodes are tight, the pacing is a thrill ride, and some of the cliffhangers rival the Game of Thrones pilot.

HBO is going to keep making new seasons of Game of Thrones, Westworld, Veep, and Silicon Valley, but Barry is the show that got me waiting a week for TV again. 

The Best Show on Television: Killing Eve


Once the episode of Westworld you’re half watching while scrolling through your phone ends, Google “BBC America Killing Eve”. Click the first result.

If you are like me, you do not have cable. If you are even more like me, your parents do. Sign in to your parents’ cable network, they won’t mind. Don’t pretend like you’re paying for your Netflix account.

Scroll down to episode one titled “Nice Face”, and click. Now sit up in bed, re-adjust, crack your neck, check for texts, and lean back.

You will thank me.

If you have not stopped reading and followed my instructions, I get it. TV show recommendations now-a-days are intimidating, and the avalanche of shows produced each year strip these recommendations of clout. Trust me, I am as stubborn as the next guy when it comes to honoring a recommendation. With how busy we all are these days (Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, editing photos for Instagram), I practically need a court order to start watching something new. It needs to be worth it.

This is a court order. Killing Eve, the 8-episode British crime thriller has quickly and rightfully earned its spot atop the throne of entertainment. As a self-proclaimed televisseur (my word not yours), my recommendation carries significance. I’ve watched every episode of Ballers for Christ sake.

Killing Eve, starring Sandra Oh and Jodie “give her the Emmy now” Comer, follows the life of Eve (Oh), an ambitious MI5 security officer, as she chases Villanelle (Comer), a capricious assassin driven by the fruits of her own chaos. Based on the Villanelle novels by Luke Jennings and developed for television by Fleabag’s Pheobe Waller-Bridge, Killing Eve satisfies both the film nerd and starving artist in me as we careen down a volatile path of cat and mouse. Both female leads shine in their respective roles, however the transfixing talent of Jodie Comer as Villanelle is undeniable, and will most certainly generate world-wide acclaim. The writing, supplemented by superb performances from the entire cast across the board, is delightfully sharp and spontaneous. Technically, the show is crisp and bold. The pace is deliberately suited for the modern media age, efficiently tearing through scenes and leaving no time for “filler”—sometimes even cutting away from scenes mid-sentence. The cinematography is calculated, seamlessly adopting and complementing the personality of each character on screen.  The wickedly unsettling music, led by standout track, “Killer Shangri-Lah” is the cherry on top.

The plot itself is no revelation—a self proclaimed spy tries to catch a killer (at least it seems that way at first). Its storytelling and character development however, are quite revelatory and keep the audience tuning in week after week. The impressive depth of character conveyed between Eve and Villanelle in each episode blur the line between sane and psychotic, manufacturing connections and extracting empathy almost immediately. This show simply operates on a higher level than most, hitting the bulls-eye in every category.

At least watch the opening scene, which impeccably sets the tone for the rest of the series. You have a minute to spare.

I love Killing Eve. It feels different. I have never seen a show quite like it. Season 1, which ended on Sunday, May 27, has grown in viewership with each of its eight episodes, an impressive feat for a show battling Sunday night heavy-weights like Westworld, the millennial wet dream Silicon Valley, and first year standout Barry.

It may already be too late, but hop on board while you can.






Who’s Recording the Theme Song for Bond 25?

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With the date of the next installment of the James Bond franchise already set for a November 2019 release, speculation of all things related to the upcoming film has now begun. Daniel Craig is officially reprising his role as the titular character and the new film dubbed Bond 25 is bound to be a big one. For such an important milestone as the 25th film in the Bond franchise, an impactful and potentially popular song should be in the works. Though there is no proven evidence of any artist being signed on to helm the Bond 25 theme song yet, here are some thoughts to whom they might choose (in no particular order).


Radiohead was already given an opportunity to make the Bond theme for the last entry in the franchise, Spectre. Though their track wasn’t ultimately selected for being too dark, the work is an incredibly haunting song that is cued into their current sound. Since the release of the scrapped track, we have received the critically-acclaimed album A Moon Shaped Pool in 2016 that proves they still belong in the modern music zeitgeist. Also Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood is a proven composer, having scored There Will Be Blood, The Master, and Inherent Vice. Last year he even earned an Oscar nomination for his work in Phantom Thread. Some of the finest moments in the first season of HBO’s Westworld were punctuated by Radiohead’s music and the show continues to use their tracks in the second season. Right now Radiohead is in an even better place, both creatively and in popularity, to lay down the music for Bond 25.

Arctic Monkeys

For the last two entries in the series, the Bond people (I have no clue who they are) have looked to artists in the UK to make the song. Which brings us to Alex Turner and Arctic Monkeys. The latest album from the group shows their ability to make eerie, beautiful piano driven rock tracks that would piece together perfectly with the Bond title credits. Look at tracks “American Sports” or “Golden Trunks” and tell me you can’t see Daniel Craig slow motion falling through a dark psychedelic dreamscape. If you tell me you can’t I will personally cut either song to the title sequence of Spectre just for you. I shouldn’t fail to mention that Turner also wrote six original tracks for the 2011 film Submarine, proving his ability to write songs that work well cinematically.


“Skyfall” was incredible. Adele is incredible. Adele’s last album was incredible. Though the franchise hasn’t had a repeat artist for the Bond theme since Shirley Bassey, it goes without saying that Adele is the biggest and probably most like-able artist in the world. Whatever she puts her voice on turns to gold. If they can convince her with a big bag of cash, I’m sure she would bring the exact kind of presence needed for Bond’s milestone to be thrust in the limelight. It’s hard to argue with the 315 million views that “Skyfall” has on Youtube.

Car Seat Headrest

Yeah. This one is a little bizarre. I’m sure 99% of you are saying, who the hell is Car Seat Headrest? The band is the indie rock project of Will Toledo, whose last two albums Teens of Denial and Twin Fantasy have pushed his band into the edges of the mainstream. Daniel Craig is apparently a huge fan of the group and even took his fellow cast members of the film Logan Lucky to see them live. Craig is known to have influenced both Adele and Radiohead to make themes for previous Bond’s, so he might be interested seeing what Car Seat Headrest could offer. The last real rock themes were Chris Cornell’s for Casino Royale and Jack White’s for Quantum of Solace, but a return to a harder sound could be key in setting up the mood for Bond 25. A song like “Sober to Death” could reach a sound suitable for the film if it just had an orchestra in the back. Maybe it’s time for an indie rocker to take the helm.

Ed Sheeran

Apparently the guy already has a theme penned incase he is picked. Obviously he’s no amateur and one of the biggest artists in the UK. I don’t have many thoughts on this one but he did do a fantastic song for The Hobbit.


I mean c’mon. It’s Beyonce. It’s crazy that the only artist whose status rivals Adele’s, hasn’t recorded a Bond theme. Right now Beyonce is undoubtedly larger than ever. After her incredible performance at the Grammy’s in 2017 and this year’s Coachella, it would be fitting to pick her now. With a versatile voice that can fit over any style of music, it would be beneficial for the franchise to get her to boost the popularity of the next film.

Dua Lipa

Okay so this one is weird. For some reason, British bookies have her at 4-to-5 odds to do the theme. After some thought, the odds make sense. She’s a huge star right now with her two EDM-laced hits, “New Rules” and “One Kiss.” She’s also British, which gives her a little boost in appealing to the UK audience. Looking at her album, which is mainly synth-pop, she comes across as a strong singer with a unique voice. Her cover of “I Would Rather Go Blind” shows off her ability to slow things down and work emotion. Though she might not be exactly what people expect, a well written song with her on it could skyrocket into the Top Ten on both US and UK charts.

Paloma Faith

I admittedly know nothing about this artist. But she has been asked in interviews multiple times about recording a Bond theme. So I had to learn about her following the speculation. Paloma Faith has never made waves in the US, but in the UK, her latest album took the number one spot from Taylor Swift’s Reputation. After a bit of research, she has a voice that is reminiscent of the former Bond themes sang by women in the ’60s and ’70s. Her cover of INXS’ “Never Tear Us Apart” literally sounds like an audition for the job.

Obviously there are many artists both inside and outside the mainstream that would be suited to recording the Bond theme. Like whatever happened to Ellie Goulding? She would’ve been a great pick in the early 2010’s. No matter who makes the theme for Bond 25, hopefully it’s on par with the last few films’ and celebrates the franchise in this historic milestone.




IMPORTANT: Top 8 Most Attractive Sitcom Casts


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With everything that’s going on in the world, I thought it would be appropriate to write about something that matters, something tangible and intelligent. Here is the definitive ranking of sitcom casts that are easy on the eyes. Remember, we’re talking sitcoms only here. Sorry Riverdale fans, no Cole Sprouse on this one.

8. That ’70s Show


Although this cast doesn’t match the consistency of other shows, the break out performances of Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher in the latter half of the show jolts this sitcom into the Elite 8. And they got married in real life! What’s better than two hot rich famous people getting married?

7. How I Met Your Mother


The show jumped from 8 to 7 when I found out who the mother was.

6. Will & Grace


No stand out all-stars here, but Will & Grace showcases four attractive leads living it up in New York City, acting as the bizarro version of Seinfeld (excluding the lovely Elaine Benes of course).


5. The Good Place



After only two seasons, The Good Place has cemented itself as one of the most clever and refreshing shows on air. But this is a list of looks, and Kristen Bell, Jameela Jamil, William Jackson Harper, Manny Jacinto, and hell even Ted Danson make staring at this cast taste like a little slice of heaven (IM SORRY).


4. Community



Most of you forgot about Community didn’t you? This show sneakily slides in at #4 because of slept on lookers like Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Donald Glover, and more.

3. Modern Family


Like most modern families, this show features very attractive people of all ages, ethnicities, and genders.

2. New Girl


If your girlfriend hasn’t mentioned how cute Nick Miller is then she’s a robot.


1. Friends


If this isn’t your #1 then unsubscribe from everything. To better quantify the number of attractive characters on this show, let me quote the great LeBron James at his Miami Heat welcome party in 2010, “Not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5,” that’s right SIX. Joey Tribbiani and Rachel Green lead the way like Jordan and Pippen to a perfect 6-for-6 during their historic 90s-00s run.



WTF Is Going On With Avatar?


Do you remember the movie Avatar? The science fiction mega hit centered on the exotic alien world of Pandora? Staring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver? Yes, I do too. We all do. That’s because, to this day, it remains the highest grossing film of all time, earning $2,787,965,087. Months after the film was released, 20th Century Fox as well as director, writer, producer, and co-editior James Cameron announced two sequels were confirmed, with a fourth and fifth film coming later as well.

Avatar was released in 2009.

It is now 2018.

What is happening.

In nine years, have you read or heard anything regarding these sequels? There have been no trailers, no teasers, nothing. Nothing for nine years! Are they even filming? Was there a setback? Are they even still happening? Should I even care anymore? The most successful film of all time has essentially disappeared.

Nine years is a long time to care about something. In 2009, “Boom Boom Pow” by The Black Eyed Peas was #1 on Billboard’s Top 100, Cali Swag District had bestowed upon us the infamous Dougie with their hit single “Teach Me How To Dougie,” and Tiger Woods was a faithful husband… well, for most of 2009. My point is, The Black Eyed Peas, Cali Swag District, and Tiger Woods’ marital status are irrelevant now. Avatar, despite its mixed critical reviews, was a groundbreaking film, featuring never before seen motion capture technology and a shockingly elaborate and captivating world Cameron let us discover. Although people tarnished the films originality from a narrative perspective, labeling the story as Pocahontas 2.0, the film undeniably made a connection with its audience. So why has it been nine years?! Why are they allowing this franchise to become irrelevant? Why does this make me so angry?


I looked in to this to give the public what they deserve. Here is what I have learned is going on in Pandora as of 2018:

  • Yes, the second and third films are still in production. They began filming in September 2017 and are scheduled to release in December 2020, and December 2021, respectively. That’s right, 11 YEARS in between the most successful movie ever made and its sequel. James Cameron is notoriously slow at developing projects (he first had the idea for Avatar in 1994), but considering he already made the first one, you’d think producing a second in 11 years is feasible.
  • The fourth and fifth films are scheduled to begin filming as soon as the second and third are finished, and are set to release in 2024, and 2025, respectively. However, Cameron told Vanity Fair in a 2017 interview, “Let’s face it, if Avatar 2 and 3 don’t make enough money, there’s not going to be a 4 and 5.” So there’s that.

Alright, just so we’re all on the same page here: Avatar (2009), Avatar 2 (2020), Avatar 3 (2021), Avatar 4 (2024), and Avatar 5 (2025). One movie in 11 years and the next four in five years. Makes sense.

James Cameron is in fact, directing, producing, and writing all four sequels. The original cast is set to reprise their roles, however Sigourney Weaver will be playing a new character. New additions to the cast include Cliff Curtis and Kate Winslet, although which characters they will portray remains unknown.


Also, I’m oddly accepting of the fact that the humans named the precious mineral of Pandora unobtanium. At first, it sounded impressively unoriginal, but I then I decided to peruse the Periodic Table to see how many elements have stupid sounding names, and here are a just a few (of many) I found.

  • Americium – Named after Amerigo Vespucci
  • Livermorium – Named after some dude named Rob Livermore
  • Californium – This element is just a shaka sign
  • Berkelium – Somehow this isn’t weed

If these can exist, I have no qualms with an unobtainable mineral from a distant planet possessing the name unobtanium.

So, will we ever see what happened to Jake after he permanently transferred to his Na’vi avatar and left Earth behind? Will human beings ever return to Pandora? At this point, we may as well call the Avatar sequels unobtanium.