Saturday, April 30, 2011

This Thing of Ours.

This Thing of Ours: Investigating The Sopranos, 2002, edited by David Lavery.

1. This book pretty much marked the point I realized that there were people out there, respectable  and educated people, who geeked out about film and television WAAAAAAAAY more than I ever knew was possible. One of my favorite professors dug this out when I met with her to discuss the senior paper I was planning to do; I went home and immediately ordered my own copy.

2. David Lavery is my favorite television author/editor. In addition to this volume, he's also put out similar studies and essays on Twin Peaks (Full of Secrets) and Lost (Lost's Buried Treasures) among other programs----it's safe to say that if I was an academic I'd want his job.

What we have here is a collection of critical essays on The Sopranos, intellectual as hell. Some, with their Marxism, post-modern obsession and Orwellian comparisons, really made my head hurt, even now. And yes, some of the essays irritated me with their refusal to just see the show for what it was---A NARRATIVE, someone's story, someone's vision---and not an ideological set of regulations to be paraded as absolute philosophy (I want to scream, HEY! At no point is David Chase or anyone else involved with the show suggesting that all women must writhe around the pole at the Bing or be kept under lock and key in the kitchen baking endless pans of lasagna . . . )

Topics covered: Italian-American defamation, feminism, television as a unique media, the show's roots to cinema, the gangster genre itself, geography, music, food, and the downward trend of Mafia culture (1970s to 2000) together with its relevance to society. And that this show can be dissected a million different ways. Lavery, in his prologue, compares the show to an elephant in the dark, "whose nature reveals itself in entirely different ways depending on which part of its complex being is currently being examined."

Kind of crafty. My favorite article, "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Tony Soprano," by Steven Hayward and Andrew Biro, did a great job of examining the show's complexities in several different contexts, (capitalism, Napoleon, Marxism, I'M NOT KIDDING, The Godfather, and the Mafia code of silence)

"Don Corleone might have inhabited a world in which certain things (honor, community, and so on) had a value in and of themselves, but Tony Soprano is forced to inhabit a world in which dollar values are the only values that matter. While Tony's nephew Christopher wants nothing more than to become a "made" man -- to become a fully-fledged member of the Mafia community, bound by the omerta (code of silence) -- this desire does not prevent him from writing a screenplay based on his own experiences and the tales he has heard. It is a similar kind of contradiction that structures the series as a whole: Tony is a gangster undergoing psychotherapy (or, as Freud called it, "the talking cure"): a mob boss who has to talk to maintain his position."

It's fun. There was only one article I honestly couldn't get behind even a little, not really because of the subject matter but because of the choppy, unprofessional prose (mostly epitaphs) and the fact that the two authors accused Livia of being OVERWRITTEN. Please. The coming of feminism (first, second, third wave or beyond) does not change the fact that there are some seriously unpleasant women out there. Get over it.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Happy Friday!

For all the cowboys out there with Daddy issues; enjoy one of Jack and Sawyer's best moments together. And Foxy is *still* the best crier in the business, hands down.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Sopranos, season 2, proper.

The Sopranos, season 2, 2000.

Bluntly, season 2 emanates anger, hostility, and violence from the word go, and a lot of it is difficult to stomach; in other words, this is the season for viewers who found the first season a bit too warm and fuzzy (this ain't your mama's Sopranos). Everyone's got issues with everyone.

New Characters:

Janice Soprano (Aida Turturro), Tony's older sister comes for a visit. Having moved to Seattle and changed her name to Pavarti, Janice seems to shun everything about her traditional Italian upbringing . . . until she gets mad about something and The Soprano in her surfaces (with a vengeance).

Richie Aprile (David Proval) returns from a ten-year prison stint, also with a vengeance, almost like a soft-spoken, psychotic version of Mean Streets' Johnny Boy (which Proval actually co-starred in with Keitel and DeNiro). This guy really seems to have a beef with everything and exists mostly to create trouble for Tony, not the least of it being carrying on with Janice, but his story is a good one. Doesn't end well, though.

Furio Giunta
(Frederico Castelluccio), a soldier from an Italian crew in Naples joins The Soprano crew and proves himself adept at unsavory, violent jobs as well as mozzarella-making for Artie Bucco. One of the season's best scenes involves Furio's first "assignment" at a tanning booth/prostitution operation: As he pushes his way through the doors and clients to get to the owner who's been holding out, Tony waits outside in the car, delighted by the screams and gunshots heard from inside the building.

In terms of style, most of the best shots of the second season really revolve around Junior; his wheelchair-cam as they roll him down the hall in the hospital, the stubborn pride and posture he takes when he finally comes to Tony with the news that Richie is planning to have him killed, and that quick, crazy shot of him peeking out the window of the deserted building on the shore during Tony's dream? Creepy!

And of course, the montage to Sinatra's "It Was a Very Good Year" during the first episode (link below), where everyone's daily events just sort of fade into each other in randomness---Livia, alone during her physical therapy, Paulie Walnuts, enjoying a well-implanted dancer from The Bing, and Carmella, serving endless pans of pasta to the family (each time in a more dazzling set of triple-necklaces and pastel linen pants).

The series' second season is definitely darker and less joyful than the first: Tony abandons his therapy with Dr. Melfi, and his behavior, panic attacks, and general disposition all suffer horribly as a result.  He finds that being Boss is incredibly stressful. Disagreements among Tony's and Junior's crews (mostly facilitated by Richie Aprile) create tension and aggression that lead to repeated acts of violence. Because of this, Tony is advised by his attorney to spend time at his legitimate businesses for a while, which further depresses him. My favorite scene comes at the end of "House Arrest," when Tony finally comes back to Satriale's after days spent at Barone Sanitation. While he's welcomed back adoringly by his crew, he also stands outside on the sidewalk and banters with Agent Harris (of the FBI), who just dropped by to introduce his new partner. Having a conversation about a sudden car accident with the feds that are following him is comfortable and normal, even, because he's back on his turf again, where things make sense. I liked that.

(clips have violence, profanity, and brief sexual content, FYI).

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Friday!

As I told my chiropractor that I'd spend less time in front of a computer, I'm just in and out today. But in honor of spinal professionals everywhere, please enjoy this clip from LOST's third and fourth seasons. I think the signs were definitely there far before the island's big money shot (if you will), but it confirmed beyond any reason of a doubt that the basis of this show tilted toward faith, not science.

Clip is courtesy of Drxkillm0re.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

King vs. Kubrick: The Shining.

I picked this up when I was 7.
This isn't going to be easy; I feel like I'm having to choose between my parents or something. I love Stephen King; I love Stanley Kubrick. But I think this "discussion" is a worthy one. And please feel free to tell me your thoughts on this, too, I'd love to hear where everyone else stands. Here we go:

The Shining, 1977, by Stephen King.

Events: Jack Torrance, a writer and former schoolteacher, takes a caretaker job at a grand and mysterious hotel in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. His five year old son, Danny, has a very special talent that allows him to see visions from the past, forecasts of events to come, and into the minds of others---and straight away Danny senses the hotel, The Overlook, is full of secrets and demons.

During their stay, some of the topiary hedge animals seem to move; the hotel elevator begins to operate on its own, and one of the rooms (217) has its own particular franchise on The Overlook's sordid past (REDRUM). These events are at first subtle and would seem almost harmless or hallucinatory were it not for Danny's special gift. From the first moment he learned of The Overlook, Danny saw this stuff happening, he knows that it's real, and he's seen how it ends over and over in his nightmares! Most of the reader's concern involves sympathy and fear for the child, thrust in the middle of events that would make a grown adult soil herself . . . this story is not an easy one to handle: nightmares, lights left on, nightmares, did that book shelf just move? Fire hose, bathtub, REDRUM! REDRUM! I had about three seriously ridiculous nights of discomfort trying to shove these things from my mind and think happy thoughts!

 At the same time the hotel really gets going, tomfoolery-wise, Jack, who struggles with his own personal demons of Daddy Issues, failure, and alcoholism, begins to unravel. It's explained over and over in many ways just how meaningful and complicated Jack's relationship with Danny is, and as he tries to focus on his work, both hotel-related maintenance and his unfinished play, Jack finds himself having strange, angry resentment toward his family and becoming more and more obsessed with the hotel and its history. King said in an interview that many of the events in this novel were confessionals over feelings of anger and resentment a father (or mother) feels toward children, which can go hand-in-hand with feelings of intense love and adoration the parent also feels; it's a complex thing, but not invalid, you know? It's a pretty ballsy thing to do, not only writing about stuff that is taboo, parenting-wise, but then owning it honestly and admitting that it grew from actual feelings. Heavy. Jack Torrance in many ways is an extremely real character because of this, there are many chapters written from Jack's point of view and he's just as bothered and confused by it as we are!

Some might see this as a horror novel, and it is horrifying, but the most disturbing things are not the evil hotel or any of its twisted, rotting minions, but the almost casual subtlety of the evil, those moving hedge creatures scared me the same way the hotel room menu did in 1408: ("the menu was in Russian; the menu was in Italian; there was no menu,") and the documented descent of human beings who are flawed, but still people nonetheless. This is an extremely sad of bunch events, and it's the struggle that has real power here, not the end but the means to it that pack the greatest punch.

Writing: King has a genius ability to do two things in his novels, well, three if you count SCARING THE PISS OUT OF READERS, but that's actually not important right now. The first thing about King's writing that occurs consistently in all of his stories is the knack for telling and explaining things as if he is actually speaking it aloud, to you, personally (or making you feel as if he's your friend Steve, the storyteller). I don't know anything about Stephen King personally, have never met him, probably never will, but dammit, don't you feel like you know this guy? It's clearly due to the heart he pours into his characters, which of course, comes from his own, but seriously, I feel somehow connected to him just because of the way he writes, and that's probably the greatest compliment a writer can get.

Secondly: Humor and Sarcasm. Aces.

(Danny ponders a conversation his father had), " . . . but Mr. Ullman would probably do neither because he was a CHEAP PRICK. Danny knew that this was one of the worst epithets his father could summon. It was applied to certain doctors, dentists, and appliance repairmen, and also to the board of his English Department at Stovington, who had disallowed some of Daddy's book orders because he said the books would put them over budget. 'Over budget, hell,' he had fumed to Wendy---Danny had been listening from his bedroom where he was supposed to be asleep. 'He's just saving the last five hundred bucks for himself, the CHEAP PRICK."

(Jack is locked in the pantry) "Have to use your brain. The celebrated Jack Torrance brain. Aren't you the fellow who once was going to live by his wits? Jack Torrance, best-selling author. Jack Torrance, acclaimed playwright and winner of the New York Critics Circle Award. John Torrance, man of letters, esteemed thinker, winner of the Pulitzer Prize at seventy for his trenchant book of memoirs, My Life in the Twentieth Century. All any of that shit boiled down to was living by your wits."

Comparisons: All right, let's get to it. Is the novel better, or is the film better? The film (as you know from my past ramblings) is one of my very favorites, and is neater, cleaner, and obviously more visually and acoustically moving than the novel. But that doesn't necessarily make it better. I think the heart of the story was honestly about something bad happening to (mostly) good people, and you are only going to see that if you read the novel; the film has no love for any of the Torrances.

Whereas King's Torrance is clearly conflicted, Kubrick's Torrance seems to be destined for lunacy. He hardly shows any (sober) emotion at all to anyone, if you don't count Nicholson's arched-eyebrows grin to Ullman after hearing the unfortunate tale of Mr. Grady et al. The relationship with Danny and Danny as a person altogether hardly matter in the film. ("Dad? I'm hungry." "Well, you should have eaten your breakfast." The end).

You don't sense any emotion between any of the Torrances because Kubrick hardly has them speak to each other; there is a lot more conversation in the book, maybe even a bit too much, but they at least seem to matter to each other or explain what they're thinking. King's Jack was an interesting guy, funny even, and we mourn his metamorphosis into Crazy-Overlook-Jack because we lose touch with the real Jack and we care about Wendy and Danny. Not so in the film. Kubrick and Nicholson's Jack was almost like a man caught in limbo waiting to become Crazy-Overlook-Jack, and as viewers, we find this Jack infinitely more interesting. Where Kubrick is motivated by isolation and insanity, King is motivated by humanity and tragedy. Two very different themes. And while I will always-always-always consider The Shining one of my very favorite films, I'm more of a writer than a filmmaker, and I almost think Kubrick should have credited it "inspired by" rather than "based on" King's original work. I do not get the feeling of closeness to Kubrick that I do with King, and I get the feeling that Kubrick kind of likes it that way.

That said, I wouldn't have either of them change a thing (how's that for diplomacy?)

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Sopranos, season 1, proper.

The Sopranos, Season One, 1999.
Created by David Chase.
Starring: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Braco, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Dominic Chianese, Tony Sirico, Steve Van Zandt, Nancy Marchand, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Robert Iler.

I don't want to be unnecessarily dramatic here, but this series is hands down one of the best in the history of television. So much so that there really will not ever be anything else like it, Mafia-related or otherwise. If you haven't already, you really owe it to yourself to see it, even if you hate mob stories or violence, because there is more than meets the eye to Tony Soprano. He just might be more like you than you realize.

EVENTSThe Sopranos obviously has firm roots in Gangster culture, but before we get to that, let's be clear on a few other things first. The experience here is only partly focused on The Mafia; you know, the Italian-American based crime families of New York and New Jersey who make living from robbery, extortion, illegal gambling, illegal loans, bribery, and who solve problems with fists, feet, and fishes (as in putting their enemies to sleep with them). But that's only one side of the story.

Tony Soprano (Gandolfini), Captain of North Jersey, is having trouble with panic attacks and begins therapy with Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Braco). Along the way his wife develops an unnaturally close relationship with the priest, his daughter procures methamphetamine to cram for college testing, his son gets suspended from school and might have ADHD. And his mother Livia I-wish-the-Lord-would-take-me Soprano? Madon! It's not his job that's messing with him, it's his family life! (Anyone out there relate?) This series is very different from its mob-centered predecessors in that we see this angle, we're let in on a (powerful) gangster's less glamorous moments: Eating cereal. Driving his daughter to college visits. Meeting with a school psychologist. Placing his unwilling mother into a retirement community.

There's a wonderful scene early on where Tony is cleaning out his mother's house after she's moved out. He's putting framed photographs from a shelf into a box and pauses to study two of his mother holding him as a baby and seated next to him as an older child, smiling. Throughout the show it is affirmed and reaffirmed over and over that this woman is unpleasant, conniving, and mean-spirited, but there is no denying the fact that despite it all, Livia matters very much to Tony and he still loves her. It's emotional.

STYLE: Of course, it's not all melodrama, and there are some seriously wonderful bits of production happening here. The pilot episode gets the best of these moments, but the rest of the series ain't slacking either. Tony chases down a man who owes him money to the happy tune "Love You Like I Do," much in the vain of a Scorcese film. Gangster humor, "Whaddya cryin' for? Huh? HMO! You're covered! You prick!" When Chris (Imperioli) meets Czech rival Emil at Satriale's after hours to discuss sanitation strategies and things don't go well, a different black and white portrait (Martin, Bogart, Cagney) is cut in between the sound of each bullet spent together with Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man." Nice.

There's also a really great accompaniment to two separate scenes, just a synth and a drum machine, probably, but it's very effective stylization. The first moment happens at Tony's first session with Melfi; he narrates his feelings of having "come in at the end" (of the mob's golden age) as we see him walk down his enormous driveway to fetch his morning paper. Later the same music plays as he relocates his arsenal of cash and guns from a ceiling panel to the closet of his mother's retirement home. It's a small thing, but one of the many things that makes this series stand out.

NODS: We've heard for years, "it's not TV, it's HBO," and in this case, it's true. The Sopranos was one of the first major television shows that actually felt cinematic, like the world's longest film we could enjoy one Sunday night at a time. Profanity, nudity, violence all basically uncensored, and no commercial breaks, but probably best of all are the little homages paid to its ancestors---not other television shows but cinema: The Godfather Trilogy.

"You broke my heart!"
Silvio (Van Zandt) is called upon to quote Godfather (part three) on demand; Chris inaccurately quotes the first Godfather as he attempts to hurl Emil's body into a dumpster ("Louis Brazzi sleeps with the fishes!") Father Phil is well studied on Coppola's cinematographer, Gordon Lewis. When Tony's daughter Meadow's soccer coach takes a job at another school, stating "They made me an offer I couldn't refuse," Paulie (Sirico) says, "You haven't heard ours yet." Probably most memorable of all is the segment of the season one finale, where in the true spirit of Michael Corleone Tony touches his mother's cheek as she rolls by in a gurney and tells her, "I know it was you." (!!!)

There are production nods too, really skillful shots that together with the music, again, feel more like a film than a television show. The night shot of Silvio walking away from Vesuvio just before it ignites, the time and dedication given to Tony's constant scrutinizing Melfi's artwork, and the way power is portrayed, especially evident in Episode 12, "Isabella,"--- Paulie and Silvio's walk down the hospital corridor, the crew gathered around Tony's bar as they plot against Tony's Uncle Junior (Chianese), and the deadpan limo ride with Anthony Jr. and his date ("Can we have some of that whiskey?") There are goose-bump moments like these in almost every episode.

Bravo, Mr. Chase. Bravo. And that second clip made me frickin' bawl my eyes out over here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

(holy) Hanna

If you haven't checked it out yet, my review of Hanna is up on Examiner.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Sopranos, season 1.

I'm not all the way through it yet, but I gotta tell you, it's *great* fun watching them all over again. I'll do a respectable write-up once I'm finished, but in the meantime, take a look a few of my favorite scenes from the pilot episode. I'm happy they used "Love You Like I Do," for a car chase scene (ala John Carpenter's Christine).

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


What's this? JOSEPH FIENNES IS IN CAMELOT? Did I say I had absolutely no interest in this show? Strike that. See you there, Very-Fine-Juices. You're nearly as hot as your Voldemort-y brother.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Books of Note

1. The O. Henry Awards Prize Stories, 2000.

Yeah, I'm pretty much not punctual when it comes to everything (year 2000 and all). There were twenty short stories in this volume; I liked them all. My two favorites were "He's At The Office" by Allan Gurganus and "Whileaway" by Jeannette Bertles. The first was about Alzheimers disease, the second about the aftermath of a divorce; both were brilliant and involved little bits of trickery by their characters. I'm kind of big on trickery, of course and furthermore, I think everyone should read short stories. Creating a contained world for a short piece and its events from start to finish is actually a lot harder than most people realize, but when done right? Amazing. The very last story was one by Raymond Carver ("Kindling"), whose style I really, really like a lot. Here's a bit:

"Then he put the pen down and held his head in his hands for a moment. Pretty soon he got up and undressed and turned off the light. After he'd gotten into bed he realized he'd left the window open. But he didn't get up. It was okay like that."

2. Roger Ebert's Book of Film, 1996.

This is a really respectable collection of writings on film, not film reviews, and is basically really valuable knowledge on the craft. Parts of it felt a little heavy to me, not because the essays or interviews weren't interesting (they all were) but because many of the subjects were film people (stars, directors, writers) from a completely different era and it kind of felt like reading a history novel after a while. Yeah, it's a generational thing, I suppose, but let's just say I put my time in with all that years ago, so I gave myself license to skip any parts that weren't blowing my skirt up. I'm sure Ebert won't mind. As a whole, though, I really liked this book, it made me giggle a lot, and many of the essays were really well done.

Libby Gelman-Waxner writes (on noir and David Lynch):

"I saw Wild at Heart at a brand-new multiplex in SoHo, where there is a cafe that serves French pastries and at least ten different bottled waters, and where at least one of the theaters is always showing a blasphemous foreign film that portrays Jesus as either a cabdriver or a teenage girl. Everyone in the audience had asymmetrical haircuts, glasses with thick black frames, and clunky, rubber-soled shoes. They looked like French opium addicts, but if you ask me, they were all probably assistants at public-relations firms uptown. All of these people loved Wild at Heart, and they all felt that David Lynch is a quirky visionary who deals in subconscious dream imagery, and after a while, I wished I was home watching a Golden Girls rerun. I have never been able to sit through a whole episode of Twin Peaks; it's a postmodern soap opera, which means that every time someone onscreen eats a piece of apple pie, you can hear a thousand grad students start typing their doctoral dissertations on "Twin Peaks: David Lynch and the Semiotics of Cobbler."
(SNORT! I mean, granted, I love Wild at Heart AND Twin Peaks, but I was in school together with an ocean of French Opium Addict-looking dudes, and trust me, that last statement is more valid that you'd think. . .  !)

And Bukowski (from Hollywood)

There was a small group with cassette recorders. Some flashbulbs went off. I didn't know who they were. They began asking questions.
"Do you think drinking should be glorified?"
"No more than anything else . . ."
"Isn't drinking a disease?"
"Breathing is a disease."
"Don't you find drunks obnoxious?"
"Yes, most of them are. So are most teetotalers."
"But who would be interested in the life of a drunk?"
"Another drunk."
"Do you consider heavy drinking to be socially acceptable?"
"In Beverly Hills, yes. On skid row, no."
"Have you 'gone Hollywood'?"
"I don't think so."
"Why did you write this movie?"
"When I write something I never think about why."

I think I'm going to have to get Barfly pretty soon.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mean Streets

Whatsa matter with you?
Mean Streets, 1973, directed by Martin Scorcese.
Written by Martin Scorcese and Mardik Martin
starring: Harvey Keitel, Robert DeNiro, David Proval

"A small-time hood struggles to succeed on the "mean streets" of Little Italy." (imdb).

I love this. Little Italy in the seventies; what a place. This was only Scorcese's third feature length film, but man, it's a goodie. And I can't believe I'm saying this, but Harvey Keitel? Hot. I'm not kidding.

This film is full of fun:

-opening scene: "You don't make up for your sins in church. You do it in the streets. You do it at home." You said it, man. Those three edits, each cut closer than the last as he lays back down in his bed (to the Ronettes?) . . . so, so cool.

-the religious stuff. Constant thrusting hands into flames, confession, wallpaper very cross-like in hotel, San Gennero Festival, etc., it's major. Keitel's character (Charlie) is referred to as "Saint Charles."

-DeNiro as Johnny Boy. The scene when he walks down the bar with the two chicks to "Jumping Jack Flash" is *legendary.* The scene just afterwards where he goes on for about THREE DAYS about his money woes with Charlie---even at that young an age (30 years old, y'all) DeNiro was something else.

-This film was very carefully conceived. It was a story of the exact kinds of things young Martin Scorcese witnessed, asthma-bound, from his own window in his old neighborhood: hoods, connected guys, religion, and music. And though Charlie and Johnny Boy seem to end up in the gutter, did you happen to notice the opening credits (after the Ronettes)? They're home movies, started off in a very obvious way paying homage to A FILM PROJECTOR. The films themselves are of Charlie and Theresa holding a little baby in a very elaborate Christening gown and a cake that's iced with the words, "God Bless Christopher." I'm not going to get into how seriously this turns me into a complete, emotional water works, but how's that for a (secret) happy ending? Tricky, tricky. The very last scene of the film just so happens to be someone closing their window shades, by the way. . .

This film was pretty much a valentine by Scorcese to Little Italy. I love it.

The quality is not great on this clip, and it's missing some valuable lead up (DeNiro checks his *pants* at the coat-check; Keitel's character says, "Thanks a lot, Lord, thanks a lot, for opening my eyes. You talk about penance and you send this through the door. . . ") but it's the best I could find. Incidentally, the giggling bartender (Proval) would later go onto become the unfortunately-hacked-to-pieces-by-Christopher-and-Tony Ritchie Aprile from The Sopranos', second season. He doesn't quite have such a sense of humor in that, does he?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Newsworthy Items

1. Check out my review of Once Upon A Time in the Midwest On (by Minnesota director Matt Kowalski.)

2. I know I've gone on and on about this before, but Pirates of the Caribbean, At World's End? MY FAVORITE OF THE SERIES. Open up the floor for some debate, people, because I'm willing to go down with the proverbial ship (ha ha) that this is the best of the lot of them. Yeah, I'm a sequel bitch.

Look at Will's jaw as he kisses Elizabeth! It almost made my heart stop (and I hate Elizabeth)! Wow.

And look at THIS! That build-up to Will taking the helm after The Dutchman goes under the surface, the crew's ocean residue just falling off in glops because he, Captain Will Turner has taken over the ship and given them all a second chance, a new purpose? A-mazing.

3. Speaking of amazing, GUESS WHO I DREAMED ABOUT LAST NIGHT? I always thought that if I was going to dream of a firefighter from Rescue Me it'd be Tommy, but hey, I'm not complaining. Welcome, Franco! You, George Clooney, Viggo Mortonson, and Brett Farve compose a highly elite and celebrated group inside my head. . .