Hello my friends. With the September 28 deadline for submissions to my Kannibal Cookbook story anthology coming very soon, I thought it might be a good time to start throwing my opinions around the web like paternity tests in a Jerry Springer Green Room. From now until publication of the aforementioned opus, I will desperately try to link all posts here to the topic of cannibalism. You will be surprised by either my creative endeavors or by how disturbingly close we all are to eating each other.
I have really tried to like the show Ray Donovan. Liev Schreiber is a cool, gritty actor. He makes a hell of an anti-hero. Jon Voight is an even cooler and grittier actor. He makes a hell of an anti-hero. I love a good bad guy or a bad good guy. Some of my favorite movies are about damaged sociopaths who barely function in society and live outside the rules. Think anything directed by Scorsese or anything written by John D. MacDonald. Think Ken Bruen's damaged alcoholic from hell, Jack Taylor for Jaysus sakes.
What's the draw? They're human. They're mortal. They have just enough of a measure of decency to outweigh their indecent compulsions. They can save the day without having to adhere to a code. If the really, really bad guys need killing, the anti-hero can generally get away with killing them and not losing any sleep over it.
Why is Frank Castle the Punisher? Because there are some people that need punishing without using their sleazy lawyer to manipulate a damaged system of justice. Sometimes the sleazy lawyer gets punished for good measure.
So I watch Ray Donovan, "Hollywood Fixer," with some kernel of expectation building inside me through each episode. The little critic in my head screams, "here it comes...here it comes...here it...oh. Shit. What happened? Did the horse fall down in the middle of the track? Did the lava stop boiling before it reached the peak of the volcano? Did the dude pull out of the dame before he could...well, you get the picture.
There is always a great deal of suspense in Ray Donovan's world. There is darkness, corruption, murder, and mayhem. There's extortion and drug use, violence and nudity. There are smarmy elitist rich people getting punched in the face. There was even the murder of a filthy scumbag pedophile priest.
The show has everything a guy who loves the anti-hero could want...but it's missing that something that keeps it from being great. Last night, I think I put my finger on it. That is good and bad.
Good because I don't have to figure out what it is anymore. I can stop wasting my time on a show that just isn't going to satisfy. I have surrendered that hour of my week to loftier ambitions. Perhaps I will use the time to work on this blog that I have barely paid attention to in the past year. Seriously, my last post was October of 2013. This year I have fruit ripening in the garden and I need to pimp my wares by telling the world wide web what I think of duds like Donovan.
Okay, here is the bad news: Despite having a sweet deal with Showtime, moderately capable writers, and an excellent cast of actors, RD is missing one essential ingredient. I don't care about anybody on the show. Not one...little...bit.
And that is because not one single character in the series has any kind of redeeming value. Every major character on the show is so severely flawed that I am left with the feeling that they have gotten away with something they should not have gotten away with. They sulk through every scene with very big chips on their shoulders. They are all selfish, manipulative assholes who bring wreck and ruin to every other life they come in contact with on the show. I sit on my couch for an hour watching people that only try to rise out of the muck enough to fall into another shit hole.
I can't even bring myself to like these characters when they are giving each other their own medicine. Ray is a borderline alcoholic thug who cheats on his wife and manipulates his brothers, father, and even his own children. His wife is a feisty red head who looks the other way when cash and prizes are dangled in front of her. I want to feel good for her when she decides to give Ray a taste of his own medicine by cheating on him with a cop, but she does it at the cost of neglecting her own children when they are in the most desperate need of a sane parent in their lives.
Ray's son is a moody, rage driven teenager who gets off on pummeling other kids and throwing a rival down a stairwell at school. His daughter came the closest to grabbing a morsel of sympathy when she fell in love with a black rapper that her father forbade her to see. But last night she ruined it *SPOILER ALERT* when she lied to the cops about witnessing her boyfriend's inevitable murder (you knew the poor bastard didn't have a chance from the very first episode).
I could go on with a laundry list for each and every character on this show, but I would have to write a part II to this post and I simply can't spend anymore time with these people. There are no good guys here. There are no heroes. No one even comes close.
As some of you have probably guessed, I have revived the barely beating heart of this blog to begin pimping my upcoming anthology on cannibalism, The Kannibal Cookbook. At this point you're asking, "what the hell does Ray Donovan have to do with cannibalism?"
Well my friends, I am not one to switch and bait using the tantalizing palette tickling theme of anthropophagy. So here is a link to a video of Ray Donovan's Liev Schreiber saving a photographer from being eaten alive by a real life cannibal!!!!
Ray Donovan saves woman from being eaten!
Until next time, here is a picture of Sean Bean dressed like a very scary woman. My next post will be about his show that does have a hero I can root for: TNT's Legends