The Wire

January 15, 2018

(Ep. 98): SR Podcast – January 2018

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES


The boys at Simplistic Reviews are back for a brand new year of hijinks, hilarity, intrigue, and murder…well maybe not that last one.  On the January edition of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast, the gang not only tries to unravel the mystery of January Jones’ secret baby daddy, they also discuss Star Wars, Star Trek, The Crown, The Wire, and the 1991 Macaulay Culkin animated series Wish Kid…yeah…we’re still a pretty weird show.  The boys also reveal some secrets they’re not too proud of in the segment Simply Ashamed.  All that, an office search, a porno movie experience and more on a brand new edition of the Simplistic Reviews Podcast

NOTES
X-Factor
Wish Kid
January Jones Kid Mystery
The Wire’s Best Scene
Billy Joel Accident

MUSIC
Sexy By Ben Sound
Ying And Yang By John 00 Fleming
The Croft By Joakim Karud

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January 20, 2017

Simplistic Lists: The Worst Film and TV Politicans

Maybe…just maybe…it’s a little too early to call our incoming Presidents one of the worst of all time. I mean, the inauguration hasn’t even happened yet. But sitting through confirmation hearings of people who don’t have any experience in the office they are about to take (including our newest president) to be fair, it’s a little worrisome for most people that have a care for our country and not just a selfish desire for themselves.

With that being said, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the worst politicians from either film or our TV screen:

Mayor of Halloween Town “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Sure it’s a cartoon, but the literal “two-face” mayor goes off at the handle at the sign of discourse and even admits that he’s an elected official and can’t make decisions by himself.

Mayor Lenny Clotch “Ghostbusters I and II”

First things first, always listen to the Ghostbusters. Two, keep religion out of your politics. Don’t kiss the ring of the cardinal and ask him for help during a paranormal crisis. While “Ghostbusters” is taking the piss out of elected officials for the most part, it is scary that some elected officials need to pray and counsel with “a high power” before making a decision that could impact millions.

Mayor Diamond Joe Quimby “The Simpsons”
Womanizing, taking bribes from gangsters, illegitimate kids; all in a days works for the mayor of Springfield. Quimby is so over the top that you have to laugh, but is amalgamation of so many aspects of politics that are corrupt can still give you a sad face.
 State Senator Clayton Davis “The Wire”
While it’s hilarious to hear “sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet” over and over on a constant loop, there’s no doubt the corruption that Senator Davis presides over during the run of “The Wire.” The best idea the entire series was “Hamsterdam” and it wasn’t even his idea. 
Senator Robert Kelly “X-Men”
A mutant-phobe in favor of a registration act that would “out” all mutants, he’s a monster in a $2,000 suit. With so much focus on the rights on members of the LGBTQ community and minority communities, the scary thing is that many of our leaders are much like Senator Kelly.
President Charles Logan “24”
A complete weasel and in the back pocket of the Russians…sounds like someone familiar…
President Arnold Schwarzenegger “Demolition Man”
You might not see him in “Demolition Man” but even back in 1992 we were making movies with celebrities as presidents…..just unpack that for a minute.
I’m sure there are a ton that are missing from this list, but as the list goes on it would just get sadder and sadder. You might think that I missed out on Frank Underwood from “House of Cards” but Frank is so cold and calculating that you have to stand in awe and simply admire him.
February 1, 2015

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast (Ep. 37) February 2015


FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY

In this Super Bowl Edition of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast, we…um…don’t talk about the Super Bowl.  We do talk to Dan Clark from The Talking In Circles Podcast.  Dan gives us his take on Pratt possibly being cast as Indiana Jones. In exchange for his well thought out analysis the boys force him to share deep dark secrets about himself on a segment we like to call Simply Ashamed.  DJ reveals how he lost his one true love, Matt reveals a hidden musical talent, and all three of them take great pleasure in the absurdity of the film Lean On Me.  All this and more on this Super Bowl/Non Super Bowl Edition of The Simplistic Reviews Podcast

SHOW NOTES
MUSIC NOTES
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March 29, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Round Two Results: TV GOOD

JACK BAUER (1) WINNER
TYRION LANNISTER (9)

Well, you can add midget to the magna carta long kill list of people Jack Bauer has sent to the next world.  All he needs is a wizard, a dinosaur, and a unicorn and he gets a free smoothie.

BUFFY SUMMERS (2) WINNER
SHERLOCK HOLMES (7)

Much to the objection of fellow British smarty pants Giles, Buffy takes care of the world’s greatest detective with relative ease.  Somewhere Moriarty is slapping his forehead muttering, “You’re telling me all I needed was a stake?!”

TITUS PULLO (6)

RAYLAN GIVINS (3) WINNER


Pullo has Raylan beat physically, but Raylan could easily out think the rugged Roman warrior.  Knowing that Raylan has to deal with people as big and physically imposing a Titus F%*king Pullo on a daily basis makes me NEVER want to go to Kentucky.

XENA (5) WINNER 
OMAR LITTLE (4)

Omar may have been warring on the mean streets of Baltimore for his entire life, but Xena has been warring around uncivilized lands filled with wizards, gods, and god knows what else.  Oh and speaking of warring, it has been speculated that Xena’s father was actually Ares.  Ares as in THE GOD OF F%*KING WAR.  Sorry Omar, its all in the game.

March 26, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Round One Results: TV BAD

JOFFREY BARATHEON (1) WINNER
ATTI OF THE JULII (16)

Atti gets whatever she want by using the gift god gave her.  Her potent sexuality.  However, brat Baratheon usually doesn’t take kindly to people using sex as a weapon on him.  Just as Tyrion and those badly beaten whores he sent Joff’s way.  Baratheon wins…Atti dies.

BEN LINUS (2) WINNER 
THE GOVERNOR (15)

The Governor is a brutal master manipulator.  But where he has to juggle the wills of men and zombies, Ben Linus has even more on his plate.  Smoke monsters, polar bears, shapeshifting evil beings, time traveling islands,  and enough flashbacks to make a Vietnam vet blush.  On top of the fact that The Governor wasn’t coldhearted enough to let his zombie daughter go.  Linus let his human daughter get her head blown off for his own purposes.  Linus wins and The Governor lost.

RUSSELL EDGINGTON (3) WINNER
GUS FRING (14)

When you get down to brass tacks, Russell Edgington and Gus Fring are both businessmen.  Only one wants to rule the human race and drain the blood of every non-vampire like cattle, and one wants to sell chicken and meth; easy enough to understand.  While both these bloodsuckers are master manipulators, Fring forgot one thing;  Edgington is FU*KING IMMORTAL!  Maybe if that meth was laced with silver nitrate and oak he would have had a chance, but Russell takes his battle easily.

NINA MYERS (4) WINNER
SYLAR (13)

There isn’t a superpower out there that can compete with the evil of the 24’s biggest snake in the grass, Nina Myers.  The thing that makes her so deadly is that you never see her coming.  Jack Bauer didn’t and Sylar wouldn’t either.  Time runs out for the power sucker.

BOYD CROWDER (5) WINNER
ROBERT QUARLES (12)

A sadist versus a slick, smooth talking, hustler from the south.  Robert Quarles has many a trick and pistol up his sleeve.  However, not enough to out wit and out battle the man I like to call The Redneck Joker.  Boyd manages to get his enemies to do his work for him and disarm Robert Quarles quick and simple like.

TRINITY KILLER (6) WINNER
PRESIDENT CHARLES LOGAN (11)

If there is one thing you can count on its this;  never trust a politician, especially a sniveling liar-of-a-president like Chuck Logan.  I mean, this guy killed our first black TV president for crying out loud!  But how does one sniveler defeat another sniveler?  Giving the Secret Service and the CIA a day off, the Commander in Chief doesn’t have a chance against the Trinity Killer.  Using his patented “bludgeon a man to death with a hammer” routine, Trinity wins, and goes off to enjoy a scalding hot shower while crying.

ANGELUS (7) WINNER
SHANE VENDRELL (10)

One of the most dangerous things in this world is a desperate man.  And they don’t get more desperate than Shane Vendrell.  However, desperation is exactly the thing a vampire like Angelus would prey on.  Sad thing is, that family Shane is always trying to protect would be an hors d’oeurve for our favorite vain vamp.   Hand grenade won’t work this time Shane-O.

CERSEI LANNISTER (8) WINNER
STRINGER BELL (9)

Cersei Lannister knows how to manipulate; just as anyone from the Stark family, if you can find one.  Stringer Bell on the other hand, is a sucker.  While West Baltimore is no King’s Landing, Cersei reigns supreme in any domain.
March 23, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews March Madness Bracket of Good and Evil Round One Results: TV GOOD

ARYA STARK (16)
JACK BAUER (1) WINNER

If this matchup was based on potential badassery, Arya (SPOILER ALERT FOR THINGS TO COME) would win hands down.  However, Arya is just scratching the surface of being a badass. She’s a survivor akin to Matilda in Leon: The Professional (Even here I had to refer to it).  Jack Bauer, on the other hand, has been a badass survivor for years.  Since the closest our country thought we’d get to a black president was the Allstate guy.  And if you think Bauer doesn’t have what it takes to put young, sweet Arya down, I recall a time where Jack shot a suspect’s wife in the leg in order to convince said suspect to give him a lead.  A lead that didn’t even pan out.  He’d have no trouble wiping the floor with our favorite wayward Stark.

MAL REYNOLDS (15)
BUFFY SUMMERS (2) WINNER


In the matchup I call “The Whedon War” our favorite space smuggler…um okay…our second favorite space smuggler Mal Reynolds found himself up against the vampire slaying extraordinaire Buffy Summers.  With their equal wit and back up partners thrown out the window, it would come down to physical prowess and resume.  Buffy has Mal beat with the physical.  And With Firefly lasting barely a season, Mal’s body count can’t compare with Buffy’s resume of a thousand vamps slain, including her true love and DRACULA, hellmouths closed, demons decapitated, werewolves whacked, cyborgs stopped, inter-dimensional beings beaten, singing succeeded, and a triumph over the first evil EVER.  Buffy stakes her claim to victory.  And no the result have nothing to do with the fact I’ve had the hots for Sarah Michelle Gellar since I Know What You Did Last Summer. 

RAYLAN GIVENS (3) WINNER
DARYL DIXON (14)

Nobody loves a redneck good ol’ boy until the zombie apocalypse hits.  When it does, it pays to have an ass kicking guy like Daryl Dixon by your side.  However, someone like Daryl Dixon is the type of guy US Marshall Raylan Givens HANDLES on a day to day basis in Harlan County.  I’d love to see the snark off before the shoot out alone.  However, Raylan dispatches Daryl lickety split.

OMAR LITTLE (4) WINNER
B.A. BARACUS (13)

Really?  The only two black guys in this conference go against each other?!  As the lone black reviewer for Simplistic Reviews, I would be offended if it wasn’t for the fact THIS IS THE ONE MATCHUP I’D ACTUALLY PAY TO SEE.  Baracus is, by name alone, a badass.  However, he still has the discipline to follow Hannibal’s orders.  Omar Little don’t follow no one but Omar Little.  Hell, even the President loves him.  Now, you can either be a soldier, or you can go out to the streets and get into some real gangsta sh*t.  In the immortal words of Omar Little himself, “Indeed.”

XENA (5) WINNER
RICK GRIMES (12)

Seeing as for the first three seasons of Walking Dead, all Rick Grimes did was get run over and guilt tripped to death by his despicable wife, how long do you think he’d last against A WARRIOR F*%KING PRINCESS.  Xena doesn’t eat his brains but does eat his lunch.

TITUS PULLO (6) WINNER
RON SWANSON (11)


One is a savage,  no nonsense, barbarian of a man who is more comfortable wielding an axe in an ancient Colosseum than listening to the dodderings of the heads of state.  The other is Titus Pullo.  Ron Swanson was a man born in the wrong century for sure.  However, Pullo is more man than even Ron could handle.  The mustache did give him a fighting chance though.  

KARA “STARBUCK” THRACE (10)
SHERLOCK HOLMES (7) WINNER

Man, I hate to see two of my favorite TV characters go at it.  Starbuck is seriously one of the most groundbreaking female characters television has seen in a while.  She doesn’t nearly get the recognition she deserves.  The best thing about Kara, however, is the worst thing.  She leads with her emotions at all times.  Something the world‘s greatest detective could easily exploit.  And unless your last name is Adler, your feminine wiles aren’t working on good ol’ Sherlock.  Sherlock wins…no sh*t. 

TYRION LANNISTER (9) WINNER
MICHAEL WESTEN (8)

The conferences first and only upset comes from the House of Lannister.  Michael Westen and Tyrion Lannister are great at thinking on the fly and surviving with whatever means they can muster.   However, Michael has been a sucker for manipulation from the beginning.  And no one manipulates better than Tyrion.  I’m not even gonna think of what he’d do to Fiona.  With the betting public in a frenzy this month, it is a good thing that a Lannister always pays his debts. 

October 1, 2012

MONTH IN REVIEW

FAV of the month
The Master 

Review

SoSo of the month
Cosmopolis
Review

HATE of the month
Underworld:Awakening

Review

TV SHOW of the month
The Wire
Review

September 10, 2012

The Wire, Wrap-Up

*Spoilers Ahead*

The case is closed on “The Wire.”  Some of the good guys won, some of the bad guys won, and there were plenty of people caught in the cross-fire, but it was a ride that everyone should be willing to take if you enjoy story and character-driven dramas.

While this is not so much a review, as a wrap-up, I will be detailing characters, plot lines, and a few top ten lists, including; Top 10 Characters, Top 10 Tragic/Offing Moments. (Just to clarify, an offing is a death or murder of a character)  Now allow me to drop you back into”The Wire.”
————————————————————————————————————————————–
Cheese: “This is some shameless shit!”
Omar Little: “Oh, ain’t no shame in my game, doe.  I’m here about my business, ain’t dat right Joe!”
– Season Four
————————————————————————————————————————————–
It’s a little difficult to pick just ten characters that I would classify as the best from the entire series.  In such a character-driven show all your characters should be great, and trust me they’re all great.  So here goes nothing as I unveil MY Top 10 characters on “The Wire.”

10.  Det. Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski:  The funny thing about Prez is that he went from an asshole detective who was messing up left and right to someone who I truly respected come the end of the show.  Once he started his new career as a middle school teacher, the character became a tragic reminder of someone who continues to have hope in a hopeless situation.

9.  Dennis “Cutty” Wise:  Cutty, a former Barksdale enforcer, has been recently paroled when we first meet him.  He tries to get back into the drug game when he leaves prison but realizes that the life isn’t meant for him anymore and decides to open a boxing gym for the troubled youth of West Baltimore.  He is one of the lone bright spots in the show as he not only saves his own life, but indirectly saves the life of Namon Brice, the son of incarcerated Barksdale enforcer, Roland “Wee-Bey” Brice.

8.  Brother Mouzone:  While he only appeared in a few episodes, the suit, glasses and bow-tie of Brother Mouzone left a lasting impression.  Essentially Mouzone was a mirror image of Omar Little, only Brother wore a smart suit and sported a pistol while Omar preferred a brown duster and a shotgun.  The duo also supplied one of the more surprising deaths in the series when they gunned down Stringer Bell at the end of Season Three.
—————————————————————————————————————
Omar Little: “I knew you’d come back.”
Brother Mouzone:  “I trust you didn’t lose much sleep over it?”
Omar Little:  “Worryin’ about you would be like worryin’ if the sun gonna come up.”
-Season Three
—————————————————————————————————————
7.  Michael Lee:  During Season Four we were introduced to the youth of West Baltimore and the one character that really stood out from the rest of the pack was Michael.  From a broken home, Michael tried his best to walk the line between right and wrong while trying to protect his friends and his younger brother, Bug.  In the most poignant moment of Season Five, Michael, now on the run from Marlow, Chris, and Snoop, has to say goodbye to both his friend Duquan and Bug and disappear from Baltimore.

6.  Chris and Snoop:  I consider both Chris Partlow and Snoop pretty much the same character, just one male and one female.  They are both extremely loyal, and similar to Omar and Brother Mouzone, they both have a “code.”  Chris is the more calculating of the two, and while it’s not said directly, seems to be a victim of childhood abuse.  Snoop is the colder of the two and would do anything to protect the reputation of Marlo Stanfield.

5.  Reginald “Bubbles” Cousins:  With a show so grim, it was great to see how one character in particular went from a hopeless drug addict to a reformed member of society.  That character was Bubbles, a police informant, heroin addict, and just maybe, the lone bright spot on “The Wire.”  In the series finale, Bubbles finally opens up at an NA Meeting about losing a friend, and it always brings a tear to my eye.  It’s truly a beautiful moment in the series.
————————————————————————————————————–
Bubbles: “Ain’t no shame in holdin’ on to grief.  As long as you make room for other things too.”
-Season Five
————————————————————————————————————————————
 4.  Russell “Stringer” Bell:  If anyone knows anything about “The Wire” you know Stringer Bell, portrayed by Idris Elba.  Stringer was the brains, while Avon was the brawn of the Barksdale Crew, and when Avon went away to prison he took over the crew and tried to steer them in a different direction.  Unfortunately, Stringer thought that drug dealers could be rationalized with and “trained” but the one thing he forgot about was the fact that he was still a drug dealer trying to move past his station in life, and that is pretty much what finished him off in the game.

3.  Marlo Stanfield:  Marlo was a different breed of drug dealer then what we had seen from Avon Barksdale, Stringer Bell, or Proposition Joe.  He was ruthless, had enforcers that would do all of his bidding, and he got to the kids early, looking for the next generation of hopper even in middle school.  But not even money mattered in the grand scheme for him, it was knowing that people feared him.

2.  Preston “Bodie” Broadus:  Bodie was one of those characters that I didn’t think much of when I first started watching “The Wire.”  I personally just thought he was some low-level drug dealing prick that would get killed early in the series, but as time went on, Bodie really fleshed out and became my 2nd favorite character on the show.  After Avon’s arrest, and Stringer’s death in Season Three, Bodie pretty much became all the Barksdale Crew had left and was the only dealer on the street that wasn’t scared of Marlo, and eventually, it cost him.
 ————————————————————————————————————–
Omar: “You got the briefcase……I got the shotgun…..It’s all in the game tho’.”
-Season Two
————————————————————————————————————————————-
1.  Omar Little:  I can pretty much sum Omar up in a few words.  “Omar don’t scare.” 

It is difficult to pick just ten characters as the best of the bunch on “The Wire” because they are all so damn good.  Moving on to the tragic/offing moments.

*Warning, there will be spoilers ahead*

10.Chris and Snoop torturing and killing Butchie for information on Omar.
9.  Seeing Duquan succumb to drugs.
8.  Bodie being gunned down by the Stanfield Crew while defending his corner.
7.  The death of Wallace by Bodie and Poot.
6.  Cheese being shot and killed by “Slim” Charles.  Probably the most “satisfying” death in the entire series.
5.  Frank Sobotka murdered by “The Greek”
4.  Stringer Bell gunned down by Brother Mouzone and Omar in his own building.
3.  Michael saying goodbye to Duquan and Bug
2.  Seeing Bubbles’ revenge plan backfire and kill Sherrod.
1.  Omar being gunned down by Kenard.

September 5, 2012

Simplistic TV: The Wire, Season Five

The Wire, Season Five – Bravo

*Spoilers Ahead*

After watching four seasons of “The Wire” in about the span of three weeks not only was I heavily invested with what would happen to the Barksdale Crew, Jimmy McNulty, Bunk Moreland, the New Day Co-Op, and Omar Little, but I was getting mentally exhausted.  All the shows run a full hour (more on the season openers and finales) and the show-runners pack so much in each episode that I hit information overload at certain points.  However, regardless of how much is is crammed into each show, I couldn’t get enough and needed closure, and I really wanted some good to come out of the whole shitty mess that is West Baltimore (I got some, but I mostly got kicked in the nuts).  This brings me to Season Five of “The Wire,” the final season, and an excellent conclusion to a series that you could call “The Standard for all crime dramas.”

Released in 2008, (season four finished up in 2006, so for those who were watching season-to-season, there was almost a 14 month waiting period between the end of four and the start of five) we shift to the magical land of journalism and the offices of the Baltimore Sun.  As in real life, the written word is on the ropes and newspapers are slowly becoming obsolete so writers are becoming more desperate and trying anything to cling onto their jobs, similar to the drug trade in Baltimore, which is shrinking as crews are falling and the Stanfield Crew has monopolized the market.  Desperation is a major theme for this fifth season as McNulty starts a new “crusade” to finally put an end to Marlo Stanfield’s crew, newly-elected Mayor, Tommy Carcetti, wants a “serial killer” who is targeting the homeless caught, and the clock is ticking as job cuts at the Baltimore Sun are starting to affecting employee morale.  If people weren’t desperate in Baltimore before, they certainly are now.

The one gripe I could find with this season are how the plot lines are tied up. You could tell that HBO was ready for the show to end (not because the show was bad, but when it comes to business, its all about ratings, and during the original run of the show the ratings were lacking), and the plot lines had to be cleaned up as best they could.  Season Five was also the shortest season (ten episodes).  However, I will say everything came to a satisfying end and watching the ending montage made me feel happy, mad, frustrated, hopeful, but most of all, in awe.

Watching “The Wire” made me realize that TV isn’t dead.  To be honest with you, it took me watching this show to really get back into watching TV and wanting to see if I could find something that could really top “The Wire.”  There are a few shows (funny enough, most of them are on HBO) that can really hang, but I will include “Justified” and “The Shield” in that grouping (funny enough, both on FX), but I think I’ll be hard-pressed to find another show on TV that really gave me everything I wanted (and ironically, didn’t want) from a TV show.  “The Wire”……bravo……

Fun Fact:  Dominic West, who plays Det. Jimmy McNulty, directed the 8th episode of Season Five, “Took.”

September 3, 2012

Simplistic TV: The Wire, Season Four

The Wire, Season Four – Chilling

*Spoilers Ahead*

Through three seasons of “The Wire” we have gone from the streets, to the docks, and back to the streets so it was only natural that we visited somewhere that we would think would be safe and would give us a break from the chaos of West Baltimore.  Unfortunately, that isn’t the case when we visit the School District of West Baltimore in Season Four of “The Wire.”

So far we’ve seen junkies, gangsters, murderers, pimps, mobsters, crooked cops and politicians, and you can make the case that they’re all scourges, blights on society, but it’s all the more tragic when you see the neglect the school system faces and with the “robbing Peter to pay Paul” mindset you understand why West Baltimore is in such disrepair.

This season we meet more new characters and the re-invention of a few old ones.  The most prominent ones include Michael Lee, a street smart kid that catches the eye of the Stanfield Crew, Duquan Weems aka “Dukie”, and Randy Wagstaff, two extremely tragic figures of how the school system fails and bureaucracy blocks enhancement for West Baltimore’s youth, and we see the new career direction of former Detective Roland Pryzbylewski, now a math teacher for the West Baltimore School District.

As we have come to expect from “The Wire,” we have a fair share of “offings” of well liked characters, and some interesting twists from others.  I would have to say that Season Four is the strongest season of “The Wire” so far as it keeps close to the streets but it also explores the failures of the local government, how criminals take advantage of the local youth, and why hope in a hopeless situation is so dangerous.

Fun Fact:  Felicia Pearson, who portrays Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, is an actual convicted felon from East Baltimore who was discovered by Michael Williams, who portrays Omar Little in “The Wire”.


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