Damian Lewis in Run This Town: A First Look

Rob Ford was no ordinary mayor. He was regularly involved in controversy from 2010 to 2014 as he ran the city of Toronto. Ford was, in particular, repeatedly videotaped and photographed while intoxicated in public, culminating in his being recorded smoking crack cocaine as reported by the Kevin Donovan and Robyn Doolittle of the Toronto Star. The Star won the Michener Award, one of the highest distinctions in Canadian journalism, for investigative journalism.

“The Toronto Star exposed Ford’s public drunkenness, boorish behavior, abuses of his office, and existence of a video of him smoking crack cocaine accompanied by members of drug gang. The Star did not waver as the mayor countered every story with vehement denials and attacks.”

And the police investigation the scandal triggered resulted in Ford losing most of his mayoral powers in a quite undignified way. Continue reading “Damian Lewis in Run This Town: A First Look”

“From the Trader’s Desk”:
Bobby Axelrod – a Man and his Music

There are many things that Bobby Axelrod and I have in common: New York born and bred; working class backgrounds; very non-traditional road to Wall Street; our love of gambling lead us to our career paths. However, the one thing that has always been my favorite commonality is our love for heavy metal bands and their music. Heavy Metal is not the most well known genre of music, so let’s explore Bobby Axelrod and his music, and what it says about him.

In each season of Billions, at least one episode has featured a song and a t-shirt of a metal band that must be Axe’s favorites. The writers of Billions don’t do anything just to do it, so we know that these choices are there to tell a story, shine light on who the character is, and to set a tone.

Metal is very misunderstood: devil worship, drugs, biting the heads of bats, or just screeching guitars may come to mind if you say the words “heavy metal”. But, it is so much more than that! Last season, I used Black Sabbath lyrics to open (and in some cases close) my “From the Trader’s Desk” recaps. In most cases, if I hadn’t referenced it to Sabbath, you’d have wondered what philosopher or poet I was quoting. Metal lyrics are some of the best I have ever heard; they tell stories of pain, loss, confusion, success, etc. – lyrics that would certainly resonate with a young man from Yonkers who’s Dad has up and left, and whose home life is full of conflict. Continue reading ““From the Trader’s Desk”: Bobby Axelrod – a Man and his Music”

Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis in A Touch of Frost

Before he hit the big time in cable TV, Damian did some smaller, lesser known roles in British television. The role of Adam Weston in a feature-length episode of mystery drama Touch of Frost may not be a role that Damian is particularly proud of, given how disdainfully he spoke of it at the NY Times Talk in May 2014.

Nonetheless, I’d say the role begs remembering, if, for nothing else, to give us a picture of Damian at 25. According to Damian, roles such as this one were the few available to British actors in television in 1996. It was either Merchant-Ivory-esque period drama or stories of the struggles of the underclass left in the wake of Thatcherism, both “classes” of roles Damian would have been uniquely qualified to play, but only later. First, he had to build up a resume with things like Touch of Frost. So here’s Damian at 25, a Shakespearean trained thespian and, they ask him to get down to his skivvies. Okay, he’s still doing parts that get him into his skivvies some 20 years later, but, hey, who’s counting. As Bobby Axelrod would say:

Those who can, do.

Continue reading “Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis in A Touch of Frost”

Homeland, Carrie and Brody, Was it Love?: Part VI

In the tail end of Homeland S1, we see very little of Carrie and Brody in the same room. So, if I’m to focus on the love story, must needs abbreviate all the cloak and dagger stuff that happens in those last few episodes. Here you have my final installment of the Was it Love series.

Continue reading “Homeland, Carrie and Brody, Was it Love?: Part VI”

Damian Lewis in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: A First Look

“Quentin’s film is going to blow people away.” – Damian Lewis on Britannia Awards Red Carpet

Well, some dreams come true and we have been living the dream since we got word late April that Damian Lewis would play the iconic Hollywood actor Steve McQueen in Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood!

As our long-time readers know, we have been rooting for Damian to play Steve McQueen for more than three years now. JaniaJania wrote this article about why Damian Lewis should play Steve McQueen when we found out back in 2015 that a Steve McQueen biopic was in works. And she also tweeted a question to be asked to Damian at NY Times Talks in 2016 about whether he would consider playing McQueen.  Continue reading “Damian Lewis in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: A First Look”

We Salute Major Dick Winters – The Rank and The Man – on Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day – a day of honoring all men and women that served in the United States armed forces. And it gives us a great opportunity to salute all war heroes, and in particular Major Dick Winters and Easy Company.

I know a thing or two about war. My day job is to study and understand war. I have written academic articles on war, I have taught on war… and even though I can write about war for pages and talk about it for hours as a scholar, the human cost of war is still incomprehensible to me.

Let me take a moment and look at my own family. My maternal grandmother never knew her father because he was a soldier in WWI in the Eastern Front in Turkey, and he literally froze because of the cold as he fought against the Russians. My paternal grandmother never knew her father, either; because he was also a soldier in WWI and was killed by a shrapnel in Gallipoli as he fought against the Anzacs. Continue reading “We Salute Major Dick Winters – The Rank and The Man – on Veterans Day”