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Timothy Olyphant (#110 of 30)

2013 Primetime Emmy Winner Predictions

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2013 Primetime Emmy Winner Predictions
2013 Primetime Emmy Winner Predictions

What you’re about to read is a fool’s errand, as without a plethora of precursor awards leading up to television’s biggest night, predicting the Emmys will always be less of a science than predicting the Oscars. But while less energy, hype, and expense may go into buying an Emmy, Neill Patrick Harris won’t exactly be hosting a purity ball on September 22nd at the NOKIA Theatre in Los Angeles. This is an industry show after all, so expect much back-patting, if not to the magnitude of AMPAS’s anointment of Argo as their latest Best Picture winner, essentially an award to Hollywood itself for making movies that affect politics. Case in point: American Horror Story: Asylum, which ended its initially dubious second season on a frenzied high note, as a distinctly Lynchian elegy to the suppression of women. It enters the Emmy race with 17 nominations, more than any other show, yet it will lose the award for Miniseries or Movie to Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra, a predictable and emotionally flat retelling of Liberace’s life that was deemed too gay for the big screen. TV better than movies? Not really, but at least television will let you see Michael Douglas stroking Matt Damon’s leg hair.

15 Famous Movie Drug Dealers

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15 Famous Movie Drug Dealers
15 Famous Movie Drug Dealers

In Pusher, which hits theaters this weekend, Briton Richard Coyle stars as a mid-level drug dealer, whose business is booming in London’s underground culture. A remake of Nicolas Winding Refn’s 1990s thriller, the film (which also marks director Luis Prieto’s English-language debut) watches as a drug lord’s life implodes, a process with which filmgoers are quite familiar. Throughout much of cinema history, and especially in recent decades, drug pushers of all walks have graced the screen, providing brief escapes for lost souls and party people. But be them morphine sellers, pot distributors, or even moonshine runners, the party has to stop some time.

Justified Recap Season 3, Episode 13, "Slaughterhouse"

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 13, “Slaughterhouse”

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 13, “Slaughterhouse”

The major criticism of Justified’s third season is that it’s included a few too many plot elements. Especially in its latter half, season three has been a nonstop cavalcade of conniving and double crossing, and as such has, at times, been too busy to truly resonate. This was especially the case in last week’s episode, which moved neatly from one plot point to another, wrapping up the story of the Bennett money. However, this week’s finale, “Slaughterhouse,” is the sort of episode that can prompt a reexamination of an entire season’s worth of themes and ideas. I’ve long suspected that Justified has been illustrating a point about the ultimate emptiness of its characters’ continual struggle against each other, but it’s also a dark and unsettling examination of our relationship with the past.

Justified Recap Season 3, Episode 12, ‘‘Coalition’‘

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 12, ’’Coalition’’

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 12, ’’Coalition’’

If Justified feels plot heavy of late, it’s out of necessity given the premise of the third season: A disparate bunch of criminals, lawmen, and mobsters fight it out for control of Harlan County crime following the death of Mags Bennett. As countless characters play their own angles and hatch their own plans, the season has been, at points, a tad bloated. Thematically, though, this makes sense, as the mess of plot elements is conspicuously juxtaposed against the whole lot of nothing it ultimately amounts to. The show’s making a pertinent point about the destabilizing force of power struggles. However, as this week’s episode, ’’Coalition,’’ rushes to bring most of the plot threads to a close, I wonder if this point is worth all of the excess clutter.

Justified Recap Season 3, Episode 11, "Measures"

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 11, “Measures”

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 11, “Measures”

An episode like “Measures” seemed inevitable at this point in Justified’s third season. Its role is simple: to set up the bloodshed coming in the final two episodes. This isn’t a criticism: There may not be much to say about “Measures” thematically, but the expectation of what’s to come creates more than enough tension to prop up the episode. It says perhaps even more about the season as a whole that episodes without clear through lines and ideas have become such a conspicuous rarity.

Justified Recap Season 3, Episode 10, "Guy Walks Into a Bar"

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 10, “Guy Walks Into a Bar”

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 10, “Guy Walks Into a Bar”

It’s fitting that the title of this week’s installment of Justified is the classic joke lead-in “Guy Walks Into a Bar,” because the entire episode plays out like the season’s punchline. It’s the point when all of Harlan County’s absurdities become so extreme they begin to wrap back around on themselves, and everyone finally just throws their hands in the air and says, “Screw it.” Really, the episode may as well have been titled “Forget It, Raylan, It’s Harlan County.”

At this point, Harlan’s so-called “criminal underground” has become so pervasive it’s ceased to be underground at all and has simply replaced law-abiding life as the norm. In a different setting, Ava’s (Joelle Carter) willingness to take up a life of crime and become a madam might seem like a stretch, but it’s entirely believable in a setting where illicit behavior has become not only accepted, but expected.

Justified Recap Season 3, Episode 9 "Loose Ends"

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 9  “Loose Ends”

FX

Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 9  “Loose Ends”

Justified never shies away from telling you exactly what it’s doing, and when it titles an episode “Loose Ends,” you can bet it will be all about tying up, well, loose ends. Given the particular brand of people who populate Harlan County, it’s not surprising that the tying up of these loose ends involves landmines, shotguns, and more bodies pushed into the swamp. Nor is it surprising that it manages to tell us something about Justified’s value system: Either you’re your own man, or you’re as good as dead.

Justified Recap Season 3, Episodes 7 & 8, "The Man Behind the Curtain" and "Watching the Detectives"

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episodes 7 & 8, “The Man Behind the Curtain” and “Watching the Detectives”

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episodes 7 & 8, “The Man Behind the Curtain” and “Watching the Detectives”

For two episodes with very little action, “The Man Behind the Curtain” and “Watching the Detectives” wind up revealing quite a bit about Justified’s representation of violence. These are both plot-heavy episodes that serve mostly to move the various pieces around and transition the audience toward the season’s end game, but they’re also further proof that Justified has little interest in following traditional narratives of violence, and in particular how it relates to power. The various adversaries are certainly trying to carve out as much power for themselves as possible, yet their use of force only renders each of them more vulnerable and their many power moves ultimately serve to demonstrate how little control ear player has over their situations.

Justified Recap Season 3, Episode 6, "When the Guns Come Out"

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 6, “When the Guns Come Out”

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Justified Recap: Season 3, Episode 6, “When the Guns Come Out”

As season three of Justified reaches the halfway point, things are starting to escalate in a hurry: Boyd (Walton Goggins) and Quarles (Neal McDonough) are confronting each other, their respective Oxy clinics are being attacked, Limehouse (Mykelti Williamson) has reluctantly become the linchpin of the coming war, and, sensing that things will only become more dangerous, Winona (Natalie Zea) has put an abrupt end to her reconciliation with Raylan. Yet, in this week’s episode, “When the Guns Come Out,” Raylan (Timothy Olyphant), the man seemingly always in control, comes across as quite oblivious to the trouble brewing in Harlan County.