Tag Archives: Francis Dolarhyde

I like RA just a little shaggy and grungy around the edges . . .

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Every time Richard Armitage’s hair begins to grow out a tad I have a little celebration. It’s not that he isn’t still very attractive with the cropped head, because he is. He could shave his head and tattoo it and no doubt I’d still fancy him. It’s just that for me, Richard is even more attractive when those tempting nape curls begin to sprout in back and that endearing cowlick starts to kick up a fuss on top. When there’s enough of that soft-looking hair to imagine running one’s fingers through the waves and playfully messing it up. When there’s a stray lock of hair that begs to be pushed back . . . 654c9c1752e6bab9c8df1d082a4ab725

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I certainly didn’t find Francis Dolarhyde’s scar from cleft palate surgery off-putting in terms of his physical appearance, and the musculature RA honed for the character was, erm, inspiring, to say the least. But I think of how Reba said Dolarhyde’s co-workers described him as “clean.” And he was certainly that: clean-shaven, very short hair, clothing crisp and perfectly laundered, ironed and buttoned up to the last button. Not a hair nor thread out-of-place. That quality I DID find off-putting.  A little disarray can be appealing, you know?

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Only later, as Francis succumbed more and more to his own special brand of “Dragon sickness,” did we see him trade his buttoned-down look for sexy black leather (reminiscent, apparently, of a look Hannibal had sported, but for long-time RA fans, it was Lucas North he was channeling) and–ooh, look!–heavy stubble.  This version of Francis scared the ever-loving sh*t out of me, but I can’t deny I thought he also looked very good doing it.  If he’d had nape curls, too—*wibble*

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source: Candida Brady

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Of course, it was Sir Guy of Gisborne who first introduced me to RA as an actor, and Sir Guy’s raven locks were part and parcel of his persona.  Richard had to wear “baby” hair extensions in the back until he could grow his own “medieval mullet” for the first two seasons.  And then, for RH’s final season–we were rewarded with Guy’s Glorious Mane (and one excellent set of long hair extensions. My compliments to the set hairdresser).

In the beginning, that mane was a wild, dirty tangle worn by a drunken, vengeful man half-mad with grief and self-loathing AND OHMYGOD WAS I SMITTEN.  And introduced to the great art of hair acting via Richard Armitage.

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We had two Guyless episodes (during which RA was shooting some additional scenes for Spooks) but oh, how it was worth it when Glamour Guy (fresh from Prince John’s Red Door Spa, it seemed) reappeared before our eyes.  Still, Guy being Guy, he wasn’t completely tamed (even if his lustrous locks were). And we wouldn’t want him any other way.  He was like a gorgeous black stallion . . .  proud and defiant.  And the way he could toss that mane with arrogance, anger and frustration!

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I loved how Richard incorporated his long S3 locks into Guy’s character arc. And how he equally “rocked the locks” when it came to Thorin’s beautiful long tresses in The Hobbit trilogy. Hard to imagine that character without the long, wavy dark mane shot through with silver and those fetching braids . . .

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Of course, like Guy, Thorin was also magnificent when he wasn’t in the midst of a fray. Behold, Glamour Dwarf!

Richard kept his real hair quite short during the period of shooting TH (not surprising with that dome he had to wear atop his head plus that voluminous wig) and it was short for “Into the Storm” and close-cropped for his role in “The Crucible” on stage in London last year.  It will also be short in “Sleepwalker” and “Pilgrimage.”

For the role of Chop in “Urban and the Shed Crew,” we get Richard with long hair as he dons extensions once more.  Chop is definitely not a character that looks as if he just stepped out of a band box and I doubt “clean” is the first adjective that would pop into people’s minds when describing him. He’s shaggy-haired, doesn’t appear to shave too often, and mostly likes to dress down in fatigue jackets, plaid shirts with rolled up sleeves and faded jeans.  And I think Chop’s rather beautiful even when he’s a bit bloodied up and in need of some first aid. 213b91d0fc677a0e3e58cf34ccb07aaf (1)

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And OK, it looks like it would be fun to get up close and personal with Chop . . . as Anna Friel’s character does here. 😉

 

Richard and his ChaRActers clean up nicely, no doubt about it.  But there’s something about the man of many faces when he’s more casual, shall we say–the “blue jeans and t-shirt or plaid shirt” RA–that is really appealing to me. Perhaps because I can more easily relate to that image rather than the gobsmackingly stunning man in a designer tuxedo . . . perhaps he seems more approachable, more like someone I might know in real life?  Someone I might sit down and share a snack with and shoot the breeze?

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Maybe it’s the plaid shirts with the rolled-up sleeves . . . the hairy forearms . . . and the floppy hair.  And stubble.  *sigh*

Whatever, he’s got it.

(Yeah, baby, he’s got it!!)

And I like *it*with a little extra hair on top. 😉

 

I hear it’s your biRthdAy (Na-na-na-na-NANA-na-na)

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Richard Armitage, you really are a pretty special guy.

And I have very high standards when it comes to the men I admire, crush on, fall in love with and marry. I did the latter two deeds over 30 years ago and haven’t regretted a moment I’ve spent with one incredibly smart, talented, witty, kind and cuddly guy, a gentle man whose smiles are always reflected in those pretty blue eyes of his. As I said, I know how to pick ’em.

So here it is, the 44th birthday of my favorite actor. I hope you feel really good about what you’ve accomplished since your last birthday.  You’ve certainly been productive, and it seems to me the projects you’ve done are things that really interest and challenge you.

My timeline may be slightly jumbled. I am not only nearly 11 years your senior, I am also feeling lots of “discognition” of late–but anyway, here goes!0a4b2e8b886ae86caf1cbde381e61887

Last summer you managed to win over the hearts of critics and audiences alike with the raw intensity of your performance night after night in “The Crucible,” earning your first (but, I am confident, NOT the last) Olivier Award nomination for best actor. So proud for you!

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Later in the year we all marveled once more at Thorin’s majesty, fretted and feared for him in the depths of his madness, grieving his loss with our tears as “The Hobbit” trilogy came to a close (my own dear blue-eyed fella was so kind when I started weeping in the theater). You were nominated and won a Saturn Award for your performance as Thorin–and it was much deserved, my dear fellow. That character has certainly brought you a legion of new fans of both sexes and in a wide range of ages.

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You also have three films in the can (or in post production), “Urban,” “Sleepwalker” and “Pilgrimage” offering you three diverse roles: a disillusioned former social worker turned unlikely savior in the UK of a generation ago, a doctor in a contemporary psychological thriller and a medieval French nobleman in a period action/adventure tale.

Production is underway on “Brain on Fire,” you’ve got a cameo in a Tim Burton fantasy film and there is that Edith Wharton period drama project, along with the action film “Clearance” coming up for you.28a955f11c4110059bb9f27a1cdeb31e

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And right now—I am anticipating the 12th episode of “Hannibal.” I admit I am feeling sad to know there are only two more new eps counting this one for me to watch. It’s been such a treat to see you on American TV, to be able to DVR your performances and re-watch them when I choose to do so. And I am absolutely thrilled your performance as Francis has been so well received!
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As much as I was dreading this role in some ways, and as difficult as it is for me to watch certain scenes (when the Red Dragon was beating the sh*t out of Francis, I knew you had to be inflicting pain on yourself, too), I am mesmerized by your performance, by all the careful and artful shadings you bring to this role.

Dolarhyde is a monster and yet he is also, as Reba says, “a sweet man.” He’s a calculating and methodical killer of entire families and a tender lover with a touch of the poet in his soul, all bundled into one complex package. I am, indeed, in awe of what you bring to the character of Francis Dolarhyde. Bravo!

Of course, there have also been all the interviews and appearances to promote the various projects, which you managed with your usual grace, good humor and aplomb during the past year. It’s always a pleasure when you are given the opportunity to talk about your craft. And it’s always fun to see what you are wearing! 😉

 

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So I raise my glass of sweet tea in a toast to you, dear Richard–Happy Birthday today and for many years to come. I look forward to seeing what this next year brings for you!

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Feeling ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ : Thoughts on Sir Guy & Francis Dolarhyde

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The viewing options for early morning TV, even with 150 satellite channels, isn’t all that great. Infomercials reign. If you want to watch “Breaking Bald” or “Fish Oil Benefits Examined,” you’re good. If not . . .

So I sometimes find myself awake in the early morning hours watching reruns of “Charmed,” a cheesy production about three cute witch sisters from San Francisco whose names all start with “P.” “Charmed” features laughably bad special effects and copious amounts of scenery chewing by the Guest Supernatural Villain of the Week. The costumes and makeup at the local haunted house looks more professional.

Yet, who am I to question all this?  After all, the show stayed on for eight years, so it obviously had its devoted fans.

And I suppose “Robin Hood” was pretty cheese-tastic, too, but at least we had the glories of Sir Guy to make up for flimsy castle walls, anachronisms run rampant (Hang gliding? Casinos? Bustles? In the 12th century?) and groan-worthy scripts.  And he and the odious Vasey were such fun to watch together.

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With Richard as Sir Guy, we got the visual enjoyment of six feet, two inches of a trim, toned athletic physique (those long lean horseman’s thighs! Those PEACHES!) clad in sleek black leather–and later, his memorable medieval couture featuring the Sexy Pirate Shirt and the Marvel of Engineering Trousers with Ties and Laces in All the Right Places.  Add in seductive kohl-rimmed azure eyes, tempting stubble, raven black rock star tresses, a rumbling baritone and hey! presto . . . the World’s Most Smouldering Sidekick was born. Wait . . . who is the star of this show again?!  ‘Cause for this chick, it ain’t Arrow Boy.

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But the thing about Richard as Guy of Gisborne is that he was so much more than another pretty face in another lightweight, rather silly television show. So much more than the standard-issue cardboard cut-out of an evil henchman.

You watched not just because you visually enjoyed him and got a kick out of the general campiness of the show. You watched because he was that character, that damaged soul, proud and arrogant, naïve and gullible, a passionate man desperate for love and a home, a mercurial creature capable of both great violence and great tenderness. A beautiful disaster.  You hated some of his actions, yet–you couldn’t hate him. Richard made you care. And cry. And wonder what might have been for Sir Guy.

Which brings me to Francis Dolarhyde, a character with even darker and more terrifying corners in his soul than Sir Guy. Dolarhyde is cripplingly shy, emotionally stunted and deeply lonely. He feels impotent, unloved, a nonentity. He longs to make a real connection, to become something, someone different–stronger, more powerful, better than he is.  His self-improvement course of action, alas, will ultimately bring death, grief and misery.

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Dolarhyde, clearly uncomfortable with the thought of Reba touching him–touching the hated scar on his face?

Sir Guy sought to raise himself by accumulating wealth, power and status, hoping to restore respect for the name of Gisborne. He sought to cleanse his blackened soul by marrying a good, pure woman (who, of course, clocked him and then left him at the altar).

Sir Guy ends up burning down Marian’s house in retaliation, but that’s nothing compared to what Francis does. He murders two entire families and he doesn’t have a wicked boss who orders him to take the lives of perfectly innocent people, or else.

Francis is a serial killer, an odious monster. A dangerous man.

And yet.

As much as I despise the heinous actions of Francis Dolarhyde, I can no more hate him or look away from him than I could from Sir Guy.

FD’s intensity is heartbreaking as he watches so carefully Reba stroking the sleeping tiger, imagining that those caresses are being given to him. This is a middle-aged man who has experienced pitifully little in the way of physical affection.  It’s a staggering experience for both Reba and Francis.

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And after their lovemaking, there is his gentleness towards a sleeping Reba.

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It is an astonishing performance and I am glad I am able to see it. I am still not a “Hannibal” convert, but I am so, so impressed with Richard’s complex and nuanced interpretation of this role and of the amazing way he is fleshing out Francis Dolarhyde for us.

Call it sympathy for the devil–and kudos to the actor taking us on the journey.

All Hannibal stills and GIFs found on Pinterest; RH stills from Richard Armitage Net

What do you know? Mr. A and FD have inspired me again.

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So, yes, I did watch the first episode of “Hannibal” featuring Richard as Francis Dolarhyde last Saturday and I was going to post about it. However, I got so wrapped up in the humane society calendar project and trying to get some photo galleries up before the recital DVDs go out so that I can pimp my stills, that I just never go around to posting. Life’s been busy, but in a largely positive way. Hopefully, my efforts will pay off for the humane society and fatten my own bank account–two things that would be awfully nice.

I have managed to work on a few Hannibal-related photo edits in between editing submitted pet photos and I thought I would share them with you, along with a few thoughts.

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I am not sure what the diagnosis for Francis’s mental illness would be (I think we can all agree he is mentally ill). Paranoid schizophrenia has been suggested and it seems a fairly spot-on diagnosis.

However, seeing Francis’s struggle with his inner demons and how unhappy he is with life, his desire to reinvent himself–to Become–his battle with those voices in his head–I could only think of the word “fractured.” He’s broken inside and looking to be put back together. Sadly, he seeks that wholeness in such horrific ways.   It’s amazing how much Richard telegraphed about the character without dialogue.

I remember Sir Peter Jackson talking about the quality of stillness Richard brings as an actor, how one can be captivated by this man when he isn’t even speaking a word. We saw that in this episode introducing us to Dolarhyde. Whether still or moving in that sort of stylized dance,  straining and contorting his muscles in an almost tortuous way as part of his terrifying metamorphosis into the Red Dragon, I simply couldn’t take my eyes away.

dolarhyde demons hideI find words from “Imagine Dragons” songs running through my head when I think of this character, too, and used some quotes from two of their songs in the photo edits.

francisbeastinsideedit2francishidetruthRichard has talked about the tragic romance between Francis and a character that will enter the picture in the next episode, Reba. This blind co-worker manages to get under his skin and awaken tender feelings inside.

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I admit I am very much looking forward to the episode featuring the visit to the zoo and the opportunity to touch the sedated tiger, a visit arranged for Reba by Francis. I suppose it was my favorite passage in the novel “Red Dragon.”

FRANCISREBAWAKINGUPI don’t think I can be considered a “fannibal,” but I am impressed with Richard’s interpretation of this complex character, a serial killer for whom one can feel some pity and compassion, even as you are repelled by his heinous crimes. Yes, I am actually looking forward to the next episode–although I won’t be able to watch it until later that night. I have an event to cover for the paper and hopefully, I will also sell some more stills. Fedoralady wears a lot of hats.

 

I will leave you with one more image that I simply lightened so we could enjoy all the hard work Mr. A put into having that muscular physique described in Harris’ book.  Thank you, Richard. Even when a role you undertake isn’t a first choice for many of us, you make it worthwhile to watch on a number of levels.

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Things I have learned lately. Some of which include Richard Armitage.

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Bras are inherently humorous.

Along with the lack thereof.  Also, that bras have their very own personalities . . . I always suspected this, but now there’s PROOF.

 

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Richard Armitage looks cute in a flower crown.

And I was really chuffed he finally won an award for Thorin. So very much deserved. ❤

 

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Even hard-core Hannibal fans seem to find the current season less than spectacular. Good to know it is not just me, a newbie to the show: this general sense that watching paint dry–or golf–would be about as compelling. I suspect that if the first few episodes of the production’s first season had been like what I’ve seen thus far, there never would have been a second.  Not entirely surprised the ratings continue to drop. I just hope someone sticks around to watch RA–because I know in my heart that he will give an amazing, nuanced performance, even if it breaks said poor old heart to watch it.  Sometimes I think I may be a glutton for punishment.  Shades of watching the calculated dismantling of Lucas North episode by episode. At least I know this time around what to expect . . .

Let’s see, three more episodes before Francis Dolarhyde makes his appearance. I feel oddly like a kid anticipating Christmas.  Christmas as interpreted by David Lynch, perhaps (hey, I loved “Twin Peaks” before it got just a little too weird). Nothing like looking forward to a serial killer who slaughters entire families and likes sinking his teeth into some of his victims, is there? Oh, Richard Armitage, the things I put myself through in order to appreciate your artistry (currently re-reading “Red Dragon”). Will I be drawn to making fanvids or fanart from this character? I have to say the jury is still out on that. So far, I haven’t felt that tug . . . I tend to be drawn towards the humorous, irreverent and “sexy with a wink “approach (as most of you who are familiar with my vids know).

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Stay away from your FB feed on certain days. Just because.

When people start getting on their hobby horses about Confederate flags being removed, gay people getting married, and the latest in a long line of presidential candidates announcing they are running, it is better for my blood pressure and general stress levels to back away. For the record, this born-and-bred Alabama girl supports the first two and has no idea who she will vote for in the next election. It may be a case of choosing the lesser of the evils.

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I think I’d rather vote for this cat than I would “The Donald.” But that’s just me . . .

 

I still love to write.

And I am reasonably good at it.

I love making videos.

I do it for pay now as part of our video production company’s DVD packages, and it still gives me a great deal of pleasure.  And photography and photo editing continues to be a wonderful creative (and cathartic) outlet that also allows me to earn a little extra money. As a friend and neighbor who has also been a client commented, “It’s so good you can do something you really love like that.”

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I am also capturing the young people of our community as they grow and change from year to year, watching them gain in knowledge, skill, confidence. Watching them blossom. That, I think, is a good thing.

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And now I’ve got a castle I need to draw . . . it’s good to flex our creative muscles, yes?

Take heart, Fannibals. Axed NBC shows can have long lives . . . a case in point.

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thRFX1OAB8I know a lot of “Hannibal” fans are pretty unhappy right now since the news broke that this cult-favorite show has been officially axed by NBC at the end of its current, and third, season.

I can’t consider myself one of those Fannibals–I am watching the current season simply as preparation to see one of my all-time favorite actors perform for the first time on American TV screens (discounting a very brief appearance on the Cinemax version of “Strike Back”), the very same Richard Armitage for whom this blog is named. Starting with episode 8, RA will be playing the serial killer Francis Dolarhyde, aka “Tooth Fairy,” previously portrayed on screen by Ralph Fiennes (“Red Dragon”) and Tom Noonan (“Manhunter”).

Mr. A was only lined up to be in those final six eps, so none of his fans were anticipating seeing him in any future seasons of the show.  Some RA fans haven’t and won’t be watching because of the blood and gore attached to this production. Just not their cup of tea (and I am not too sure it is mine, either).

However, I know there are Armitage fans who are also Hannibal fans, who watched before and would have watched after Richard Armitage had come and gone.

For all of you Fannibals out there–take heart. Cult favs can and do have second lives, particularly when you consider all the television channels now existing, not to mention streaming services.

Many of you are probably too young to remember seeing a certain NBC production from the mid-1960s. It was different from pretty much anything else on television at the time–science fiction when westerns and crime dramas were staple fare. I wasn’t even six years old yet when it first aired, but I was captivated, as was my 12-year-old sister. We watched faithfully every week as this ground-breaking series took us “where no man has gone before.”  What it lacked in sleek and pricey production values, it made up for in a set of unforgettable characters and riveting storylines.

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(courtesy of Bing images)

Who knew when “Star Trek” was cancelled by NBC after three seasons that this cult favorite would go on to spawn an animated series, books, several successful TV spin-offs, films and more?  Now, realistically I don’t anticipate Hannibal dolls, cartoons or a slew of TV spin-offs–I would say it’s even more of a niche show tailored to specific tastes (no pun intended) than “Star Trek: The Original Series” ever was.

Still, I say there is very likely life after cancellation for “Hannibal.” Show creator Bryan Fuller seems stoked on taking his show to a new home and there are a number of possibilities out there. Fans are rallying to the cause (see link below).

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And Fuller tweeting photos like this probably can’t hurt his cause. 😉

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Richard Armitage getting his Red Dragon tats painted on for his Dolarhyde role. What that man won’t go through for his art.

Cinemablend: Hannibal, HACF two of ‘great shows not nearly enough people are watching’

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I was reading an article online the other day, and it recommended other stories, and somehow or another I ended up running across a link to a Cinemablend article by Jessica Rawden titled “7 Great Shows Not Nearly Enough People are Watching.” My curiosity was piqued and I had a look.

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The number one show on their list? “Hannibal.” Of course, as you all surely know by now, Richard is currently filming his role in this critically acclaimed NBC series as serial killer Francis Dolarhyde, aka the Tooth Fairy, featured in the Thomas Harris novel and film “Red Dragon” (and the movie “Manhunter”).  Another show on the list which some of us found addictive during its freshman season, offering the “collateral attraction” of Thranduil himself, Lee Pace is “Halt and Catch Fire.”

Here’s what the article had to say about “Hannibal”—

‘NBC’s Hannibal is currently gearing up for its third season premiere. While the drama is probably one of the most-watched on this list, it has potentially been up for cancellation every season, thanks to airing on network television rather than on cable. This time around, NBC will air the series as part of its summer lineup, and we hope that will prove to be a good spot for the thrilling drama. Give Hannibal a watch; it may give you nightmares, but in this case, that’s a good thing.’ 

I am hoping the black humor and stylized approach to the murders reputed to be found on “Hannibal” will keep it from being too much of a stomach-churning experience for me. Then again, it’s going to feature the incredible Richard in six episodes of US television I don’t have to do anything of suspect legality to watch, so I will be on board anyway. 😀

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The article says this about “Halt and Catch Fire”–

‘Halt and Catch Fire is one of the rare cable dramas with lower ratings that still managed to nab a second season on the network. It’s a tough series to sell, following the rise of a computer start-up in Texas and the various problems the team encounters as they attempt to do the impossible: create a brand new computer brand. Regardless, Halt and Catch Fire had one of the most compelling pilots we’ve ever seen, not to mention an intense first season featuring incredible performances from Lee Pace (Ronan in Guardians of the Galaxy) and Scoot McNairy (Argo). Maybe this time around, more people will be willing to plug in to the series. If not, it’ll stay on our under-watched programs list.’  

I really do hope more people give HACF a chance–it definitely captured my interest in that first season, in spite of the fact I am not exactly a computer nerd (A nerd, yes. Computer nerd, no.) The series offers intelligent scripts, some fine acting on the part of Pace and Scoot McNairy in particular, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and thinking. It’s a bit of a nostalgia kick, too. 😀

You can see the entire article by clicking on the link below:

http://www.cinemablend.com/television/7-Great-Shows-Nearly-Enough-People-Watching-70602-p8.html

I am currently spending a week here with my sister and BIL . . . and packed the novel “Red Dragon” to read and the DVD of  BOTFA to watch on the computer at night when I can’t sleep.  So RA came with me–

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–but then again, he always is with me. You all know what I mean. 😉

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I guess you could sort of say I’m prepping for ‘Hannibal’ . . .

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I haven’t watched any of “Hannibal” yet, not having the ability to satisfactorily live stream and not being willing to pay for DVDs (after all, they don’t have Richard in them). 😉

 

I do intend to read the  book “Red Dragon,” if I can just get to the library one day or locate an inexpensive copy. Having seen the film “Manhunter,” I am already  familiar with the story.  But I am indulging in a little blood and nuttiness tonight. It’s less fattening than Blue Bell ice cream, anyway.

 

Currently, I’m re-watching the 2000 film “American Psycho” on Sundance TV.  IMHO, Christian Bale is brilliant in the role of handsome Harvard grad, Patrick Bateman, an investment banker on Wall Street in the 1980s . Patrick is obsessed with looking good, going to the right restaurants, the hottest clubs, living in the best part of town, having the most attractive business card. He’s greedy and vain, pretentious and self-absorbed, the complete narcissist. And those are his good qualities.

 

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He’s also a sadistic serial killer, lusting after blood even more than Valentino suits and high-rise apartments with great views.  He doesn’t merely want to take his victims’ lives; he takes bites right out of their bodies (hmmm,  what is this reminding me of?). Ultimately, we are not certain if all or any of his horrendous crimes have actually taken place or happen solely inside one man’s sick and twisted psyche.

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AP is a searing indictment of a decade during which many of the “haves” believed greed was good and nothing succeeded like excess (why have one prostitute when you can afford two, and have sex in front of a big mirror so you can admire your buff physique and sexual prowess while you are at it?).

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american_psycho-131The Huey Lewis scene always cracks me up.

It’s a satire, it’s a horror film and often it’s–hilarious. In a rather dark way, of course.  I haven’t read the 1991 Brett Easton Ellis book on which the film is based; from what I have read online, the movie does a great job of hinting at some of Bateman’s more horrific acts without actually displaying them all on screen. Sometimes, less IS more.  I always found the alien in the film franchise of the same name to be far more frightening when we only caught fleeting glimpses of the creature.

AP almost received an NC-17 rating, but it seems this wasn’t due to violence or blood and gore, rather to that graphic three-way scene with the prostitutes. It was trimmed enough to make the MPA satisfied with giving the film an “R” rating.  Of all the characters in the film, those girls and Bateman’s sweet secretary are the only ones I feel any sort of sympathy for.

There’s some smarts on display here–it’s definitely not your bog-standard slasher flick, as it could have so easily been.  Mary Harron does an excellent job in the director’s chair, and there are several good performances, but ultimately, it’s Bales’ movie .

 

There’s this promotional image below I remember seeing in Entertainment Weekly when the film came out .  I know, I know, the man’s got (fake) blood on his face, and I shouldn’t find it alluring–yet, I do (I’m sure that the fact I find Christian Bale attractive doesn’t hurt).  What if it was Mr. A’s tongue on display . . .

Oh, my, how might Francis Dolarhyde affect me? Guess I will find out this summer when he arrives on the scene.

 

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A fine madness, or maybe not. Fedoralady’s very personal take on it all.

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This is a story of madness, in both the jocular and more literal sense.

For example, our ISP has become notoriously unreliable over the last few weeks and frankly, it’s driving me a tad—crazy.

They also provide our land line phone, which went dead as a doornail today. Not even a hopeful crackle and not a storm cloud in sight. Retrieved my cell phone so that I could touch base with Benny and let him know, and of course, the cell battery was dead. Thank goodness Hubby brought home a recharge for the wi-fi hotspot.

I felt so out of touch with the world earlier–disconnected. I could have walked outside and screamed my head off and the only ones who would have heard it would be my two dogs, who would presume Mama had officially become the mayor of Crazy Town.

Speaking of crazy, mental health has been on my mind lately, what with the news that our Richard is going to play Francis Dolarhyde, a cannibalistic serial killer in six episodes of the upcoming season of “Hannibal.”

I admit I have a certain fascination with abnormal psychology. I like reading and watching stories of true crime and trying to learn what makes some people became psychopaths and sociopaths. Is there some sort of defective gene involved, a sort of “bad seed,” or is it the environment? Nature or nurture or a combination of both?

It’s been said here in the south we don’t hide our crazy relatives, we bring them out to the front porch, give them a glass a sweet tea and show them off.

 

My paternal family could easily be described as “eccentric.” There was the boy-crazy aunt who used to dye her hair to match the color of her current automobile. Another aunt, a pharmacist who self-medicated herself into bliss, eventually did a strip tease in the middle of the nursing home hallway, announcing with gleeful relish, “Well, NOW I guess they will pay attention to me!” My grandfather over-indulged in food and other women and never tried to hide his vices. Oh, the stories I could tell about Big Daddy. And yes, he was called Big Daddy. Tennessee Williams, you ain’t got nothing on me. 

And then there’s Uncle Comer, who was committed to the state insane asylum. Yes, a genuine crazy uncle.

I have a copy of an old family photo, with all the Killoughs, the nine living children and my grandparents, posed together in front of the big Victorian farmhouse, c. 1922 or ’23. Among the offspring, some twenty years between the oldest and youngest, there stands a bespectacled blonde boy, neatly dressed in a suit and tie for this formal photo. He’s handsome and a bit solemn. For me, there’s no hint of what was to come, the unreasonable outbursts and frightening violence. The need to “put him away.”

Daddy, who was much younger than his brother, used to talk about Comer’s periodic furloughs home. What he remembered most was when it was time for Comer to return to Tuscaloosa.

Comer got so upset when he knew he had to go back. It took four or five of Daddy’s strongest field hands to wrestle him into the car,” Daddy would say, the pain of the memory evident in his faded blue eyes. He had a lifelong fear after that of institutionalization, just as he feared fire following that big house burning to the ground when he was a teenager.

There were flashes of—something, some imbalance, something disconnecting—in my own father from time to time, and,as we learned, in his younger brother Dan, the baby of the family. There was never anything on the scale of Comer’s behavior, but we knew it was happening when the look came into Daddy’s eyes. When we saw that darkening, that anger and—emptiness. Thundering rage and that strange emptiness.

Those moments were frightening and confusing for all of us. When they passed, regret and melancholy would wash over my father, who is so very many ways was such a good man and a good daddy. It took me years to really come to terms with the contradictions that were my father. 

I have always had this fear in the back of my head that it would happen to me one day–the disconnect, the imbalance. I have a temper I have worked on controlling for much of my adult life. Would I, someday, fly into uncontrollable and dangerous rages and hurt people I loved?

I have made it 54 years and stayed out of jail and the mental ward thus far.

Still, that gnawing fear keeps nibbling away in a corner of my mind. Maybe it always will.

In the meantime, I read, I watch and I try to understand what makes some of us go more than slightly mad. And I lament the stigma that mental illness still carries with it in the 21st century. I wonder if modern drugs and therapies could have helped my uncle. 

I will be very interested to see Richard Armitage’s take on a flesh-gnawing serial killer (thankfully, I don’t have one of those in my family. At least, not that I know of). Maybe he can bring something to the table (sorry, pun not intended, but I do have a slightly dark and twisted sense of humor) that will help me see things more clearly. Who knows? Whatever the case, I am certain he will wow me with his performance. Life has dealt me a fair share of disappointments, but RA is not one of them. 

(FYI My uncle died from complications after an appendectomy while he was still a young man and still an inmate at the asylum. My grandfather went to Tuscaloosa and asked to see his body to thoroughly check it over and make sure the death was from natural causes.)