Monday, July 26, 2010

Watching "Mad Men" After Watching "Michael Clayton."

AMC played the George Clooney Movie "Michael Clayton"
as a lead-in to the season premiere of "Mad Men" last

Not a good idea.

As fine a TV show as Mad Men is much of the time, it
paled coming after the brilliant Michael Clayton.

The season premiere itself wasn't much to start with,
nothing really striking or memorable until the last minute or
two with Don blowing his top at the swimming suit execs and then
coming alive at last in the WSJ interview.

As a writer who obsessively rewrites whatever I'm reading
or listening to, I love pieces of art like Michael Clayton
because they short-circuit that obsession and carry me away
on their true and seamless writing, especially the dialogue.
Add that to the thematic heft of the movie, corporate & personal
corruption, George Clooney's effortless portrayal of a man
coming apart inside while appearing in control of all he
surveys and fixes, Tom Wilkinson's amazing prophet, etc.,
and you've got a film you might not want people to compare
your TV show to, however good it is.

Not fair, for whatever reasons, comparing the two? AMC
shouldn't have put them together like that, inviting the
comparison. It cannot be a mistake that the themes of corruption,
and even the looks and outlooks of the two main characters
played by Clooney and Jon Hamm, are so similar. Again, the
invitation to compare is blatant & not favorable for Mad Men.

Still, don't get me wrong, I'll be there next
Sunday at 10, hoping for the best, expecting Don to continue his
long liberation from self-exile if not from the pit & pendulum
of advertising.

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