Men–We’re Not that Bad

September 30th, 2013 by Asaf

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Men often get a bad rap. We usually get blamed for not listening, for not caring, for being insensitive, for being rude, for being… well, just men. One more thing men usually get blamed for is not being able to do more than one task at a time so here’s proof that there are 8 of us who can multitask!

Don Jon” is now in theatres – starring, written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this independent comedy tells of a young womanizer (OK, he’s a porn-addict) who meets the one who could be the love of his life. But can he change his ways?

So in honor of Joseph’s courageous attempt, here is our list of 7 actors who also directed/produced/wrote films for the first time. Here’s to the male multitaskeres – The Magnificent Seven!

Zach BraffGarden State (2004)

Depression can sometimes do you good. Just ask Zach who wrote the script for this semi autobiographic dramedy while he was a lonely waiter, without a dime and isolated from the world. Then Zach became an actor and he started to smile, and then Zach became an intern on Scrubs (2001-2010) and he smiled more often. With that hit TV series on his resume, he went on to direct and star in the film he wrote years before. A bittersweet homecoming story about a young troubled actor who returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral and evaluates his life. Despite (and maybe because?) the film was successful in independent film terms, Zach went back to acting and only recently did he go back to working on his own creaations – he wrote, directed and acted in another independent dramedy due next year – “Wish I Was Here”. Zach seems like a promising multitasker – 6/10 on the multitask scale.

Tom HanksThat Thing You Do! (1996)

Tom Hanks Had it all. 2 Oscars, money, fame, even an iconic animated figure… and then… he directed a movie. That Thing You Do! isn’t bad but it’s just not good enough. Tom wrote, directed and co-starred in this music-comedy about a one hit wonder music band as they rise to stardom and sink back to the bottom. Now, Tom is a smart guy, he saw the film smashed at the box office and figured he should probably stick to acting. In 1998 he started producing and delivered several unforgettable mini-series (From the Earth to the Moon, Band Of Brothers, The Pacific) along with several successful films. Then last year, Tom got the writing bug once again, followed by the directing Bug. Damn those bugs. He wrote, directed and starred in Larry Crowne which was a b/o and critical failure. Tom – it’s one thing to harm yourself, but why do that to the lovely, having-trouble-making-a-comeback, Julia Roberts? Please stick to acting and producing, not every man can do it all – 6.5/10 on the multitask scale.

Mel GibsonThe Man Without a Face (1993)

It took 17 years of acting for Mel Gibson to decide he wanted to direct. After establishing himself (mostly) as an action hero for the guys and a sexy fantasy for the girls, Mel wanted more.  Initially he intended “just” to direct this based-on-a-book drama. The leading role, of a lonely man with a scarred face who develops an unlikely friendship with a kid next door was offered to Jeff bridges and several others but due to funding issues Mel agreed to both helm and star. Although the film wasn’t a success – critically or financially, Mel didn’t let it bring him down and showed he’s got a Braveheart (1995).  a modern-classic, epic, Oscar winning war film that got into millions of hearts around the world. Produced, directed and starred by Mel, the film was a global success. After that Mel went back to acting and it took him 9 years to write and direct again. This time he managed to piss millions of people off by doing so – The Passion of the Christ (2004) was one of the most controversial films of the 2000s but also one of the most successful ones (over 600 million dollars worldwide). Third time is a charm, and so this movie marked the start of Mel’s downfall which involved several embarrassing incidents, divorce and a long absence from the big screen. Although he’s trying to get back into the spotlight in recent years, Mel is the proof that sometimes it’s better not to over do it. 7/10 on the multitask scale.

Sylvester StalloneRocky (1976)

3 days. That’s all it took Sly to write the script for Rocky and make all of us want to dance when we reach the top of the stairs. Any stairs, anywhere. Stallone wasn’t a big name when he approached the studios with the script and other actors were considered for the leading role But Stallone showed the same determination as his character and convinced the producers to give him the chance. And so Stallone became only the third actor in history to receive Oscar nominations for acting and writing in the same picture (following such legends as Orson Welles and Charles Chaplin). After Rocky, Stallone went on to write, direct and star in the Rocky sequels and other action films (One of which was Rambo, 1982, another legendary character). And like in any good Hollywood script, when Stallone suffered major decline in popularity during the late 90s and early 2000 it was Rocky, once again, to take him back to the top. Stallone wrote the script and directed Rocky Balboa (2006) and went on to star in such successful blockbusters as John Rambo and The Expendables 1+2. By the end of the year we’ll see Stallone back in the ring (this time “only” as an actor) as a retired boxer who fights another aging bitter rival (Robert de Niro) in the comedy “Grudge Match”. Till then, he gets 8/10 on the multitask scale.

Ben AffleckGone Baby Gone (2007)

Affleck Was down on his luck. With a bad streak of embarrassing flops, Ben became the easiest target for the media and moviegoers alike. Then, a young girl got kidnapped and everything turned out right. To be more specific, a young girl got kidnapped in Dennis Lehane’s crime novel about two Boston police detectives who investigate her mysterious disappearance. Ben opened a word document and started to write the script for Gone Baby Gone. He even went on to direct it and so began the road to redemption. Encouraged by fans and critics positive response, Ben felt he’s ready to get back on the silver screen – Once again he opened a word document and wrote a script based on a crime novel – this time, The Town (2010). With not one, not two, but three critical roles on the set (writer, director and leading actor) Ben was successful once again as the movie was a box office success and critically acclaimed. Now Ben was ready for the biggest challenge of his life – directing a movie about a movie that never got made. Argo, Last year’s big Oscar winner, showed the world Ben can do it all – he can write, he can produce, he can direct, he can act (but he cannot be a bat!). 9/10 on the multitask scale.

George ClooneyConfessions of a dangerous mind (2002)

Here’s a man who can do just about anything (except for getting married). After establishing a successful TV career in such TV shows as Roseanne, Sisters and of course. E.R., Clooney made a successful transformation from TV to Cinema with such critically acclaimed films as The Thin Red Line, Three Kings and O Brother, Where Art Thou?. And then, in 2002, Clooney decided he wanted to see how the camera looks from behind. With Charlie Kaufman as writer, Clooney went on to make a thriller which, amazingly enough, was based on a true story – about a game show host who worked undercover for the CIA during the 60s & 70s. Though a box office flop, the film won the critics affection. Since then Clooney has worked on both ends of the camera – as a talented director, a successful producer (with a fresh Oscar for Argo) and an admirable actor. 9.5/10 on the multitask scale.

Clint EastwoodPlay Misty for Me (1971)

“I stored away all the mistakes I made and saved up all the good things I learned, and now I know enough to control my own projects”. When you don’t have something to say, leave it to Clint to say it for you. After 16 years of being told what to do, Clint felt he was ready to tell other people what to do. So he directed this Thriller about a somewhat Psychopathic young woman who starts stalking a radio DJ (Clint himself) after a one-night fling.  Encouraged by the positive reviews and the mild box-office success, Clint was ready to go back to the world he knew so well – the western. In 1973 he directed and starred in High Plains Drifter, a critically acclaimed western which once again proved Clint can manage both parts. In the following years Clint directed and acted in several titles, and then, in 1992 he went back to the western world for the last time (Unforgiven, 1992). In what’s considered as Clint’s westerns closure he portrays a Retired gunslinger who’s forced back into action for one last job. Clint got 2 Oscars for producing and directing and got nominated for his performance. An achievement he repeated 12 years later with the help of a Million Dollar Baby (2004). Although his recent works ain’t as marvelous as the movies mentioned here, Clint is the solid proof that men, when they really concentrate, can do several things at once. Shine on Clint – 10/10.

* Just a clarification for all female readers out there – All the men above are super-men. Most of us can hardly manage doing one thing at a time. Lower your expectations from your man, you’ll both be better off.

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The Jinni Mood Awards 2012

December 31st, 2012 by Barak

After last year’s huge success of the Jinni Mood/Movie/TV Awards (think Golden Globes and then multiply it by a thousand, then add the Oscars and multiply that by a million. Is it too soon for self-deprecation? I have to check with my superiors) we decided to make a tradition out of it and choose our award-winning titles for 2012. So, which was the roughest movie or TV series of 2012? Which was the most exciting?  No need to open any envelopes, you can just read below:

Atmospheric: Game of Thrones – When you watch Game of Thrones, you really enter the world of Game of Thrones. And it’s a world in which a Hobbit won’t survive for more than a minute. “Winter is coming” (it’s here already.)

Biting: 30 Rock – Feeling very self-confident, the show allowed itself to bite whoever it wanted.  Politicians, competing shows, and even NBC, the hand that feeds them – all were in the line of biting.

Bittersweet: The Giant Mechanical Man – this movie is about two lonely people who find each other. It’s one of the most goodhearted movies I’ve seen in a while. If you like charming and sensitive movies – watch it. If you’re a douche – don’t.

Bleak: Breaking Bad – Sometimes you just feel too darn happy. But fear not, there is a solution – all you need to do is watch Breaking Bad; the critically acclaimed feel-bad TV show was at its bleakest during the first half of the 5th and final season. I can’t wait for the 2nd half of the season to wipe that grin off my face.

Captivating: End of Watch – I consider it to be the best movie of the year. It’s fascinating; there isn’t one dull moment in it. It’s not always easy to watch, there are some very harsh scenes, but if you have the stomach and the tissues for it, this movie is a must-see for you.

Clever: Argo – This is no less a sharp satire about Hollywood than it is a suspenseful spy thriller, even more I guess. What makes it a great movie despite its tonal shifts is that it remains extremely clever throughout its entire length.

Contemplative: Blackthorn – This western is beautifully shot, the Bolivian locations in which the movie takes place are unbelievable. Straying very far from Michael Bay territory, this gem of a movie is basically about a person (an older Butch Cassidy) reflecting about his own life. I know it sounds boring, but it isn’t. And if you think so, maybe you are.


Cynical: A Touch of Cloth – Can the guy (the genius, the king) who wrote Black Mirror come up with something that doesn’t have a cynical world view? Probably not; A Touch of Cloth is Charlie Brooker‘s spoof of more or less every cop crime drama ever made and it shows complete contempt towards every accepted standard of such shows.

Disturbing: Dexter – Fans of the show don’t really find this glimpse into the mind of a psychopath disturbing anymore. What they do find disturbing is the suggested romance (siblings with benefits, is that a thing?) between Dexter and his step sister. Maybe the sister is the only one with the forbidden crush, but it’s disturbing nonetheless. The bad writing that is.

Emotional: House M.D – Dr. Gregory House was the most fascinating, complex, well written character ever seen on TV. I think that more than a few people would agree with me. The final season of the hit series was probably its most emotional one. The only thing that prevented me from crying was/is that I’m a man.


Exciting: The Expendables 2 – This movie was a blast. Explosions, cheesy lines, completely over the top action; what can be more exciting than that?

Feel Good: New Girl – An upbeat and optimistic series with eccentric characters and a charming Zooey Deschanel (although not half as charming as Aubrey Plaza. See below).

Gloomy: This is England 88′ – After the movie This is England and the series This is England 86′ came This is England 88′ which dealt with more or less the same issues from the previous 2 entries – people whose lives are pretty shitty. Leave some room on you TV screens for some more sad faces, because This is England 90′ is coming up in 2013!

Humorous: Parks and Recreation – With every passing season this series just becomes funnier and funnier. April (Aubrey Plaza – marry me today. Is 7:30 good for you?) and Andy are the best onscreen couple by far, and Ron Swanson is just the best. The picture below says everything; and also nothing.


Offbeat: Moonrise KingdomWes Anderson is more or less synonymous with the terms offbeat and quirky, and Moonrise Kingdom doesn’t ruin that reputation for the director.

Mind Bending: The Booth at the End – A mysterious man sits at a booth at the end of a diner. People come to him because they heard he has a gift and can solve their problems. But there’s a price… All is very mysterious in Hulu’s 1st original series that leaves you wondering.

Rough: Dredd – The movie takes place in a rough and tough world, in which Judge Dredd serves some very rough justice. You don’t have to go all the way to Indonesia in order to find this year’s best action film. Dredd is similar to The Raid only way better and in English, not that the dialogue is important.

Scary: Cabin in the Woods – This movie was extreme in every sense. I expected something light when I heard it was a horror comedy, but it’s much more shocking than it is light. It’s a funny and disturbing film, but first and foremost – a scary one.

Sentimental: Big Miracle – A nice old fashioned movie, with likable characters; especially the whales. It’s a pleasant film and although sentimental, you don’t overdose on its sentimentality.


Sexual: Californication – Season 5 continued being groundbreaking in terms of onscreen boobs and sex (I only watch the show for its wit and dark humor though.)

Sexy: Magic City – Starz’ attempt at making a “Boardwalk Empire meets Mad Men” type of show failed in many aspects, maybe in all aspects but one. It’s obviously not nearly as smart or captivating as the other two, but it’s definitely sexier. It’s like soft-core porn made for fans of periodic reconstruction.

Sincere: Louie – Usually when we describe a movie or a show as sincere we mean a certain kind of a drama. We rarely describe a comedy as sincere, but Louie is just so open and revealing that you get a sense that he’s showing you the real him. I believe him.

Stylized: The Man with the Iron Fists – I’ll start by saying that there’s nothing good about violence. Usually people get hurt when there’s violence involved. But when it’s in the movies, and it’s so over the top, extremely gory and super stylized then it’s just great.

Suspenseful: Sherlock – Each 90-minute mystery leaves you absolutely breathless. Not only the setting, but also the pace was adapted to fit the 21st century and the result is a masterfully suspenseful series.

Tense: Homeland – This paranoid psychological thriller keeps you on the edge of your seat trying to guess what will be the next plot twist.  Many critics say that the first half of the second season was much better than the second one. They could have been right if it wasn’t for that amazing episode that concluded the season. Homeland is must-see TV.


Thought Provoking: Game Change – This movie made me think about something that made be both happy and sad at the same time (I’m hoping more sad than happy): being especially smart is not a requirement for a person who wants to go far in life. Not at all; dumb people – the world is yours to take!

Touching: Trouble with the Curve – The movie itself is definitely touching, but what gives the movie this Mood Award is the fact that it was the last time we will see the legendary Clint Eastwood acting. And that’s even more emotional than it is touching.

Uplifting: Intouchables – You can’t remain cynical when it comes to this movie. It will definitely raise your spirits, at least for its duration + 1 hour; maybe 1 month, or year if you’re lucky.

Witty: 21 Jump Street – Don’t let the fact that it’s incredibly silly confuse you – 21 Jump Street enjoys a quick and smart dialogue with some brilliant tongue-in-cheek moments. Unlike many other movies, and people, 21 Jump Street is very self-aware.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Birthday Boys

June 3rd, 2012 by Barak

This week both Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman (who will star in Rob Reiner‘s upcoming movie, The Magic of Belle Isle, about a wheelchair bound writer) are celebrating their birthdays. Since they are both great actors, and also very good friends, we decided to come between them by attempting to decide which one of them is the better actor. Morgan Freeman’s most prominent feature is his impressive voice. He strives mostly in supporting roles and his portrayal of most of his cinematic characters is usually confident and calm. Clint Eastwood’s acting style is minimally expressive, some would criticize him claiming that he acts in a somewhat stiff manner, but the rest of us think that the way he portrays the cool and tough loners he usually plays, is absolutely mesmerizing.

We will face 10 Clint movies VS. 10 Freeman movies. Beware, only one actor can win! Unfortunately we had to exclude their collaborations which pose a conflict of interest: the wonderful Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby, and the mediocre Invictus. May the best actor win:

10. Humorous Action: Kelly’s Heroes VS. Red

These two action comedies offer some excitement along with a few laughs and ultra-impressive ensemble casts. I like Kelly’s Heroes more than Red, which I find to be overrated and not as funny as I hoped it would be. Kelly’s Heroes is more fun and offers better action, so it’s 1-0 Eastwood.

9. A suspenseful and stylized boy’s night: A Fistful of Dollars VS. The Dark Knight

A hero movie VS a superhero movie, a classic VS a modern classic, an exciting spaghetti western VS an exciting Hollywood toned movie, a movie that had a lot of dollars in its title VS a movie that made a lot of dollars in the box office. Making a choice was never so difficult, on the one hand calling it a draw would be an act of cowardice, on the other, it would solve my problem here. I call it a draw.

8. Rivalry: Outlaw Josey Wales VS. Lucky Number Slevin

The bleak and rough western Outlaw Josey Wales is probably the best Clint Eastwood movie from the 70′s alongside Escape From Alcatraz. Slevin is a clever and stylized crime movie that draws its inspiration mainly from early Tarantino movies like Reservoir Dogs and Jackie Brown. This is a close one, but I choose the outlaw which is a powerful revenge movie with Clint as the strong silent type at his acting best. 2-0 Clint.

7. Old people doing crazy stuff: Space Cowboys VS. The Bucket List

To be perfectly honest, these two movies were both nice, but somewhat of a disappointment to me. Space Cowboys, which starred Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones and was directed by Eastwood himself, wasn’t one of the pinnacles of Clint’s career; it was a bit cliched and had a ridiculous premise. The Bucket List, which starred Jack Nicholson alongside Morgan Freeman and directed by Rob Reiner, was also not what we’d hoped it would be. While both Freeman and Nicholson are lovable at their roles, the movie itself fails in its attempt to combine silly comedy with melodrama. It’s a draw.

6. Military: Heartbreak Ridge VS. Glory

The character Clint Eastwood plays in Heartbreak Ridge might be even tougher than the one he plays in Dirty Harry! There is a lot of humor and a lot of violence in this movie but the violence is deliberately quite absurd and unrealistic. Glory is a much more serious movie, not only in tone but also quality wise. Not only is Morgan Freeman’s performance so memorable, but so are Denzel Washington‘s and even Matthew Broderick‘s performances. 2-1, Eastwood still leads.

5. Riding VS. Driving: Pale Rider VS. Driving Miss Daisy

Pale Rider is a great later Clint Eastwood western that, as Rodney Dangerfield would agree, does not get the respect it deserves. Sadly that’s not about to change now, because Driving Miss Daisy is the better movie – it’s a touching modern classic about aging and friendship. 2-2, Freeman gets equality!

4. Unlikely Friendships: Gran Torino VS. 10 Items or Less

While 10 Items or Less is a very nice comedy drama with the lovely Paz Vega assisting Morgan Freeman in carrying the movie, Gran Torino is quite simply one of the best movies to come out in recent years. In supermarket terms, Gran Torino has much more than 10 items in its basket. 3-2, Eastwood regains the lead.

3. Good VS. God: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly VS. Bruce Almighty

Surprisingly enough, this time god loses (it also happened to Michael Jordan a few times). Bruce Almighty is a good comedy with good turns from both Morgan Freeman and Jim Carrey, but The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is one of cinema’s all time pearls. 4-2 Eastwood, but Freeman still hasn’t said his last word.

2. Law enforcement: Dirty Harry VS. Seven

If Dirty Harry was standing next to me while writing these lines, watching me reach towards the keyboard intending to grant the win to Seven, he’d probably say: “Go ahead, make my day”. Since he is only a fictional character I’m gonna go ahead and make Morgan Freeman’s day and give him the win this round since Seven is a shocking thriller with a haunting performance by Freeman. 4-3, this match will be determined by the next, very last movie.

1. Escape from prison: Escape from Alcatraz VS. The Shawshank Redemption

The 70′s were some kind of a golden era for American cinema, and Escape from Alcatraz was one of that era’s highlights. Unfortunately for Eastwood, his great movie is up against a movie that absolutely everyone loves. The Shawshank Redemption is statistically the favorite movie of all time for 1 out of 9 people (don’t ask me where I get my statistical information). A win for the movie that celebrates the human spirit and gets Morgan Freeman out of jail (and gives him a draw).

An amazing 4-4 draw between these two good friends that will enable to maintain their friendship after this competition surprisingly remains undecided…

If you insist on choosing one of them over the other, maybe Jinni’s people clouds will help you:

Do you prefer to get excited from a Clint Eastwood movie, or be touched by a Morgan Freeman film? Would you rather see Clint triumph over his rival or watch Morgan deal with the problems of the American society? Comment on our Facebook page and let us know!

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Every dog (and cat) has its day

April 18th, 2012 by Uri

Marley-&-Me

This week we celebrate Pet Owners Day, and since sometimes people develop closer relationships with their animal companions than with their human surroundings, we’ll take a look at those sometimes touching, sometimes disturbing relationships with pets.

Marley & Me

A writer’s life falls into disarray when he adopts a seemingly harmless dog whose mischievousness reflects on the whole family’s life.  This feel good family outing flick was one of the surprising blockbusters of 2008.

Wendy and Lucy

Offering a sincere look at human nature, this critically acclaimed independent film follows a down on her luck young woman on the road to Alaska whose only real connection is with her dog. When her dog is lost, things begin to look even more gloomy for her.

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Having a pet as a partner is pretty strange, but with eccentric scientist Wallace, “strange” is just the starting point. Aside from displaying multiple experiments going awry and a competition with a hotshot hunter, this witty animated film also managed to nab an Oscar.

Wilfred

A talking and not-so-friendly dog is half of the odd couple that is the center of this surreal comedy about a twentysomething man who discovers that his girlfriend’s dog sees himself as human, and hardly a nice one. Although they start as rivals, the two develop an unlikely friendship, dipped in the compulsory silly humor.

Red

The death of his dog by the hands of teenage criminals sends an elderly loner on a vengeance trail with inevitable tragic results. Brian Cox leads this slow inspection of social decay in a small town.

The Rabbi’s Cat

Felines are often considered divine creatures by some people, but having a cat contemplating religion is certainly offbeat, as we see in this humorous period piece about a cat on an obsessive quest and his constant theological arguments with his owner.

White Dog

Sadly, sometimes pets are being used as means to vicious ends, as demonstrated in this controversial film by the late, great Samuel Fuller, a racist parable about a dog trained to attack black people. In fact, the film was regarded so problematic that  Paramount Pictures cancelled its American theatrical run.

Every Which Way But Loose

In one of the few comedies in his long career, Clint Eastwood is unusual in more ways than one, for example he is best buddies with a short tempered, beer drinking orangutan. If you’re looking for an offbeat boys’ night, you can do much worse.

Willard

A social misfit finds a pet as ostracized as him in this suspenseful remake for a 1971 film starring Crispin Glover, where a mentally unstable man uses an army of obedient rats in a vengeance scheme against his boss, coworkers and society at large.

Kes

A young boy coming of age in working class England manages to escape his dead-end life, if only for a short time, by taking care of a falcon in this emotional, prestigious award winning film by Ken Loach.

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That’s Law Enforcement

November 13th, 2011 by Ran

Clint Eastwood’s new film J. Edgar has inspired a post on controversial law enforcers. It is the biography of the legendary J. Edgar Hoover, who served an unthinkable 48 years in office, and  kept records on the most important people in the country. While successfully fighting crime against notorious gangsters, he expanded the judicial power of his government agency by infringing on the personal freedom of Americans.  He abided by the motto that sometimes you have to bend the rules in order to keep your country safe, and subsequently ordered surveillance on tens of thousands of citizens suspected of ‘subversive’ behavior (kind of reminds you of the patriot act, doesn’t it?) I wonder what he would have done with the Occupy Wall Street movement today. The image of the controversial law enforcer has always been a popular theme of entertainment and J. Edgar sits in good company.

The Tough Law Enforcer

Harry Callahan in Dirty Harry (1971) –  A long time ago, Clint Eastwood was the icon of law enforcers. He brought his strong silent type demeanor from his Westerns to 1970′s San Francisco. Harry Callahan didn’t care too much about personal freedom; everyone who got in the way of his investigation suffered the consequence, usually a violent one. Rules and policies meant nothing to Harry, he fought the system that prevented him from catching his culprits. Luckily for us, and him, his gut instinct was usually right.

The Clever Law Enforcer

Jimmy Doyle in The French Connection (1971)Gene Hackman plays a different kind of tough guy than Clint. He doesn’t look as intimidating, and his flaws are more apparent, but like his monosyllabic counterpart, he does not give up until he gets his man. Out in the same year, both movies are considered groundbreaking in the crime genre and very influential, but also controversial for siding with the ‘fascist cop’. Hoover died about six months after the films were released, so he may have missed them but he would have definitely liked both.

The Corrupt Law Enforcer

Vic Mackey in The Shield (2002 – 2008) – It seems that Vic Mackey learned a lot from J. Edgar, Harry Callahan and Jimmy Doyle; he also took it to the next level. From the shocking first episode of this crime hit TV series we see Mackey at his worst. The great thing about this series is that you understand the motives behind most of his choices. The series shows both the good and the bad sides of the character, depicting the perfect image of a corrupt cop while also delivering exciting action and great suspense.

Against the Rules

Jimmy McNulty in The Wire (2002 – 2008) – A constant troublemaker, McNulty breaks all the rules, and is then surprised when the consequences arrive. His partner, Bunk, tries telling him “not to give a f*** when it ain’t his turn,” but will he listen?  Of course not. McNulty is only content when he has a target to chase. The problem is that reality does not align with his plans, and politics and personal interests often leave him frustrated, and this leads him to create even more trouble. Whatever you have to say about McNulty, he was ‘good police’. But since McNulty’s loyalty was only to himself, Hoover would have fired him long ago.

Facing a moral dilemma

Cristi in Police, Adjective (2009) – Warning; this film is not for everyone. It is slow, and almost nothing ever happens. But, there’s a reason for the dullness – which is interspersed with great moments of subtle humor and intimacy. The story is about an undercover Romanian police detective in charge of bringing down a very low level marijuana dealer. He follows him around, and realizes the futility of his assignment. But his superiors do not see eye to eye with him, and force him to take him down. What will he do?

The Witty Law Enforcer

Columbo (1971 – 1990) – “Oh, there’s just one more thing…” That was Columbo’s method. When the suspect thinks he’s in the clear and puts his guard down, our likeable detective presents him with the question that is supposed to test his innocence. The one unexpected and crucial question he wanted to ask him, in his otherwise run of the mill interrogation. Columbo’s character and wit are what made the series so entertaining for so long. Peter Falk’s interpretation of the now legendary detective was so exact and timely which is what made the actor so synonymous with his character.

The Cynical Law Enforcer

Dr. Eddie ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald in Cracker (1993 – 1996) –   This masterpiece of a TV series presented us with a different kind of detective. Whereas Columbo was an all around good guy, Fitzgerald had a serious gambling addiction, he could not stay faithful, and he was definitely not something to look at. He was a criminal psychologist, and would prance around with his psychological ideas about criminals in an environment that did not welcome intellectuality, thus evoking antagonism from fellow coworkers. But, by using wit and intelligence as a weapon against coworkers and suspects alike, he succeeded to have things done his way. I suspect J. Edgar and Fitz would have gotten into a fist fight very quickly.

Facing corruption

Javier Rodriguez in Traffic (2000) – The multiple stories depicted in Steven Soderbergh’s Oscar Winning crime drama are used to show us all the sides affected by the war on  drug dealing – from the politicians high in the food chain, the dealers and the junkies, to the actual source – MexicoAmerica’s southern neighbor has always been one of its most prominent suppliers of drugs, and the situation near the border has only deteriorated; no one really knows what the solution is. Benicio Del Toro’s character is the only one really trying to put his job ahead of personal interests, but his quest faces many obstacles.

The Undercover Agent

Chen Wing Yan in Infernal Affairs (2002) – The first movie in the great Hong Kong crime trilogy is a captivating watch from start to end. Our protagonist is an undercover agent who infiltrated the Hong Kong underworld. The problem is, the criminals learned this trick, and planted an undercover crook in the police force. Tony Leung’s character is the honest law enforcer trying to do the right thing in face of terrible odds. Martin Scorsese’s remake The Departed was good, but didn’t really come close to this near masterpiece.

The Strong Female Presence

DCI Jane Tennison in the Prime Suspect series (1991 – 2006) – Helen Mirren stars in this BAFTA award winning series about the first female Detective Chief Inspector to lead her own murder investigation. Because of that she has to solve her cases while constantly fighting the male dominated system. Mirren is of course fantastic in her role, and the series gives us an interesting take on mystery crime dramas. A woman law enforcer?? Hoover probably would have laughed at that concept.

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