Ridley Scott is one of those overrated directors who, every once in a while, puts together a hard-edged, lean little film that just delivers the goods. The Counselor, unfortunately, isn't one of those efforts.
To advance social missions in particular, we need clear, concise, persuasive writing, and plenty of effective storytelling. Yet far too often we're boring, sappy, or uninspiring -- which is why we should all take some advice from Elmore Leonard.
This many years later, whenever I'm beginning to write anything new, whether it's an episode of a television series, or a new play, I'll often re-read one of Elmore's novels. For inspiration, and as a reminder of how it's done right.
When you work for The Huffington Post, your job is to cover breaking news, not cry over it. But that was my first impulse when I heard that Elmore Leonard, America's foremost mystery writer of the last century, had passed away at home Tuesday.
From Harlan County criminals like Ava to Lexington marshals like Rachel (Erica Tazel), the women on Justified are just as messy, complicated, and ultimately tough as the gun-slinging male leads. And we wouldn't want them any other way.
He's sung at the White House for the Obamas and has even been caricatured by Sardi's. So what hasn't he done? Something really weird! He's the only impressively credentialed Manhattan actor who's never appeared on Law and Order.
"Justified" makes the case that even people who make bad choices are worth spending time with -- if they have a code, if they have some kind of loyalty to the place they're from, if they have decent manners, damn it.
Justified is a rare treat, a show with subtle humor, humanity and flawed heroes and antiheroes that feel like real people. Coming off a phenomenal second season, it would have been easy for the show to drop the ball.