Saturday, August 29, 2009

Down in the Hole

When you walk through the garden
You gotta watch your back
Well I beg your pardon
Walk the straight and narrow track
Iff you walk with Jesus
He's gonna save your soul
You gotta keep the devil
Way down in the hole

He's got the fire and the fury
At His command
Well you don't have to worry
If you hold on to Jesus' hand
We'll all be safe from Satan
When the thunder rolls
Just gotta help me keep the devil
Way down in the hole

All the angels sing about Jesus' mighty sword
And they'll shield you with their wings
And keep you close to the Lord
Don't pay heed to temptation
For his hands are so cold
You gotta help me keep the devil
Way down in the hole

--- Tom Waits, "Way Down in the Hole"

I spent the better part of my downtime watching the complete five seasons of "The Wire" from HBO. It has been some three-odd years since I wanted to see the show, but of course it isn't available on Philippine TV (it took some time before local execs warmed up to "The Sopranos," and then again, still with heavy censorship), and I didn't have access to the DVDs. The show came highly recommended from some of my friends, though seriously I only picked up on it because two of my favorite sports bloggers, Bill Simmons and Jason Whitlock, dedicated an entire podcast to it in March 2008.

The show is gritty, grey, and heavy on realism. Policemen and criminals are treated humanly, i.e. the cops are not white knights and the crooks are not outright blackguards. The show started slowly because of the dense backstory and preparation for future events, but once things got together BAM! I was hooked. For several moments in the show I was waiting for some deus ex machina or some cheeseball endings or events (alright, I have to admit Omar Little's portrayal in Season Five was a bit of a stretch), but it never happened.

Bonus is that most of the guys are virtual unknowns outside of TV, though I recognized some guys like Dominic West (as the dickweed Theron in "300," playing Det. Jimmy McNulty), Larry Gilliard Jr. (as the sidekick to Sarah Michelle Gellar in "Simply Irresistible," playing D'Angelo Barksdale), Frankie Faison, Wood Harris (from "Remember the Titans," playing Avon Barksdale), and my personal favorite throughout the series, Idris Elba (various movies, but the one I remember best is "The Gospel"). Elba's Stringer Bell is, without doubt, one smooth mofo. I don't want to spoil the show for you, you've got to see it.

The haunting title track is amazing. I am seriously looking into starting a Tom Waits collection.

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