First of all, I’d just like to say that it’s cruel of both “True Blood” and “Mad Men” to air new episodes on the same night as the Emmy Awards, especially when neither show is sending out advance screeners anymore. Yes, I’m a big whiner, and I don’t care. It’s 11 PM, the Emmys have just wrapped up, and now I’ve got to go blog both shows. I’m sorry, but there’s no way around it: this sucks.
Okay, enough of my bitching. Let’s talk about the Emmys.
As far as I’m concerned, Jimmy Fallon did a fine job as host. The “Glee”-inspired opening segment was awesome: Jon Hamm ruled that bit with his sweet-ass dance moves, but Joel McHale leaping in front the camera was pretty awesome, too, and once they switched over to the live performance, I laughed out loud at just how happy Randy Jackson seemed to be to get to play in front of the audience. Sometimes you forget that the guy’s got some serious studio-musician street cred.
The minstrel-in-the-aisles bit was hit or miss, but Stephen Colbert was hilarious, and I was pleasantly surprised at Kim Kardashian’s performance. Jimmy’s quick quip at Conan’s expense was pretty funny, too. I wasn’t as big a fan of the farewells to “24,” “Law & Order,” and “Lost,” mostly because all I could think was, “This kind of takes away from the seriousness of the farewells to the folks in the industry who really have died.” The segment with the “Modern Family” cast meeting with the network was hysterical, though.
Okay, before we really get rolling on this week’s “Mad Men” blog, I really think we should start things off in much the same way that tonight’s episode did: by reminding the world just how incredibly hot Ann-Marget was in the early ’60s.
I mean, seriously, was she smoking or what?
It’s no wonder that Peggy immediately slid into catfight mode with that comment about how, if the client was looking for someone like Kim McAfee (Ann-Margret’s character from “Bye Bye Birdie”), they were looking for someone who’s 25 but acts 14. It was a hilariously bitchy line, almost as funny as Sal’s character-perfect reaction when the clip ended. This obviously isn’t the first time Peggy’s been so annoyed by the goings-on within Sterling-Cooper that she’s stepped out of her comfort zone and tried to be someone that she really isn’t, but, wow, her attempts to duplicate Ms. Margret’s moves and vocal stylings made for some highly uncomfortable viewing. Nonetheless, she at least ended up feeling sufficiently empowered to go out for a one-night stand with a hyper-excited college boy.
No surprise, though, that she slowed down his base-running – as well she should have, since he was clearly headin’ for home plate at a fast clip – in order to avoid a possible repeat of the Pete Campbell situation. As she slipped out of bed in a failed attempt to avoid a walk of shame, I couldn’t help but notice just how much more attractive Peggy looks when she’s out of her work clothes…but, then again, you could probably say that about most women.
Honestly, there was nobody more excited than me by the prospect of experiencing a “lost” Hal Ashby film. He directed some of the best – “Harold and Maude,” “The Last Detail,” “Shampoo,” “Coming Home,” and “Being There” and when it was announced that Jon Voight had discovered a longer cut of this nearly forgotten Ashby offering that he felt placed it among the greats, there was reason to get one’s hopes up. Unfortunately, it is not one of the greats. It’s not terrible by any means, but it’s also not comparable in quality and vision to any of the aforementioned films. Voight stars as a fast (but not smooth) talking gambler who’s in over his head. He and his buddy, played by Burt Young, head to Vegas (where else?) to fix their situation. Once they arrive, they meet an old friend of Voight’s (Ann-Margret), and he may be the father of her child. Is it just me, or does all of this sound old hat? With some tweaking, it didn’t have to be.
The biggest problem with “Lookin’ to Get Out!” is not the hackneyed premise but, rather, the execution of it. The entire affair is dialed far too much in the direction of comedy, and the laughs either aren’t funny or just don’t work. For instance, there’s a wacky chase through a casino that kicks off the third act that’s painfully overlong and soaked with a dreadful ‘80s synth track (as is much of the film). If the whole thing had just been shifted into a slightly more dramatic direction, it likely would’ve played much better, as is evidenced by the few scenes where Voight gets to play some genuine pathos. His work is generally pretty good here, even if the material isn’t, and it’s certainly a much different Voight than we’re used to seeing. (Keep an eye out for the screen debut of a very young Angelina Jolie in the film’s final scenes.) It’s difficult to recommend to anyone who isn’t a student of Ashby, and yet, despite its problems, fans of the maverick director could do a lot worse than to at least check it out.