Monday, December 1, 2008

Mad Men

Alan Taylor, Tim Hunter, others; 2007 (8.4*)
Emmy - Best Drama Series
As tv series go, this one is both maddeningly slow (down one star for lacking intensity) yet insidiously addictive. The title is for "Madison Avenue Advertising Men", and the show centers around the Sterling Cooper ad agency in New York City around 1959. The actors look like 50's people, so do the costumes, the interiors, the furniture, even a grocery store - in short, the art direction is impeccable. In fact, the characters smoke in every scene (even the menu explodes into cigarette smoke on the dvd!), and drink constantly, so this is a better 50's show than any done back then, when these activities were forbidden. We also see people climbing into beds and couches together, and all the men seem to cheat. This is really an adult soap opera disguised as a drama about advertising, mass psychology, an era of excess, and a general lack of morality and responsibility.

John Hamm is the lead actor (and Golden Globe winner), as the handsome, virile, and unfaithful Donald Draper, and we slowly find that he has some major skeletons in his closet. His wife, January Jones, is a Grace Kelly-type former model, and the women in the ad offices "know how to fill out a dress", especially office manager Christina Hendricks, a redheaded, blue-eyed goddess. Don't expect lots of action here, but do expect lots of 50's style and mood. Won the Emmy for Best Drama Series in its first season, and is from AMC no less, not a major network.

Note: That older partner dude in his socks playing Sterling is Robert Morse, best known for the 50's musical comedy How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, so his casting here is a great film reference.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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