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Shameless – A Show You Should Be Watching (But Probably Aren’t)

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It’s no secret, the writers of Rock Paper Watch are all TV junkies. While there are shows that the three of us watch together, each writer also has their personal favorites. Starting a new blog series titled “A Show You Should Be Watching (But Probably Aren’t),” here are a couple of reasons why you should join us in our Shameless guilty pleasure viewing.

As unfortunate as it is, Shameless often gets overlooked among the prestige of Sunday-night television. It lacks the esteem of Mad Men, the following of Girls, and the twists and turns of True Detective. When it debuted in 2011 it was considered a dark comedy closely tied to the UK original of the same name. The show follows a family of misfits, The Gallaghers, and the debauchery that ensues as they try to make ends meat using any means necessary. It’s easy to tune-in just to see what The Gallaghers will do next since it often involves sex, drugs, violence, and theft. But somewhere in the midst of the craziness, Shameless created a genuine and sympathetic young cast of characters desperately looking for a way to survive their self-destructive behavior.

shameless-406-recap-showtimeWilliam H. Macy as Frank

The magic of Shameless is in it’s growth. On Sunday night, it wraps up its fourth, and easily best, season. When the show began, it was a guilty pleasure, raunchy comedy. Now, it’s a heart wrenching story of a family struggling with addiction. The family patriarch, Frank (William H. Macy) has for four seasons been drinking himself into oblivion. That oblivion finally arrived when this year he discovered he needed a new liver. Frank has been mostly unconscious this season, giving us plenty of time to focus on his childrens’ struggles.

shameless-407-recapEmmy Rossum as Fiona

In the previous seasons, the eldest daughter, Fiona (Emmy Rossum), has been the pillar of strength for the Gallagher clan. With their drunk and disorderly father and MIA mom, Fiona stepped into the parent role and became the legal guardian of her five siblings. Prior to this season, we watched Fiona work dead-end job after dead-end job to make ends meat and have enough food to make the kids’ lunches every morning. At the end of season three, Fiona finally gets a decent job with a cup company and things are looking up for the Gallaghers. That bliss is short lived as season four starts Fiona’s fast and dramatic downward spiral (similar to that of her father’s). She is arrested when Liam (Brennan Kane Johnson & Blake Alexander Johnson), her four year old brother, ingests her cocaine. The cocaine that was given to her by her boss/boyfriend’s brother, Robbie, who she was also sleeping with. So in one mass sweep, she loses her job, her life, and the family loses its stability. Fiona avoids serious jail time by pleading guilty for child endangerment and is put on probation. Where we stand now, Fiona is facing a ninety-day prison sentence after a night long bender with Robbie and his friends, breaking her probation. Fiona’s self-destructive behavior is a result of her not knowing who she is anymore, she can’t find a job, the kids don’t need her, and she’s dealing with this paralyzing guilt. Much like her father, instead of facing her own problems, she goes on a binge. Can Fiona make it through this?

shameless-lipJeremy Allen White as Lip

The show’s amazing storytelling is, in no small part, due to the amazing performances of it’s younger cast. Over the years, these actors have grown beautifully into their characters making season four it’s best yet. The eldest Gallagher son, Lip (Jeremy Allen White) is the family genius. In past seasons, we’ve seen Lip use his intelligence to mastermind quick money-making schemes. But this season Lip is off at college and actually having to work for his grades to maintain his scholarship, as well as act as the responsible Gallagher during Fiona’s downward spiral.

shameless-411-recap-showtimeCameron Monaghan as Ian and Noel Fisher as Mickey

Next in the line, is Ian (Cameron Monaghan). Ian has been labeled as a “unique” gay character for television. In the first few seasons, he’s mostly in the closet and in a secret relationship with the neighborhood thug, Mickey Milkovich (Noel Fisher). Ian and Mickey are both scared, oppressed boys who are just as likely to throw punches out of frustration as they are to be affectionate towards each other. In an effort to preserve his masquerade of being straight, Mickey marries a Russian prostitute that is pregnant with his child at the end of season three. Ian runs away to the Army using Lip’s name. After going AWOL, Ian begins working in a gay-club and dabbling in prostitution. Mickey takes it upon himself to find Ian and is emerged into the affluent gay scene of Chicago. There, he can kiss Ian in public without fear. During Sunday night’s episode, in a moment that had fans cheering, Mickey came out to his homophobic father. What should have been a depressing and disturbing scene of a father beating the life out of his son, was ultimately uplifting as Ian stepped in to defend Mickey. In the end, broken and bloody, the boys shared a sweet kiss and smile in relief.

Shameless-Season-4-Episode-3-Recap-and-Review-Like-Father-Like-Daughter-22Emma Kenney as Debbie and Ethan Cutkosky as Carl

That brings us to Debbie (Emma Kenney) and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky). The middle Gallaghers are often overlooked in the chaos but this season has had poignant storylines and plenty of depth for both characters. For Debbie, she’s trying desperately to navigate being a teenage girl, which let’s admit is the worst. She has found two friends that glamorize sexual promiscuity. That’s so out of character for Debbie she doesn’t know how to act. When her efforts to be promiscuous lead to bullying, she finds herself feeling lost and confused. Carl takes it on himself to find Frank an organ donor. When his efforts are replaced by Frank’s long lost daughter Sammi (Emily Bergl) he seeks out affection by finding the Bonnie to his Clyde. Ah, teenage love. There’s nothing like it. Now add-in robbing convenience stores at gunpoint and you’ve got Carl in season four.

With the conclusion of Shameless season four happening Sunday, April 6 at 9pm, I’m desperate to see what’s next for the Gallagher family and you should be too. Now that Frank has a new liver, will he get his act together? How will Fiona handle prison? Will Lip be able to juggle his familial responsibilities and college life? We know better than to expect a happily ever after for Ian and Mickey, but will this couple last? What’s next for Debbie? And will Carl be the youngest Gallagher in prison?


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Downton Abbey 4×1: Welcome back to the land of the living, Lady Mary.

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Are you one of the 10.9 million viewers (making it the highest-rated premiere for a drama in PBS history) that tuned in for the season 4 premier of Downton Abbey this past Sunday? Up from last years premier (7.9 million viewers) we can certainly say the death of Matthew Crawley brought in some anxious viewers wondering how Lady Mary and the rest of Downton house would cope with the loss. After a two hour episode, we had quite a lot happen in the house, so lets hit the main plot points.

We return to Downton 6 months later, where Mary is playing the depressed widow card after the loss of her beloved Matthew. In turn, the estate is in turmoil over who will be next in line to run Downton. Lord Grantham is (of course) back in command of Downton and on a roll to figure out who will get Matthews portion of the estate. He doesn’t know much, but he does know his daughter needs time to mourn and not deal with such a petty matter as this.

As a viewer, it was really hard for me to watch him throw her to the curb like that. Lady Mary is such a strong character and to see him take advantage of his daughters weakness sort of irked me. Alas, send in Violet and Carson to the rescue!

“Mary, you’ve gone through hideous time. But now you must remember your son. He needs you very much,” she says. “The fact is. You have a straightforward choice before you. You must choose either death or life.”

Its like she knew it worked before she left the room. Oh, Professor Mcgonagall Dowager Countess, you’re the grandmother we’ve all dreamed of.

The next day Lady Mary arrive at luncheon sporting a purple dress, clearly step forward in the right direction. Tom takes Mary’s initiative and runs with it. He knows she is a big player at Downton and needs her if they are to continue to move forward with the changes Matthew had in mind.

In the meantime, Robert receives a package of the late Mr. Crawley’s personal items. Enclosed he finds a letter, a letter that informally bestows everything he has to Mary. Not wanting to upset Mary, Robert thinks it best he doesn’t show Mary so he doesn’t upset her anymore than she already is. Obviously, its because he doesn’t want to give up control. Again to the rescue, Violet sets here son straight and Robert gives the letter to Mary.

“When you talk like that I’m tempted to ring for nanny and have you put to bed with no supper.”

HAHAHA #CLASSIC

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After the letter is deemed legit, Mary has a moment of weakness and runs to Carson to reassure her that she is a badass and has the lady balls to run Downton. (Obviously in a more appropriate way) I have to say, some of my favorite moments on Downton Abbey are shared between Carson and Lady Mary.

The two episodes had very strong main plot line but there were too many small plot lines that took up the brunt of the show. I’m fairly certain they could have compartmentalized the two episodes into one.

What did you think of this weeks episode? Do you miss Lady Mary and Matthew? Personally I think Lady Mary is on to bigger and better things (Carrie and Quinn) but thats just me. 🙂

See you next week ladies and gents!

-Cousin Rose: When is she getting knocked up out of wedlock? Come on, we all know its coming. #SCANDAL

-Thomas, you’re an asshole with the whole Anna thing. But you redeemed yourself with Nanny West. So there….we’re even.

-Did anyone tell Mrs. Patmore to read the instructions on the mixer?

-Edith, can I have your new wardrobe? Also, I don’t think the family is going to approve or your married, future German citizen boyfriend.

-Tom, marry me.


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‘House of Cards’ Season 2 Trailer Analysis – Frank vs. the world

Let the binge watching commence! Starting February 14th, ‘House of Cards’ sophomore season will be available for streaming on Netflix. Forget the chocolates, what more could you want for Valentine’s Day? The season two trailer premiered today, so let’s dive in!

House of Cards Season 2

House of Cards Season 2

The season starts with Frank Underwood taking his oath as Vice President with Claire and Doug proudly at his side. Mirroring the President’s inauguration in season 1, Frank breaks the third wall saying, “One heartbeat away from the Presidency and not a single vote cast in my name. Democracy is so overrated.”

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“Let’s start this new chapter with a clean slate,” Frank says to Claire.  Do they really think that’s going to happen?

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Our first glimpse at a new ‘House of Cards’ character!  She shows up a few times in the trailer leading me to believe she’s going to a big deal, any guesses?

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“The Vice President just took office, I can’t have this conspiracy stuff going mainstream,” says Doug.  Conspiracy? Uh oh, does someone know how Frank really won the Vice Presidency.

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Can’t have it going mainstream? Too late. “The connections are troubling, especially Underwood,” says a television correspondent. It looks like Frank’s first fight will be with the media and their conspiracy theories.

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“So this goes all the way to the White House,” replies the anchor. “It might,” confirms the correspondent. It seems like it’s time for Frank to cover his tracks, enter Zoe.

House of Cards Season 2“I need for you to delete all of our phone history,” says Frank. “You want me to just walk away? Act as if I don’t know anything.” Clearly, Zoe is against him too.

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With Tusk (Major Dad) orchestrating the President’s moves from behind the scenes, confrontation with Frank is inevitable. “He’s convincing the President to change his mind,” says Frank. “You would be making a disastrous mistake,” declares Tusk.

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“I feel like I’m losing control of my own goddamn administration,” says the President, obviously caught in the crossfire between Tusk and Frank.  It’s important to note that Michael Gill, who plays President Garrett Walker was promoted to series regular for season 2.

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In probably the most chilling scene of the trailer, Frank and Claire stand casually in their kitchen discussing (most likely) Tusk. “He’s a dangerous man,” says Claire. “I want him obliterated,” replies Frank. “More than that, let’s make him suffer,” Claire says calmly.  At this, Frank speaks to the audience, “I don’t know whether to be proud or terrified.” They really are the best couple on TV, like the new Coach and Mrs. Taylor.

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Now Claire sits in an interview, “Some people think that your marriage may be a bit more calculated than you let on.” Ya think?

In these quickly moving scenes, we see a few more cast members that have been promoted to recurring:

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Remy Danton, lobbyist for SanCorp and Frank’s former protege, played by Mahershala Ali.

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Adam Galloway, Claire’s once lover and a consistent supporter of her nonprofit, played by Ben Daniels.

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Freddy, barbecue genius, played by Reg E. Cathey also seems to be playing a much bigger role this season. “They done stepped on the wrong motherf***ing rattle snake,” he growls in the trailer as Frank declares “We have to strike back hard and fast.”

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“I told you to stop back channeling,” says the President. “I can turn this around sir,” replies Frank. Here’s where things get interesting as the cover-up conspiracy thickens.

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“I think he’s setting her up,” says Lucas. My theory here is that Lucas believes Frank is setting up Zoe to take the fall for something. Perhaps, for what happened to ill-fated Peter Russo. “I know how to handle him,” insists Zoe.  But do you really?

We then see Frank teaming up with Remy.”You trying to send a message?,” asks Remy. “Stubbornness is far more costly than obedience,” replies Frank. This could be directed towards Zoe, Janine, and Lucas.

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We’ve got another new character for season 2 played by Jimmi Simpson.

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What are our journalists after? “I’m looking for Rachel Posner,” says Zoe, as in the hooker used to set up Russo last year. Yes, it does seem that the journalists are close to unraveling Frank’s web of lies. Also, is that Janine and Rachel hooking up? Innnntersesting.  I guess Zoe isn’t the only one that can sleep with her source.

House of Cards Season 2

“You let me know if anyone contacts you,” Doug tells Rachel.  Then we see the FBI showing up at Janine’s front door, obviously there to shut her investigation down at Frank’s bidding.

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“You cannot run away from this,” says Lucas. “He’s got power. He’s got a lot to lose. And he’s winning,” says Janine emotionally, as Frank extinguishes a birthday candle with his fingers.

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Zoe and Frank meet in the middle of the night, and Frank is in costume! “I need to know that I wasn’t a part of someone’s…” “Finish your thought,” says Frank. “…a part of someone’s murder,” says Zoe. Again, does Zoe know how to handle Frank? I don’t think anyone really does, except for Claire of course.

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Janine must have gotten to Rachel, here she is holding a knife to Doug’s throat. It seems that everyone is cracking under the pressure of what happened to Russo.

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Then we begin a series of powerful one-liners from Frank, Claire, and Zoe about exposure, enemies, and trust with their title cards before the trailer quickly wraps up in these scenes:

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Who is this guy?! And why does he have a bag over his head and appear to be tied up? Is ‘House of Cards’ about to get real kinky?

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Anthrax, never a good time.

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And probably my favorite part, Frank is eating dinner at Tusk’s home.  He angrily picks up his steak and throws it into the pool for the dog. Have you ever seen a dog with that much glee?

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The trailer ends with one last reminder from Frank, “There is but one rule, hunt or be hunted. Welcome back.”

And it is good to be back indeed! In the trailer we see Frank going after the media, Tusk, Zoe, Janine, Lucas, Rachel, and the President.  I can’t wait to watch this all go down.  Sign into Netflix February 14th and don’t make plans to leave your couch, it’s going to be a good weekend. See below for he full trailer.


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12 Things We Loved About ‘The Hunger Games – Catching Fire’

‘The Hunger Games – Catching Fire’ hit theaters Friday and shattered November records making $161.1 million it’s debut weekend. As avid fans of the series, the writers of Rock Paper Watch are counting down the 12 things they loved about the second installment on the big screen.  This goes without saying but, SPOILERS ahead!  Let us know what you think.  Did this movie make up for the lackluster first? What did you think of JLaw? Team Peeta or Team Gale? Did the sight of Finnick make you swoon?

1.  Holy sh*t, she actually loves him

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The first movie missed the mark in showing the complexity of the Katniss/Peeta relationship. Catching Fire was spot-on. It made it clear that Katniss, even though she has feelings for Gale, also has feelings for Peeta. I would have appreciated more flirtation during training but the film made up for it in the arena. When Peeta “dies” after walking into a forcefield and is revived by Finnick, Jennifer Lawrence’s reaction was so intense it took your breath away.  And in case that wasn’t enough, the look on Finnick’s face after read, “holy sh*t, she actually does love him,” followed by Snow’s granddaughter saying, “I want to love someone that much.” And then there was that kiss on the beach, hot damn!

2.  The way Finnick drinks water

finnick hot You drink that water Finnick.

Guys, how perfect was Finnick? He was charming, seductive, and sly in the Capitol. In the arena he was a bit more sincere. My heart broke during the Mags and Annie scenes.  Still, everything he did had a hint of sexuality to it.  Well done, Sam Claflin, well done.

3.  Peeta mans up

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In the first movie and the books, Peeta is kind of wimpy.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m Team Peeta all the way but he kind of rides Katniss’ coattails. In the first movie, there was that awful, goofy camouflage scene. This time Peeta carries his own weight (literally, since Finnick never carries him away from the fog but rather they all lean on each other like a team).  He surprisingly kills a tribute during the chaos at the cornucopia and fights off monkeys and saves Katniss with a machete. And how adorable was that smirk after he drops the baby bomb. Get it done Peeta!

4.  Oh, the costumes

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I couldn’t have been more disappointed with the costumes from the first movie but boy, does Catching Fire make up for it.  Katniss’ wedding dress-turned-mockingjay was absolutely perfect, Finnick’s District 4 get-up was mouth-watering (ladies, did you see his neck?!) and Effie’s costumes were wildly fantastic.  It doesn’t hurt that the budget for the film expanded by more than $50 million.  Still, hats off to Cinna for working his magic with the Girl on Fire.  We couldn’t get enough of Jennifer Lawrence’s many, many wardrobe changes.

5.  Effie’s apology

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Throughout the film you see Haymitch, Peeta, Katniss, and Effie acting more like a team rather than a group thrown together by odds. When Effie decides they each need gold mockingjay tokens, your heart swells. The night before the games she delivers Peeta and Haymitch their tokens, a gold medallion and cuff respectively. She then sums up her disgrace in the games with a teary, heartfelt apology and farewell.  She says that they both deserve better than to be thrust into the arena again, and as a citizen of the Capitol, Effie’s apology speaks volumes.

6.  The announcement of the Quarter Quell

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In the book, when it’s announced that the tributes will be selected from each district’s existing pool of victors, readers only experience Katniss’ reaction. In the film, we see all three react in ways that are very genuine for each character. Katniss, knowing she’s automatically in since she’s the only female, runs to and collapses in the snowy woods.  Peeta gapes at the television in disbelief and sadness. Haymitch angrily throws is liquor at the television.  All in all, perfect.

7.  Johanna ‘Eff-ing’ Mason… Literally

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Could Jena Malone be anymore perfect? She’s come a long way since Stepmom. We meet Johanna after the chariot rides as she barges onto the elevator with Peeta, Haymitch, and Katniss.  Right after she enters she quickly begins stripping off her costume and noticeably flirting with Peeta right in front of Katniss and it is AMAZING. Her arrogance, her cheekiness, her wink towards Haymitch, all perfect. After that, it only gets better. During her interview, Caesar points out that she seems angry, not tearful she responds saying, “Well, yes. I’m angry. You know, I’m totally getting screwed over here. The deal was that if I win the Hunger Games, I get to live the rest of my life in peace. But now you want to kill me again. Well you know what? F*** THAT! AND F*** ANYONE THAT HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT!!” And that’s Johanna Mason, everybody. Brilliantly, the F-bombs were bleeped out since that’s what the Capitol would likely do during a broadcast.  Also, Malone’s chemistry with JLaw only makes me more excited for Mockingjay.

8.  The Victors Village (Its just the way we imagined it)

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Throughout both movies, one of the things I couldn’t get over is how they nailed it with the way I envisioned the sets. Specifically, the Victors Village. Everything about the village says opulence, however, it had this dingy feeling of death about it, almost as if it served a reminder of how the victors had arrived. One of the scenes I was looking forward to the most was the confrontation between President Snow and Katniss in the library of the new victor’s home. I envisioned it to be very cold and stark with lots of dark wood, very “President Snow.” The room set up an ominous feeling for the very cold relationship that is to come between Katniss and President Snow.

9.  Plutarch as the new Gamemaker

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Does Philip Seymour Hoffman ever disappoint?  We loved his portrayal of Plutarch Heavensbee, the new Gamemaker brought in to replace the late Seneca Crane.  Hoffman was in a tough position since book-readers already know his role in the story.  Yet he still played a convincing double agent.  Posing as the top Games advisor, he carefully manipulated President Snow without giving even the slightest hint that he was in fact a conspirator for the rebellion.  Hell, I even questioned his intentions for District 12’s survival when he bellowed “Change it up.  Spin it!” and I read the book twice!  Props to Hoffman for his dynamic performance, and his decision to dress Plutarch in a more subdued manner.

10. The Arena and it’s little horrors

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This time around, you could say the ante was upped with the games and the chaos that came along with it. Poisonous fog, crazed monkeys, jabberjays, blood baths of rain, rotating cornucopias. I was a little nervous as to how they were going to go about some of these, specifically the poisonous fog, but the execution was perfect. I mean, who didn’t feel their skin bubble up when Katniss touched the fog and screamed in pain. I sure did.

11.  Nuts and Volts

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I’m currently watching Jeffrey Wright wreak havoc on Boardwalk Empire.  When I realized he was Beetee, I was a little nervous.  Would I be able to disassociate the heroine slinging Dr. Narcisse and believe he’s a tribute in the arena?  The answer was… Narcisse who?  Jeffrey Wright was sensational as the wiry and brilliant tribute from District 3.  It didn’t matter to us that Wright didn’t 100% fit the bill for Beetee; he was witty and his timing was perfect.  Volts was every bit the teacher and techie that Katniss describes in the books.   Wiress, aka Nuts, the female tribute from District 3, was also a pleasant surprise.  I was worried that her “tick-tock, tick-tock” warnings to the other tributes would be too campy when we met her in training and she seemed to be, well, with it.  But, thankfully, Nuts went nuts in the arena and the end result was perfect.

12.  That perfect ending, a look that says it all

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Sadness…check.  Anger…check.  Despair…check.  Determination…check.  Loneliness…check.  These are just some of the emotions that Jennifer Lawrence packed into her final close-up, when she learns the extent of the rebellion and her role as the Mockingjay.  In the last minutes of the film, Katniss Everdeen learns that while her family is safe with her in District 13, the rest aren’t so lucky.  As Gale so gently puts it, “There is no District 12.”  While the scene was fantastic because it was a true adaptation from the book, Jennifer Lawrence took it to a whole new level when she delivered so many intense emotions in one look.  We know that YA films are usually overlooked by the Academy, but they just might have to reconsider after seeing Lawrence’s passionate performance.


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Weekly Netflix Recommendation – ‘The Fall’

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As three post college grads, we are constantly trying to find ways of entertaining ourselves on a budget…which led us to three pretty serious Netflix addictions. Netflix never fails to feed our addiction for finding movies we’ve never heard of, or filling our need to binge watch shows we missed or just want to relive.  Each week, RPW will be posting about their Netflix finds. We hope you enjoy!

After celebrating Halloween a little too hard Saturday night, I wanted nothing more than veg on my couch and binge watch something on Netflix.  After cracking open a bag of Halloween candy and ordering Chinese, I wanted something kind of scary.  That’s when I remembered a Q&A with Jamie Dornan, the new Christian Grey, I read about The Fall.

The five-episode series aired in the UK on BBC Two over the summer.  The show is classified as a psychological thriller and follows two “hunters.”  The first being Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), a bereavement counselor who stalks, torments, and eventually kills single, brunette, professional women in Belfast, Ireland.  Paul’s wife Sally (Bronagh Waugh) and their two young children are clueless to his double life.  The second hunter is female Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson), a Detective sent from the Metropolitan Police to review the investigation into the death of Alice Monroe, the daughter-in-law of a powerful politician (and Spector’s latest victim).

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Mostly, I started the show because I was curious about Dornan’s acting abilities.  I tuned-in for his brief stint on ABC’s Once Upon a Time and heard that his acting in this show was phenomenal.  It was.

His portrayal of Spector is haunting to say the least.  Dornan plays Spector as  a charming family man and adorable flirt then, as if on a dime, his entire face changes and he becomes a chilling, ruthless killer.  As you watch, Spector lurks in the shadows of women’s apartments and homes, taunts the police, and openly fantasizes about torturing women yet you find yourself hoping he doesn’t get caught.  It’s a delicate balance and Dornan does it beautifully.  He’s so believable that he gave my poor roommate nightmares (consider that a warning).

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On the other side of the coin, Gillian Anderson plays Gibson as a strong, independent woman.  For the detective, men are playthings.  She shows little emotion throughout the series, except when she finds herself relating the mind of the killer she’s chasing.  As she heads the task force set out to capture Spector you start to see her walls crack but she never falters.

The format of the show is set up so that one scene is from Spector’s perspective and the next from Gibson’s.  The show really shines, when the scenes intertwine.  For example, something is said in Gibson’s dialogue and the same language will show up in Spector’s scene.  The writing is superb.  The filmography is brilliant.  The camera captures the pyschological viewpoint with odd angles and quick transitions.

If you have a free afternoon, check out The Fall on Netflix and join the rest of us as we eagerly await season two, due next summer.


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Fifty Shades of Grey – Our hopes for the total Christian Grey ‘package’ deal

In the book, Christian is described as tall, slim yet muscular, and broad-shouldered.  He has dark copper-colored hair and “smoldering” gray eyes. Anastasia describes him saying, “He is not merely good looking – he is the epitome of male beauty, breathtaking.”  Although he is only 27-years-old, Christian is incredibly successful and intimidating.  The character seems wiser than his years through his sophisticated speech and demeanor.  In the film adaptation, Ana will be portrayed by Dakota Johnson.  Charlie Hunnam was originally cast as Grey but after much backlash from fans, Hunnam dropped out due to “scheduling conflicts.”  After hearing the news of Hunnam’s departure and a brief celebration, we began our list of possible replacements.  Who do you hope to see in the Red Room of Pain?

Current Rumors

Jamie Dornan

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Pro:  He’s gorgeous.  He looks like how I always imagined Christian Grey to look:  smoldering, delicate, and a little scary. With his British background, he’ll be able to pull off the signature Christian dialogue.  And, judging by his modeling portfolio he’s not afraid of a little nudity, HELLO!

Con:  Does he have the acting chops to pull off Grey’s cold but vulnerable demeanor?  Other than his brief stint on Once Upon a Time, American audiences don’t really know Dornan.  With the Charlie Hunnam backlash in mind, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Billy Magnussen

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Pro: He has the “large” resume under his belt. (Pun intended?) Broadway, TV and Movie experience, something the other contenders are sorely lacking.

Con: Magnussen has Abercrombie written all over him. He’s too clean cut, too blonde and too pale. Some would argue its nothing a dye job and tan couldn’t fix, but I don’t imagine this all american guy dirtying up his look for the role of Christian Grey.

Theo James

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Pro:  James is relatively unknown besides a few appearances on the small screen.  However, there is a lot of talk around his upcoming performance in the YA movie Divergent.

Con:  First of all, he’s too blonde.  Secondly, he’s too committed to Divergent.  The series is three books long and with the first installment set to release in the spring, there’s too many scheduling conflicts for James to agree to take the lead in another book to film adaption.

Alexander Skarsgard

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Pro: He’s Alexander Skarsgard, sex symbol extraordinaire. For the last six seasons, Skarsgard has played the hunky and brooding Eric Northman on True Blood. We have no doubts he could fill the shoe’s of Grey, plus, he’s not afraid of a little full frontal on the big screen.

Con: Blonde, Pale, Swedish. Also, he has a few too many years on him to fill the role. Not that we are complaining, he’s still beautiful in our eyes.

RPW Recommendations

Ben Barnes

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Pro:  The whole time I was reading Fifty I pictured Ben Barnes in the role.  I have no clue why and I think I’ve only seen Barnes in one movie, ever, but for some reason he’s got the look.  Also, Barnes has the acting resume to bring experience to the film, which might be valuable against Dakota Johnson.  He’s never broken out as a leading man, could Grey be his chance?

Con:  He’s gone relatively unnoticed by Fifty fans, so its unlikely that they will support his casting.  Also, his stance on nudity is unclear.

Alex Pettyfer

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Pro: I’m a firm believer in the jaw line, (Can I get an amen?) and he’s already been tested for the role. As confirmed in last summer’s Magic Mike, we know Pettyfer is willing to take it off for the big screen, so, no issues there.

Con: He didn’t get the role the first time around. Something says the forces of the universe are battling against this one.

Rupert Friend

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Pro:  Um, hello?  Did you see our current Monday Man Candy post?  I just want to lick his jawline and if I can’t, I’m okay with Dakota Johnson doing it for me.  Also, he’s a pro at the smoldering gaze, mmmmm.

Con:  The film seems a little “beneath” him.  He’s one of the better known actors on the list and it sounds like the creators are looking for an unknown to avoid any upset.

Reader’s Choice

Ian Somerhalder

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Pro: I mean really, just do me now. Of course, thats what any the legions of fans would say that tune in every Thursday night to watch Somerhalder play the brooding, cocky and always delicious Damon Salvatore.

Con: According to James, Somerhalder has never even been considered for the role. (Whomp, Whomp, Whoooommpp)

Matt Bomer

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Pro:  Fans want him.  There’s a petition with over 40,000 signatures proving it.

Con:  Bomer isn’t interested.  While flattered by all the fan attention, he has explicitly stated that he has no interest in the role.

This list was constructed by Rock Paper Watch authors Elizabeth Bond and Ashley Foster.  Feel free to reach out with comments or questions.  Thanks for reading!


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The Civil Wars – Blood Will Be Spilled.

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It seems to be a very rare thing today in the music industry for a band to have the amount of chemistry as Joy Williams and John Paul White have. Sadly, that chemistry can come at a cost. In 2012, while riding the wave of success from Barton Hollow the band took a hiatus citing “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.” As we all know, some of the best bands will take a hiatus and come back better than ever, (Foo Fighters rings a bell) however, this hiatus seemed more of a break-up, break-up. After months of hoping, this spring the band went to Twitter to announce that they would be back in the late summer with a new album titled The Civil Wars. (Can’t say we didn’t see that one coming.) Needless to say, we here at RPW couldn’t be more excited about the news.

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The album speaks for itself as to what may or may not have happen with the band over the course of time that the album was being made. The lead single “The One That Got Away” released a few weeks back, oozes the palpable chemistry Williams and White share as two singers and songwriters…even if they can stand the sight of looking at each other. “I Had Me a Girl,” one of the toughest, more gritty songs the band has ever written, lends itself to probably the strongest track on the album. “Tell Mama” is one of the lighter tracks on the album (if there is such a thing) reminding us of the lighthearted days of Barton Hollow.

If there is a band out there we hope works the bad blood out of its system, its The Civil Wars. However, if blood must be spilled, we hope its in the form of a third album.

The Civil Wars is advanced streaming their sophomore album online for free. Check it out here. The album drops August 6th.


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The Weekly Netflix Recommendation

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Okay, Okay, Okay. I know, we’ve totally been slacking on the Weekly Netflix Post lately, but good news is, we’re back.

This week’s pick:

Orange is the New Black

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“Orange is the New Black is the story of Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a woman in her thirties who is sentenced to 15 months in prison after she is convicted of a decade old crime of transporting money for her drug dealing girlfriend (Laura Prepon).” -IMDB.com

Jenji Kohan is back and boy are we glad. If you, like us, have felt like there is a part of your soul missing without our weekly rendezvous with Nancy Botwin, you’re in luck. Kohan hit the nail on the dose of the crazy head yet again. Rather than sit here and discuss all the minute details of the show, I’m just going to go ahead and make your weekend plans for you. You, Netflix and 13 episodes of Comedic bliss….Saturday or Sunday your call. (I highly recommend a 12 pack of your favorite brew and a koozie to cozy up to as a welcomed guest.)

Here’s a quick breakdown of what makes us sad we have to wait a whole year for season 2.

The Supporting Cast.

Also, has anyone else noticed the resemblance between Crazy Eye’s and Roger from Sister, Sister?

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Prison is just like high school….but so much weirder.

All the Emotional Baggage

Will They? Won’t they? Are They? Aren’t They?

(This clip is a little long, but…enjoy the crazy!)

Not Up for Orange is the New Black? Here’s some other recommendations to get you through the week. (And a few to stay away from.)

  • House of Cards
  • New Girl
  • Everything Must Go

What to Avoid

  • The Paperboy
  • What to Expect When your Expecting
  • Jeff Who Lives at Home

Happy Watching!


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Another FNL Alum Joins Parenthood for Season 5

jessmerriweatherAnyone who knows me, knows that I am OBSESSED with Friday Night Lights.  I’ve watched the series in its entirety too many times to count and I really think the world would be a better place if everyone watched it.  Really, clear eyes full hearts can’t lose.

Naturally, I’m also a huge Parenthood fan.  I say “naturally” because the creator of FNL, Jason Katims, is the mastermind behind Parenthood.  The film styles and dialogue are similar, as well as the cast.

Speaking of the cast, Parenthood has added another FNL cast member to it’s spectacular line up.  Jurnee Smollett will be joining the team as Heather Hall, a smart, feisty, up-and-coming political dynamo who Kristina hires to be her campaign manager as she runs for local office.  Monica Potter, who plays Kristina, has been the focus of a lot of Emmy upset chatter and we agree!  Kristina’s battle with breast cancer was the focus of season 4 and it would have been great to see the show recognized for it’s talent.

Smollett joins previous Friday Night Lights cast mates Matt Lauria (also returning season 5), Minka Kelly, Michael B. Jordan, Derek Phillips, Angela Rawna and Jeff Rosick who have also appeared on the show.


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‘Firefly Lane’ and ‘Fly Away’ by Kristin Hannah Book Review

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That’s what your best friend is: a mirror.

Firefly Lane and Fly Away tell the story of two best friends, Tully Hart and Kate Mularkey, better known as TullyandKate.  We all have those friends that you can’t imagine life without.  I’m fortunate enough to have quite a few and this is the book I recommend to all of them because it is unbelievable.

In the summer of 1974 we meet Kate Mularkey, a social outcast in the brutal world of eighth-grade politics.  All that changes when the coolest girl in school, Tully Hart, moves across the street and wants to be friends.  On the surface, Tully seems to have it all together.  Deep down she’s a sweet young girl, desperate to be loved by the mother that abandoned her years ago.  They make a pact to be best friends forever and by the end of the summer they are inseparable.

The novel follows their friendship over the next three decades.  Tully, longing to be loved unconditionally looks for men and fame to fill the void left behind by her mother.  She follows her ambition around the world and quickly becomes the next young Barbara Walters.  Unfortunately, the cameras do nothing to comfort her loneliness.

In contrast, Kate wants nothing but an ordinary life.  In her own quiet way, Kate is just as driven as Tully.  As Tully watches, Kate becomes a wife and mother.  It changes Kate and eventually she feels like she loses sight of who she once was.  In return, she admires Tully and all of her fame with a little bit of envy.

The story follows their friendship through the highs and lows, through ultimate acts of betrayal and heartbreak.  In the end, something happens that completely shakes and rattles their world.  Fly Away, the sequel, tells the story of what happens after everything falls apart.