Friday, July 24, 2015

Don't Blame Vince for True Detective's Woes

Full Disclosure: I'm a big Vince Vaughn fan.  I believe he has serious chops in addition to his obvious gift for comedy.  I thought he was really good in both The Cell and Return to Paradise and I definitely have a lot of love for Clay Pigeons.  When it comes to the comedy, I probably dig this dude more than anyone else in the laugh business these days, but that's another story.  All of this brings me to the second season of True Detective on HBO, which has been a moderately entertaining disappointment thus far--and we're skating downhill at this point.  Now, I saw this coming, so I'm not as distraught as some of the show's biggest critics.  Did anyone really think there was anything they could do to top last year's kooky Bayou blitz?  I sure as hell didn't.  That plot was golden and we got Woody Harrelson at his steady best getting absolutely blown away by Matthew McConaughey as he hit new levels of creepy cool.  There was no way that Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, and Taylor Kitsch were going to match that shit.  Now, Farrell has been awesome as a slimy cop on the take, McAdams has excelled with her sex-obsessed hothead detective, and Kitsch isn't necessarily mucking things up as a gay homophobe with a death wish (if you don't like my description of the character, please give me a better one).  Yet at their very best, none of these cats stood a chance of going toe to toe with Mad McConaughey. 

Anyway, the show hasn't lived up to expectations and I've read a lot of bad press regarding Vince Vaughn as the heavy.  Some seem to think that he is largely to blame for the fact that this season is a far cry from the glory of that marvelous first season, one of the best seasons of television ever produced.  Look, whatever shortcomings the show has, it isn't on Vince.  Some of his dialogue has been a bit overwrought (his basement monologue was certainly uneven in spots), but I think he's killing it.  There's definitely a The Long Good Friday vibe to his mobster who wanted to go legit only to get forced back into the game in a big way, but the role remains fresh and I think his arc is the best thing about this season of True Detective.  I like the cops, but I would watch this show if it was strictly centered on Vaughn's character.  Frank Semyon is a manipulative bastard who is fully capable of getting his hands dirty, but he's mostly successful at masking his destructive prowess, and at his best he is actually a warm and charismatic human being.  As his best laid plans continue to unravel, I find myself rooting for the guy even though he deserves exactly what's coming to him. 

In closing, the second season of True Detective isn't as good as the first one.  It isn't really all that close, but shame on those who thought that wouldn't be the case.  Regardless, it's a solid show and the talent is delivering the goods, particularly Vince Vaughn, who is stealing the show in a rare non-comedic role.  Dude is money.  That's my take, anyway.  Let me know if you disagree.

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