is paul cooney JUSTIFIED in hating the new t.v. show?

christopher funderburg, john cribbs & paul cooney

elmore leonard's JUSTIFIED

The Pink Smoke doesn't normally cover television, but when site favorites favorites Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins teamed up for a new cable-television show based on an Elmore Leonard short story we couldn't resist weighing in. Noted Gentleman of Leisure/water-sports enthusiast Paul Cooney saw the premiere and second episodes when they aired: he immediately warned Cribbs and Funderburg to cancel the viewing party they had schedule to catch both of those two initial episodes. What was Cooney's problem? Is he a negative jerk that thinks Eurotrip is worth remembering/referencing? Does he really believe that Sons of Tuscon shows more potential? Or is the show at fault? Is it a mish-mash of narrative inconsistency and general illogic? Or is it worth becoming the regular viewing? Is Paul Cooney Justified in hating the most critically acclaimed new show of the year?


paul cooney:

Don't read this until after the Justified Party, though I suggest you cancel it and watch Romy and Michelle's High School Renunion instead.

Why Episode 1 sucked:
Starts off nice with always bad ass Olyphant gunning down notorious movie bad guy: the bad guy in Blue Streak, belie dat, sadistic racist buggerer in Pulp Fiction, corrupt cop in Training Day, I'm sure they're have been others... Show quickly devolves into cliched crap as Olyphant is transferred by the stupid chief for daring to gun down an armed, notorious drug lord who did in fact draw first. Yeah right... cops can kill unarmed non-criminals essentially without repercussion, so I don't buy that shit at all... but fine they just want him to go back to KY

The chick... summer dress, porch, thick accent, offers him some traditional southern food in her languid come hither way... come on now.... are there any Southern chix actually like that? [you're already losing me, Paul. as someone who lived in Tennessee and Louisiana for almost half his life, I can assure you that there are many women that wear summer dresses, have Southern accents and eat fried chicken with yams - christopher]  Walton Goggins goin' bananas, blows up a church with a rocket launcher - is he in al qaeda?  Criminals do not blow shit up with rocket launchers... they especially don't do it in full view of witnesses as his partner in crime points out.

Then the fact that the authorities know Goggins is responsible for church bombings, bank jobs and drug dealing...but they can't bust him...cause "we need to catch him in the act" Really?  That's how law enforcement works?  And so do they tail him?  No... later we see Goggins and crew non-chalantly robbing a bank in the daytime!  no masks! seemed like a good time to catch him in the act...

Worst scene in whole show.: rednecks decide to ambush and murder several U.S. Marshals (not sure if that is good for business but whatever.) They let Olyphant's car go by (what was the plan exactly?) [to cut off his tactical support and let the other two dudes get the drop on him once he reaches the hostage lady's house! Also, didn't we once have a long conversation about the end of Predator where you were defending the crazy Predator-trap contraption that doesn't make sense. You, sir, are a hypocrite. - christopher] and start shooting with machine guns at the following marshals (why didn't they gun them down when they were on foot moments before?) S,o naturally Olyphant starts to go in reverse and you're thinking, "he's going to ram these fuckers from behind!" [I did think that - christopher] But then his phone rings and...HE CHECKS IT!  Really Olyphant?  Nothing more pressing?  The machine gun battle behind you doesn't have your full attention?  "ooo i'm expecting a text better check the old phone!"

it's the incredibly cool and collected marshal presently being shot at by two white supremacists with machine guns...i guess that happens to him all the time cause he doesn't seem all that put out..."Olyphant take off...we got this" Olyphant seems rightfully incredulous...

"you sure?  you're pinned down by machine gun fire...maybe i could stick around for 30 seconds to make sure you don't get killed"
"naw we got this"

Olyphant drives off!  Really?  I'm supposed to buy this????? Second marshal dude, also incredibly composed and flippant with machine gun fire riddling his car: "should i kill or wound him, lol!" Then the tiny black chick flanks the dudes and draws her two guns on them. "I probably don't have the strength to actually pull the triggers on these guns but freeze!" Worst scene ever!  Utterly ludicrous and stupid! I didn't buy one second of that nonsense

Then olyphant pops goggins in the chest but he lives and doesn't even seem hurt... really?  Point blank in the chest by a... 9mm or .45? Other marshal makes crack about Olyphant letting him live on purpose!  So, in a split second Olyphant knew his shot to the chest of a moving Goggins wouldn't hit his heart or blow through his spine. Good gravy! [thanks. it's just brown and water - christopher]

Next Episode:
Olyphant takes criminal from jail... no cuffs... let's him drive!  Olyphant aren't you putting citizens in danger?  Even if you can take him he controls the car on a public highway and could potentially kill man woman and child in another car. Sure enough he makes a move and Olyphant hits him and he swerves into oncoming lane. They could have killed a little girl in a head on collision, Olyphant!  All so you didn't have to drive and could text? Boy, he loves his fucking phone.

So the dude hides money in a housing complex being built 15 years before and.... huh?  Lucky for him the house he hid it in wasn't occupied. Lucky for them even though 3 break-in's occured in past few weeks there was no increased security or police. Bad dude # 2 shoots old guy in the gut, but doesn't kill him... umm aren't you afraid he can finger you now?  He could walk out and call an ambulance/cops. Which is essentially what he does. If you're going to shoot him in the gut you might as well make sure he's dead. Never did explain how bad dude #2 knew where the money was. [yes they did, it's your very next point - christopher] He didn't seem too bright. I don't buy the lightbulb "oh, the second school!" explanation [why not? - christopher]

Dude seems shocked that people are living in the house... it's only been 15 years! [no, no, no, that's not what happens at all. they're shocked because the house has a big fancy truck and jet-skis parked out front, like, "oh shit, those dudes in this middle-class house seem be spending above their means... like maybe they found the fucking money already" - christopher] Bad dude #2 ties them up and sniper who was Cooper in Eurotrip...(terrible casting...i don't buy that clown as a sniper)...says, "if he makes a threatening move, i get to shoot him" Moments later the bad guy shoots the civilian in the foot!  SHOOTS HIM!  Sniper does nothing!  Hey sniper, that might be your cue to take him out! Generally, when the bad guy starts shooting the civilians you act! Jeez Louise... Instead we get olyphant in bad ass talky mode. "We got a sniper blah blah..."

It's over, Johnny... Deadwood sucked and so does Justified... Thank god, I got death at a funeral coming up! belie dat!  martin lawrence!  luke wilson!  james marsden and his eyes acting up a fucking storm! Also Frieda Pinto rumored to be the next bond girl - that's awesome, just don't make her try to kick any ass: she's probably not even 100 pounds.


john cribbs:

Dear Livid in Lauderdale,

The party is over, our young Funderburg is driving back to his lovely preggo in the Bronx while I tend to my peeps in Poughkeepsie, home of the 30" pizza pie.

You make good and amusing points about the show, but I for one thoroughly enjoyed it! You mainly seem to have logic issues, but I leave my disbelief at the door like Olyphant leaves his ten gallon on the hat stand only for for the comeliest of lasses...

The Premiere...
All cop shows/movies need a stupid chief, am I wrong? Unless the hero is the chief, but that's probably a boring Robert Redford movie or something. Personally I would have preferred that Peter Greene had NOT been armed and Olyphant shot him anyway - that was some George Lucas crap there, with Greene drawing first. It would have been a more provocative opening, made Olyphant seem like a potential maniac cop, and justified (get it?) his being sent up Kentucky way. But whatever, I'm sure FX wouldn't have greenlit a show that starts with the hero shooting an unarmed man in a public setting, so no problem it's not a dealbreaker or anything.

I'm sure there are chicks like that in the south...who still blow their husbands away, somehow escape any kind of justice, and only complain about the post-murder clean-up! Come on, her dress and cooking were the biggest logical problem you saw in that character? That's some Elmore Leonard flair there my friend, the dixie minx in the summer dress fryin up some juicy chicken. Then later she rescues Olyphant with the shotgun - "do you always shoot a man when he's eating??" - good stuff.

I'm certain people in the south have southern accents. That's probably why they call those kind of accents "southern."

Goggins and the rocket launcher - as you pointed out, the other guy points out the witnesses, "are you crazy?" etc - is clearly the "jesus this bad guy is actually crazy" moment we're familiar with from many a film/tv show. It's the Henry Fonda-shooting-a-kid-"now that he knows my name" Once Upon a Time in the West moment. Or, the Robert Patrick in The Marine moment for non-Western fans. This has nothing to do with character logic because Goggins is illogical, and therefore dangerous. He doesn't play by the logic manual, that's just not how he rolls. (Incidentally, Goggins Goes Bananas should be the hot new sitcom that replaces that piece of shit Sons of Tucson... Goggins, Labine, Bret Harrison, Michael Biehn as Harrison's old man, ECO, Nat Martinez, Nat Kelly, Sofia Vergara... when's that going on the air?)

Then he offs the guy, only to learn immediately after that he's not a fed. Whoops! Another great moment - he is worse than Dorff in Shadowboxer. (Or was that Radio?)

How does law enforcement work? You bring in a guy for a lineup, the witness is unable/unwilling to identify him as the rocket launcher-launcher...boom, you've got no case! They suspect it's him but without evidence they can't make an arrest. I think that's fairly realistic. Remember O.J.? The whole world knew he was guilty! Sure they could tail him, but he could blow the tail pre-heist like the guys in Heat by your favorite director Michael Mann.

And since he is crazy he's going to hit a bank in broad daylight. When else would he do it, when it's closed at night? Fuck you cops! (of course when something blows up for the half-dozeneth time in so many weeks you'd think the police would start making for the local banks - Goggins might want to think up a new strategy.)

I agree that the plan to kill the marshals outside the hotel is flawed, but then we're clearly not dealing with the world's smartest criminals here. Criminals are stupid! Have you never seen the police video of the female highway patrolman being forced to the ground and beaten nearly to death by a guy she pulled over? What was HIS plan? "No problem, I'll beat this police officer within an inch of her life and that should be that, I'll go on my merry way!" Crooks are dumb, I buy that.

Olyphant answering his may have me there. Pretty funny, "no we got this!" I blame Graham Yost, writer of Broken Arrow and Hard Rain, for that one: he could have just had Olyphant slam into the truck, shaking the two rednecks off long enough for his fellow officers to get the drop on them. That would've taken just as much time, but I guess they figured they needed a semi-epic gun battle in there somewhere and that's the best they could do. I still enjoyed the scene. Gonna be a lot of paperwork at the end of that day!

(Maybe Olyphant's already got the new chief a personalized ringtone and he recognized it? "Chief calling - he probably wants to strategize this gunfight. Leave it to you guys? Well you're the boss...")

I buy the snide sniper's composed/flippantness - he was in Afghanistan, we learn later on. Two fat rednecks in a pickup probably don't strike him as a big threat, even if he was in Eurotrip. The black chick I found inoffensive, although I didn't buy that she's this ballbusting tough cop.

Remember the Duke hitting the flying dynamite in the middle of the firefight in Rio Bravo? If you bought that, how do you have a problem with Olyphant's marksmanship in the heat of the moment? If Olyphant says he spared Goggins on purpose I believe him!

(Or was it Dean Martin shoots the dynamite? Fine, substitute Gene Wilder hitting the dynamite from miles away in Blazing Saddles. Same difference.)


Episode dos...
If Olyphant wants to let the guy drive, I'm going to give this one to Olyphant. Olyphant can do what he thinks is best, I trust him. WWOD? He should have at least handcuffed him from the git go, but he's flawed like that. "I don't think we'll be dropping in on your kin," funny conversation.

Here's a bit of practical logic I'm surprised you didn't mention: he's given the APB on the escaped convicts, then just happens to stop at the gas station they've raided. Is it the one building in the entire town? "Of all the gas stations in all the world you had to come into mine!" And what happened to the attendent? Still, a good scene - the part where he looks from his shirt to the shirts on sale; Olyphant not pulling some dumb shit to get out of being locked in the back room...I liked seeing some humility to the character.

You totally ignore the great part about the cousin's plans for the money - "not just dildos!" Funny shit.

If you read the newspaper article Olyphant noticed you'd know that at least one of the break-ins was only recently reported by a couple who were on vacation. So maybe people don't know about these break-ins...after all, what would they steal? Some floorboards get pried up, but nothing's been stolen, would cops even file a report?

And the loot hidden in a house 15 years earlier...that's the oldest plot in the book, totally buyable in a world of fiction. Cuz this is not a documentary in my opinion, it is fiction. They were lucky that the first place is unoccupied, well yeah I'm lucky that Funderburg didn't have his way with me when I fell asleep watching that boring Mel Gibson movie The Year of Living Dangerously. But that's how life is, sometimes you get lucky. You're right: the guy should have killed the escaped convict-husband, but again CRIMINALS ARE STUPID.

Finally, I know this is totally stretching it, but I assume the sniper did not shoot the guy after he shot the dude's foot because he somehow quickly assessed the situation using his sniper training, realized the homeowner had taken money that didn't belong to him to buy those $700 alligator shoes, and decided he deserved to at least get shot in the foot. That's just my reading of the scene. [pretty weak, dude. I have to side with Cooney on this point. The hostage stand-off in episode 2 was pretty shitty/stupid - christopher]

Overall I enjoyed it...Olyphant looked great, Goggin was a good former friend/current enemy and I'm glad they didn't just kill him off in the first ep. I assume they will eventually add some kind of sidekick (ECO?) to the proceedings and a better love interest (Nat Kelly?) than the chick who played the friend in Robert J Siegel's Swimming.

In short, best series set in Kentucky since Cheerleader Nation. It's at least as good if not as plucky as She Spies. Promising so far.

Pacified in Poughkeepsie

But wait - this debate isn't settled. In fact, it continues at surprising length on PAGE 2.

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