In Praise of "Boardwalk Empire," Season 2, & Bad Horror Movies on Netflix, Like "The Awakening"

So I’m home sick today, and one of the few pleasures for a working stiff on these sick days is catching up on mindless TV. It beats trying to figure out why in the world so many people are transfixed by a fraud like Herman Cain and his bogus 9-9-9 plan. In the category of not-so-mindless TV, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire is well into its second season now, and is much better than the first. The plot is cookin’. While the first season seemed too one note—especially for Jimmy Darmody (“Jimmy’s been in the war. Jimmy’s seen some things.”), played by Michael Pitt, like a young Marlon Brando—the second season has great, complicated plots, and Jimmy has risen into a major gangster, who might be about to take a fall. Paz de la Huerta is being underutilized, in my humble opinion, but Agent Nelson Van Aldren (played by the up-and-coming Michael Shannon, who had a wicked role in Revolutionary Road) is doing a great job in that plotline. For those not in the know, it’s set in the early Twenties, all about Prohibition, and is like a period-piece Sopranos.
Then there’s the grab-bag of Netflix. Lately I keep trying to watch B-movie horror flicks, and don’t make it through most of them. One in the so-bad-it’s-good category, was The Awakening. It’s so absurd you have to like it: Dorks (somewhat overaged dorks, at that, for a rave) get invited to a rave by a sexy girl, while plucky archeologist uncovers an amulet that (you guessed it!) unleashes an evil Aztec demon god. Mayhem ensues. Much blood and gore, low-budget style. It’s not My Dinner With Andre, that’s for sure.

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