Before David Cross and Bob Odenkirk found success via their …
Brent Hodge and Derik Murray’s new documentary, ‘I Am Chris Farley,’ tries to illuminate the comedian’s meteoric rise and fall, as well as to understand his delicate psyche. Mostly, it’s another chance to re-live some of Farley’s best bits, which is just enough to recommend this otherwise disappointing chat-fest.
It should be no surprise at this point that Better Call Saul is building a pretty impressive following from its AMC audience. The shows quality has been shining like a beacon from the opening moments of its very first episode. What is surprising, though, is how it continues to reveal so many layers to a character who, while always entertaining in his original iteration, never really seemed all that complex.
Better Call Saul’s latest makes for a stressful hour, right from the get-go.
The episode opens with another time-jump, as we’re given our first glimpse of this “Slippin’ Jimmy” we’ve been hearing so much about. Saul/Jimmy appears in prisoner garb as he implores his older brother to pull him out of his mess. A couple of nuanced referential moments occur, one in a shot that is a direct reiteration of the scene in the pilot where Saul empties his pockets to visit a distressed and mentally ill Chuck. The other callback occurs when Chuck simply stands up and calls for the guard in the middle of Saul’s manipulative diatribe, showing, quite clearly, that he can see through his brother’s shtick.
After a solid opening hour, Better Call Saul continues to up the ante with an even more promising follow-up.The beginning section, one of the episodes strong points, features a decidedly downplayed Tuco Salamanca (at least compared to the Scarface-like caricature that we’re used to from Breaking Bad). Strangely, the quieter, more subdued Tuco is actually far more menacing than the psycho drugged-up version. His intense close-ups and lean-ins add a brutal new dimension to this character, while his rage-fueled response to a trespass against his grandmother is strongly reminiscent of a certain key S3 scene from BB, in which Tuco’s uncle firmly intones that “family is all!”