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S01.E02: Lone Star

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As word of his grandson’s kidnapping spreads, J. Paul Getty sends his trusted fixer Fletcher Chace to Rome to investigate the mysterious disappearance.

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I've tried to get into this show, but, it's very difficult.  So far, I'm not impressed, but, I haven't been able to make it through an entire episode.  Not only are the characters so unlikable, that you can't tolerate watching, but, the writing seems awkward and acting is rather poor.  Except for Donald Southerland. He's quality, but, some of the others......it's so juvenile.  I'm not sure what to make of it, but, I doubt, I'll watch much more. 

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I've tried to get into this show, but, it's very difficult.  So far, I'm not impressed, but, I haven't been able to make it through an entire episode.  Not only are the characters so unlikable, that you can't tolerate watching, but, the writing seems awkward and acting is rather poor.  Except for Donald Southerland. He's quality, but, some of the others......it's so juvenile.  I'm not sure what to make of it, but, I doubt, I'll watch much more. 

I agree with you for the most part, though I am a glutton for punishment, I will still watch the series.

The camera editing was a bit strange with all of the boxes.  It wasn't unique, it was horribly distracting.

Unless I missed something in this episode which is entirely possible, because it bored the shit out of me, it took them one hour and eighteen minutes  to find out that the mafia didn't have him.  And also, a little Brendan Fraser goes a long way, he took up most of the episode.  They need to accelerate the pacing of this series.  I don't mind if it is slow, as long as it is building up to something, but this episode was absolutely glacially slow with very little new info.

Getty's mother ought to realize that just because her son was hooded and thrown into a back of a vehicle, that doesn't necessarily mean he was necessarily kidnapped.

That said, the last scene of this episode did show her kid hooded, chained to a wall with a bag over his head, crying.  Her husband wasn't the nicest guy on the planet, but I can't blame him for his view on her son.

Edited by icemiser69
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Do you know the name of the song that was playing when the mother was driving into the village with the kids in the car? Sort of upbeat, but, I couldn't place it. 

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3 hours ago, SunnyBeBe said:

Do you know the name of the song that was playing when the mother was driving into the village with the kids in the car? Sort of upbeat, but, I couldn't place it. 

No, I don't know the name of the song, but it did sound familiar.

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23 minutes ago, icemiser69 said:

No, I don't know the name of the song, but it did sound familiar.

Oh my....I may have to watch it again to figure this out.  

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4 hours ago, SunnyBeBe said:

Do you know the name of the song that was playing when the mother was driving into the village with the kids in the car? Sort of upbeat, but, I couldn't place it. 

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Brendan Fraser is really a delight. I've never seen him in this kind of role but he really goes all in.

I do wish there had been some consistency regarding tone/camerawork/directorial style between the first two episodes. To all of a sudden have a character start breaking the fourth wall is really jarring, and the box things on the screen weren't present in the first episode either. Just pick a style and stick with it so, ya know, the show actually looks like the same show from episode to episode.

I'm really into Statue Guy. I don't know why.

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I really liked the episode quite a lot. I was amused by the way Getty complained about the butter to Bullimore (still my favorite character), after Bullimore helpfully/foolishly pointed out that the morning paper was reporting that Getty III had been kidnapped. Of course Getty noticed and was just ignoring the situation because it annoyed him, and of course he had a press conference to announce that he wasn't going to pay a single cent in ransom. I snickered at him when he blamed the entire situation on Getty II. If Getty II hadn't shown Getty the article in the magazine, then Getty would have given Getty III the six thousand dollars he owed to the mafia and none of this would have happened. As if! Old man Getty wasn't ever just going to hand over six thousand to Getty III. He's such a heartless old bastard. He was more passionate about what the local architectural historical society was going to say about the metal bars he was nailing up over his windows than he was in the fate of his grandson.

The episode really belonged to Brendan Fraser, strolling around in his ridiculously huge cowboy hat and swigging milk from little milk bottles while he putters around Rome trying to find clues about the whereabouts of Getty III. I loved the way that he could flip from being amiable good-old-boy 'Mr. Texas' to suddenly threatening to murder Getty III's friend by ramming a pencil through his ear into his brain. Just when you think the character is just a doofus, he does something like this and you're reminded that Fletcher Chase is ex-CIA. Even so, after finding good clues, Chace manages to get things completely wrong and he heads back to LA. But first, he turns to the camera to make a crack about how the story is really only just beginning. If you know anything about the real life Getty III kidnapping, you know that this is true. 

It seems that Boyle's use the split screen and breaking the fourth wall is kind of divisive for viewers. People either really liked it or it annoyed them. I loved it. Those kind of camera and character tricks can really jazz up a story when they're done well. 

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4 minutes ago, PipPop said:

It seems that Boyle's use the split screen and breaking the fourth wall is kind of divisive for viewers. People either really liked it or it annoyed them. I loved it. Those kind of camera and character tricks can really jazz up a story when they're done well. 

I didn't mind it in a vacuum, I just don't like how neither was anywhere to be found in the first episode and just showed up randomly here. It's the lack of consistency in style that bugs.

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10 hours ago, helenamonster said:

I didn't mind it in a vacuum, I just don't like how neither was anywhere to be found in the first episode and just showed up randomly here. It's the lack of consistency in style that bugs.

I think it fit the tone for this episode but wouldn't have worked in ep. 1. The first episode was all character introductions and place-setting. The camera movement emphasized the scale of Getty's wealth, and all of the scene setups (like Getty III walking in on the room full of Getty's girlfriends) seemed to me to be emphasizing how equally luxurious and ridiculous everything was. The water in the pool was filmed to look as black as oil. Lots of scenes shot like that to show us that we in the audience are getting a peek into a completely different world. Then along comes ep. 2 which takes us out of that world and gives us the Brendan Fraser character acting almost like an omniscient narrator or a character from a Shakespearean play [I think the NY Times review touched on this aspect] who frequently turns to the audience to point out how absurd or tragic the situation is. He's supposed to be the 'fixer,' or a classic hero type who strides in to save the day. But his outfit is almost a parody of a typical Western movie hero. He's ex-CIA so you expect him to find clues and crack heads and swoop in to rescue Getty III and then ride off (or in this case fly off) into the sunset, but ends up getting it completely wrong (which the real Chace also did), and then Fraser ends by turning to the audience with a wink to say essentially, 'this is going to be a lot more drawn out and messed up than you expected, huh?' I figured that the split screen and boxed off scenes were meant to be a play on spaghetti Westerns and also a call back to the 'cool' movies of the 1970s. It also managed to make the story feel over the top and bizarrely artificial on purpose to play on the fact that the real life story was bizarre and self-consciously theatrical.  

That's my take on it, at any rate. I loved it. I'm looking forward to see if Boyle does these sorts of camera and narrative tricks again in other episodes.

Edited by PipPop
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32 minutes ago, PipPop said:

strolling around in his ridiculously huge cowboy hat and swigging milk from little milk bottles while he putters around Rome trying to find clues about the whereabouts of Getty III.

The milk drinking was in London before he went to Rome and returning the bottle after as a "stylish" bookend, you can see when he picks up the bottle that he is at the Pentonville Bed and Breakfast and Pentonville is a neighborhood in London. 

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I feel like this show is what can happen when creators get all the creative freedom they want.  I'm not positive but I think it would have been vastly improved if someone suggested some editing. I know premium cable channels can use up every bit of their 60 minute allotment (although I suspect even there they're asked to leave a bit of room for HBO/Showtime...etc. to promo upcoming programs).

There were things about this episode that made me think it would be a series I wouldn't mind watching.  It certainly had more panache than last week's episode.  I liked the European feel of how even Gail was filmed looking for her son.  Brendan Fraser's character was, as many reviews promised, kind of fun for a while.  But at the half way mark, I realized visual panache and expository cleverness were about all I was going to get from this episode.  I was struggling to finish ten minutes later.  And while I didn't mind the incongruity in the tone from one episode to the next, the fourth wall breaking didn't work for me. 

Since I felt like last week was a struggle as well, I think I'm out of this.  I can handle characters I don't like but not characters who don't interest me much.  Even though the performances are fine, there aren't many interesting characters except for perhaps the oldest girlfriend.

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2 hours ago, biakbiak said:

The milk drinking was in London before he went to Rome and returning the bottle after as a "stylish" bookend, you can see when he picks up the bottle that he is at the Pentonville Bed and Breakfast and Pentonville is a neighborhood in London. 

Oh, good catch. Thank you.

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Can someone explain why Bullimore (the butler), as played by Silas Carson, is listed in the credits (both in this episode and on IMDB) as "Khan?" 

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I loved Bullimore being salty as fuck when JP2 asked why Bullimore hadn't mentioned earlier that JP3 said he owed money to the mafia. "Well, I had hoped to mention it to Mr. Getty at breakfast, but there was a problem with the butter." Never change, Bullimore!

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6 hours ago, J-Man said:

Can someone explain why Bullimore (the butler), as played by Silas Carson, is listed in the credits (both in this episode and on IMDB) as "Khan?" 

Good question. I asked the actor on Twitter. If he replies, I'll post the answer. 

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12 hours ago, PipPop said:

It seems that Boyle's use the split screen and breaking the fourth wall is kind of divisive for viewers. People either really liked it or it annoyed them. I loved it. Those kind of camera and character tricks can really jazz up a story when they're done well. 

I must be the only one here old enough to remember Mannix.

16 hours ago, biakbiak said:

Wonderful.  Do you know who the dark-haired woman with the harmonica was?  The audience did.

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Ha.  I remember Mannix.  "A QUINN-MARTIN PRODUCTION."

 

Well, I love this show.  It's one of the few things on television demanding my full attention.  Everything else is easily followed when I only glance up from my laptop, but this is a very visual production.

 

I was mesmerized watching the lines make boxes and wondered why I hadn't noticed them in the first episode.  (So now I know--they weren't there.)

Statue Guy is fantastic.  I'm not sure how he'd make any money, with minimal movement and only a donation hat to indicate there's a performance afoot.  I wonder if Hillary Swank took back her ring after Statue Guy folded in on himself and didn't agree to help her with the police?

I loved Brendan Fraser's system for getting things done:  lots and lots of cash, easily given, no strings attached.  And Chace himself must be an exorbitant expense.  It makes Getty I interesting that he'll object to a few extra pennies for the newspaper he enjoys, but the money can gush out of the pipeline when necessary.

 

Still loving Bullimore.

Was it Bullimore lounging in the tub while Getty's #1 dressed?  That would be . . . rich.   : )

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7 hours ago, Totale said:

I must be the only one here old enough to remember Mannix.

They having been airing the reruns on Metv in the overnight hours.

5 hours ago, candall said:

Ha.  I remember Mannix.  "A QUINN-MARTIN PRODUCTION."

No, actually it was a Desilu production, and later Paramount.  That said, I do wish they would show the reruns of all of the old QM series.

They have been airing Canon on MeTV, but there are so many more old QM series they could show in reruns.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinn_Martin

 

Back on topic, I guess I am going to have to give this "Trust" episode another chance and watch it again, since so many have liked it.  At least they didn't kill any birds in this episode, so that is a plus.

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I'm liking the series, in part because of the quality of the actors, the locations, and memories of the 70s. It's great to see Brendan Fraser again.

The boxy squares on the screen are very 70s TV.

Bullimore is giving me a whiff of the great John Gielgud in Arthur.

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I'm still trying to separate this from All the Money in the World, but it's nuts that the character/person who I found the most boring in the film, is actually becoming one of my favorites here.  Brendan Fraser seems to be an inspired choice as Fletcher Chase and I can't wait to see more of him.  I also wasn't spoiled about the rest of the cast, so I was quite surprised that they got Hilary Swank to play Gale here.  A little crazy that the two time Academy Award winning actress is playing her in the tv version, while the fancy, high-profiled movie got someone who has only been nominated, but has zero wins (that said, Michelle Williams is still awesome, and probably is considered more high profiled then Swank.)

I apparently really need to work on telling all of these characters apart, because for a few seconds, I thought the woman that Getty Jr. was hitting on at the bar was actually his wife, and it was some kind of roleplaying thing.

The split screens and transitions can be a bit much, but to be fair, that's always been Danny Boyle, so I've just kind of expected it.  Like lens flares with J.J. Abrams joints and random foot shots in Quentin Tarantino films.

Since this seems to be a show that lets different characters take front and center in each episode, I'm kind of hoping there will be a future episode that mainly focuses on Getty's help, because the butler and his assistant (the one that trolled the son about being on speaker phone) are already becoming my favorites.

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1 hour ago, thuganomics85 said:

his assistant (the one that trolled the son about being on speaker phone)

Robina Lund was JP1's legal advisor and senior press officer.

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Statue guy bothered me. Why is he willing to help a little but not a lot. Also, though I've seen many of these "live" statues in various tourist cities, was that being done in 1973, or is it something added to make the mini-series fun?

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10 hours ago, smartymarty said:

Statue guy bothered me. Why is he willing to help a little but not a lot. Also, though I've seen many of these "live" statues in various tourist cities, was that being done in 1973, or is it something added to make the mini-series fun?

Good question! They seem to be all over these days. I don't recall reading about any witnesses to the Getty III kidnapping, so it may be an artistic flourish added to the story for fun. As to why he'll only help a little... if Getty III was truly kidnapped by the mafia, perhaps he's just scared of getting involved. 

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16 hours ago, thuganomics85 said:

I'm still trying to separate this from All the Money in the World, but it's nuts that the character/person who I found the most boring in the film, is actually becoming one of my favorites here.  Brendan Fraser seems to be an inspired choice as Fletcher Chase and I can't wait to see more of him.  I also wasn't spoiled about the rest of the cast, so I was quite surprised that they got Hilary Swank to play Gale here.  A little crazy that the two time Academy Award winning actress is playing her in the tv version, while the fancy, high-profiled movie got someone who has only been nominated, but has zero wins (that said, Michelle Williams is still awesome, and probably is considered more high profiled then Swank.) ...

I'm glad you mentioned Hilary Swank. She is a terrific actor. They were smart to cast her in this prominent role.  I'm also delighted that they cast Brendan Fraser in such a key role. I've always admired his work, from his goofy comedies to his serious dramas. I've always thought he was a hugely under rated actor.

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I loved the scene with Getty2’s bar hookup backing away in horror with her face screaming “This family is too fucked up for this barfly, no thank you!”

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16 hours ago, thuganomics85 said:

Brendan Fraser seems to be an inspired choice as Fletcher Chase and I can't wait to see more of him. 

This role seems tailor made for him, and he is so much fun to watch.  I was getting a little J.R. Ewing vibe at times ...

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19 hours ago, smartymarty said:

Statue guy bothered me. Why is he willing to help a little but not a lot. Also, though I've seen many of these "live" statues in various tourist cities, was that being done in 1973, or is it something added to make the mini-series fun?

I definitely remember seeing living statues in the 90s, but I can't vouch for the 70s. wikipedia didn't have much info (at least not enough to say if they were a thing in Italy in the 70s but I did learn there's a world championship living statue competition every year!). I also found this article about living statues in Covent Garden.

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On 4/2/2018 at 10:57 AM, SunnyBeBe said:

I've tried to get into this show, but, it's very difficult.  So far, I'm not impressed, but, I haven't been able to make it through an entire episode.  Not only are the characters so unlikable, that you can't tolerate watching, but, the writing seems awkward and acting is rather poor.  Except for Donald Southerland. He's quality, but, some of the others......it's so juvenile.  I'm not sure what to make of it, but, I doubt, I'll watch much more. 

Even Donald Sutherland couldn't get me through the second episode.  I turned it off after about 20 minutes.

On 4/3/2018 at 10:42 AM, Totale said:

I must be the only one here old enough to remember Mannix.

No, you're not!

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On 4/2/2018 at 10:57 AM, SunnyBeBe said:

I've tried to get into this show, but, it's very difficult.  So far, I'm not impressed, but, I haven't been able to make it through an entire episode.  Not only are the characters so unlikable, that you can't tolerate watching, but, the writing seems awkward and acting is rather poor.  Except for Donald Southerland. He's quality, but, some of the others......it's so juvenile.  I'm not sure what to make of it, but, I doubt, I'll watch much more. 

I've tried to watch episode 2 several times, but I lose interest when Hilary Swank's overwrought Gail comes into the story. Even though she's an amazing actress, her entire tone seems wrong for how they are doing this.

But then...

On 4/2/2018 at 9:53 PM, helenamonster said:

I do wish there had been some consistency regarding tone/camerawork/directorial style between the first two episodes. To all of a sudden have a character start breaking the fourth wall is really jarring, and the box things on the screen weren't present in the first episode either. Just pick a style and stick with it so, ya know, the show actually looks like the same show from episode to episode.

The show it'self has had 2 drastically different tones from Ep 1 to Ep2, so I shouldn't be all that critical of Swank bringing in a 3rd. The sudden change from the entire feel of ep 1 to how ep 2 starts is really jarring... but I was getting into it and its campy feeling. Then a distraught Mom enters the picture and all the campiness goes away, but we also don't have the over-the-top-to-the-point-of-amusing twistedness of Ol man Getty and his trusty sidekick Voldemort.. uh I mean Bullimore. Swank is playing this straight, and nothing else about the series up to her entrance is straight. So I lose interest as soon as she and her jerk husband (boyfriend?) are on the screen, every time I try to watch it

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