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Of Fargo, Dopamine and the Image of Nectar

New Pathways in the Brain — Plum tuckered-out after completing a writing project based on money and tragic drama, I sunk back last month into a week of binge-watching Fargo and found there, after nearly twenty hours of viewing...money. I’m talking about the scene in the last episode of Season 2 (Palindrome, by Noah Hawley) in which Mike Milligan, the enforcer of the Kansas City mob (played by an excellent Bokeem Woodbine), is rewarded for his aptitude for murder and mayhem by his boss (Adam Arkin) with, essentially, an office cubicle. No more gun battles in motel parking lots. No more bloodletting with the edge of a knife after errant sexcapades with nubile gangster babes. “There's only one business left in the world” says Arkin’s … [Read more...]

In the Palm of the Hand

Cormac McCarthy’s Killing Machines — A friend tells me about the formatting - how with his script for The Counselor, the novelist Cormac McCarthy isn't even bothering with standard screenplay conventions anymore. Obtaining a copy I see that, sure enough, McCarthy has stripped away all the awkward visual notations that make screenplays so tedious to read. He opts instead for a minimalist layout, with a central column for dialogue, and block-like paragraphs for scene descriptions delivered with a minimum of camera notation. On the page the script looks almost like a Doric column - stark and Classical – which is appropriate given the tale’s astringent stoicism. The Counselor is also perhaps the first screenplay written about a new device … [Read more...]