Jul 24, 2022Liked by Richard Hanania

Tony Soprano was not trying to "build" a crime family, he started out with one and bemoaned that he "came in at the end of things". He's never brought down either.

The Fountainhead matches that description of a Nietzchean story, made into a movie when Christian morality was normative in mid-century Hollywood.

Richard hasn't seen The Shield so he doesn't know there were good detectives in that precinct who actually solved crimes rather than committing them like Vic & his squad. Most of the latter's efforts wound up dedicated to getting away with crimes they committed earlier (which were themselves often necessitated as a way to get out of holes their even earlier actions had gotten them into).

Gus isn't that weird a name for a Chilean. Ever heard of Augusto Pinochet?

I don't think Gus regards Pollos Hermanos as "lame". He takes it very seriously, which is why he's so good at that. He just aims even higher than that with his drug empire & revenge scheme.

I don't think that Gus was unaware that Nacho was better than the Salamancas. Nacho was vulnerable to Gus because Gus could blackmail him over what he did to Hector. Hector really should die, but Gus wanted him kept alive until the end for sadistic reasons.

Jane might have eventually led Jesse into overdosing, but the only reason she choked was because Walt shifted her from her side (where her vomit would go out of her mouth) to her back (where it would come back down into her throat).

I thought "The Bridge" on FX became a good show after its first season (which copied a Nordic miniseries with an uninteresting serial-killer plotline). That featured a female Mexican crime lord, but she got killed by her male rival. Part of the reason the second season was better was that it focused more on the sense of place along with US-Mexican border that Richard regards as neglected in pop culture.

Richard left off that Nacho had two live-in girlfriends. The show doesn't give them much focus.

Doesn't Warren Beatty tend to direct movies about guys who are motivated by sex?

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Breaking Bad is a classical Christian fall from grace story, but with a twist. Walter White's descent is, from another perspective, an ascent to glory. By becoming The One Who Knocks In The Night, he transcends his petty and ordinary life. This is emphasized in the final episode, during his last talk with his estranged wife, when he tells her that he has no regrets: he's GOOD at being a criminal mastermind, and he enjoys it.

Seen this way, it's also a redemption story, again a classical Christian trope. White was meant for greatness, but in a fit of jealousy he abandoned his path during grad school, which would have seen him become a powerful, wealthy member of the bourgeoisie, and settled for marriage to the waitress Skyler, an ordinary life as a high school teacher, and a crippled son. He's beaten down and miserable, nagged by his wife, disrespected and ignored at work, and constantly in a subordinate position e.g. as exemplified with his relationship with his alpha male brother in law. In his descent into the criminal underworld, he discovers his inner power, and finally matures into the man he was meant to be.

Of course the entire thing is entirely amoral. His redemption is an embrace of the will to power. So a Nietzschean interpretation is also appropriate. However, the structure of the narrative is lifted entirely from Christian morality plays.

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