Sunday, October 30, 2011

the holiday sucks

My old girlfriend made me watch THE HOLIDAY with her, and I hated it too. A shame to see Eli Wallach reduced to such crap. The modern rom-com has mostly eschewed charm and wit in favor of simple capitalistic reinforcements and gender stereotypes (wait a minute...that might not just be limited to rom-coms but MOST mainstream films in general...yikes...). I've been forced to put up with too many.

I read Slate's top 25 horror films of the aughts list. I haven't seen a lot of them, but I do wonder why WAR OF THE WORLDS is on the list at all, let alone so high in the rankings. Also, INLAND EMPIRE isn't a horror film per se, it's a David Lynch film. It's got its own category! And I haven't seen PULSE, but the write up for it contains the phrase "techno-eschatology," which has to be one of the funniest and most pretentious phrases I've ever encountered in a film description.

I have my 1941 list completed! I just have to do a write up for it, and I'll post it soon. It's not that enlightening, and in fact, it is basically just a reordering of Brandon's list. Oh well, I don't mind riding coattails.

Loved the last BOARDWALK episode. I dig the cartoon violence, if you want to call it that. Keep it coming. Also, I recently discovered that the fellow who plays Richard Harrow (scene-stealer) goes by the name of Jack Huston. He is the grand-son of John Huston, great-grand-son of Walter Huston, and nephew to Anjelica and Danny Huston, which means he is Hollywood royalty. Really cool.

And finally in other news, the great Tom Waits just released his first album of all new material since 2004. It is called BAD AS ME, and if you are ever starting to doubt the state of modern music, let it restore your faith:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Horror Roundup

Around Halloween each year, I usually try to watch some classic horror movies I haven't seen before. This year it was Argento's SUSPIRIA and Roeg's DON'T LOOK NOW.

I have to admit that this is my first Argento film (clearly, I'm not a horror aficionado). Literally, my only other exposure to his work is through ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, for which he received a story credit. I've been curious to see one of his films for a while now (though, I'll admit, hearing him discussed in JUNO made me not want to watch one of his films), and then I saw that Mr. Ed Gonzalez had this listed as his favorite film of 1977. Enough for me.

SUSPIRIA, like a lot of the Italian films at the time, isn't really interested in dialogue or story but in creating a visual and musical spectacle. The use of dubbing all sound treats communication between characters and verbal communication with the audience almost as an afterthought. This doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing (look at the Leone films). However, it can make things unnecessarily confusing, as is sometimes the case in SUSPIRIA, or leave one wanting in the categories of dialogue, character, and story. (Again I don't think you need talking to create rich characters or stories, but if you aren't going to use it very much, you'd better be one damn fine visual storyteller).

I think Argento crafted a very visually beautiful film with SUSPIRIA. Obviously, the use of color is out of this world (modeled after Disney's SNOW WHITE). The score is very 70s horror and it is terrific in augmenting the visuals to create a dazzling sense of mood and tone. The sets are unbelievably garish and weird enough to make one feel as if the entire film is a nightmare. The deaths are also quite beautiful in their way. The blood looks like bold, red paint and it stands out as much as the other beautifully bold colors in the film. The opening kill is genuinely terrific in this regard. It's a pure exercise in style, and it was cool enough that I wanted to watch it twice. Come to think of it, all the kills in this movie are incredibly stylish. They make the film. So, if you like seeing people killed in stylish and horrifically beautiful ways, this is your ticket.

I suppose the criticism one could level at SUSPIRIA is one that all non-horror fans seem to level at the genre in general. The script just isn't that intelligent. Remove all the kills and visual style and what do you have? Not much. I guess you just have to ask what you want from a horror film here. Should it just be there to scare you or should it have a good story to tell too? I can come down any which way depending on the film. I like SUSPIRIA as the visual and musical spectacle it wants to be. But I'm wholly aware of its flaws in storytelling.

Anyway, It's kind of funny to have transitioned from Rohmer, who has characters who are highly articulate and who is devoted to dialogue as a means to propel the story and conflicts forward, to Argento here, who seems as if he couldn't possibly care less about dialogue. Two completely different aesthetics.


Nicolas Roeg's DON'T LOOK NOW is another incredibly stylish film. But its superior storytelling is really what propels it beyond purely technical acumen. This film is so carefully constructed that it's almost like reading a great novel. The recurrent motifs and signifiers throughout create so many thematic connections and are ripe for various interpretations. Paying attention meticulously to this movie seems like it would be plenty rewarding, as would seeing it several times. A very rich film.

Roeg knows how to build piecemeal suspense like the methodical tightening of a rope. Be it through the film's dazzling editing style or the general sense of foreboding it creates–the film seems to be spiraling towards something dreadful. Indeed, every person and thing we encounter seems ominous and slightly off–even Venice itself. Roeg builds everything upon itself like stacking layers until you have this massive JENGA-like puzzle of fear and grief. A great film. And what an ending...


Saw ATTACK OF THE BLOCK today as well. There are some horror elements in it, so it kind of fits in with everything else. It's pretty fun. I'll wait until others have seen it to say more.


Brandon, your list of best horror films is really great. If I had to make one myself, I'd be drawing almost exclusively from that list. I'm still certain that THE SHINING is my favorite horror film (Kubrick anything is usually my favorite). It was easily the scariest film I'd ever seen as a kid. Now, I've seen it so many times that it's no longer that scary, but it's still the pinnacle for me.

I'm glad you like SLEEPY HOLLOW as much as I do. I put it in my underrated films list when we made them and I stand by that. I re-watched it recently as well. You're right; a perfect fall film.

I would probably only add Wise's THE HAUNTING and POLTERGEIST to my own list. The former being one of the truly great haunted house movies, and the latter being just so fun. That single shot of the table set moving from floor to ceiling is almost enough to make the entire movie for me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Post Part 2: The Wager

I’m doing a separate post, completely dedicated to Mr. John Owen.

On Friday, I watched my first Eric Rohmer film. I don’t know exactly why I’ve never seen a film by him before. I suspect it is due to the fact that I haven’t seen a new-wave film by Chabrol or Rivette either. You only ever hear about Truffaut and Godard being the main courses on the French New Wave menu; the others are just treated as desserts if you are hungry for more.

Anyway, I watched MY NIGHT AT MAUD’S, and is there any surprise that I loved it? I was hooked right from the early moment when Jean-Louis and Vidal begin discussing Pascal’s wager. It’s a discussion that most philosophy nerds have had at some point in their lives, but that is because it has never lost its relevance. We all must wager something at some point in our lives because we do not operate in a realm of knowledge but anticipation and chance. All reality is a gamble. My favorite Literary theorist, Maurice Blanchot, beautifully sums up my position on Pascal:
“One might say that by the human force of the wager alone, we always place our wager on nothingness, no matter how the bet is finally called: a nothingness we sometimes call God, sometimes the world and where, in either case, what will have been won is indeed the infinite, but the infinite of nothingness. The uncertain certainty of God’s existence makes us unable to prove either that God is or that he is not; nor can we doubt the one or the other. We must therefore affirm both and always set truth in the rigorous asperity that divides our thought as soon as it thinks this sovereign contrariety. It is for this reason that the wager itself is double. The wager of tragic reason: one must wager and become conscious of the fact that one lives solely by wagering.”

Blanchot is being translated here, so I doubt it is a perfect rendering of what he is trying to say (putting it into English is making it more complicated than it actually is). But what matters here is the unknown quality of the wager, and this is something I think Rohmer is reaching towards. All of the characters in the film live according to their conscious beliefs–their ethics, morals, principles. And they act according to what they think is right. They are all wagering with every decision they make; they are all venturing into the unknown. This is because they are people. Their ideas determine their actions and sometimes they contradict each other. They are not perfect, just human. Rohmer is interested in letting his characters breathe. They think, they discuss, they work things out in their heads, and they act in one way or another. It is this interplay between thoughts and reality that makes the film so compelling. There are real issues here-comedic and enjoyable ones–but nevertheless real issues between conflicting and multitudinous desires.

After watching the film, I totally started to understand your recent argument John over COLD WEATHER. I still really think you are overrating what ultimately amounts to just a decent film, but I see your logic more clearly now. I’m much more interested in your argument for Rohmer against Godard than I am Katz against Refn though (because give me BAND OF OUTSIDERS and MY NIGHT AT MAUD’S any day over the latter films). You feel that Godard is merely stuck within his own self-awareness. He can’t escape the fact that he is always making a film, so there is always a touch of irony to his work. Rohmer, on the other hand, is more interested in telling a story or working out a problem, and he is using cinema as way to express this. The problem comes first, not the self-awareness. I hope I am getting your logic right here. If so, then I completely see where you are coming from with this and why you prefer one to the other. I guess I prefer both styles, not in any systematic way, but each according to the individual films themselves.

I wrote this in my response to you: “I tend to like my films to be more consciously interested in cinema than realism because I like cinema.” This is true, I do like cinema (we all do here don’t we?) but I’m really not so regimented in my taste. I don’t know why I wrote this. I like all types of films; it depends on how each one speaks to me. I really like guys like Godard, PTA, Tarantino, and Refn. I don’t think they just recreate. I think they have fun with cinema and have things to say, which is something I like when done well. But I also deeply revere guys like Bergman and Kieslowski (and I’m assuming the more Rohmer I see, the more I will like). They understood cinema, but they were more interested in working out crises, issues, and problems related to humanity. Film was their canvas to explore these things. So, I guess all I’m trying to say is that I understand your argument now, and I firmly come down in the camp of digging both styles because I think both can over something rich. I mean my two favorite films of the 90s are BOOGIE NIGHTS and BLUE/WHITE/RED (technically four favorites but I’m counting the trilogy as one). Clearly I like to have my cake and eat it too (for the record, EYES WIDE SHUT would be third and THE THIN RED LINE fourth on that list).

By the way, speaking of Kieslowski, how come I’m the only one here who has seen a film by him? (excluding Chris who I recently convinced to watch the Three Colors trilogy). The man was a master. Brandon and John, I know that you would both love THE DECALOGUE and I have a strong feeling that you, at the very least, would both appreciate BLUE and RED (WHITE is the weakest, but a necessary comedic interlude in the series). I wish I owned THE DECALOGUE and the Three Colors Trilogy (gave it to my old girlfriend dammit) so that I could make you watch both. Oh well. If you, or anyone else in film club, ever wants to make me really happy–watch a film by him and we can discuss it.

Quickly before I’m done, I just want to mention two more things:

There is a terrific moment in MNAM when Maud wonders if Jean-Louis has been left in her room to tempt her or to be used as leverage against her. Right there we are reminded that Maud simply is not just a temptress for Jean-Louis–a mere object to uphold his morality against–but a person with her own point-of-view and desires. This is crucial.

Also, I see that Nestor Almendros shot the film (simple but elegant work) and that he shot most of the Moral Tales. He is, of course, partly responsible for one of the most beautifully photographed films of all time–DAYS OF HEAVEN. Cool link.

And another cool link. Jean-Louis Trintignant also stars in Kieslowski’s RED.

Sunday Post Part 1: The Hodgepodge

I have watched THE TREE OF LIFE again. Words do it no justice. Easily among the finest films of the last 30 years and the current benchmark for the still nascent decade. There is THE TREE OF LIFE and then there is everything else. Of this I am convinced.

Brandon - I really enjoyed reading your quiz. I have such a cursory knowledge of horror that I couldn’t do the same quiz with any justice or insight. But, I like the HOUR OF THE WOLF shout-out. If you do decide to do a horror list at some point, then I’d be really interested to read it. I’d also be really interested to read a horror list by Jason. I’m afraid I can’t offer anything other than a generic list one could find anywhere else. But I will say that I enjoy the horror genre very much so. I love watching the classics from the golden age and even the sort of new wave horror in the 60s and 70s. I’m afraid that I am not really interested in modern horror films (28 DAYS LATER and ANTICHRIST are some few exceptions), but I’m always on the look-out. And I’ll use you and Jason as guides for this. You horror fans need to bear the cross for the rest of us!

EYES WITHOUT A FACE is a real gem. It has legitimate Gothic creepiness, but also this deep poetic tenderness. I would wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote. The Val Lewton films have this same understanding of the importance of atmosphere and humanity. I mean, you say it all here:
“So yeah, this is one of the great ones, a horror picture that knows the importance of atmosphere. It also knows and heeds to the importance of humanity, drawing us in only to tear us down. It’s not cruel; it just knows that the only way to end well is to end. It’s not above the genre and it doesn’t seek to somehow improve it but Franju had no interest in tracing lines. We’ve talked about revolutionary cinema, well here it is.”

I might need to borrow it, so I can talk about it more specifically (only saw it once). But from what I remember, I loved it and agree completely.

You’re right also, what a lovable bunch of rag-tags in THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD. They have an inherent sense of adventure, which makes their encounter with the alien more of a game than a outright attack. They are facing a behemoth and are cornered, but they know how to play defense and offense as a unit–the alien really stands no chance. But, boy, that first appearance by the alien is really something, isn’t it?

Chris, Bunuel is my hero, but you already know this. And one simply cannot get enough David Lean. A class act all around and a born storyteller. Let's make every night a Lean night!

Ben, I haven’t read any Paul Auster, but I am curious about this book now. I’ve really loved BORED TO DEATH so far this season. The three leads just interplay so well together. They are hysterical, but also really tender. Talk about camaraderie.

I'm still jealous of your having seen MELANCHOLIA. But the rest of us are gonna band together and do something about this soon.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I should start self-censoring...

I just reposted my 1933 list with some new notes. I'll do the same for 1932 soon. Still no closer to finishing 1930 and 1934. School has slowed me down substantially.

Great film night by the way. Wish the rest of y'all were with us. You missed a guy blocking space zombie mucus with a doormat, zombie flight attendants, and a green vegetable man being fried and presumably eaten. Who knows? Anything could have happened in those final three minutes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I'd like to post something longer to what you said, John, and respond to Brandon's Drive stuff too (great review dude), but alas, it would take me too long and I'm in no mood after a being in school all day. Hopefully soon. For now, I will say that I see now that I was definitely misreading or at the least blowing up what you were saying into something more substantive, John. I caught a whiff of an arguable point and just went off on it. I also think I was speaking a little beyond you with some if it. Oh well. What can you do when you are arguing with something who is older and more intelligent than you? Just make lots of shit up.

Anyway, I would just like to say a few other things briefly.

One, I know I called DRIVE a masterpiece and I'm afraid I'm going to have to renege on that. It's just too strong a word and I rarely use the word to describe anything. I still love the film, BUT I can't call it a masterpiece and here's the reason why: my family got Chris THE TREE OF LIFE on blu-ray for his birthday, and I just popped it in and re-watched a few scenes. I like seeing films in theaters, but I really fall in love with them when I'm alone and it's just me and the film on a television. I loved TOL when we saw it, but just seeing images from it again only solidified in me that it is a serious, fucking MASTERPIECE. The one and only masterpiece of the year. There is room for no other even remotely close to it. I was getting chills watching it again.

There's a few snippets of scenes in the film before the first child is born where it appears that a woman in white is gathering children together to leave the gates of Heaven. Then the soul of a child floats up through an underwater house (a beautiful symbol for childbirth). I don't know how I didn't notice this the first time (Maybe I did, I just couldn't connect the images clearly enough or wasn't paying enough attention). Anyway, a great example of the film's unabashed religious evocation. There is something Divine at work throughout The Tree of Life even if it's silent.

Two, hope we can meet Jason somewhere and see a film together. I still need to meet you and Ben! It'd be great to make that happen while seeing something potentially awesome like TAKE SHELTER. But, anything would still be exciting and fun too.

Three, I've been watching some of the Val Lewton RKO horror films from the 40s. They are as incredible as I've always heard they were. Don't know why it took me so long to see most of them. I'd like to do a post on some of these soon as well. All I'll say now is that THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE has to be one of the oddest sequels ever made; it also has to be one of the best. What a supremely chillingly film it is; you have no idea whether there is something sinister at work or whether there is something genuinely beautiful and touching unfolding. It's really fascinating.

Four, Lisa, I liked your lukewarm response to MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. It's just kind of refreshing after all the fisticuffs on it over the summer. If only all his films could be MANHATTAN! Oh well. I'll probably be seeing CRAZY STUPID LOVE just to satisfy my Gosling man-crush. Glad he doesn't disappoint.

Five, Jason, What did the younger folks in your family think of BACK TO THE FUTURE PART III? I remember thinking it was neat as a kid, but haven't seen it since (though I hear it's the weakest). I have some friends who are 13 and 11 and they both hate the 2nd Back to the Future but don't mind the 3rd really, which is interesting. I still like the first one a lot and think the second one is fun, I was just wondering how other younger kids see the sequels.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

RE: Drive vs. Cold Weather

John, your post alone made me watch Cold Weather, so kudos. I just had to get in on this debate. Too interesting to skip.

First off, I want to stress that I liked Cold Weather. It is a humane film. It is interested in personal relationships, and for this I respect it. I agree with all you have said John and with Ben too.

But since you asked us Drive lovers to defend our love, I am here to (clumsily) heed this call.

There is one point you made that really interests me. It is the idea that Katz is constructive whereas Refn is merely reconstructive. Great debate fodder.

As you mentioned, both films are reproducing cinema. I would say that Cold Weather is as highly constructed as a “film” as Drive is. It is cinematic even if it is working within a model of purported realism between people. I have no idea whether Katz was trying to make his film realistic or not, but it seems as if he were trying to achieve this effect.

I have trouble with this bogus term “realism” too. I truly believe that there is no such thing as realism in cinema or in art, period. All cinema, all art is the recreation of art, not reality. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it is what makes art so appealing to us. We like to imagine spaces; art fulfills this desire.

Cold Weather is rooted in a modern indie film tradition (a desire for realism, personal relationships, etc.) just as it is playing off crime tropes. It works within those archetypes. This isn’t a bad thing either. If you are working within those archetypes and are able to create meaningful characters and interrelations, then you are succeeding. It’s like working within the rules of classical theater. One can adhere to the unities of Aristotle while still creating a meaningful and original play through variations in character, dialogue, action, etc. Katz is interested in working within a tradition of “the personal.” He makes an admirable film, but not the subversive piece of cinema you create it to be. This is no more revolutionary to me than Drive is. If Katz is preparing a feast, he is using the same Sundance menu as most other indie filmmakers at the moment. Katz clearly has more talent (and more to say) than lots of other indie filmmakers I’ve encountered, but he is still working from the same template. Again, I like the film and think Katz works well off this template, but he is not revolutionary (and he doesn't have to be). Just because one is filming personal relationships doesn’t mean one is somehow outside cinema. All filmmakers are working within a frame. The only way to refuse to play the cinematic game nowadays is to not make a film.

I haven’t seen any Rohmer films (until I borrow those VHS! Yeah!), but I’ve seen plenty Truffaut. The distinction between he and Godard is well taken. But I would never link Katz with Truffaut...maybe only as a very pale shadow. That isn’t a dig a Katz; that’s praise for Truffaut. Still, I understand the point you are trying to make though. You believe that Katz is working in the spirit of Truffaut, which I totally get.

Anyway, so both films work off cinematic archetypes/genres/styles. I’ve explained why I think Cold Weather isn’t as innovative as you present it to be (I wouldn’t have used this as a point of criticism if you hadn’t brought it up though, and I don't mean it as a dig at all). Now here’s my defense of Drive.

Drive isn’t necessarily innovative, for sure (though I don’t think I’ve ever seen an action film that wanted to be PRETTY IN PINK before, so it has that). But, Drive is so exhilarating and satisfying because of how much artistry went into transforming it from the Hugh Jackman Fast and Furious rip-off it was predestined for. Refn’s artistic choices to transform this action film into something more consciously and joyously cinematic is what makes the film so visceral and pleasing. Refn is cinematic and he knows it. There are many great modern filmmakers that are cinematic as well. Tarantino, Scorsese, Spielberg, PTA–they all love cinema. I love cinema, a lot, which is why I love all of them. I don’t think recreating cinema is entirely stagnant just as I don’t think any of these filmmakers are. One always recreates, but one can recreate in new ways.

You make a great point in stressing that there is no good reason for us to be contrasting these two films. They aren't trying to do the same thing (but my point is they are both being cinematic–one more consciously than the other). Drive is an action film, first and foremost. It’s reworking a currently very shallow genre by incorporating retro/fetishistic touches and flairs. Tarantino is great at this too, as you mentioned. But to say that Tarantino just regurgitates is too reductive. Tarantino’s real strength as a filmmaker lies not in his reproduction of style but in his ability to create powerful, compelling scenes with interesting characters and sharp dialogue. He is recreating the cinematic “scene” but he does it in a way that is uniquely his own. Paul Thomas Anderson does something similar (and better!). If we are all just recreating cinema, then it comes down to who recreates the cinema you want to see. I tend to like my films to be more consciously interested in cinema than realism because I like cinema. But I do like films like Cold Weather too. So, it is great that we can have both. I can enjoy both and I do.

I only make this whole argument because I am reacting against your notion that Cold Weather is moving cinema into new places while Drive is too busy playing within its own cinematic cesspool. The only film I’ve seen since Synecdoche, New York that I think is moving cinema into new places is The Tree of Life. Rarely do I see a modern film that is moving cinema forward–we are just too influenced by the films before us and the films around us. We are a generation playing in the cinematic cesspool because we’ve had a wider access to film than any other generation before us.

But despite the cinematic cesspool metaphor, this isn't really a bad place to be in. Maybe because there really aren't such things as forwards or backwards in cinema. There are only good films and bad films. Drive and Cold Weather are two good films. John, I see why you prefer Cold Weather to Drive and you have made your case very well. I don't make my case to say you are wrong but merely to show why I don't think of these two films in terms of forwards and backwards. I just think of them in terms of what I like more.

And I've decide that I like head stompings more than I like personal relationships! Long live violence in film! This is really what my argument comes down to.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Great to have Summer People back in the area. As always at Jarvis, a sublime performance.

Brandon will be back on the blogs in less than a week. So stoked to have him back.

Eager to hear Ben's thoughts on MELANCHOLIA, but even more eager to see it for myself. Brandon, John, Chris–let's do it! Jason and Lisa–let's see it in spirit together!

I'm awfully excited to see TAKE SHELTER. I just heard great things on it from a friend. I'll join in Ithaca, John.

DRIVE was the last recent or even modern film I've seen. Still just watching old movies because they make me endlessly happy. Fuck watching classics for the "film buff" credibility. Wach 'em because they are just such a joy to behold.

THE PALM BEACH STORY is hilarious. It kindly reminded me of Sturges' comedic and linguistic talent. Most of his films are on NWI. Still need to see, and am looking forward to seeing, HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO and UNFAITHFULLY YOURS.

Brandon has THE BIG SKY listed as his favorite film of 1952. I watched it recently as part of TCM's tribute to Kirk Douglas. Terrific film. Douglas had such charisma and Hawks was such a seemingly effortless entertainer. The more films of his that I see, the more I understand why he is so beloved.

I'm close to finishing preliminary 1945 and 1941 lists. I'm still waiting to finish my '30 and '34 lists. I might have to revise some of the other lists to account for a few others I've watched.

I got a James Cagney TCM collection for my birthday. I watched G MEN and loved it. I also, finally, got a copy of THE BIG SLEEP. I re-watched it recently. God, I love that film.

TV talk:

I'm loving BOARDWALK EMPIRE so far. Great showcases for Michael K. Williams and Michael Shannon in the first two eps.

Haven't watched the first episode of DEXTER season 6 yet. Here's hoping it's better than last season.

Excited to watch BORED TO DEATH. Last season was a giant step in a show's development.

BREAKING BAD SPOILERS! So stop reading if you want to see it.

I'm sure the lion's share of reactions to last night's episode is about the explosion and Gus's face.
I anticipated that an explosion would occur in the room as soon as Gus decided to kill Hector himself. Wasn't anticipating Gus to stumble out of the wreckage looking more gruesome and badass than Two-face in THE DARK KNIGHT. What a great and iconic shot. The tie straighten was a nice touch.

I loved the buildup to Gus's showdown with Hector. The score and the shots all reminiscent of a beautiful Leone western. Epic.

Walt has transformed from unlikable to villainous. Will he be the central antagonist of the last season or is there some retribution via some Gus associates coming his way? Probably and hopefully both.

I've just read that when Walt is spinning his gun in the backyard a few episodes back, the final spin lands on the those lovely flowers he used to poison Brock.

ONE MINOR ISSUE: Last episode, Gus was so preternaturally discerning to suspect that someone had tampered with his car. It was absolutely in line with his character though. He has always seemed omniscient. However, this episode, he has a completely uncharacteristic lapse in judgment.

Okay, Gus, Hector has just visited the DEA and you suspect has disclosed some information on you. Your first action in response to this is to visit public? Sending your lone bodyguard to scan for wires seems hastily done and not at all thorough. For someone who thrives on thoroughness and perspicacity, honestly, what were you thinking? Anyway, RIP dude.

Perhaps, Gus was too blinded by the idea of finally fulfilling his vengeance. Or perhaps he suspected he was soon-to-be done for and wanted to get his revenge before it was too late.

Or perhaps he is just human and made a mistake. Whatever the case, the best chess player in town just got defeated through his own tactics. His failure is that he wasn't ruthless enough while his opponent, made in his image, was. The great irony of the finale is that Gus's outward mutilation can't even match what's decaying inside our hero Walt.

Next season is a long ways away.