Just when I think the last month or so couldn't be any worst for me (Bills and Sabres struggles to go along with being jobless), Boardwalk Empire has sent my life into a tailspin. I can't believe they killed off Jimmy. Actually, the story makes sense when you put 2 and 2 together. In the Mafia code book, Jimmy deserved it. He turned on his mentor, who he tried to have killed, and he didn't exactly remind me of the Godfather with his ability to be easily manipulated.
This was also the much needed transformation of Nucky Thompson, who went from crooked politician to gangster in one shot (pun intended). He had to go and Nucky had to show his new true colors. However, to quote my favorite line (Some dude with a hat who was chasing after a cross) from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade..."You lost today kid, but it doesn't mean you have to like it."
Yes, WE ALL LOST!?
If you could look at my DVD collection, you'll come away knowing that I love gangster movies. As a kid, I enjoyed them because they were bad ass Italians who shot up the joint and used a bunch of swear words in between. However, as I grew up, you start to go beyond the black hats and slang. You look at Michael Corleone as not just the Godfather, but as a brother and husband. You look at Al Pacino's character in Carlito's Way and to this day, I wanted to kill John Leguizamo (Benny Blanco from the Bronx). Just a guy trying to get out but his loyalty screwed him over. Watching Johnny Depp as Donnie Brasco makes you feel incredibly bad for him for the job he had to do.
The characters I mentioned had so many layers to their story. It went beyond just being a gangster. In a way, they didn't really need guns to be compelling. Jimmy's character had so many arcs during the first two seasons of Boardwalk Empire. He started off as a driver who had gotten out of WWI. He seemed to be a smart kid who wanted to be someone and you watched him grow to be a gangster, albeit, not exactly a good one. The whole 2nd season gave him this identity of being this f#cked up kid who was just in over his head. However, between his mom and dad not exactly being good parents (Understatement!!!) to the loss of his loved ones, you can see why he was disturbed and you felt badly for him. Everyone in America has problems and I think the weaknesses of others on TV, make us relate to them. There was just a sympathy to his character. A sadness because you felt the guy could have been someone. He was mixed with the wrong crowd.
Now the big question is where does Boardwalk go from here? I love Martin Scorsese and Terrence Winter (Co-writer for Sopranos). Hell, I think if they were NFL coaches, they could script plays to make Ryan Fitzpatrick look like a Hall of Famer. However, they have a tall task at hand.
I hate every single character on that show right now. They just don't seem likable. Sure, some of my rage may come because they killed my favorite character, but when you look at everyone else, they all seem to be just a bunch of black hats with guns. Thompson's wife is nothing more than Carmella Soprano with an Irish accent. Enoch Thompson was kind of a boring character this year as his scenes mostly revolved around him talking to his lawyer and playing dad. If anything, Jimmy made the Thompson character. Eli's a shmuck on wheels. The New York crew (Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky) have potential and so does Al Capone, but that mostly has to do with us knowing who those guys eventually become. If it weren't for their names, I wouldn't care about them.
Sure, they can add some characters, but that fact remains they don't have characters I especially like right now. I think they needed to do a better job in putting over their main characters, especially since they killed off the best character in the show. I just didn't feel a connection with the other main characters. We watched Jimmy go through all of his issues to evolve as a character. Just look at the scenes from the first couple of episodes to now. He was completely different. How many great scenes was he in this season? He was an endearing father one minute and sociopath the next.
Maybe I'm making Jimmy too much of the focal point for this show. I mean, it's Steve Buscemi who is in the open. However, they did such a great job in making Jimmy into such a great character. I just don't get it. Kill him off after season four or five. It is a ballsy move to kill your best character now. Maybe they shouldn't have made him so compelling. Maybe they killed him off because he was so much better than the non-fictional characters. I don't know, but they need to light a fire under some of these guys.
Lastly and a warning to the writers, in every single gangster movie I've watched, the two feelings I come away with is either feeling bad for the main characters or cheering for them. When I look at the remaining cast, I want them all to die. Violently?! I want Richard Harrow (Masked guy) to assassinate all of them?! Yes, he's my new favorite character...The guy who can't hardly speak?!
I'm not sure if that is good or not, but I'll probably still be watching and eventually will add the series to my DVD collection. However, if Michael Pitt (Jimmy's character) stars in a new movie or series, I'll be rooting for him a hell of a lot more than the Boardwalk Empire.