I know what you’re thinking. I’m supposed to be reviewing pitchers, not TV shows. This was going to be my sensitive critique of a wide-release Spielberg thing called Bridge of Spies. Tom Hanks, doing his perpetually affable, down-to-earth, multi-Oscar-winning regular feller, negotiates the release of a multi-BAFTA winning, National Theatre water-colorist arrested for espionage. Trouble is, I couldn’t get through it — making this the 24th straight Spielberg pitcher that I have failed to finish. (I believe I did reach the closing credits of his Marcus Welby, M.D. episode “The Daredevil Gesture.”) Seriously, if a pitcher reviewer may be allowed one inviolable rule, mine is the following:
No swooping crane shots of down-to-earth, multi-oscar-winning regular fellers looking at their haggard faces in fogged-up bathroom mirrors while mumbling “Aw, shucks.”
Needless to say, I was outta this one within five minutes.
In danger of missing my deadline, and without any other worthwhile pitchers showing in our local cinema, I rang The Lesser Half from the lobby. “Petal, I’m on my way back. When I get there, could you grab your handcuffs and shackle me to our home projector?”
So, instead, we would stay in together and have a look at what she had wanted to watch in the first place, the inaugural season of Gérard Depardieu’s Netflix serial Marseille.
Marseille — pronounced something like Dallas — is a big-biz saga about France’s second largest city. (Not that it isn’t first in scummy corruption, fat stomachs, and imitation Rolexes.) As you’d imagine, every backroom deal is consummated with a shouty rear-entry hump over a Louis XV desk. Which, to my mind, doesn’t seem like the best way of sealing a deal, especially the provincial kind, since each of these is almost immediately reneged — reneged on? — with another shouty hump over another Louis XV desk in a different location.
An additional complication with all the deal-sealing and/or deal-breaking humping over Louis XV desks is that — and I suppose I could have anticipated this by dashing off a few quadratic equations on my cocktail napkin — every rear-entry humper turns out to be either the illegitimate child or the dead-beat père of some other rear-entry humper. Or humped. Plus, since this is Marseille, a lot of powdered drugs are going up the noses of these various humpers and their conniving — as well as humping — bastard scions. But mainly they’re going up Depardieu’s nose, from which he appears not to have removed the rubber prosthesis of his legendary Cyrano. At this point it’s so huge, and so bifurcated, as to require a special spring-loaded pneumatic gadget for delivering his daily dose of blow.