Monday, November 22, 2010

Dean Winters News

Dean Winters is featured in the new independent comedy Today's Special. The film is written by, directed by, and starring the Dail Show's Aasif Mandvi.

Of course, Dean is also the current face of "Mayhem" in the nationally broadcast AllState Insurance commercials. There are about a million of them at this point, but I like the jogger,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ryan O'Reilly returns to 30 Rock

Be sure to watch this Thursday's episode of 30 Rock for the return of Dean Winters, aka Ryan O'Reilly, as Dennis Duffy, The Beeper King and my favorite of Liz's ex-boyfriends.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Where Are They Now?

Jon Seda, aka Dino Ortolani, stars in the newest Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg/HBO miniseries The Pacific. Take a look:

He's playing an Italian again. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

God's Chillin' (Season 1, Episode 3)

This has to be the most reprehensibly named of all the OZ episodes, if for no other reason than that it forces Augustus Hill into dialect for some of the narration.

This episode is a series of confessional, both in the traditional sense and not. The main storyline is of Jefferson Keane, who continues to turn away from the gang and eventually toward Islam. Keane undergoes a complete breakdown and rebirth through the aid of Kareem Said. It's a real rollercoaster of an episode for Keane (and shows off acting chops we weren't aware that Leon had). He's so disillusioned that he starts to act strangely, setting fire to his mattress and refusing newcomer Kenny Wangler into the gang. After he is confronted by Said, Keane finally admits his feelings of spiritual bankruptcy.

What follows is Keane learning to be a Muslim and to let joy back into his life. His happiness if short-lived, though, as he runs afoul of the most dangerous man in prison, Ryan O'Reilly. Keane encourages O'Reilly to confess his involvement with the death of Dino Ortolani. For this, O'Reilly tells the Italians that Keane killed Dino, and offers to take care of Keane as a "sign of good faith". He arranges with the hacks for Keane to be alone in the gym with two murderous members of the Latino gang, and rather than die, Keane kills one of his foes and ends up on Death Row.

Near the end of Keane's odyssey, we finally meet Governor James Devlin in person. Devlin, played perfectly by Zelijko Ivanek, is one of the most fun characters on OZ, mainly because he is so evil. He's a non-violent O'Reilly, who lies and manipulates to get what he wants. In this episode, Devlin appears at the prison to give a press conference, and to warn the staff that Keane will be the first person executed now that the death penalty is back.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Where Are They Now?

After a good supporting turn as Denis Leary's brother in Rescue Me, and a fantastic reoccurring role as Dennis the Beeper King on 30 Rock, Dean Winters can be seen in a bit part in the indie romance Splinterheads, new on DVD.

Just for fun, Dennis the Beeper King.

That was seriously the best clip I could find. The only Dennis tributes on YouTube have lame music over them, so you can't hear his awesome lines.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

"Visits, Conjugal and Otherwise" (Season 1, Episode 2)

"'Fuck' is a four letter word. 'Rape' is a four letter word. 'Wife' is a four letter word. So is 'love.'" - Augustus Hill

Episode Recap
This episode opens with Nino Schibetta "identifying" Dino Ortolani's crispy-flesh covered skeleton, and the we see him set off looking to avenge Dino's admittedly brutal murder. Who did it? Before Ryan O'Reilly can be fingered by the Italians, he gives up poor, dumb Johnny Post and in so doing creates an alliance with the Italians. Of course, by the end of the episode, Johnny Post is poor, dumb, and dead.

Governor James Devlin (see below) makes an appearance in this episode, if only through the television, declaring an end to conjugal visits in order to cut government costs. Of course, this causes all married (and some unmarried) prisoners to flock to Sister Peter Marie's office to place conjugal visit requests before the Governor's deadline. This event leads to two others: First, Sister Peter Marie recommends a conjugal visit to the despondent and withdrawn Beecher. He is obviously suffering, and she believes a visit with his wife would prevent him from going off the deep end. The other is a kind of opposite effect: Jefferson Keane decides that he would like to marry his sweetheart. Keane is changing in prison, and has become more sensitive since his brother was badly beaten and hospitalized.

Friday, February 26, 2010

"The Routine" (Season 1, Episode 1)

The first episode of OZ is striking for its uniqueness, both good and bad. For 1997*, its frank depiction of casual violence and brutal prison sex is incredibly brave and, as the first hour-long drama produced by HBO, it's foreshadowing the violence of later fare, like the business-like killing of The Sopranos, and the eye-popping vengeance of Deadwood.

But much of OZ's original ambition is its downfall. The first episode, and the first season in particular, suffer from too much liberalism, not only in the overly self-righteous narration, the ridiculous extremes of Tobias Beecher's story (which lasts through all 56 episodes), and the horrific camera work. It's as if the producers were afraid of never getting past the pilot, and shoved as much as they could into one hour.