The 7 Superior Pieces Of Pop Culture You Should Enjoy Instead Of Wasting Your Time With "The Bridge"

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The 7 Superior Pieces Of Pop Culture You Should Enjoy Instead Of Wasting Your Time With "The Bridge"

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | August 8, 2013 | Comments ()


I keep waiting for “The Bridge” to get better. And folks, it’s not getting there. It’s fine, sure. But it’s not great. And in a summer crowded with bleak summer crime-serials, I’m not sure this one is worth your time or investment. In fact, there are only two bright spots that I care to point out. 1) Demián Bichir is such a charisma and gravitas supernova that I’m currently working my way through his entire back catalogue. Yeah I may even revisit the bad seasons of “Weeds.” 2) There are a lot of Latino and Latina actors in this cast and while it might not be the very best show out there, I’m glad to see a story crowded with non-white faces. In fact, at least a quarter if not a third of the dialogue in every episode in in subtitled Spanish. Which is pretty neat.

So like I said. The show’s fine. And, hey, it might get really good at the end. If it does, I promise to check back in with you and humbly eat all my words. In the meantime, I’d much rather you while away the last month of August with the following pieces of pop culture. In my opinion, it’s better to rewatch something great than to watch something that’s only okay.

Check out Fat Kids Rule The World: I loved this movie to bits and pieces. I’ve pimped it here before. But not all of you have taken me up on it. I can’t imagine why. Who doesn’t want to watch an overweight kid and his drug addict friend find confidence and healing love through punk music? Come on!

FKRTW is what I throw up in everyone’s face when they cap on Matthew Lillard. Sure, ol’ Shaggy may have done a lot of stupid things in his day, but that flick redeems most of it. Lillard is perfectly adequate in “The Bridge,” but this isn’t his best work. Not even close.

Rewatch “Breaking Bad”…Hurry Up! Seriously, what what WHAT are you doing if you’re not rewatching AMC’s power house drama in anticipation of the premiere this Sunday. All the cool kids are frantically doing it!

Emily Rios (who played Brock’s mother Andrea on “Breaking Bad”) plays a buttoned up reporter who “got out” of the slums and is trying to make it in America. Her thesis as for why she got out is tied to her sexuality and is…interesting. Borderline offensive, but interesting. I prefer her winnowing her way into Jesse Pinkman’s heart.

I’d Be Really Surprised If You Hadn’t Watched “Top Of The Lake” Yet: I’ve been on about it for months. But suffice it to say that you’d much rather watch Thomas Wright tussle with Elisabeth Moss in a stark New Zealand forest…
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…than watch him iron a man to death in his filthy underwear in sweaty Texas. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE.
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In Case You Missed It The First Time, Track DownMaria Full Of Grace: If you want a more harrowing look at US/Mexico border conflicts and the damaging nature of drug trafficking, I recommend Catalina Sandeno Moreno’s luminous debut.

She’s perfectly serviceable as the beleaguered wife to our hero on “The Bridge,” but she’s swinging way below her capabilities.

Go Ahead And Revisit That Tavern Scene From Inglorious Basterds: It’s like a perfect little film unto itself. And Tarantino (one of my pop-cultural weaknesses to be sure) packs more tension into those 25 minutes than “The Bridge” has managed to conjure all season. I have a pet theory about certain actors being exponentially better in their native tongue. Diane Krueger is without a doubt one of those actors. (Though she speaks plenty of English in Basterds.)

Her defective detective is supposed to be robotic and still she comes nowhere near engendering the sympathy of, say, a Will Graham from “Hannibal” or even Data from “Star Trek: Next Generation.” I much prefer her flirting and cursing in German.

Do Yourself A Favor And Make Some Time For A Better Life This is one of those films that got a lot of recognition around Oscar time (particularly for Demián Bichir), but looks so upsettingly harrowing that we, the average moviegoer, are disinclined to rent it on a Saturday night. As is usually the case with such films, I absolutely promise you it’s worth your time. Bichir (who was nominated for Best Actor) is incredible.

As I mentioned up top, he’s the very best thing about “The Bridge,” I can’t even muster a negative thing to say about him.

Listen To The “This American Life” Segment Called ‘The Real Housewife Of Ciudad Juárez’: Listen to it here. It’s really quite stunning. No FX drama will ever do that city justice.

'The Newsroom' and Cynicism: Why Sorkin Desperately Needs to Get His Inspiration Groove Back | 'The Newsroom' and Cynicism: Why Sorkin Desperately Needs to Get His Inspiration Groove Back

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • JohnnyL53

    Watched "A Better Life" over a year ago or so based on the director. Loved this movie. My wife though it depressing as he loses everything he worked for. I found it uplifting as the end shows him determined to give it all another go. Demián Bichir doesn't have to say a word to convey a page worth of dialogue.

  • Gen

    Cannot find Maria Full of Grace in English or with subtitles for us gringas. Any advice?

  • junierizzle

    I like The Bridge overall. It's decent not great. I for one like Kruger's performance. It's almost over acting but that's what is so intriguing.

    However, the problem with sticking with a decent not great show is that it might not stick around. Can I get an Amen from all the Magic City fans?

  • Michelle

    I really need to watch Top of the Lake.

  • Uriah_Creep

    To me, the best part of the last episode was that Charlotte's new/old lover is being played by Bobby Cobb. How have no other Cougar Town fans pointed this out?

  • lola
  • Meg

    I don't hate The Bridge, but I'm not enjoying it as much as I was hoping I would. It just seems kind of...sterile? Like I'm not moved by anything or anyone. Stuff happens, sometimes it's interesting, but most of the time it's just like, well, happening. There's no real tension or sense of urgency, not even when really fucking tense and urgent shit is going down.

    Demián Bichir is the best, 100%, but I don't knwo how I feel about Diane Kruger's character, I can't tell if the problem is her, or just how the character is writtern. Because lets be real here, if that character was a real person she WOULD NOT be a cop. And even if she was she would be a TERRIBLE cop. Cops bullshit, that's what they do. To be a successful cop you need to be able to read people and then use that information to your advantage. You need to be able to manipulate people. Grrl can not do ANY of that, I don't care how fucking awesome her horse jacket is.

  • chanohack

    I am re-watching Breaking Bad! This means I'm a cool kid! Right?

    Seriously though, I re-watched Seasons 1 - 4 and now I'm first-watching Season 5 and listening to The Ones Who Knock and reading Daniel's recaps and subsequent comments and formulating a plan to watch this season in real time so I can actually take part in the conversation. And, like Walt, discovering just how far I'll go to get what I want.

    And by "far" of course I mean distance, because I might have to drive 40 miles to find a friend with AMC to watch it with me and I will FUCKING DO IT. DO NOT TEST ME.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    You're being WAY too hard on this show. Granted, I didn't like it much the first few eps but it's improved a lot.

    Kinda tired of the Asperger's genius genre circa Bones but Ms Kruger is an engaging actress.

  • Wigamer

    I kinda like The Bridge. Diane Kruger does overplay the Asperger's-or-whatever-it-is, but I like the dynamic it's created between her and Ted Levine's character. And I also like that they may be setting up Bichir's character as a serial skirtchaser--at least there's a little complexity to that. Also, Bichir is just compelling to watch. It's not a bad way to waste an hour, and so far it hasn't insulted my intelligence or filled me with white hot rage (hello, Newsroom).

  • foca9

    I would say the original Danish–Swedish version deserves a spot on the list :)

  • Slash

    And Demian Bichir is so damn awesome. I do still like his character, even though he cheated on his pregnant wife. For no reason, as far as I can tell. Other than opportunity. Maybe they're going somewhere with it. (shrug) I'll continue to follow along.

  • Slash

    Eh, I'm still watching "The Bridge." It's pretty good. It is kinda bleak, but it's about serial killing. So ...

    There was an interesting exchange last night in which a Mexican crime boss asks his underling what's the difference between him and a serial killer. And the underling tells him serial killers enjoy killing. And the crime boss claims he doesn't. But I don't think even he believes it.

    I think the decision to make Kruger all odd and Aspergers-y was a mistake. You can be odd and still charming and effective as a character and a detective. But whatever, it's how they wrote the role, she has to work around it somehow.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    It's how the role was written in the original.

  • Slash

    Yeah, we know. Maybe it works better in the original.

  • Muhnah_Muhnah

    It does. I have no idea why because it's not that Kruger isn't a good actress.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    She could have fooled me.

  • lillie

    Yeah, she is very hard to like. And the writers go over the top to portray her as completely emotionless. That scene where she picked up the dude in the bar was just weird.

  • Andrew J

    I'm from El Paso and Mexican and still find it hard to care about the bridge. It's just so boring and misses so many marks.

    And don't even get me started on how it gets everything wrong about the bridge the border and Mexico/ El Paso

  • Slash

    What does it get wrong? No defensiveness here, I didn't write the thing.

  • Andrew J

    In the last episode, the girl walks into Juarez as everyone is walking out, you can't do that. There are too separate lines. We have very little cowboys. We don't have any oil rigs or whatever that was in that episode.

    In the first episode, where the guy drops off a body in the middle of the border, there would be not only a million cars but there are two before mentioned walk ways there so there would literally be a million eye witnesses. The show even makes a point to show the bridge wasn't closed so even dark, it's hard to believe.

    Sonya doesn't act like anyone from El Paso ever. We know how bad Juarez is but every el pasoan in the show is like "murders in Juarez, since when?"

    It also takes about an hour or two to cross either way depending on the time but they do it in like 5 minutes. I could go on but that's good for now

  • Boo_Radley

    Watch the original Bron/Broen

    - it's awesome.

  • Muhnah_Muhnah

    I tried watching the American version, but I just can't. Despite the 3-language headache (Danish/Swedish/English subs), I just love the original too much, I feel like I'm cheating on it.

  • kinoumenthe

    I was going to write that. And a second series is coming too. With the same song in the title sequence. Here, have a teaser !

  • lillie

    I don't know, I think Matthew Lilliard is one of the best things about this show. And in my opinion, there are plenty of good things about it. Having not seen everything he's ever done, I can't say if it's his best performance, but I don't think it's far from it.

  • $65530708

    On the topic of "defective detectives" I really wanna see a procedural show with the Rock in it where he plays a 24/7 AWESOME (which I'm sure he is in real life) detective, who everyone loves and even the guilty can't help confessing too. Like a Shaft meets Justified set in Hawaii type thing.

    Why does every detective have to have a "thing" these days and not just be Magnum PI?

  • Siege

    I would watch that every week. Twice.

  • Andrew J

    You didn't see the series finale to that show? It was called the other guys

  • Guest

    Did you mean The Good Guys? I could never get over Bradley Whitford mustache (it made him look like a young Wilford Brimley). But it did have Jenny Wade.

  • Andrew J

    Did you never see the other guys with will Ferrell? Cause it has the rock in it playing the best cop ever

  • Abby

    Emily Rios is also in the stunning Quinceañera, which I saw a few months before I left Seattle to move to LA. The magic and yet the realism (yes, I know) of the movie and its portrayal of LA seemed like a sign that I was making the right choice.

  • cheryl

    I tried "Top of the Lake", I really did. Gave up after 2.5 episodes; it was just TOO gruelingly, unrelentingly unpleasant to deal with and I could tell it would only go south from there. And I read Cormac McCarthy novels for fun!

    And WTF was with Holy Hunter's Camp Oprah?!

  • Calla Dain

    Everything ends up ok in the end, you should give it another shot.

  • John W

    Okay wait...........................................................................................................
    ...........Okay I'm all caught up with Breaking Bad. Man what a great show. Your Goddam Right!

    My favorite line in Basterds is when Diane Kruger is at the vets and she asks: "I know this is a stupid question before I ask it, but do any of you speak a language besides English?"

  • lowercase_ryan

    I TOOK YOU UP ON IT!!!! Specifically, I actually said "Joanna said this was good" out loud and to myself before hitting play on Netflix.

    You impact our lives Joro *sniffle*

  • "The Bridge" hate sends my mood south of the border. Such a great world they've created on that show, so much that the brilliant, political serial killer is maybe the ninth most interesting thing about each episode.

  • lola

    Britney Spearss Hot Photos

  • Guest

    I was wondering if I should watch it. Kruger is Kruger after all.

  • And Finkle is Einhorn.

  • alannaofdoom

    Yeah, 100% disagree with the premise of this post. Love "The Bridge," do not know how it became the whipping boy for half the internet to pick over obsessively.

  • lola
  • Jezzer

    Especially from a website that fawns over "The Newsroom."

  • lola
  • Websites typically aren't single-minded entities, praising or deriding pop culture with one voice. Joanna has issues with The Bridge. Dustin enjoys most of The Newsroom. There's room here for both opinions.

    Hell, I occasionally contribute to this site. And I enjoy The Bridge. So what's Pajiba's official stance on this show?

  • lola

    .Britney Spears Hot Photo s

  • JoannaRobinson

    That Demian Bichir is the BEST? So say we all-ish?

  • Yeah he's fantastic. Dude cheats on his hot, nice, pregnant wife and I think SHE'S the bitch for throwing him out. Your move, Daniel Day Lewis.

  • lowercase_ryan


  • weetiger3

    Okay, I must admit that I've already given up on The Bridge, but I didn't even RECOGNIZE Thomas Wright from Top of the Lake in it! TOTL was far more worthy of anyone's time, in any case. JMHO.

  • Natallica

    Kruger is a goddess on that "Basterds" scene, both icy and charming. Also, Fassbender in uniform.

  • vyduxawanuxe

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт...­ ­ViewMore----------------------...

    Seriously though, I re-watched Seasons 1 - 4 and now I'm
    first-watching Season 5 and listening to The Ones Who Knock and reading
    Daniel's recaps and subsequent comments and formulating a plan to watch
    this season in real time so I can actually take part in the
    conversation. And, like Walt, discovering just how far I'll go to get what I want.

  • Wigamer

    I have made my Fassbender feelings clear, I think, but it bears repeating. Fassbender. In uniform.

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