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Big Little Lies "The Bad Mother"

"It's actually uncanny how much the dropoff in quality mirrors Game of Thrones. Juicy work of fiction is adapted—acclaim, success, perfection!  Showrunner runs out of book to adapt. Source author writes an outline for how the plot advances. Showrunner adapts outline into new season. It's a terrible recipe!" - H

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Entries in Big Little Lies (50)

Monday
Jul152019

Big Little Lies MVPS: Episode 2.6 "The Bad Mother"

PreviouslyEpisode 1 (Nathaniel) Episode 2 (Spencer) Episode 3 (Lynn) Episode 4 (Nathaniel) Episode 5 (Eric)

by Chris Feil

... So.

By now I’m sure you all have seen the reports about what has gone on behind the scenes of Big Little Lies: director Andrea Arnold was removed from the show in post-production, a planned usurping by original season one director Jean-Marc Vallée once he completed Sharp Objects. Despite the free reign she had been given, a major lack of communication resulted in the show being snatched from her creative hands.

What a fiasco that’s only resulted in a somewhat disjointed season - looks like the blame for what hasn’t been working goes to producers for putting the show through a meat grinder. But what has been working can be easily ascribed to Arnold’s approach: the attention to character detail, a complex thematic landscape marinating hard-to-reconcile truths, the weight of suppressed feelings brimming over. Aren’t those things Big Little Lie’s fans would use to define the show and their love for it, not just its structural or aesthetic attributes?

Despite the timing and our allegiance to Arnold, Big Little Lies turned in what had to be its most thrilling episode yet this season, one that builds a huge sense of momentum leading into next week’s finale. Let’s look at this episode...

Top Ten MVPs of Big Little Lies, Episode 2.6 "The Bad Mother"

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Tuesday
Jul092019

Big Little Lies MVPS: Episode 2.5 "Kill Me"

PreviouslyEpisode 1 (Nathaniel) Episode 2 (Spencer) Episode 3 (Lynn) Episode 4 (Nathaniel) 

by Eric Blume

I’m onboard with most of the TFE staff that season two of Big Little Lies isn’t quite up to the level of its first season, but that it’s filled with fun, exciting, and interesting things.  Last week, Nathaniel noted that David Kelley’s writing is weaker this season, and I agree (especially in those therapy scenes), but it’s also about the directing: Andrea Arnold has talent, but she lacks Jean-Marc Vallee’s lush lyricism and ability to keep everything jangled and on-edge. She also doesn’t have Vallee’s gift for framing:  the images aren’t as memorable as what Vallee put together, and she’s shot too many in-the-car sequences from the backseat so the scenes feel repetitive rather than intimate and revealing. 

 But each episode holds wonderful surprises and treats for those invested in the show...

Top Ten MVPs of Big Little Lies, Episode 2.5 "Kill Me"

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Wednesday
Jul032019

Big Little Lies MVPs: Episode 2.4 – “She Knows”  

PreviouslyEpisode 1 (Nathaniel) Episode 2 (Spencer) Episode 3 (Lynn)

Let's face it. This fucking lie has had quite a shelf life.

by Nathaniel R

I can't be the only person to have made this observation but occasionally Big Little Lies is rather like a high-end version of Desperate Housewives. There are the core group of women who maybe wouldn't be friends in real life but whose distinctive personalities make a juicy combustible mix as a cast (within the alloted tight geographically region: cul de sac in one case, beachfront in the other) Didn't Housewives also have a crime or murder mystery each season to mix in with the soap opera theatrics? At any rate, it's worth mentioning because the writing on Big Little Lies this season is... questionable. It's not a patch on the first season cumulatively, alas, but scene by scene it's still great evening entertainment in the old tradition of the "watercooler" show; it certainly gives us a lot to talk about!

In this episode, Mary Louise (Meryl Streep) makes her big move -- suing Celeste (Nicole Kidman) for custody of "her boys". That's the huge story beat that will undoubtedly take us through to the finale (episode 7) but it's more like a prologue this time around as the bulk of the episode deals with 1) Amabella's birthday party 2) Madeleine and Ed's flailing marriage, and 3) the bizarre 'are they really going there?' subplot of Bonnie's mom having a stroke while also possibly being psychic and predicting that Bonnie will drown. We suspect everyone in the writer's room of Big Little Lies wore matching Regina George"A Little Bit Dramatic" t-shirts while they wrote "She Knows"

Top Ten MVPs of Big Little Lies, Episode 2.4: “She Knows”

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Monday
Jun242019

Big Little Lies MVPs: Episode 2.3 – “The End of the World”  

Previously: Episode 1 (Nathaniel) Episode 2 (Spencer)

by Lynn Lee

As someone who loved the first season of Big Little Lies, I have to admit I haven’t been enjoying the show’s sophomore outing as much, in large part because the tone has been so much more subdued, almost dirge-like.  It feels like the fire’s gone out of many of the key characters: Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz), of course, but even more so, Reese Witherspoon’s Madeline.  (Not Renata, bless her – yet even her manic aggressiveness seems driven by a desperation that wasn’t there before.)  This isn’t a choice I quarrel with, exactly: it feels like a necessary reckoning as the inexorable aftermath of a violent death, and the cast is beautifully illustrating the strain the “Monterey Five”’s silence is exercising on each of their lives and relationships. 

That said, the moments of humor – mostly courtesy of Laura Dern as Renata, of course – came as an especially welcome break, and figure heavily in this week’s MVPs...

Top Ten MVPs of Big Little Lies, Episode 2.3: “The End of the World”

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Tuesday
Jun182019

Big Little Lies MVPs: Episode 2.2 "Tell-Tale Hearts"

By Spencer Coile

After a compelling season opener, Big Little Lies is back to remind viewers why its viewership only continues to rise. Renata’s husband, Gordon, is arrested and jeopardizes her wealth and self-worth. Per Nathan’s request, Bonnie’s mother (Crystal Fox) arrives on the scene to shake her daughter out of her funk. Meanwhile, Celeste and Jane disclose to their respective families how Perry connects them - much to the chagrin and denial from Mary Louise. Not to mention, Ed finds out about Madeline’s affair with the theater director and concludes their marriage is over. Oh yeah, and Perry had an older brother who died years ago.

A lot of drama was covered in the second episode, so buckle up for...

Top 10 MVPs of Big Little Lies. Episode 2.2 “Tell-Tale Hearts”

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Wednesday
Jun122019

Big Little Lies MVPs: Episode 2.1 "What Have They Done?"

by Nathaniel R

The first season of Big Little Lies won 8 Emmys, 4 Golden Globes, and 2 SAG Awards and, most importantly, the hearts of actressexuals everywhere. It would be foolish to expect the possibly unneccessary Season 2 to deliver at quite the same level. But for now, just one episode in, it more than satisfied, if only for the chance to see these exceptionally well-drawn characters again. 

The first episode begins with the new school year and charts the after-effects of Perry's (Alexander Skarsgård) death. The death has (mostly) been deemed an accident  but "the Monterey 5" (Kidman, Witherspoon, Woodley, Dern and Kravitz aka Celeste, Madeline, Jane, Renata and Bonnie) are still the talk of the town. To add to the combustible mix of those five strong personalities, now closer friends due to their shared tragedy/lies, Perry's mother Mary Louise (Meryl Streep) is making everyone uncomfortable not just with her questions about the death of her son, but the brusque manner in which she delivers them.  As with season 1, we'll conquer each episode in list format. Herewith...

Top 10 MVPs of Big Little Lies. Episode 2.1 "What Have They Done?" 

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