Jim Beaver

Sean Astin in Sultana

30 years ago, it was “Goonies never say die!” 20 years ago, it was “Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame!” And 10 years ago, it was “There’s some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for!” Now, Sean Astin has a new rally cry for us: “Remember the Sultana!” That phrase goes with a documentary in the works called Sultana, and the actor is an executive producer on the project. It’s mostly the passion of Astin’s longtime friend, producer Mark Marshall, who he met on the set of The Goonies. But the two of them are united on screen promoting the film in the campaign video for a crowdfunding venture launched last month. It’s at Kickstarter, where their goal is $75k to go towards filming and post-production costs. “Voiceover Talent” is apparently a large part of that pie, which might in part mean for Astin himself. He’s set to narrate the history doc. But there are other voice actors involved, such as Deadwood‘s Jim Beaver, American Pie‘s Thomas Ian Nichols and Free Willy‘s Jason Richter. Mostly former child actors apparently. You likely don’t know the story of the SS Sultana. That’s basically the reason Marshall is so intent on telling it and why Astin says it has to be told and remembered. The Sultana was a steamboat that blew up and sank into the Mississippi River near Memphis at the end of the Civil War. About 1800 people died in the incident, known as the greatest maritime disaster in U.S. history. Those passengers […]

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Justified Season 4

On the whole, season four of Justified was pretty spectacular. With a few exceptions, almost every episode was filled with perfect writing, skillful, action-packed direction, some of the greatest acting performances on television, and really interesting character arcs. We also said goodbye to one of the show’s greatest assets, Raymond J. Barry as Arlo Givens in one of Justified’s greatest show openers ever, a vicious prison shanking. While Arlo’s passing was a loss to the show, we all made it through, and have one helluva episode to remember him by. Though most of this season did involve the marshallin’ stiffy-inducing search for fugitive Drew Thompson, who was Arlo’s buddy in Vietnam, and who brought cocaine to Harlan County. Drew, of course, turned out to be the kindly old Sheriff Shelby (Jim Beaver), who rescued dumb-but-sweet prostitute Ellen May (Abby Miller) from the clutches of Boyd and Ava, since she witnessed Ava kill Delroy… Now that Raylan officially brought in Drew/Shelby and skirted the Detroit mob, this season’s central “mystery,” now what? With most of the season’s plot wrapped up last week, this week’s finale did not have that much to do. Raylan had to tie up some loose ends with the Detroit mob, and Boyd had to get that whole Delroy thing squared away. The episode, entitled “Ghosts,”directed by Bill Johnson and written by Fred Golan and Benjamin Cavell, was certainly a very good one, but Justified could have done just a bit better. There were some unanswered questions left over […]

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Justified Season 4

This week’s Justified seems like a bit of a present to those of us who are loyal viewers of the show. There was swift Raylan and Boyd banter. There was that Deadwood reunion proper between Timothy Olyphant and Jim Beaver as Sheriff Shelby (or is that Bullock and Ellsworth?) as they formed a formidable crime-fightin’ team. And for all us Marshal Tim fans, he finally got his own little storyline that further revealed some backstory and some more Marshal Tim witticisms. There was also “romantic Boyd,” which clearly was a delight in some respects. However, some of these story threads didn’t wrap up so nicely, so while the episode, “Foot Chase,” certainly was a pleasure to watch, these threads needed a lot more polish. And the plot as a whole needed to unravel more organically, shall we say, in order to join the pantheon of great Justified episodes. There was a lot of loose logic, too, which we can’t abide. If you can think back from last week, this week’s episode is entitled “Foot Chase,” not because there’s some Point Break-style foot chase (though that would be strongly encouraged), but because Raylan joins forces with Sheriff Shelby to track down Josiah Cairn (Gerald McRaney, a third Deadwood alum) who is sans foot. Get it? Well, Art sure did, as he greeted Raylan with a slew of foot-related puns. Ah, Art, you ol’ cut-up!

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