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SHOW ME A HERO: News & Reviews

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  • Atypical
    Dec 1st, 2011

    New six-part HBO miniseries starting on Sunday, August 16, 2015 @ 8 PM ET.

    Creators: David Simon, William F. Zorzi

    Director: Paul Haggis

    Cast: Oscar Issac, Winona Ryder, Bob Balaban, LaTanya Richardson-Jackson, Jon Bernthal, Catherine Keener, Jim Belushi, Terry Kinney, Clarke Peters

    83 on Metacritic with 23 reviews

    Trailer Link:


    Reviews forthcoming.

    Sep 20th, 2012

    I’m really looking forward to this!

    ReplyCopy URL
    Nov 5th, 2010

    I’m looking so forward to this. For one, it stars one of my favorite actors working right now- Oscar Isaac (the rest of the cast ain’t too shabby either). Also, it’s by David Simon. And finally, this appears to be Paul Haggis’s best work yet (critics say it’s finest work as a director). Hoping for great things from this.

    ReplyCopy URL
    Cordell Martin
    Jul 9th, 2014

    I’m so excited to see this! 

    ReplyCopy URL
    Dec 1st, 2011

    Hollywood Reporter’s review:

    Me a Hero
    : TV Review

    3:00 PM PDT 8/5/2015 by Tim Goodman

    The Bottom Line

    A smart, gripping take on race and class in America.


    Aug. 16, 8 p.m. (HBO)


    David Simon, William F. Zorzi


    Paul Haggis


    Oscar Issac, Winona Ryder, Bob Balaban, LaTanya
    Richardson-Jackson, Catherine Keener, Jim Belushi

    Oscar Isaac stars as a New York politician
    who gets saddled with a divisive housing project in David Simon’s new
    miniseries for HBO.

    When David Simon told HBO executives about his
    storyline for the second season of the acclaimed series The Wire—the
    whole of which would eventually go down as arguably the greatest drama on
    television—they were understandably taken aback. The first season, complicated
    as it might have been, essentially was a look at the duality and similarity
    between the infrastructures of the Baltimore police department and a gang
    selling drugs out of the local projects.

    Ah, but the plan for season two was to shake things up,
    taking everything from the first season and making it the “B”
    storyline while instead highlighting “the decline of the working class in
    American cities, focusing on the Baltimore waterfront and its unions.”

    Which is the perfect way to say that Simon never in his
    life made anything easy for television executives and, by extension, viewers.
    The man digs into complex issues and refuses to take shortcuts, which is
    probably why his eyes lit up at the idea of taking non-fiction book, “Show
    Me a Hero” by writer Lisa Belkinabout a public-housing policy dispute in Yonkers, New York, that
    divided a city along class lines and destroyed the career of an idealistic
    mid-sized city mayor—and making it into a miniseries.

    Simon doesn’t recoil from what others might consider
    unsexy material.

    And while it might seem that Show Me A Hero (taken
    from the F. Scott Fitzgerald quote, “Show me a hero and I’ll
    write you a tragedy
    “) has a distinct “eat your vegetables”
    aroma to it, what becomes apparent when you settle down to watch is the
    unmistakable lure of being hooked by the storytelling and the first-class
    acting. This is a miniseries, rolled out in double episodes on three
    consecutive Sundays, that not only rewards viewers for the time they invest,
    but also gives them a glimpse of what could earn a very generous haul of Emmy
    nominations next year.

    Written by Simon and long-time Wire contributor William
    F. Zorzi
    , Hero is a true, era-specific look at not only race and
    class in America but the far more universal themes of home and family—of the
    American ideal of wanting a place of your own to settle down in.

    The six-part miniseries takes Belkin’s book and brings it
    achingly to life. Idealistic political wonk Nick Wasicsko (a superb, award-worthy Oscar
    ) is a newbie city councilman in Yonkers in the late 1980s—he’s still
    living with his mother and mostly voting along with incumbent mayor Angelo
    Martinelli (Jim Belushi), who is likely to cruise to an easy victory.
    Wasicsko is urged to run against Martinelli and though he thinks it’s probably
    too early, his ego gets the better of him and he agrees, thinking at worst
    he’ll learn from the experience.

    But as Show Me a Hero begins, tensions in the city
    of Yonkers bubbles beneath the surface of the show. In a lawsuit is brought by
    the U.S. Department of Justice and the NAACP, the city was found guilty of
    using federal housing funds to segregate the city (already 80 percent white) by
    only building housing projects “across the tracks” (in this case, on
    the other side of the Saw Mill River Parkway).

    The story begins with an intriguing political reality.
    Mayor Martinelli had realized it was folly to appeal the government ruling;
    appealing the case would cost Yonkers tons of money for little reward. But
    Wasicsko voted for the appeal, and that was enough to get angry Yonkers
    residents on his side, allowing him to oust the mayor in the election. The
    appeal was rejected not long after the election, and now the newbie, idealistic
    Mayor Wasicsko finds himself having to bend to the decision of federal judge
    Leonard Sand (Bob Balaban) to build 200 units of low-income housing on
    the white side of Yonkers.

    That, not surprisingly, is political suicide.

    This is where Show Me a Hero takes off as the
    ultimate “be careful what you wish for” story. Wasicsko is just
    nerdy enough to have always wanted to be mayor, but the seat is barely warm
    when residents accuse of him of lying and selling out as the law forces him to
    put the housing in place.

    He never even had a chance.

    Credit Simon and Zorzi, as well as acclaimed director Paul
    (Crash), for finding the humanity in the situation and in the
    characters. Yes, racism is a major factor in the fear of white residents, but
    blame also extends to the failures of old-school public housing and the actions
    of its hopeless residents.  

    Hero also succeeds, arguably,
    where Haggis’ big-screen Crash faltered because it’s not a blunt
    instrument about racism and its roots. Where that two-hour movie was very
    black-and-white with its subject, the six hours of Hero can look at the
    perspectives of characters like Yonkers resident Mary Dorman (Catherine
    ), who vehemently fights the new construction; project resident Norma
    O’Neal (LaTanya Richardson-Jackson); housing expert Oscar Newman (Peter Riegert);
    various city council members (including one played by Winona Ryder); and
    NAACP attorney Michael Sussman (Jon Bernthal of The
    Walking Dead
    ), who gets a bittersweet victory (what’s the point of
    “winning” when it means residents will be living where they are
    vehemently unwanted?).

    Hero could have gone even
    deeper into the contradictory emotions caught up in its story, and in other
    spots it can feel a bit redundant (of course, there’s really not much mystery to
    what will happen and what the fallout will be). But just when an episode starts
    to feel—even for a few minutes—like “eating your vegetables,” the
    all-star cast and their wonderful performances or the beautifully nuanced
    scripts from Simon and Zorzi reset the hook.

    Show Me a Hero
    certainly isn’t sexy and, on the surface, may not seem particularly timely or
    urgent, but the core elements of the story are universal and the show’s most
    impressive achievement is making them relevant and dramatic and entertaining
    all at the same time.


    ReplyCopy URL
    Dec 1st, 2011

    Variety’s review:

    TV Review: “Show Me a Hero”

    Courtesy of HBO

    August 12, 2015 | 07:15 AM PT

    Brian Lowry

    TV Columnist @blowryontv

    A timely, nuanced look at class and race
    through the prism of events that transpired more than a quarter-century ago, “Show
    Me a Hero” is a sobering, spare and meticulously crafted HBO miniseries.
    Although the subject matter—six hours devoted to the battle over public housing
    in Yonkers, N.Y.—won’t be for everyone, David Simon’s productions seldom are.
    Nevertheless, the pervasive quality and ambition, including Oscar Isaac’s
    central performance, rubs off on the pay network in a flattering way, feeling
    very much of a piece with the third season of “The Wire” in capturing the
    dysfunction of municipal politics.

    For those who have lamented HBO’s latest batch of
    originals (so long, “True Detective”), “Hero”—being shown over three successive
    Sundays—comes at a propitious time, to the extent it represents the sort of
    exercise it’s hard to imagine another network bankrolling. Then again, Simon’s
    work, often bleakly tilted toward the darker side of American cities, is
    generally viewed as critic bait that appeals to a small if rarefied audience,
    which has made his relationship with the network a symbiotic one.

    Here, the journalist-turned-writer/producer teams with
    William F. Zorzi and director Paul Haggis, adapting a book by Lisa Belkin whose
    title is derived from an F. Scott Fitzgerald line, “Show me a hero and I’ll
    write you a tragedy.”

    Said tragedy begins in Yonkers during the late 1980s,
    where city officials are dealing with a court-mandated program to introduce 200
    units of public housing in white neighborhoods. As modest as that sounds, the
    vehement resistance from the area’s residents makes the environment politically
    toxic, so much so that when young councilman Nick Wasicsko (Isaac) is convinced
    to run for mayor, he stumbles onto a campaign theme of resistance to the
    housing program that takes him from sacrificial lamb to unexpected victor.

    Quickly, though, it’s clear the old maxim “Be careful
    what you wish for” applies, with Wasicsko realizing there’s no escaping the
    court’s order (pressure to appeal merely antagonizes the judge, played by Bob
    Balaban), which leads to threats and protests by citizens. Wasicsko is
    concerned enough to begin carrying a gun, while intransigent council members
    lead by Henry Spallone (Alfred Molina) continue to speak defiantly, digging in
    their heels and painting the young mayor into a corner.

    “Nobody sensible would ever put themself through this,”
    Wasicsko mutters at one point, but clearly, he’s so bitten by the bug of
    politics that being sensible has long since left the building. In fact, his
    ongoing fight to remain politically viable becomes a central narrative thread,
    and puts a strain on his marriage, although the script by Simon and Zorzi casts
    a wide net, including the stories of those living in poor neighborhoods—for
    whom the homes could make an enormous difference—and white resident Mary Dorman
    (Catherine Keener, unrecognizable), whose arc of epiphany from vigorous
    opponent of the housing project to steadfast supporter is one the most surprising
    and satisfying.

    Punctuated throughout with the songs of Bruce
    Springsteen, which seem perfectly appropriate given the time, place and tone,
    “Show Me a Hero” won’t be described by anyone as “fast paced.” Indeed, as good
    as it is—and it’s very good—one can argue that six hours is quite a commitment
    for something that frequently approximates cable-access coverage of local

    Even so, one is gradually drawn in as the fact-based
    story wades ankle-deep into the drudgery and minutiae of council proceedings
    and public-housing strategies, the latter articulated by an expert planner
    (Peter Riegert) determined not to let the endeavor’s failure become a
    self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Without whitewashing the problems in the minority
    neighborhoods, the miniseries captures the underlying racial animus and
    apprehension motivating the homeowners, hidden behind coded language like
    “property values” and “liberty.” In that regard, it charts the continuation of
    the civil-rights movement into efforts to foster desegregation, from housing to

    The performances are uniformly strong, although Isaac’s
    is particularly interesting as almost a primer on the psychology of politics,
    and how much Wasicsko’s identity is derived from his desperate thirst for
    validation from voters. That includes regular chats with his father, and
    literally slugging Maalox from the bottle.

    “Show Me a Hero” is that Fitzgerald-augured tragedy of
    sorts, but it’s not a story without hope — or laughs for that matter, including
    scene where a councilman objects to the housing project by saying, “Not in my
    backyard,” when the construction almost literally would be. That said, there’s
    an overarching theme to Simon’s work, and if this doesn’t represent the peak of
    his glory days, it’s praise enough to say it certainly belongs in that

    TV Review: “Show Me a Hero”

    (Miniseries; HBO, Sun. Aug. 16, 8 p.m.)


    Filmed in New York by Blown Deadline Prods. in
    association with Pretty Pictures.


    Executive producers, David Simon, Nina K. Noble, Paul Haggis, Gail
    Mutrux, William F. Zorzi; director, Haggis; writers, Simon, Zorzi; based on the
    book by Lisa Belkin; camera, Andrij Parekh; music, Nathan Larson; music supervisor,
    Blake Leyh; casting, Alexa L. Fogel. 6 HOURS


    Oscar Isaac, Catherine Keener, Alfred Molina, Winona
    Ryder, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Bob Balaban, Jim Belushi, Jon Bernthal,
    Peter Riegert, Dominique Fishback, Ilfenesh Hadera, Terry Kinney, Natalie Paul,
    Clarke Peters, Carla Quevedo


    ReplyCopy URL
    Dec 1st, 2011

    Slant’s review:

    Show Me a Hero

    Chuck Bowen ON August 13, 2015 

    An early scene in Show Me a Hero typifies the miniseries’s
    blunt, broad storytelling. In Yonkers, city council member Nick Wasicsko
    (Oscar Isaac) has recently announced he’s running for mayor opposite
    longtime incumbent Angelo Martinelli (James Belushi), unknowingly
    serving as a pawn in the latter’s ultimately unsuccessful scheme to keep
    the position. When Nick enters a copy room in the city offices to
    prepare campaign materials, two secretaries shoot him the stink-eye,
    claiming they’ll be at the copy machine for a while. Nick asks how long,
    and they say hours. Getting it, Nick looks for another machine. We’re
    able to discern a straightforward nugget of expositional information:
    Nick’s being blackballed by Martinelli’s loyalists as a traitor. But
    director Paul Haggis and screenwriters David Simon and William F. Zorzi
    aren’t content that we get it, lingering on the secretaries for an extra
    beat, having one of them actually say, “He’s gonna run against Angelo
    and get help around here? He’s crazy.”

    Sledgehammer touches like this accumulate rapidly by the dozens in Show Me a Hero.
    The scene is characteristic of Haggis, a tediously literal-minded
    black-and-white moralist whose films render even Ron Howard’s middling
    brand of preachy cinematic tapioca spicy by comparison. Directing all
    six episodes, Haggis makes his usual inadvertently condescending fetish
    of the gritty white middle-class, which is meant to contrast with his
    insidiously patronizing sanctification of struggling blacks and
    Hispanics as imperiled lambs forever lecturing one another for their
    crimes or accidentally breeding whenever one of them so much as feints
    toward a sexual gesture. Haggis’s “empathy” with the marginalized is
    offensively defensive, serving to color them into the very “other”
    corner that the miniseries is attempting to deconstruct. The narrative’s
    elliptical structure (each episode is set several months apart,
    cumulatively spanning several years from the late 1980s to the early
    1990s) ensures that the non-white characters are scrambling from one
    situational extremis to another, embodying a white-perceived cliché of
    their lives as chiefly composed of squabbling and tragedy.

    There are no glancing touches; to be fair, Haggis is an
    equal-opportunity huckster. For instance, the director can’t merely have
    two white Yonkers City employees talking in a bar, trading
    world-weary-isms. That would be an incidental pleasure, and Haggis
    distrusts spontaneous textures to a degree that scans as authentically
    neurotic. No, Gerry Rafferty’s “Right Down the Line” has to be playing
    to intensify the melancholia, and the scene has to be mostly covered in
    distractingly epic medium shots that point up the elaborateness of the
    bar set, with its “Guinness” mirror serving as the image’s through line.
    Take a shot every time a Bruce Springsteen song pops up as a laughably
    predictable aural mural to common-man strife and you’ll be buzzing by
    the second episode. The 1980s period detail is laid on thick with a
    capital P: cigarette smoke, bad ties, coffee, and facial hair are so
    ostentatious as to bring to mind BoJack Horseman‘s parody of artless TV flashback specials.

    These distancing indulgences are unsurprising for Haggis, but they’re shockingly uncharacteristic of The Wire‘s
    Simon and Zorzi, and it’s simultaneously startling and depressing to
    watch a Simon production that’s this stilted and obvious. Theoretically,
    Show Me a Hero, which is based on Lisa Belkin’s account of the
    Yonkers city council’s opposition to the federally mandated building of
    low-income public housing on East-side neighborhoods beside prosperous
    white homeowners, would complement The Wire‘s examination of
    the social infrastructures that feed and launder the institutional
    oppression that thrives in the United States. It’s about how whites have
    adopted more studiously subtle terms for racism, insisting on the
    dangers of declining property values in place of simply saying “no
    coloreds allowed,” and it offers a never-more-relevant parallel to the
    enraged cries of contemporary conservative bell-ringers, who insist,
    somehow without irony, that true equality represents an erosion of
    classic American life. It does, of course, but that’s not a compliment
    to classic American life.

    Yet Show Me a Hero is fatally eaten up with its topicality and importance. The Wire
    is one of the most piercing examinations of institutional hypocrisy
    created for any medium, but it’s also a moment-to-moment drama that
    exists apart from its politics—a distinction that paradoxically serves a
    political purpose. That series hinged on an elaborate, resonant series
    of counterpoints: against the hopelessness of fashioning mass social
    revolution, a micro portrait was offered of professionals of various
    races, genders, and ideologies who bonded through their obsession with
    crime-solving as substitute for reform. This structure was further
    complicated through the equally textured counterpoint provided by the
    drug dealers, whose lives were shown, underneath the formality of
    warfare, to be at times unerringly similar to those of the heroes’. The
    actors played detective-series types, but over the long haul transcended

    There’s no such transcendence in Show Me a Hero. It’s torn
    between Haggis’s love of soapbox melodrama and Simon’s fascination with
    the minute processes of social governance, the two impulses canceling
    themselves out. The potential emotional satisfaction of this melodrama,
    which is insultingly pat to begin with, is hampered by the seemingly
    endless scenes of council meetings that Simon characteristically loves,
    which are contextually diluted by the stock dialogue and cartoon acting
    that surrounds them.

    Most prominently, Catherine Keener dons ridiculous old-lady drag,
    undergoing a transition from reactionary to progressive that climaxes
    with a montage of her and other white ladies visiting black families,
    set to Digable Planets’ “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat),” that’s
    shameless even for Haggis. And Isaac, doing that Al Pacino impression he
    honed in the similarly dull A Most Violent Year,
    isn’t able to lend his character’s unscrupulous desperation any
    stature. Nick’s a hero things happen to, and while that’s partially the
    point given the political quagmire in which he finds himself, there’s no
    sense of escalation or suspense to his plight. Occasionally, a veteran
    of The Wire will appear to remind one of Simon’s better work,
    briefly stealing the stage from the chief actors before receding to the
    sidelines again. Clarke Peters, for example, invests his role as a
    neighborhood consultant with a seemingly casual sense of gravity and
    grace that embarrasses Keener and Isaac; as influential city planner
    Oscar Newman, Peter Riegert also holds his own. The difference is easy
    to distinguish: Peters and a few others play characters, while everyone
    else attempts to offer a ham-handed essay on How We Live.

    Cast: Oscar Isaac, Catherine
    Keener, Carla Quevedo, James Belushi, Alfred Molina, Winona Ryder, Jim
    Bracchitta, Terry Kinney, Joe Bernthal, Michael Stahl-David, Clarke
    Peters, La Tanya Richardson-Jackson, Ilfenesh Hadera, Natalie Paul,
    McKinley Belcher III, Peter Riegert. Airtime: HBO; Check local listings.


    ReplyCopy URL
    Dec 1st, 2011

    Hitfix’s review:

    Review: Oscar Isaac shines in David Simon’s “Show
    Me a Hero”

    True story of Yonkers housing integration is a lecture,
    but an entertaining one.


    by Alan Sepinwall  @Sepinwall | Thursday, Aug 13,
    2015 9:00 AM

    David Simon is the resident civics professor of American
    cable drama, with projects like “The Wire,” “The Corner,”
    “Generation Kill,” and “Tremé” offering thoughtful takes on
    the drug war, the Iraq invasion, New Orleans post-Katrina, and the generally
    rotten state of urban America. He is a TV producer by trade,
    consciousness-raiser by passion, and journalist at his core, and the
    showmanship side of the job has always come across as a necessary evil for him.
    He’s glad that “Wire” fans came to love Omar and Bubbles and Wallace,
    but if they didn’t grasp the larger lesson he was trying to teach, then what
    was the point?

    But he’s also understood that his work needs a spoonful of Stringer to make the
    medicine go down. “The Wire” may be a powerful commentary on
    policing, politics, and so much more, but it’s also a cracking piece of
    entertainment, as are all of Simon’s projects on some level or another. (Even
    the wildly uncommercial “Tremé” had the formal rhythms of the very
    jazz performers and lovers whose stories he chronicled.)

    Simons’s gifts as an entertainer, and those of his collaborators—co-writer
    William F. Zorzi, director Paul Haggis, and, especially, star Oscar Isaac—are
    put to an extreme test with “Show Me a Hero,” an HBO
    miniseries debuting Sunday night at 8. (It’ll air two episodes each Sunday for
    three straight weeks; I’ve seen all six.) It’s essentially a six-hour lecture
    on zoning regulations, municipal codes, and why integration remained such a
    thorny issue long after the civil rights era of the ’60s.

    But if it’s a lecture, it’s an engaging, emotional, and surprisingly light on
    its feet one.

    The title, from the non-fiction book by Lisa Belkin that Simon and Zorzi
    adapted, is part of a famous line by F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Show me a hero,
    and I’ll write you a tragedy.” Our hero in this case is Nick Wasicsko
    (Isaac), a politician in Yonkers, NY, a small city practically within spitting
    distance of Manhattan. In 1987, Nick became the youngest mayor in America,
    defeating longtime incumbent Angelo Martinelli (Jim Belushi) by promising to
    appeal a court order to build affordable housing, intended primarily for
    tenants of color, on the predominantly white side of town. The city was angry,
    Nick tapped into that anger, and then discovered almost immediately upon taking
    office that the appeal was denied, and that the judge in the case (Bob Balaban)
    was willing to fine Yonkers into bankruptcy if the local government kept
    stalling on this issue.

    In the miniseries, the mayor-elect learns that the appeal was denied, smiles
    nervously, and says, “Nothing I can do about that, right?”

    He has no idea how ugly things are going to get, as the other members of the
    city council—spurred on by toothpick-brandishing Hank Spallone (Alfred Molina),
    not to mention an angry and very vocal white constituency insisting their
    concern is only property values, and not the race of their potential new
    neighbors—dig in their heels and refuse to comply with the judge’s orders. Near
    the start of the miniseries, we’re told that Yonkers is a city where party
    affiliation barely matters, and compromise is routine, but Nick is quickly
    plunged into a nightmare where his enemies, allies and voters alike all refuse
    to listen to reason or the stark realities of the situation, as the city and
    his bright political career begin unraveling.

    This was in theory a simple issue complicated by the conflicting rules and
    agendas of the city charter, the federal government, and the many people
    fighting tooth and nail against these houses—200 units in a city of 200,000
    people—and one that requires an intimidating amount of exposition to properly
    explain. Yet because Simon, Zorzi, and Haggis have Oscar Isaac—so natural, so
    likeable, and so compulsively watchable—to sort through the bureaucracy right
    along with us, “Show Me a Hero” very rarely feels like homework.

    Though Simon and Zorzi employ a number of recognizable faces from “The
    Wire” (Clarke Peters, Michael Potts, and Michael Kostroff, among others)
    in small roles, the great bulk of the cast is made up of actors new to their
    particular brand of cable drama muckraking, just as Haggis is a new creative
    partner, with a very different visual and emotional aesthetic  than we’re
    used to. Almost everyone is working out of their comfort zone, and the
    production is filled by lively, surprising performances, like “Walking
    Dead” alum Jon Bernthal stepping out of his usual meathead role to instead
    play a dogged ACLU lawyer, or Winona Ryder trying on a Yonkers accent as one of
    Nick’s closer friends on the city council.

    Though the case was its most public and embarrassing at City Hall, the
    miniseries understands that its impact was more deeply felt by the white
    residents fighting against the new townhouses, and by the black and brown ones
    from the other side of town looking for something as basic as a better place to

    The paranoid white residents are mainly given voice through Catherine Keener as
    Mary Dorman, who doesn’t see anything racially-motivated in her complaints,
    even as she (as Mary did in real life) tells an African-American reporter,
    “I just don’t think you should take people with one lifestyle and put them
    smack in a place with a different lifestyle.” While some of the housing’s
    opponents are painted as inveterate, if carefully-phrased, bigots, Mary’s
    feelings about the issue, and the ways they change as the case evolves, are
    much more complex and interesting.

    As a vocal protest leader, Mary’s easier to integrate
    into what Nick and Hank Spallone are up to in the council chambers. The
    periodic check-ins on minority residents of the old projects—including an
    infirm woman whose home health nurse is reluctant to come to her apartment, and
    a single mother from the Dominican Republic who notes that while she can make
    more money in America, being poor here can often feel like her kids are in
    prison—are taken straight from Belkin’s book, and they don’t always fit as
    seamlessly in the early going. But like so much of Simon’s work, those stories
    build in power as they go along, and by the miniseries’ end, we see—often with
    the smallest of moments that we might take for granted, but that they can’t—just
    how deeply the issue affects them. Patience, as always, is rewarded.

    Haggis and Simon might seem mismatched partners, but their skills prove very
    complementary. The soberness of Simon’s writing leavens Haggis’ sentimental
    streak, even as that sentiment in turn makes the whole thing feel less wonky.
    (The creative team collectively chose Bruce Springsteen as Nick’s musical
    touchstone, and his songs both famous (“Hungry Heart”) and not
    (“Gave It a Name”) fill the soundtrack, creating a sense that this
    story is one more harsh but hopeful piece of Americana like the best of the Boss.)
    And Haggis is fantastic at shooting the many borderline riots that take place
    in and around City Hall; you’ll practically smell all these sweaty loudmouths
    as their protests make a bad situation vastly worse.

    The story ends very badly for some (I’d advise against Googling the names of
    the main characters, though knowing the greatest tragedy ahead of time in no
    way diminished my enjoyment), very well for others, and in between for the
    rest. It’s modern life in all its messiness, told by a group of artists with a
    particular flair for capturing it.

    “The thing is, people just want a home, right?” Nick says at one
    point. “It’s the same for everybody.”

    This is a basic, fundamental human issue, one that should be easy for everyone
    in this story to understand. As “Show Me a Hero”—the exact kind of
    project a company like HBO should be


    ReplyCopy URL
    Nov 12th, 2013

    Parts one and two are fantastic. Can’t wait for more.

    ReplyCopy URL
    Dec 1st, 2011

    First two installments were excellent. Can’t wait to see more!

    ReplyCopy URL
    Dec 1st, 2011

    Parts 3 & 4

    Mayor Wasicsko achieves some consensus and pushes through a housing plan
    with a tough vote; a new mayor pledges to oppose the housing; Nick
    Wasicsko tries to reconcile himself to life out of power as construction
    on the townhomes begins.


    ReplyCopy URL
    Dec 1st, 2011

    These next two installments were great. I’ve never heard of this housing battle in Yonkers before, but the way they’re mounting this gripping story is superb. I was actually tearing up in sections, mainly b/c so many of these characters’ plights are so realistic and human in scope. Oscar Isaac has done more than enough to make the Emmy race next year (as well as upcoming Globes/SAGs), and I wouldn’t mind seeing some supporting nods along the way for its stellar ensemble. Catherine Keener looks like a safe bet. I’m also rooting for Latayna Richardson-Jackson (heartbreaking), Alfred Molina (the character’s one-note, but he’s memorable), Peter Reigert, and yes, Winona Ryder (although she was absent in both of these installments). It’s hard to believe that something as seemingly dry as housing fights and municipal elections can be so riveting, but it is. I hope that HBO goes to bat for this hard next year. It’ll be sad if this gets left in the cold while the shitty “True Detective” gets a major push instead. Can’t wait for the last two parts. All is forgiven now, Mr. Haggis lol!

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    Nov 12th, 2013

    Will this be Oscar Isaac’s first step towards his inevitable EGOT? Let’s hope so.

    Goddam this show is gripping. 

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    Oct 26th, 2011

    Fantastic series thus far – I hate that we only get two more episodes.  Expecting this to be a big Limited Series player, with nods for:

    Limited Series – Show Me a Hero
    Actor – Oscar Isaac
    Supporting Actor – Alfred Molina
    Supporting Actress – Catherine Keener
    Directing – Paul Haggis (Part 1)
    Writing – William F. Zorzi & David Simon (Part 1)
    Sound Editing
    Art Direction 

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    Dec 1st, 2011

    Parts 5 & 6

    Nick Wasicsko plans his political comeback; the residents for the new
    townhouses are chosen; Nick Wasicsko begins the long road back to
    political viability; the residents take possession of their new


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