Wednesday, July 11, 2018

BARRY -- My review

I didn’t vote for BARRY for the Best Comedy Emmy because it’s not really that funny, and there are dramas that are more powerful, but I sure like the show.

BARRY is an eight episode series that has been on HBO since March. (Yes, I’m late to the party. What else is new?) And it stars Bill Hader (who always seems nice when I see him at the gym) as a disillusioned hit man who gets the acting bug when he comes to LA to kill an actor (one of the more common occurrences in Los Angeles).

There are fun quirky characters and comedic moments (although I honestly laughed at loud more from THE GOOD FIGHT), but the characters are rich and the storytelling is terrific. Kudos to Bill Hader and Alec Berg.

The writers do a very smart thing. Hader’s character (“Barry”) is constantly pulled in two directions – his hit man life, which gets more complicated, and his acting pursuit, which includes a relationship with lovely and very real Sarah Goldberg. Watching him juggle these two worlds is compelling and fun.

They also do something really clever – maybe the best device ever for getting out backstory exposition. Barry pours his heart out to acting teacher, Henry Winkler, who mistakes it for an audition monologue and accepts him into the class. So not only was the exposition dispensed to the audience, it also was a great character piece and a key plot point. That’s some nifty writing right there.

Besides Hader, whose only better performance is when he does his Alan Alda impression, Henry Winkler is great as the self-absorbed bullshit acting teacher, Stephen Root shines as Barry’s handler, and Anthony Carrigan steals every scene as an insouciant Euro (or Eastern Euro)-trash mobster. I also love Paula Newsome as the police detective on Barry’s trail (although, in fairness I’ve loved her since I directed her in CONRAD BLOOM and am relieved I didn’t kill her career). Oh, and Jon Hamm was convincing as Jon Hamm.

I do hope BARRY gets some Emmy recognition. Bill Hader deserves a nomination certainly for Best Actor. I suspect there will be a season two. I’ll have to ask the next time I see him at the gym. But if you haven’t seen it, BARRY on HBO is worth a look.  What say you all? 

23 comments :

1955david said...

I didn’t want to like he show. Hitman vehicles are getting tiresome and overdone. However, I ended up loving this show and recommend it.

Tom Asher said...

Love Barry! Glad we gave it a chance... Hader... Winkler... had to be done...

And yes, his Alan Alda impression is great especially since nobody does Alan Alda except Alan Alda!

Peter said...

I'll watch anything with Henry Winkler in it. He's awesome.

Honest Ed said...

Bill Haber?

Freudian slip?

Rock Golf said...

I like the series "Barry" because I like the story and the characters, but a comedy?
Not even close.
The only laugh i got in the entire series was when an ancient, decrepit, hollowed out hitman was asked how old he was and he answered "46" or some equally absurd low number.

Andrew said...

"Hodor! Hodor!"

Jon88 said...

Season 2 renewal was announced back in April.

Jeff Grant said...

Barry was easily one of my favorite shows of the first half of 2018. Nice to hear you liked it too. And yes, it has been renewed for a 2nd season. (Woo hoo!!!)

Lemuel said...

Barry Zuckercorn "He's Very Good"

Craig Russll said...

Speaking of Alan Alda...I saw a Twitter ad for his new podcast "Clear and Vivid"...havent heard it yet, but interested...

John E. Williams said...

Any word on what Alan Alda thinks of Hader's impression?

John Nixon said...

I agree Barry is a great show. Barry and The Orville were my wife and my favorite shows from last season. He's torn between the life he has where he has to insure that nobody recognizes him and the life he wants where everybody would recognize him. It's both shocking and hilarious at the same time. Anthony Carrigan is perfect in this and equally as good in Gotham as a bad guy. Maybe my favorite line of his in Barry is when Barry comes back to their house after cutting ties and he says "you have many balls to come back here Barry". His broken English lines are really well written. I hope the new season starts soon.

Mike Bloodworth said...

No money. No cable. No BARRY. No gym. No air conditioning. No nothin'.
M.B.

VP81955 said...

Been a Bill Hader fan ever since he hosted "Essentials Jr." for a few summers on TCM, since he appears to have a real sense for classic film history. I wrote the leading man in my romcom screenplay -- a smart, if slightly bumbling, scientist along the lines of Cary Grant in the Howard Hawks 1952 "Monkey Business" -- with him in mind.

Mark Miller said...

Here's a taste of Bill Hader doing his Alan Alda impression:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iaHrXHPraI

A. W. Carter said...

I may be late to pointing this out, but apparently Hulu is running "M*A*S*H" cropped widescreen in HD. Thoughts? Opinion? Was the show framed for potential widescreen, or strictly for 4:3 format? Is this a good thing or a shameless attempt to bring in new audiences?

Wally said...

A Tonal Roller Coaster. Otherwise, good.

fred curtis said...

Don't think it would be a bad idea ...
Maybe thumbs up or down here in comments.
That way you really really know if we want a question answered!!

D McEwan said...

Barry has been sitting on my DVR for months. Thanks for the nudge to actually watch it.

Pamela Atherton said...

I wasn't particularly a Bill Hader fan, but I loved BARRY, and have a new appreciation for Bill. Great cast. It's deliciously dark.

Kevin B said...

I think "Barry" is hilarious. I wonder what that says about me? Anyway, glad it's getting love.

blogward said...

Thanks for the tip (from the UK). 'Barry' is a great series - it has a sort of 'west coast Sopranos/Dexter/Breaking Bad' vibe which kind of almost dates it, but the writing is terrific, and Henry Winkler totally unjumps the Fonz shark.

[SPOILER]






What's Gene going to do when he finds out about Detective Moss??

Johnny Walker said...

"They also do something really clever – maybe the best device ever for getting out backstory exposition. Barry pours his heart out to acting teacher, Henry Winkler, who mistakes it for an audition monologue and accepts him into the class. So not only was the exposition dispensed to the audience, it also was a great character piece and a key plot point. That’s some nifty writing right there."

That is a brilliant bit of writing. I remember being smacked by how clever it was when Shane Black did it in KISS KISS BANG BANG (with Robert Downy Jr). I guess I'm the only one who saw that great film... well apart from Hader and Berg :-/