Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Stone Country

The following TV EYE blurb is reprinted from Providence Monthly Online

Tom’s Selleck’s matinee looks and easy charm served him well in the long running Rockford Files knock-off Magnum, PI (1980-88). Yet, his appearances on the big screen (Quiqley Down Under, Mr. Baseball, Her Alibi, among them) never generated the same heat, and his film person always seemed like some strange cross between a low rent Cary Grant or a less goofy Burt Reynolds. Post-Magnum, the best work he’s done has been in a variety of made-for-television full length westerns where he eschews the eye-winking for a less-is-more laconic style, the same one he’s brought to his three outings as small town copper Jesse Stone, a side creation from Spenser author Robert B. Parker. The fourth installment of this intermittent TV procedural, Jesse Stone:Sea Change, airs this Tuesday, the 22nd, on CBS at 8:00. Selleck does a wonderful job playing the worn down Stone, a big city cop who’s taken on the soft (and boring) job of police chief in a seaside New England town, a smart and cynical guy with a gut full of scotch and a head full of darkness. Selleck does world-weary effortlessly, and his Stone actually fits better in the long line of literary disenchanted crime stoppers than with any sort of TV archetype. These television movies flow slowly but diffidently, unfolding in crisp, gray, autumnal settings, propelled only by the main character’s pervading melancholy and his still awakened sense of duty. Selleck’s work as Stone makes for some small scale, smart TV pleasure, and the movies get bonus points for setting crimes in a provincial setting with parochial machinations, devoid of the all too familiar psycho serial killers, CGI body explorations, and MTV styled editing tricks.

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