August 12, 2020: Documentary Recommendation: Athlete A (2020)

This is a documentary that makes you think about the behind the closed door happenings you don’t know until it opens and all kinds of skeletons come out.  This is about the USA Gymnastics organization and how they punished one gymnast in the running to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics.  Her name was Maggie Nichols but she got some vindication when Larry Nassar was finally arrested and sentenced, Marta Karoyli stepped down as national team coordinator, USAG declared bankruptcy, and the entire board resigned. 
Athlete A is directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk.  It includes former gymnasts who were abused by Nassar, The Indianapolis Star reporters, and past USA Gymnastics staff.  The bottom line is Nassar was a predator and got everything he deserved in the end including listening from the gymnasts he violated.  The bottom line is it showed the harsh reality of the gymnastics sport. 
There are not many other sports where you are forced to perform with major injuries.  Boxing and MMA come to mind but again most of the fighters are not young like gymnasts.  Many of us cheered and thought Kerri Strug was a heroine in the 1996 Olympics, but gymnasts all around the world train and perform with injuries often at the pressure of their coaches.
There are rare mishaps that lead to gymnasts paralyzed and or/dead.  They include Elena Mukhina, Julissa Gomez, Sang Lan, and Adriana Duffy.  Striving to be thin took the life of Christy Heinrich.  There obviously needs to be more oversight in professional sports where complete control and domination over young gymnasts, especially females, is not the norm.  This documentary is one hour and 43 minutes long.

I rate Athlete A Four Fingers and One Thumb at 100%.

August 10, 2020: Netflix TV Show Recommendation: Dead to Me (2019-)

I blazed through the first two seasons and only one season left before the producer calls it quits. I think some TV shows could learn from this. Go out on a high note. Dead to Me is a drama drenched in the right combination of sarcasm, loneliness, and friendship to make a positive impact on the viewer.  It is nice to see Christina Applegate in a role where she’s a mom with real life problems and Linda Cardellini is bizarre just enough without being a crazy woman. The interaction between them and their interactions between James Marsden’s character is solid acting.  I know this word has negative connotations, but the great thing about this show is after a while you realize not everything is as it seems at first glance. There is a good lesson to learn as the saying goes don’t judge a person at first glance.  After the initial conversation of getting to know each other, keep going.  This is what the show does where you are at a good stopping point but don’t want to put that remote control down.  Some parts may have been predictable, but it was carried out well enough that I didn’t care.  I’ll be sad to see if end but glad I gave it a chance.

I rate Dead to Me NEAR PERFECT at 96%.

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May 16, 2020: Coronavirus Explained

Executive Producers: Claire Gordon, Ezra Klein, Mona Lalwani, Chad Mumm, Mark W. Olsen, Joe Posner, and Marina G. Stadler

Major Cast: J.K. Simmons (narrator), Peter Daszak, and archival footage

Genres: Docu-Series

Running Time per Episode: 28 minutes

TV Rating: TV-PG


To take a breather from watching all kinds of shows on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, I decided to watch this short episode (the only one so far) about the Coronavirus.  It’s pretty elementary in its content, but important nonetheless.  It’s for those laypersons including myself that have no brain capacity or desire if I had it to break down the components of viruses in order to find a vaccine and whatever else scientists do in their labs.  The only thing I know is antibiotics only help with bacterial infections.  Viruses, on the other hand, you need to wait out if you get it and much like the world is doing currently.  It’s really the little things you can’t see that put large populations at risk.  As Vern Schillinger (I hope some people get this reference) narrates about the comparison of COVID-19 to other past virus outbreaks, the impacts of viruses in today’s world, and the miracle of medical advancements to get a vaccine in a relatively short amount of time, the practicality of it all is what people have a hard time accepting.  I’ve said this before and I’ll say again, viruses don’t care what look like or where you live because they only care if you’re an ideal host, which is basically any person.  Given the COVID’s ability to evolve at a rapid pace, let alone spread easily, it’s important to be clean and by clean, I mean washing your hands more than once a day.  I’m not going to get into the mask or social distancing debate except to say you won’t find me sitting in any food establishment anytime soon.  As for the outlook on the Coronavirus, while it is here to stay, over time the dark cloud hanging over our heads hopefully won’t be so dark.

I give Coronavirus, Explained PERFECT at 100%.



March 15, 2020: TV Recommendation: Orange is the New Black (2013-2019)

Quote from Orange is the New Black by Crazy Eyes

“I threw my pie for you.”


Creator: Jenji Kohan

Writer: Piper Kerman (Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison book)

Total Seasons: 7

Total Episodes: 91

Episode Length: average is 59 minutes

Rating: TV-MA


Major Prisoner Cast: Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman, Laura Prepon as Alex Vause, Kate Mulgrew as Galina “Red” Reznikov, Uzo Aduba as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, Danielle Brooks as Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson, Natasha Lyonne as Nicky Nichols, Taryn Manning as Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett, Selenis Leyva as Gloria Mendoza, Adrienne C. Moore as Cindy “Black Cindy” Hayes, Dascha Polanco as Dayanara “Daya” Diaz, Yael Stone as Lorna Morello, Samira Wiley as Poussey Washington, Jackie Cruz as Marisol “Flaca” Gonzales, inmate, Lea DeLaria as Carrie “Big Boo” Black, Elizabeth Rodriguez as Aleida Diaz, Jessica Pimentel as Maria Ruiz, Laura Gómez as Blanca Flores, Dale Soules as Frieda Berlin, Diane Guerrero as Maritza Ramos, Constance Shulman as Yoga Jones, and Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset

Additional Prisoner Cast: Michelle Hurst as Miss Claudette Pelage, Annie Golden as Norma Romano, Vicky Jeudy as Janae Watson, Julie Lake as Angie Rice, Emma Myles as Leanne Taylor, Abigail Savage as Gina Murphy, Lori Tan Chinn as Mei Chang, Tamara Torres as Emily “Weeping Woman” Germann, Lin Tucci as Anita DeMarco, Beth Fowler as Sister Jane Ingalls, Barbara Rosenblat as Rosa “Miss Rosa” Cisneros, Madeline Brewer as Tricia Miller, Kimiko Glenn as Brook Soso, Lori Petty as Lolly Whitehill, Yvette Freeman as Irma Lerman, Lorraine Toussaint as Yvonne “Vee” Parker, Blair Brown as Judy King, Emily Althaus as Maureen Kukudio, Ruby Rose as Stella Carlin, Daniella De Jesus as Irene “Zirconia” Cabrera, Shannon Esper as Alana Dwight, Rosal Colon as Carmen “Ouija” Aziza, Francesca Curran as Helen “Skinhead Helen” Van Maele, Kelly Karbacz as Kasey Sankey, Amanda Stephen as Alison Abdullah, Asia Kate Dillon as Brandy Epps, Miriam Morales as Ramona “Pidge” Contreras, Jolene Purdy as Stephanie Hapakuka, Shirley Roeca as Juanita Vasquez, Rebecca Knox as Tina Swope, Sipiwe Moyo as Adeola Chinede, Besanya Santiago as Raquel “Creech” Munoz, Finnerty Steeves as Beth Hoefler, Christina Toth as Annalisa Damiva, Amanda Fuller as Madison “Badison” Murphy, Vicci Martinez as Dominga “Daddy” Duarte, Mackenzie Phillips as Barbara “Barb” Denning, and Henny Russell as Carol Denning

Major Prison Staff Cast: Michael Harney as Sam Healy, Nick Sandow as Joe Caputo, Matt Peters as Joel Luschek, Alysia Reiner as Natalie “Fig” Figueroa, Ismenia Mendes as Tali Grapes, Catherine Curtin as Wanda Bell, Joel Marsh Garland as Scott O’Neill, Brendan Burke as Wade Donaldson, Pablo Schreiber as George “Pornstache” Mendez, Lolita Foster as Eliqua Maxwell, Germar Terrell Gardner as Charles Ford, Matt McGorry as John Bennett, Lauren Lapkus as Susan Fischer, Kaipo Schwab as Igme Dimaguiba, James McMenamin as Charlie “Donuts” Coates, Alan Aisenberg as Baxter “Gerber” Bayley, Jimmy Gary Jr. as Felix Rikerson, Mike Birbiglia as Danny Pearson, Marsha Stephanie Blake as Berdie Rogers, Beth Dover as Linda Ferguson, Nick Dillenburg as Ryder Blake, Mike Houston as Lee Dixon, Emily Tarver as Artesian McCullough, Brad William Henke as Desi Piscatella, Evan Arthur Hall as B. Stratman, John Palladino as Josh, Michael Torpey as Thomas “Humps” Humphrey, Hunter Emery as Rick Hopper, Shawna Hamic as Virginia “Ginger” Copeland, Susan Heyward as Tamika Ward, Josh Segarra as Danilo Stefanovic, Greg Vrotsos as Greg Hellman, Nicholas Webber as J. Alvarez, Branden Wellington as Jarod Young, and Adam Lindo as Carlos “Clitvack” Litvack Additional Outside of Prison Cast: Jason Biggs as Larry Bloom, Michael Chernus as Cal Chapman, Tanya Wright as Crystal Burset, Berto Colon as Cesar Velazquez, Carol Chapman, Tracee Chimo as Neri Feldman, Maria Dizzia as Polly Harper, Ian Paola as Yadriel, John Magaro as Vince Muccio, Mary Steenburgen as Delia Mendez-Powell, Miguel Izaguirre as Dario “Diablo” Zúñiga, Michael J. Burg as Detective Mark Bellamy, Bill Hoag as Bill Chapman, Karina Arroyave as Karla Córdova, Melinna Bobadilla as Santos Chaj, Marie-Lou Nahhas as Shani Abboud, and Alicia Witt as Zelda


This show pulls you into the characters so much you want to know what happens at the end of each episode and how the show will ultimately end as well. Orange is the New Black is based from the autobiography of Piper Kerman and as the show progresses, it takes creative liberties within the federal prison system. There is not a chance some things would’ve happened in actual prison life as it did in the show, but the success of any show is usually a mixture between fact/reality and fiction/imagination.

By the time Piper set foot in the minimum security federal prison due to a drug offense earlier, she finds herself unable to cope with her new reality. Her past relationship with Alex Vause has caught up to her and becomes trickier yet when she sees her again. Piper’s first month at Litchfield makes her realize there is only herself to blame and she alone has to keep her safe. The other prisoners are not her friends and there is no shoulder to cry on. The strength of this show is the weaving back and forth between past and present time in flashbacks. These are not only exciting to watch but gives us insight into how the prisoners were sent there. The prison officers are portrayed in the often stereotypical ways seen in past television shows and movies, but accurate in other ways. There’s no way certain things would remain secret for so long, but I forgave this. Let’s just say people love to talk no matter where you are. As the prison changes operational hands, it highlights the dangers of inadequate training, overcrowding, lack of officers, increased corruption and chances of rioting. There are great supporting characters, Lolly Whitehill comes to mind (played by Lori Petty) and Carrie Black (played by Lea DeLaria)

By the final season, Piper Chapman and Alex Vause are still figuring out their lives as well as the other prisoners they have come to know. The television world is simply this: not everyone lives, not everyone dies, not everyone succeeds, and not everyone fails. Because this show mirrors “real life,” the finale has a somber ending and even though many didn’t make it or will soon be in a worse position, the ones who did survive in the makes it worth watching.


The best episode of season one is number 3 called “Lesbian Request Denied” where Piper finds out what happens when she rejects Suzanne Warren’s “Crazy Eyes” requests and tries to suppress her hatred for Alex Vause. It aired on July 11, 2013.


February 26, 2020: The Last Three Documentaries I Watched

I decided to do this a little differently this time around. I’m not going to list all the behind the scenes people involved and focus more on the content of each documentary and my short thoughts on each one.

Inequality for All (2013) is the first one I watched. It covers the former U.S. Labor Secretary, Robert Reich, as he makes it his life mission teaching others about the dangers of the widening economic gap in the U.S. and its consequences. He brings up valid points and stresses the positives about a capitalistic society that can work for everyone instead of the top 1% of earners. They basically take up 20% of the income and as Reich points out the richest 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined. So long the American Dream, it doesn’t exist anymore, but hopefully change will not make things look so sour for most of us. The favorite part of it was the statistical data and graphics. My thoughts about the American economy: I hope I can retire at a decent age and where someone doesn’t have to bury me in a pauper’s grave. It is one hour and 29 minutes and watched it on Netflix. Crime + Punishment (2018) is the second one I watched. It covers the 12 whistle blowers in the NYPD who exposed the illegal quota practices. Just because a piece of paper is passed around outlawing quota practices in 2010 doesn’t mean it doesn’t occur now. As interactions between superiors and street patrol officers are secretly filmed, retaliation for bringing this into the open manifests in obvious retaliatory ways. These quotas once used only by large police departments across the U.S. has seeped its way into smaller towns. It’s a brutal fact that New York City financial well being depends on arrests and summonses as well as other cities. My thoughts about this police policy is this: the whole criminal justice system needs to be gutted from top to bottom and for those police officers whose goal is to help people, it’s a shame they get caught in this net. It is one hour and 52 minutes and watched it on Hulu. The House of Suh (2010) is the last one I watched. It covers the evolution or more de-evolution of a Korean family that immigrated to the United States. While it takes some time to get into the story, keep watching because it’s a fascinating story. You have old Korean cultural values intersecting with two different personalities growing up in America. One is a rebellious female teenager and the other a dutiful male that gets absorbed into the chaotic life of his sister. It this is a tragic story? Yes. Does this highlight family brokenness? Yes. Does this make for a good movie? Yes but only if Kristy Swanson can play the lead. The TV movie is called Bad to the Bone. My thoughts about this brother and sister relationship is this: the brother was blind to his sister’s intentions and because of his loyalty to her found himself in a bad situation. It is one hour and 30 minutes and watched it on Amazon prime.

February 17, 2020: TV Show Review (So Far): The Crown (2016-)

Quote by Prince Charles

“Something as curious as the monarchy won’t survive unless you take account of people’s attitudes. After all, if people don’t want it, they won’t have it.”



Creator: Peter Morgan

Executive Producers: Peter Morgan, Stephen Daldry, Robert Fox, Andy Harries, Suzanne Mackie, Matthew Byam Shaw, Philip Martin, Tanya Seghatchian, Allie Goss, Nina Wolarsky, and Benjamin Caron

Writers: Peter Morgan, Edward Hemming, Laura Deeley, Jon Brittain, Jonathan Wilson, Tom Edge, Nick Payne, Duncun Macmillan, Amy Jenkins, James Graham, and David Hancock

Directors: Benjamin Caron, Philip Martin, Stephen Daldry, Julian Jarrold, Philippa Lowthorpe, Samuel Donovan, Jessica Hobbs, and Christian Schwochow

Cast in Season 5 (so far): Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II

Cast in Season 3-4: Olivia Coleman as Queen Elizabeth II, Tobias Menzies as Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, Charles Dance as Lord Mountbatten, Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles, Marion Bailey as Queen Elizabeth (Queen Mother), Charles Edwards as Martin Charteris, Emma Corrin as Princess Diana, Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, David Rintoul as Michael Adeane, Sam Phillips as Equerry, Jason Watkins as Harold Wilson, Erin Doherty as Princess Anne, Alex Jennings as David (Duke of Windsor), and Lia Williams as Wallis Simpson

Cast in Season 1-2: Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, Matt Smith as Philip (Duke of Edinburgh), Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, Victoria Hamilton as Queen Elizabeth (Queen Mother), Julian Baring as Prince Charles, Billy Jenkins as Prince Charles, Will Keen as Michael Adeane, Pip Torrens as Tommy Lascelles, Lizzy McInnerny as Bobo Macdonald, James Hillier as Equerry, John Lithgow as Winston Churchill, Jeremy Northam as Anthony Eden, Harry Hadden-Paton as Martin Charteris, Clive Francis as Lord Salisbury, Ben Miles and Peter Townsend, Greg Wise as Lord Mountbatten, Anton Lesser as Harold MacMillian, Jared Harris as King George VI, Alex Jennings as David (Duke of Windsor), Lia Williams as Wallis Simpson, and Verity Russell as Young Princess Elizabeth

Seasons: three so far and five when the show ends

Episodes in each season: 10

Running time of each episode: 58 minutes

Rating: TV-MA


I was really hoping The Crown would last more than five seasons. The first season two seasons had Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II. It made sense to me to have two seasons with Olivia Coleman as Queen Elizabeth II and then at least two more with Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II. It would have been interesting to see sort of a family arc come sort of full circle: staring with the Duke of Windsor leaving with Wallis Simpson and ending with Prince Harry leaving with Meghan Markle and their son. Then again, most of the world already has intimate knowledge about the latter’s relationship so it probably makes better sense to end it in season five.

It seems half the world’s people doesn’t care about British royalty where the other half is fascinated by it. I guess I fall in the latter half. I’m fascinated by all royalty including the Windsor and Mountbatten-Windsor family. Queen Elizabeth II is in fifth among the longest reigns of sovereign states with exact dates. She is the only one living from this list and has ruled for 68 years and 10 days so far. The top spot belongs to Louis XIV from France with a reign of 72 years and 110 days.

This drama and history show begins with a change in trajectory of Princess Elizabeth’s life where she becomes Queen after her uncle abdicates the throne and her father dies prematurely. She faces the task of keeping neutral as prime ministers come and go. Highlighting is her marriage to Prince Philip and strong relationship with Winston Churchill in the first two seasons, but familial turmoil continue to as third season begins with new dramas as well as political fractures.

The Queen is older and a mother of two young adult children with a mind of their own. Prince Charles and Princess Anne are about as different as the Queen and her sister. Prince Charles takes on more duty as a royal and catches the eye of Camilla Shand. It is also where Princess Margaret and Princess Anne are trying to find their places in the royal family and illustrate no matter how big of a castle you live in, there are reasons not to celebrate. And yet, season three ends with the Silver Jubilee for the Queen.

I rate The Crown Four Fingers and One Thumb.

It is NEAR PERFECT at 97%.


December 13, 2019: Netflix Documentary Recommendation

The Movies that Made Us (2019-)


Executive Producers: Jay Chapman, Benjamin J. Frost, Cisco Henson, and Brian Volk-Weiss Directors: Brian Volk-Weiss Writers: Benjamin J. Frost and Brian Volk-Weiss TV Rating: TV-MA
Running Time: 60 minutes per episode


This is a documentary show about the backstory and other information many people don’t know about unless you had the inside scoop or did your own research into these movies. These are the movies that basically almost never got made. You heard the Hollywood stories. The scripts that no studio wants to touch, until one person usually finds something special about it. A certain studio head leaves and all projects that were in the works are killed on land or dead in the water. If they happen to hit pay dirt in the Box Office, those passing on it might find themselves without a job, while the producers who took a chance are skipping to the bank. No one can be absolutely certain a movie will be successful or not, but so far all the movies covered were interesting. Watching the behind the scenes of Ghostbusters, Dirty Dancing, Die Hard, and Home Alone didn’t disappoint and hearing the cast and crew talk about their experiences back then and how it shaped their lives was interesting. I hope they release more episodes soon because I need something to watch since I need to wait to for Blacklist until March 2020.

I rate The Movies that Made Us Four Fingers GREAT at 90%.

pcratingfour November 18, 2019: Netflix Movie Recommendation: Spectral (2016)

Quote from Spectral by Dr. Mark Clyne

“My business requires us to prove them. Your technician’s job is to find glitches, so, he sees glitches. Your job is to find the enemy, so, you see the enemy. Locals believe in spirits, so they see spirits. Everyone is biased in one way or another. So, my answer to you right now is that we lack data to support any theory.”



Executive Producers: Guy Riedel Directors: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg Writers: Ian Fried and Nic Mathieu (story) and George Nolfi (written by) Major Cast: James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer, Bruce Greenwood, Max Martini, Cory Hardict, Clayne Crawford, Gonzalo Menendez, Ursula Parker, Aaron Serban, and Stephen Root MMPA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi combat action
Running Time: 1 hour and 47 minutes


Spectral is an action, mystery, and sci-fi movie about mysterious human like creatures that disappear and appear, making them hard to outrun and kill them. The U.S. military seeks the help of Mark Clyne, a researcher and doctor. After he arrives on the base, he watches camera footage of the mysterious creatures from the hyper spectral goggles he designed. To get a closer look at these creatures to form a sound opinion, Clyne and CIA officer, Fran Madison, with a Delta Force team leave the base. They find the remaining Utah team members and the use of a hyper spectral camera locates these hidden creatures. Many are killed but they chase after them at a rapid pace, making the team Delta Force team smaller and having to defend themselves with little resources. The survivors find shelter in a factory where two children are found. The girl helps unravel the mystery of the creatures. After they leave for a civilian bunker, it is here Clyne works on the weapons necessary to kill the creatures based on a hunch. Along with the remaining soldiers, Clyne and Madison head to the power plant most capable of creating these human like creatures and the battle starts. The reveal of the creatures origins is the best part and while the movie is slow to start, it picks up and by the middle of it, you want to know how it is going to end.


I rate Spectral GREAT with FOUR FINGERS at 85%.



October 23, 2019: Documentary Recommendation: Naledi (2016)

“The elephant never gets tired of carrying its tusks.”

-African Proverb-


Executive Producer: Paul G. Allen

Director: Ben Bowie and Geoff Luck

Cast: Mike Chase, Wellington Jana, Brett Mitchell, Boago Poloko, and Robert O’Brien. Rating: NA
Running Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
I’ve never seen an elephant in the wild, but one day I hope to get that chance. This is the story of a baby elephant orphaned at a young age when her mother, Kiti, dies of intestinal problems, and the lengths it took to ensure her survival at a young age. Born in the Abu Rescue Camp in Botswana, a handful of people including Mike Chase (camp director and doctor) and Wellington Jana (elephant manager) are the primary ones to be her surrogate mothers as she deals with rejection, danger, and realization she is “alone.” Naledi’s caretakers are more than dedicated and intervene when necessary even after she’s reintegrated back into the herd. There’s a lot of ups and down in his documentary, but this is what makes it worthwhile to watch. Weaving Naledi’s story into the whole plight of elephants, Mike Chase gathers data for the Great Elephant Census to get a better idea of how many elephants are still alive in Africa. He projects the loss of 96 elephants a day and between 25,000 to 30,000 elephants a year. It’s not hard to imagine these numbers due to the aggressive trophy hunting and illegal poaching for tusks. The same census taken in 2015 said 30% of Africa’s elephants have been killed since 2007. It’s not that Naledi is the symbol of hope for elephants because you need much more than a cute face to persuade countries and their leaders to take action (read laws) against the ivory trade, but ensuring her survival is a small piece of the puzzle along with land preservation for all elephants. The problem is poachers have decimated herds in the 100s to only a few dozen remaining. Animals have come and gone due to natural disasters like dinosaurs, but destroying an animal for greed is on a whole different level. There are beautiful shots taken when Mike and his team conducts the survey from their plane, but it doesn’t last long when they see decomposing elephants with their heads and tusks missing. I won’t ruin the ending for you except to say elephant’s have a long pregnancy and there is still hope for elephants due to those fighting for their survival.

I rate Naledi: A Baby Elephant’s Tale FOUR FINGERS AND ONE THUMB.

It is PERFECT at 100%.

pcratingfive If you want to watch two more documentaries about elephants that are just as educational although not as uplifting as the one Naledi possesses, they are below. The footage of The Ivory Game and Tyke Elephant Outlaw is more graphic, but that’s what you get when you cover the decimation of elephants for profit whether the ivory trade or for human entertainment. I would say watch The Ivory Game over Tyke Elephant Outlaw but both should be watched for reasons I explained above.


September 30, 2019: Docu-Series Recommendation: Inside the Real Narcos (2018-)


This docu-series doesn’t list the creator, director, or producer(s). It doesn’t offer much description for what each episode involves except where the location of each. The fact there aren’t many episodes is the only downfall of this series because I would love to see more. The three episodes run around 45 minutes long and the main person narrating and speaking is Jason Fox, a former British Special Forces member. He often refers to the men he meets as blokes and goes into areas with guides that few have gone before, which is deep into the various parts of cartel operations. Whether he’s in Colombia, Peru, or Mexico, he asks important questions of its members and paints a grim picture for them. It’s a reality many can’t entertain and yet you get a better understanding of their situations by viewing this. If your government has abandoned you, then you go to the next best thing that will help. It’s an eye opener about the barrios, poverty, and cartel violence in Colombia, Peru, and Mexico.


I rate Inside the Real Narcos PERFECT with Four Fingers and One Thumb at 100%.


September 20, 2019: TV Show Review/Netflix Recommendation: In the Dark

Quote from In the Dark by Murphy

“I don’t need the dumb antibiotics. Since the beginning of time, women have healed themselves.”


Creator: Corinne Kingsbury

Executive Producers: Brian Dannelly, Frank Kiracusa, John Weber, Jonathan Collier, Jackie Cohn, Corinne Kingsbury, Michael Showalter, Ben Stiller, Nicholas Weinstock, and Emily Fox

Directors: Brian Dannelly, Norman Buckley, Patricia Cardoso, David Grossman, Ingrid Jungermann, Corinne Kingsbury, Anna Mastro, Ryan McFaul, Krya Sedgwick, Michael Showwalter, Steven K. Tsuchida, and Randy Zisk

Writers: Corinne Kingsbury, Kara Brown, Lindsay Golder, Louisa Levy, Eric Randall, Yael Zinkow, David Babcock, Daegan Fryklind, Ryan Knighton, Sarah Link, Chelsea Taylor, Amy Turner, Flint Wainess, and Daniel Rogers

Major Cast: Keston John, Saycon Senbloh, Perry Mattfeld, Rich Sommer, Brooke Markham, Casey Deidrick, Morgan Krantz, Thamela Mpumlwana, Derek Webster, Kathleen York, Nicki Micheaux, and Levi (the dog)

TV Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 42 minutes per episode


In the Dark premiered in January 2019 and was renewed for a second season in April 2019. I watched it on Netflix as I gave it a shot based on the description. A blind woman trying to find out who killed her best friend. Why not? I haven’t seen a main character be so unlikable in a while. You could call Murphy a self entitled brat in some cases. She wears a thick armor around her. It had a tendency to bounce around which made it a little disjointed and at times appeared to be a patchwork quilt. I wouldn’t label it a teeny bopper show like Beverly Hills 90210, but does have a certain feel to it that points to teenage angst. As the show progressed, I got a little bit of compassion for Murphy and even more for her dog named Pretzel. She’s the pseudo detective in a somewhat predictable plot. Her self destructive tendencies often get in the way of forming meaningful relationships. I hope they delve into the reason for her rebellion and stubbornness in the next season. She might be like this just because, but there appears to be something deeper within her for why she is acting this way. There’s nothing flashy about this show and yet, it offers enough tension to move it forward. How the relationships play out between Murphy and Dean and Murphy and Nia will be interesting. She might even work on her reckless nature and find someone who cares for her that has a 9 to 5 job. Probably not but whatever happens, I’ll give it a try like I gave the first season.

I rate In the Dark GOOD with Three Fingers at 80%.


August 28, 2019: Netflix TV Recommendation: Mindhunter (2017-)

Quote from Mindhunter by Bill Tench: “I can choke down the bile, manufacture empathy – when our subjects are at least informative.”


Creator: Joe Penhall

Executive Producers: Christopher Daniel, Lone Korslund, Marc Schmidheiny, Petter Skavlan, Johan Christopher Stenersen, Dario Suter, Peter Watson, Henrik Zein, and Harald Zwart

Directors: David Fincher, Carl Franklin, Andrew Douglas, Asif Kapadia, Tobias Lindholm, and Andrew Dominik

Writers: John Douglas, Mark Olshaker, Joe Penhall, Joshua Donen, Courtenay Miles, Jennifer Haley, Liz Hannah, Doug Jung, Erin Levy, Tobias Lindholm, Dominic Orlando, Ruby Rae Spiegel, Carly Wray, Pamela Cederquist, Shaun Grant, Phillip Howze, Jason Johnson, Colin J. Louro, and Alex Metcalf

Major Cast (season one and two): Jonathan Groff as Holden Ford, Holt McCallany as Bill Tench, Anna Torv as Wendy Carr, Cotter Smith as Robert Shepard, Stacey Roca as Nancy Tench, Joe Tuttle as Gregg Smith, Albert Jones as Jim Barney

Supporting Cast (season one): Hannah Gross as Debbie Mitford and Lena Olin as Annaliese Stilman

Supporting Cast (season two): Joseph Cross as Benjamin Barnwright, Regi Davis as Maynard Jackson, Gareth Williams as Redding, Dohn Norwood as Lee Brown, Brent Sexton as Garland Periwinkle, Nate Corddry as Detective Art Spencer

Supporting Cast (season one and two) Michael Cerveris as Ted Gunn, Lauren Glazier as Kay Manz, Sierra McClain as Tanya Clifton, June Carryl as Camille Bell

Supporting Cast (playing bad people): , Cameron Britton as Ed Kemper, Happy Anderson as Jerry Brudos, Sam Strike as Montie Rissell, Jack Erdie as Richard Speck, Oliver Cooper as David Berkowitz, Robert Aramayo as Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr., Michael Filipowich as William “Junior” Pierce, Corey Allen as William Henry Hance, Damon Herriman as Charles Manson, Christopher Backus as Tex Watson, Morgan Kelly as Paul Bateson, Christopher Livingston as Wayne Williams, and Sonny Valicenti as Dennis Rader

TV Rating: TV-M

Running Time: 60 minutes per episode


This adaptation from the book I’m currently reading is about the beginnings of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit where the old way of catching criminals needed to be revamped in order to catch the evolving criminal.  These serial killers John Douglas studied while at Quantico led to a different kind of method used to catch them.   No longer was only MMO, means, motive, and opportunity, used but their backgrounds, behaviors, and drives.  By cataloguing the findings of these certain killers, it gave further access into the sociopathic mind  and impacted law enforcement investigations from a criminal profiling and psychlogical standpoint. 

The character of Holden Ford is based from John Douglas himself while the character of Bill Tench is based from Robert K. Ressler.  They work closely with Wendy Carr and her character is based from Ann Wolbert Burgess.  Some of the most notable killers mentioned and interviewed are Ed Kemper, Jerry Brudos, Montie Rissell, Richard Speck, David Berkowitz, Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr., William “Junior” Pierce, William Henry Hance, Charles Manson, Tex Watson, and Paul Bateson.  The second season has slowly been revealing Dennis Rader while Ford and Tench investigate the Atlanta murders, which eventually leads to an arrest of another kind.  David Fincher plans to make five seasons so three more to go and one more year to wait for the continuation of further Dennis Rader discovery.  I give credit to all the actors who portray the serial killers and FBI agents/law enforcement, but most to Holt McCallany for playing FBI detective Bill Tench.  You might remember him from Fight Club (picture below) with Brad Pitt.  I don’t know what it is, but I’m very drawn to his acting and interaction with other characters.  I can’t wait to see how his personal story evolves because it ended on a cliffhanger (as much as relationships can offer).  Go watch the show because it’s more than just catching the bad guys although it’s a large part of it.  Seriously, can you go wrong with a show based from real life interviews?  Can you go wrong with something with David Fincher’s name attached to it?  The answer to both is no, you can’t.



Pisaries Creator rates Mindhunter PERFECT at 100%

Four Fingers and One Thumb


August 16, 2019: Netflix Docu-Series Recommendation: Dirty Money (2018-)


Creator: Alex Gibney

Executive Producers: Adam Del Deo, Alex Gibney, Brad Hebert, Yon Motskin, Lisa Nishimura, Stacey Offman, Richard Perello, Jason Spingarn-Koff, and John Turner

Directors: Erin Lee Carr, Alex Gibney, Kristin Jacobson, Brian McGinn, Jesse Moss, and Fisher Stevens

MMPA Rating: NA but would say not suitable for young children

Episode Running Time: 1 hour


Dirty Money is a Netflix original television series that has interesting stories about corporate corruption, greed, and scandal. There are only six episodes in the first and only season until the second one is released. They are informative but at the same time loaded with emotions for the victims/little people involved. I’d say the HSBC bank money laundering for the cartels was the most eye opening and the inaction from the government to curb it maddening. For all the hard work being done on the front lines with the illegal drug trade, it seems futile if it’s “legal” for banks to launder billions of dollars with little consequence. The other episode about drug companies and one in particular, Valeant, was as scandalous as HSBC bank. The greed among pharmaceutical companies is massive. This company fattened the pockets of their shareholders while not caring that people were dying when they hiked up prices of their drugs so much they could not afford them. The last episode focuses on Donald Trump. It delved into his business practices during the 1980s and 1990s and how transforming his image in the 21st century saved him from complete financial ruin. Each documentary styled episode has a sobering reality where businesses have its flaws and even when identified nothing really changes despite the whistle blowers. Welcome to the Wall Street jungle where money is the main crop raised, cultivated, and unevenly distributed.

Pisaries Creator rates Dirty Money

Four Fingers and One Thumb at 100%


July 24, 2019: Netflix Review: House of Cards Season Six

Do not read if you haven’t seen all seasons of House of Cards!!!

house of cards In 2017 I wrote a post about House of Cards. It was one of the reasons I still kept Netflix when others were running away from it. I still haven’t run away from it although I’m finding some of the newer original material, movies and shows, lacking in some form or another. This show was great, mainly the relationship between Frank and Claire Underwood. I ended with it would be silly to stop without continuing another season. This was before I knew Kevin Spacey would be fired from the show. When I found this out, I wasn’t running to Netflix to watch it because I knew it would be half of what it should’ve been. I was right as the last season suffered due to Frank Underwood’s physical absence. I understand why the creators needed one more season to close the Underwood reign in Washington, but the final season could have been even more. I will give some reasons why it didn’t capture my attention as any of the seasons before it.

Her name was Claire Hale.

houseofcards2.jpgThe character of Claire Underwood stepped out of the shadow of her husband, Frank, and by the final season she became Claire Hale. She begins the next chapter of her life as President, trying to gain respect from Congress and the American people. She has a large order to fill with some adversaries wanting her power and to control her. There’s even an assassination attempt, which I was expecting, but left me feeling a little cheated. The viewers missed out on the explosive battle between him and Claire for dominance. I was looking forward to learning who was going to be the winner and the other left in a state of annihilation by the final episode. It was clear Claire would do anything to hold onto what she gained, but again I wanted her grip somewhere else instead of the short rope she was given. Her focus then shifted on finding out the truth about her husband’s death, not knowing who was responsible until the final episode and why the person did it, which made half-sense. If Claire Hale regretted marrying Frank, why would she care what happened to him so much. He’s dead. Move on. Then again, curiosity has been known to be a human quality, often leading to tragic consequences when you cross the line. The ending was neither here nor there in the relationship between Claire and Doug Stamper.

Rest in peace but probably not.

frankunderwoodFrank and Claire duking it out on the screen would’ve gone down in TV history as some of the most explosive scenes to watch between married and then divorced couples. Sometimes you don’t get that luxury and need to do a fair amount of telling to piece together the story. This is what the final season had to do. A protagonist needs an antagonist. Nothing wrong with Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear, but it wasn’t Kevin Spacey. Had he stayed, it would be another dynamic between Frank and Claire. They would compete for loyalty among the same crowd. The progeny of Frank wasn’t enough for me. I’m sure he would’ve grown up to be semi maladjusted like Annette Shepherd’s son, Duncun. It did little to excite me since her child was still in the womb and even after Claire gave birth, the best her child could offer was the difficulties of being the President of the United States and a single mother. Due to Frank’s absence, it gives Claire the opportunity to promote and further her influence on the Capitol. From the beginning of the show, you knew their desire for power at whatever costs. Their level of depravity went deep. Her level should’ve gone deeper. I personally would’ve loved to have seen Claire holding Frank, think body double, in the first episode of season six and go from there. The whole point would still be who killed Frank and the hurdles Claire has to face. As other Presidents have faced before, impeachment should’ve been a part of this season.

You work with what you have.


Jogging your memories of the earlier seasons, there was Zoe Barnes who had a relationship with Frank. There was Adam Galloway who had a relationship with Claire. Frank becomes the Vice President and Claire the Second Lady. They use every bit of their pasts to political advantage and rarely show vulnerability in public or private. When they ascend into the White House, things intensify and cracks become larger. They are the dysfunctional couple who likes to exercise. She by running outside and he on the rowing machine. She convinces him to be running mates in the next Presidential election. Things turn out in her favor and after beating Will Conway and kicking other adversaries to the curb, she assumes her role as President of the United States. Remember Catherine Durant, Tom Yates, and Tom Hammerschmidt? They come back to peck at Claire’s exterior, but that’s all they do. Doug Stamper did get to repent for some of his errors although I wonder what he did to incapacitate Frank? Did he shove poison into his mouth and hold it shut. If his physical prowess was similar to Frank’s, you’d think there would be more than a little struggle. Or did he give him poison discreetly, but given what had just happened, I doubt it. The part that bothered me was Claire’s pregnancy. It screams a little bit of desperation on her part. If it was truly Claire’s turn as she said herself, there wouldn’t be a baby involved. She would have found a way out of this situation. The relationship between Claire and her Vice President, Mark Usher, was okay. The ending was the biggest disappointment. If Doug Stamper’s goal was to protect the Underwood legacy, aren’t there other things to do that will stun and delay Frank. Even though Kevin Spacey was not there, another actor could have played him. He could’ve been locked up somewhere, his face obscured, but again it’s easier to kill the character and be done with it. I could see Claire being transported to a secret place where her husband is being hid in the last episode. She opens the door and says, “let’s talk, shall we?” and leaves it open ended. Given how lethal Claire could be, I wanted her to have more involvement in the reveal of Frank’s death. We are left with Michael Kelly and Robin Wright’s performances, which were great, but it wasn’t enough to end the series on a really high note.


“Competency is such a rare bird in these woods, that I always appreciate it when I see it.”

I rate Season Six of House of Cards Three Fingers at 77%.



July 7, 2019: Netflix Recommendation: My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman (2018-)

Quote by David Letterman: “There’s only one requirement of any of us, and that is to be courageous. Because courage, as you might know, defines all other human behavior. And, I believe – because I’ve done a little of this myself – pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing.”


I love this show because it showcases David Letterman in a different light. He’s changed and evolved as a person. We all know he’s a father because he can’t stop talking about this son, Harry, and clearly is one of his highest accomplishments of his life. This is Letterman basically interviewing people he sees as exciting and interesting, but more influencing the world in ways he admires. Yes, even Kanye West is influencing and helping others in some way. There’s definitely a serious side to Letterman I never knew he had before or maybe never showed that much before. I’ve missed him on late night and glad he is in back in this way. Every episode should be watched, but the ones standing out being the most funny with heartbreaking moments are George Clooney, Tiffany Haddish, Ellen Degeneres, Tina Fey, and Melinda Gates. I can’t wait to see more interviews as a new one comes out each month.

June 6, 2019: Netflix TV Recommendation: Designated Survivor (2016-2019)

Quote from Designated Survivor by Seth Wright

Maybe he’ll realize he has no business running the country.”


Creator: David Guggenheim

Executive Producers: Mark Gordon, Nicholas Pepper, Jeff Melvoin, Jon Harmon Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, Suzan Bymel, Paul McGuigan, Amy Harris, Aditya Sood, David Guggenheim, Simon Kinberg, and Neal Baer

Directors: Chris Grismer, Frederick E.O. Toye, Peter Leto, Paul A. Edwards, Joe Lazarov, Leslie Libman, Sharat Raju, Mike Listo, Timothy Busfield, Michael Katleman, Richard J. Lewis, Paul McGuigan, Sergio Mimica-Gezzan, Brad Turner, Norberto Barba, Milan Cheylov, Kenneth Fink, Fred Gerber, Stephen Surjik, Jeannot Szwarc, Ian Toynton, Tara Nicole Weyr, Carol Banker, Jeff T. Thomas, David Warry-Smith, and Bosede Williams

Writers: David Guggenheim, Pierluigi Cothran, Patrick Cunnane, Tracey Rice, Keith Eisner, Paul Redford, Michael Russell Gunn, Sang Kyu Kim, Dana Ledoux Miller, Bill Chais, Ashley Gable, Jennifer Johnson, Jenna Richman, Jessica Grasl, Jon Harmon Feldman, Tom Garrigus, Jeff Melvoin, Barbie Kligman, Carol Flint, and Neal Baer

Major Cast: Kiefer Sutherland, Natascha McElhone, Adan Canto, Italia Ricci, LaMonica Garrett, Tanner Buchanan, Kal Penn, Maggie Q, Jake Epstein, Paulo Costanzo, Zoe McLellan, Ben Lawson, McKenna Grace, Ben Lawson, Tanner Buchanan, and Reed Diamond

TV Rating: TV-14

Episode Running Time: 42 minutes

Total Seasons: 3 (ABC Studios: Season 1 and 2 and Netflix: Season 3)


I wish I had all the time to watch TV shows morning, noon, and night although sometimes I think I devote way too much time to them. Again, this show had been sitting in my queue for a while and decided to give it a try. I really like Kiefer Sutherland as an actor and instead of watching 24 again although I really wished the reboot had continued beyond the first season, I thought I should step out of my comfort zone. I’m still watching season 1 and so far so good, but I heard due to it moving to Netflix it was able to get into the more nitty gritty of Washington politics. The third season comes out this Friday. Designated Survivor has all the workings of a political thriller where there’s more mystery than West Wing, but less hip swinging than Scandal. So what is Designated Survivor about? It begins with Tom Kirkman, played by Kiefer Sutherland, as he’s now the President of the United States after the unfortunate bombing on the U.S. Capitol. After he is sworn in wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, the race is on to find who is responsible for the bombing while trying to bring the country back to some normalcy. Those that managed to survive do their best to help a man who never wanted anything to do with politics from the start. I have to say Adan Canto as Aaron Stone, Kal Penn as Seth Wright, Italia Ricci as Emily Rhodes, LaMonica Garrett as Mike Ritter, and Maggie Q as Hannah Wells had solid performances too. While I have not watched season 2 yet, I did look ahead to get the gist of it. The story lines progress between and among characters. I know this doesn’t offer much insight, but I don’t want to ruin it for those who want to watch this later. There is some predictability to this kind of show, but overall it keeps your attention. I look forward to catching up so I can watch season 3 and see how the new characters play out especially the dysfunctional couple of Mars and Lynn Harper (Anthony Edwards and Lauren Holly).

I rate Designated Survivor GREAT at 90%.


May 27, 2019: Netflix Documentary Recommendation: My Son the Jihadi

Quote from My Son the Jihadi by Michael Evans (brother of Thomas Evans): “It’s so weird, how someone who’s grown up as your own flesh and blood could do that to somebody. It doesn’t make any sense, I don’t think it ever will make any sense. I’m glad he’s not around to hurt anyone. It’s like his soul was gone.”


Executive Producer: Richard Kerbaj

Director: Peter Beard

Major Cast: Michael Evans, Sally Evans, and Thomas Evans
Rating: NA but would say TV-MA
Running Time: 47 minutes
I thought I’d give this short documentary a try because the different Islamic extremism groups are pretty much cults, and I find the adults that join them perplexing. The higher members prey on low self-esteem individuals although not in every case, but everyone must show complete devotion to their causes. In this case of brainwashing, it dealt with a young British man named Michael Evans who would later be referred to as Abdul Hakim. After converting to Islam, he decided to cross the line by joining al-Shabaab, a terrorist group in Somalia. He had limited contact with his British family, but when he did call the news was upsetting. Being 23 years old at the time, he married a girl who wasn’t more than 14 years of age. Michael’s mother, Sally, worked to get him out of Somalia, but it was no longer an option when news broadcast his death in 2015. He was killed by a Kenyan Army sniper as he was raiding a military base with other militants. There’s a few conversations between his mother and his wife after he died. She commented how he is burning in hell and relieved he can no longer hurt others where his wife said she is happy he died a martyr. It raises a difficult question regarding both thinking their beliefs are the right ones in this tragic story.

I rate My Son the Jihadi at 100%.


May 12, 2019: Netflix Documentary Recommendation: The Creative Brain

Quote from The Creative Brain by author Michael Chabon: “There never has been such a thing as true originality.”


This was an interesting documentary in that it opened my eyes on that I thought creativity meant in terms of originality and failure. It is based from David Eagleman’s book, The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World. It focuses on people from varying professions where creativity must be the central point of their work. It covers what a creative mind is, where it comes from, and why we create in the first place. It includes conversations between David Eagleman (neuroscientist/writer) and D.B. Weiss (television producer and writer), Kelis (singer and Le Cordon Bleu trained chef), Tim Robbins (actor, director, screenwriter), Michael Chabon (author), Nathan Myhvold (co-founder of Intellectual Ventures), Robert Glasper (pianist and composer), Nick Cave (musician, author, composer), Bjarke Ingels (architect), Claire Elise Boucher/Grimes (singer, songwriter, visual artist), and Phil Tippett (movie director and visual effects supervisor). If you want to see the trailer for The Creative Brain, click the little brain below. brain


Director: Jennifer Beamish and Toby Trackman

Writer: David Eagleman

Major Cast: David Eagleman, Tim Robbins, Michael Chabon, Nathan Myhvold, Robert Glasper, Nick Cave, Bjarke Ingels, Claire Elise Boucher/Grimes, and Phil Tippett.

Rating: NA but the certificate reads TV-14

Running Time: 52 minutes

I rate The Creative Brain at Four Fingers and One Thumb at 100%


May 12, 2019: Netflix Documentary Recommendation: Survivors Guide to Prison

Statistic from Survivors Guide to Prison: “80 percent of former prisoners end up right back in jail.”


When I was in school learning all about the criminal justice system, I took the stance of prisons as a necessary evil. I knew they were basically an American experiment, if you will, that failed miserably but knew it would never be put back into the bottle. I have the same viewpoint for the “drug wars” America keeps fighting. Are highly addictive drugs bad? For the most part yes. Would I rather have someone smoke marijuana or inject heroin into their arm? I’d rather have the person smoke pot. It carries less of a chance of contracting diseases from dirty needles and is less destructive as well as addictive (although some may argue this point). Is murdering someone you know or don’t know bad? For the most part yes. I have more understanding for a woman or man who can’t escape a vindictive partner or spouse that leads the killing of that vindictive person compared to a woman or man who wants to kill someone to see what it feels like. There are many crimes carried out with varying degrees of circumstances, but with most anything isn’t black and white although it seems to be treated that way. There are noticeable flaws in the criminal justice system from the police departments to the courtroom policies to prison system rules. It might surprise you I used to work in a women’s prison, and since leaving that kind of work over ten plus years ago, my views have changed considerably in some areas. Do I think it’s a lost cause? No, not at all. Do I think it needs major reform? Yes, in many areas. Do I think there are people who no matter what you do are drawn to violence and will likely never change? Yes, I do and these are the individuals where prison is the right place for them. Do I think mental illness and drug addiction are two issues plaguing America? It’s obvious the answer is yes to both and until they are looked at seriously, both will never improve. The criminal justice system has become a revolving door of failure that has spread to more failure in other areas of society. It’s all interrelated, always has been, and always will be in most cases. Survivors Guide to Prison is more than just a few celebrities and Matthew Cooke speaking to its viewers. They point out the weaknesses in the organizations that make up the criminal justice system. If America has ever come to a “do or die” moment on its timeline, the next ten to twenty years will show the results of what actions were taken and ignored. There’s convincing evidence and statistics throughout this documentary that points to combination of a sobering and hopeful end. I understand a few bad grapes (the nicest word I can think of) are in any kind of profession and those bad grapes dominate the news headlines, but instead of being an entry point to improve an organization or institution, it often becomes the opposite. It fuels the animosity on both sides and common ground whittles down to nothing. This is where society needs to change as pointed out in an example by a LAPD officer. To think you’re immune to it because you’d never do anything to be put in prison, that’s fine and dandy, but the criminal justice system isn’t perfect and innocent people end up in prison and on death row. This documentary follows two people, Bruce Lisker and Reggie Cole, both who spent years in prison for murders they didn’t commit. These two individuals are clear examples of where the American criminal justice system failed. There’s never not room for prison reform and improvement, which we need more of especially in the southern states. I realize instituting change takes time, but dismantling what hasn’t worked has been ignored, time and time again, by those who should be listening. Some think a few wrongly convicted people is okay because its collateral damage, but I think it’s appalling because it’s more than a few who end up in this position. My tattoos can be a clear identifier that lets people know I’m not the same Asian woman who doesn’t have tattoos on her arms. This doesn’t mean I walk around worried I’m going to be confused with someone else, but being aware of all possibilities is something I would encourage anyone to do (within reason). Watching this was a trip down memory lane, but more than anything it was a reminder of how many things have not changed that need changing.



Producers: David Arquette, Gina Belafonte, Matthew Cooke, Steve De Vore, Robin C. Garvick, Adrian Grenier, Christina McLarty Arquette, Bryn Mooser, Susan Sarandon, and Jesse Williams

Director: Matthew Cooke

Writer: Matthew Cooke

Narrator: Susan Sarandon

Major Cast: Patricia Arquette, Jesse Williams, Danny Trejo, Danny Glover, Ice-T, RXA, Quincy Jones, Busta Rhymes, Tom Morello, Q-Tip, B-Real, Russell Simmons, Macklemore, Deepak Chopra, Matthew Cooke, Brandon Boyd, Warren G, Justin Brooks, Bruce Lisker, Reggie Cole, and Michael Semanchik

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 1 hour and 42 minutes

I rate Survivors Guide to Prison Four Fingers and One Thumb at 100%


May 10, 2019: Netflix Recommendation: ReMastered:Devil at the Crossroads (2019)

Partial lyrics from Robert Johnson’s song “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom”

I’m gonna write a letter

Telephone every town I know

I’m gonna write a letter

Telephone every town I know

If I can’t find her in West Helena

She must be in East Monroe I know


Netflix has these remastered stories about musicians. One of them is about Robert Johnson. This short documentary about the supposed deal he made with the Devil to become one of the best guitar players covers bits and pieces of his life including commentary by his relatives. It’s enough to realize how heartbreak after heartbreak led his marriage to drinking and his guitar. There’s obscurity in how he died with strychnine poisoning and contracting syphilis as the two main theories. He was only 27 when he died in 1937, but as the documentary points out he influenced the likes of Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and Robert Plant. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame credits four of his songs to shaping the rock and roll genre: “Sweet Home Chicago” (1936), “Cross Road Blues (1936), “Hellhound on my Trail (1937), and “Love in Vain” (1937). Johnson was rated the best guitar player out of 35 by Spin magazine in 1990, fifth greatest guitarist out of 100 by Rolling Stone magazine in 2008, and ninth top guitarist out of 50 by in 2010.


Executive Producers: Irving Azoff, Stu Schreiberg, Jeff Zimbalist, and Michael Zimbalist

Director: Brian Oakes

Writers: Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist

Major Cast: Taj Mahal, Keb’ Mo’, and Bonnie Raitt

Rating: NA but I would say TV-MA

Running Time: 48 minutes

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is robertjohnson.jpg

(Robert Johnson with cigarette and guitar.)

I rate ReMastered: Devil at the Crossroads Four Fingers at 90%


April 16, 2019: Netflix Documentary Recommendation: Saving Capitalism


Executive Producers: Steven Firestone, Nick Morton, Rick Rosenthal, Justin Schein, Stephen M. Silberstein, and Ryan Smith

Directors: Jacob Kornbluth and Sari Gilman

Major Cast: Robert Reich
Rating: TV-PG
Running Time: One hour and 13 minutes
The one thing I got from this documentary is that if American politicians as creators and enforcers of policy really care about the bottom rungs of society as they are about the very top without many of their constituents laughing from all sides, then there has to be an overhaul of how Washington is influenced and run. As I continued watching Saving Capitalism, taken from Robert Reich’s book by the same name, he offers some insight into what broke apart the “American Dream.” Now that the bubble has broken and the contents have fallen more on the negative than positive side, he offers not a solution but the promise by talking with younger generations in the hope of a better run America. He points out how American capitalism can function as intended. It’s clear people should have a legitimate right to this economic growth. It’s clear there is fracturing within both parties resulting from their disillusionment of the American political system including the greed of Wall Street where certain taxpayers are targeted. I wish it had gone a little more in-depth with solutions and facts, but Reich even regrets not trying harder in his earlier years. We aren’t at the point of being completely shattered, but I’d prefer no more breaking to occur. I’m like many people, who can see an ideal end game, but leaving others to hopefully steer America on a modified, better path.
Here’s a few quotes by Ray Dalio, an American billionaire investor, about capitalism.




I rate Saving Capitalism GOOD at 80%


April 8, 2019: Netflix TV Mini-series Recommendation (2018)

Quote from Bobby Kennedy for President by Robert F. Kennedy: “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” bobbykennedy

Executive Producers: Nestan Behrens, Ben Cotner, Gunnar Dedio, Adam Del Deo, Jon Kamen, Laura Michalchyshyn, Lisa Nishimura, Dawn Porter, Dave Sirulnick, and Justin Wilkes

Director: Dawn Porter

Major Cast: Harry Belafonte, Peter Edelman, Paul Schrade, William Vanden Heuvel, Dolores Huerta, John Lewis, Munir Sirhan, and Robert F. Kennedy
Rating: TV-MA
Episodes: 4
Running Time: 62 minutes per episode
I’ve been on a huge history kick lately, absorbing like a sponge archival historical footage of just about anything relating to U.S. and world politics. The most interesting part of this docuseries was seeing the footage of Robert F. Kennedy and his interactions while serving as Attorney General, Senator of New York, and his campaigning for President in 1968. There was a definite transformation where he went from being the person intent of eradicating Communism at all costs to the person intent on combating injustices such as poverty, hunger, and job scarcity in America. American people loved him on one side, but on the other side, there were those who did not care for him or his family name. As he traveled from state to state during his campaign, his popularity grew and his message resonated. Robert F. Kennedy had both charisma and smarts. He won the California primary, a huge victory for him after losing Oregon. With every variable factored into the equation, there will never be an agreed upon answer if he could have secured the Democratic nomination. Presidential primaries is anyone’s game. It comes with danger as those on his campaign and closest to him remind us. There was a glimpse into the legal proceedings of Sirhan Sirhan and the conspiracy theories about RFK’s murder. His influence on future generations despite never being elected as a President is what I took away more than anything else.

I rate Bobby Kennedy for President GREAT at 90%

pcratingfour April 7, 2019: Netflix Movie Recommendations: Triple Frontier (2019) and The Dirt (2019)

While the subject matter for these two movies couldn’t have been on opposite sides of the spectrum, I consider these movies average. They are average in the sense that from my viewpoint, many movies released either from Hollywood or streaming companies like Netflix and Hulu although I’ve seen more movies made by Netflix, falter when it comes to pushing the story to the edge. I find this particularly with dramas within the last decade where the surface is merely scratched. I’m not sure what exactly would make good stories great, but I recognize more emotional/human content sorely missing. I feel this element is being skipped for the sake of producers, directors, and maybe even writers who feel the viewers want simplistic beginnings, middles, and ends. I know it’s ultimately up to the writer to produce the final version of a script and that it can change along the way once filming starts. Yet, getting the right actors and actresses can make all the difference too between pushing the movie from good to great. With movies being around for over a century, pretty much everything has been done before and we’ve seen it all. Those untapped areas may not even exist anymore, but what keeps coming back to me is the story. These two Netflix productions aren’t lackluster, but they are just movies for the sake of being movies. There is nothing wrong with this, but I had already figured out who died in Triple Frontier within the first twenty minutes (because even writers drop clues they may or may not realize). Because I was less knowledgeable about The Dirt, the life of Mötley Crüe before and during their fame, it was new material for me, but again the movie told a story in a pretty straightforward direction and manner. Maybe, I gave too much credit to Bohemian Rhapsody as I gave it 100% when it came out in the theaters, but I also think Freddie Mercury’s talent as a singer is beyond any of the members of Mötley Crüe. I also thought Rami Malek did an excellent job despite it seeming half the viewers thought he was great and other half not so much. I knew going into these movies, neither one would be categorized as eye-popping cinema, but counting them out as good entertainment would be a shame.


Quote from Triple Frontier by Santiago ‘Pope’ Garcia: “You’ve been shot 5 times for your country and you can’t even afford to send your kids to college.”


Executive Producers: Mark Boal, Anna Gerb, and Thomas Hayslip

Director: J.C. Chandor

Writers: Mark Boal and J.C. Chandor

Major Cast: Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, Garrett Hedlund, Pedro Pascal,, and Adria Arjona
MPAA Rating: R for violence and language throughout
Running Time: 2 hours and 5 minutes

Triple Frontier is a movie about five former operatives coming together for monetary reward they feel they are due for serving their country. The mastermind behind this plan is Pope (Oscar Isaac), a private military advisor in Colombia. With help from his informant, Yovanna, Pope gets the necessary information and supplies. With his team in place in including Redfly (Ben Affleck), Ironhead (Charlie Hunnam), Benny (Garrett Hedlund), and Catfish (Pedro Pascal), they get down to ironing out the details. Their target is a drug lord, Lorea, and his money rumored to be held in his safe house somewhere in the jungle. Their plan is officially under way when they scope out the safehouse and later to find the money. As the search continues, problems arise within the safehouse and outside of it. This is where the blame game starts. With tempers flaring and glaring differences of opinion about their next move, the realization of them in a country on a mission no one knows about because it’s illegal grips them tighter. They have no choice, but continue whether it has a good or bad result. They push on because staying in one place for too long will ensure they all get killed. The ending was decent, but again a little predictable. Therefore, I give it the rating below.

I rate Triple Frontier GOOD at 80%


Quote from The Dirt by Don McGhee: “I have managed the Scorpions, Bon Jovi, Skid Row, KISS. I had been dragged through the deepest shit with all kinds of mentally ill people. But I have never been through what Mötley Crüe put me through.”


Executive Producers: Steve Kline, Michelle Manning, Chris Nilsson, Ben Ormand, and Rick Yorn

Director: Jeff Tremaine

Writers: Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, Vince Neil, Nikki Sixx, Neil Strauss (book) and Amanda Adelson and Rich Wilkes (screenplay)

Major Cast: Machine Gun Kelly, Douglas Booth, Daniel Webber, Iwan Rheon, David Costabile, Pete Davidson, Levin Rambin, Jordan Lane Price, and Rebekah Graf TV Rating: TV-MA
Running Time: 1 hour and 47 minutes
The Dirt is a movie about four misfits living in Los Angeles during the early 1980s, and their journey to becoming a staple in the Glam rock/mental music scene. The creator of Mötley Crüe, Frank Feranna Jr., would later change his name to Nikki Sixx and the rest is history as they say. Sixx along with Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, and Mick Mars would get used playing in front of an audience. They soon were playing in countless jam-packed night clubs and signed with Elektra Records. With cash flowing in faster than they knew what to do with, relationships got serious as well as the partying. Insert more drinking and drug use especially with Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil, and the end result is never good. The high life eventually leads to tragedy as it did in this case. As the band tries to regroup and heal from the destruction and fall out, things are still rocky as they tour. The band eventually breaks apart from each other. The end of Mötley Crüe had arrived and was officially disbanded in early 2000s. But, like any good band does, the members make amends and come back together for one last show or one more album. They played more shows with their last concert being in Los Angeles in December 2015 until this movie came out. Mötley Crüe, as of 2018, is recording new songs and continue to maintain support from old fans and probably gaining new fans as well. They’ve been around for almost 40 years. Longevity in the music scene is not a constant so good for them.

I rate The Dirt GOOD at 80%


April 5, 2019: Netflix TV Series Recommendation: Hitler’s Circle of Evil (2018)

Quote from Hitler’s Circle of Evil: “If you wish the sympathy of the broad masses, you must tell them the crudest and most stupid things.”


Executive Producers: Compton Ross and David McNab

Directors: Simon Deeley, Matthew Hinchcliffe, Vicky Matthews, Guy Smith, Ashley Morris, and Chris Roberts

Writers: Simon Deeley, Matthew Hinchcliffe, Vicky Matthews, Ashley Morris, Chris Roberts, and Guy Smith

Major Cast: Jonathan Michaels as Martin Bormann, Mairead Armstrong as Magda Goebbels, Alex Dee as Hermann Göring, Henrick Jørgensen as Adolf Hitler, James Lowe as Rudolf Hess, Blake Scott as Joseph Goebbels, Peter Turnbull as Heinrich Himmler, and Jo Wheatley as Ilse Hess

Rating: NA
Episodes: 10
Running Time: 52 minutes per episode
If you look on any list of influential political leaders, evil political leaders, or deadly dictators, Adolf Hitler will more than likely be somewhere in the top ten. He is probably one of the most studied political leaders to date. While he had a great interest in music and art, he would be remembered for his vicious belief system, which he justified by invading mainly other European countries during WWII. Scapegoating against everyone who wasn’t his ideal would also lead to massive extermination of people. This docudrama starts with the key figures who would be by Hitler’s side from the start. They include Rudolf Hess, Martin Bormann, Hermann Göring, Joseph Goebbels, and Heinrich Himmler although others would appear too, all in the goal of improving their lives and getting Hitler’s approval. It was interesting to see how those closest to him sought his attention every chance they had, especially when he hosted parties and meetings at the Berghof. The recorded footage from that time is interesting to watch. You get to see how the political and social climate changed after becoming Chancellor of Germany. His influence catapulted his power to a new level when the stock market crashed in 1929. It was a perfect opportunity for Hitler to spread his belief in a superior Aryan race and exterminate those he viewed as inferior. He was no longer the novice public speaker who failed to convince the German people they needed him to an engaging orator who used his pulpit to assert his dominance across Europe. With every country invasion, his Nazi regime was a step closer to the end game. The last few episodes covers his time in the bunker with Eva Braun and Goebbels, which I found interesting. The weaving of re-interpretation of key moments, actual footage of Nazi members, and narration lent a great portrayal of the rise and fall of the Nazi Party. The only major complaint I have is some of the information and footage were repeated in a few episodes. I read another viewer’s complaint that it was one-sided, meaning England was portrayed exclusively in a positive light, where Germany was demonized (paraphrasing). I really don’t think that was the intent, but the fact Hitler blamed the German people for losing WWII points only in one direction. For all his political influence, his mental hysteria was his biggest downfall in the end, and of course, the Russian forces.

I rate Hitler’s Circle of Evil GREAT at 90%

pcratingfour March 19, 2019: Hulu and Netflix Recommendation: Fyre Fraud (2019) and Fyre (2019) Quote by Fyre Festival: “Things got off to an unexpected start at day one of Fyre Festival, thank you for bearing with us as we work through the growing pains that every first year event experiences.”

Fyre Fraud (Hulu)

Producers (main): Lana Barkin, Cameron Davison, Dana Miller Ervin, Kate Ferraguto, Kelsey Field, Angela Freedman, Jenner Furst, Sharmi Gandhi, Michael Gasparro, Jed Lipinski, Alec Macrae, Julia Willoughby Nason, Patrick Newell, Alyssa Raimann, Michael Swaigen, Lavell Wells, and Joanna Zwickel

Writers and Directors: Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason

Major Cast: Billy McFarland, Ja Rule, Bella Hadid, Austin Mills, Cameron Davison, Maria Konnikova, Ava Turnquest, and Matthew Burton Spector

MPAA Rating: NA

Running Time: 1 hour and 36 minutes


Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (Netflix)

Producers: Guy Belloch, Gabriel Bluestone, Danny Gabai, Jon Karmen, Brett Kincaid, James Ohliger, Max Pollack, Mick Purzycki, Matthew Rowean, Cassie Sagness, Chris Smith, and Elliot Tebele

Director: Chris Smith

Major Cast: Billy McFarland, Ja Rule, Jason Bell, Gabrielle Bluestone, Shiyuan Deng, Michael Ciccarelli, MDavid Low, Samuel Krost, Andy King, J.R., Brett Kincaid, Mick Purzycki, James Ohliger, Grant Margolin, Keith van der Linde

MPAA Rating: NA

Running Time: 1 hour and 37 minutes


Along the same veins of Ponzi scheming and insider trading, these documentaries cover the disaster of the music festival called Fyre Festival that was supposed to happen in 2017, conceived by Billy McFarland and Ja Rule. Fyre Fraud, a Hulu production, was released before Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened, the Netflix production. While both covered the same event or should I say lack of event, both managed to include insight and coverage the other did not despite the final consensus that the Fyre Festival was a complete disaster from start to finish. McFarland was born in the year to make him a millennial, where social influence is more abundant than ever before, and he saw an opportunity to get a slice of the American pie as an entrepreneur. When you combine all three, the Fyre Festival was conceived and while it might have been a good idea on paper, a music festival of this magnitude takes a lot of timing and planning. This is where McFarland failed in a big way. He probably should’ve stayed in school because he might have learned a half thought out conceived plan rarely goes well, and combined with his delusion things went from bad to terrible. He clearly didn’t have the patience or years to know you just can’t live the high life and earn millions of money without adequate effort and work. Fyre Fraud included the interview of McFarland after he was charged with mail and wire fraud. He seemed to have a blank stare on his face most of the time, a huge disconnect with what the documentary filmmaker was asking, which to me is a sign he still hadn’t absorbed what he had done and probably the magnitude of it either. While there was some coverage of those McFarland had financially hurt, it was more prevalent in Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened. It might have been done to draw attention away from Jerry Media’s involvement, but the stories tended to be more personable. Those who suffered because of this failed music festival, from the workers on Great Exuma to the concertgoers to the American investors, were basically duped. The only people who got paid their due were the celebrity promoters. This puts me near the end of this music festival, barreling toward the grand finale that turned out to be pretty chaotic in most respects and dismal on the music front. There was no Blink-182 because they had dropped out. They obviously smelled the danger from far away. For whatever reason, maybe to take pity on the people who paid thousands of dollars to attend, a local band offered a few hours of their time. The disaster relief tents leftover from Hurricane Katrina served as the luxurious housing promised and were completed with soaked mattresses from prior rain. There wasn’t adequate lighting so when the sun disappeared and night fell, you can imagine the horrors that occurred when people had to use the portable toilets. Good luck washing your hands because there was no running water. People couldn’t get cell phone reception either. I could go on and on, but seeing this part further made me realize McFarland didn’t care about anyone but himself. I wish I could say McFarland learned his lesson after this doomed luxury music festival, but he did not. I’m not sure he will learn his lesson after he comes out of federal prison, but only he knows that. Given how many lives he wrecked along the way, I’m not sure anyone would give him another chance. The Netflix documentary primarily focused on McFarland’s delusions, victims of his actions, and his true character behind the scenes. The Hulu documentary focused on his character as well, but it didn’t go in-depth of his life prior to the Fyre Festival as much, although both were willing to place most of the blame on him. I encourage anyone who likes documentaries to watch either one or both.

I rate both documentaries GREAT at 90%


March 19, 2019: Netflix Docuseries Recommendation: Losers (2019-)

Question from Losers by Netflix: “In a ‘winning is everything’ society, how do we handle failure?”


Producers: Jennie Bedusa, MIckey Duzyj, Aaron Ernst, Jason Fisher, Adam Goldberg, Jason Heilig, Lisa Leingang, Victoria Millin, Mona Panchal, Adam Pincus, Rick Ramirez, and Karla Zambrano

Directors: Mickey Duzyj

Writers: Brin-Jonathan Butler

Major Cast: Michael Bentt (boxer), Torquay United (as they say in England football) Surya Bonaly (figure skater), Pat Ryan (curler), Mauro Prosperi (endurance racer), Aliy Zirkle (dog sledder), Jack Ryan (streetball player), and Jean van de Velde (golfer)
Rating: NA
Episodes: 8
Running Time: approximately 30 minutes long

I wasn’t sure what to think about this show and it took me a few episodes to really get into it. I started with Surya Bonaly (ice skating) and next watched Aliy Zirkle (dog sledding). Being such different athletes but both with interesting stories although I’d say one more mirrors Tonya Harding’s story in which the judges didn’t give her a fair shake where the other is just plain frightening, I moved onto the next episodes. As I continued and left the sports I was least interested in for last (sorry English football and golf), the inclusion of accidents, mishaps, winning, and defeat made those tolerable as well. I surprisingly thought the golf episode was entertaining. Probably not to Jean van de Velde, but I’m sure golf enthusiasts can relate to his struggle. The grossest one is the endurance racer, the saddest one is the boxer, and the best turnaround is the streetball player. You can decide for yourself, but I hope Netflix keeps this going.

I rate Losers PERFECT at 100%


February 10, 2019: Netflix Movie Review: Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

Quote from Velvet Buzzsaw by Morf Vandewalt : “Critique is so limiting and emotionally draining.” velvetbuzzsaw

Essence of Jake Gyllenhaal

Claudette Barius/Netflix

I’m not going to lie I watched this movie originally because of Jake Gyllenhaal. He has become the actor I like to watch whether it be a comedy or drama, light or dark, realistic or surreal. This is the one of the few times I had no solid basis of what this movie was about, other for the fact it had him in it. I had no idea it was a horror movie because let’s be honest, the red lettering could also be spray paint. In the opening scene of Velvet Buzzsaw, the viewer is brought into the life of art dealers, critics, and the artists they love to hate. The snobbish energy drips from the ceiling like invisible paint, and this is ultimately what captured my interest once it began. I entered another world, which I would probably not want to be a part of because as quickly as you are sucked in, even quicker can you be spit out. The question of what constitutes art is an itch that continues throughout the movie whether up and coming artists or established ones who have paid their dues. It took a fair amount of time to show the horror elements, but it only increased my interest to see how it would end.

People Behind the Scenes

moviecurtain Velvet Buzzsaw is a Netflix and Dease Pictures Inc. production with Dan Gilroy as writer and director. Gilroy was the one also responsible for Nightcrawler where Jake Gyllenhaal played a freelance photojournalist. Jennifer Fox was the producer and Robert Elswit was the cinematographer. The main cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal as Morf Vanderwalt Rene Russo as Rhodora Haza, Zawe Ashton as Josephina, Tom Surridge as Jon Dondon, Toni Collette as Gretchen, Natalia Dyer as Coco, Daveed Diggs as Damrish, and John Malkovich as Piers, Billy Magnussen as Bryson, and Alan Mandell as Vetril Dease. This one hour and 53 minutes long movie is about the fine line between art promotion and profit in terms of consumerism, greed, and artist relevance. It has a R rating for profanity, nudity, and frightening & intense scenes.

Summary of Velvet Buzzsaw

summarize Here is the basic plot that doesn’t include minor or major spoilers. We start out in Florida, Miami Beach to be particular, where Morf (art critic) and Josephina (art agent) pretty much finishes each other’s sentences and has similar opinions. They have a strong relationship that only strengthens when Josephina travels back to her apartment in Los Angeles. She stumbles upon a man in the hallway and when she realizes he is dead, she swallows her fears and enters his apartment. Once inside, she realizes the potential to make a name for herself especially with her hardened boss, Rhodora. When she finally attachs a name to the recently deceased, Josephina encourages Rhodora to show and sell Vetril Dease’s paintings. The subject matter isn’t necessarily dark, but they have a haunting quality to them as recognized by everyone who sees them. This includes art curator, Gretchen, and an artist, Piers. To ensure the demand for Dease’s work, half of the paintings are put in storage at the request of Rhodora. In the cut throat art scene, people’s greed can get the better of them and results in consequences. But, people turn a blind eye like Rhodora and continue on like nothing happened unless your name is Coco. She is the only one who truly knows something is not right, but given her status as a failing assistant, no one listens to her. This doesn’t mean others aren’t doing their own research into Dease. He might not be the first painter to use body fluids in his pieces, but what he uses alarms Morf, and this secret must remain with him. As Gretchen and Rhodora work to popularize Dease even further, a new artist comes onto the scene called Damrish. As he becomes the new “it guy,” Piers is having a hard time finding inspiration for creating new pieces, and Morf continues to suffer mentally from what he has learned and done. Josephina’s life isn’t faring well either as she is now alone. Gretchen and Rhodora hope to survive this colossal mess on their hands before it’s too late. Meanwhile, Piers finally finds some peace near a beach where he draws designs in the sand that disappear when the tide washes over them.

Watch the Trailer

Art Scene Snobbery

Claudette Barius/Netflix

As I mentioned before, I enjoyed seeing the snobbery of being an art critic or art gallery owner because this does happen and does exist. It’s a culture that is fascinating because the decisions made are usually behind closed doors. The same goes for music and film. Who decides if a person gets paid thousands of dollars for something versus a few pennies. You can have two people with similar technique, vision, creativity, and skill, but one will hardly make any profit as an artist. This is part Velvet Buzzsaw’s strength because even critics are subjective in their criticism. They can be your worst nightmare or best friend. They can end your careers or push you to new limits. I also liked the part of a particular painting or any object for that matter being inherently bad. It begs the question of how much of the intention by the artist matters once it is finished. Besides people creating art as an emotional and energetic outlet, are there layers not seen by the human eye too? Long after the person has died, what is the full impact of the work?

More Buzzsaw or More Buzzkill?

buzzsaw1 I’d recommend this because it’s not only a satirical commentary of the art scene, basically the pretentiousness of its players and artists, but it had an interesting concept. This wasn’t so new for me because I’ve watched one too many shows concerning similar types of phenomenon, but Velvet Buzzsaw was more buzzsaw than buzzkill. I liked it for Jake Gyllenhaal, of course, but for the fact the ending was just that, without any gimmicks. Sometimes things are just what they are, and no matter what you do, life keeps going on with or without you in it. How much you think or obsess about it is totally up to you. Yet, I thought there could’ve been a little more screen time between Damrish and Dease. I think you’ll know what I mean if you watch it.

Pisaries Creator’s Rating

I was so excited to post this that I forgot to rate it. Therefore, I rate Velvet Buzzsaw NEAR PERFECT at 95%.


February 6, 2019: Netflix TV Recommendation

Quote by Frankie Bergstein from Grace and Frankie: “Your anger is frightening the sand.”


Creators: Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris

Directors: Many

Writers: Many

Major Cast: Jane Fonda as Grace Hanson, Lily Tomlin as Frankie Bergstein, Sam Waterston as Sol Bergstein, Martin Sheen as Robert Hanson, Brooklyn Decker as Mallory Hanson, Coyote Bergstein as Ethan Embry, June Diane Raphael as Brianna Hanson, and Baron Vaughn as Nwabudike Bergstein

Rating: TV-MA

Episodes Per Season: 13

Episode Length: 30 minutes


Jane Fonda is best known for her Hanoi Jane nickname while Lily Tomlin for her fight with David O. Russell on the set of I Heart Huckabees. If you can put this aside and find some forgiveness, Grace and Frankie is a funny show. Grace and Frankie deals with all kinds of family and personal issues, starting with divorce and homosexuality, and then spreading into other areas of life such as children, aging, relationships, addiction, and death. The relationship between Fonda and Tomlin, characters Grace and Frankie, mirror their ex-husbands who finally admit to themselves they no longer are into women. It’s hard to say who elicits more laughs, but the whole cast is good. Sam Waterston as Sol and Martin Sheen as Robert give credence there is still time to have your dream relationship, of course with some conflict, when you are past 50 but not yet 80. Their children and friends lend additional humor to Robert’s passion for theater, Sol’s dislike for confrontation, Frankie’s desire to make decisions from her heart, and Grace’s need for mental and physical control over everything. My favorite episode has to be the one where Coyote’s birth mom visits him. There are five seasons and the 6th will most than likely air in 2020.

I rate Grace and Frankie PERFECT at 100%


January 28, 2019: Netflix Mini-Series Recommendation

Quote from Watership Down by General Woundwort: “You will find the outsiders and when you do, we will destroy their warren, and leave no trace of them on this Earth.” watership down

Directors: Noam Murro, Peter Dodd, Seamus Malone, and Alan Short

Writers: Tim Bidwell (4 episodes) and Richard Adams (1 episode and novel)

Major Cast: James McAvoy as Hazel, Nicholas Hoult as Fiver, John Boyega as Bigwig, Ben Kingsley as General Woundwort, Tom Wilkinson as Threarah, Gemma Arterton as Clover, Olivia Coleman as Strawberry, Mackenzie Crook as Hawkbit, Anne-Marie Duff as Hyzenthlay, Taron Egerton as El-Ahrairah, Freddie Fox as Captain Holly, James Faulkner as Frith, Lee Ingelby as Captain Campion, Miles Jupp as Blackberry, Daniel Kaluuya as Bluebell, Rory Kinnear as Cowslip, Craig Parkinson as Sergeant Sainfoin, Rosamund Pike as Black Rabbit of Inlé, Daniel Rigby as Dandelion,Jason Watkins as Captain Orchis, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Captain Vervain, Gemma Chan as Dewdrop, Lizzie Clarke as Haystack, Rosie Day as Thethutinang, Henry Goodman as Blackavar, Peter Guinness as Silverweed, Charlotte Spencer as Nettle, Peter Capaldi as Kehaar, Murray McArthur as Farmer, and Lorraine Bruce as Farmer’s Wife

Rating: TV-PG

Episodes: 4

Episode Length: 45 minutes

******* The original movie made in 1978 was recommended to me about 13 years ago. I watched Watership Down, loved it, and have yet to read the book. I know, I know. The original version has more violence and blood compared to the remake so this is more kid friendly. The drawing animation in the original is timeless, and you can’t stop watching the different rabbit warrens vying for control and survival in either one. There was criticism of the unpolished look of the rabbits given the advancements in technology. This doesn’t hold a candle to movies with a bigger budget, but I wasn’t too bothered by it. I will talk about the Rottweiler later. The other criticism was how the rabbits looked more like hares, but some wild rabbits do have longer legs. If you can look past the less than animation and what is construed as erroneous leg length and facial features, this four-part series is for you. Let me give you a little information before I give a short summary of Watership Down. The rabbits are broken into their respective warrens: Sandleford, Cowslip, Efrafa, and Watership Down. When they speak of Lord Frith, this is their sun-god. El-ahrairah is the Prince that was their leader in the beginning. Owsla is a rabbit police force. The word silflay means grazing and Efrafans belong to the Efrafa warren (as you probably deduced). A word of caution, there’s a lot of rabbits in this, and it’s hard to tell them apart at times especially when they dart back and forth. The story begins with two brother rabbits, Fiver and Hazel. It is Fiver who has visions of the future and Hazel who partly believes in them. They decide to tell their leader, Threarah, anyway who doesn’t believe them. They are forced to take leave from the Sandleford warren with a few rabbits who believe them including Bigwig. Their escape is full of danger and they eventually find a new home when Hazel meets a peculiar rabbit named Cowslip. It is here Fiver has more visions except this time even darker. He realizes man poses danger everywhere, and the rabbits take leave with Strawberry. This leads to newfound respect for Fiver and humble pie for Bigwig. They arrive at Nuthanger Farm where Hazel meets a domestic rabbit named Clover. He makes several attempts to rescue her, but to no avail. This places him in great danger, and it is Clover’s determination along with Fiver’s vision that help him to safety. The remaining Sandleford warren is just that as Captain Holly barely makes it out alive as it’s destroyed by man. He has no choice but to follow Fiver and Hazel to Watership Down. What is clear to all the rabbits is the dangers of the Efrafa warren, but Hazel doesn’t shy away from it. Being the Chief Rabbit, he sends Bigwig to infiltrate the dangerous warren in order to gain General Woundwort’s trust as well as Hyzenthlay, a female rabbit. They round-up rabbits willing to risk leaving Efrafa, but the Efrafa Owsla is never far away. You’ll start to feel for the rabbits who have been there much too long. The rabbits fear of failture, but they have no choice. It also helps to have Kehaar, the gull, who eats too much when he’s not flying around. Back in the safety of Watership Down, the rabbits reunite with Strawberry, Hawkbit, and Dandelion who is credited for creating the warren’s underground tunnels that are later used to protect the rabbits when General Woundwort returns with his Owsla. Being ever aware of danger, Fiver has another vision and sets off with Hazel to stop the destruction of Watership Down. They run back to Nuthanger Farm because dogs like to chase things. Remember when I spoke of the Rottweiler earlier? It’s too bad General Woundwort was fearless. After all was said and done, I enjoyed this version because the rabbits had markings they had been around a while. Wild rabbits experience a lot of harsh elements. They have tears in their ears and scars on their faces from fighting. They are different sizes, some small and large although I’d love to know what the Efrafa warren was eating when they weren’t smacking each other around. There were some differences in appearance of the wild and domestic rabbits. Some of the scenes jumped back and forth too quickly, but the actors and actresses that lent their voices were great. Ben Kingsley as General Woundwart and Peter Capaldi as Kehaar were my favorites, and you have to enjoy the brotherly love of Hazel voiced by James McAvoy and Fiver voiced by Nicholas Hoult. I only had trouble with how the Rottweiler looked. The last scene of the Rottweiler left me unimpressed. This was the only time I laughed in the series. The relationships between male and female rabbits was more prevalent in this version, which broke things up a bit. I encourage you to watch the original as well and see which one you like better.

I rate Watership Down GREAT at 90%.


December 17, 2018: Netflix Movie Recommendation

Quote from Dumplin’ by Willowdean Dixon : “No, I’m not the Joan of Arc of fat girls.”


Producers: Mohamed Alrafi, Jennifer Aniston, Michael Costigan, Kristin Hofmann, Danny Nozell, Kelly Todd, and Christopher Tricarico

Director: Anne Fletcher

Writers: Julie Murphy (novel) and Kristin Hahn (screenplay)

Major Cast: Danielle Macdonald as Willowdeen Dickson, Jennifer Aniston as Rosie Dickson, Odeya Rush as Ellen Dryver, Maddie Baillio as Millie Michalchuk, Bex Taylor-Klaus as Hannah Perez, Luke Benward as Bo Larson, Harold Perrineau as Lee Wayne/Rhea Ranged, Kathy Najimy as Millie’s Mother, Ginger Minj as Candee Disch, Hilliary Begley as Lucy Dickson, Sam Pancake as Dale, Dan Finnerty as Eugene Reed, Molly McNearney as Delia Shepherd, Tian Richards as Marcus, Ryan Dinning as Patrick, and Andrew Fletcher as Tim

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language

Running Time: 1 hour and 50 minutes


This has minor spoilers.

While it isn’t what I normally watch, I’ve been known to stray here and there. This is one of those movies. It’s a coming of age story about Willowdean Dickson, nicknamed “Dumplin” by her mother, Rosie. We find out the daughter is nothing like her mother. Willowdeen doesn’t have Rosie’s looks or interests. She enjoys lounging in pools, having crushes on guys, and singing along to the radio. We are taken into her life, which includes her love of Dolly Parton who reminds her of her aunt, Lucy. While she feels out-of-place, her best friend, Ellen, serves as a rock in her life when her mother is unavailable. Rosie isn’t embarrassed with Willowdeen’s weight as she believes although she is fully embarrassed by her mother’s fascination with pageants that leads to even more distance between them. A combination of events leads to Willowdeen entering the Miss Teen Bluebonnet Pageant and in a round about kind of way to understand her mother better. There are rules to this pageant, but she doesn’t care because winning isn’t her goal. It is to challenge the beauty standard and convinces a handful of other girls to do the same. Hannah, Millie, Ellen, and Willowdeen attend the pageant orientation much to Rosie’s frustration. They practice and decide what to wear after the committee has no choice but to allow them entry. Nothing happens without some minor setbacks along the way and after accepting their differences, they seek help from one of Lucy’s past friends, Lee Wayne. In the midst of all this, Willowdeen juggles her feelings for Bo. As the pageant approaches, the outsiders make up their own rules to support of each other. The relationships come full circle and no one really is left feeling alienated or cheated out of something they deserved. This is basically a feel good movie. You can pretty much predict how it will end. This is okay because it has enough substance to keep the viewer interested, but would’ve liked to seen more exploration between Lucy and Rosie.

I rate Dumplin’ GREAT at 87%


December 2, 2018: Netflix TV Mini-Series Recommendation

Quote from Godless by Mary Agnes McNue: “Safe is one of those funny words. Sometimes means something different to the person who says it and the person who hears it.”


Producers: Mick Aniceto, Scott Frank, Jessica Levin, Michael J. Malone, Mimi Munson, Casey Silver, and Steven Soderbergh

Director: Scott Frank

Writer: Scott Frank

Major Cast: Jack O’Connell as Roy Goode, Michelle Dockery as Alice Fletcher, Scoot McNairy as Bill McNue, Merritt Wever as Mary Agnes, Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Whitey Winn, Tantoo Cardinal as Iyovi, Jeff Daniels as Frank Griffin, Adam David Thompson as Gatz Brown, Samantha Soule as Charlotte Temple, Kayli Carter as Sadie Rose, Keith Jardine as Dyer Howe, Rio Alexander as Bud Ledbetter, Samuel Marty as Truckee, Justin Welborn as Floyd Wilson, Luke Robertson as Bill Chick, Tess Frazier as Callie Dunne, Joe Pingue as Alonzo Bunker, Russell Dennis Lewis as Daryl Devlin, Matthew Dennis Lewis as Donnie Devlin, Travis Hammer as John Doe, Marie Wagenman as Trudy McNue, Kim Coates as Ed Logan, and Duane Howard as Shoshone Brave

Rating: TV-MA Episodes: 7 Running Time: 60 minutes

Godless is a seven episode western drama mini-series about a town called La Belle, New Mexico during the pioneering days. It is in this town, primarily made up of women due to an earlier mining explosion that wiped out their husbands, where power and revenge is sought. Three major stories play out. The first is Frank Griffin and his gang seeking revenge on Roy Goode. You learn how Roy came into Griffin’s life and his supposed wrongdoing. While Frank’s only mission is to find Roy, more than one person has eyes on Frank. The second is the sheriff of La Belle, Bill McNue. He is dealing with his own personal issues and searching for answers on the road when he should be staying put. His sister, Mary Agnes, has become a pseudo mother for his children when he is away and is a voice of reason for the women of La Belle. The third is Alice Fletcher and her family including her son, Truckee, and mother-in-law, Iyovi. There are two minor stories involving men offering their services to the women of La Belle and the outsiders who have built up a community of their own. The reason for liking Godless besides it being a western was the overall production value. There was enough realistic dialogue to tell the audience what was happening without overly stating the obvious. Some of the cinematography shots, especially of the horse riding, were first rate. The main cast including the supporting cast had a complete naturalness to their acting. I know these are general things to like about a TV show, but watching this was like eating a four course meal where the dessert tasted just as great as the appetizer.

I rate Godless GREAT at 90%


November 28, 2018: Netflix Recommendation

Quote from Outlaw King by Robert the Bruce: “I’m done with running and I’m sick of hiding.”


Producers: Gillian Berrie, Richard Brown, Brian Coffey, Rob Kettlewell, Danny McGrath, Claire Moorsom, and Stan Wlodkowski

Director: David Mackenzie

Writers: Bathsheba Doran, David Mackenzie, James MacInnes, David Harrower, and Mark Bomback

Major Cast: Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce, Aaron Taylor-Johnson as James Douglas (Lord of Douglas), Florence Pugh as Elizabeth de Burgh, Billy Howle as Edward (Prince of Wales), Tony Curran as Angus MacDonald, Lorne MacFadyen as Nigel Bruce, Alastair Mackenzie as Lord Atholl, James Cosmo as Robert de Brus (6th Lord of Annandale), Callan Mulvey as John III Comyn (Lord of Badenoch), Stephen McMillan as Drew Forfar, Squire Paul Blair as Bishop Lamberton, Stephen Dillane as King Edward I of England,Steven Cree as Christopher Seton, Sam Spruell as Aymer de Valence (2nd Earl of Pembroke), Rebecca Robin as Margaret of France (Queen of England), Stewart Brown as the Ginger, Jamie Maclachlan as Roger De Mowbray, Benny Young as Sir Simon Fraser, and Clive Russell as Lord MacKinnon of Skye

MPAA Rating: R for brutal war violence, some sexuality, language, and brief nudity Running Time: 2 hours and 1 minute ******* This has minor spoilers.

Outlaw King starts with Robert the Bruce in 1304. William Wallace has recently been killed by King Edward I, but Robert still pledges allegiance to King Edward in exchange for land promised him. He marries Elizabeth de Burgh, and finds himself at odds with the king after he doesn’t hold up his end of the bargain. It is here you realize Robert is respectful of Elizabeth’s new role as wife and is a tender leader and fighter. Two years pass between them and his ambition to revolt against the English is solidified when he becomes the newly crowned King of Scots. This doesn’t make King Edward pleased, and Robert is now considered an outlaw. A series of events forces him to leave Elizabeth and his daughter, Marjorie, from his first marriage. He loses men along the way and finds himself under the thumb of the Prince of Wales. Hoping to bring Robert out of hiding, the prince takes Robert’s wife and daughter from Kildrummy Castle to England. They become prisoners, at the mercy of a hanging cage and religious nuns. Robert continues his quest to free them. When King Edward dies and the prince now known as Edward II replaces him, Robert fights him in a battle at Loudoun Hill. The Scots are outnumbered six to one, but with Robert’s plan he is able to overtake the English soldiers, leading to a duel with Edward II. It is a fight leading to more fights where Robert the Bruce’s place in history is secured as well as his descendants. While this movie was good, I wasn’t at the edge of my seat. It scratched the political surface of Scotland when it should’ve dug the nails in deep. In other words, I wanted more screen time between Robert and Elizabeth. I wanted to see more emotions behind Robert’s actions. I wanted to see the power struggles beyond swords and crowns. Usually by the end of this type of movie, I’m persuaded to learn the craft of sword fighting after I gain 20 pounds of arm muscle (even if it lasts for only a few minutes). This time I was not. This doesn’t make it unworthy to watch, but it’s missing some of the energy one feels when the downtrodden (so to speak) rises to the top. Yet, I still recommend it.

I rate Outlaw King GOOD at 80%.



November 28, 2018: Netflix TV Review

Quote from The Last Kingdom by Ragnar the Younger: “The kingdom of Wessex will surrender or burn.”

BBC Two, BBC America, Netflix

Executive Producers: Stephen Butchard, Nigel Marchant, and Gareth Neame

Directors: Peter Hoar, Jon East, Anthony Bryne, Ben Chanan, Nick Murphy, Jamie Donoughue, Richard Senior, Erik Leijonborg, Jan Matthys, and Edward Bazalgette

Writers: Bernard Cornwell, Stephen Butchard, Sophie Petzal, Ben Vanstone

Major Cast: Alexander Dreymon, Ian Hart, David Dawson, Eliza Butterworth, Harry McEntire, Arnas Fedaravicius, Emily Cox, Adrian Bouchet, Millie Brady, Mark Rowley, Jeppe Beck Laursen, James Northcote, Toby Regbo, Tobias Santelmann, Ewan Mithcell, Julia Bache-Wiig, Simon Kunz, Eva Birthistle, Timothy Innes, Cavan Clerkin, Adrian Bower, Peri Baumeister, Thea Sofie Loch Naess, and Magnus Bruun
Rating: TV-MA
Episodes: 10

Running Time: 60 minutes

The Last Kingdom finally returned to Netflix. The fans were waiting a long time for this. Uhtred (played by Alexander Dreymon), son of Uhtred, continues where he left off in season two: fighting lengthy battles while trying to knock the reality of being part of a royal family into the head of Aethelflaed (played by Millie Brady). The third season continues with Uhtred continuing his desire to recapture his birthright despite the precarious line he walks in his allegiance to King Alfred (played by David Dawson) and his brother, Ragnar the Younger (played by Tobias Santlemann). The following will not have any major spoilers, but will mention there were a few surprises I didn’t see coming or maybe more wishing it hadn’t ended that way. Season three’s opening is different because King Alfred is no longer a young king. He is ripe with knowledge, but for the first time you see his body and mind not in congruence. He now concentrates on his family’s longevity and mainly through his son, Prince Edward (played by Timothy Innes). It also includes his vision for Wessex to ensure its survival and a place in history. In the land of the Danes, the story continues with the relationship between Uhtred and Ragnar as well as Uhtred and Brida (played by Emily Cox) where loyalties are tested. Uhtred’s wife remains a part of life, Gisela (played by Peri Baumeister), and Skade (played by Thea Sofie Loch Naess) becomes a thorn in his side he’s trying to remove throughout the season. Patience is a key word when it comes to Skade as she is passed around from Sigurd Bloodhair (played by Ola Rapace), Haesten (played by Jeppe Beck Laursen), and Uhtred. While some characters got what was coming to them, the precursor to it left me stunned because again, I never thought it would play out that way. The last episode includes a jockeying for power among the royalty including Athelwold (played by Harry McEntire) as well as among the Danes where Haesten probably misses Erik and Sigefried from the previous season. We end with Uhtred having the same goal he began with, and whether he got any closer to it remains to be seen. I’m wondering how the relationship between him and Brida play out in the next season as her commitment to Ragnar is fiercer than ever, and what will happen to Beocca. It wasn’t hard for me to enjoy the show because I like historical fiction. For all the other shows out there dealing with kings and queens, mystical beings, and jealous enemies, The Last Kingdom is also worthy of your time.

I rate The Last Kingdom EXCELLENT at 97%.


November 20, 2018: Netflix TV Review

Quote from Narcos: Mexico by Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo: “Business is changing, and we must change with it.”

Gaumont International Television/Netflix

Creators: Carlo Bernard, Chris Brancato, and Doug Miro

Directors: Andrés Baiz, Josef Kubota Wladyka, Amat Escalante, and Alonzo Ruizspalacios

Writers: Carlo Bernard, Chris Brancato, Doug Miro, Eric Newman, Scott Teems, Clayton Trussell, Ashley Lyle, Bart Nickerson, Andy Black, and Jessie Nickson-Lopez

Major Cast: Aaron Staton, Alejandro Edda, Alfonso Dosal, Alyssa Diaz, Clark Freeman, Diego Luna, Ernesto Alterio, Fermin Martinez, Fernanda Urrejola, Gerardo Taracena, Gorka Lasaosa Guillermo Villegas, Horacio Garcia Rojas, Jackie Earle Haley, Joaquín Cosío, José María Yazpik, Julio Cesar Cedillo, Lenny Jacobson, Manuel Masalva, Matt Letscher, Michael Peña, Scoot McNairy, Tenoch Huerta, Teresa Ruiz, Tessa Ia, and Yul Vazquez

Rating: TV-MA

Episodes: 10

Running Time: Varies


I wasn’t the only one binge watching Narcos: Mexico last weekend, but I’m one of them who waited to review it so here it goes. This spin-off deals with how the Guadalajara Cartel formed to become a dominant force in drug trafficking during the 1980s. Enter Diego Luna as Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo and his sidekicks Tenoch Huerta as Rafael Caro Quintero and Joaquín Cosio as Ernesto ‘Don Neto’ Fonseca Carrillo. The convincing portrayal of Gallardo by Luna is equally done through a glance suggesting “this is the way it’s going to be” or through more vicious means. Huerta and Cosío give worthy portrayals of Quintero and Don Neto. While the trailer unveils Gallardo and Camarena as the main antagonist and protagonist in this first season, there is definitely more brewing than just this cat and mouse chase although it’s uncertain how close Gallardo was in proximity to Camarena in real life. A nod to Michael Peña who plays the recently transferred DEA agent, Enrique Camarena, known as Kiki. He was a man on a mission and while I missed some of the relationships forged in the previous seasons among the DEA agents, it was fitting he was alone much of the time. Kiki was an open your mouth when it’s absolutely necessary kind of man and his trust was gained with caution. Patience wasn’t one of his strong suits, which was more than necessary since the DEA, Drug Enforcement Administration, was still in its infancy. This doesn’t mean there wasn’t success as Camarena’s relentless attitude and energy to combat drug trafficking led to a pivotal moment in the season, and one that viewers knew was coming but still find tragic to this day. It mirrors the overall tension between the DEA and Guadalajara Cartel up to the final episode, which serves as a stepping stone for the next season. It points in a new direction for the DEA, meaning bigger guns and rougher looking agents, to make those key players who protected Gallardo pay as well as himself. I’m hoping there’s expansion of Isabella Bautista as played by Teresa Ruiz. She could become an engaging force Gallardo would underestimate if they deviated from the actual story in the next season. It was nice to see a few characters from past seasons make an appearance in this one. Therefore, I could see a few of the characters in this season included into a minor storyline in the next. That probably won’t happen as the narrator, voiced by Scoot McNairy, signals he’s the next in line to take the drug war to the next level with the focus being on Operation Leyenda. In conclusion, although I preferred the seasons focusing on the Medellín and Cali Cartel, this one shined bright too.

I rate Narcos: Mexico GREAT at 90%.


March 17, 2018: Three Short Netflix Show Reviews

Altered Carbon (2018)

Creator: Laeta Kalogridis

Stars: Joel Kinnaman, James Purefoy, Martha Higareda, Chris Connor, Dichen Lachman, Ato Essandoh, Kristin Lehman, Trieu Tran, and Renée Elise Goldsberry

Episodes: 10

Running Time: 60 minutes

alteredcarbon Altered Carbon is a sci-fi show incorporating elements and concepts found today. The dichotomy between the have and have nots will always be a part of civilization. There is a pecking order in any social organization or particular culture. This futuristic world is no different. The main character is a highly trained soldier named Takeshi Kovacs (interesting surname choice played by Will Yun Lee and Joel Kinnaman). He is brought back from the dead to solve the mystery of who killed Laurens Bancroft (played by James Purefoy). There is not going to be an easy task for Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) even though he walks around with a little backpack you’d more likely find on a little girl who’s into trendy accessories. The path he follows zigzags from past and present, the backstory woven well, until the end. There is some nudity in the show, and while some of it may seem excessive, it does lend itself to the story. I’m thinking of a particular fight scene between Reileen (played by Dichen Lachman) and Kristin (played by Martha Higareda). Let’s face the fact of Reileen being a badass fighter who defends first and doesn’t bother to ask questions later even when naked. She is that sure of herself. The fight scenes in and out of the ring are also some of my favorites. While I like Joel Kinnaman as an actor, I hope they don’t bring him back. The appeal of the show is the same characters taking different “sleeves.” But, I do hope they bring the character name of Takeshi back as well Kristin and the comic relief of Poe (played by Chris Connor). While this show included unfamiliar concepts and thoughts, it was not so radically different that you get completely lost. However, there was mild confusion in one of the sub-stories. It has not been renewed for a second season, but more than likely will be and cast to be determined. I give Altered Carbon a rating of 95%. pcratingfive

Seven Seconds (2018)

Creator: Veena Sud

Stars: Clare-Hope Ashitey, Michael Mosley, David Lyons, Isaiah Butler, Regina King, Peter Jablonski, Nadia Alexander

Episodes: 10

Running Time: 60 minutes

sevenseconds Seven Seconds is a crime drama involving racial tensions and corrupt cops in New Jersey. It’s created by Veena Sud, the same woman who gave us The Killing. This show threw everything into it, including a few sinks along the way. I understood the reasoning, but it seemed to leave some characters only scratching the surface when they could have dug deeper. I might liken it to jam packing everything into a tiny suitcase, hoping you’re able to sit on it efficiently to close it. Sometimes it works better to leave a few things out or save for a later date. The show follows the Butler family after a tragedy occurs. It takes you into the heart of the police department, court system, lawyers, gang activity, racial and sexual stereotypes. There has been some grumbling about the ending, but it is a realistic portrayal of what could and does happen. The characters of KJ Harper (played by Clare-Hope Ashitey), Fish Rinaldi (played by Michael Mosley), Latrice Butler played by Regina King), and Isaiah Butler (played by Russell Hornsby) were the best in the show. The pacing is slower than The Killing. It does not have as many twists and turns compared to it either, but it kept my attention. It has not been renewed for a second season, but more than likely will be and cast to be determined. I give Seven Seconds a rating of 90%. pcratingfour

Ozark (2017)

Creator: Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams

Stars: Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner, Jason Butler Harner, Marc Menchaca, Esai Morales, Michael Mosley, and Charlie Tahan

Episodes: 10

Running Time: 60 minutes


Ozark is a crime drama involving a Chicago family that is uprooted from their home when a business deal sinks further down a hole that does not seem to end. This show hooked me from the start and never go. This show is about power, control, and expectations within the Bryde and Langmore families. When you add questionable FBI tactics, drug cartel laundering, and church services held on a lake in boats, things only get better for the viewer. The characters of Marty Bryde (played by Jason Bateman), Wendy Bryde (played by Laura Linney), Ruth Langmore (played by Julia Garner), Russ Langmore (played by Marc Menchaca), and Del (played by Esai Morales) were some of my favorites. This is a well-constructed script and the casting is on point. Some may be offended by the stereotypes of the people, but this is bound to happen in writing. While not everyone is in need of major dental work and/or enjoys shooting animals just because there’s nothing else to do, these people do exist in the Ozarks and beyond. When you mix together city life people with smaller town people, it tends to be a good story. It has been renewed for a second season, but the specific story line is to be determined. In conclusion, I give Ozark a rating of 97%.


September 20, 2017: Five Reasons Why I Still Keep Netflix


There’s been some backlash over Netflix, mainly their original programming and what they allow to stream on their service. I find it more user-friendly based on my preferences and needs. I prefer the option of binge watching television shows and seeing older movies. Releasing only one season or a few seasons at a time is cumbersome for shows no longer airing and those with many seasons. I will say Hulu has some original programming I’m interested in watching. So far all I’ve seen is the first episode of Handmaid’s Tale. So far, so very good. I can’t wait to see more. Since I was introduced to Netflix first, I’m giving it some needed love, and my choices are in no particular order.


#1: House of Cards

house of cards

House of Cards (original programming) is a political drama involving Frank and Claire Underwood. It is an adaptation from the book, same name, written by Michael Dobbs. The BBC made a four-part series in 1990. There are five seasons, so far, in the current version. Season one starts with Frank as a Congressman who has high sights of making his name mean even more in Washington D.C. I think we all know politicians can be ruthless and the show doesn’t disappoint in this regard. Some of it may be construed as over the top, but we all have private things we’d like to keep private especially when it involves circumstances where coming back seems impossible and lethal means exactly that. The progression through the seasons continue to focus on the different personas the Underwood’s take including the political stage, as well as their pitfalls and achievement. It is equal part a story about the Underwood’s marriage arrangements and their maneuvering in the political world. Season five ended with more questions to the motives of Claire and how Frank will counteract this in season six. I will say after watching this it gave me more respect for Robin Wright’s acting skills and Kevin Spacey never disappoints. Michael Kelly who plays Doug Stamper is a character I find very intriguing. I’m curious how his character arcs when the show ends. There have been great guest roles. A part of me wants to see what Frank has built collapse at the end of the show, and hope I get to see the next part of his life as the next season is still pending. I’m 99% confident there will be a next season. It’s just plain silly to stop it at such a pivotal moment in quality television making.

#2: Narcos


Narcos (original programming) is a crime/police drama about the lucrative cocaine industry and those opposed to it. It is created and produced by Chris Brancato, Carlo Bernard, and Doug Miro. There are three seasons and the fourth season is to be released in 2018. I have only seen the first two seasons and one episode of the third. Season one begins with Pablo Escobar and his rise to the top as the drug kingpin in Colombia. Wagner Moura who plays Escobar was highly convincing as the vindictive, egotistical, and family loving billionaire. To give an idea of how he operated, Escobar stapled a cone onto a horse’s head and wings on its back so his daughter could have her very own unicorn. This ended up killing the horse by infection and this real life event is not in the show. He got what we wanted even if it meant death. His cousin, Gustavo Gaviria, was one of the few he trusted. Their relationship was one I enjoyed watching especially when it was tested. The first season involves the interesting relationship between DEA agents, Steve Murphy and Javier Peña, where the latter is not a part of the capture of Escobar as seen later. Season two continues the saga of Escobar’s imprisonment or lack thereof since he planned and built his own prison. He effectively remains hidden due to strict loyalty from his cartel from the police, and only when it crumbles does his life come to an end in the infamous shootout on top of the roofs of Colombia. It leads to the Medellín Cartel to be succeeded by the Cali Cartel. They gained top control of the cocaine manufacturing and distribution before Escobar’s blood turned cold. Season three begins with Peña going undercover in the Cali cartel. I’ve only seen the first episode and it did not disappoint. I suspect there’s going to be moments of surprise and tension as the Cali Cartel operates through bribery versus violence. Gilberto Rodríguez Orejuela, as head of the Cali Cartel, is both cunning and charming. Season four will set place some of the time in Mexico. I will also say the location manager for the show was recently killed so RIP Carlos Muñoz Portal. No matter how the fourth season ends up, I’m going to like it because it hasn’t lessened its content just because Escobar and Murphy are gone.

#3: Stranger Things

stranger things

Stranger Things (original programming) is a science fiction drama about a town in Indiana during the 1980’s. It is created and written by twins, Matt and Ross Duffer. There is so far only one season, and the second season is to be released in October 2017. There are plans to have four total seasons. It revolves around a mother, Joyce Byers, and her two sons. Her younger son runs around with a group of children who come across a girl named Eleven. The purpose of her existence is not fully explained, but it is enough to know she has supernatural powers and can use them for good. While Byers and her younger son is reunited in the end of the season, the town has clearly been affected negatively. I’m curious to know more about the portal in season two and hope they delve further into it. Matthew Modine who plays Dr. Martin Brenner works at Hawkins National Laboratory is seen sparsely so far and believe they will go even further in his broken relationship with Eleven in season two.

#4: Peaky Blinders

peaky blinders

Peaky Blinders (BBC) focuses on the Irish gang located in Birmingham, England so it is crime drama. Tommy Shelby, protector and criminal, is the boss of the Peaky Blinders. He lives his life always keeping in mind ways to further advance his bloodline and gang family. It is created by Steven Knight and produced by Caryn Mandabach. The actors and actresses are those you might not recognize and were picked for good reason. You don’t want someone who can’t speak in an Irish and English accent convincingly. Season one focuses on how Tommy’s one decision impacts himself and his family throughout the whole season. I know it is vague, but I’m trying not to spoil it too much. Season two is when the charming Tom Hardy character arrives as Alfie Solomons. It focuses on the horse betting scene and where we get a sense that Tommy loves anything that is profitable. Season three started with a great opening episode and ended with a bang I couldn’t have expected. Get ready for the Russians because they come into various scenes in all their glory. Season four will more than likely be released in 2017.

#5: The Last Kingdom

last kingdom

The Last Kingdom (BBC) is a British historical drama. It is an adaptation from Bernard Cornwall’s book series, The Saxon Stories, and set in late 9th century England. The centerpiece of the first season is Uhtred’s survival that leads to him forming a relationship to King Alfred after he escapes with Brida. It was refreshing to see a female character of her strength, but not losing sight of her femaleness. This relationship between two very different men continues into season two full of tension and respect for each other. You get to see the vulnerable side to Uhtred as one tragedy piles on top of another. These were some of the best scenes of Alexander Dreymon. Season two also involves seeking revenge along the way as Uhtred carries out his allegiance to King Alfred. Be prepared to see battles where blood spills whether Saxon, Dane, or Viking. I’m sure season three will not stray from the dilemma of Uhtred honoring his ancestors and those who raised him. I’m curious what will happen with Beocca and Thyra. Season three will more than likely happen in 2018. There is talk about it being solely original programming, but either way I hope it is released sooner than later.

And there you have it, the five reasons I still keep Netflix at this moment.


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