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.”
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
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
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)
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
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
February 25, 2019: TV Show Recommendation: The Good Place (2016-)
Quote from The Good Place by Chidi Anagonye: “Principles aren’t principles when you pick and choose when you’re gonna follow them.”
Creator: Michael Schur
Producers: Michael Schur, David Miner, Morgan Sackett, Drew Goddard, David Hyman, Joe Mande, and Megan Amram
Directors and Writers: Many
Major Cast: Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop, William Jackson Harper as Chidi Anagonye, Jameela Jamil as Tahani Al-Jamil, Manny Jacinto as Jason Mendoza, Ted Danson as Michael, and D’Arcy Carden as Janet
Episodes: 13 in Season 1 and 12 in Season 2 and 3
Episode Length: 22 minutes
Created by Michael Schur and produced by Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment, and Universal Television, The Good Place first aired in 2016 on NBC. I recently watched all three seasons and while I wasn’t sure of it in the beginning, I now 100% recommend this show to anyone who likes Ted Danson and comedy. The premise is about four people who have died and live together in an after world with way too many frozen yogurt establishments unless you love frozen yogurt. The main cast who have died are Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), and Jason (Manny Jacinto). In addition to the foursome, there is Michael (Ted Danson) who created this Good Place and his loyal sidekick Janet (D’Arcy Carden). They are never far away and give their expertise and knowledge. There’s a lot of laughs throughout the seasons as everyone in the first tries to deal with the fact they are first dead and how to cope with it. They each have soul mates and continue to “live” as normal as possible for dead people in season two despite major revelations. I didn’t think they could top the first two seasons, but season three manages to do that by going deeper yet. It takes something engaging to keep my attention when it comes to comedy, and this definitely did in all respects of story, characters, concept, and production design. The show has been renewed for a fourth season.
I rate The Good Place with Four Fingers and One Thumb at 100%
February 15, 2019: TV Show Recommendation: The Blacklist (2013-)
Quote from Blacklist by Raymond Reddington: “Every cause has more than one effect.”
Creator: Jon Bokenkamp
Episodes in each Season: 22