Television Show Review: The Americans: Season 6

The Americans Season 6

The Americans: Season 6 created by Joseph Weisberg (FX Networks, Amblin Television, DreamWorks Television) Starring Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Noah Emmerich, Costa Ronin, Lev Gorn, Brandon J. Dirden, and Margo Martindale. The Typical Script The anti-hero drama follows a tried-and-true script. Main character breaks bad, for certain clearly defined reasons. The viewer can sympathize with the anti-hero’s position. If written well, the anti-hero possesses rock-solid motivations and even though a viewer might cringe at the challenging elements of the character (you know, murder et al), the viewer roots for the anti-hero even if this person is “bad.” Given this script, the conclusion of such narrative must include just desserts. If the anti-hero doesn’t pay for his… Read More →

Television Show Review: Santa Clarita Diet: Season 2

Santa Clarita Diet Season 2

Santa Clarita Diet: Season 2 created by Victor Fresco (Netflix, Garfield Grove Products, KatCo, Kapital Entertainment) Starring Drew Barrymore, Timothy Olyphant, Liv Hewson, Skyler Gisondo, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Richard T. Jones, Natalie Morales, Ramona Young, and Nathan Fillion. Functional Marriage When considering the decades of data sources from the annals of scripted television, it almost feels like the most difficult relationship to depict is a functioning marriage. For the most part, it seems as if the spousal relationship fits within one of two buckets. In one bucket, the relationship appears antagonistic. Indicative of the sitcom stereotype, husband and wife snipe at each other. The stasis of the genre requires the marriage to last the entire series, but the humor builds… Read More →

Film Review: Loving

Loving

Loving written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Raindog Films, Big Beach Films, PG-13, 123 min) Starring Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Terri Abney, Alano Miller, Bill Camp, Nick Kroll, Jon Bass, and Michael Shannon. Brick by Brick A bricklayer carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. Before a craftsman home presents itself as a livable entity, the bricklayer kneels with cement in the wheelbarrow, brick after brick mortaring together into a cohesive whole. The bricklayer must work steadily and with an eye toward future gains. The daily monotony of such toil demands a worker with special patience. Repetition toward a belief in something greater, something meaningful, something worthwhile. The bricklayer works toward an imagined end, realized long after the… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Americans: Season 5

The Americans Season 5

The Americans: Season 5 created by Joseph Weisberg (FX, Amblin Television, DreamWorks Television) Starring Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Keidrich Sellati, Holly Taylor, Noah Emmerich, Costa Ronin, Brandon J. Dirden, Frank Langella, Kelly AuCoin, and Margo Martindale. The Whole World Is Talking ‘Bout Russia Quick. Open a tab in your browser and navigate to your preferred news source. For those in the present—can’t say how long this site will last—the headlines of your online periodical will meet one of two criteria. The mainstream and liberal sources likely have an article about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. The conservative sites? They are likely talking about the deep state and conspiracies spun around Russia to discredit Trump. The common denominator? Russia. Given this… Read More →

Television Show Review: Togetherness: Season 1

Togetherness: Season 1

Togetherness: Season 1 created by Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, and Steve Zissis (Duplass Brothers Productions, Home Box Office) Starring Mark Duplass, Melanie Lynskey, Amanda Peet, and Steve Zissis. Searching for Identity Divorce, the unmentionable. Much like Fight Club, the one rule about divorce is that you never mention divorce. With so many families rendered asunder, it seems wise to never bring such a topic to the table in good times or in bad. Intuitively, such thoughts are self-fulfilling. One doesn’t mention divorce if he or she is happily married. Thus, the mere mention of it necessitates its action. Even though divorce represents a common occurrence in the American household, our idiot boxes don’t root for it. The narrative trends on… Read More →

Film Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl

Gone Girl written by Gillian Flynn, directed by David Fincher (20th Century Fox, Regency Enterprises, TSG Entertainment, R, 149 min) Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, and Kim Dickens. Celebrity Murder Perhaps the most famous non-athlete from my alma mater in recent years is Amanda Knox. While studying abroad during her time at the University of Washington, her roommate met a tragic demise. As a prime suspect, the case against Amanda was never a slam dunk. The odd twists and turns and the multiple verdicts pushed the case further and further into the general consciousness of the public. Funny how one case, among the multitudes drifting in anonymity, rises to general discourse. Ask anyone… Read More →

Book Review: A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

A Storm of Swords: Booke Three of a Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin (New York: Bantam Books, 2000. 1216 pp) George R. R. Martin is an American author and screenwriter of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. Born in New Jersey, Martin earned a B.S. and M.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University. He began writing fiction in the early 1970s with his first works earning him a Hugo and Nebula award. In the 1980s, he began writing in Hollywood for the Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast. Martin is best known for his critically acclaimed epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, which was developed into Game of Thrones, an HBO television series. *Spoiler Alert for Previous Books in Effect throughout Review* Marriage is what… Read More →

Book Review: A Thousand Pardons

A Thousand Pardons: A Novel by Jonathan Dee (New York: Random House, 2013. 214 pp) Jonathan Dee is a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for his novel, The Privileges, which also won the 2011 Prix Fitzgerald and the St. Francis College Literary Prize.  He is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, a former senior editor of The Paris Review, and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. A Divorce Looming “She knew what the right thing to do was. Dismantle it together: help him find a new place, work out the money, sign whatever needed to be signed, put on a united front for poor Sara, who’d already had two parents abandon her, after all. But for… Read More →