‘You (Season 1)’ TV Show Review: The Price of Love

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“There are terrifying people in the world. It’s important to be safe, and that’s why I have to do what I’m going to do.”

Have you ever seen the world through the eyes of a person who believes they’re in the right when that couldn’t be further from the truth? Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) is a loner who works at a book store that keeps to himself for the most part.

Until one faithful day when a woman named Genevieve Beck (Elizabeth Lail) walks into his store. Joe becomes infatuated with Beck, and he will stop at nothing to gain her love.

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Rooting for a Bad Guy?

Narration is typically considered to be lazy, mainly because it allows for the writers to give the audience information easily. Joe Goldberg, among other characters, does not go many scenes without narration, which seems like it would be exhausting. However, it suits the storytelling well.

From the outside, looking in most would have very different thoughts about the entire cast of You. Because we get to see how their minds work, we may end up understanding some motives even if we don’t agree with how they necessarily go about solving their issues.

Subverting Expectations Constantly

Audiences will be surprised by how much they actually know about the story, or should I say how little. You does an astounding job at subverting expectations, and often viewers won’t know what’s going to happen in the story next.

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Superb Acting for the Most Part

A couple of the performances are astounding with how well the actors/actresses represent their characters. Penn Badgley, the actor who portrays Joe Goldberg, can act out a flurry of different emotions with incredible skill. In one scene, he can go from two extremely different moods such as anger into being at peace.

Elizabeth Lail, the actress that plays as Genevieve Beck, also holds her own throughout the show. For story purposes, her character just isn’t as exciting as Joes, but she completes her role with flying colors.

Wanting Everything to Work Out

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One of the weirdest feelings is watching someone who you know isn’t necessarily a good person and wanting them to find happiness. It’s because of how well Joe and Beck interact with each other, not to mention everything that the audience goes through with them.

Previously I spoke about how the narration benefits the storytelling, and in terms of Joe and Beck’s relationship, it adds much-wanted depth. There are two different layers of storytelling going on, and I’ve never seen any media, for the most part, use narration in such a way that was a serious show or movie.

While they’re very different people, I believe their differences benefit the other for the most part. To put it lightly, Beck isn’t the most put-together person, and she has many personal struggles.

When she meets Joe, that begins to change, and it is a great thing to see. Pacing for relationships in media can often feel off; however, You succeeds once again with allowing Beck & Joe’s relationship to progress naturally.

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Conclusion

What makes someone a bad person? You forces the audience to answer that question. The cast chosen for this show does their job to the best of their abilities. Because of that, the first season of You is bursting with quality.

From Joe and Beck’s relationship to the unusual method of storytelling used, the program uses all of the tricks that it can pull out of its hat to make an exquisite show about a stalker obsessed with a woman.

Not only that, but the writers succeed at writing the story in such a way that people support the stalker. That’s incredibly impressive; however, it is not only because of the writing team. Badgley took his time in the spotlight and showed audiences his vast range of acting skills.

All of the characters in his show, for the most part, do their role to be the best of their ability based on their job. If a character is supposed to be annoying, then the actor/actress gets the job done.

Finally, the pacing is perfect; the audience will not have to spend hours watching the same plotline. Secrets that are uncovered add to the show and allow the story to progress naturally, making every episode feel fresh, especially towards the season finale.

Verdict 9 out of 10 Stars

 

‘Coach Carter’ Film Review: More Than an Athlete

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world.”

Doing what you know is right sometimes can be the most laborious task. Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) knows this all too well when he must return to his old high school to coach an undisciplined, insubordinate, and obstreperous group of young men. 

Kobe Tribute

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The world of basketball was changed forever a few days ago in the shocking death of Kobe Bryant. While the film does not directly relate to the man, it does not change the fact that his life meant so much to the game and so many people around the planet. You will be sincerely missed.

Real-Life Issues

It’s easy to watch this film and judge the basketball team harshly. The way that they act can be rude without a doubt. However, you don’t know whatever these teenagers have been through. The world that these kids live in is not easy.

Kenyon Stone, one of the few level headed players on the basketball team, even has his own struggles. With a pregnant girlfriend in high school, along with having the chance to play college basketball, he has to decide what’s worth more to him.

Even if you can’t relate to their stories and backgrounds personally, you feel some of the pain that they experience. You know, even though some of the boys have a rough exterior that these teenagers are not bad people that they’ve just had harsh lives.

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Feels Real

An aspect of the film that I love is the language used. High school films often feel very outdated no matter when they were released. People just don’t talk like movies assume high schoolers talk. While this film was released over 15 years ago, the slang, along with the sayings, are still used today.

Clothing styles in the film feel a little dated but that’s what people wore during the time the film took place. 

Basketball is being Played

When you have spent a vast amount of time dedicated to a specific activity, it can be scary to see it played out in a film. Because it’s hard to enjoy a movie that doesn’t go through the effort of making the situation look real. If you love basketball, then you’ll immediately love the scenes concerning basketball.

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From the games to the scrimmages it feels like actual basketball players are out there playing. Instead of some guys that don’t know about the sport. It’s honestly refreshing getting both good actors that can also at least appear to play basketball well.

Samuel L Jackson Steals the Show!

I don’t think I’ve seen a movie that had Samuel L. Jackson in it, and I didn’t enjoy his performance. Regardless if I liked the film or not, he always stands out. Here especially, it shows that he can take a serious role and perform very well.

Jackson is a coach who doesn’t act like basketball is the only thing that matters. The parents of the children who play on the basketball team have already spent their lives telling them that this sport will be the best part of their lives. So the only thing that matters to many of these kids is basketball.

Ambitions outside of that aren’t too lofty, and Coach Carter doesn’t want that to remain true. The basketball players are student-athletes, which means they should go to class and learn not just play basketball until they can’t anymore.

I truly felt that Jackson cared about the future of the teenagers that he coached. It’s a beautiful thing, and he feels so genuine.

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Conclusion

Coach Carter succeeds at one of the most challenging things for films to do, correctly and it’s to cast accurately for a movie that takes place in high school. Everything feels right from the dialogue to the clothes that the teenagers wear. Those may seem minimalistic, but it’s one of the easiest ways to get disconnected from a film.

The serious themes that the picture tackles are also grounded in realism. It may seem astonishing to some how life is for people in impoverished areas. Not everyone was born in the suburbs and had a pretty easy life. Most people don’t know what it’s like to be aware you have a baby on the way in high school, but that’s a serious issue that some must face.

Outside of that, there’s constant gang violence and it’s pretty much unavoidable depending on where you live. I really do appreciate the film for diving deep into these harsher themes.

From major to minor characters the acting is very believable. In my opinion, Samuel L. Jackson outperforms the rest of the cast simply because he crushes his role. I simply don’t know how his performance could’ve been improved.

Verdict 9.5 out of 10 Stars

‘The Mandalorian (Season 1)’ TV Show Review: An Incredible Journey That’s Just Getting Started

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Out of nowhere comes one of the best Star Wars pieces of media seen in the past decade. From the first episode, I could tell that Disney had something special in their hands. Now, after finishing the last chapter of season one, I’m more than excited to see where the future of this show lies.

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Overview

The story of the Mandalorian takes place after the Empire had fallen and before the rise of the First Order led by Kylo Ren. The series stars a lonesome bounty hunter who completes jobs far outside of the authority of the New Republic to make ends meet.

Simple

One of the most significant issues that show and movies alike fall into is trying to over complicate their stories. The Mandalorian does the opposite most of the time, and each episode has a singular goal. This formula works well since if you didn’t like the previous story, you have another tale waiting to unfold. 

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While some characters return from episode to episode, it’s clear that the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), also known as “Mando.” As well as his companion, commonly known as “Baby Yoda,” are the only continually recurring characters. The season was absolutely stellar but if you happen to not enjoy an episode it wasn’t because the story was too complicated. If you’ve watched Star Wars for a long time you’d know that can be a real issue for the series.

Always Something New

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Star Wars is one of the biggest sci-fi series the world has ever seen. In Star Wars, there are so many worlds, and it’s always been a let down when the creators of one of the movies or tv shows don’t take advantage of its the colossal universe.

Unsurprisingly the Mandalorian fixes this issue as well. Mando practically journeys to at least one new planet or location every episode, if not two.

Fans will love the fan service and the different tones of the episodes. From the beginning of the show where the storytelling was primarily visual, and Mando didn’t speak very often at all to the events where a band of misfits joins him. You never know what to expect going in the latest installment.

Still Star Wars Even Without Lightsabers

Lightsabers are not what makes Star Wars suitable. The action in The Mandalorian was incredible for a live-action TV show. It was a concern of mine that the action would either look uninteresting or just be lacking. However, I can say I’ve never been more happy to be wrong.

The choreography during battle is astonishingly impressive. Whether blasters are involved or hand to hand combat, you’ll want to see even more.

Successful in Different Formats

Most episodes throughout season one star Mando and Baby Yoda. From chapter to chapter the pair are thrown into various situations. Maybe they’re joined by allies or end up getting separated. No matter what issue they have to go through the episode flows exquisitely.

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It’s not easy to make a great show and even harder to shuffle in and out the cast and make the show still enjoyable. Not only that, but the supporting characters, although they do not possess primary roles, they all give strong performances. Talents that stand out the most are Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano), who meet Mando during his journey.

Conclusion

The show’s simple premise allows for each story to be it’s own. Fans don’t have to be too worried if they don’t enjoy a particular episode because of its story since the next adventure will be different from the last.

From space battles to shoot outs in the desert the action scenes are superb. Nothing is too clunky or awkward looking which can be a common occurrence for conflicts within tv shows.

How can a masked figure convey so many different feelings or emotions? The acting as a whole is very pleasing. If the Mandalorian weren’t a good actor, the story itself would not be nearly as satisfying. His performance alone was so important to this series, and he doesn’t even speak often. It’s his body language and his attitude to every situation that proves his expertise.

The Mandalorian is one of the most excellent series to come from Star Wars, and during a time where Star Wars isn’t as loved as it used to be, it couldn’t have been released at a better time.

Verdict 10 out of 10 Stars