Television: Ozark season 2

I was lauding Justified just yesterday (the entire series is now available in a blu-ray set, by the way), but Ozark is gearing up to give it a run for its money as the preeminent country noir television show.  Netflix’s yarn about a Cartel money launderer who sets up shop on the Lake of the Ozarks had a damn fine first season.  Season two ups the game.

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Friday Night Lights Friday: 30 for 30: What Carter Lost

“It was football season, but this wasn’t just a football story.  In Texas, it never is.”

Buzz Bissinger’s book left a sour taste in the mouths of Odessa Permian fans, who felt they were unfairly portrayed.  They felt vindicated by Peter Berg’s movie.  Peter Berg’s movie left a sour taste in the mouths of Dallas Carter fans, who felt they were unfairly portrayed.  Inaccurately portrayed?  Sure.  Unfairly portrayed?  Nah.

The depiction of Dallas Carter in Peter’s Berg movie wasn’t nearly as negative as the truth of a team that forfeited its state title because the principal changed a player’s grades to keep him eligible and that had several players arrested for multiple armed robberies.  30 for 30: What Carter Lost tells that story.

Dallas Carter was also, according to LaDainian Tomlinson, “the greatest high school team that has ever been assembled.  Ever.”

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Friday Night Lights Friday: The Movie

The Friday Night Lights book produced an all-time great family drama, a very good high school movie, and a very good sports movie.  That final game!  (More on Carter next week when I cover the 30 for 30: What Carter Lost.)

The movie hews much closer to the basic facts of the book than the show.  Maybe the TV show better captures its spirit, but the movie does benefit from the verisimilitude of reality.  Who would come up with a coin toss to get into the playoffs?

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Movies: Braveheart and Outlaw King

I should really cover more history here.  The history of the Scots-English border region is the history of hillbillies.

Netflix’s recently released Outlaw/King starring Chris Pine spurred me to finally pick up my old review copy of Michael Penman’s Robert the Bruce: King of the Scots.  I haven’t gotten very far, but Penman’s book is focused on the Bruce’s reign after Bannockburn, so William Wallace appears relatively early.  And I can’t read about William Wallace without pulling out Braveheart.  I took advantage of needing to grade a giant stack of essays to watch Outlaw/King and rewatch Braveheart.

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Friday Night Lights Friday: Varsity Blues

American Pie made a hundred million dollars in 1999, but for those of us living in wide swathes of the country, there was another high school movie that was just as important: Varsity Blues.  I include it in Friday Night Lights Friday because (1) any chance to talk about Varsity Blues is a good one, and (2) Varsity Blues, like Friday Night Lights, was also based on the Permian Panthers.

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Friday Night Lights Friday: FNL season 5

I like this season, but FNL emphatically does not go out with a bang.  The actual series ending, though, as opposed to the last season itself, is just about perfect.  The heart of season 5 is the story of Vince and his dad.  Michael B. Jordan is just about perfect, and Cress Williams is excellent, but most of the rest of the season feels tacked on.

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Friday Night Lights Friday (early): FNL season 4

Season 4 of Friday Night Lights represents one of the ballsiest moves in television history.  Peter Berg moved Coach Taylor to an entirely new school, in the process dropping much of the old cast, adding several major new characters, and drastically increasing the number of African-American characters.  And it works.  Man, does it work!  Season 4 is arguably the finest season of FNL (I rank it second).

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