Movies: Black 47

In the year of 1845 a terrible famine descended upon Ireland.  Within a few short years, 1 in 4 of our people would be gone forever—fled to England or North America . . . or dead from starvation or fever.  Irishmen who had enlisted to fight for the occupying British crown in its foreign wars returned home to find only death and destruction in every corner of the land.

Black 47 is a vigorous, stylized revenge thriller-cum-historical drama.  An “Irish Braveheart” isn’t quite a fitting label, for reasons I will get into below.  A top-notch neo-western, Black 47 is more an “Irish The Outlaw Josey Wales.”

Continue reading “Movies: Black 47”

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.

Continue reading “Television: Ozark season 2”

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.”

Continue reading “Friday Night Lights Friday: 30 for 30: What Carter Lost”

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?

Continue reading “Friday Night Lights Friday: The Movie”

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.

Continue reading “Movies: Braveheart and Outlaw King”

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.

Continue reading “Friday Night Lights Friday: Varsity Blues”