Dragged Across Concrete (2011)
Starring: Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Tory Kittles, Michael Jai White, Jennifer Carpenter, Laurie Holden, Fred Melamed, Thomas Kretschmann, Don Johnson, Udo Kier, Tattiawna Jones, Trezzo Mahoro, Myles Truitt, Giacomo Baessato, Andrew Dunbar
Director: S. Craig Zahler
Synopsis: There are three main plot lines that interweave and converge eventually. One is of the “dragged across concrete” cops who have it tough in the trenches without much appreciation for what it takes to do what they do and what it takes out of them. Another is a convict fresh out of prison going home and seeing some changes need to be made. The third are the cold stone killer big heist people, planning a job they all can retire on. This movie gives Gibson, Vaughn, and Kittles a chance to shine so very brightly. Gibson and Vaughn’s dialogue is worth the price of admission alone. Kittles is a face I’ve seen in many movies (learned only in retrospect) but never bothered to note as more than a face. After watching this, where he’s given a chance to play a co-leading role, it’s clear he’s up to the job.
Etc. Director has also directed Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99, both of them I’ve seen and liked. One of his trademarks is showing scenes of violence so graphic many (including me!) have to look away. Zahler has an original eye and there is a certain satisfaction in his sharing his view with us. Both netflix and imdb list only these 3 movies he’s directed. I predict you will be seeing a lot more from him.
GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) (2017-2019) 3 seasons Netflix
Starring: Alison Brie, Marc Maron, Jackie Tohn, Kim Gatewood, Rebekka Johnson, Sunita Mani, Gayle Rankin, Britt Baron, Britney Young, Ellen Wong, Betty Gilpin, Kate Nash, Sydelle Noel, Kia Stevens, Chris Lowell, Alex Rich, Geena Davis and more (large cast over 3 seasons)
Directors: Lynn Shelton (5 episodes (E)), Jesse Peretz (4E), Claire Scanlon (4E), Mark Burley (4E), Phil Abraham (3E), Kate Dennis (2E), Sian Heder (2E), Melanie Mayron (1E), Tristram Shapeero (1E), Wendey Stanzler (1E), Meera Menon (1E), John Cameron Mitchell (1E), Anya Adams (1E), Alison Brie (1E.)
Synopsis: I just finished watching S3, and I like it more with each season. Each season is distinct within the whole, as the ensemble rolls with the changes. S1 is how the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (based on actual women wrestlers) came together, S2 is how they develop the acts for the show, and S3 is more about character development outside of the ring. I can see where both men and women would like the series, but for different reasons. I enjoyed every minute of it. Marc Maron has become a favorite of mine after seeing GLOW. He’s seen a lot more in S1 than in S3, not sure why (possible health issues?) This series is one of female empowerment also, but it isn’t in your face about it.
Etc. LGBT+ friendly
A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018) available on Netflix
Starring: Will Forte, Domhnall Gleeson, Martin Mull, Harry Groener, Thomas Lennon, Natasha Lyonne, Ed Helms, Joel McHale, Emmy Rossum (and a huge # of others!)
Director: David Wain
Synopsis: I found this one netflix surfing last night and was so glad I did. I had never heard of Douglas Kenney before, but I’ve absolutely have been entertained by his genius unawares. It tells the story of how Douglas (played so well by Forte) and his co-conspirator, Henry Beard (understated brilliant performance by Gleeson) begin writing for Harvard University’s Lampoon. Instead of being good little boys and going on to law school or some such other nonsense, the graduates decide to create National Lampoon magazine. From there Kenney goes on to write (with Harold Ramis and maybe others) “Animal House” and “Caddyshack.” Kenney is driven to please an unpleasable father and his extremes carry him into reckless and destructive territory. I don’t know Kenney’s real life story, but his struggles are depicted in a sensitive manner. The dialogue is intelligent and damned funny, similar to what was in National Lampoon for anyone who has read/experienced it. It’s worth seeing for that and for seeing so many funny people that have made us laugh depicted in it. Martin Mull narrates as the “old Douglas,” which was a nice touch.
I was finally able to borrow Game of Thrones S8 from the library yesterday and am on a binge of it right now. Oh how I have missed Jon Snow!