Ozark: Season Three – A Few Thoughts

ozark season 3

No spoilers, I promise.

Ozark is one of those shows that is difficult to describe. The title is both perfect and horrible because it completely throws the viewer off from the actual nature of the show, which is also what makes the title so fitting.

If you’ve never seen it, the first two seasons are basically about a Chicago accountant named Marty Byrde, played by Jason Bateman, who becomes embroiled with a Mexican drug cartel. He works out a deal with them to launder money in the Ozarks. Why the Ozarks of all places? I won’t tell you that, but trust me, it actually makes perfect sense. Marty moves his entire family down to the Ozarks, and, once there, the problems keep compounding and he just keeps getting deeper and deeper in trouble with the drug cartel, the locals, and even his own family.

The cast of all three seasons are fantastic. Jason Bateman is so stoic and cold, yet so absolutely likable–it’s quite something to watch. Laura Linney plays his wife, Wendy, and it’s not long until you realize that she is her own force to be reckoned with. Julia Garner plays Ruth, a local girl from the trailer park who, throughout the three seasons, finds herself both a rival and an aide to Marty.

The absolute star of season three, however, is Tom Pelphrey. Pelphrey plays Ben, and I won’t tell you anything about him because any hint of information would spoil aspects of the show. It turns out that I’ve seen Pelphrey before in Netflix’s Iron Fist, but he’s so good in this season of Ozark that I didn’t even recognize him! His talents are absolutely showcased and he became an instant favorite of mine. (I admit that Ben’s character is very problematic if analyzed at a deeper level. That’s a topic for later, though.)

Ozark is generally well written, well acted, and intense, but season three outdid itself. The twists and turns were captivating, the characters continue to get more and more interesting, and the plot definitely satisfies as it feels both intricate and organic. Oh, and those last sixty seconds of the season … they caught me completely off guard.

Enjoy! And, please, no spoilers in the comments.

The Break-Up – A Movie Review

I’ve argued in the past that I believe Jennifer Aniston could be a very good actress if only she’d start taking meatier roles like she once did with The Good Girl.  I really feel like the last several movies I’ve seen with her have been the same character over and over.  She’s become like the Tom Cruise of female actors-a victim of her own popularity.  Granted, I get that America wants to see her the same way in every movie, I understand she’s a lock for big box office, but I still don’t like it.

I’ll also admit that Vince Vaughn does the very same thing, yet it doesn’t bother me so much.  Is that a double standard?  Yeah, it probably is, but in my mind the main difference is that I like the fast-talking, joke-making Vince Vaughn and I don’t like the semi-whiny, always-the-victim Jennifer Aniston.  (I’m talking about the characters they play, mind you, not the actual people.  I have no idea what their true personalities are like.)

Anyway, let’s talk about The Break-Up.  Vaughn and Aniston stick to their typecasts and play the usual.  The story line is pretty simple-they meet and fall in love, buy a condo in Chicago together, break up over a lack of communication, and then the “laughs” ensue. 

Notice the quotes.

The quotes are there because other than a few truly gut-busting laughs, this movie was very, very stressful to watch.  Aniston and Vaughn spend much of it yelling at one another or doing things to upset the other.  It really had a lot of tension, more tension than I wanted from my comedy on a Saturday night. 

One thing that I love about this DVD is that to even get started you have to pick a side-are you with him, or are you with her?  That’s a nice touch, because I think you can’t help but pick a side as you watch this film.  Of course, my wife and I were siding with two different folks and we were having trouble convincing the other why they were wrong.

The supporting characters really made this film.  Jason Bateman (always gold) was barely recognizable, and that’s what I love about him.  Vaughn’s buddy Jon Favreau played Vaughn’s buddy in the film and the dynamic displayed in Swingers still exists.  Aniston’s brother in the film was truly hilarious, and Vaughn’s brothers were also very amusing.

So I guess the real question is if I would recommend this film to you?  Well, that depends.  If you’re a Vaughn or an Aniston fan, you dig their usual style of performance, and you don’t mind top-of-the-lung yelling, I think you’ll be pleased.  Otherwise, I might give this one a pass.

Smokin’ Aces – A Movie Review

Okay, I waited quite a while for this baby to come in through my Internet rental provider, so I had rather high hopes.  My mistake.

I equate this movie to the empty calories of your favorite junk food.  Oh, so very yummy, but usually leaves you worse off than you were before.  Could I take my eyes off of it?  No.  Did it have anything of value to add to the art of moviemaking in any way, shape or form?  No.

Even so, I hate to admit it, but I still enjoyed watching it.  Gratuitous violence, extreme profanity, a plot with so many holes a mouse would think he’d died and gone to Mouse-Heaven, and acting that would put Halle Berry’s performance in Catwoman to shame, God love me, I still enjoyed watching it.  Oh, what is happening to me?

On a high note, though, Jason Bateman, for the full three minutes of screen time he got, totally rocked!  Love the Bateman!

So, if you like Pulp Fiction without the craftsmanship, Smokin’ Aces is right up your alley.