Well my Amazon Prime viewing is fairly short and sweet this month: makes me wonder why we renewed our subscription last month, hmm!
The League: I really, really did not love this show the first few episodes. It just felt more bloke-y than my usual thing. It’s crude, sometimes gross out humour, revolving around an American football fantasy league in Chicago. Five fairly obnoxious comedian types, and some of their wives. The characters are all pretty cartoonish, but it works with this kind of comedy. Sometimes it still goes too far, but it’s gotten better at finding the balance between embarrassment laughs and yukky laughs….most of the time! I like Taco, he’s an atypical dimwit foil. It reminds me of Curb Your Enthusiasm sometimes, except there isn’t really a sympathetic character in the bunch! I do like when it’s cleverly subversive about suburban family life, and when it’s just plain silly fun. You don’t have to know anything about football to enjoy it I think (I don’t anyway!). To be honest it’s a good unisex/thing you can watch with your partner brand comedy; left to my own devices I might not watch it, but I don’t mind it either.
Hell On Wheels: A pleasant surprise, this was very much something I went into thinking “The husband is totally going to love this boring cowboy historical crap show and I am going to weep tears of boredom”. I am pleased to say I was wrong! Set in the aftermath of The American Civil War, it follows the race to build the first trans American railway. Colm Meaney is a treat as egotistical railway man Thomas Durant, who ends up employing his on /off nemesis Cullen Bohannan as his foreman in unusual circumstances I won’t spoil.
Bohannon is the hero (or anti-hero) of the piece, a Southern man on a mission of vengeance at the start for his murdered family. He is a good center to the show, a rare noble cowboy type in the pretty lawless at that stage Midwest. It has a cast of interesting characters, including the Irish McGinnes brothers, Native American kidnap victim turned prostitute Eva (turned wife and mother and then...oh Eva's journey is bumpy!), determined Englishwoman Lily Bell, and the freed slave leader Elam. It’s a very characterful, historically intriguing, action packed drama that is well crafted around some likable characters.
It kind of amazed me watching it, thinking what a completely wild land America was not so long ago, sometimes it’s easy to forget! The Union Pacific railway has to deal with attacks from Native Americans (of course, but to be fair the show does attempt to show both sides of the story to a respectable extent), as well as the pesky land claiming Mormons. It doesn’t shy away from killing off beloved characters though so be prepared for heartbreak. I have finished seasons 1-4 (they’re around 13 episodes a season I think?)on Prime and have caught up with the first half of season Five (supposedly the last season, they are splitting it in two).
Alias (season 2): (see July for a better summary!) I’ve stuck with it, albeit at a snail’s pace! I have gotten more into it, but at the same time there are already some major potential shark jumping moments that I’m not sure I can deal with. The whole Francie thing, what the ever loving hay! I fear there is more of this craziness to come with Vaughn as well, maybe I'm just not cut out for spy dramas!
New Year’s Eve: As mentioned before, there is a Zac Efron blind spot, sad woman that I am! I really did not enjoy Gary Marshall’s previous multi-story rom-com Valentine’s Day AT ALL. So this one was actually surprisingly (a bit) better! Sarah Jessica Parker kind of annoyed me in this. I’ve come to the sad realization I only like her as Carrie Bradshaw, and even then she was my least favourite of the four! For instance, there’s a scene when her teenage daughter is making fun of her for being frumpy/not dressing nicely, when SJP is wearing a super adorable tweed skirt suit and high heel clogs that look like Manolo Blahniks or something, and SJP does this little weird “I look adorable” curtsy and the whole scene is ruined! I don’t know; if you’re going to call a character dowdy, make the character look dowdy! I know stupid things shouldn't bug me like this, but they do! Here is a picture of her trodden down un-glamorous character to prove my point!
As for Zac, his story-line with Michelle Pfeiffer (who was SUPER dowdy) was sweet, I (SPOILER! - ish) kept expecting her to reveal she had a terminal illness because it so felt like that’s where it was going but thankfully they didn’t go for the obvious. The dueling New Year’s Eve babies being born story-line was the worst. Hilary Swank was underused but her, Robert DeNiro and Halle Berry’s story-lines did I’m embarrassed to say make me get a bit teary eyed. Oh and there was a forgettable story with Ashton Kutcher and the girl from Glee, oh and also Bon Jovi and Katherine Hiegl, you can fast forward through those! Basically there are a hundred people in this movie, sorry I can't quite remember them all! It's worth a watch if you’re feeling sappy at any rate!
So that’s about it really! I need to step up my film watching, I’ve really slacked off!
Oh, I am looking forward to the first series of Amazon Originals Hand Of God coming on in a few days (pilot available to watch now). It’s about a corrupt man who thinks he’s been touched by God, but he’s played by Ron Perlman so we all know it’s going to get dark and weird. Plus it has Garrett Dillahunt (Deadwood, Raising Hope, your average redneck sociopath in lots of things!), who plays creepy weirdos like his character in this show with such panache and commitment you forget he is actually super funny and goofy in other stuff - I love Garrett Dillahunt!