The Punisher (Season 1)

It is my second favorite Netflix Marvel series, following closely behind Jessica Jones.

Let’s get the basics out of the way. The acting is good, the action is fairly steady with a couple of slow points, the direction seems done well. Overall it sits right about where I had hoped on those points.

The series is unique with Punisher and Jessica Jones (and to a lesser extent Luke Cage)as they all were stories that don’t need to even address they are about superheroes. They would stand up alone as stories without powers (much like this year’s Logan).

Having grown up with Vietnam Vets (who were also outlaw MC members) I saw a lot of PTSD upfront and personal. There were nights of explosive violence, resulting in police, jail and hospital emergency rooms.

Other times I saw them drink themselves stupid, cry and break down.

Mostly I just saw them bury it all inside of themselves, causing them to lose jobs, significant others, and get in trouble with the police. They couldn’t fit back into society, and society didn’t want them.

That connection with the Punisher is what felt real for me. More so then a blind lawyer who fought criminals or much worse some punk rich douchebag filled with so much privilege that he whined about everything. Sure there was gratuitous violence, slow parts, all that. However, the story of a man trying to figure out how to get through after the things he  has done was heart stopping for me.

Pros: Great acting, directing, blah blah blah. Most importantly something I could connect with from my life.

Cons: It did get a bit slow and bloated in the middle.

Sign me up for Season 2.

The Babysitter (2017)

Release Date: October 13, 2017

A fantastic comedic horror movie, once again showing how Netflix handily beats out the bigger movie companies.


The story is pretty straight forward, a boy just entering teen years who is picked on by bullies and who is afraid of everything.

Cole is surrounded by a lot of people including his parents who love him, but are distant. A close female friend that encourages and supports him. Then there is Bee, the babysitter who is attractive, smart and loves spending time with him. It is unfortunate that he is then surrounded by a satanic cult, and large tarantulas.

The movie is fast paced. Shortly after you learn to like Bee, you learn to hate her about as much as Cole accidentally learns that Bee leads a Satanic cult, intent on drinking blood, praying to Satan and killing Cole.

The Satanic Cult is priceless. I loved Max, the bad guy quarterback (played by Robbie Amell, first cousin of Stephen Amell who plays Arrow). John was also a great character, wanting sex, but screaming a lot when trouble happens. Unfortunately I wasn’t as impressed with the two other women in the cult, not because they were bad actresses but because of their roles.

I cannot express how much I loved Max being a murdering satanic cultist chasing Cole, who stops and shows Cole how to defend himself against bullies. I won’t say anymore, but that scene is the high point of the movie for me.

The movie is directed by McG, the same person that brought us Supernatural, and you can see his influence. The movie feels like something that could happen in the Supernatural world.

The good: Everything about this was good. I especially enjoyed the back and forth between Cole and Max.

The bad: That it was over in less than 90 minutes (actually that is probably good, they didn’t let it drag).

This just shows why I will almost always watch anything done by Netflix. Even with a few stinkers, Netflix usually supplies what I look for.

Narcos (Season 1& 2)

A remarkable telling of the life of Pablo Escobar by a great actor named Wagner Moura.

Originally I thought the show as only about Pablo Escobar. Since Mr. Escobar died in the 90s I didn’t think the show itself would go more than two seasons so I would review at the end of the series, like I did Hand of God. Then he died and Netflix is moving on with the Cartels, so here is probably a good stopping point to review.

Like all TV shows, it glamorized and filtered through the lens of Hollywood, even with that, I thought it was a decent three-dimensional view of Pablo Escobar. Of course, I don’t know him personally, but I have read about him and it felt like a fairer view, even with the glossy candy coating it got.

I appreciated that it showed he was a human, not just a monster. Maybe this is because I came from a family (both blood and not blood) that was involved illegal activity when I was a child, but there is no “bad” only person. Society may not agree with a person, but it doesn’t mean that the dealer/killer/arsonist/etc. doesn’t love other people, want to help other people and that they don’t make human mistakes. I always hate the idea of an “all bad” villain, because it isn’t true. Like a show I used to watch said a lot, “Everyone is the hero of their own story”. No one thinks of themselves as evil.

The part of the show I didn’t like was how his wife was handled. I don’t know personally of his relationship, but having grown up in a similar scene I don’t believe there is any way that his wife wasn’t fully aware and complicit, or at the very least aware and tolerant of it. Personal experience says there is no way that remains a secret, and in fact my experience most spouses work together.

Other than that, I enjoyed the series, I liked how it showed both sides and I would recommend seeing it.

Pros: The acting was great, the story tight and interesting the whole time.

Cons: I was just sad to see Wagner Moura no longer in the show.

I will definitely follow up with Season 3, I look forward to more stories.

Ozark (Season 1)

Surprisingly good show about accounting and money laundering.

Ok, so it isn’t truly about that, it is only the premise. Just like the Accountant with Ben Affleck (I should call it the Auditor, because he was doing auditing not accounting) thrill me on a level that most shows don’t. I mean how often is my actual career field ever featured in an underworld type show with murder, mayhem and a wall full of money.

How couldn’t I like it?

I just watched the show on an impulse. It kept showing up in my “recommended” list on Netflix and one 3am insomnia driven morning I watched an episode, and I liked it.

Jason Bateman and the rest of the cast were really good. The pacing went well, and Bateman did a heck of a good job directing and acting in it. I binged it over two or three days and will watch the second session when it’s greenlight.

The only issue I really had was how they treated the children. They kept showing the children unable to handle the situation and being overly childish. I guess I come from a different world were something very similar to the plotline happened to my family and the 16 year old, 12 year old and 7 year old never acted like any of those children. People don’t understand how adaptable kids are, otherwise we wouldn’t have child soldiers or child prostitutes.

That was the only real issue I had. I definitely recommend it to everyone.

Pros: Almost all of it, especially the tight story and twists that do catch you by surprise.

Cons: The kids reaction to the situation in the beginning, and the fact that watching this makes me realize how old I am (Jason Bateman is only three years older than me and I remember him as a child actor).

I am in for season 2.