Series Review: Riverdale Season 1

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I have been on such a roll with great series lately. Riverdale seems to have been the trigger, because since I’ve watched Riverdale Season 1 and 2 (in a ridiculously short amount of time), I’ve rolled over to Grey’s Anatomy, and nothing I’ve heard, and I’ve heard only good things about that show, prepared me from the addictive, obsessive and unhealthy love affair I’ve developed with Seattle Grace Hospital.

Anyway, back to Riverdale. Netflix sure seems to be on a roll and in possession of a magic formula. They are producing great work – great original series, great superhero series, and, like Riverdale, great adaptions of classic comic books.

I had no clue what Riverdale was when I started watching, and no clue who Archie Andrews even was. I was soon hooked on the addictive teenage drama atmosphere, some legitimately creepy moments, and the romance, suspense and investigative Nancy Drew adventure.

Note: You will now have to deal with me discussing nearly every character because I enjoyed them all 😉

Season one focuses on the aftermath the disappearance and subsequent death of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines) brings on the sleepy town of Riverdale. The quiet town is shaken by his disappearance, and his twin sister Cheryl (Madeline Petch) creates chaos where she goes as her pampered life is torn to shreds. She’s a great character, because I can never quite like or dislike her. She has moments where she’s almost painfully sweet, struck by the loss of her brother, the only person who seemed to truly love her, and moments where she is unhinged, dangerous and selfish. Madeline Petch is a scene-stealer when she’s unhinged, and Cheryl provides some of the best drama in the show.

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Who is my favorite character? Probably Kevin (Casey Scott), but I love Betty Cooper (Lily Reinhart) almost as much. Kevin, as the gay best friend (pointed out by Cheryl Blossom – Madeline Petch – could easily have been generic and typical. Casey Scott saved his role and made his character my favorite by being so great and cute and managing to bring issues gay teenagers face to the show without making it fake or pretentious. Betty, on the top list of my favorites, is interesting as hell. She starts off as this pretty blonde girl who seems to be set to live the perfect life, but she has really dark edges to her personality that people won’t see if they don’t look. She grows stronger as the season progresses, as she is forced to deal with facts that her town and her people aren’t perfect and her enemies are closer than she could have thought.

Riverdale’s main character is Archie Andrews (KJ Apa). I am not sure whether I even like Archie most of the time. He can be pretty hysterical, somewhat selfish and a whole lot of stupid. He’s a perfect benchmark for a teenage boy. He can be blind to crushes, and has a very black or white mentality in the first season. I thought KJ Apa was cute, and has a look of a young Paul Wesley (you can debate in the comments) look to him, and then I saw he’s at least 5 years younger than I am and stopped thinking he’s cute because I am no cougar-auntie-person. Anyway, Archie is annoying a lot of the times and I disagree with many of the decisions he makes.

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We also got to a point where Cole Sprouse grew up. He did it in such a chill fashion, seemingly void of the drug addiction and predilection for attention most young stars suffer that time passed for him and no one knew it until now. He returns not as Zack or as Cody, but as Jughead Jones, friend to Archie and Betty. He has a mysterious role the first few episodes, and it only becomes clear later on whether you can trust him or not. I love Jughead in Season 1, because he is such a good example that you don’t have to be a stereotype just because your family is from the wrong side of the tracks.

Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) completes the main group of characters. Her father is a notorious criminal, and she has to deal with the rumor mill that he created. Her mother Hermoine (Marisol Nichols) is her rock and they have a pretty great relationship. I like Veronica, but she has moments where she does stuff that is really selfish and reveals that she has a darker side to her.

Riverdale is made more interesting by the parents of these teens. Alice Cooper (Madchen Amick) seems to care only about her status in the community and getting as much revenge on Jason Blossom as she possibly can. She reveals herself layer by layer and she’s become one of my favorite characters as a result. She gains depth and you start to understand how much her love for her children drives her, even when she’s not always right.

Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) is the perfect small town man, who is hardworking, a good parent and dedicated to his town. He is a favorite because of all the parents he never deviates from who he is and loves his (very undeserving at times) son visibly.

Skeet Ulrich returns to rock our worlds as the devishly handsome father of Jughead Jones. Despite the dubious decision to name his son Jughead, and the obvious drinking problem and ganster activities, FP Jones is dangerous, hot, and also a surprisingly decent person once he gets his life under control. He seems this deadbeat dad and character and he eventually plays such an instrumental role in the drama in Riverdale. Ulrich does a great job with his slowly building tension and soon you will not know whether he is a friend or foe.

Riverdale includes great conversation to their episodes – slut shaming, being a gay teenager, being a black teenager in a predominantly white conservative community, having parents who aren’t always stable – there are many scenes in season one that is about a lot more than a generic who-dunnit show.

The revelation of who really murdered Jason Blossom was so shocking and such a plot twist, and I truly never saw it coming. It is excellent writing that concludes the season on a perfect note, and I could not wait to watch the rest.

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Blindspot 2018 review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

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Plot: Mere seconds before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, journeyman Arthur Dent is swept off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher penning a new edition of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

We have imagined life on other planets and within the universe numerous times and with varying success, yet none more so unique than the book written by Douglas Adams.

I read the book before venturing into the movie, and I will have (hopefully) posted the book review before you see this post (Okay no you will have to wait). This series is far out of my comfort zone, and it was with great skepticism that I ventured into both.

So, I hope all the big fans will forgive me, but I think the more wine you have in your body, the better this movie. It is okay, especially if you consider the oddness of the material and how hard had to have been to create a film the fans would enjoy and make it intelligible to people who hasn’t read the book. I had both these types in my watching committee, and they all claim to have enjoyed the film the first time around.

Martin Freeman plays the role of Arthur Dent, the man who survives the destruction of earth by moving onto a spaceship managed by the bureaucratic Vogons with the help of his alien (unbeknownst for the duration of their friendship) friend Ford Prefect (Mos Def). They are booted off the ship almost immediately, and saved by Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell), who is accompanied by none other than the human girl who slighted Arthur at a party. Trillian (Zoey Deschanel) has no clue Earth has been destroyed and is quite surprised at finding Arthur on her new lover’s ship.

Even after reading the first book, I should have probably finished the series before watching the movie. There’s a lot that happens in the film that doesn’t happen in the book. I watched with people who had read the entire series and they could confirm these things were in the books, so I guess I should read all of those books at some stage.

I enjoyed Martin Freeman in his role of Arthur. Freeman has a knack of playing a slightly washed out character and making him interesting, and the main character of this series is certainly that. I also thought Sam Rockwell was pretty perfect to be Zaphod, the hapless and possibly dangerous to his own safety President of the galaxy. The depiction of Zaphod’s second head was rather disgusting and very well done – my imagination would never have come up with that on its own. Deschanel does her typical bug eyed look in the film and is as adorably quirky as the persona she has created for herself in all her roles.

The best decision however was to cast Alan Rickman as the voice of Marvin, the robot with human emotions who is eternally depressed. No other voice could have been better suited to the robot than his truly, and I wish I could have had a robot like that in my life.

I don’t have too much more to say about this film – it is a weird fandom film that fans will enjoy and not too bad if you are a semi-enthusiastic watched. But like I said – the more wine the better the quality.

Rating: 6.5/10

Blindspot 2018 review: The Silence of The Lambs (1991)

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Plot: A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

People who choose to put other people through their own digestive tracts have always captured the imagination of the world. For me the very first question is, to cannibals, why though? Kuru brain disease presents itself in the New Guinea inhabitants who chow on their tribe mates. It’s a debilitating neurological disease and sounds really quite unpleasant to me. Also, cooking normal meat can be so tiring and now you want to put human skin through that process? Ick, Ick, Ick.

This film famously won the big five at the Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Jonathan Demme), Best Actress, best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay (Ted Tally). I can say yes, I agree, to all five awards. Anthony Hopkins takes on the most famous imaginary (hopefully) cannibal, Dr. Hannibal Lecter and I have literally never seen anyone give such a frightening and perfect performance. He seems to have genuinely terrified Jodie Foster, who gives an equally brilliant performance as Clarice Starling, the new FBI agent who is tasked with corresponding with Lecter in the hopes to track down cannibalistic serial killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). It is almost easy to overlook the brilliance of Levine’s work here when his other co-stars were as amazing as they were, but Bill is creepy and terrifying in his own right.

I also liked that Clarice experienced onscreen sexism – it kept it real. She’s an obviously brilliant young agent but she’s a woman and therefore must experience some skepticism and glances. Her relationship with Lecter is fascinating and Foster’s ability to switch between terrified and intrigued is wonderful.

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The move is tense and broody and Jonathon Demme created a bleak and intense atmosphere. The last few scenes alone with Bill and Clarice is full of harsh shallow breathing and sharp light, and I found myself creeping inwards toward my blanket, not knowing who would win, Clarice or Bill.

I watched The Godfather Part I and Part II in my first Blindspot year, and this is the only film that has reached that level of excellence. It’s a thriller (compared to the Horror I was expecting), superbly acted and intense. The story is solid and compelling, and leaves enough room at the end to guarantee your return for the next in the franchise.

Rating: 9.5/10