The Night Of – First Impressions

I’ve been wanting to get to this show for quite some time but other thing came in the way.

HBO is famous for its heavy-themed and dark shows and this does not disappoint.

I knew very little about “The Night Of”, I didn’t know the actors and even the plot was unfamiliar to me. I think I saw a clip of it on Stephen Colbert’s late night talk show, but it didn’t catch my attention. I was more interested in the jokes about Donald Trump!

It stars Riz Ahmed and John Turturro. From what I have understood, his character has a wild night with a strange girl he just met and the morning after, he finds her murdered in her bed. He is questioned and brought in by the police, and the story unravels from this point on.

I have heard wonderful things about Riz Ahmed and the premisis of the show seems very interesting. Just from the pilot, it’s clear that he is wonderuful, his acting is incredible. Truly magnifient.

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Moreover, I found this article on “The Hollywood Reporter” and it explains pretty well the opportunity to talk about issues like the criminal justice system and racism towards muslin communities. The article also says that the show has been a work-in-progress since 2009, when there was no muslim ban and no hate crimes like now.


For a pilot, it’s a bit long. Not just because it’s an hour and a half, but because it’s quite slow. Like, really really slow.

I’ve been thinking about what to write about this show for a long time and I reckon I’ve just came to the realization that “The Night Of” looks more like a documentary than a thriller, which is what you’d expect from the synopsis and the outlook of the serie.

There are a lot of shots of peomv5bmjqyotgxmdi0nl5bml5banbnxkftztgwote4mzczote-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_ple staring at things, mundane actions that were probably not necessary. This is probably what they wanted to show us, but they are dragging it on for a little bit too much, in my opinion. At the same time, if they hadn’t, it would not have been a truthful recount of the bureaucracy and awful problems of the criminal justice system.

Despite that, the show gets you totally hooked. Even if sometimes I found myself getting distracted, the show somehow finds its way into sucking you back it.

And this is what makes good television. It might not tick all the points in my list, but it is a very well-made show.

The main titles resembles a lot “True Detective”, “Westworld” and “The Crown”, the mismatched and out-of-focus images, the blue/grey/green-ish tone…

It is nominated for 10 Emmys including outstanding lead actor, outstanding supporting actor and for upstanding directing and writing.



I’ll probably write a quick post after finishing it with my complete thoughts on the show.

Let me know your opinion of the series! I’d love to know!

xxx

Georgia

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Master of None

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I can’t even remember how I discovered this series, but it’s just magnificent. Created by Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, the show talks about the life of a 30-year-old actor named Dev who lives in NYC.

Aziz (who created wrote and produced the series) is also the main character. The series deals with extremely important social issues, from the alternative birth control Plan B, appreciating immigrant parents, a relationship in this modern and technological age and discrimination, sexism and injustice.

It’s a comedy, but not some dumb and idiotic thing with no actual depth. I was really surprised by the quality of the show. Not because I didn’t have faith in Aziz, but it said comedy and the trailer is upbeat and funny. I hadn’t realized the social issues that were being discussed.

Season 2 is coming out tomorrow on Netflix and I plan on completely putting my life on hold and binge watching the shit out ot of this new season.

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I love this series so much because it’s real. I’ve been saying it a lot in past blog post (This is us mainly…), but this is what I’m looking for in a tv series.

The cast is really good, really authentic, diverse and really talented! Denise and Arnold are just two amazing characters and Lena Waithe and Eric Wareheim are hilarious. Also, Dev’s mom and dad are Aziz’s real parents! And they are soo funny!

 

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Left to Right: Aziz’s parent Shoukath and Fatima Ansari, Alan Yang, Lena Waithe, Aziz Ansari, Kelvin Yu, Eric Wareheim and Noel Wells

All the episodes are amazing, but if I had to choose, episodes 4-6-7-8 are the best.

Episode 4 is called: Indians on TV, where Dev talks about the lack of roles for Indian men to play and the stereotypes he has to overcome. He inadvertently sees an email from an executive producer with racism remarks and he had to decide how to act.

Episode 6: Nashville: Dev invites Rachel, the girl he likes, to a spontaneous trip to Nashville. The episode is just adorable. It’s something different than the usual first date and it’s truly delightful.

AND NOW, MY FAVOURITE! Episode 7: Ladies and Gentleman: This one is pure gold. Rachel and Dev’s friend Denise explain to their friend the constant misogyny that is (sadly) part of our everyday life. I was really impressed by the episode. It’s rare to see a TV that deals with this horrible issue as well as “Master of None”. What I truly appreciated about it, is that they stated that men can’t understand the situation. They don’t face the same problems as women do and consequently, aren’t aware of how big the problem actually is.

Episode 8: Old People: I also loved that Aziz and Alan Yang (the two main creators of the show) took the time to dedicate an episode to the elderly. I love my Grandmother and I realized I don’t spend as much time with her as I want to. We tend to forget that they can become lonely, especially if widowed. Even though the episode is absolutely silly sometimes, it’s thought-provoking and it will definitely make you pick up the phone and call your grandparents.


I am a huge fan of Aziz… both of this stand-up work and his acting roles… and don’t get me started on his book “Modern Romance” because I LOVED IT!

I’m really excited about season 2, mainly because it was partially shot here in Italy, so I can’t wait to see how Aziz decided to portray my country.

I hope you’ll check it out and you’ll let me know your opinions.

See you!

Georgia

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story

I didn’t want to give into the hype of the show. I really didn’t. Mainly because I had no knowledge of the trial and the murder case.

If like me, you weren’t born yet or you simply aren’t familiar with it, this is what happened: in 1994 football player O.J. Simpson was accused of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Lyle Goldman. The case shook America, they called it “The Trial of the Century”.

There are a lot of topics that go beyond the trial itself: sexism, racism, the celebrity status (that were fundamental in shaping the final outcome of the case) and the Kardashians.

Yes, the same Kardashian we are painfully subjected to every time we open a magazine or social medias like twitter, instagram or snapchat.

I went in knowing nothing, except of the many prices the shows has won and the great actors who are part of it.

Speaking of actors, the cast is great. Cuba Gooding Jr plays OJ, “American Horror Story”‘s Sarah Paulson is Marcia Clark,, John Travolta, David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian, the brilliant and adorable Sterling K. Brown, Courtney B. Vance as OJ’s the defense attorney Johnnie Cochran and Kenneth Choi as Judge Lance Ito.

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Some of the cast

To tell the truth, I’m not sure if wasn’t impressed with Cuba Gooding Jr’s performance, or maybe I simply don’t like OJ’s personality and well, everything. I thought it was over the top, a bit forced.

On the other hand Sarah Paulson completely blew my mind. I’ve never watched “American Horror Story” so I didn’t know much about her. But here she was amazing. And shout out to my favourite man on the show: Sterling K Brown. He is just so talented! Every time he acts he makes you exactly feel the character’s emotions. He is truly spectacular.

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Sarah Paulson and Sterling K Brown ❤

We see the America of 20 years ago, an America that was divided and spread further apart by this murder case.

I was reading an article on the nytimes.com website that dates back to the 8th October 1995, two days after the verdict was announced.

Isabel Wilkerson who wrote the article quotes a professor of women’s studies at Wellesley College and she says:

“This is a story about race and gender and how they intersect. It’s about a black man married to a white woman being judged by black women.”

Wilkerson also writes: “White women tended to identify with Mrs. Simpson as an abuse victim. Black women, pulled by competing loyalties, tended to see Mr. Simpson as a black man framed by the system — even if he had been indifferent to the black community, and even if they thought he might be guilty”

There was also the issue of having a black man (Christopher Darden) as a prosecutor on the case, when almost the entire community was convinced Simpson’s arrest was all about the police’s fury against black men and women. Then the detective Mark Fuhrman, who found the two bodies, was accused of racism and this only reinforced the boundaries.

BUT, the trial wasn’t just about racism. It obviously played a BIG role, but another horrible issue was persistent: sexism.

Towards women in general and towards Marcia Clark, the lead prosecutor. Since the case became a media sensation, Miss Clark was criticized by the media and the “Dream Team” (Mr Simpson’s legal defence team), she was judged on her clothes, her hair and also on her capability of raising her children (At the time she was battling her ex husband for custody of her two boys).

“The verdict exposed a chasm in place for generations, often breaking open when black women feel pressed to choose between the men with whom they share race, and all that goes with it, and the white women with whom they share the experience of sexism. While to many black women sexism pales in the face of racism, white women, unburdened by race in a predominantly white society, are freer to focus on sexism.”, wrote Wilkerson.

As I’m writing this,  I am halfway through the series and my opinion has definitely shifted.

In the first couple of episodes, I had the feeling it was a bit “soapy” and definitely too much focused on the Kardashians. I mean, they had more screen time than O.J.’s children! Come on! And we also had an Alanis Morrisette’s “ironic” moment: when David Schwimmer’s Robert Kardashian says to Kim, Khloe, Kourtney and Rob:

“We are Kardashians and in this family, being a good person and a loyal friend is more important than being famous. Fame is fleeting, it’s hollow. It means nothing at all without a virtuous heart.”

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ARE YOU SERIOUS, WRITERS? I know that the goal of the show is to humanize both sides of the case, but this was ridiculous.

I LITERALLY laughed out loud for at least 10 minutes.

But as the show progressed, it got really good. I’m hooked and with only 4 episodes left, it’s all I’ll be watching this afternoon.

I hope you enjoyed this different review… Let me know if you liked it better.

Have a nice Sunday!

Georgia 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah

I finished reading this book a couple of minutes ago and as soon as I turned over the past page (and I finished crying) I started typing this review.

As I wrote on my Goodreads page: ONE OF THE BEST BOOK I HAVE READ. EVER.

I’ve discovered Trevor Noah as a talk show host a couple of months ago and quickly fell in love with him. I watched a couple of this stand-up gigs on Youtube and when I discovered he was bringing out this book, I promised myself I would read it as soon as it came out.

And I’m so glad I did.

If you aren’t familiar with him, well… About a year ago, Trevor took over from Jon Stewart as host of “The Daily Show”, he is a comedian, he is from South Africa, he started doing stand-up when he was 18 and he was born a crime. trevor-noah-book-born-a-crime-stories-from-a-south-african-childhood

Trevor’s existence was illegal in South Africa: he was born in 1984 and apartheid was abolished in 1991. His mother is a black woman of Xhosa ancestry and his father is a swiss/german.

From his childhood and early adulthood, Trevor’s book teaches us about racism, apartheid and the multitude of problems of his country in an honest, genuine and heart-breaking way that is incredibly easy to follow.
When approaching this, you can’t think of him as the new host of “The Daily Show” or a celebrity, but just as a man from South Africa telling you this unbelievable story.
Trevor talks about apartheid, he explains to us reader (that like me aren’t particularly familiar with South Africa’s history) what it was actually like growing up in that time: the corruption of the police, poverty, church, faith, racism, feminism, equality and more. Trevor describes how difficult it was for him to identify in a specific group: is he black? is he white? Is he black enough? Is he white enough?

Young people should definitely read “Born a Crime”: this book could teach them a lot, not just about apartheid, but also about being a better person.

I can’t stress this enough: this book will be one of the best things you will read.
And a huge part of it, it’s because of Trevor’s mom Patricia. What an incredible woman.
Her life lessons included in the book are some of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard. She is such a strong and independent woman in a country that pushed against her as hard as it could. Her life story is amazing, inspiring and utterly heart-breaking.

I truly haven’t felt such passion for a book in a long time. Let’s just say that it made me cry. And I can count on one hand the number of times I have cried for a book.

I can’t really say this enough times: PLEASE, READ THIS BOOK.

While reading I underlined some of the best quotes in the book and I’ll write a separate post about them otherwise this one won’t ever end.

Now, go to the next bookshop and buy “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood”. You won’t regret it.

Georgia