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Remember that you’re getting movie & TV advice from regular guys with regular lives. The fact that we’re not sitting in front of our computers and TVs all day also means that we don’t have time to review every movie ever made. While this list will continue to grow as fast as we can continue to watch and review movies & TV, we apologize in advance for those we did not get to yet. Rather than relying on it as an exhaustive encyclopedia of movies & TV, though, we hope that you will simply use this list as a source for good suggestions of what to watch or stay away from.
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Plot Summary: A New York mobster goes into hiding in rural Lillehammer in Norway after testifying against his former associates.
Creators: Eilif Skodvin, Anne Bjørnstad
Stars:Steven Van Zandt, Trond Fausa, Steinar Sagen
Serious Jest:(Casual Watch) I went into the first season hoping for The Sopranos-meets-Norway. I don’t know much about Norway, and it’s nice to get a glimpse into other countries through productions that feature them as almost a character in themselves (for example, The American). This series did a great job in featuring Norway. However, it was also pretty hokey and featured a protagonist that I did not like.
Frank Tagliano is a narcissistic, hypocritical bully, who pushes his culture and ideas of how the world should be onto everyone in his newly adopted country, stepping on hapless and sometimes innocent Norwegians for selfish gain in stereotypical American imperialist fashion. However, unlike The Sopranos, in which Tony Soprano constantly struggled with his conscience, this show glorifies Frank. I feel like I’m supposed to chuckle as he “outsmarts” (more like strong-arms) people into satisfying his every whim. Fortunately, in the second and third seasons, Frank became a little more judicious and tolerable, while other characters, such as Fausa’s Torgeir, flourish. In my opinion, Fausa carries the show. He is charismatic, funny, humble, and tough when he needs to be. He idolizes Frank, even though he is often unrewarded for his unconditional love. Most importantly, he is the conscience of the show, and through him, we are reminded of the price one pays for being or following Frankie the Fixer.
By the way, world, look out for Maria Joana
and Ida Elise Broch.
Plot Summary: The story of Easy Company of the US Army 101st Airborne division and their mission in WWII Europe from Operation Overlord through V-J Day.
Stars: Scott Grimes, Matthew Leitch, Damian Lewis
Serious Jest: (Watch It Live) As a former Marine who deployed to Iraq, this ten-episode mini-series is a must for my personal collection. In fact, I think it’s safe to say all military personnel should have it in their collections. Even if you have little to no interest in military affairs, however, you should take the time at some point in your life to watch this series all the way through.
Beautifully scripted, masterfully acted, and filmed amongst breathtaking (in many different ways) cinematography, this production, which significantly contributed to HBO‘s fast rise as the gold standard in series quality, is an amazing portrayal of the sacrifices made by troops and of the horrors of war. A healthy dose of clips from this series was played by my instructors during training ops to drive home points about all kinds of important subjects germane to war.
A few random thoughts I had while watching the project:
Everyone did such a great job acting, and the character development was top-notch. Even amongst this wonderful cast, Damian Lewis stood out, followed closely by Neal McDonough.
It was pretty awesome to see David Schwimmer play such a different role.
There are countless useful lessons to be learned from this series, especially by those who hope to lead troops someday.
Why is there so much hip firing throughout the series? Isn’t it a bit unrealistic to make some of these shots without looking down your sights?
I watched one of the most squared-away officers in the 101st return a salute sitting on his ass. This would not happen in the Marines. Is it different in the Army?
I understand very well the transition that one may go through in terms of how he/she thinks of the enemy during war. When you first get out there, you dehumanize them in your head in order to justify some of the things that you may have to do. After a while, however, there comes a point when you realize that your enemies are human beings, much like you, fighting out of a sense of duty, and just trying to make it out of this thing alive like you are. At least, I went through a transition like that, and this series did a good job of illustrating such a transition. Still, despite the respect that our soldiers may have gained for the Germans as a formidable fighting force made up of dedicated human soldiers, they were still Nazis. They were supporting some pretty foul principles. I’m not saying that our troops were wrong for regarding Nazi troops with the respect that they did during the conflict, but I wonder if my attitude toward Nazi soldiers would have softened even after we defeated them.
It would be great to have a beer with one of the living members of the 101st who fought in WWII.
After you finish watching this production, watch The Pacific. It’s even better! Then again, I’m biased. :)