Series Review: Fargo – Season 2 (2015)

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Some of you people might remember that I had seen and reviewed the first season of this show a while back. If you remember that you probably also remember that I absolutely loved it. So of course I was excited about seeing season 2… and here we are, finally reviewing it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the second season of… “Fargo”.

The year is 1979, that’s right, this season is more or less a prequel to season 1. Like I said in my review of the first season, this is an anthology show. Now that we got that part cleared let’s move on to this season. And in it we follows Minnesota state trooper Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) as he is drawn into an investigation involving a local crime gang, the mafia and a local couple (Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst). And it all of course is a huge mystery filled murder, deception and most other things you’d expect from this show if you’ve seen the first season. And there is no reason to either lie about it or postpone it anymore… I think the plot of the second season is great, as good as the first season even. I would even say that I might’ve enjoyed this season even more than the first one. The mystery is bigger and even more bizarre. It’s intriguing, entertaining and really well told.

While the plot is great on it’s own, it would be nothing without the characters, that is a fact that works for most pieces of media. With that said, holy shit the characters are amazing! They are all very interesting, colorful and all get time to shine. Patrick Wilson knocks it out of the park as Lou, which I didn’t have much of a doubt about since I love him as an actor. Ted Danson plays a sheriff and Lou’s father-in-law and he’s as great as ever. Jesse Plemons, you have shown me once again what a terrific actor you are. First “Breaking Bad”, now “Fargo”… I can’t wait to see what awesome thing you’ll do next. Kirsten Dunst, holy shit, this is the best she’s been in years. Jeffrey Donovan plays an unlikable asshole in this show, but that’s okay because his performance overall is terrific. And there are a whole bunch of otehr great actors/performances/characters in this show that I will not get into because I would be here all day. But yeah… it’s all great.

Just like in the first season we got Jeff Russo to do the score for the show. And once again it is great. It manages to create a lot of tension, a lot of suspense, a lot of drama and it is just awesome to listen to. There is also a lot of otehr tunes here that are not composed by Russo. What I mean by that is that there are a lot of licensed tracks and not only do they fit the scenes they are used in, but they are songs that I really enjoyed listening to. As someone who listens to a lot of 70’s/80’s music, this soundtrack was pretty much made for me. Especially in the last few episodes, those had some of the best tunes in show in my opinion. Yeah… this season had great music.

Season 2 takes the directing of season 1 and ramps it up to fuckin’ eleven. It’s quicker, it’s snappier, it’s even more stylish than the first season. It’s also even more violent, good grief. Yes, season 1 was pretty damn violent, but wasn’t this violent. It also didn’t have as much violence and brutality and blood/gore as this season. Not that the extra violence takes away from the show, I would amost say that it is one of the things keeping the show as interesting as it is in combination with the story and characters ‘n’ shit. The pitch black humor also makes a triumphant return in this season and as someone who loves pitch black humor to no end I actually laughed at some pretty dark stuff. No wonder I never get invited to parties…

This season of the show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% (holy shit) positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 96/100. And while imdb doesn’t have season-based averages, the show does have a score of 9,0/10 and is ranked #23 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

The second season of “Fargo” took what season 1 did right and improved upon it. I thought the story was even better, the characters more entertaining/great (though I miss Billy Bob Thornton), the soundtrack absolutely fantastic, teh directing/action fantastic and the violence/humor great. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Fargo” season 2 is a 9,90/10. I love it and it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Fargo” season 2 is now completed.

So… Ewan McGregor next season then!

Movie Review: Saving Private Ryan (1998)

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War. Dirty, brutal, terrible… the is nothing good about it. Of course we have the PMC’s (Private Military Corporations) out there that disagree with me on that, but that is only because war is their only income. Okay, weapon manufacturers will make a few bucks from it as well… but that is not the point. My point is that war is not something that should EVER be glorified. With that said, here is evidence of that.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Saving Private Ryan”.

“Saving Private Ryan” is about a squad of soldiers led by Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) who after getting through the brutality of Omaha beach get sent further into France to find paratrooper Private James Ryan (Matt Damon). Which sounds weird considering Ryan isn’t even part of their squad, but the order came from higher-ups for propaganda purposes. And while that isn’t overly clear in the movie, it is still there… to raise morale (Greedy fucking American military). But even though the basic plot is simple, it is still a thoughtful, brutal and well-written plot that works in every aspect. It is all portrayed in a way where you believe it and just want to see how it unfolds. In otehr words… it is pretty great.

This movie is just full of acting talent everywhere. You can’t go ten minutes without saying “Hey, it’s *insert actor here*!”. But let’s just go on the most important ones. Tom Hanks (as per usual) is great in this movie. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering he is a great dramatic actor (Sidenote: Don’t believe me? Go watch “Philadelphia” and then come back). Next up (and the final one I am going to mention) is the character of Corporal Upham (Jeremy Davies). Now I hear your collective gasps and I will explain. Yes, Private Ryan is in the title, but he doesn’t show up until the third act of the movie. Instead I will focus on another (probably) young character who got a good amount of focus. Basically Upham is this young guy who have never really killed anyone before and Tom Hanks takes him under his wing(ish). Now I already liked Jeremy Davies as an actor after seeing him in shows like “Justified” and “Constantine”, but I didn’t know he was THIS GREAT as an actor. His character is pretty much a coward through the entire movie and he plays it fantastically. Hell, he plays the character well at all times. And I can mention that all actors in the movie were great. All of them.

The score was done by none other than John Williams. And as you probably know, he is one of the best composers of all time. He has made iconic scores, he has made emotional scores, he is just amazing. And he shows it here as well. Having emotional music when there needs to be emotional music and really intense battle music when there needs to be intense battle music. In other words… hell yeah, John Williams!

It is interesting how this movie was shot. I am not saying it does something incredibly unique like “Birdman”, but it is still a curious case. Spielberg is a director who is known for having very steady direction and camera work in his movies (Sidenote: Don’t believe me? Go watch “Jurassic Park” and “E.T.” and then come back). But in this movie he went for a more handheld style. No, it’s not the same as shaky-cam. I am not explaining the differences here, that is for another time. Anyhow, like I said, “Saving Private Ryan” is a rare example of Steven Spielberg going for a more handheld style. And I like it. It gives the movie a more gritty and realistic style, you feel like a fly on an exploding wall. And to add to that we have some of, if not the most brutal and shocking action scenes of all time. Limbs flying off, heads exploding… this isn’t traditional Spielberg. And while the brutality will be too much for some people to stomach, I feel like it just added to the movie and is part of why it is so great.

This movie is one of the most critically well-received movies ever(ish). On Rotten Tomatoes the movie has a 93% positive rating and is certified “Fresh”. On Metacritic it has the incredible score of 90/100. Roger Ebert also loved it, giving it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10 and is ranked #33 on the “Top 250” list. The movie also won 5 Oscars in the categories of Best Director, Best cinematography, Best sound, Best sound effects editing and Best Film editing. It was also nominated for an additional 6 Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (Hanks), Best Original Screenplay, Best set decoration, Best makeup and Best original dramatic score. 

“Saving Private Ryan” is a brutal, gritty, thoughtful, dark movie filled with terrific performances, a terrific score, great direction/camera work, excellent action scenes and a beautiful ending. Time for my final score. God damn it, Jeff. Where is that son of a bitch? There you are, what took you so l- what the fuck happened to your leg? Nazis shot it off? Well do you have the envelope? Thank you! My final score for “Saving Private Ryan” is a 9,88/10. It does of course get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Saving Private Ryan” is now reviewed.

So much trouble for one guy? Damn…