So evidently the 93rd Academy Awards, better known as The Oscars came and went yesterday. Hollywood’s celebrity invitational that’s known for its red carpet, covered with the footsteps of expensive shoes and high heels, worn by people in one-off outfits designed by the finest of known outfitters. Wouldn’t you know, I missed it once again. Missed out on my opportunity to hear woke speeches by wealthy people, telling us all we need to know about politics and social issues, while serving up verbal gratitude porn as they thank every other member Hollywood they’ve worked with for the next five minutes or so. Turns out I wasn’t alone. Ratings were half of what they were from a year ago and nearly a third of what they were in 2019. The hipocracy of Hollywood’s stance on California’s Covid protocol is another joke but I digress. As I sit here and glance through the list of nominations and winners for most categories I’m left with an empty feeling having hardly heard of any of these titles or people in most cases.
The ratings bit doesn’t stun me much as last year was likely the least productive year in movie history of memory. Not only was Hollywood short on putting out content on the big and small screen, but the quality of that that did get put out drastically suffered. Covid 19 led to the closing of just about every movie theater chain on the planet. Shut downs and or major delays to pretty much every studio’s ability to shoot, edit, or even cast also played a role last year. Companies that could get some of their movies put together finally scrambled to figure out how they could get them to pay off with limited capacities allowed, by making simulcasting deals to streaming outlets. Warner Bros decided to have HBOMAX carry all of their properties at least through 2021 and likely beyond. Disney+ has more then a year of content planned between Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and beyond. Disney of course owns Hulu, ABC, and ESPN. Amazon Prime, Paramount+, Netflix, Peacock, Discovery+, and more all have been collecting as many properties as they can to cash in on as many subscriptions as they can attract. As chord cutting continues the upward trend I’d expect this to being an ongoing theme.
It all makes sense, really. As we appear to have likely crossed a point of no return in the way we consume TV and movies. The virus not only kept us indoors by shutting down countless types of businesses and marked many essential or non essential, but it kept us glued to the TV screen watching the news all day, waiting for the story to drop, letting us know we can go back to normal. Unfortunately it didn’t play out that way. What did happen is that news outlets began to regurgitate the same dramatic stories over and over again while attempting to out do each other in the process. As people had less and less happening in their lives due to the closures, travel bans, and lack of sports, their opinions about what they liked and disliked grew stronger than they ever could’ve imagined. People that were indifferent became strongly opinionated and those that already leaned in a certain direction turned into fanatics. Opinions became civil unrest. Politics and social issues found their way in to sports and entertainment. What was once everyone’s opportunity to get away from life and its drama for a short bit of time was remodeled to be just another conduit for madness and stupidity.
Naturally celebrities and athletes have never been shy about telling the world how they feel about certain topics in hopes that their grand stage will help more people feel the same way they do or at very least, say what they feel is the right thing to say to simply gain more attention. It’s their Michael Jackson, “heal the world, make it a better place” moment, right? Well, the problem is that 2020 wasn’t exactly a year for people who were financially crushed and not only psychologically but emotionally disturbed, felt like hearing a bunch of PSAs from millionaires and billionaires attempting to relate in to them. At some point, and I’m not sure when exactly it occurred, but people became “over it”. That doesn’t mean everyone is over it, but it certainly appears that half to two thirds of people sure are. I know I wasn’t one of the few and the proud to hear the privillaged tell us all how it is and or should be. Instead, I spent the day getting to the halfway point of one of the best shows currently on television, Snowfall.
If you haven’t seen or heard of Snowfall yet, you’re welcome. You are free to stop reading this review that will most definitely contain spoilers for the first two seasons, and start binging now. Ever since OZ came on HBO in 1997, networks have been trying their best to create the next 30 to 60 minute adult drama with a broad cast full of intertwining story lines. Snowfall is currently one of the few running that is one of the best kept secrets on TV today. Set in Los Angeles in the early 80s, Snowfall takes you through the days leading up to and through the invention of crack cocaine and the eventual gang warfare that was the result of. From street hustlers, Columbian drug lords, Middle Eastern gun pipelines, crooked CIA and DEA members, good cops, bad cops, smuggling, a rise to power and the costs that come with it to all involved.
Franklin Saint, played by Damson Idris is your main character who goes from a bright young man to building the biggest drug empires America has ever witnessed. He absolutely crushes this role after being an unknown for the most part up until this point of his career. About two years removed from high school, Saint finds himself in the right place at the right time and gets opportunity to collide with desire. While balancing family relationships with business, along with the multi layered web that he’s created, he finds himself conflicted while walking the line between success and greed.
Teddy McDonald is your CIA agent working off grid. He’s an ex vet who not only is tasked with helping move cocaine from the source directly into America, but turning that flipped money over to the purchase of guns to supply the resistance to help aid them against the spread of communism. This triple life he leads, much like Saint, puts him in a position of great importance albeit at the cost of much blood on his hands. In too deep to just pack up and get out of the game altogether, he is constantly scheming and cooking up new ways to not only cover his tracks, but control the many players on the board without their knowledge or consent.
Leon Simmons is the long time, temperamental BFF of Franklin. Jerome Saint is Franklin’s muscle bound uncle who has been hustling weed for some time and boasts the best looking Jheri curl you’ve ever seen. Jerome’s main squeeze, Aunt Louie, is no stranger to the game nor is she afraid to man up in the business when she’s not catching up on her soaps. There’s Avi, the Israeli party animal known for wheeling and dealing. Hilarius character who steals just about every scene he’s in. Last but not least, Gustavo Zapata AKA El Oso. Gustavo is the muscle for hire that has gone from the luchador ring to being partly responsible for trafficking pure cocaine and high powered artillery across several boarders.
After two full seasons I give this show a rating of 10/10. FX just aired the 4th season finale on Thursday and it’s already announced that it’ll indeed be returning for a 5th. Snowfall has grit, nostalgia, great character arcs, and a cliffhanger on just about every episode. I put it right up there with Yellowstone, The Boys, and Cobra Kai a few I certainly consider, Must-see-TV. I can’t wait to see what else this show has in store, but I can tell you I made the right decision by skipping The Oscars and the brainless blabbering that come with that fashion show and decided to stick with something that’s not only eye opening due to its historical nature, but mentally stimulating as well.
feature photo: Staten Island Advance