Conventional wisdom about writing is conventionally wrong.
So I’ve been home almost two weeks after some surgery (I’m fine), and what do you do when you’re on painkillers, can’t drive and can’t write?
You read books. And you watch whatever is free on Netflix.
As a public service, this is the first of many reports on what you (a) must watch, (b) should try out and (c) can fire up if you want to make fun of something or are zonked out on meds, in which case everything is pretty funny.
CARTEL LAND is one of the best things I’ve seen in a long, long time, on Netflix or in the giant buildings where they charge you $9 for exploded kernels of corn that cost them 25 cents.
Here’s the trailer. Click on the thing.
Though this is a documentary, I have to compare it to the heavily hyped SICARIO, which starred three amazing actors: Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin.
That movie got a lot of attention from critics, and hey, I didn’t hate the thing, it’s just there’s no hankering in me see it again. Zero. Nada.
Sidenote: There should actually be a score for that, a useful tool for critics and movie-goers alike: how much would you (1) pay to see it again because you loved it or (2) ask to GET paid to spend two hours of your life in a dark room with this movie? Call it the Plus or Minus Money Rating, and I bet it would be more accurate than one, two, three or four stars, which really doesn’t tell me much.
SICARIO made me think of THE EDGE OF TOMORROW, which Emily Blunt also starred in. Her acting was equally good in both movies. However: despite the fact that her co-star was Tom Cruise, I happily saw that masterpiece of fun three times in the theater and probably six times on Blu-Ray, which for some reason has a hatred for the letter “e.” Sort it out, Blu-Ray.
But how much would you have to pay me to watch SICARIO again? $30, minimum. $15 if you provided dinner and drinks.
I’d happily watch CARTEL LAND again. It doesn’t feel like a documentary. The filmmakers shot it like a big, epic blockbuster, and the editing makes you feel like you’re there.
What’s most impressive to me is this: the crew who filmed this documentary clearly risked their lives to do it. They were in the middle of shootouts and midnight raids.
Without giving away the ending, the thing this documentary does so well is violate your expectations. It’s one of the few movies that make you feel smarter for having watched it, and not smart in “I learned sixteen facts about the drug trade” kind of way. There’s wisdom to this movie that doesn’t beat the audience on the head.
Watch it and tell me what you think.
What do you want to know about the deepest recesses of Netflix? Pick your favorite and I’ll write the review.
Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.