Alguien tiene que morir (2020)

Carmen Maura, Carlos Cuevas, and Cecilia Suárez in a production from Manolo Caro (La casa de las flores)? I was so there for Netflix’s Alguien tiene que morir (Someone Has to Die). ¿Carmen Maura, Carlos Cuevas y Cecilia Suárez en una producción de Manolo Caro (La casa de las flores)? Tenía que ver Alguien tiene que morir de Netflix, sí o sí. 

Gabino (Alejandro Speitzer) returns to Spain after spending some time abroad in Mexico, and he brings along his dancer friend Lázaro (Isaac Hernández). His family wants him to marry Cayetana (Ester Expósito), but he doesn’t want to as he is gay. As it’s during the 1950s, when Francisco Franco was in power, and his family was rich and powerful, homosexuality was unacceptable. Alonso (Carlos Cuevas) instantly hates Lázaro, but why? Gregorio (Ernesto Alterio), Gabino’s father, is torn between keeping his power and protecting his son, his mother Mina (Cecilia Suárez) has a connection with Lázaro, and the family matriarch Amparo (Carmen Maura) will do anything to ensure her family’s status is secured. Gabino (Alejandro Speitzer) vuelve a España después de un tiempo en el extranjero en México, y lleva a su amigo bailarín Lázaro (Isaac Hernández). Su familia quiere que se case con Cayetana (Ester Expósito), pero no quiere porque es gay. Como tiene lugar en los años 1950s, cuando Francisco Franco tenía poder y como su familia era rica y podorosa, ser homosexual fue inaceptable. A Alonso (Carlos Cuevas) no le cae bien Lázaro desde principío, pero ¿por qué? Gregorio (Ernesto Alterio), el padre de Gabino, es dividido entre quedar con el poder y proteger a su hijo, su madre Mina (Cecilia Suárez) tiene una conexión con Lázaro, y la matriarca Amparo (Carmen Maura) puede hacer cualquer cosa para asegurar el estatus de su familia. 

It’s a complete departure from La casa de las flores and portrays a dark time in Spain’s history. Es muy distinto de La casa de las flores y retrata una época oscura de la historia de España.

I was a bit worried with such a fantastic cast and producer, but it nearly lived up to my expectations. Me preocupó de que no gustarme con un elenco con tanto talento trabajando con un productor genial, pero casí llegó a mis expectativas. 

The Netflix miniseries was released worldwide on Oct. 16. La miniserie de Netflix estrenó el 16 de octubre en todo el mundo. 

Rating: A

 

El practicante (2020).

I’ll admit it. I’ve always had a crush on Mario Casas, ever since seeing him and his abs in A dos metros bajo cielo. It inspired me to go join the gym. Lo admito. Siempre he estado infatuado con Mario Casas, desde verlo y sus abdominales en A dos metros bajo cielo. De hecho, me inspiró apuntarme al gimnasio. 

However, my crush does not prevent me from being objective about his talents. He has made some really bad movies, and he relies on his looks to coast through life. I saw him at a press conference at the FNAC in Callao in 2013, and he came off as egotistical and not that bright. Sin embargo, mi deseo por él no interfere con ser objetivo sobre sus talento (o falta de talento). Ha hecho algunas pelis horribles, y depende en ser guapo para ganar la vida. Lo vi en persona en una rueda de prensa en el FNAC de Callao en 2013, y parecía muy egoista y no muy inteligente. 

Still, I usually end up seeing his movies. When I saw El practicante, translated as “The Paramedic” in English-speaking markets, trend on Netflix, I knew I had to see it. No obstante, suelo ver todas sus pelis.  Cuando vi la película El practicante estaba tendencia en Netflix, tenía que verla. 

I wish I hadn’t. Fue un error. 

The 2020 film from Catalán director Carlos Torras is about a paramedic, Ángel (Casas), with stalker tendencies. After an accident involving his ambulance, he is no longer able to walk and requires the use of a wheelchair. His French girlfriend, Vanesa (Déborah François) leaves him. Months later, he conspires to see Vane and later kidnaps her. La película de 2020 de director catalán Carlos Torras es sobre un paramédico, Ángel (Casas) con inclinaciones de ser acosador. Después de un accidente con su ambulancia, no puede caminar y tiene que utilizar una silla de ruedas. Su novia francesa, Vanesa (Déborah François) lo deja. Conspira a ver a Vanesa meses después y luego la secuestra. 

The film is every bit as misogynistic as it sounds. There is nothing empathic about Ángel, and Vane is just a mere prop in the movie. La peli es tan misógino como parece. No hay nada sobre Ángel que genera empatía, y Vane no llega a ser más que un accesorio del argumento. 

Another detractor of the film is that it doesn’t follow one of the most conventional rules of writing, the one about how you don’t introduce a gun in Act 1 if you’re not going to return to it in Act 3. The film clearly sets it up to take place in 2020, and Ángel hears a radio report about a virus killing people in Wuhan, China, that is not mentioned again in the film. Otro detractor de la peli es que no sigue una de las normas más convencionales de la escritura. Si introduce un arma en la primera parte, la arma tiene que disparar sí o sí en la tercera parte. La película tiene lugar en 2020, y sabemos eso porque Ángel escucha a las noticias del radio que menciona un virus que está matando a las personas en Wuhan China que no vuelven a mencionar después. 

Why? ¿Por qué?

I have a better idea for the film. What would it be like for a strong woman to be quarantined with this psycho? Spain had an extremely strict lockdown in the spring, and this would have been at least an interesting plot, even with the wooden acting and lazy direction. Tengo una mejor idea para la peli. ¿Qué pasaría si una mujer fuerte estaba en cuarentena con este psicópata? Había un confinamiento severo en España en la primavera, y este sería un argumento interesante, aunque la actuación y dirección aún serían malas.

En fin…don’t see this movie. No la veas.

Rating: D

El final de Merlí.

This post contains spoilers. Hay espoilers en esta entrada. SPOILER ALERT.

Last year, I wrote about the Catalán series Merlí which I had become addicted to. After seeing the series finale on 15 Jan. 2018, I wanted to return to write about it. El año pasado, escribí sobre la serie catalana Merlíque me enganchó mucho. Después de ver el último capítulo el 15 de enero de 2018, quería volver a escribir de ella. 

The show, produced by TV3, is about a philosophy teacher at a typical high school in Barcelona and shows the lives of his students and co-workers. Each week he focuses on a different philosopher which always conveniently connects with what’s going on in the students’ lives. La serie de TV3 trata de un profesor de filosofía en un instituto típico de Barcelona y es sobre las vidas de sus alumnos y compañeros de trabajo. Cada semana habla de un filósofo diferente, que siempre conecta (que casualidad) con lo que está pasando en las vidas de los alumnos. 

The writers, producers and cast decided to end the show after three seasons instead of trying to pretend 20 somethings are still teenagers or move the show to a university setting, and this was the right decision. It left us wanting more. Los guionistas, productores y reparto decidieron terminar la serie después de tres temporadas en lugar de fingir veinteñeros todavía eran adolescentes o trasladar el argumento a la universidad, y creo que era la decisión adecuada. Nos dejó queriendo más. 

The third season dealt with sex, drugs and…country music. (The school’s director still loves his country music). It dealt with love, broken hearts and death. It dealt with exploration of sexuality. (Bruno returns from Rome to find out his best friend Tania has is now dating the guy he loves, Pol, so they solve it with a threesome in a jump-the-shark moment in the penultimate episode.) One student loses his father to cancer. La tercera temporada trató de sexo, drogas y…música country. (El director del instituto sigue fascinado de música country). Trató de amor, corazones rotos y muerte. Trató de la exploración de sexualidad. (Bruno vuelve de Roma para enterarse que su mejor amiga Tania está saliendo con el chico que quiere, Pol, y lo resuelven por tener un trío en un momento de “jump the shark” en el penúltimo capítulo.) Un alumno pierde su padre a cáncer. 

The last episode gave something that came as a shock, but it made total sense. Merlí suffers a stroke looking at an empty classroom on the last day of classes and later dies. Just as his favourite students were about to graduate and start their lives, they lose their teacher, mentor and friend. The show jumps ahead seven years in time to see how Merlí affected them all.  El último capítulo nos dio un shock pero tiene sentido. Merlí sufre una derrama cerebal mirando su aula vacía en el último día de clases y después se muere. Justo como sus perepàtetics iban a graduarse y empezar sus visas, pierden su profesor, mentor y amigo. Después, se adelanta siete años para ver como Merlí les afectaba. 

With everything going on in Barcelona and Spain at the moment, I feel the show is important because it shows the everyday lives of Catalans. It presents them as real people, imperfect but decent people. Independence is not the most pressing concern on their minds, not even for Elisenda (Sandra Monclús), the only teacher on staff outspoken about an independent Catalunya. They even have another teacher, Gabi (Pau Vinyals), who loves Spain. The seven-year time jump refused to comment on the state of Catalunya. Con todo pasando en Barcelona y España ahora mismo, creo que la serie es importante porque muestra el día al día de los catalanes. Presenta los catalanes como personas reales, imperfectas pero buena gente. La independencia no es la cosa más importante en sus vidas, ni por la personaje independista Elisenda (Sandra Monclús), la única profesora que habla de Catalunya independiente. Incluso tiene otro profesor, Gabi (Pau Vinyals) que le encanta España. Las escenas de 7 años en el futuro no hacen comentario sobre el estatus de Catalunya. 

It also shows that Catalán is not always the preferred language to communicate in. Pol speaks to his family in Spanish and his friends at school in Catalán. También muestra que catalán no siempre es el idioma preferido para comunicar. Por ejemplo, Pol habla con su familia en castellano y sus amigos en el instituto en catalán. 

For me, as someone who has worked in Spanish high school, the series was mostly true-to-life and realistic. I mean, three teachers died in two years on the show, which I’ve never experienced, and no one has been hit by a falling toilet…(it is a telenovela after all). Para mi, alguien que ha trabajado en los institutos españoles, la series normalmente era realista. Bueno, se murieron tres profesores dentro de dos años en la serie, que nunca he vivido, y nadie que conozco ha sido golpeado por un váter cayendo. (Al final es una telenovela). 

Francesc Orella is perfect as the main character, Merlí Bergeron. His son, Bruno, is played by David Solans, and Merlí’s prize student, Pol,  who causes trouble in all his other classes, played by Carlos Cuevas. Bruno’s best friend, Tania, who is in love with Pol, is played by Elisabet Casanovas. Francesc Orella es perfecto como el protagonista, Merlí Bergeron. Su hijo, Bruno, es interpretado por David Solans, y su alumno preferido, Pol, quien causa problemas en todas las otras clases, es interpretado por Carlos Cuevas. La mejor amiga de Bruno, Tania, quien está enamorada de Pol, es interpretada por Elisabet Casanovas. 

Season 1 is on Netflix in the US and other countries, and I’m sure the second and third seasons will follow. Netflix tiene la primera temporada en los EEUU y otros países, y estoy seguro que pronto las próximas dos temporadas estarán disponible también. 

Netflix in Spain!

It’s true! This autumn, Netflix is finally coming to Spain! I miss receiving those DVDs in the mail, although I know they’re not longer really known for that service. I found some incredible Spanish films which helped me in my quest to become bilingual before moving to the Greatest Peninsula in the World. I fondly remember watching El espinazo del diablo, Jamón Jamón, La niña de tus ojos and KM.0 during those years of post university unemployed and return to university.

Now Netflix is known for binge watching television. I’ve wanted an excuse to make a list of twenty shows I think everyone should watch for quite some time now. These are only my random tastes. I know I will leave off some faves, and I know my list will not please everyone. Whenever I see people getting mad at someone internet list, I just say “shrug it off and write your own”. Life would be boring if we all agreed.

I tried to go with shows that stayed amazing (or close to it) during their entire run, which excludes some shows like Dexter, Weeds, and Gossip Girl. I also tried to spread the love between creators/producers, but Alan Ball, Aaron Sorkin, Bryan Fuller and Greg Berlanti are awesome. And while Breaking Bad was addictive television, the show didn’t stay with me much after the finale two years ago. I also didn’t include any current shows, so no Veep, American Horror Story or Fargo. (I know three on this list are coming back in 2016 or 2017 or whenever Netflix gets the cast together.)

Maybe a better name would be my favourite 20 shows. All trailers are fan made or from the producers of the show that I found on YouTube. I don’t know how many will be featured on Netflix in Spain.

  1. Scrubs (2001-2009): Scrubs had eight fantastic seasons and an ill-conceived spin-off marketed as a ninth season. It tells the story of a group of medical interns learning how to become doctors as they learned about themselves and valuable life lessons. Dr. Cox was the reluctant mentor who taught us all it as okay to hate the world and breaking the rules was okay sometimes if it was for a good cause. The show blended humour and drama effortlessly, especially in episodes like “My Old Lady“, “My Screwup”, “My Lunch” and “My Finale.” They even had a musical episode, “My Musical“.
  2. Six Feet Under (2001-2005): Alan Ball’s tale of a dysfunctional family who ran a funeral home. David Fisher (played effortlessly by Michael C. Hall) showed us it was okay to be gay and be in an interracial relationship. The Chenowith family showed us it was okay to be 100% screwed up. And the show taught us that we are all going to die, so live life to the fullest. I found a fake trailer someone put together for it.  If you haven’t heard about the amazing finale…I’m not spoiling it.
  3. Twin Peaks (1990-1991, 201?): “She’s dead, wrapped in plastic.” “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You know, this is, excuse me, a damn fine cup of coffee.” Special Agent Dale Cooper arrives in the small town of Twin Peaks, Washington, to investigate the murder of Laura Palmer, a teenage girl. He instead finds a town full of quirky residents and even stranger happenings. With one of the producers being David Lynch, you know you’re in for a weird, eccentric delight. A trailer can be found here.
  4. Community (2009-2015). A motley group of community college students bond in a Spanish study group and then are forced to save their college from closure. You never know what might happen in the darkest timeline (six seasons NO movie?). The show brilliantly parodies almost every genre at some point. Be on the look out for paintball episodes, Troy and Abed in the morning and the darkest timeline. It will always have 5 million meow meow beenz from me. The Community Season 1 trailer.
  5. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003). Don’t dismiss this as another teen show, or another vampire show, or another superhero. Buffy warns us about the perils of real life while slaying vampires and other demons. Sure, some weird stuff happens, but the show is a metaphor for battling our own personal demons. Buffy is also a heroine who can kick ass and doesn’t need a man (human or vampire) to save her unlike other vampire show heroines. Sarah Michelle Gellar is superb as the title character. A trailer can be seen here.
  6. Arrested Development (2003-2005, 2013, 201?): The Bluths are a wealthy family in Orange County that may or not be a satire of the Bush family. Michael has to keep his family from falling apart and from going to prison, but most of the time he doesn’t really understand why. There’s money in the banana stand, Ann her? Mrs. Featherbottom, Mr. F, the inside jokes are plenty on one of the best sitcoms ever made. We should be getting Season 5, but until it’s confirmed we have four seasons of comic gold. Here are the top 10 running gags.
  7. Friends (1994-2004): The One That Is A Classic Show. The tale of six friends in New York and their misadventures in love and life. Best episode: The One With the embryos. It really is kick-you-in-the-crotch-spit-on-your-neck fantastic. For those who have escaped the phenomenon that is Friends, here is a trailer for the first four seasons.
  8. True Blood (2008-2014): So it has one of the most annoying protagonists ever in Sookie Stackhouse, but the gothic drama, often times a metaphor for gay and human rights vis-a-vis vampire rights, is an adventerous romp from the guy who brought us American Beauty and Six Feet Under. Who cares if Sookie ends up with Bill, Eric or Alycide the Werewolf? The secondary characters like Pam Swynford de Beaufort, Lafayette, Jason, Rev. Steve Newlin and his wife Sarah, Russell Edgenton, Arlene, Tara, Queen Sophie Anne, Antonia Gavilán de Logroño and others were what brought this show to life. Season 1 trailer. And as it’s for the first season, here is the special video for Sh** Pam Says.
  9. Sports Night (1998-2000)/The Newsroom (2012-2014) I put these two together because they are both brilliant, both from Aaron Sorkin and deal with a similar theme: The behind-the-scenes of putting together a sports/news show (You can probably guess which is which). Sports Night put together my fave actress Felicity Huffman with the awesome Peter Krause and added in a dash of Josh Charles, Joshua Malina, Robert Guillaume and Sabrina Lloyd. I don’t care about sports, but I cared about this show. The Newsroom took recent real life events and showed how a fictitious major cable news channel covered them. The news has never been so interesting. Trailer for Sports Night and for The Newsroom
  10. Jack & Bobby (2004-2005) Only one season of the show about two brothers, one who would become president of the United States. No, not that Jack & Bobby. Their mom is a major professor with a pot addiction sleeping with her TA Bradley Cooper, and the brothers are maneuvering high school, all while some future documentary on the President gives hints about what will come. The WB was stupid and cancelled it after one season. The promo for the series premiere can be seen here.
  11. Jericho (2006-2008) The unthinkable happens. The United States is destroyed by a series of nuclear bombs. A small town in Kansas, cut off from the world, tries to rebuild and figure out what happens. A bit Lost, a bit X-Files, a ton of nailbiting suspense awaits in these two seasons. Skeet Ulrich from Scream plays the main character. The trailer can be found here.
  12. The O.C. (2003-2007) Oh Julie Cooper, thank you for making “cougar” a thing. Sandy Cohen didn’t know what he was getting into when he takes in a kid from CHINO. Ryan Atwood’s arrival to the upper class of Orange County makes waves and changes the lives of the Cohens and Coopers forever. And then there is the romance of Seth Cohen and Summer Roberts. The O.C. made teenage dramas cool. Here is the Season 1 Trailer.
  13. Undeclared (2001-2002) Another bungled Fox cancellation. Most people prefer Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks, but as I was a sophomore in uni when this aired, Undeclared always spoke more to me. It’s the story of some misfit freshmen trying to survive their first year of college. Series trailer here.
  14. Wonderfalls (2004): Yep, Fox cancelled a wonderful show after only four episodes. The Bryan Fuller production told the tale of Jane Tyler (Caroline Dhavernas), resident of Niagra Falls, Canada, begins to receive advice from inanimate objects that allows her to find solutions to the lives of friends and passerbys but unable to help her with her unrequited love for the recently married (and who already has problems in the marriage) Eric. It also stars Lee Pace and Traci Thoms. Here is a link to a fan-made trailer.
  15.  Daria (1997-2002). Daria is the animated story of a highly intelligent and sarcastic high schooler girl with a popular sister. For me, it’s the most accurate portrayal of high school life despite being a cartoon. It was how my friends and I communicated, at least. Everyone knew each other, but that didn’t mean we all had to like each other. As Daria says, “she doesn’t have low self-esteem. She just has low esteem for everyone else.” A 2010 DVD trailer doesn’t show much, but this clip captures the essence of the show.
  16. The X-Files (1993-2002, 2016): The show that showed us it was okay to have multi-season story arcs and that the government conspiracies were all around (it aired before the Bush Jr. administration!) Mulder and Scully (played by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) were everywhere in the 90s. We all knew that the truth was out there, to trust no one and to believe the lie because all lies lead to the truth. The show will return in 2016.  Let’s try to forget the bad and remember the good, as this ad for 201 days of The X-Files does.
  17. Everwood (2002-2006): Similar to Northern Exposure in theme, the ongoing serial nature of another Greg Berlanti series improved on it. After the death of his wife, successful New York neurosurgeon Dr. Andy Brown (Treat Williams)  moves his family to the town of Everwood, Colorado, as the last request of his wife. It has some fish-out-of-water moments, but the heart of the show are the relationships, familial, platonic and romantic, the show’s characters find themselves in. It was marketed wrongly as a teenage soap. The Story of Everwood tells it better than I do.
  18. Pushing Daisies (2007-2009): Another Bryan Fuller creation. Ned  (Lee Pace) has the ability to bring anyone back from the dead with just a touch. However, if they continue to live more than a minute, someone else has to die. Ned uses this to solve crimes…until he brings back his childhood sweetheart Chuck (Anna Friel) back from the dead. Yet everyone wanted Ned to touch Chuck and hook up with Olive (Kristen Chenoweth). A fan made trailer can be seen here.
  19. Happy Endings (2011-2013): The best post-Friends pack of friends comedy. The jokes come a mile a minute, and the romantic complications make Ross and Rachel seem to have no obstacles whatsoever. The series preview is here.
  20. Desperate Housewives (2004-2012): The tale of not-so-quiet desperation of four women and their neighbours of Wisteria Lane blended humour, mystery and soap opera dram. (Wisteria Lane would’ve been a much better name as it was about so much more than the housewives). Every season had a season-long mystery, where as week-to-week built upon the adventures and misadventures of life in suburban anytown USA. (Seriously, would Bree ever be friends with Gabrielle or Lynette in real life?) The British trailer captures the essence of the series, as does the American trailer.