Once upon a time in America, office workers would gather around the water cooler and discuss the show they were watching. Mad Men, Sopranos, Stranger Things, or maybe Game of Thrones…television series featuring great writing, intriguing stories and great casts that gave us a lot to discuss. These shows connected us. Many people stayed up way too late binging an entire season or waited impatiently for the next installment while hoping their favorite character wasn’t killed off. We urged others to watch so we could talk about the series and tried not to leak any spoilers to ruin the fun for them.
Now that we’re all sequestered and our discussions have moved online or to video chats, along comes Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem & Madness. A sensationalized saga of outlandish characters that director Eric Goode began as an indictment of the underground world of big cat breeding. Many of us tuned in to the Netflix series after hearing others talk about what a train wreck the show is…you can’t believe this is a true crime DOCUMENTARY. Who would think that these were real people and yet, they somehow not only exist; they have developed a cult following of workers and staff.
In normal times, would audiences have been drawn into this too-crazy-to-be-true series? Would there be debates over whether Carole Baskin killed her husband? And would our President be considering a pardon for the star, Joe Exotic (Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage)? I think what captured everyone’s attention is the way the story unfolds with revelations that become more incredible at each turn. With anxiety high from worrying about the Pandemic, watching this red-neck circus of misfits and Svengalis — who believe they’re above the law – well, it certainly takes your mind off the present.
Did you feel that you needed a shower after watching more than one episode? Could you feel your brain cells leaking out of your ears as you watched Joe Exotic blow things up? Did it make you cringe each time Joe Exotic trashed his rival or dressed a doll to look like her and shot at it? Sadly, the message about how awful it is to breed big cats in captivity and sell them to zoos and private owners was lost each time the camera panned over a crowd fawning over a darling cub. Exposing this underworld of criminals did call attention to the egos of men that are driven to own exotic creatures and the tragedy that often befalls the neglected or abused animals. Many celebrities known for owning big cats have taken to social media to admit that it was wrong to display them as living trophies.
As a palate cleanser, might I recommend a double feature starring Margot Robbie? She starred in two very different films that arrived at the cinemas and were not given the chance for audiences to discover them. One film she also produced. I’m not a fan of violent films even if it’s one starring women yet, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, directed by Cathy Yan, is almost a screwball comedy. A candy-colored live action cartoon, Margot Robbie’s damaged anti-hero collects a rag tag gang of young women to fight off the foppish villain played by Ewan McGregor. There’s a great fight scene in a funhouse, some hilarious dialogue and a sense of empowerment for the characters. They might not be gals that’ll follow the rules but they’re free and can unite to help each other shine. This is a fast-paced madcap adventure that’ll take your mind of things.
Comic book movies not your cup of tea? How about another Margot Robbie vehicle that landed her an Academy Award nomination? Bombshell is a tense psychological thriller that depicts the sexual predator Roger Ailies in his viper’s nest at Fox News. The film has amazing transformations of John Lithgow and Charlize Theron and they embody the two leads in astonishing turns. Charlize Theron is almost unrecognizable. Margot Robbie’s young Christian newscaster is the heart of the film. Her beauty and naivety make the abuse that more cruel. This is definitely a “message film” but it’s also an engrossing look inside a media outlet that’s propped up this presidency. See if for the amazing performances and you’ll find yourself drawn into this look at what happens in many head honcho’s offices worldwide.
Drinks with Films ratings
Tiger King: 1 Pabst Blue Ribbon beer guzzled right from the can (out of 5)
Birds of Prey: 2 super sweet soda fountain drinks spiked with arsenic (out of 5)
Bombshell: 3 glasses of wine chugged while refreshing your news feed (out of 5)