TV Binge: Orange is the New Black [Season 4, 2016]

***Sorry for the inconsistent posts. I’ve needed a little break to just relax and take it easy.***

Out of everything, I chose Orange is the New Black to be the series that I’m totally on track with. Season 4 was recently released on Netflix a few weeks ago on June 17th. I can’t say that I remember a lot of Season 3 but here is the review of it HERE.

I can’t say that I’m incredibly excited to see this since I remember Season 3 being slightly lackluster. It was better than Season 2 but not as good as the epic Season 1.  I’m keeping an open mind for Season 4. With the craziness that Orange Is the New Black always ends with, we’re bound for at least a slight adventure.

Before we start, for those who haven’t seen previous seasons, there will be spoilers so I urge you to drop by again when you’re all updated. Unless you don’t mind spoilers, then keep reading! 🙂

Orange is the New Black
[Season 4, 2016]

orange is the new black

Cast: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Michael Harney, Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Dascha Polanco, Samira Wiley, Nick Sandow, Yael Stone, Taryn Manning, Natasha Lyonne, Diane Guerrero, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Constance Shulman, Laura Gomez, Kimiko Glenn, Dale Soules, Alan Aisenberg, Brad William Henke

Season Four of Orange is the New Black starts with where we ended the previous one. The inmates of Litchfield has gone through the wiring and is splashing around in the water outside. Caputo sends for help, Chapman wants people to bath in her scheme and realize how badass she is, and Crazy Eyes gets convinced to stay outside even after the guards come out to get them. Regardless of how out of control this all turns out, nothing beats Alex’s suspicions coming true and the consequences that follow especially pulling into more and more people into that mess and exposing us to a deeper look into Lolly and Frieda in particular.  I’m not going to lie when the first episode of season 4 started, I was so confused but they made a good effort to help jog memories and wrap up what happened in the previous finale (kind of) and start up some new issues.

orange is the new black

It is hard to say how I feel about Season 4. There a lot of great individual bits in every episode but the first half of the season had some pacing issues that just didn’t keep me sitting around for very long. Usually I’d walk away after one episode and come back later to continue the season. If you use the norm of the previous seasons, that never happened before. However, the second half of the season or maybe a little earlier just built in awesomeness. It felt like the main thing this season did and was wildly apparent is that being in prison changes you no matter how you were outside and there are things you just can’t avoid doing to survive.

The main downfall of the series at this point is that they have put in so many characters and so many directions that there isn’t really anyone we can connect with anymore. Its no longer about Piper as it was in Season 1 with Alex and getting to know everyone. The backstories are not going into some other characters and remain some of the highlights of the show, making us understand further the characters that have been in the background since the beginning. While they still have bigger issues that they work hard to highlight throughout the show, certain characters do pop up and then I always question, “Oh right, she’s there. What’s her name again?”

orange is the new black

Now that the complaints are out. I think we need to look at what stood out.

Alex’s situation and the body which implicates Lolly, brings in Freida and eventually more and more people into the know

This situation actually lead us to know more about the crazy Lolly who we realize is delusional. Using that delusion, the situation gets a little better and worse depending on where we were. It also brought out a super brutal Freida who is really quiet but also pretty intense in such a calm way. She is kind of like the voice of extreme reason but everyone chooses to ignore but they don’t want to touch that area. It also pretty much brings Alex and Piper’s relationship back to the front.

Pennsatucky and Coates (continuation from the previous season)

One of my favorite parts of Season 3 was Pennsatucky and her story and leading onto what happened with Coates where he basically raped her so she is taking measures to protect herself. This is how her friendship with Boo has grown. Coates however seems like he doesn’t really understand what went on but at times, there are vibes that he might be just manipulative or changed from all this prison job and authority is getting to his head. He has a deeper story and its one I’d like to see more of in Season 5.

orange is the new black

 Caputo and Finding a Balance

 Caputo is a really frustrating character. On one hand, we have gone to know that he isn’t a bad guy. In fact, we do learn that he has the best intentions in mind except he is so easily manipulated into doing stuff. And he has this huge fear of losing whatever it is that he has. When he decides to take matters into his own hands, he realizes that the authority he wanted is gone because he ended doing so much behind the scenes that he no longer was even in the scene. The question now is how he’ll pick up those pieces in Season 5. And because of that, he also leads to the next problem that is quite key to Season 4.

The Guards

The new system coming in meant needing more guards especially since the old ones decided to leave (or most of them at least). We still have Coates and Bayley sticking around because they pretty much are useless guards with zero experience. Bayley is actually a really great character to learn more about. He doesn’t deserve to be where he was at the end of this one. While he did something bad, its hard to hate him for it either. It seemed like the circumstances was too harsh for him in general to be in. I truly hope that he doesn’t have to come back because this is one thing that he won’t get over because he truly just a kid. On the other hand, the new guards are a lot to talk about. They think they are high and mighty because they are veterans. All my respect to them but these new guards have got issues. Huge ones. As we learn more and more about them, they definitely lean into some very messed up territory (especially Humphrey) that Season 4 strangely doesn’t seem to have a lot of…other than non-guard related Lorna and her new husband. Some of these new guards made me want to punch them in the face and got me angry. I guess it means they did their roles well.

Aside from that, there was a whole focus on Piper and her illegal panty business that gets taken from her in a way. Its a war that brings everything down and goes all wrong when the prison turns into making the gangs even more apparent. Healy has a situation where we start learning more about him. There are back stories now for Maritza that I thought was good but lacked some depth linking into the messed up guards. Lolly’s back story was by far the most entertaining to watch. The funny bits mostly had to do with the new celebrity Judy King entering into the scene. And the most tragic one goes to Poussey dying leaving a heartbroken Taystee and Soso but that also made the final episode learning about Poussey so much more heartbreaking especially since she was a really great character and one with a wonderful personality and heart.

I hyper-analyzed the whole Season 4 at this point so I’m going to stop. Orange is the New Black lacked something at the beginning but it definitely picked up to add some depth to a good few characters and highlighted a lot of debatable issues. The finale is one of the biggest cliffhangers and for that, I look forward to Season 5 next year. Finally, we zero back into Dayanara who now is all alone with a lot of amped up feelings buried inside from trying to get the custody of her child back to her mom being released and still healing from the man who she thought she loved Bennett that never did return. The wait is going to be hard. Its been a while I’ve felt that way about Orange is the New Black and I missed this feeling!

Have you seen Orange is the New Black? 

Netflix A-Z: The Overnight (2015)

Next up on in the Netflix A-Z is The Overnight.  Its a rather spontaneous choice on my part. Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling seems like a good pair-up.  I don’t have much of an issue with either of them although Adam Scott hasn’t really done anything that I’m particularly fond of but I feel like he just hasn’t found the movie that works for him completely.  Maybe this one is, right?

Let’s check it out! 🙂

The Overnight (2015)

The Overnight

Director (and writer): Patrick Brice

Cast: Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godreche, R. J. Hermes, Kyle Field

Alex, Emily, and their son, RJ, are new to Los Angeles. A chance meeting at the park introduces them to the mysterious Kurt, Charlotte, and Max. A family “playdate” becomes increasingly interesting as the night goes on.-IMDB

 The Overnight is one of those movies that kind of grow on you.  Its rather weird and quirky.  It hints at a swinger sort of night but surprisingly doesn’t quite deliver it exactly.  I didn’t quite enjoy some of the humor and some scenes were a little stupidly uncomfortable to watch (for me).  I can’t say that this is one I’d frequently go back to watch again but I can’t deny that I did have a relatively good time.  Its one of those movies that want to dive into something shallow and you keep waiting for that formulaic moment to start but it never quite does because it goes into a deeper tangent about marriage and relationships. Its pretty refreshing to watch something that surprises quite a bit in turning what was expected into something rather unpredictable.   But, this does still have quite a bit of nudity even if there are fake penises flopping about and then breasts.  Man, I don’t even want to think about the pornographic hits after I wrote that sentence….

The Overnight

Our main couple here is Alex and Emily, played by Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling, respectively.  Just like new couples moved here, they want to make new friends.  Within the first few moments, we already have a good grasp of who these characters are and a little bit about their personality.  I feel like Taylor Schilling never quite goes all out as much as she is in Orange is the New Black but then she always has a character that has a lot of emotions inside rather than out.  But then, she was the “smart” one here that saw a “bad” situation before it happens while her husband, played by Adam Scott, didn’t.  Adam Scott has a knack for playing these sort of roles: a little inner weakness, not so confident.  But then I don’t feel like I’ve seen enough of his movies to know.  There’s Krampus and Bachelorette. Maybe there’s something else.  He’s a little awkward and probably fits in his role well enough. But then, the humor doesn’t exactly dawn from him but the other couple.  I’ll talk about them in a moment but that’s not saying that they didn’t have a few moments that worked also but mostly when in conversations with the other couple’s interactions.

The Overnight

Now, the main weirdo couple here is this mysterious Kurt and Charlotte, played by Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godreche.  Right from the get-go, Kurt comes off as an odd character with a very questionable sense of humor.  They hide what they do quite a bit and they come off strange, like they have a secret agenda going on.  Well, for us viewers, its that we start getting more and more hints that they are trying to seduce Alex and Emily in the most awkward way.  They bring up weird conversations and share their bizarre passions.  Except they do it so naturally that it slowly becomes their character.  As we move along, we realize that this couple that seems to have everything from big penis to sexy body seems to really not be all that happy with where they are.  Something about them is definitely off and just like we peel back on the layers of problem with Alex and Emily, we start seeing theirs exposed step by step also.

That is the charm of The Overnight.  Its characters, their odd and awkward moments and the hidden message that this movie was trying to expose with a much more fun and frisky sort of front.  The Overnight is a lot of things but to me, they truly did succeed at breaking out from the normal cliches.  Its a movie that while I was watching, I didn’t realize I was invested in the characters and how much I enjoyed it until it ended.

Overall, The Overnight is a fun little indie film.  Its characters brings out the story while adding a little humor and entertainment.  It does share something more despite what it looks like it is trying to do.  However, this is a comedy and those are subjective.   I can’t exactly recommend it but if you like quirky and weird indie films, you might enjoy this one. 🙂

TV Binge: Orange is the New Black [Season 3]

I have to admit… It feels pretty good to be on top of things for once. I mean, I’m behind a ton of TV but I finished Season 3 of Orange is the New Black over the weekend.  I guess, there isn’t anything better than lounging in bed or in the office chair when I’m feeling sick.  That’s about the only time I sit still for so long. Anyways, its done and Season 4 is set to happen for next year. Although, I’ll tell you if I am excited for it or not afterwards.

To be honest, I wasn’t exactly excited for Season 3 to happen.  Sure, Piper is starting to feel more and more messed up and there’s a whole lot of unresolved issues going on.  Plus, we left off Season 2 looking like the big bad villain may have been killed off.  There’s a lot of crazy going on and change is about to go down.  That’s for sure! Before I start jumping into spoiler territory and if you haven’t seen Season 1 or 2 and plan to, just don’t read this, ok? I’ll understand 🙂

For the rest of us, let’s check it out!!

Orange is the New Black [Season 3]

Orange is the New Black

Creator: Jenji Kohan

Cast: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Michael Harney, Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Dascha Polanco, Samira Wiley, Nick Sandow, Selenis Leyva, Yael Stone, Taryn Manning

The story of Piper Chapman, a woman in her thirties who is sentenced to fifteen months in prison after being convicted of a decade-old crime of transporting money for her drug-dealing girlfriend. – IMDB

Orange is the New Black in its third season is something that I really didn’t know how it’d go.  I was a huge fan of Season 1, then kind of half half with Season 2.  Season 3 had the potential to just crash and burn if it didn’t bring it something new to the show.  There’s only so much of Piper and Alex or Lorna fantasizing over her imaginary dude, or even Red fighting to have dominance over the kitchen or wherever else and let’s not forget the so far pretty in the background, Dayanara’s pregnant situation and then who knew what other shenanigans Taystee and her girls were going to get into, right? Especially now that Vee is out of the picture.  Then we have the bigger issue which kind of happens halfway through where Litchfield has gone private. It was really not a choice, because it was either that or closing down completely and with Caputo in the top management now, he’s not going to go down without a fight.

orange is the new black

 While Orange is the New Black is about Piper and her stay in prison, I feel that this time around they still gave her character a good bit of development to look deeper into her inner psyche.  Maybe she’s not that goody two shoes at all and she’s just hitting the fact that she’s pretty intense herself in her own little way.  Plus, she enjoys this whole criminal mastermind business even if she likes to think she is feeling guilty about it. Or maybe prison is changing her.  There are a ton of possibilities of why she is the way she is.  What I do know is that Piper’s mentality/personality going downhill is kind of a highlight.  Who likes to see the goody two shoes stay that way? We watch this stuff to see the dramatic bits go through.  What is nice is that she’s finally  embracing her sexuality in a way where she’s accepting the whole “getting a girlfriend” bit. But you know, there’s only so much about Piper that I’d like to talk about because her character is getting a little tiring.  What I liked a lot more this time was Piper and Alex.  And just how Alex also has changed because she has more to worry about now that she’s back in Litchfield.

orange is the new black

For me though, the best part of the series has always been the back story of everyone else. In this case, we got to take a look at the side characters that were overshadowed by everyone else.  We saw those that we’ve always wondered, at least I have.  Some bigger players which we’ve never seen their stories that I liked was Boo, Pennsatucky, Chang, Leanne, Norma and even Aleida (I mean, who doesn’t want to know why Dayanara and her mom has this kind of hateful relationship). I mean, on top of the inmates, this time we even saw the backstories of the officers like Joe Caputo and Bennett which was a little insignificant to me but at least it expands our understanding of the characters. In general, the understanding of the people in Litchfield we’re dealing with is a lot more clear and that is definitely a good thing.

Orange is the New Black

While the main people in Orange is the New Black still keeps the show running, and some smaller roles get a more regular appearance, there are still new characters showing up.  While Piper does get tiring, the new character Stella, played by Ruby Rose is a nice addition.  For one, she’s got style and a whole lot of it and there’s something intriguing that she brings to the show. Then the real comedy comes with introducing the private corporate dudes that hire a bunch of nobodies as correctional officers and there’s a ton of eye-rolling laughs right there.

**Side note: did you see Ruby Rose’s short film called Breaking Free? Its pretty cool!

Orange is the New Black’s Season 3 isn’t perfect and there was a few moments where I just left and took a breather.  Not exactly binge-worthy material but to me, it changes the pace a little and steps back to let us reacquaint with some of the main players in the show a little more and gives us a better understanding of the “lesser” roles. My favorite story has to be Chang’s though.  Not because its Chinese and I actually didn’t have to read the subtitles but because Chang is the most random character who does the weirdest things but we get a peek into her life.  The same goes for Norma. For once, its not just about the ladies but also about the guys running the show on the outside.  Its about ending some of the situations that have been around since Season 1 and that’s what I like to see: progress.  Because I can’t keep watching Daya be pregnant for 3 years, for example.

I guess thats what I liked about this one. It wasn’t a lot of dramatic crazy stuff going on but it was progress and that’s what I enjoyed about it. I mean, there’s obviously a ton more but I’m trying to stay as far away from spoiler territory as I can and I’m sure I forgot to mention something that I liked but, overall, its a good season.  That ending kind of makes me wonder where Season 4 will go.  Am I super enthusiastic? Not really. But I’m definitely going to check it out when it comes out next year.

Have you finished Season 3 of Orange is the New Black? What are your thoughts on it?

Valentine’s Marathon: The Lucky One (2012)

The Lucky One is the first movie in this marathon where I have not read the book and know absolutely nothing about the movies.  Fresh eyes, fresh mind and I’m always open-minded with no judgment going in.  I have my Nicholas Sparks mood set in and I’m ready for any amount of romance and tragedy he’s ready to throw at me.  My Kleenex box is conveniently located nearby…lets check it out, shall we?

the lucky one posterDirector: Scott Hicks

Cast: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner, Riley Thomas Stewart, Jay R. Ferguson

Former Marine Logan (Zac Efron) returns home to Colorado after three tours.  During those tours, after a raid, he found a picture of a woman with the words “Keep Safe” written behind it.  After being unable to find the rightful owner, he keeps it with him and it turns out that he believes that its his lucky charm as he survives many near death situations that others don’t.  When he comes back home, he traces the background landmark of the photo and decide to go find her in Louisiana (I think).  While there, he finds out that her name is Beth Green (Taylor Schilling) and a divorced mother who owns a pet boarding school.  Seeing her there, Logan can’t find the words to explain how he got there but fortunately, despite Beth’s initial negative response in assuming that he was looking for a job there, her grandmother (Blythe Danner) hires him to help out.  Beth starts slowly learning more about Logan and they become drawn to each other despite her ex-husband’s disapproval and threats to take  away her son. At the same time, his secret is in danger of being revealed as well.

the lucky one zac taylorI had no idea what to expect for The Lucky One since I didn’t really know much about it.  I remember having a glimpse of the trailer when it was first released and I never really go on the boyish Zac Efron train despite finding enjoyment with High School Musical a few years back.  Looking at it, this seems to be his first role where he’s being an adult with some drama attached to him.  Feels a bit like the sudden transition of I had when Daniel Radcliffe went from Harry Potter to his married man role in The Woman in Black.  I have to admit that I kind of like Zac Efron here. His character, Logan has a charm and attractiveness and he’s that protective manly guy that appeals to me. I don’t see Zac Efron ever being a great actor but then , what do I know..I haven’t seen that much from him.  All I’m really saying is that Logan worked for me. the lucky one zac efron

After talking about the leading man ( which is actually rare in Nicholas Sparks novels),  we have our leading lady, Beth, played by Taylor Schilling. I haven’t seen any movies/TV with her (and no, I did not see Orange Is the New Black). Still, the chemistry between her and Zac Efron was awesome.  I started getting the vibes I got when I was watching A Walk to Remember.  Its sweet (in a more mature way), and more intense since they had a lot of intense making out, kissing, sex, you know, adult stuff.  I was actually waiting for something more intense to happen eventually in these romance because they were all so tame…not that thats what defines love connection but anyways, I like it in this one 🙂

the lucky one glory fleeting

After watching a few after A Walk to Remember that didn’t work because of the story, or characters or the actors, this one felt like it fit perfect.  It was a breath of fresh air.  It had some sweet lines, a really good chemistry and a nice romance with certain difficulties.  Its more mature and yet, makes you feel young because its about finding that lucky person that makes you smile and laughs with you to just encourage you to follow what you want.  Its really good, ok? I was pleasantly surprised 🙂 Plus, it had lots of adorable dogs, cute kid and witty/inspirational grandma.  The main theme in this is destiny and I’m a sucker for that also.  I believe everything happens for a reason and all that stuff.

Nicholas Sparks adaptations always have a formula set in different scenarios, sometimes, they work well and sometimes, not so great.  This is definitely one of the better ones.  You can expect me to get that book sometime soon.  I’ve learned that if the movie is good, the novel is probably going to be great 🙂

What are your thoughts on The Lucky One? What do you think about Zac Efron and any movies that he’s been in that has made an impression on you?

One more to go before this marathon ends, remember to check back tomorrow and I have something special for all of you also! 🙂