The Sunday Stream

So is it too soon talk about the Netflix limited series True Story? Is it too soon to discuss all of the madness that took place during those seven heart-pounding episodes that were put together to place Kevin Hart on hallowed ground as a dramatic actor? No for real, is it too soon to say how much hate I had for Wesley Snipes’s character? Like, I really wanted to punch him in the face at least once during each episode. Well, maybe it’s too soon to break down every part of the series, which only debuted at the start of the extended Thanksgiving weekend, but it’s not too early to talk about the performances. To make folks aware that it’s out there. To give True Story, even with its uneven storyline, the spotlight it rightly deserves.

There’s a scene in the very first episode of True Story that sets the tone for the entire series. I won’t say exactly what it is but I will say that it involved Hart and Billy Zane. Trust me, when you see what happens you’ll know that this isn’t your friendly neighborhood drama series. It sets off a chain of events that get more unbelievable as they go along. And that’s not necessarily a good thing for the writers or the audience.

TRUE STORY (L to R) WESLEY SNIPES as CARLTON and KEVIN HART as KID in episode 101 of TRUE STORY Cr. ADAM ROSE/NETFLIX © 2021

As stated above, Kevin Hart stars in the latest of his collaborations with Netflix that have included his comedy specials as well as the film Fatherhood, which dropped earlier this year. He plays a comedian/actor named Kid that is the darling of Hollywood, much like his current real life persona. Wesley Snipes plays his older brother Carlton, who is always scheming and plotting to get as much money from his brother as possible. It’s a role that Snipes seems to embrace and plays with such distaste and connivery, you honestly want to see his demise.

Here you understand that Kid is supposed to be the “good” brother, the one that made everything out of nothing, the one that’s on his way to superstardom through hard work and mega charm. And when you finally meet Carlton, you can see that he’s up to something. That he’s always up to something. And from there, the series doesn’t let up off the gas. It’s twist after twist and turn after turn, and even though we’re told it’s been that way since they were kids, seeing it play out in real time makes it even more disturbing.

Again, no spoilers here but what I will say is that the cliffhangers kept me somewhat intrigued. Unlike with a film, the brief breaks between episodes allowed those watching to catch their collective breath. The series also stars some of my favorite performers including Paul Adelstein (Private Practice), Will Catlett (Love Is, Lovecraft Country) and Lauren London (ATL).

Were there plot holes? Yes. Were there things that you could tell were coming from a mile away? Definitely. Were there characters (Theo Rossi, John Ales, Chris Diamantopoulos) that were caricatures? Without a doubt. Were there storylines that should’ve been fleshed out more? Absolutely. While the plane scene had a great callback and a satisfying conclusion, it would’ve also been great to see or hear more from Kid’s head writer (Tammy Newsome) and what it was like as the lone woman constantly attempting to assert herself in a room and industry full of men.

And to me, that’s the issue with the entire series. There were a few too many over the top scenes that felt unnecessary. Also, there’s no way I should be sitting on my couch predicting what’s coming next. An over-the-top drama shouldn’t be predictable. It was probably one of those scripts that looking amazing on paper, but the execution of it proved to be unfulfilling. Yes, Hart deserves the obligatory “NT” for nice try for his performance, but as much as this should’ve been the vehicle that drove him into nomination territory, he, Snipes and the rest of the cast couldn’t elevate the bad writing.

Unfortunately, that’s the truth about this story.

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Not gonna lie, this second season of South Side on HBO Max has had me laughing out loud. Repeatedly. The fifth episode, which featured a whole storyline on foot modeling, will stay with me forever. And Episode 7, with the clowns… Still. Laughing.

Speaking of HBO, if you haven’t checked out the DMX: Don’t Try to Understand documentary on the late rapper and his mindset during his final year here on Earth, please do so immediately. It’s well done and deserves your attention.

I feel like we’re gonna need to have a conversation with television. I think I speak for everyone when I say that none of us need to see any more COVID storylines. We’ve lived it, we’re still living it, we’ve lost people due to it, and all of that is more than enough. I promise. We watch television to escape reality. Seriously.

This week’s episode of Swagger dug deep into the COVID bag, and seeing the masks and protocols did make my face curl up. However, there were scenes during the episode that made me love the series even more. I’m referring to the diner scene and the locker room scene. Bravo to those young men.

Also, I’m still of the belief that Quvenzhane Wallis’ storyline is getting short shrift. I know the series is about the Swagger team, but she needs more screen time. That story needs more exploration. There are three episodes left in the season. Hopefully that will happen.

It makes me smile to see that this week’s episode of Insecure will be directed by my favorite actor from the series, Natasha Rothwell. I understand it’s sad that the series is coming to an end, but I honestly can’t wait to see what this young lady has coming next. She’s such a brilliant force. #HBO

Planes, Trains and Automobiles is one of the best holiday films ever made. Don’t debate me on this. Steve Martin and John Candy deliver a masterclass on the buddy comedy genre. Every year while watching this classic I catch something new to make me laugh out loud. So, so good.

What are you watching? Please leave a comment and let me know.

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