Wednesday, May 15, 2019

TV REVIEW: Dead To Me - Season One (Netflix 2019)

TV REVIEW
Dead To Me
Season One
(Netflix 2019)
__________

I waited until I had consumed
all 10 episodes before offering
any personal commentary on
this new Netflix series. It's
gonna be tough to convey my
enthusiasm without casting
spoilers. But I'll do my best.
__________

Created by Liz Feldman, season one of the new Netflix series, Dead to Me, premiered on May 3, 2019. Executive produced by Feldman, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Jessica Elbaum, the 10-episode series presents an impeccable cast and delivers a uniquely irresistible story — one that oozes heart-stopping tension, edge-of-your-seat suspense and plenty of GOTCHA-factor.

The show's official website sums up the story succinctly and spoiler-free — A hotheaded widow, Jen (played by Christina Applegate) searches for the hit-and-run driver who mowed down her husband (Ted) while she befriends an eccentric optimist, Judy (played by Linda Cardellini) who isn't quite who she seems. Let the games begin!

Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini "crush it" in Dead to Me.
Leading the charge as Jen, Applegate first achieved widespread acclaim in the late '80s, co-starring as the bubble-headed, blond beauty, Kelly Bundy, in the iconic comedy TV series, Married.. with Children. More recently, she enjoyed enormous Broadway success in the Tony Award-nominated revival production of Sweet Charity. However, Applegate is endeared to me personally more for her big screen roles in some of my all-time favorite films, including Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, The Sweetest Thing, Surviving Christmas and Employee of the Month. But it is her cameo performance in "Rattlesnake Kisses," the 1990 music video from the LA-based rock band, Electric Angels that still leaves me breathless.

Co-starring as Judy, Jen's "partner in crime," Linda Cardellini first popped onto my personal radar with her scene-stealing performance as Heather the Psychopath in the 1997 hit comedy flick, Good Burger. She would later be nominated for an Emmy Award for her steamy role as Sylvia Rosen in the wildly popular dramatic AMC TV series, Mad Men.

The on-screen chemistry between Applegate and Cardelini is incredible — two supremely talented actresses playing compelling, well-drawn characters in an equally compelling, well-written story. Sort of a modern-day domestic version of Thelma and Louise.

Truth be told, the entire cast is completely up to the task of telling this outrageous tale. Both James Marsden and Valerie Mahaffey are delightfully unlikable in their respective roles as Judy's ex, Steve and Jen's mother-in-law, Lorna. Diana Maria Riva also is rock solid as Ana Perez, the tough-as-nails cop assigned to crack Ted's hit-and-run case. And I was over the moon to discover former Tony Orlando and Dawn singer, Telma Hopkins as Yolanda, a member of Jen and Judy's grief support group.

Simply put, Dead to Me leaves viewers quarantined with the un-peeling of each gasp-inducing storyline layer. Who was where, and when? Who was sleeping with who? The shocking revelation of Jen's brush with breast cancer mirrors that of Applegate's reported real life experience. And while brimming with misguided religious perspectives, it's refreshing that the only one who really has a pure grasp of a "relationship" with Jesus is the seemingly gay character, Christopher, played famously by Max Jenkins.

In sum, clocking in at a combined running time of approximately 5.5 hours, the ten 10 episodes of Dead to Me are thoroughly binge-worthy. Is it un-apologetically "adult" in content? Absolutely. But for me, it's ALL about the "story." And Dead to Me is a sensational story — arguably the shiniest crown jewel of Netflix's original series programming. #MustSeeTV

-Christopher Long
(May 2019)


SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
2012

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

JULE VERA: Pop / Rock Poster Kids Drop "Don't"

JULE VERA
Pop / Rock Poster Kids
Drop "Don't"
__________

Current singer / songwriter phenom, 17-year-old Billie Eilish, grabbed headlines recently with the release of her top-selling debut record, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go. While that alone may be news-worthy, it hardly makes for an earth-shaking story. However, what does make Eilish's newfound success so surprising, and impressive is the rather unconventional manner in which she has built her audience — issuing new songs online, one by one. Huh? No radio push? No physical CDs? How can that be? Welcome to 2006, folks. The times, they are-a-changin'!

But for American pop / rock darlings, Jule Vera, introducing new music online to their devoted growing global flock, one track at a time is a practice they embraced months ago. Earlier this year, the Alabama-based brigade released the irresistible new single, Gum. And just a few days ago, they dropped their latest track, "Don't."

You "don't" wanna miss the
new single from Jule Vera.
(Hear it NOW on YouTube)

Simply put, "Don't" is a glorious stylistic mash-up of sorts — bursting with infectious Kate Bush-flavored melody and fueled (seemingly) by hypnotic Halsey-inspired beats. The lyrics reveal angelic frontchick, Ansley Newman, taunting and teasing a delusional would-be suitor, while measures of guitar-driven, electronic pop drip from the digital grooves like warm, sticky, supah-sah-weet honey. 

A collaborative effort between Newman, bassist William Stacey, guitarist Jake Roland and drummer Kyle Horvath, “Don't" further showcases Jule Vera’s ever-maturing songwriting talent and production savvy — resulting in a sinfully delicious aural seduction — one you "don't" wanna miss. Taste the magic for yourself, NOW on Spotify.

-Christopher Long
(May 2019)
__________

JULE VERA ONLINE
__________




SUPERSTAR -
__________

SHOUT IT OUT LOUD -
(2014)
__________

C'MON! -
2012

Thursday, May 2, 2019

MY TOP 10 TUNES OF 1979 (Guest Feature by Jesse Tanner Long)

MY TOP 10
TUNES OF 1979
(Guest Feature by Jesse Tanner Long)
__________

It was a lifetime ago. Yet, the
music of '79 was so powerful,
even (some) youngintoday
remain affected by the magic.
That said, 25-year-old pop
culture aficionado and ice
cream chemist, Jesse Long
returns with his latest list.
Spoiler: This kid has pretty
eclectic musical taste.
__________

10
SCORPIONS
__________

9
JOE JACKSON
__________

8
ELO
__________

7
CHRISTOPHER CROSS
__________

6
THE CARS
__________

5
MICHAEL JACKSON
__________

4
THE TUBES
__________

3
VAN HALEN
__________

2
THE BABYS
__________

1
THE KNACK

-Jesse Long
(May 2019)
__________

CONTACT JESSE TANNER LONG
Twitter and Instagram @freezerp 
Email JesseTannerLong@gmail.com
__________

BE MY "GUEST!"

Do you have something to say, something to get off your chest or an amazing story to share? From pop culture views and reviews to political commentary to messages of faith, my website is a great platform for writers to showcase their work. There are very limited criteria for submitting a post. Your views don't even have to be in line with mine — just create and contribute a compelling, well-written story. Interested? Send me and email.

-Chris
AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com