Choices have consequences.
I love dark. And depressing too. But mostly “Ozark” is just dark. Why is it so satisfying?
Because in a life of phoniness we want reality played back to us. We want to feel honest emotions.
And we love story.
That’s what the short attention span theatre people don’t get, those who keep going on about people having no ability to focus, making everything more brief, distilling it down to the hook, we want to go deep, we want to grab hold and go for the ride. We want to see how it all turns out. Because life is a long complicated journey with unforeseen twists and turns that will take you places you heretofore couldn’t contemplate. Some of them good, most of them bad.
That’s the truth. Life is about loss. If you’re lucky, you emerge from the womb intact. And from there it’s downhill. Your parents don’t give you enough attention. You’re not good at school. You fall down and get hurt. You get dumped. The key is to pick yourself up and keep going because life is about hope, and when you lose that you’re finished.
And ironically, watching these extended series gives you hope.
“Game of Thrones” will take you away. And escape can be good, but I’m eager for a touch of reality, with a twist, like on “Ozark.”
Now here comes the spoiler alert. If you’re gonna watch this Netflix series, stop here. Because art is best when you’ve got no idea what is coming. Which is why modern reviews suck and I don’t get seeing a flick over and over again. I want a fresh experience, just like life. You wake up and walk out the front door and you’ve got no idea what will happen.
And you’ve got no idea what will happen in the first ten minutes of “Ozark,” you have no idea what it’s about.
And then you do.
Let’s just say that Marty Byrde made a bad choice.
And he’s living with the consequences of that.
That’s the problem with life. What seems inconsequential today has devastating effects tomorrow. You slack in high school and then you find you can’t get into a good college. You’re too anxious to stop and put on a condom and now she’s pregnant. And the truth is we’ve all experienced these situations, this private angst. How do we get out of it?
Some people run. Those without character.
Character is everything in this life. Far superior to money. There are plenty of lying, stealing rich people who have money but little else. They trust nobody but themselves and believe accumulation and power are everything. But that’s untrue, relationships are key, you’ve got to do the right thing or be wary of your choice changing the rest of your life.
Now we’re all tempted a bit.
And we need to be broken from our cocoons.
But the irony is those ruling today, the Silicon Valleyites, did the hard work we were unwilling to do. Or didn’t see on the horizon. All that studying, being labeled a nerd. Life is long. You don’t want to top out in high school.
So Marty Byrde does not have the luxury of saying no. Not whatsoever. His back is up against a wall, he can neither pussyfoot nor waste time. He has to make one decision after another, it’s literally life or death.
Now few situations are like this. But what would you do when pressed against the wall. Cry for mommy? Pray to God? They don’t work. You’ll fall or get shot anyway.
And crisis supersedes petty disagreements, even major disagreements. You’ve got to come together to conquer, and people rise to the occasion.
Or they don’t.
The criticism is right. “Ozark” gets the vibe right, but the plot not so much. And unlike the best of “House of Cards,” there are few life lessons, few nuggets.
But the emotions…
You think your fancy degree will triumph against the nincompoop hillbillies you degrade? As if your education and breeding are a trump card?
Irrationality rules. You might think two steps ahead, but someone else might be running on emotion.
So the world can be split into two types of people. Those who believe in instant gratification, running on their emotions, and those who navigate on the highway and never hit the guard rails. To win, you’ve got to walk the wire in between. You’ve got to have your wits about you.
I thought about all this while watching “Ozark.”
You should watch it too.