Wednesday, February 27, 2013

House of Cards: Come On Baby Fight My Liar

Netflix set out to prove they could do an original series every bit as good as a Showtime or HBO production. They've succeeded.

Kevin Spacey is on that list. You know the list. Actors that are just stupidly fun to watch. He's bigger than the parts he plays. And that's a pretty short list of actors. People like Johnny Depp, Edward Norton, Robert Deniro, Ward Anderson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, etc. They bring something to the parts they play that your typical teen movie star will never understand or obtain. And Kevin Spacey rocks as a southern dandy. It's a part he has played before.

If you escalate a situation from zero to fuck-no too quickly, it becomes a farce. Not to say there aren't some amazingly well done works of farce. John Updike or Michael Malone write them effortlessly. Still, it takes a damn genius to slowly and gradually turn the volume up. It's just too easy to get full of yourself as a writer and want to race ahead, all impatient. House of Cards turns the knob so slowly, you aren't even aware it's happening until the floor drops out from under you. And the rewards are phenomenal.

You get that they tried to save some cash by casting some very talented unknowns, and some longer in the tooth veterans. But damn. The direction and the writing are damn near flawless, and they are getting amazing performances out of all their cast members. The camera work has thought put into it. Some of it is damn brilliant. There's a continuity with the way scenes are shot, but you never feel like you are being dragged around by a nostril.


Additionally, unlike bullshit shows like Bones (see hate filled review), House of Cards is actually filmed in DC sometimes (and Baltimore sometimes). You will see things you recognize. I take bike rides down the bike path out of Georgetown frequently to the cemetery in Arlington and back. Sure enough, I saw a scene on that path and thought "Oh, I was just there yesterday right where she's standing in that scene". It lends an air of legitimacy to film on location.

And despite the fact you know they did the show on a budget, it doesn't FEEL like they did it on a budget. That's a very rare phenomenon for shows that don't include a ton of CGI. No gaffs jump out at you and ruin your suspension of disbelief. It starts (the theme song plays for perhaps 30 seconds too long) and after that you are in the House of Cards until it ends. Riveted.

But the best part? No waiting. You give Netflix 7 or 8 bucks, and you can watch all 13 episodes on your computer, or WII or Xbox or computer or what-have-you. Bam, ironman that fucker. Watch it all.

Watch this show. Pray something horrible doesn't happen to stop the second season from coming. And don't hate them too badly for the cliffhanger at the end of the last episode of the season. Because you won't see it coming, and you'll appreciate that it's there. Too many shows puss out of the cliffhanger season ending now. It was nostalgic to see it again.

I love House of Cards.

Love you too,