By Genevieve Kelly, Film writer & Barefoot Cinema marketing and partnerships manager
Entertaining, engrossing and (sometimes) educational, this trio of fiction flavours will get your blood pumping, your spirits soaring and your brain ticking over. Matso's has teamed up with Barefoot Cinema to deliver you a list of must-see shows and films. And of course, thery're best paired with a perfectly matched Matso’s inspired drink or cocktail.
Actor Jason Bateman has produced and directed part of this Breaking Bad-esque series in which he also stars as a man struggling pay off a substantial debt to a Mexican drug lord. And TBH, with this offering, he surprisingly redeems his history of low-grade rom-coms that many might associate him with.
The scenario: two clean-cut Chicago financial planners Marty Byrde (Bateman), and his business partner Bruce Lidell (Josh Randall) are laundering money for a Mexican cartel. When things go pear-shaped, Byrde is forced to relocate with his family to the small-town Missouri Ozarks, in order to repay one serious debt. But the quaint veneer of his new locality conceals a dark underbelly, including its very own drug ring and a multitude of criminal masterminds who not only complicate Byrde’s plans, but threaten the lives of him, his family, and anyone else he goes into business with.
Ozark has a storyline which starts relatively simply and gradually multiplies its conflicts and characters, keeping you engaged with an ongoing series of near-resolutions that never fully come to pass. Thus, you roll from one episode into the next without blinking. Just as you half-release the breath you had been holding, the next problem in Marty's interconnected web of money-laundering tricks somersaults him to face in the other direction, often down the barrel of a gun. Each new character creates a snowball effect of people Marty has to answer to. So you never really stop asking, “How’s he gonna get out of this one?”. Sometimes it’s a convenient near-miss, but it’s easy to swallow those for the sake of the story.
Laura Linney is also excellent as Marty’s wife Wendy Byrde, who is in on the whole shebang, proving herself more essential with each passing episode. Bunker down three gripping seasons.
Watch it with… Matso’s Hard Lemon Vodka! The crisp and tart lemon flavour complements Marty’s bold and brazen edge.
Gillian Anderson is back, British and better than ever. She plays the fabulously liberated and sexy sex-therapist mother of awkward and nerdy main protagonist Otis (a perfectly cast Asa Butterfield). This wonderfully cheeky comedy isn’t afraid to go below the belt in search of humour. If you’re looking for a series that will have your face in a perpetual state of grinning, you’ve found it. It’s a vibrant and witty look at the spectrum of pubescent sexual experiences and how they can differ so substantially, it also offers a good dose of sentimentality to balance the story out.
The premise goes that due to having a sex-therapist as a mother, Otis finds himself a reluctant expert on the subject. This leads to an unlikely partnership between his geeky self and whip-smart bad girl Maeve as the two set up an underground sex therapy clinic to deal with their classmates' problems. But through his analysis of teenage sexuality, Otis realizes that he may need some therapy of his own. And so we find ourselves giggling along to the tune of a various perplexing sex crises.
Unashamedly dealing with subjects like homophobia, abortion, atheism, race and LGBTQI relationships, this is a comedy that displays a brave maturity in its subject matter, while remaining immature in its humour, if that is even possible. The cast is en-point with each character genuinely complementing the other, offering multiple perspectives and story layers. While all the characters (bad or good) are equally likeable, there is sure to be one that you can relate to. Above all, there are plenty of cringe-worthy moments. Strap in for an easy, breezy watch to escape all this seriousness.
Watch it with… Dirty Matso’s Mojito! The perfect sidekick to the cheeky gags throughout Sex Education.
Kindly put aside any reservations you might have about this series and press play. It is not the dry, clean-cut, proper English period drama it appears to be. But there is plenty of drama, as well as scandals, conflicts and outrageous revelations. This is a comprehensive (albeit indulgent) account of not only the British Royal Family, but also British history, both of which you never knew you knew so little about. Nor how positively engrossing it could be. There are reasons this series has won numerous Emmy awards.
Focusing on the rule of Queen Elizabeth II, the three seasons currently available follow the British monarchy from when a young Elizabeth took the throne in the 1940s through to modern times. Episodes track the Queen and various members of the Royal family and how they have and - more often - have NOT performed appropriately in their respective roles. We’re cordially invited into Buckingham Palace’s internal workings, and allowed insight into its relationship with British politics and people. From the opulence of the Palace, we also take enviable royal tours across the seas to glamorous locations with attractive characters dressed in the most fabulous fashions-of-the-day (the costumes are impeccable). It’s an entirely luxurious feast for the eyes and is reportedly one of the most expensive series ever made.
But not surprisingly, it’s the soap opera of vanity, rivalry, bad decisions, scandalous affairs, adultery and drinking problems that truly satisfies the viewing appetite. There is something pleasing in the knowledge that the elite classes of Britain in the first half of the 1900s behaved pretty badly, displaying countless flaws equal to those of our own.
What is even more satisfying is that you come out the other side of each season better informed about world historical events and characters, and therefore smarter. You might even get the hang of a very proper British accent. An altogether entertaining AND educational escape worth staying in for. All hail that seasons 4 and 5 are still to come.
Watch it with… Matso’s Ginger Beer Margarita! It seems only fitting seeing that brewed ginger beer originated in Yorkshire in England in the mid-18th century.