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EMMY AWARD AND GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINEE CONNIE BRITTON CAST IN FOX’S “9-1-1,” FROM CREATORS RYAN MURPHY AND BRAD FALCHUK

October 8, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Britton Joins Academy and Emmy Award Nominee Angela Bassett and

Emmy Award and Golden Globe Nominee Peter Krause

Series Set to Debut in 2018

Emmy Award-nominated actress Connie Britton (“Nashville,” “Friday Night Lights,” “American Horror Story”) has been cast in a lead role in FOX’s gripping new drama, 9-1-1, from creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (the “American Horror Story” franchise, “Nip/Tuck”). The series will premiere in 2018.

Britton joins previously announced Academy and Emmy Award nominee Angela Bassett (“American Horror Story,” “What’s Love Got to Do with It”) and Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Peter Krause (“The Catch,” “Six Feet Under”). The role reunites Britton with Murphy, who worked together on “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story.” She also worked with Murphy and Falchuk in the first installment of “American Horror Story.”

9-1-1 explores the high-pressure experiences of police, paramedics and firefighters who are thrust into the most frightening, shocking and heart-stopping situations. These emergency responders must try to balance saving those who are at their most vulnerable with solving the problems in their own lives.

Four-time Emmy Award-nominated Connie Britton will next be seen in the cable comedy “SMILF,” premiering in November. She is perhaps best known for her Emmy Award-nominated starring roles on “Nashville” and “Friday Night Lights.” She also earned an Emmy Award nomination for her role in the first installment of “American Horror Story.” Additional television credits include “Spin City,” “24” and “The West Wing.”

Britton recently completed production on “Land of Steady Habits,” based on the debut novel from Ted Thompson, written and directed by Nicole Holofcener. She also is featured in “Professor Marston & The Wonder Woman,” a biographical film that details the true story of the Harvard psychologist and inventor who created “Wonder Woman,” which premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. Her recent film credits include “Beatriz at Dinner,” “Me & Earl & the Dying Girl,” “This Is Where I Leave You,” “The To-Do List,” “Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World” and “American Ultra.”

In April 2014, Britton was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme. In this role, she raises awareness of UNDP’s work in poverty eradication and women’s empowerment, advocating to the American and global public.

9-1-1 is produced by 20th Century Fox Television in association Ryan Murphy Television and Brad Falchuk Teley-Vision. The pilot is created, written and executive-produced by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. Tim Minear is an executive producer and will serve as showrunner. Bradley Buecker is an executive producer and will direct the series premiere.

Beatriz at Dinner (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 2, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Miguel Arteta’s “Beatriz at Dinner” is provocative and unsettling but the mark of a very good film is one that will prompt people to debate, to talk and possibly to learn from.  Is it a great film, no it’s not.  But it’s a film that will no doubt resonate for each person who watches it, may it be positive or negative.

Images courtesy of © 2017 Brown Amy LLC. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Beatriz at Dinner

YEAR OF FILM: 2017

DURATION: 83 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:85:1 widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

RATED: R (Language and a Scene of Violence)

COMPANY: Lions Gate

AVAILABLE ON: September 12, 2017


Directed by Miguel Arteta

Written by Mike White

Produced by Aaron L. Gilbert, David Hinojosa, Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon

Co-Produced: Fiona Walsh Heinz, William B. Macomber

Executive Producer: Jason Cloth, Brad Feinstein, Lewis Hendler, Richard McConnell, Andrew Pollack, Alan Simpson, Jose Tamez  Co-Executive

Music by Mark Mothersbaugh

Cinematography by Wyatt Garfield

Edited by Jay Deuby

Casting by Joanna Colbert, Meredith Tucker

Production Design by Ashley Fenton

Set Decoration: Madelaine Frezza

Costume Design: Christina Blackalier


Starring:

Salma Hayek as Beatriz

John Lithgow as Doug

Connie Britton as Kathy

Jay Duplass as Alex

Amy Landecker as Jeana

Chloe Sevigny as Shannon

David Warshofsky as Grant

John Early as Evan


Beatriz (Salma Hayek), an immigrant from a poor town in Mexico, has drawn on her innate kindness to build a career as a spiritual health practitioner in Los Angeles. Doug Strutt (John Lithgow) is a cutthroat, self-satisfied billionaire real estate developer. When these two opposites meet at a dinner party, their worlds collide and neither will ever be the same.


With all the political turmoil that currently exists in the world, especially in America, filmmaker Miguel Arteta (“Youth in Revolt”, “The Good Girl”, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”) and writer Mike White (“School of Rock”, “Nacho Libre”, “The Good Girl”, “Orange County”) reunite for another film that takes on today’s hot topic in regards to the clashing of cultures but also a clash between rich and poor.

The film stars Salma Hayek (“Frida”, “Desperado”, “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”), John Lithgow (“Interstellar”, “3rd Rock from the Sun”, “Cliffhanger”), Connie Britton (“Nashville”, “Friday Night Lights”, “Spin City”), Jay Duplass (“Transparent”, “Togetherness”, “Cyrus”), Amy Landecker (“Doctor Strange”, “Project Almanac”, “Transparent”), Chloe Sevigny (“Boys Don’t Cry”, “Big Love”, “Love & Friendship”) and David Warshofsky (“Taken”, “Captain Phillips”, “Now You See Me”).

And now the film will be released on DVD courtesy of Lions Gate.

The film begins with a woman named Beatriz (portrayed by Salma Hayek) having a dream of riding in a boat and paddling in the waters and seeing a white goat.  She awakens when a brown goat in her bedroom starts making a lot of noise.  As Beatriz tries to quite down her two dogs and the goat, she leaves for her job to a massage therapy center.

Beatriz leaves her job to tend to a client, Kathy (portrayed by Connie Britton)who lives in a wealthy, gated home.  As Beatriz massages Kathy, Beatriz tells Kathy of how her neighbor had killed one of her goats and becomes emotional when discussing it.

As she is done with her client and is about to head out home, her car doesn’t start.  She tells Kathy that she is unable to leave the driveway as her car is not working but her friend will be picking her up after he is done with work.

Kathy invites Beatriz to join them for dinner and while her husband, Grant (portrayed by David Warshofsky) is against it, because real estate developer Doug Strutt (portrayed by John Lithgow) would be arriving and it’s an important dinner, he eventually decides to allow Beatriz to join them for dinner.

Immediately, Beatriz tries to fit in by trying to make conversation with lawyer Alex (portrayed by Jay Duplass) and Shannon (portrayed by Chloe Sevigny), Doug and his wife Jeanna (portrayed by Amy Landecker).  And as Beatriz introduces herself and how she knows Kathy and what she does, the two don’t have much of an interest talking to her.

And as these three couples are celebrating their latest project and Kathy introduces the ladies to Beatriz as a healer and they start talking mean about a female celebrity, which the women get into but Beatriz is wondering why these women would talk so mean about a person they don’t know.

As she goes to visit Grant, Doug and Alex, Doug mistakes her as a servant but Grant explains that she is a guest.  As she talks about where she came from, Doug makes jokes which leads to Beatriz to say that she has seen him before.

We then see the three women looking at photos and they see Kathy and Doug’s daughter who had cancer and her daughter standing alongside Beatriz.

Kathy then tells the other women about Beatriz’ challenges of being separated by her family as a child, leaving her hometown and being raised by her grandmother in the United States but also losing her husband.

As the group gather to dinner, they all have conversation about their successful project, which Beatriz then interrupts and talks about coming from Mexico and Doug asks if she came legally.

She explains that her hometown in Mexico was destroyed by a failed hotel and she asks if Doug was the developer.  He denies it.

As Beatrix leaves and makes a call, she calls up a friend and asks if Doug Strutt was the developer that they protested against.

As the group goes into the dining room, Doug talks about hunting and the excitement of hunting and killing a wild animal and shares photos of him killing a rhinoceros on his last safari.  This sets off Beatriz who tells everyone it’s disgusting and she throws his phone.

Everyone is shocked at Beatriz’ behavior and it leads to an awkward evening between Beatriz and the home she is temporarily staying at.

And Beatriz contemplating if it’s fate that she’s at the house and perhaps she is destined to get revenge by killing Doug.  Will she do it?  What will happen throughout the evening?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Beatriz at Dinner” is presented in 1:85:1 and is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital. For the most part, picture quality is good as it gets on DVD. .  Closeups show good detail, outdoor scenes are vibrant and for the most part, I didn’t notice any major artifacts or banding issues during my viewing of the film. The soundtrack is primarily dialogue driven

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Beatriz at Dinner” comes with a trailer.

EXTRAS:

“Beatriz at Dinner” comes with a slipcover.


“Beatriz at Dinner” is a provocative film that will no doubt get people talking.

Beatriz who represents the poor who came from Mexico and living in the United States and works a healer is  an animal lover, cares about the land and willing to stand up for it.  She is spiritual, caring and a very good person.

But poor Beatriz, her car breaks down at a wealthy client’s home and while she is invited to the party, these wealthy people surely don’t want Beatriz around.

It’s immediately evident as Beatriz tries to fit in.  First the women, as they discuss a female celebrity in a mean-spirited way and talks about the celebrity’s vagina and photos online which leads Beatriz to leave and tries to talk with the men.

Developer Doug thinks Beatriz is a servant and asks her to get him more alcohol, a wealthy land developer which Beatriz believes may be the person that forced her and people from her village out of their area in Mexico to build a hotel.

And to cap things off, when Doug starts talking about his hunt from his last Safari trip, this immediately sends Beatriz off the edge and she starts to think, what if she was destined to be at this party for one reason.   And that reason was to kill a man responsible for hurting the land, hurting living things.

Miguel Arteta and Mike White have no doubted crafted a film that touches on hot topics that we have seen in the news these past few years.

For me, I can see both sides because I grew up in an area of California where the population is mostly Mexican and I have had numerous Mexican friends, especially those with Native American ancestry, who come from families who are very spiritual people and feel strongly about the land, respecting the living animal that they must kill for food.

And also, I also come from an area where there are many hunters (not all Caucasian) and I have many friends who are hunters.  And I also have friends who are wealthy and those who are lawyers and real estate developers.

A number of them are two opposite ends in terms of perspective and livelihood and I knew that if you were to put them in a household together to discuss these hot topics, each would be strong with their beliefs and conviction that either side won’t back down.

This is the fracture of American society that is more evident more than ever thanks to social media.  One posts a photo of killing a deer or wildlife, despite it being legal, there are numerous people who will be passionate to show their distaste over the photo or video posted and as we have seen in news reports, a lot of the time, they receive death threats.

As for the destruction of land, this is an ongoing hot topic that has existed globally.  From the chopping of trees, especially the effects of deforestation and saw its effects on Easter Island and we are seeing it going on in the rain forests of other countries.  We have seen people forced to leave their lands and even going to inner city where gentrification is forcing lower income households to move.

There are passionate debates on both ends and there probably will not be any decorum, especially in a world where people feel that the haves do not have any compassion for the have nots.

“Beatriz at Dinner” is provocative and unsettling because for me watching this film, I knew that it would be an awkward situations.  Beatriz is compassionate about people, about animals and about life.  And when she is in the presence of people who celebrate over the killing of life, the development of land for business and forcing people to move, you see a ticking time bomb that is about to detonate.

You just wonder how far Beatriz will go.

The film features a wonderful performance by Salma Hayek and it’s no doubt the most unsettling and provocative film I have seen her star in.  Also, a film where she’s not glamoured up, she is able to portray a character that represents many people who feel they have no voice in today’s society.

As for the DVD, picture and audio quality is as good as one can expect.  But it’s pretty much a barebones DVD with no special features but a theatrical trailer.

Overall, Miguel Arteta’s “Beatriz at Dinner” is provocative and unsettling but the mark of a very good film is one that will prompt people to debate, to talk and possibly to learn from.  Is it a great film, no it’s not.  But it’s a film that will no doubt resonate for each person who watches it, may it be positive or negative.


Nashville: The Complete First Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

“Nashville” is a unique drama series that is sexy, musically captivating and all-out awesome!  Highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © ABC Studios. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Nashville: The Complete First Season

TELEVISION AIR DATE: 2012-2013

DURATION: 21 episodes (903 minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound,  Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish Subtitles,

COMPANY: abc studios

RATED: TV PG DLSV

RELEASE DATE: September 17, 2013

Created by Callie Khouri

Directed by Paul McCraine, R.J. Cutler, Stephen Cragg, Sanaa Hamri, Callie Khouri, Eric Stoltz, Michael Waxman

Written by Callie Khouri, Meredith Lavender, Marcie Ulin, Todd Ellis Kessler, Wendy Calhoun, Jason George, David Marshall Grant, Liz Tigelaar, David Gould, Dana Greenblatt

Produced by Loucas George, Wendy Calhoun

Co-Producer: Chad Savage

Executive Producer: Callie Khouri, Steve Buchanan, R.J. Cutler, Dee Johnson

Supervising Producer: Michael Waxman

Associate Producer: Kari Hobson

Music by T-Bone Burnett, Keefus Green

Cinematography by Ross Berryman

Edited by Glenn Farr, J. Kathleen Gibson, Farrel Levy, Lizzy Calhoun

Casting by Jeanie Bacharach

Production Design by Jeff Knipp

Art Direction by Kevin Hardison

Set Decoration by Ruby Guidara

Costume Design by Susie DeSanto

Starring:

Connie Britton as Rayna Jaymes

Hayden Panettiere as Juliette Barnes

Clare Bowen as Scarlett O’Connor

Eric Close as Teddy Conrad

Charles Esten as Deacon Claybourne

Jonathan Jackson as Avery Barkley

Sam Palladio as Gunar Scott

Powers Boothe as Lamar Wyatt

Robert Wisdom as Coleman Carlisle

David Alford as Bucky Dawes

Judith Hoag as Tandy Hampton

Lennon Stella as Maddie Conrad

Maisa Stella as Daphne Conrad

Kourtney Hansen as Emily

Sylvia Jefferies as Jolene Barnes

Ed Amartrudo as Glenn goodman

Kimberly Weilliams-Paisley as Peggy Kenter

Chris Carmack as Will Lexington

Todd Truley as Marshall Evans

Behind the music of Nashville lies a web of betrayal, heartbreak, and rivalry second to none. Experience the tantalizing first season of ABC’s Nashville and surrender to a seductive mix of music, intrigue, and passion that’s “Pure Gold.” Rayna James (Connie Britton), is the Queen of Country, but there’s a new “royal” on the rise. Meet Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere), a hot, young diva poised to knock Rayna off her throne – both on the charts and in the heart of Rayna’s lead guitarist and former lover, Deacon Claybourne (Charles Esten). Meanwhile, another sultry love triangle heats up when Deacon’s niece Scarlett (Clare Bowen), a budding singer/songwriter, is torn between her boyfriend Avery and her writing partner Gunnar. Adding more fuel to the fire is Rayna’s rich, scheming father, whose political ambitions for Rayna’s husband hid sinister ulterior motives. Relive all 22 riveting episodes of Nashville: The Complete First Season with this spectacular 5-disc set – including exclusive, never-before-seen bonus features. It’s the ultimate guilty pleasure you’ll enjoy over and over again!

From Callie Khouri, the writer and producer of “Thelma & Louise”, writer of “Something to Talk About” and Director of “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” comes the TV series “Nashville”.

The critically-acclaimed TV series earned the ABC series a People’s Choice Awards and Writers Guild of America nomination for “Favorite New TV Drama” and “Best New Series” and also earned Golden Globe Award nominations for actresses Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights”, “Spin City”, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”) and Hayden Panettiere (“Heroes”, “Remember the Titans”, “I Love You, Beth Cooper”).

“Nashville” is a series that revolves around three female Country music singers.

Rayna James (portrayed by Connie Britton) is known as the “Queen of Country” but because of her waning popularity to today’s young generation of listeners, her album is not selling well and her concerts are now half empty.  Also, because of trying to maintain her old lifestyle of spending, her family is not doing as well financially and she is in need of money.  But the problem is that despite coming from a wealthy background, Rayna will not take money from her father Lamar Wyatt (portrayed by Powers Boothe), a powerful and local politician who despises that his daughter followed her mother’s footsteps in country music but also having an affair.

Rayna is very close to her songwriter and guitar player Deacon Claybourne (portrayed by Charles Esten) and her former lover (and someone she thinks about often).  Deacon is also having a romantic tryst with popular young country singer Juliet Barnes.  Meanwhile, her husband Teddy Conrad who has had failed businesses and now raising their daughter, decides to run for mayor with the help of Rayna’s father.  Rayna is told that in order to make money, she must go on tour as an opening act for young singer Juliette Barnes, who she doesn’t like.

Juliette Barnes (portrayed by Hayden Panettiere) is the current popular country singer but her music attracts teenagers and she has wanted to grow her music to be popular with other age groups.  She is very blunt and cold to others, especially towards Rayna and their first meeting, didn’t go well.  Juliette likes Deacon Claybourne and doesn’t like how he is close with Rayna.  She has a lot of demons in her closet due to her mother’s chronic drug/alcohol problems.

Scarlett O’Connor (portrayed by Clare Bowen) is a poet and songwriter and is also the niece of Deacon Claybourne.   She works at the Bluebird Cafe and is dating Avery Barkley (portrayed by Jonathan Jackson), a guitarist who is not having much success in his music career.  Scarlett becomes close to Gunnar Scott, an aspiring musician and together, their music starts to catch the attention of a major producer.  But Avery is jealous of her success and tries to find a way to create his own career.

For each of these three talented singers, Rayna must deal with her waning popularity and deal with either being a loyal housewife, while her husband runs for mayor or continue to make music a career and try to adapt to a new kind of audience.

Juliette struggles with wanting to be loved like Rayna, ditching her style that is popular with a young audience but most importantly, her need to have a man with her life after a troubled childhood with an addict mother and always finding troublesome men.

Scarlett is wanting to make it big as a vocalist but the men in her life are also pursuing a career and can bring her down.

It’s the life of those wanting to make it big in “Nashville”, but what happens when Rayna’s marriage is on the rocks and a family secret is discovered, Juliette’s dates someone who will do her wrong and Scarlett is given the chance to fulfill her dream as a country singer?

VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Nashville: The Complete First Season” is presented in Widescreen (1:78:1) and is enhanced for 16×9 televisions and audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound.  As one can expect from DVD, picture quality is very good.  Great lighting and an emphasis in capturing the talent on concert, showcasing their fabulous costume design and more.  Because the series is also musically driven, dialogue and music is crystal clear!

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Nashville: The Complete First Season” includes the following special features:

DISC 1:

  • Nashville comes to Nashville – (6:09) A featurette about shooting the Nashville drama series but in Nashville thanks to the series creator Callie Khouri.

DISC 5:

  • Stella’s Go On “Tour” – (8:41) Lennon and Maisey Stella who play the Conrad daughters talk about their day on the set of “Nashville” and the two showcase their musical talent.
  • On the Record: B-Side – A featurette on the making of the songs “Consider Me” (Ashley Monroe and Brendan Benson, duration 5:02) and “If I Didn’t” (Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio, duration: 5:45) and the performers behind the music and the song’s integration in the show.
  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring seven deleted scenes.
  • Bloopers – (2:09) Outtakes from the first season of “Nashville”.

EXTRAS:

“Nashville: The Complete First Season” comes with a slipcover.

The responses for “Nashville” for its first season have been awesome.

I have heard about the great music but also the performances by Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere.  And now having watched the series, I’m impressed with “Nashville”!

The storyline about a country princess named Rayna who is starting to see her career now go on the decline, a young country singer named Juliette who had a difficult upbringing but also could have a cold and sour attitude towards people is the current country pop singer that is loved by the teenagers that she wants to break out of that shell.  And then you have Scarlett, the singer who wants to make her dreams come true.

What do these three have in common besides the music? It’s the fact that they have to deal with men in their lives that cause them a lot of heartbreak.

Rayna has a father, a powerful politician, who despises her being involved in music, a troubled relationship with her husband who is running for Mayor and working with her first love, her guitarist who has alcohol issues.  Juliette is always trying to find some guy to love her but the problem is, she has too much going on in her personal life while Scarlett, has been with men who want to make it in the music industry and often get jealous of her own personal success.

These woman are strong-willed individuals, they have made their careers but the fact is they have men who really add more than enough drama in their lives.

But one of the highlights of “Nashville” is how the characters are utilized.  It really is a fantastic drama ensemble and one hell of a drama series thanks to its music.   While not as music-filled as an episode of “Glee”, “Nashville” is a series big on music and I loved hearing the songs that even I wanted to buy the music soundtrack for this series.

The first season of “Nashville” has a lot going for it as the performances by Connie Britton is well-done.  From past series that she has starred in, she has always done a wonderful job but this time around, this is possibly her sexiest and more emotionally demanding role yet.

The same can be said of Hayden Panettiere.  Fortunately she was not typecast from her role on “Heroes” as Nashville allows for the actress to show that she can take on high range of emotions but to play some that can be cold and mean, to someone that is loving and nice.  But for the most part, this is the most troubled role I have seen the actress play and she looks absolutely fantastic!

There are a lot of solid talent in this series, especially musical talent!  I’m not exactly sure how many people sing their own songs but I’m quite impressed by Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio and even the young Stella sisters, they call can sing!

As for the DVD release, picture quality is good, audio quality considering the soundtrack is dialogue and musically-driven is well-done and there is a few  special features included as well.

But after watching “Nashville”, I can understand why the drama series have received so much hype!  It’s currently one of the better drama series on television.

Overall, “Nashville” is a unique drama series that is sexy, musically captivating and all-out awesome!  Highly recommended!

Connie Britton adopts a baby boy from Ethiopia

November 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Congratulations to new mom, actress Connie Britton (“American Horror Story”, “Friday Night Lights”) who adopted a 9-month-old baby boy from Ethiopia named Eyob.

Source: People Magazine

Connie Britton arrives at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on September 18, 2011. UPI/Jayne Kamin Oncea

Friday Night Lights: The Fifth and Final Season (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

March 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

If you loved “Friday Night Lights”, you will love the final season as it is an appropriate sendoff for the show’s fans.  Wonderful performance by Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton and crew. Wonderful writing and just a final season that ends in the right note.  I loved the show since it first aired and it’s sad to see it end.  But whether or not you have caught up with each season, you can watch the fifth season on its own and still enjoy it.  “Friday Night Lights: The Fifth and Final Season” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2011 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Friday Night Lights: The Fifth and Final Season

DURATION: 13 Episodes (9 Hrs. and 22 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Anamorphic Widescreen (1:78:1), English Dolby Digital 5.1, Subtitles: English SDH

COMPANY: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: April 5, 2011

Directed by Michael Waxman, Allison Lidd, Chris Eyre, Jason Katims

Written by Peter Berg, Buzz Bissinger, Kerry Ehrin, Bridget Carpenter, David Hudgins, Jason Katims

Executive Producer: Sarah Aubrey, David Nevins, Peter Berg, Brian Grazer, Jason Katims, Chad Savage

Producer: Nan L. Bernstein, Bridget Carpenter, Michael Waxman

Co-Producer: Karen Wacker

Consulting Producer: Patrick Massett, John Zinman, Kerry Ehrin

Associate Producer: Cindy Kerber

Supervising Producer: Rolin Jones

Music by W.G. Snuffy Walden

Cinematography by Todd McMullen

Edited by Angela M. Catanzaro

Starring:

Kyle Chandler as Eric Taylor

Connie Britton as Tami Taylor

Aimee Teegarden as Julie Taylor

Taylor Kitsch as Tim Riggins

Jesse Plemons as Landry Clarke

Zach Gilford as Matt Saracen

Derek Phillips as Billy Riggins

Brad Leland as Buddy Garrity

Adrianne Palicki as Tyra Collette

Blue Deckert as Mac Macgill

Stacey Oristano as Mindy Collete

Louanne Stephens as Mrs. Saracen

Gary Teague as Teacher

Liz Mikel as Corrina Williams

Michael B. Jordan as Vince Howard

Jurnee Smollett as Jess Merriweather

Matt Lauria as Luke Cafferty

Madison Burge as Becky Sproles

Russell DeGrazier as Coach Stan Traub

Lamarcus Tinker as Dallas Tinker

Aaron Spivey-Sorrells as Coach Spivey

David Cowgill as Slammin’ Sammy

Angela Rawna as Regina Howard

Dana Wheeler-Nicholson as Angela Collette

Drew Waters as Wade Aikmen

Troy Hogan as Principal Burnwell

Lawrence Varnado as Mo Hall

RJ Smith-Tillman as Malcolm

Grey Damon as Hastings Ruckle

Madilyn Landry as Gracie Taylor

Patrick Massett as Willie Gault

Cress Williams as Ornette

Danny James Hunter as Deacon Floyd Malone

Isaac Smith as Caleb Merriweather

Lynn Blackburn as Laurel Sachs

Kathleen Griffith as Margaret Cafferty

Joshua Bolden as Darius Merriweather

Lorraine Toussaint as Bird Merriweather

Emily Rios as Epyck

Amanda Brown as Evie

Charlie Quary as Andre Merriweather

Jessica Hale as Trixie

Everything has been building to this… the bittersweet fifth and final season of one of the most critically acclaimed TV dramas of all time, Friday Night Lights. For four years, the residents and students of Dillon, Texas, have faced difficult choices on and off the field with courage, passion and perseverance. Now the time has come to find closure for problems of the past, while pursuing new possibilities that will lead many beyond Dillon city limits. But will everyone be up to the challenge? Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton lead an all-star cast in each gripping episode full of the compelling and heart-wrenching situations devoted fans know can only be seen under Friday Night Lights. From executive producers Jason Katims, Peter Berg, and Brian Grazer, comes the show that has Neal Gabler of the Los Angeles Times raving, “It may have been the greatest emotional range of any series ever on television.” Texas forever…

A final and appropriate last hurrah for “Friday Night Lights”.   “Friday Night Lights: The Fifth and Final Season” was a fantastic season that gives fans a final closure to this wonderful series.

In 1990, H.G. Bissinger created the non-fiction book “Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, and a Dream.  In 2002, the book would be named the fourth greatest book ever written about sports by Sports Illustrated magazine.  And what followed in 2004 is a film adaptation which did very well and is considered one of the best football films ever made.

And in 2006, “Friday Night Lights”, the TV series was born.

The TV series was adapted by Peter Berg, Brian Grazer and David Nevins and the first three seasons would focus on Eric Taylor (played by Kyle Chandler) and his family moving to Dillon, Texas where he would coach the Dillon Panthers.  The series would focus on Eric and his coaches preparing his football team each week and also getting to know several of the main players who make up the team and of course, the drama which surrounded them.

The series would achieve critical acclaim as many felt the series had an accurate portrayal of middle America and its passion for high school football.  Unfortunately, part of the problem was that viewership was never strong and many fans would fight hard to keep this series alive.  The series would win a Peabody Award, a Humanitas Price and a Television Critics Association Award and both of the main talents Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton would be nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress awards for the 2010 Emmy Awards.

While the first two seasons were broadcast on NBC, the next three seasons would be broadcast on DirectTV’s 101 Network and the fans of the series were able to give “Friday Night Lights” a final fifth season to end the series correctly instead of canceling it without any closure for those fans.

The most significant change during the five seasons of “Friday Night Lights” was at the end of Season Three when Coach Taylor found out about a plot to remove him as coach of the Dillon Panthers.  Season three ended with him losing his job at Dillon but being offered to coach for the not-as-tough East Dillon High, which is reopening after years of being closed.

Season four was all about Eric Taylor trying to get this new team prepared for the season but the students/football players had a criminal background.  One of the star players that had potential was Vince Howard, a student who has had too much trouble with the law but Taylor has felt he had what it takes to become a star quarterback.  The team also has a star running back named Luke Cafferty who was supposed to play for the Dillon Panthers but because his address is within East Dillon’s district, he would be playing for the East Dillon Lions.

While Eric focuses on building his team, other students get used to their new schools.  Matt Saracen is trying to get used to the new school but unfortunately, his father is killed in Iraq and throughout season, he deals with his personal problems and abruptly moves to Chicago and leaves Julie Taylor behind.

Meanwhile the Riggins brothers run into trouble when Tim Riggins and his brother start up a chop shop and ends up being busted and while Tim’s brother is responsible, because he has a baby boy, Tim takes the wrap and ends up going to prison.

By the end of the fourth season, East Dillon High School has a losing record with only two wins and Tami Taylor ends up getting into controversy when a girl wants to get an abortion and she supports her decision and because of that, conservatives put pressure on the school and getting her fired.

This leads to the fifth and final season of “Friday Night Lights”.

It’s a new school year and Tami is now a guidance counselor at East Dillon High School, Julie and Landry are moving away to go to college, Tim Riggins is in prison and Eric tries to get his team ready for the new football season and sure enough, the East Dillon High School Lions who had a losing season last year, may be the best team in the district.

“Friday Night Lights: The Fifth and Final Season” includes the following episodes (spoilerless summaries):

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 64: Expectations – Julie and Landry spend their last moments in town before going off to college.  Meanwhile, Tami wants to take initiative as the new guidance counselor at East Dillon.
  • EPISODE 65: On the Outside Looking In – When East Dillon is not ranked after beating a ranked team, everyone gets upset!  Luke tries to revive his relationship with Becky and Jess deals with Vince’s “rally girl”.
  • EPISODE 66: The Right Hand of the Father – Vince’s absentee father shows up out of nowhere, Julie starts to fall for a married man and Buddy has his son live with him.
  • EPISODE 67: Keep Looking Vince continues to have problems with his dad being at home, Buddy meanwhile has to handle his drunken son and Mindy makes a big decision on what to do with Becky.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 68: Kingdom – Lions take on their rival South King, meanwhile Julie is confronted by the wife of the man she is sleeping with.
  • EPISODE 69: Swerve – Julie tells her parents of what happened at school.  Meanwhile, Vince is being threatened that if he doesn’t pay a thug his $5,000, he would be killed.
  • EPISODE 70: Perfect Record – East Dilon Lions takes on their rivals, the West Dillon Panthers. Meanwhile, someone has leaked to the press about the criminal records of some of the East Dillon Lions players.
  • EPISODE 71: Fracture – Tami looks into Epyck’s home life and Julie’s ex tries to visit her at their home.
  • EPISODE 72: Gut Check – As Vince’s head gets bigger and bigger, it’s affecting the team and Coach Taylor bench’s him for a game and makes Luke a quarterback.

Disc 3:

  • EPISODE 73: Don’t Go – Rumors are swirling that Coach Taylor may leave East Dillon to coach a college team.
  • EPISODE 74: The March – Budget cuts are affecting the district and Tami is offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
  • EPISODE 75: Texas Whatever – The future of the East Dillon High School football team is hanging on a thread as budget cuts will lead to one football program.
  • EPISODE 76: Always – The Taylor family must make an important decision on their future.

VIDEO, AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Friday Night Lights” is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1:78:1), English Dolby Digital 5.1 and subtitles are in English SDH.  Picture quality for “Friday Night Lights” is good as the majority of the series is film outdoors.  There is a good amount of grain for the series but because it’s on DVD, you can expect to see some edge enhancement, mild interlacing and compression artifacts as well.

As for audio, dialogue is clear and understandable and is front channel-driven.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Friday Night Lights: The Fifth and Final Season” comes with the following special features:

DISC 1

  • Deleted Scenes – Featuring deleted scenes from “Expectations”.
  • Yearbook – Featuring photos from 2007-2011 which you can navigate with your remote control.

DISC 2

  • Deleted Scenes: Featuring deleted scenes from “Perfect Record” and “Fracture”.

DISC 3

  • Deleted Scenes: Featuring deleted scenes from “Don’t Go”, “Texas Whatever”
  • The Lights Go Out – (30:00) A featurette featuring the cast and crew talk about how everyone was family and what they loved about working on the series and their thoughts on the series final season.
  • Audio Commentary for “Don’t Go” – Featuring audio commentary by director Michael Waxman.
  • Audio Commentary for “Always” – Featuring audio commentary with executive producer/showrunner Jason Katims.

EXTRAS:

“Friday Night Lights: The Fifth and Final Season” comes with a slip over cover case.

I have had the opportunity to watch “Friday Night Lights” from its very first episode and I can tell you right now, I love this show!

I love how accurately it depicts high school football, I love the energy that is displayed in each episode during each ball game but most of all, how wonderful the acting for the series is.  I have watched Kyle Chandler grow as an actor from “Early Edition” and to see him act wonderfully in this role as Eric Taylor in “Friday Night Lights”.  He has the demeanor of a high school football coach, hard as nails, no-nonsense and very effective.

And you have to have a character that balances the school life and the problems that go on with the school and that is where actress Connie Britton, who plays Eric Taylor’s wife Tami is also just as effective.  While Eric handles the problems on the field and also dealing with his players off-the-field, Tami is right there trying to help troubled students any way she can.

And while these two are like the show’s patriarchs, its the many characters who played the students that gave life to the series.  Their problems are real and these are problems that people can identify with.  Alcoholic or drug abusing parents, parents in jail, students who get carried away with their fame, students who are pregnant, students who get into trouble, students learning from their bad decisions and sure, these are situations that happens every week but instead of being a rehash of been-there, done-that, the writers have done an exceptional job in coming up with storylines that are fresh and new.

There was a good balance from both sides…football and the emotional drama and there were many times that there was no sugar coating.  Things happen in this series to keep things going along and in season five, we see the Taylor family go through highs and lows but most of all seeing their marriage put to the test.  So much has been focused on Eric Taylor’s quest as a coach and his loving and supportive wife being there for him through thick and thin, but when she is offered a once-in-a-lifetime career opportunity, will Eric Taylor give up all that he loves about football and coaching for his wife?  What will happen to these students as budget cuts continue to hurt their school and schools must unify?

The final season of “Friday Night Lights” may be a sad goodbye to a fantastic series that really never pulled in a lot of viewers but it was a damn good show!  It’s a series that had a lot of heart and anyone can relate to it.   The writers did a wonderful job in creating an appropriate send-off for the series and each character, especially the Taylor family.

If you love the series or if you watched the earlier seasons and missed the others, while it is great to watch these seasons in order, you can watch “Friday Night Lights: The Fifth and Final Season” with no problems at all and still enjoy it.

Although short, it was a wonderful final season of “Friday Night Lights”.   This DVD box set is highly recommended!

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