Paramount+ Movie Review: Jerry and Marge Go Large

Some years ago there was a report on 60 Minutes about a retired couple in Michigan, Jerry and Marge Selbee, who due to a flaw in the mathematics of a local Michigan Lottery, Jerry was able to figure out that the odds, based on certain conditions, would allow them to win every time. When all of this played out for years, the Selbee’s were able to create their own investing corporation and get all of their friends in their small town in Michigan involved. They also made 28 million dollars, all of this legal because it was an error loophole in the lottery that they discovered on their own. It also turns out that the Lottery commission also did very well, due to the greatly increased number of tickets that were purchased and another group of people at Harvard University that also found the same loophole.

“Jerry and Marge Go Large”, stars Brian Cranston and Annette Benning, who are both very believable in their roles. True stories like this always make for the best movies, and I was impressed with all that Jerry and Marge had to go through to get this lottery idea off the ground. Very soon after they started buying lottery tickets in Michigan, this specific lottery ended, forcing them to drive 800 miles to Massachusetts many times to buy thousands of lottery tickets there, every 3 weeks. Then add the amount of work it took to go through thousands of printed lottery tickets and pick out the winners from the losers, so many times. This story is another example of a true story that would probably never make it as fiction, because nobody would probably believe it.

The acting is outstanding throughout this movie, realizing that both Cranston and Benning are two of the best actors available. I am surprised at the below average ratings for this movie of only 65% on Rotten Tomatoes. Once again, the critics are wrong and my rating is in the 80% range with a solid recommendation.

Showtime Series Review: Your Honor

The new 10 part Showtime series “Your Honor”, starring Brian Cranston is as close to a Shakespearian tragedy as I have seen in a long time. The story starts simply, “what would a parent do to save their child if they made a mistake”. In this case a judge Michael Desiato, played expertly by Brian Cranston has a son named Adam who has Asthma. Adam makes a tragic driving error by bending down to pick up his inhaler and hits a teenage boy on a motorcycle, who himself was driving erratically. Unfortunately this teenage boy has a father who is both a murderer and master criminal, making going to the police and confessing no longer an option. From the very beginning, this basic conflict make for a highly believable and unique story that I have not seen before, with extremely well drawn out twists and turns all the way to the last episode.

This series is brilliant because of the way all of the lies Judge Desiato tells everybody he knows, trying desperately to hide the fact that his son was involved in the accident that killed a teenage boy. The lies mutate and grow ever more complex and impossible to conceal as the story unfolds. Desiato’s friends notice little discrepancies that don’t seem right, other small lies slip out, other things are found out that at first seem to be perfectly hidden. With a lie this big, over time it becomes impossible to keep it a secret. The unwinding of so many lies during this story, is the best part of this series.

As he was with the great series “Breaking Bad” – arguably the greatest television series of all time, Your Honor shows Cranston at his best with great dialogue, story and most importantly, his great acting as judge Desiato. All of the remaining cast members are also great in their roles with an ending that is both a surprise and ultimately tragic.

The IMDB ratings are an outstanding 81%, which is an accurate number, along with a ridiculous 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, that has only one very inaccurate critical review. Regardless, I highly recommend this series which is now available on Amazon Prime.