Welcome to REEL Film Reviewed the show that delivers short spoiler free reviews of films, TV shows, and limited series followed by a deep dive discussion.
Brought to you by your host Kris Chaney, here is REEL Film Reviewed.
Welcome back, everyone.
This episode REEL Film reviewed Netflix’s new mini series True Story.
I binged to watch this entire series in one day [Laughs] and I had to bump a couple of things to release this review first. So let’s get into the spoiler free review.
While on a tour stop in his hometown, famous comedian Kid, meets up with his brother and gets caught up in a life or death scandal that could ruin his career and destroy his family.
The craziest part about this story is that it’s executed well enough to make you think that this could actually be a situation that Kevin Hart got himself into.
He essentially plays himself as far as outside appearances go, he’s a successful comedic actor as well as touring across the country, doing stand up comedy exactly like Kevin Hart does now. The tour name and even the stage set up and everything like that are identical to his most recent tour shown on Netflix.
The plot follows Kevin as he plays Kid, who is in the middle of a blockbuster movie release, a comedy tour and a divorce in the public eye. There’s a lot of that referenced in the opening pieces of the show, which set up kind of how the foundation of his character is. And we know Hart has dealt with some personal things that have become public and so I think this was important for him to play because he came out of that. He owned it, and I feel he gave a lot more than he really had to in terms of explanation to his fans when all that went down and he was well received, at least by most, and this role was pretty deep for him as far as what we’ve seen previously from him.
Then we meet his brother Carlton, and he’s played by Wesley Snipes and we see the strong family ties between them but also, we see the impact that his brother has on his life, and I know it may be referenced as a burden in the series but I’ll explain a little bit more about that after the spoiler review and the take that I had on Carlton.
The main point of this series was relationships, everything that is done or is motivated in the series is about the relationships between the characters, whether it is love or treachery, we see kids and his connection to his brother. Everyone around him has a strong bond with him, we kind of see that same connection in that same respect.
Carlton was wonderfully played by Wesley in this, and I enjoyed him in this role. He was a bit of a scumbag but you could also tell that he loved his brother. He had a series of failures that he chose to carry with him rather than leaving it in the past and Wesley played that tortured soul very well.
Some other call outs for decent performances in smaller roles being William Catlett, who played bodyguard Herschel. Paul Adelstein, who played Kid’s manager, and Billy Zane made an appearance, and I barely recognized him. He played a Greek mobster of sorts, and he was pretty decent as well. And lastly, a great performance from Theo Rossi, who plays Gene, Kid’s number one fan, and he was the most standout appearance for me.
It was actually the scene between him, Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes that motivated me to watch the series. I initially thought it was a new movie that Netflix had just dropped. It popped up right when I opened Netflix this morning and I saw the little clip and it didn’t really tell you anything about what was going on in the series. It was really just the intensity of the scene and I didn’t know what was going on, but it was enough to get me interested in what was going on and then when it started up, I was like, oh, shit, it’s a series. [Laughs] So, luckily, it was short and I challenge you to not binge watch it, it was very addicting.
But those of you that don’t know who Theo Rossi is, I want to just spend a second on him. He was in Sons of Anarchy, and he played one of –Ding– I don’t even remember the name of what he played. It’s been so long since I’ve seen Sons of Anarchy, but he was one of the sons, but I do remember what happened to him in that series, and so his was a bit heavy. But the point I wanted to make was the versatility of Theo and being able to play a role like he did in this. It’s not really confirmed or talked about about the specifics of this character. I’ll leave that for you to watch and find out, but he’s very different from how he acts in Sons of Anarchy, and he’s even physically, he’s a lot different and he appears a lot different. I’ll leave that there.
The REEL View rating 8 out of 10 stars.
This series interests you with the storyline right from the beginning and after the entrance of Carlton, the ride just takes off with one crazy move after another this show will have you stressed out early but completely engulfed in the series until it’s complete. I think I got up twice, maybe during my binge of this today and I was to eat and to walk the dogs. I wasn’t even thinking about anything other than what was going on in the show, so it’s really captivating and that’s the reason why I gave it 8 out of 10 stars. I think maybe storyline and just overall is probably more out of 7 out of 10 stars, but just the fact that you literally can’t rip yourself away even a few minutes–it’s that good. It’s decent.
So there were obviously a few points that were a bit out there. I felt that there was still an obvious part of the story that could have happened a little bit sooner, more on that after the spoiler warning.
Overall, a solid performance from Kevin Hart, this is a very different side of him from what we’re used to seeing, but you almost hardly notice it because, as I’ve mentioned, it’s almost like you’re watching Kevin Hart as though he’s going through this in his actual life and the title True Story doesn’t really help with the thinking that maybe this could have happened.
Try not to binge watch it, that’s the challenge like I mentioned. Let me know on Twitter when I post the poll on this if you sat and watched it in one day or if you ended up spreading it out.
True Story was just released today November 24th depending on when you’re listening to this. It was directed by Stephen Williams and Hanelle Culpepper, created by Eric Newman. It stars Kevin Hart, Wesley Snipes, William Catlett, Paul Adelstein, Theo Rossi, Billy Zane and Tawny Newsome. Honorable mention Lauren London also made a small cameo as Kid’s ex wife.
The miniseries is rated TV-MA and has seven hour long episodes. It can be viewed on Netflix.
All right, here is the spoiler alert warning.
Those new to REEL film reviewed after this point, I will discuss this review further, potentially and likely revealing spoilers.
Thank you for listening to the spoiler free review.
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Welcome back, everyone.
Let’s dive into the REEL View Hollywood Comparison.
The Real View was 8 out of 10 stars. Critics said: it is actually too new for ratings on the series.
Popular opinion so far, the count is about 325 people and they gave it 7 out of 10 so far.
I told you guys, this is a pretty new one. This just popped up today and I just binge watched it. So that’s the reason why I’m reviewing it so soon. I’ll update the show notes as far as what the critics said, or I might just post it on Twitter to let you know what they end up giving it.
I’m actually pretty curious due to the fact that this is a new role and I thought back on the roles that Kevin Hart has played and he’s had dramatic moments in a lot of his films which is kind of the reason why this movie didn’t surprise me, but there were some parts that I hadn’t seen before out of him and I’ll talk about those in a second, but that’s definitely something that was a fair call out.
Recapping the story, Kid we know is a famous comedic actor. He just released a superhero movie that’s doing extremely well and he’s on a comedy tour when we meet him. He arrives in his hometown of Philly and meets up with his brother and from that point on, it seems like the bad decisions just keep on happening. And kid is sober and his brother talks him into drinking, he tries to leave the party, and his brother talks him into staying and then obviously, as we see, he ends up with a dead hooker in his bed.
So let’s pause there, because at this point, I’m assuming hopefully that you all have seen this series rather than recapping every single thing that we know about the series, let’s pause there at the fact that he ends up with the dead hooker in the bed. I’m going to say by the time Billy Zane came in and started explaining to him how he got this woman out of the hotel and what was going on I pretty much at that point, thought, when he started asking him the questions like, how do I know you’re not going to come back after me for more money or blah, blah, blah and I’m like; How do you know this girl is actually dead? [Laughs] That was my thinking, I was assuming that Kevin Hart had checked her himself, but maybe that wasn’t something that I really paid attention to.
I started thinking that this girl wasn’t dead after a while, especially when they started laying it on so thick. It was accurate, when Wesley Snipes is trying to get Ari’s big ass Billy Zane had put on a few pounds, and I don’t know if that was for the role or if that’s just where he is now, but he’s pretty massive.
Kevin Hart obviously is tiny, so they weren’t even going to try and I’m glad that they didn’t do that, because that would have just looked funny. And they weren’t really trying hard not to be funny, I don’t want to put that out there. It’s not that they were trying hard not to be, It’s just that there was a point that this was not a comedy and because Kevin Hart was in it did not make this a comedy.
There was some humor in the fact that Wesley Snipes couldn’t get his big ass up onto that cart. But then the other part of it was like, okay, but we really need this to kind of happen. It wasn’t so serious right in the beginning, there were these funny little quips and things, and you kind of get settled into Kevin Hart and Kid’s character. I never really saw him as Kid, I saw him as Kevin Hart because that’s exactly the role that he played was a character outwardly that appeared just like him and that has celebrity pressures and the pressures that you wouldn’t think about when you’re not a celebrity but shit that actually does really happen. And some celebrities have talked about some things that happened to them and people that took advantage of them and even Kevin Hart himself had also talked about having a situation where there was a member of his inner circle that basically tried to extort him for money.
And that was kind of what I was thinking in my head as I was watching this, I was like; Damn, he’s already talked about somebody that had hurt him in the past. That person was no longer there, there was still an investigation so there wasn’t really a whole lot he could say anyway, but it had to do with him trying to be extorted for money and taken advantage of. And it hurt him because this is something that he probably would have given to that person.
Anyway, point being, it was a great combination of drawing on real life drama and real life feelings and being able to act out things that you obviously wouldn’t do in real life at least we know of on screen. And that was part of what Kevin Hart said that he wanted to do with this role. That was kind of my thing is just stopping there and ending up with the dead hooker there.
So moving on past that point. We see–and then his brother, when his brother was like, I’ll say I did it and all of that and I’m just like, clearly, at this point, you ask your brother for a lot of money all the time and people know you to be kind of a fuck up. It wasn’t really something that I bought. I guess it felt weird to me and despite Carlton’s love, because that was very genuine. I loved watching Wesley Snipes and Kevin Hart play off of each other they really felt like brothers on screen because he kind of had a little bit of haterade for his brother, but at the same time, it was his brother so he was still happy for him. But at the same time, you kind of see Carlton shift a little bit in the fact that he really does only care about himself, but he does still love his brother. It was a big point in the series that it called out with the back and forth on; Okay, well, Carlton doesn’t care about anyone but himself. That’s not entirely true. I don’t think that that’s entirely true. I think he definitely harbored some resentment for his brother and not because his brother did anything to him. I think he just hated the fact that he was the older brother and he seemed to not be able to get his life together and I think he hated the fact that he had to go to his brother for money or for anything.
He needed it and that’s the reason why he was in deep with the Greeks anyway was because he needed more money and then he didn’t want to ask his brother for all of that. So, he tried to do what he tried to do, and sometimes when you’re a fuck up, you’re a fuck up that’s just what ends up happening.
That’s how you grow and you learn it’s about those decisions that you make and I think Carlton just made a series of really bad decisions, and it seemed like in the series that he just ended up being bad luck.
All right, so moving on from that, when they finally do get Billy Zane out of the hotel. I think the big “Oh shit” moment was when Gene comes up to Kid just before the show. Let’s him know, hey, yeah, I saw you bury the body. I was like, oh, damn! But Jean seems like he’s not really that type that’s going to try and extort you and that’s what I was curious about was that was at the very end of one of the episodes. And so going into the next one, I couldn’t wait to see how Gene was going to spin this, because there’s something obviously a little bit different about him. He could have, like, a mild form of autism, possibly Asperger’s or something like that.
He’s a little bit different from what you I mean, not like, I don’t want to speculate too much on what they were trying to go for for that character, but, you know that he’s an obsessive fan, but he’s harmless is a good way to put it. He doesn’t have malicious intentions but at first, you don’t really know that you’re kind of like, okay, he seems like a big kid almost, but not to that level. He’s intelligent and he drives, and obviously he’s functional and everything. But there was that little hesitating moment on; What’s up with this dude?
And one of my favorite scenes is actually the scene that drew me to watch the series in the first place was when he was like; Who’s that guy over there? And Kid’s like, that’s my brother Carlton, and he goes to his truck and he grabs all this memorabilia stuff and he pulls up the article and he runs up and he’s like, this is you. And at that point, he starts telling him the story, and that was the best part of the whole thing, because he looks at Carlton and he points to the article, and he tells him he’s like, this was you. You were a cornerback and you did these things, and you showed your brother this and without you, there would be no him. Without him seeing that he would have never been. Gives Carlton the recognition that he’s known this whole time potentially and something that an outside fan had seen, and the fact that we don’t really get to– there’s not really much justice.
I don’t feel like Carlton ever had the opportunity to really lash out the way that he wanted to or express everything that he wanted to and that was probably because that was the character, which is cool, I don’t think that that was necessarily something that they missed, but I do think that it was something that was interesting that a lot of us cared about. That maybe they should have included, was to have at least a moment where Carlton could express exactly how he felt. and Godfather, Fredo did the same thing.
At one point, he got frustrated and pissed off and told Michael, I’m your older brother, that’s not how I wanted it. But he was a screw up and that’s just what happens with screw ups it has to pass over you and when you actually care about the business and you care about the work that you do, you don’t give it to somebody that’s incapable. And honestly, it’s a favor to them, because if you know that they’re going to fail at something or they’re going to fail at what you’ve built and there’s other people that are better suited for it, then sometimes that just needs to happen and you need to find your own thing.
I think that was kind of an example here, Carlton didn’t make the most of the opportunities that he had, but they didn’t have the best come up. There’s nothing really specific that’s described in there.
So breaking down the REEL View.
Kind of what I’ve been doing so far, I remember when Kevin Hart mentioned going through some crazy story where one of the people in his inner circle that everyone was close with had betrayed him over money and that was kind of one of the hardest things that he’s ever had to go through, at least from what he had described. And that clearly appears to be channeled in this series, as I mentioned, I felt that this was all actually happening to him and even going by Kid in the series, it’s really just hard not to think about; “Ok, maybe this is just one of the craziest documentaries ever.” Also kind of a genius, that would be a cool way to admit to everybody that you’ve killed people.
So the other, the part that I’ve been kind of harboring over is the battle between the brothers. You can clearly see Carlton is tired of feeling second to his little brother, as I mentioned, almost like Fredo and The Godfather, but more noticeable because the way that he acts around his entourage, the way that he’s referenced, the way that the rest of them talk about him and the looks that he gets on his face.
You can tell that Carlton is just like, okay, you just think I’m just a big fuck up and you blame everything on me and it’s not explored. And the moment that that could have happened, Kid kind of takes the opportunity to talk about his struggle before he became famous and he kind of tells the story that a lot of actors have, which is that you’re starving and you’re doing little odd side jobs and you’re feeling like it’s hopeless and pointless and you know, all of those things that you go through when we’re pursuing an art like this. And you’re hoping that people like you enough to watch you like you enough to listen to you, whatever your craft might be, it’s a difficult business to get into.
So he just starts talking about that struggle and that’s all that I really remembered from that conversation was Kid talking about his situation and Carlton kind of drinking and kind of agreeing and having that but I felt like there was a little bit of a lost or a robbed moment for Carlton to be able to express how he actually felt about everything and also maybe giving him a chance to own up to why he felt like he could extort his brother by making him think that there was a dead hooker.
And $6 million ? So $600,000 is what Carlton owed the Greeks, and Kevin Hart was going to pay that but the Greek, also known as Ari, the little fixer that they called, he asked him for 6 million. So my thinking, when Kids finds out that Carlton was behind everything, he needed to hear it from Simone, whose idea was this? And he even tried to lead with what he wanted her to say, and she still told him what he didn’t want to hear, which was Carlton.
Anyway, my point being, when he finds out that it was Carlton, how do we know that Carlton wasn’t in on the $6 million thing? What if he was going to get three? I understood Kid’s point, I just don’t know if I bought the end of that and I’ll get a little bit more into that in a second because I want to talk about some other stuff for a second.
Herschel, I bet, is based on someone within Hart’s inner circle because of the relationship that they have and the bond that you can feel between them. I felt that the scene at the end was powerful and why he asked for the $6 million, it was what he thought Herschel’s life was worth, essentially at least in Herschel’s eyes. So this was Hersh’s way of saying; “Well, here’s what I think your life is worth $6 million. It’s going to cost you $6 million for me to continue to protect you.” Because he didn’t protect him enough to tell him about what was going on and he decided to save that $6 million that he was going to pay.
Even getting himself in a situation where he was going to have to pay money to do something like that. I think that also speaks to Hersh’s character and the fact that you just didn’t give a damn about my life, and it kind of almost ruins the friendship because that’s like a serious preacher to homie code when you’ve got attempts that could be happening on your life and these bodyguards are anticipating crazy fans and they’re not assuming assassination attempts.
This is okay, I’m going to protect you if we go to a rough area, I’m going to keep you from crazy fans from grabbing at you and stabbing you and going stuff like that. They’re not expecting two Greeks to roll up on you with nines and blast. It made sense. I thought that was a pretty decent scene at the end between him and Hersh.
Lastly, I’m not sure about the changing character or the character development of Kid into killer and I’m not certain if it was really achieved. It’s harder than you might think to pull the trigger on someone and it’s definitely harder than you might think to pull the trigger and kill someone and Kid goes from a comedic actor to murdering for people to include his own brother.
And that was a big leap in a short amount of time while I had no issue believing Kevin Hart in this role, I’m not sure if I can believe that he could shoot two people square in the middle of the head without either of them getting a shot off and then killing his brother moments later without even hesitating. It was mentioned that he came from a rough upbringing, but the shots that he took would have been hard to achieve with someone with adequate training.
And the whole reason why the brothers even caught on to who did it in the first place is because he was an amateur killer, that part was a little bit unbelievable for me, I realize what the goal was, which was probably to show that Kid was pushed with an existential crisis? I guess is the right way to put it; is the way that Kevin Hart put it.
That’s what it was described in the article, there was an article that Kevin Hart did about this, and it was described as somebody in his position with the film about to hit the billion dollar mark grossing worldwide. He also cared a lot about his family. He cared a lot about his image, and it was clear that he cared a lot about his children and to me, I think the actor was either was his kid or looked just like his kid because the relationship that they had, as I said, this felt like Kevin Hart. It didn’t feel like Kevin Hart playing a role. So, you know, he’s a family man. He’s a big family man, and he always talks about that.
Even when he messed up, he was more devastated and focused more on his family, although I do feel he paid a lot of great attention to his fans and how his fans felt about him, too. So that was nice because I’m a fan too, and we all mess up. And I appreciated the way that he owned that.
Kid didn’t own that either, I don’t know. I feel like the series just built him up and we ended up really loving him and we liked Carlton for a second, but we really grew to appreciate and love Kid for the commitment that he made to his people and the sacrifices that he was going to continue to make for his brother.
The shift from that to a killer. He shot those two, which was fine. They were going to kill him, and that was a little bit easier. But the two shots straight to the face was a little unbelievable for somebody that barely was able to handle a handgun, and for such a small individual at the same time, he would have had to have had practice with that.
There wasn’t enough background for us to know. Stage acting, maybe? That would have been what we thought from this character, but I wouldn’t think that Kevin Hart could just shoot two people at close range in the head like that and it looked like almost two shots happened at the same time, he did that pretty fast. So it was just an interesting scene and then killing C was a big thing.
I did appreciate the fact that he called his name so that he turned and faced him and he didn’t shoot him in the back. I wouldn’t have thought that he was going to kill his brother by shooting him in the back, that wouldn’t have been something that I got behind. So I was appreciative of that. I was appreciative of the fact that he died right away and there wasn’t some awkward goodbye brother or this Et tu, Brute? like scene, we didn’t have to sit through that.
They already had that moment at the game when he said, You’re dead to me, I don’t want to hear from you ever again like that’s it. But the fact that he was like, C and he turned and he shot him, It was kind of surprising. It was almost as if he planned it, but there was no way that he could have known that that situation was going to occur unless he called the two Greeks. That wouldn’t make sense, though, for the story anyways.
Overall, it was decent, I enjoyed it. I could not stop watching it. So I had to score it fairly high just for that piece because it’s an enjoyable series and I enjoyed watching Kevin Hart. I don’t think that I had ever seen him kill anybody before and I’ll talk about that in just a second when we talk about some little known facts. There aren’t many, but I have a couple of things I’m going to say about those.
So let’s get into the little known facts:
True Story arose from conversations with Eric Newman, who is the showrunner and executive producer for Narcos and Narcos, Mexico. Hence the criminal nature of this.
And Kevin Hart wanted to do this film because he wanted to show that he could play a darker dramatic role, and he wanted to have a character who was like him but he also wanted to kill on screen because he thought it would have a bigger dramatic impact.
And I’ll be honest, it was surprising when he did it and I realized after the first scene that I hadn’t seen Kevin Hart kill anyone on screen before. So I rewound that scene and watched that for a second because it happened so fast and I’m like, wow, and I had to watch the choreography was like, okay, is this really believable that he could strangle this huge dude? I’m like, okay, not bad. And with enough anger and velocity? Yeah, it was believable, but it was the first kill on screen, and it was brutally personal and angry and with Gene, you felt like Kid wasn’t going to kill him. But you honestly didn’t know when you got to that point. It was pretty intense.
You didn’t know what he was going to do, you thought that he was safe for a little while, but I did anticipate the ending and the way that he acted afterward it almost left me feeling like, maybe I didn’t know the character as well as I thought, because it kind of seemed like it was all easy for him. It was easy to kill his brother. It was easy to do all of these other things, and I may have just missed it, but maybe that he really did snap once he found out from Simone that his brother actually set him up and did all of that shit to him.
And I think that was the moment that he just decided he didn’t care about his brother’s life anymore, because clearly, he didn’t care about his and I don’t know, Kid had a big heart, so I just don’t know.
I didn’t easily buy the ending, but outside of that, it was a wonderful series. I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m going to be polling about this one for a little while because this is the first day that it was released, so I know it’s probably going to be on Netflix for at least a week. I predict it will be number one within the next… at least the next three to four days. It’ll probably be number one on the top ten list, but that is all I have for you.
Thanks for listening, everyone. I’ll catch you next time.
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