If someone counts on it, they can do a TV show that brings something to tennis Drive To Survive did for F1, then I wish them the best of luck. Tennis is much more environmentally friendly than motorsport and the personalities involved are just as quotable.
Break Point, which released on Netflix just last week, is a five-part series. Each episode introduces a facet of the game, gives a lesson in the history and importance of tennis – a sure sign that this show is trying to win over a non-sporting audience – and then focuses on one or a few players and events .
Episode one starts off with a bang, with a deep dive into Australian Nick Kyrgios’ roller coaster. Kyrgios is widely credited as the greatest talent of his generation. He beat Nadal, Federer and Djokovic when he first played them and rose to 11th in the world rankings. But Kyrgios is also a punch line for any story about wasted potential, bad behavior and bad discipline.
Break Point picks up the story at the 2022 Australian Open. Kyrgios is ranked 115th in the world but is still the crowd favorite and a major attraction. What happened next is stunning.
Each 50-minute episode of Break Point has its own story to tell, but I expect they’ll fit together to form a cohesive introduction to the game and some of the biggest names on the rise. With a generation of giants now fading, tennis needs new stars and household names. Break Point might just be part of the solution.
It’s a well-crafted show, as informative as it is entertaining.
* “Drink every single night”: Nick Kyrgios gets emotional in the new Netflix series
* How Netflix is trying to turn tennis into F1 racing like Drive to Survive
* Mark Reason: The endlessly fascinating Nick Kyrgios asks the questions we wrestle with
The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is now available to stream on Netflix.
The ax with hitchhiker
The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker became an internet sensation in 2013.
A young man, who gave his name “Kai,” was a passenger in a car driven by a man who deliberately drove into a pedestrian and then attacked a woman who was defending his victim. Kai, who was hitchhiking and homeless at the time, pulled an ax out of his backpack and hit the attacker several times with it.
A TV interview conducted near the scene of the crime was viewed 500,000 times in 24 hours. After that, every talk show producer and celebrity agent in the US wanted Kai on their books as…something. In an age when fame is a commodity, Kai the hatchet and hitchhiker was a very hot commodity.
But it should have been obvious to anyone watching the interview that Kai was further ahead than most on some spectrums of mental health. And putting the spotlight on a young man like him, whose vulnerabilities are only partially hidden beneath the surface, could be a recipe for a very modern disaster. And so it turned out.
The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is a really well put together account of the tragedy that transpired and the all too unlikely course of Kai’s life.
And, unusually for Netflix, the story doesn’t stretch over several hours. The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker is all in one feature-length documentary. Recommended.
Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street is now available to stream on Netflix.
Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street
When financier Bernie Madoff was arrested in 2008, the waves could be felt as far away as Aotearoa.
For decades, probably since the early 1980s, Madoff had operated the most ambitious and lucrative scam in modern history. By the time the FBI finally caught up with him, it was estimated that Madoff’s clients had over $65 billion out of pocket. That’s billions. With a B
Even if you disregard the fictitious profits that Madoff claimed, there still remains a $20 billion hole in the American economy as a result of one man’s plan. And those “profits” supported the mortgages and pensions of many of its customers.
Madoff ran two stores. One was a legitimate stockbroker – and the other a secret wealth management service for wealthy clients. But Madoff’s concept of “wealth management” differed from most others. He simply deposited the money into his personal bank account, lived off the interest, and pretended to be a genius investor who got impossible returns on his clients’ funds. Somehow, Madoff and his associates got away with this scam for 30 years.
Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street covers the details of the crimes in near-exhaustive detail, but also spends a gratifying amount of time on the tragedies the scam unleashed. After his arrest, one of Madoff’s sons committed suicide. As did at least two other investors.
Ordinary people who thought their savings were secure found themselves penniless overnight. Homes were lost and people who woke up in multi-million dollar properties literally slept in their cars the next night.
The Monster of Wall Street is an above average thrash take on the true financial crime genre that Netflix loves so much. If you have even a passing interest in the case, it’s worth checking out.