Review by Brandon:
Before I get to the review, I admit that I was distracted a lot by one specific thing in this 10-part miniseries, Maniac. It wasn’t the great acting, the thought-provoking plot or the dark dry humor. It was skinny Jonah Hill! Every time I saw his turkey neck on the screen, I couldn’t stop thinking about it! Okay, it wasn’t that bad after a while, but it did take some getting used to. Fortunately, this mini series helmed by the director of True Detective, Cary Joji Fukunaga, starring Jonah Hill, Emma Stone & Justin Theroux was good enough to make me find time to squeeze in another episode. Netflix has done an amazing job at funding these 10-hour long movies and getting out of the way to let the filmmakers and actors do what they do best. Sometimes Maniac can come off as a little “artsy-fartsy” as some would say, but it is refreshing to see some original ideas with high production value and solid storylines.
Maniac casts Jonah Hill as Owen Milgrim, a very depressed New Yorker who’s recovering from a mental breakdown and suicide attempt which leads him to see all sorts of visions. In the beginning of the series consists of Hill acting near-comatose and mumbling most of his lines. Everyone seems to be suffering from severe depression in this not-so-distant future that seems to still be using technology from the past. Which is all a part of the creative imagery. In order to help work through his depression, and make some money on the side, Hill’s character goes into a drug trial where he meets Emma Stone’s character, Annie Landbergh. Annie is also suffering from depression due to a car accident that claimed the life of her little sister. Stay with me, this show is really good! Depression just happens to play a big part of the story. It’s not all doom and gloom. During this drug trial, Annie and Owen are put in a small group to take experimental medications and be plugged into an A.I. computer that is hoped to replace all forms of talk therapy. Enter Justin Theroux’s character, Dr. Mantleray. He has developed this drug trial/A.I. form of therapy because of mommy issues brought on by his celebrity therapist mother (played by Sally Field). Seriously, this is a good show, I promise. There are so many layers to it, I don’t want to give anything away. Trust me, if you enjoy sci-fi drama/comedy with a twist of Stanley Kubrick style filmmaking, you will really enjoy this mini-series. Jonah Hill is really good at a more serious role with some of his style of comedy mixed in. I’ve always enjoyed Emma Stone in whatever she has done, no complaints there. Justin Theroux has the best character in the show, in my opinion. He plays a mad-scientist with mommy issues and suffers from a weird disorder. This disorder causes him to masturbate compulsively if he is ever rejected. Yes, Maniac is sort of a, well… manical show. But I really enjoyed it.