IT’S HERE. IT’S FINALLY HERE!!!! Short review: Dear Duffer Brothers, I LOVE YOU. The end.
No, but seriously, I was salivating at the thought of a season two of this show. Like most people, I fell in love with ‘Stranger Things’. Mostly because it caught me completely off guard. I knew nothing about this show when season one came out and I got recommended it from just the buzz off the internet. Then I watched it all in like two days and I fell in love with the kids and just the feel of the show. It literally captured some of my favorite stories and films from the 80s all in one show. Spielberg films, Stephen King stories, and coming of age films from the decade are just some of the obvious influences of the show. All the characters I was in love with and I felt like I was playing Dungeons and Dragons with Mike, Dustin, Will, and Lucas. And plus this show was just so damn fun. Now, when I originally heard that there was going to be a season 2, I hesitated. Because I loved season one so much and I really did not want the ‘sequel’ to tarnish the original. SPOILER: It does not. This season is better than season one. ‘Stranger Things 2’ does everything a season two of ‘Stranger Things’ should have done. Dial the 80s nostalgia up to 11, check, introduce more awesome and fascinating characters into the mix, check, more back story for “Eleven”, check, ghostbuster costumes, check, and finally develop the existing characters with an even more emotional weight to them, check. I was blown away of how this surpassed the first season in every way.
This season picks up a year after the events of the first season. And I swear to you it’s like the Duffers didn’t miss a beat. It’s so obvious that they have the style of the show down pact. I obviously don’t want to spoil anything about the show, but in order to talk about season two’s plot, I have to SPOIL something for season one so just a warning here. So as you know they got Will out of the upside down and Eleven is stuck in the upside down in the end of season one. We meet Will and the gang during Halloween, but things are happening to Will….strange things. Like I said the direction in this show is fan-freaking-tastic. The Duffer Brothers, Shawn Levy, and now a newcomer to the series Andrew Stanton all do an incredible job. I was SO happy to see Stanton involved with this show. If you don’t know Stanton is a regular at the animation studio Pixar and has directed some of my favorite films of theirs like “Wall-E’ and ‘Finding Nemo’. The performances are just as good here as they are in season one. All the kids are just so great. I want to hang out with them all so bad. But obviously, Millie Bobbie Brown who plays ‘Eleven’ steals the show again. She is truly a special talent. When she matures and becomes an even better actress, she is going to be HUGE. Winona Ryder is back as Joyce and she’s even better in this season. You can tell that she learned a lot from the first season of playing this character and she knocks it out of the park again. David Harbour as Hopper again is another standout. The thing about this show is there is no weak link. Everyone is great. The new characters are great as well. I love Max who is a new girl in town who gets involved with the gang and she is great. But I was so excited that I heard Sean Astin was going to be part of this season. I’m a huge fan and I loved him as Bob in this season. Another major pro of this season is the pace of it. With the exception of one episode, (that I will talk about later), this show didn’t really have a “filler” episode. Each one of the nine episodes propelled the story along with interesting and super fun plot elements. I was so surprised that I liked mostly EVERY turn and risk that the plot took in this season. My favorite episodes by far were MADMAX, The Spy, and The Mind Flayer. As for negatives, I think most people who have seen the season know what I’m going to say. Episode 7: The Lost Sister was a weak point for ‘Stranger Things’. In my opinion, it is the worst episode that ‘Stranger Things’ has done so far. The execution of that episode was very weak. And I wasn’t a huge of the style that the director chose to do in the episode. While I liked the concept of the episode, I just think they failed at executing it to their fullest. But other than that I FREAKING LOVED THIS SEASON! Bring on season three!!!
‘The Meyerowitz Stories’ is directed by indie darling Noah Baumbach and stars Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson. This film is streaming on Netflix only. I was looking forward to this because I really enjoy most of Noah Baumbach’s movies like Francis Ha and While We’re Young, And I call myself an Adam Sandler apologist. Growing up, I loved his comedies like Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison and I just really like watching him on-screen. So I’m not a Sandler hater. He has a place in my heart. So I am always really excited to see him in something that’s not his brand of crappy comedy that he does nowadays. ‘The Meyerowitz Stories’ is another great movie in Baumbach’s career. This film is about an estranged family (the Meyerowitz family), who all gather in New York City to celebrate their father’s artistic work. That is just the set up of the film. There are a lot of layers and things that happen between the characters that I don’ t want to discuss because I think they are really compelling and I want you to experience them on your own. The strongest part of the film to me by far is the screenplay. Baumbach wrote a really riveting and engaging script. This film is filled with witty dialogue and great humor. The characters that Baumbach wrote here also are great. Each one of the characters in this film is fleshed out and compelling. And the relationships between that each family member in the family, particularly the two brothers Danny and Matthew (Sandler and Stiller) and their father played by Dustin Hoffman have is really compelling. The performances here are just as strong as the screenplay. Adam Sandler gives a great performance in this film. I know that’s shocking but hear me out. When he does drama he can be REALLY good. I first noticed this in a film called ‘Reign Over Me’. And I always thought he was really strong in the dramatic parts in the Judd Apatow film about stand up comedy ‘Funny People’. He is great because you can really tell that he is the son of Dustin Hoffman, who is also great as always. Sandler mimics a lot of Dustin’s mannerisms and it’s extremely believable that he is the son of Dustin’s character. Ben Stiller, also, is great in this movie. He is starting to dive more into dramatic roles and he’s always been good at them in my opinion. This isn’t a straight-up drama there is plenty of dry humor and signature Baumbach humor that I really liked. Baumbach’s direction is great as well. As a director, he reminds me a lot of a young Wes Anderson with the certain quirks that Baumbach includes in his films. The only issue that I found in this film is that there are a couple of scenes that I felt went to long and a couple scenes/moments that were odd and pulled me out of the film. I originally wasn’t going to review this film but I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this film and I thought I should direct you to it. It’s streaming on Netflix right now and I definitely recommend it. And it’s finally an Adam Sandler movie that doesn’t completely suck!!
Looking for something on Netflix? With the new Stephan King horror film ‘It’ KILLING it at the box office this past weekend (well-deserved by the way), I thought this would be a good time to give some suggestions to you all about the best horror films that are streaming on Netflix right now if you are looking for a horror film to watch! Below I listed the four best horror films (in no particular order) that are steaming right now in my opinion.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
This is a remarkable film for a few reasons. One is that this is one of the best horror/comedies ever made. But this film is more terrifying than it is funny. It’s directed by John Landis who’s known for making LEGENDARY comedies like ‘Animal House’ and ‘The Blues Brothers’. It follows two friends who go to England on vacation and well……one of them gets bit by a werewolf and all hell breaks loose. The comedy comes from the two college students at the beginning of the film and is peppered in throughout the rest of the film, But what this film truly is is a scary and surprisingly an emotional film. If you looking for a classic horror film to watch I would totally recommend this one. Also, if you’re into special effects/makeup, this movie has some of the best effects I’ve ever seen. Most notably the infamous scene of the transformation from human to wolf is almost too real looking and makes you squirm in your seat with terror.
If you’re looking to get the living piss scared out of you, V/H/S is your movie. I’m going to tell you guys an embarrassing story about this film. I was watching this film by myself in my room back in my junior year in high school. If you don’t know what V/H/S is, this is an anthology movie. It is a movie that basically is a compilation of about 5 short horror films that are all directed by different people, acting in a larger story about people in a house who find V/H/S tapes and watch them. The tapes are the short films. So anyway, the one about the skype conversation, I yelped. Yes. I yelped. I felt like I have been defeated. But this movie is extremely creepy, but it makes no sense. But it’s not made for that. This is a movie that is made purely to scare you and I think works really well.
The Babadook (2014)
This was my favorite horror film of 2014. It was also one of my favorite films in 2014. Period. This is an Australian horror film about a widowed mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her. This film falls into the category of a psychological horror film. This film is way more than just a monster movie. This is, in my opinion, the most disturbing film on this list. It’s a film that is disturbing because of its themes about dealing with loss and how one does that. I don’t want to spoil this movie for anyone because I didn’t know anything about this movie when I saw it, so I was blown away by this movie, Director Jennifer Kent does a brilliant job building tension and creating genuine scares and Essie Davis gives one of the best performances I’ve ever seen in a horror film.
The Shining (1980)
The most classic horror film on Netflix right now. If you haven’t seen this CLASSIC film yet, I highly recommend it. This is probably my favorite horror film of all time so just for me PLEASE WATCH IT. Legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick changed horror filmmaking forever when this came out. This is a highly influential Stephen King adaptation with an ICONIC performance by Jack Nicholson with a ton of iconic scenes as well. If you haven’t seen it, watch it and truly marvel at how beautifully constructed and unsettling this film is.