Category Archives: Television

Stranger Things – Must Stream TV

I don’t talk about TV a lot because I generally lose interest in a series after a good season because I struggle to make the leap to the new season the way the same way I struggle to enjoy most sequels. Now, this certainly isn’t always the case. Some shows are serials and their arcs are really just the length of one episode with larger overarching stories that carry through the entire season. I think about great comedies that I have loved like Boston Legal in which we were drawn into a legal case or two that have relevance to the current political or social climate then we get resolution, but during the episode we learned a detail about one of our main characters that gives us deeper insight into who they really are.

Overall, I’m one of those people that trusts the TV creators to know when to call it quits. However, I have been burned so many time by a 3rd or 4th season that wanders aimlessly because the creators wanted to make a dollar off the success of their creativity in the first two seasons but ran our of creative things to do narratively with their characters.

If you are reading this to find out more about the original Netflix series Stranger Things then you may be disappointed because I’m not going to tell you anything about the story or what it’s about. I want you to walk into it blind. I seriously hesitated in even putting the trailer here, but it is good to show you at least the basics of what you’re getting into with this 8 hour saga.

That’s right this is just 8 one-hour long episodes, so it is very binge-able. If you miss an episode, you will be lost, so watch it with your partner or else you will be answering questions half way through when they get sucked in too. I do want to make some comparisons. A lot of people are comparing Stranger Things to Spielberg films like E.T. and The Goonies, and a lot of Stephen King novels. I think the best comparison would be this: Stranger Things is what J.J. Abrams would have done with Super 8 if he had decided to make an 8 hour movie.

What Super 8 did was pay homage to Steven Spielberg’s brand of 1980s storytelling through the eyes of intelligent and adventurous children on the cusp of puberty. Stranger Things brings the same cast chemistry that I loved but with a lot more nostalgia and a fully fleshed out story. I kind of hope that the next season starts completely fresh with a new story and lets this season remain right where is ends, like a Stephen King anthology or Amazing Stories.

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The kids in Stranger Things are fantastic, I don’t want them to be known as “child actors.” They’re smart, fun, and they feel like they’re actual friends which we have captured in this story. Their performance is realistic. I’m sure the actors grew close while filming Stranger Things but it feels like they’ve really grown up together.

I highly recommend Stranger Things. The music, the acting, the story, and its ambition is fantastic. It is the best original show I’ve seen in years. If you’re a fan of Spielberg, Stephen King, or J.J. Abrams (or just a fan of good television), you should watch Stranger Things on Netflix before it gets spoiled for you.

2016 Oscar Picks

I’ll be updating this throughout the show! How many did I get right? 15 out of 23!

That was the best Oscar awards I’ve seen in a year!

I thought that after Innaritu and Lubetzski won Director and Cinematographer that The Revenant would be a lock, but Spotlight pulled it out. It is a great film, up there with the best of all time.

After 6 nominations, Leonardo DiCaprio finally got it!

One last plea, if you haven’t seen “Room,” do not miss it. Brie Larson and Jacon Tremblay were fantastic.

Continue reading 2016 Oscar Picks

Day 06 – 30 Day Movie Challenge

Favorite Made For Television Movie

I am six days into the 30 Day Movie Challenge and I have remained faithful. But today presents a couple of obstacles. First, it is Wednesday and this is the one day a week that I take my kids to school. I choose Wednesday because that is Chapel day and I can sit with them as they sing and dance. It reminds me of an opening rally at VBS. I am writing this as I wait for chapel to begin, but this will delay me from my blogging time until about 10am. Add to that the very obscure topic for today, and it really does present a challenge.

I don’t recall ever purposefully watching a made for TV movie. I might have stumbled across one and watched a few minutes, I remember my mom and dad planning to watch and recording Hallmark movies when I was in High School, but I never found those sappy melodramas entertaining. Doing some searches for what others have said, I came across several that I had never seen but have now added to my want to watch list. I Know My Name is Steven was one that looked interesting, also Brian’s Song, Sybil, The Day After, RKO 281 – The Battle Over Citizen Kane, & The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.

Last week when I posted this challenge and began looking down the list and making my picks, I saw this one and drew a complete blank. So I began to ask the people that I work and go to church with, and I wasn’t the only one who drew a blank, but one of them had a suggestion and I found it on some other people’s list. This piqued my interest enough to find a copy and watch it. It’s called Door to Door, it was a TV movie from 2002 that aired on TNT. It was nominated for 23 awards, including 2 Golden Globes, and won 13 (including 6 Emmys). William H. Macy is Bill Porter in this inspirational story about a man afflicted with Cerebral Palsy who manages to become a successful door-to-door salesman with a career spanning four decades: from 1955 when he gets his first shot at being a salesman for the Watkins company to 1997 when the door–to-door division is all but dissolved. Macy nails the role with absolute brilliance, and Helen Mirren is stunning as his supportive then ailing mother, and to top it off, we get a young Kyra Sedgwick playing the bright-eyed Mormon college student who helps Bill with his business and becomes his friend.

Unfortunately, Door to Door is so coated with saccharine sweetness that it almost seems like a project that may have been intended for Lifetime. The story-lines involving Porter’s customers and how their lives were changed by him are certainly inspiring, but one must also wonder if they actually did happen. I was most intrigued by the story-line involving the gay couple and an obvious insinuation that one of their friends might have been afflicted with the AIDS virus. This was never resolved and seemed a little misplaced. Also, what is probably the films most quotable line, “God created us all, Shelly. He doesn’t make mistakes,” is in relation to this couple. The fact that this little bit of tolerance propaganda was tagged on kept this from being a really great film. But it doesn’t keep Door to Door from being a really an inspirational story that I still recommended for those who are sick movies about things getting blown up or people getting peppered with bullets.

Do you have any favorite made for TV movies. If so, please leave your recommendations in the comments below or on Twitter or Facebook.