Netflix. It's on the 360, it's on PS3, it's on the Wii, it's $8 a month, it doesn't require a disc, and it's now even in Canada (with a severely reduced selection). So. Unless you're really poor, a picky Canadian, a hater of the 7th art, or European, there's no excuse for not having it!
What movies has the streaming service allowed you to discover?
Because of the limited selection here in Canada, which denies us access to some of the more recent and popular movies on the service, I've been using Netflix to watch 2 different kinds of movies: terrible crap that I'd never make any effort or pay anything to see (The Happening, Teen Wolf Too), and highly respected and acclaimed foreign movies that for some reason I always put back on the shelf without renting when I'm at the video store.
So here's a recommendation for you:
Amores Perros - This movie received much acclaim, won many prizes, and I'm probably one of the last chumps to see it. But hey, maybe you haven't seen it either, so at least I'm better than you. From looking at the title, you may recognize the word "amores" (love) and get totally the wrong idea about the movie. You may also recognize "perros" (dog) and be completely befuddled. Basically, the movie contains three vignettes in which cruelty and, yes, love, are central themes.
For one third of the movie, you follow the story of a kid using his dog to participate in dog fights and win money so he can elope with his brother's wife. For the second part, you follow a couple's crumbling relationship and oh god you're getting totally the wrong idea again. Don't worry, it's totally interesting and plays out a bit like a thriller. Actually, watching it I felt like I was reading an Edgar Allan Poe short story, but maybe it's just because it features... sounds... coming out of the floorboard. The third story is about this vagrant who abandoned his family to become a guerillero, went to prison, and now takes on hitman jobs from the corrupt cop who arrested him.
The characters cross each others' paths a couple of time, so you could say it's a bit like Pulp Fiction in that way, except I found the stories and characters in this film infinitely more interesting. Heh.
I don't know what your experience with foreign movies is or what you think of them, all I can say is that this movie is absolutely not boring. From the first scene to the last, I was hooked.
The series reminded me a lot of Stephen King's IT, such a cracking and compelling series. I was kind of hoping that if they followed it up it would be another creepy tale but with a different cast, I think this wraps up perfectly.
Okay, I did finish Stranger Things. It was very, very good. I had a few problems with it, but it just, for the most part, felt really good. - Steve was by far my favorite character. Thinking back, despite being the obvious dick from the start, he actually did not do much wrong at all. And he handled himself brilliantly at crunch time! - The young kids, while mostly great, occasionally acted in ways that felt less than natural, and more like plot progression. Jacob's jealousy and El's refusal to speak come to mind. - I didn't like the monster. The more I think about it, the less sense it makes. - Matthew Modine didn't do much for me here. - The ending almost lost me, but it got me back. Despite the few unanswered questions, I left very satisfied.
Oh, I think there's definitely room to continue this story, but I'd be okay with it being left alone as well. Regardless, I look forward to a second season.
Steve was interesting in that he was one of the few characters who was unpredictable and showed some real... growth I guess? Growth doesn't feel like quite the right word but he really stepped up at the end, both in standing up to his asshole friends and in showing up for the fight.
Him coming around kind of leaves Jonathan hanging though. You totally expect him to get the girl and then he just... doesn't.
Eh, I don't think that Jonathan was really meant to "get the girl" - he wasn't romantically involved with Nancy. Sure, they shared a life-and-death experience, but I felt like their relationship wasn't so much romance or lust...it was more like finding a mutual respect for each other. Not to say that the thought of "hooking up" didn't cross either's mind, but it wasn't really something either actually wanted to explore. I mean, maybe Jonathan would have (he did do the whole creeper thing with taking pictures of her) but I feel like that was more of a opportunity that just presented itself rather than him going out of his way to get pictures of her. After all, he didn't go out there in the woods with the idea of getting pictures of Nancy. He was out there for a totally different reason. But then...hey. Something happened, and he was there...and well. He's a teenage boy with a camera. Not to say it's justified, but...that's nature. I guess? Maybe? Kinda?
I'm not really on board with those points you made, with the exception of the monster. Yeah, not only did its existence and motives seem...kind of random? But also unexplained. Which, I suppose kind of works for a monster. Maybe over-explaining something makes it less scary. But like, what that the ONLY thing that existed in the Upside-Down? We never saw any other "animals" or anything whenever the show took us there. How did that thing survive without anything to feed on?
Which actually brings me to another point that seemed to only bother ME (or at least, I haven't heard anyone else mention it): how the heck did Will survive in the Upside-Down for so long? I mean, never mind that the air is supposed to be toxic, or that it's cold there or whatever. According to the show, he was lost there for at least a week. What did he eat? The human body can survive several days without food, but...a WEEK? Or never mind that, what did he drink? Without water, the human body starts shutting down in a matter of hours. But when we find Will again, he's basically the same as when he left. Does the Upside-Down suspend your internal biology or something?
Still, I had a great time watching this show. And I'm not afraid to admit a few of those jump scares got me to do just that.
Yeah, that is what the plot made for its purpose. But in the grand scheme of the show's reality, how did it survive before Eleven "opened" the gate between our world and the Upside-Down? From my understanding, it wasn't until recently that the gates (or portals or whatever) were opened - so how did this thing survive before being able to grab victims from our world and drag it into it's own? It's like it didn't even have anything to eat for itself in the Upside-Down - it grabbed a deer from our world and fed on it back in its own world. If the deer wasn't there, what would it have eaten for dinner instead?
Hmm, the Upside-Down *does* seem to work like Narnia. So until debunked? This is a confirmed fact!
Stranger Things will be my next watched show. I want to watch it with my wife, but she is HORRIBLE when it comes to scary shows, and she's "heard it's scary". Can someone please tell me the "Spooky Meter" from 1 - 10? I want to assure her she won't be scared and have nightmares.
2-3 maybe? I didn't find it scary at all. It has creepy themes but it's not going out of its way to scare viewers. Though I guess if someone has nightmares due to scary shows, then maybe they'd see it differently than I do.
Regarding Stranger Things: The Upside-Down can't be like Narnia because Will was able to communicate with his mother through the lights in realtime. The big question I have is, how was he aware that she was asking him questions and how did he purposefully control the lights?
That's kind of explained (thought not well) when Hooper and Joyce go into the Upside-Down and their footsteps set off the holiday lights while Jonathan, Steve and Nancy are in the house after battling the monster. Joyce could hear Jonathan's voice inside the house, while she was in that other dimension. One could guess that Will could do the same, and since he was in the Upside-Down longer, he found a way to light specific lights while on the other side.
That's kind of a lot of assuming I suppose, but for me, it at least opened up the possibility of that scenario.
We have been watching a ton of comedy lately though. Kevin Hart's show is hilarious, I think he has some of the best delivery in modern comedy (though to be honest some of the actual jokes fell flat for me, but his presentation is just... top notch!) And the whole James Bond spoof at the beginning was so good. The part where he starts doing the fast-paced mental calculations in his head to take out all of the bad guys but it's all like super basic addition and subtraction that he struggles with is hilarious.
Louis CK's new one is pretty funny but not really his top stuff.
Neal Brennan (ex-writer for Chapelle show) has a very funny + surprisingly deep / touching show where he gets into some of his own depression / etc. issues. One of my favorites.
Chapelle of course is still great, his new stuff is very good, even if I don't agree with some of what he says.
Watched some old Eddie Murphy, was pretty funny, though some stuff doesn't age well. Still, he had presence. Kind of sad that his career turned into like... Pluto Nash and such.
Watched some Russell Peters, he isn't my favorite as far as the actual jokes but his shows have such a good feel to them that it's still a fun watch.
Ali Wong, wasn't a huge fan.
Mike Birbiglia... eh. He was ok.
Amy Schumer... I actually like her skit stuff but this stand-up show was not good. At times I couldn't figure out what the joke was even supposed to be.
Um... we watched a ton of others. I forget all the names. There was this pretty funny white woman but honestly I forget who it was.
I watched both seasons of Stranger Things. I enjoyed both a lot.
Best characters: Steve, Bob and Hopper. Maybe Joyce and Will in there too. Man, the kid that plays Will is a heck of an actor.
And as for the scare-o-meter, I'll echo Grant's 5 or 6. It's not really terrifying but there are a ton of creepy and/or suspenseful moments throughout, punctuated by a couple big scares, and the second season has a bit of gore near the end. The TV-14 rating seems appropriate.