Stranger Things, S3, Ep 5,6,7,8, Spoiler Review by Case Wright


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I am reviewing these four episodes as a block because only 25 minutes mattered combined.  In fact, the show rapidly devolved into gross out scenes, cartoonish hijinks, cartoonish Russians, and a terrible song and dance number duo….really.  The only way this season could get rave reviews is if the reviewer binged the show and was too tired to analyze it.  I get it- you’re around your friend(s), your girlfriend is virtual, and you can barely afford your Brooklyn apartment on your blogger salary; however, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be critical of a show that really should just go away.

I’m adding on to my review here to discuss what makes Stranger Things so terrible now.  This series was heavily influenced by Stephen King and likely Salem’s Lot because of the repeated Vampire monsters.  More importantly, season 1 was great for the same reason that Stephen King’s stories are great- It’s not about the monster in the house; it’s about how the people are living in house with a monster.  These are your neighbors and now have to deal with something beyond reality and that was exactly what Stranger Things Season 1 was about.  There is one other theme that make Stephen King’s stories terrifying: it’s not Randall Flagg, the Werewolves, The Clowns; it’s about people who are supposed to be caring for you, but in fact do not.  This theme is in nearly every Stephen King book and it was present in Stranger Things Season 1.  El called Evil Modine “Papa” even though he was an abusive kidnapper who didn’t think anything more about El than a piece of lab equipment.  The series now has left all those themes behind to become a husk.

The last four episodes broke discretely into three distinct and equally boring and poorly executed quests: 1) Joyce, Hop, Alexi, and Weirdo try to destroy the machine opening the gate. 2) Dustin, Erica, Steve, and Robin try to escape the bunker and annoy everyone. 3) The original gang drag El around so she can get her ass beat.

Episodes 4 – 7:  Joyce and Hop go through town looking for answers and end up kidnapping a Russian engineer – Alexi.  They take him to the creepy weird guy from last season and without any story arc Alexi is all in to help.  He gives them schematics to infiltrate the Starcourt Mall underground bunker and how to destroy the machine.  Why does Alexi do all this? Who knows?  It’s a good thing Alexi is so detailed because he dies later and it doesn’t matter.  But, we do get A LOT of corny banter and goofy car scenes:

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Hop steals this car in the most corny and unrealistic way possible.  It’s corny, but it makes up for it by being cartoonish and boring.  There are A LOT of scenes where they are driving around and mostly Joyce yells a lot at Hop and Hop yells at Joyce for roughly 38 times.  It’s really dull.  They manage to infiltrate the base eventually try to destroy the machine.  Do they make it?  We have to get through many many pratfalls to find out .. wakka wakka wakka.

Dustin, Erica, Steve, and Robin infiltrate the base…..and Steve and Robin get caught right away.  This could have been a great suspenseful plot point, but instead we get hijinks!!! A goofy Russian General who makes this face a lot:

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This “torture” sequence goes on for a long long long while and really goes nowhere, which is especially disappointing because there were a couple of episodes that had real suspense.  Instead now, we get this comic book torture guy:

It’s really goofy.  It’s like the Duffer Brothers couldn’t figure out if this show was horror, comedy, or just paint by numbers garbage.  Dustin manages to bust Robin and Steve out because that’s super believable after making Dustin the LEAST physical of the bunch for 2.8 seasons.

El and the gang start to battle with the least effective monster ever.  For a Big Bad Vampire monster, it can’t see very well, it has a vague agenda, and it’s unclear what can actually kill it until the penultimate episode, which sets up Hop’s likely death.  Yes, it looks gross:

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BUT it’s REALLY REALLY bad at finding and killing things that matter.

They, of course, manage to kill off the big bad, but that was never really in doubt.  What was amazing is how the writers derailed the story in favor of WACKINESS!

The “scary” general goofs around A LOT:

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So funny how it derails the suspense. Sigh.

There is car driving wackiness: Screenshot (54).png

Above: a not funny joke was made. They laughed for a very long time.  The person on the right is Alexis.  He dies and it doesn’t matter.

The big fight with the big bad where Hop gets sacrificed: the show ruined itself.  It didn’t just go for wackiness; it stalled the epic last monster fight scene where everyone is about to die for a no kidding Song and Dance sequence- REALLY!

I remember when this song sequence started because I was young man with two newborns.  When it ended, I was sending my girls off to college.  The third picture? Yep, that’s a split screen singing moment.  It …. just….kept… going.  I was really rooting for the Monster.

Did the first four episodes give me hope? Yes, but that hope and good will was squandered by plain old corny scenes and cartoonish sequences.  Maybe, we all entered  the upside down because there is no way a third season like this should have made it to daylight without all laws of physics and reason being reversed.

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Stranger Things, S03,Ep4, Review By Case Wright


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Episode 4 had a lot going on.  It’s like the show doesn’t know how to maintain suspense from one episode to the next.  The previous episode had nothin goin on and this one was like 10 pound sausage in a 5 pound bag.  This is actually a pretty good season and the creators know that they peaked in the first season because of the incessant flashback clips to season 1.

We open with Heather and Mullet-Renfield setting up her parents to be disgustingly consumed/converted by the Monster Vampire- It’s Gross!  Of course, after following the NXIVM case, maybe we should let the Vampire Monster win?  Are we really that great that ya know we DESERVE to live.

This season is all about breaking up, reuniting, and moving on.  Dustin is breaking away and making older friends.  I’m pretty sure that Will is about to come out- Good for Him and good for the show!

Speaking of Dustin, he, Robin, and Steve are trying really hard to infiltrate the Russian mall area and they recruit Erica (Sister of Lucas) to do it.  I gotta write that she was a scene stealer.  It’s clear to me that she could be a huge star.  Erica fits through the air vents, which are actually normal sized- Good work set department.  When they enter the secret room, they hit a BAD button and they accidentally go DEEP underground.

Hop and Joyce are on the hunt for information and they get it by beating the snot out of a very smarmy Mayor (Carey Elwes) we learn that he was on the take with the Russians, the Russians own the mall, and they are buying up most of the town.  Evil Mall, Evil Russians, Evil Food Court!

The kids get back together to do battle with Mullet-Renfield.  They surmise that because the creature likes cold, they will lock Mullet-Renfield in the pool sauna.  And…. it kinda works?  They manage to activate Mullet-Guy into a vampire drone, but El, unlike previous seasons, gets her ass beat.  It’s brutal.  She does throw Mullet-guy through a wall, but why do this anyway?  Did they really need to prove his guilt?  They could’ve just followed him back to his evil lair and he wouldn’t have known they were on them.  The problem they all took their stupid pills off camera. Kids yesterday?

It would seem that we have reached a major Arc Spin-around.  It would make sense for all the heroes to lose a lot soon.  Hop will probably lose his job, Mullet-Renfield has amassed an army for the Sticky Vampire Monster, The Russians are evilling, and Dustin, Robin, Erica and Steve are going down a mineshaft.

Side plot: Creeper and Nancy get fired from the paper by the converted Editor, but she will keep pursuing the story …. for some reason.  Nancy, why not just go to community college? What are wasting your time for?  Is this Barb guilt?

It’s looking grim, BUT this is a good thing.  This season is actually keeping my interest and has real suspense even if the episodes themselves are uneven.  I’m not sure the series deserves another season yet; so, I’m hoping they give some closure this season.

 

Stranger Things S3 Ep2, The Mall Rats, Review by Case Wright


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I was right again!!! Stranger Things is a VAMPIRE show!!! No one else got that! Season 1- I proved that the show was a Vampire show. This season continues that theme with a Renfield! See my old review HERE!!!

Vampires especially Dracula uses a Renfield as a familiar.  These are people who are quasi-vampires who do the bidding of the Vampire and bring them victims and assist them in their lives.  This is seen in Dracula, Salem’s Lot, What We Do in The Shadows, and Stranger Things Season 3.

This episode is all about change and entropy.  In the previous episode, Mullet-Guy was pulled down into the steel mill.  In this episode, we learn that this was to make Mullet-guy into a familiar to the New Nosferatu!

If you’re not convinced that the new big bad is a Vampire:

  1. Lives in a dark crypt. ✔
  2. Kills small animals to live. ✔
  3. Takes a familiar. ✔
  4. Has familiar bring it a pretty victim. ✔
  5. Familiar is hypnotized. ✔
  6. Vampire moves from small animals to human victims. ✔

What we got here is a case of a Sci-Fi Nosferatu!!!

The big bad is feeding on rats and later has Mullet-Guy bring him a pretty victim to feed upon and likely enslave just like Lucy was enslaved by Dracula in Bram Stokers.  The vampire story also explains the Winona Ryder casting because she was in the Bram Stoker Dracula film. Also, Mullet-guy is now dizzy and sick when he’s exposed to sunlight! HEARD IT HERE FIRST!!!! *Spikes Ball* *Touchdown Dance*

Mike takes Hops lecture seriously and he starts lying to El.  Then, El and Mike break up.  Big Whoop.  Don’t Care.  Lucas and his girlfriend are much more interesting characters anyway.  They have wit and drama.  Mike and El’s relationship is basically a one-note in dullsville.

Steve, Robin, and Dustin have decoded the Russian message sort of.  I’m actually coming to the belief that neck breaking Russian guy is in the upside down and they are trying to get back to the real world.  Also, that the melted Russians from the first episode are actually the Big Bad from Season 2 and Season 3.  The experiment fused them and now they are a combined angry monster vampire.

The episode ends as said before with Mullet-Renfield bringing the Monster a pretty victim. Just like in Dracula!

 

Stranger Things, S3, Ep1, Suzie, Do you copy?, Review By Case Wright, (Dir. Matt and Ross Duffer)


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And…..We’re Back!

This series is special to me. It’s the first I ever reviewed for this site.  It was awesome- Read Here

I have watched every episode of this series.  The first season was epic and even engendered a ride at Universal Studios.  Season 2 was a show that was aired on Netflix with Sean Astin.  This season has a new big bad who looks a lot like last years big bad. So….I hope it’s better than last year’s terribleness.  This episode opened with a bit of meh, but better than Season Two’s sophomore slump.  I’m guessing that it will be kinda of fun to watch.  In any case, I write for an entertainment blog, so this is happening!

Cold Open: The Russians are trying to open the gate and they are EVIL!  One guy goes full on Ivan Drago (Rocky IV) and lifts a guy by the neck and chokes hims to death! Their experiment apparently releases the smoke monster again and he’s pissed at Hawkins!

Our older heroes are really not doing well.  Nancy is a gopher at a sexist newspaper.  Jake Busey is one of the reporters.  I’m not sure if Jake knew this was a role or if he thought, “I’ve always wanted to work at a newspaper in a dying town!” and just ran with it.  Creeper has found his niche working as a creepy photographer for a creepy newspaper.  We’re better off without elitist journalists anyway.  All Hail The Bloggers!!!!

Steve is working at the mall at a terrible ice cream shop and striking out with every girl in Indiana.  I suppose this is possible.  He wears a dorky outfit, but he’s still Steve.  I kinda doubted this whole constant rejection he’s getting.  I think it’s the writers were  thinking that the moment good looking people leave high school, they are nobody.  This doesn’t make sense because IRL beautiful people make tons of money as actors and generally do pretty well getting dates.  It takes me out of it a little.

The gang is all about their hormones.  Mike and El are constantly making out and disrespecting Hop, which I really can’t stand.  Hop is troubled by and turns to his unrequited love Joyce who tells him to get to get all kumbaya and I just can’t watch.  This comes to a head at the end of the episode where Hop loses it and I’m hoping he smacks Mike around- in a nice way.

Dustin returned from science camp and he built a Radio Tower to speak with his girlfriend in Utah.  Everyone keeps acting totally shocked that Dustin could have a girlfriend.  This came across as mean and dickish to me.  I mean Dustin isn’t Brad Pitt, but he’s smart and nice.  Anywho, they erect the radio tower and Dustin can’t reach her, giving his girlfriend claim a “My girlfriend is in Canada” feel to it. To my Canadian readers, we down south have been claiming that you were our girlfriends for generations.  I know this sounds weird, but here we are.   He does pick up a signal from the Russians and they are trying to open their own gate to evil town.

Ok, Cara Buono is at the pool as is Mullet-guy.  Mullet-guy is now the lifeguard and they going to have an affair.  This all seems to be ready to go, but the smoke monster is taking up space in the abandoned Steel Mill and eats him or something.  Why a Steel Mill?  Well, the Smoke Monster is really into depressed real estate and factories can be converted into lofts for the hipster set.  It’s really forward thinking on Smokey’s part.

I would say this episode is a bit clunky, but good.  Is it the thrill ride of the first season? NO NO NO, but honestly what is?!  Stranger Things season 1 was a television event up there with The Stand, Shogun, or It.  In fact, it was never meant to be a recurring series until the last minute, but hey it’s better than watching re-runs of Parks and Rec.

See you soon for ep 2!!!

 

 

 

Godzilla: King of Monsters 2nd Official Trailer


Godzilla King of Monsters

This past summer we saw the first trailer to Godzilla: King of Monsters. To say that the reaction to that trailer was positive would be an understatement. It was one of the highlights of San Diego Comic-Con 2018.

Now, Warner Brothers Pictures saw fit to release the second trailer for the film. This time with less classical music and more Kaiju mayhem visuals instead. Michael Dougherty takes over directing duties from Gareth Edwards and this time it shows as the film stresses the action in the film rather than the human interactions underfoot.

Kaiju films have been fan-favorites for decades upon decades because of the monsters and less about the humans. The humans really were just there to give voice to the different factions of monsters duking it out. It looks like this time this sequel will follow the same formula.

Godzilla: King of Monsters is set for May 31, 2019.

Here’s What Won At The Emmys Last Night!


Last night, Lisa Marie did not watch the Emmys because she says that, “I’m just not feeling TV this year.”  If Twin Peaks had been eligible to be nominated, I bet it would have been a different story!

Instead, she asked me to watch the ceremony and let everyone know what I thought.  It needed less politics and more cats.

Here’s the list of winners:

COMEDY

BEST COMEDY SERIES
“Atlanta”
“Black-ish”
“Masters of None”
“Modern Family”
“Silicon Valley”
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
X — “Veep”

BEST COMEDY ACTRESS
Pamela Adlon, “Better Things”
Jane Fonda, “Grace and Frankie”
Allison Janney, “Mom”
Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
X — Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Tracee Ellis Ross, “Black-ish”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie”

BEST COMEDY ACTOR
Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”
Zach Galifianaks, “Baskets”
X — Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

BEST COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Vanessa Bayer, “Saturday Night Live”
Anna Chlumsky, “Veep”
Kathryn Hahn, “Transparent”
Leslie Jones, “Saturday Night Live”
Judith Light, “Transparent”
X — Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”

BEST COMEDY SUPPORTING ACTOR
Louie Anderson, “Baskets”
X — Alec Baldwin, “Saturday Night Live”
Tituss Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
Tony Hale, “Veep”
Matt Walsh, “Veep”

BEST COMEDY DIRECTING
X — “Atlanta” (“B.A.N.”)
“Silicon Valley” (“Intellectual Property”)
“Silicon Valley” (“Server Error”)
“Veep” (“Justice”)
“Veep” (“Blurb”)
“Veep” (“Groundbreaking”)

BEST COMEDY WRITING
“Atlanta” (“B.A.N.”)
“Atlanta” (“Streets on Lock”)
X — “Master of None” (“Thanksgiving”)
“Silicon Valley” (“Success Failure”)
“Veep” (“Groundbreaking”)
“Veep” (“Georgia”)

DRAMA

BEST DRAMA SERIES
“Better Call Saul”
“The Crown”
X — “The Handmaid’s Tale”
“House of Cards”
“Stranger Things”
“This is Us”
“Westworld”

BEST DRAMA ACTRESS
Viola Davis, “How to Get Away with Murder”
Claire Foy, “The Crown”
X — Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Keri Russell, “The Americans”
Evan Rachel Wood, “Westworld”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

BEST DRAMA ACTOR
X — Sterling K. Brown, “This is Us”
Anthony Hopkins, “Westworld”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
Milo Ventimiglia, “This is Us”

BEST DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black”
Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”
X — Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Chrissy Metz, “This is Us”
Thandie Newton, “Westworld”
Samira Wiley, “The Handmaid’s Tale”

BEST DRAMA SUPPORTING ACTOR
Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”
David Harbour, “Stranger Things”
Ron Cephas Jones, “This is Us”
Michael Kelly, “House of Cards”
X — John Lithgow, “The Crown”
Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld”

BEST DRAMA DIRECTING
“Better Call Saul” (“Witness”)
“The Crown” (“Hyde Park Corner”)
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (“The Bridge”)
X — “The Handmaid’s Tale” (“Offred”)
“Homeland” (“America First”)
“Stranger Things” (“Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers”)
“Westworld” (“The Bicameral Mind”)

BEST DRAMA WRITING
“The Americans” (“The Soviet Division”)
“Better Call Saul” (“Chicanery”)
“The Crown” (“Assassins”)
X — “The Handmaid’s Tale” (“Offred”)
“Stranger Things” (“Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers”)
“Westworld” (“The Bicameral Mind”)

MOVIE/LIMITED SERIES

BEST LIMITED SERIES
X — “Big Little Lies”
“Fargo”
“Feud: Bette and Joan”
“Genius”
“The Night Of”

BEST TV MOVIE
X — “Black Mirror: San Junipero”
“Christmas of Many Colors”
“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”
“Sherlock: The Lying Detective”
“The Wizard of Lies”

BEST MOVIE/MINI ACTRESS
Carrie Coon, “Fargo”
Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
X — Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
Jessica Lange, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Susan Sarandon, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Reese Witherspoon, “Big Little Lies”

BEST MOVIE/MINI ACTOR
X — Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: The Lying Detective”
Robert De Niro, “The Wizard of Lies”
Ewan McGregor, “Fargo”
Geoffrey Rush, “Genius”
John Turturro, “The Night Of”

BEST MOVIE/MINI SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Judy Davis, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
X — Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies”
Jackie Hoffman, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Regina King, “American Crime”
Michelle Pfeiffer, “The Wizard of Lies”
Shailene Woodley, “Big Little Lies”

BEST MOVIE/MINI SUPPORTING ACTOR
Bill Camp, “The Night Of”
Alfred Molina, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
X — Alexander Skarsgard, “Big Little Lies”
David Thewlis, “Fargo”
Stanley Tucci, “Feud: Bette and Joan”
Michael Kenneth Williams, “The Night Of”

BEST MOVIE/MINI DIRECTING
X — “Big Little Lies”
“Fargo” (“The Law of Vacant Places”)
“Feud: Bette and Joan” (“And the Winner Is”)
“Genius” (“Einstein: Chapter One”)
“The Night Of” (“The Art of War”)
“The Night Of” (“The Beach”)

BEST MOVIE/MINI WRITING
“Big Little Lies”
X — “Black Mirror: San Junipero”
“Fargo” (“The Law of Vacant Places”)
“Feud: Bette and Joan” (“And the Winner Is”)
“Feud: Bette and Joan” (“Pilot”)
“The Night Of” (“Call of the Wild”)

VARIETY/REALITY

BEST REALITY COMPETITION PROGRAM
“The Amazing Race”
“Amercan Ninja Warrior”
“Project Runway”
“RuPaul’s Drag Race”
“Top Chef”
X — “The Voice”

BEST VARIETY TALK SERIES
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live”
X — “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”
“Late Late Show with James Corden”
“Late Show with Stephen Colbert”
“Real Time with Bill Maher”

BEST VARIETY SKETCH SERIES
“Billy on the Street”
“Documentary Now”
“Drunk History”
“Portlandia”
X — “Saturday Night Live”
“Tracey Ullman’s Show”

BEST VARIETY SERIES DIRECTING
“Drunk History”
“Jimmy Kimmel Live”
“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”
“Late Show with Stephen Colbert”
X — “Saturday Night Live”

BEST VARIETY SERIES WRITING
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”
X — “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”
“Late Night with Seth Meyers”
“Late Show with Stephen Colbert

The SAG Nominations are here and … Hello there, Captain Fantastic!


captain-fantasticEarlier the year, I choose not to see Captain Fantastic.  Every bit of advertising that I saw for it led me to believe that Captain Fantastic was basically just Wes Anderson-lite and, as we all know, only Wes Anderson can successfully duplicate Wes Anderson.

Well, I think I may have made a mistake because Viggo Mortensen is definitely in the hunt for best actor.  Though most of the precursor awards (so far) have gone to Casey Affleck for Manchester By The Sea, Mortensen still seems like a likely nominee.

Just consider this: he got a SAG nomination!  And so did Captain Fantastic, itself!  It was nominated for best ensemble, which is the SAG equivalent of best picture…

Actually, maybe you shouldn’t spend too much time fixating on that.  People like me always talk about how the SAG awards are an obvious precursor for the Oscars.  Our logic is that the Actor’s Branch is the largest voting bloc in the Academy and the members of the Actor’s Branch are among those who also vote for the SAG awards.

Of course, we always forget that the majority of SAG members are themselves not a part of the Academy.  So, while enough members of SAG may have liked Captain Fantastic for it to get an unexpected ensemble nomination, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those voters are also members of the Academy.

I mean, let’s consider what happened last year.  Beasts of No Nation picked up an ensemble nomination.   So did Straight Outta Compton.  So did Trumbo.  None of those films proved to be an Oscar powerhouse.  In fact, Beasts of No Nation received a grand total of zero Oscar nominations.

So, let’s put it like this — it’s a good sign for a film or a performer to get a SAG nomination.  But there’s still no guarantee that it will translate into Oscar recognition. Captain Fantastic may have been nominated and La La Land was snubbed (for ensemble).  But I imagine that the reverse will happen when the Oscar noms are announced in January.

With all that in mind, here are the SAG nominations!

FILM

Best Film Ensemble
“Captain Fantastic”
“Fences”
“Hidden Figures”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”

Best Actor
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Best Actress
Amy Adams, “Arrival”
Emily Blunt, “The Girl on the Train”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Emma Stone, “La La Land”
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
Hugh Grant, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, “Fences”
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Stunt Ensemble
“Captain America: Civil War”
“Doctor Strange”
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Jason Bourne”
“Nocturnal Animals”

TV

Best Comedy Ensemble
“The Big Bang Theory”
“Black-ish”
“Modern Family”
“Orange is the New Black”
“Veep”

Best Comedy Actor
Anthony Anderson, “Black-ish”
Titus Burgess, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Ty Burrell, “Modern Family”
William H. Macy, “Shameless”
Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent”

Best Comedy Actress
Uzo Aduba, “Orange is the New Black”
Jane Fonda, “Grace & Frankie”
Ellie Kemper, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”
Lily Tomlin, “Grace & Frankie”

Best Drama Ensemble
“The Crown”
“Downton Abbey”
“Game of Thrones”
“Stranger Things”
“Westworld”

Best Drama Actor
Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
John Lithgow, “The Crown”
Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”

Best Drama Actress
Millie Bobby Brown, “Stranger Things”
Claire Foy, “The Crown”
Thandie Newton, “Westworld”
Winona Ryder, “Stranger Things”
Robin Wright, “House of Cards”

Best Movie/Miniseries Actor
Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of”
Sterling K. Brown, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
Bryan Cranston, “All The Way”
John Turturro, “The Night Of”
Courtney B Vance, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”

Best Movie/Miniseries Actress
Bryce Dallas Howard, “Black Mirror”
Felicity Huffman, “American Crime”
Audra McDonald, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill”
Sarah Paulson, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
Kerry Washington, “Confirmation”

Best Stunt Ensemble
“Game of Thrones”
“Daredevil”
“Luke Cage”
“The Walking Dead”
“Westworld”

Stranger Things- Season 1, Episode 6 – The Monster; ALT Title: Are you there God? It’s me, El.


stranger things titles

Cold Open: Creeper is calling for Nancy. She is lost in the Shadow World.  In her haste, Nancy is has passed the exit and his alone in the with the monster.  Creeper sees the tree portal, then Nancy’s outstretched arm, and pulls the love of his life back into the Light World like a forceps baby.  The tree’s portal closes.

Roll Credits.

Steve is driving with his crew all worried about Nancy.  He uses his much improved Ninja Skills to go up to Nancy’s bedroom, but is frozen with shock and rage at the sight of Creeper comforting Nancy on her bed.

Joyce’s House:  Hop is mentally exhausted, but pushes through it.  He explains that he saw Will’s room because there was a kid’s bed and kid’s drawing on the wall.  However, when Joyce asks, “Was [the drawing] good?”  Hop describes it as a kid’s drawing.  She shows Hop an example of Will’s very good artwork.  Hop realizes that all this time that he’s been looking for another kid.  David Harbour plays this scene with a mix of realization and rage that they did this to yet another kid.  I haven’t seen acting this good since the Robert Mitchum or Gary Cooper.  In five years, he’ll be holding an Oscar.  

Mike’s house:  Nancy showers off her evil goo.  She has Creeper sleep in her bed.  Maybe, he’ll take some photos of her when she sleeps? You two deserve each other. 

Hop and Joyce:  They go on a quest to find El’s mom, using his library research.  Given that was a trolling ground for Hop, I didn’t mean to have that previous sentence to read vaguely dirty.

Nancy’s Room:  Nancy Nancy Drews (sorry had to go there) a theory that the monster is a predator, who hunts at night, and detects blood.  HMMMMMMM, whatever could it be????  They decide to set a trap.

Mr. Clark’s house:  He is visited by Evil Modine’s Blonde Henchwoman and is duped into revealing the boys’ identities with promises of nerdy tech programs for promising youths.

Flash to El: Evil Modine brings El a one-dollar Target store plant because he wants to her to make contact and he’s obviously cheap.

El wakes in the woods.  She puts her wig on to become a normal girl again.  She looks into the water seeing herself as a freak, a monster, an ersatz girl.  El tosses the wig and screams her energy into the lake.

Mike’s House:  Karen uses her bobby pin to gain access to Nancy’s room, expecting to find a sleeping kid.  Instead, she sees an empty bed and the indications that a boy spent the night.

Lucas’ House:  The boys try to make up. It’s a bit corny, but in a good way.  Lucas is determined to find Will on his own and he’s convinced that El is a traitor.  Dustin insists that it was pretty awesome; she threw him  into the air with her mind.  Lucas’ face says it all- that’s why she sucks, SHE’S NOT HUMAN!

El decides to go shopping for some Eggos.  She’s dirty, she’s weird, and the villagers are scared.  FLASH to the Evil Bathtub:  El is being submerged into the dark world -the in between space that separates our world and the Shadow World a membrane that acts a terrible bridge.  Back to the store where once again, we find a dickish manager.  She calls the manager a Mouth Breather; it’s pretty awesome.  He tries to stop El because she’s leaving the store without paying and El’s like – LEGGO MY EGGO! BOOM- The sliding glass doors explode.

Hop and Joyce:  They arrive at Terry Ives’ home to ask her about her daughter.  She is catatonic.

Lucas: We see him leaving to find Will.  He sees a white Hawkins Power and Light van. Dustin and Mike, separated from Lucas, discuss why Lucas is upset.  Dustin explains that Lucas is jealous because he’s being replaced by El.

We learn from Terry’s sister that she got into MK Ultra in college.  They gave Terry loads of LSD, put her in the salt water tank, but she was pregnant.   This gave her baby enhanced superpowers.  This is an obvious nod to Dean Herbert’s Dune, when Lady Jessica takes the Water of Life when she was pregnant; thereby, giving her daughter Alia superpowers. Yep, I just laid some nerd knowledge on you! Boom!  Terry’s sister explains that Terry believed she would have telekinetic and other badass powers; we flash to El’s mojo badassery throughout the series.  All the while she describes this, there is baby music playing in the background that is extra creepy.

Lucas uses his compass and arrives at Evil Modine’s Government Facility.

Nancy and Creeper find supplies to set their trap.  When they go outside, she sees the movie theater marquee – All The Right Moves Starring – Spray Painted – Nancy the Slut Wheeler.  She’s mortified.  She hears spray paint cans being used and finds Steve and his cohorts.  She slaps him.  Steve starts insulting Creeper and Creeper kicks Steve’s ass.  The cops arrive and in a funny accidental assault on a police officer, Creeper is arrested.

Hop and Joyce: She’s devastated that it’s been 12 years since Terry saw her daughter, meaning she may never see Will again. Hop explains that there’s still a chance.  He explains that he’s been through what she’s going through, but his daughter was taken permanently, but he will get Will back to her.  People in pain will sometimes lash out because a person tries to share their pain, thinking that the sharer is trying to make it about themselves.  WRONG! Don’t be that way! Pain is not unique.  There’s sympathy and empathy.  Sympathy- wow, that sucks.  Empathy- I felt your kind of pain because this happened to me.  This is a vulnerable act of sharing, creating intimacy and intimacy is the bedrock of any relationship. 

Hop gets a call that Creeper was arrested.

Back at the Police Station, Nancy brings Creeper some ice for his candid photo taking hands.

Lucas:   He sees a bunch of Hawkins Power and Light vans.  Lucas realizes that the government is on to them.

The Bullies find Dustin and Mike at the Quarry.  The World’s Smallest Bully (WSB) catches Dustin and threatens to cut out Dustin’s baby teeth, if Mike doesn’t jump into the quarry. The tension builds and he jumps.  The boys run to see a likely dead Mike; instead, Mike is suspended in mid-air and hoisted back to the top of the cliff.  We cut to El who has her signature bloody nose.  She shoves one bully into the air and breaks the WSB’s arm.  El says, GO!  The bullies do.

Flash to In between dark room: She sees the monster and approaches.  She reaches out to it’s scaly skin and touches the creature.  It shrieks at her with a head full of teeth.  El’s terror is so great that she releases a huge energy burst that tears a hole in our dimension, linking our world to the shadow world and the Monster.

Back to the quarry, El confesses she opened the gate; therefore, she is the monster.  Mike eschews that notion- You saved me El. They all hug.

Dustin, Mike, and El have return to Mike’s house and the Hawkins Power and Light Van is waiting for them.

 

Stranger Things- Season 1 Episode 5- The Flea and The Acrobat; ALT Title: Hop is my Spirit Animal.


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Cold Open:

Evil Modine’s Government Facility: Hop is being a total badass and sneaks into the facility. He sneaks around the facility and hides in rooms as evil scientists go by in the halls.  He goes through biohazard plastic and is about to head to the entrance to find Will.  Hop runs into the shittiest security chief ever and kicks his ass and the ass of a Military Policeman. Hop – you win the badass award of 1983.

Joyce’s house: Lonnie is getting Joyce liquored up and generally trying to take over her life. Lonnie – who might be one of the earliest Mansplainers – tries to convince Joyce that all of this in her head.  This show is really good at showing people’s reaction to grief and potential mental illness. The people are marginalized, ignored, and bossed around. It’s especially poignant because the show is postmodern gothic horror and the way “normal characters” deal with the people they can’t understand is truly medieval.  

Evil Modine’s Government Facility:  Hop continues to search for Will.  He finds a room with a kid-sized bed and a drawing of two stick figures and a cat- a call back to where Evil Modine tried to harness El’s powers to diminish the local feline population.  Hop’s face is cool rage.  He’s certain that they have Will.

The director intercuts the boys’ discussion and Hop’s search for Will. The intercut between the boys’ discussion and Hop’s search is truly gooseflesh inducing. El is completely drained.  The boys are going over what was said on the AV equipment.  Lucas emotes that he is really tired of this shit.  Hop has his pistol drawn and is being pursued by Evil Modine’s goons.  The boy’s describe the World of the veil of shadows.  Hop finds the elevator that leads down to the gate to the shadow world.  Hop enters a hallway that the boys describe as – out of phase.  There is evil snow coming down around Hop.  Hop enters the room with the main portal to the shadow world and is grabbed and drugged.  This story really grabs at the ancient themes of storytelling- Hop is the sullied knight on Crusade looking for redemption and he plays it perfectly!  Fade to Black.

Roll Credits:

Joyce’s House:  Creeper arrives home to see his Mom drinking and generally hanging out with Lonnie.  Poor Creeper.

Funeral:  Lonnie holds Court and shakes a lot of hands as if he is the man of the family and not a human-turd.

Hop’s Home:  Hop wakes with sweat stains and surrounded by pills and booze.  Hop tears his place apart like he’s looking for Rebel Plans of the Death Star.  After much destruction, Hop finds what he’s been looking for- a listening device in his light fixture.

Evil Modine’s Government Facility:  Evil Modine has decided that the monster is hanging around Will’s home.

Post Funeral:  Nancy and Creeper are making plans to hunt down and kill the Monster.  He gets a pistol out of his father’s glove box.

High school: A fake AV Club Repairman investigates the equipment that was fried by El.

The Wake:  The boys go up to Mr. Clark and they have him lay some science down on them.  Are there alternative universes? You bet! Does Mr. Clark know about Dungeons and Dragons? Right again!  Does he explain that someone would have to create immense power to create a tear into another dimension much like the plot of Bioshock Infinite? OH YEAH!!!  BTW, this tear could destroy us all and wonks up compasses as well.

Hop’s House:  The deputies arrive and talk to Hop.  They think he’s a bit nutty and we find out that Barb’s car was found at a bus station.

Joyce’s House:  Lonnie talks about the Statler Corporation and how they need to be held accountable as he does some pretty shitty home repair.  This gives Joyce a moment of clarity that perhaps Lonnie is infact a dirtbag.

Mike’s House:  Dustin is experimenting with the compasses.  He explains to his friends that the compass is not facing True North; instead, they must be pointing to the Evil Gate.

Joyce’s House:  While Lonnie is showering, Joyce snoops in Lonnie’s stuff and discovers a personal injury attorney’s flyer.

Mike’s House: Nancy talks to Steve.  It’s boring.

Joyce’s House:  Joyce fights with Lonnie and tosses his ass out of her house.

Hop’s House: Hop is exhausted and calls his estranged wife.  We learn that after their child’s death, she left, and now has a new family.  Poor Hop.

The boys are trying to get to the portal via the local railroad tracks.  El flashes to Evil Modine.  He has her focus on a Commie.  To accomplish this task, she must get into a scary bathtub with a helmet on her.  Huh? The boys notice that El is acting stranger.

 Nancy and Creeper are walking through the woods hunting for the Monster.  They argue about her and Steve. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Joyce’s House:  Joyce hears banging at her door and thinks it’s Lonnie.  In fact, it’s Hop holding up a sign for her to be quiet.  He looks at all of the lights that are up in her home that he must now check for listening devices and says, “Oh Jesus”.  I have had to inspect Christmas Lights a time or two and it is a pain in the ass!

Junkyard:  Dustin realizes the compasses are not leading them to the gate.  Lucas discerns that it was El misleading them using her powers, discovering fresh nose-blood on her sleeve.  She explains that [the gate] is not safe.

Joyce’s House:  Hop’s finished checking the lights.  He explains to Joyce that they bugged his place, they took Will, Will’s body was a fake, and she was right all along.

Lucas emotes that El likely opened the gate and that she might be the monster!  Lucas and Mike fight and El launches Lucas into the air.  El flashes to the evil bathtub.  She goes to a totally black room with water in it that looks identical to the kill room in “Under the Skin”.  Under the Skin is a must watch!  She hears the commie talking and goes up to him.  He can’t see her.  While she is broadcasting the commie’s speech, she hears something horrible.  A monster using sonar.  She flees.  We return to the Junkyard and Lucas comes to and storms off.  El has also disappeared.

The Woods:  Nancy and Creeper come upon a dying deer.  They decide to put it down.  In an act of knight-like chivalry (AHEM), Creeper attempts to shoot the deer.  It is pulled into the darkness.  Creeper and Nancy split up to look for the deer.  Nancy sees a hole in a tree that is covered with evil slime and decides to go inside it alone and without any weapons because she’s really really smart.  Nancy enters the shadow world and sees the Monster crouched and feeding on the deer.  She attempts to back away and crushes a branch. The Monster turns and it’s face opens in four quadrants to reveal nothing but teeth and rage!

Roll Credits!

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Stranger Things- The Body, S1 E4; ALT Title: Hop says to the world – WTF?!!!


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Cold Open:  Hop is at Joyce’s home and she is acting way crazy and the decor doesn’t help her case for her sanity.  She explains that Will must be alive because she talks to him through the Christmas lights – as one does.  He explains that when his daughter died, he saw her everywhere and she will go crazy if she keeps this up.

Mike’s House:  Mike’s pissed at El.  El is playing with the Walkie Talkie and doesn’t understand his outrage.  He yells at her, making her focus even more.  She hones in on Will’s frequency in the shadow world with her mojo and he is singing The Clash. She nose bleeds. Good call back!  Mike calls Lucas and explains that Will is alive.

Roll Credits

Mike gets the guys together and convinces them that Will is alive and El can communicate with him.

Hop talks to Creeper as the State medical examiner is showing Joyce her dead son.  She storms out convinced that the body is not Will’s.

High School:  Steve is concerned that Nancy will reveal that he was drinking.  Nancy acts all high and mighty chastening Steve for being self-centered.  Word, Nancy?! Really?! WORD?! WORD?! The Hypocrisy Gods all just had a collective stroke! WTF???!!!  Nancy storms off (we hope that she will look up the words Hypocrisy and Frenemy!)

Creeper argues with his mom in public.  She screams that she saw a monster without a face and that Will is still alive.

The boys decide to dress up El up like a girl to infiltrate the school’s AV Club tech room because the transmitter is stronger.  This has created a number of E.T. comparisons, but honestly, so they put her in a dress?!  Big Whoop!  Mike says that she is pretty.  This leads to a very sad moment when El looks into the mirror.  She sees the girl, the normal girl, that she could’ve been, if not for Evil Modine.  Evil Modine better hope he never crosses paths with El again.

Evil Modine’s Government Facility:  They send a tethered Red Shirt into the evil membrane to explore the shadow world.

High School:  Nancy is being questioned by the deputies.  They treat her like the bad friend that she is.  We learn that Barb’s car is gone.

Hop is interviewing his local medical examiner and learns that the State Police took over the autopsy and it was all kinds of fishy.

The boys nearly secret El into the AV Club to do her mojo and communicate with Will, but they are stopped by Mr. Clark.  He insists that they all attend the assembly and then the AV Club is theirs to use.

Nancy gets home and Karen disappoints me as well.  Karen is mostly concerned with her daughter’s promiscuity and not the disappearance of Barb – Nancy’s purported best friend.  Apparently, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the bob. Maybe, Nancy’s sociopathic selfishness was learned behavior.  Karen, you’re in a timeout!  Nancy storms upstairs and looks at Creeper’s photo of Barb and notices the Monster in the side of the photo.

Evil Modine’s Government Facility:  Evil Modine is able to communicate with the Red Shirt.  Red Shirt is a term of art from Star Trek TOS. When a person in a Red Shirt was sent to investigate something, the result was a dead Red Shirt.  Red Shirt exclaims that he is not alone.  The tether jerks wildly, they attempted to pull the Red Shirt back, but all that is retrieved is a bloodied harness. Yeech.

High school:  The bullies are joking and laughing about Will.  Mike confronts the World’s Shortest Bully (WSB) and, when he turns, Mike shoves him.  The WSB attempts to attack Mike, but is frozen in place by El who also makes him urinate on himself.  Then, a teacher appears and breaks up the altercation.  I guess since it was the 1980’s the teachers were all doing cocaine somewhere and were too busy to monitor a gymnasium full of students.  

Funeral Home:  Nancy is talking to Creeper.  She shows him the Monster figure and he can’t explain it.  He’s about to blow her off, but she mentions that she saw something in the woods.  Creeper asks if it didn’t have a face?  Nancy freezes.  They are starting to believe.

Hop is questioning a guy at a bar; the bar guy reveals that he was the one who found the Byers boy. Hop discerns that the man was lying to him because he claimed that quarry was owned by the government, but infact it was privately owned.  Outside, Hop lays a serious beat down on this bar guy who really spills the beans.  Bar guy reveals that he was told not to let people too close to the body.  There’s a 1980s creepy sedan in the background that Hop chases with his pistol drawn.  Hop realizes that he is firmly in the deepest of shit.

Meanwhile, at the coolest thing to ever happen in an AV Club Room anywhere … ever: El is honing in on Will.  She flashes back to when Evil Modine has her look at a picture of a man.  She thinks he wants her to kill him.  Not a big stretch to think that.  Evil Modine wants her to hone on him and have her repeat back what she hears.  We travel to a room where the man in the photo is saying a series of random words.  Back to El, she not only hones in on him, but broadcasts it on the PA system.  VERY COOL!  Evil Modine realizes that El is way beyond his understanding.

We return to the AV Club room.  They hear banging.  Will and his mom are talking through the wall.  Will goes to the tear that the monster created the night before.  Briefly, they can see each other and the boys and El can hear the communication.  Joyce hears the monster coming and she tells Will to run.  Then, BOOM – the equipment shorts out!  Joyce grabs a sledgehammer from her Shed and breaks a huge hole in her wall, but all she sees is the cold and all she hears is winter birdsong.

High school darkroom:  Creeper and Nancy are in the darkroom and he enlarges the portion of the photo of the monster.  While they are waiting for the enhancement to develop, he describes how he likes to observe people.  Creeper, please stop saying things like things like this.  It’s creeping me out.  It’s not really creeping Nancy out. I do not understand Nancy – AT ALL.   The picture develops and the Monster is in focus.  YIKES!

Hop goes to the morgue.  The State Trooper on guard is reading “Cujo” – AWESOME!  Hop is crossing the Rubicon! He punches out the Trooper, enters the morgue, and struggles with what must be done.  He takes Will’s body out and pauses and then, takes out his knife.  Hop must know if this is actually Will and he is throwing everything away to find the answer. His knife is above the deceased boy’s chest and he makes his incision. No blood.  He cuts deeper and finds- cotton.  It’s not Will.  Hop’s face says everything- WTF?!!!

Joyce’s house: Lonnie, the deadbeat dad, returns to Joyce.  They hug.

Hop walks up to the Evil Modine Government Facility with bolt cutters and breaks in!

Thank you for reading!!!  LIKE IT!!! I am also glad because technically I might be a Millennial.  I’m young again!

HOP Believes