Stranger Things, S03,Ep4, Review By Case Wright


stranger-things-titles(1)

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


stranger-things-titles(1)

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)


stranger-things-titles(1).jpg

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!!!

 

 

 

Playing Catch Up With The Films of 2017: The Glass Castle (dir by Destin Daniel Cretton)


The Glass Castle, which some people expected to be an Oscar contender until they actually sat through the damn thing, is a film that nearly inspired me to throw a shoe at my television.

Seriously, I was curled up on the couch and watching the movie on TV.  On the screen, Woody Harrelson was playing an obnoxious, selfish alcoholic who resented both his daughter’s success and her boyfriend.  According to the alcoholic who was living in a trash-strewn hovel with his wife, success meant selling out and money was the root of all evil and blah blah blah.  Anyway, the drunk ended up punching his son-in-law.  The very next scene featured the son-in-law whining about getting punched and that’s when I realized that the film somehow expected us to be on the side of the drunken asshole.

I reached down and picked a shoe up from the floor.  I was just about to throw it at the television when my sister Erin reached out from behind me and grabbed my hand.

“Lisa Marie,” she said, “you are not throwing your shoe at the TV.”

“But Errrrrrrrin,” I whined, “this movie really sucks!”

“Well, then write a review about how much it sucks.  But you’re not going to throw another shoe at the TV.”

Reluctantly, I dropped the shoe.  Though I may have been annoyed at the time, I see Erin’s point.  The Glass Castle is not worth losing a shoe over.

The Glass Castle is based on a powerful memoir by Jeannette Wells.  It tells the story of how she and her siblings were raised by an alcoholic father and an artist mother.  It’s a story that’s full of adventure and pathos and everything else that you could hope for from a family memoir.  It’s also a memoir that works because Walls refuses to idealize her life.  Though she writes about how her childhood seemed like a grand adventure when she was actually living it, she’s also very honest about the fact that it really wasn’t.  Though her love for her family comes through on every page, she never shies away from the darker aspects of growing up as American vagabonds.

The film largely takes the opposite approach to the material.  As played by Woody Harrelson and Naomi Watts, Walls’s parents are portrayed as being somewhat lovable eccentrics.  Early on, when her mother’s carelessness leads to young Jeannette being burned and permanently scarred in a fire, there’s a scene where Harrelson compares it to the fire that burns inside of the entire family.  When I realized that we were supposed to be moved by this asinine comparison, I ended up rolling my eyes so hard that the world literally looked like it was upside down for five minutes.  “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?” I yelled at the movie.

This was followed by another scene where, at a public pool, Harrelson attempts to teach Jeanette to swim by repeatedly tossing her into the deep end and nearly drowning her.  And while the film acknowledged that this wasn’t exactly the best parenting technique, it was hard not to feel that we were supposed to think that Harrelson had a point when he said that he was preparing Jeannette to be a strong and independent person who would be able to survive being plunged into the deep end of existence.  “NO!”  I shouted at the TV, “YOU JUST NEARLY DROWNED YOUR DAUGHTER, YOU PRICK!”

(Full disclosure: My Dad once tried the same thing with me.  Fortunately, he only nearly drowned me once — as opposed to Jeannette’s father who just keeps dunking her in the deep end.  Still, it was frightening enough to not only leave me with with an obsessive fear of drowning but it also kept me from ever really learning how to swim.)

When Jeannette grows up, she’s played by Brie Larson, who does a passable Virginia accent and gives about as good a performance as anyone could, considering the script and the direction.  Her husband, David, is played by Max Greenfield.  David is a good, responsible person who doesn’t drink much and who makes a lot of money.  Jeannette’s father looks down on him for those two reasons and the film seems to expect us to do so as well.  But why?  David hasn’t done anything wrong.  He’s certainly not the one who tried to drown his own daughter or who came up with some bullshit explanation about why it was a good thing that she was allowed to burst into flame.  But, if we accept that David’s not a bad guy then we also have to accept that Jeannette’s father is being an asshole.  The film’s not sure how to handle that so instead, we’re just supposed to laugh at David because he gets the worst lines in the script.

It’s a very dishonest film.  Unlike the memoir on which it’s based, it has no interest in honestly examining what it’s like to grow up with an alcoholic.  Instead, it’s too busy giving us Woody Harrelson playing yet another redneck with a drinking problem.  Harrelson does a good enough job but fuck it.  If I want to spend time watching a drunk Woody Harrelson, I’ve got The Hunger Games on Blu-ray.

The Glass Castle ends with footage and pictures of Jeannette’s actual family and, as I watched them, it occurred to me that I would happily watch a documentary about the Walls family.  That would presumably have the honesty that is so lacking in The Glass Castle.