Supernatural: One Last Ride – Netflix Review

After 15 years, the Winchester brothers finally come to the end of the road.

SUMMARY (Spoilers. So many spoilers)

Sam and Dean Winchester (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) lost their mother, Mary (Samantha Smith), to a demon when Sam was a baby. Raised by their father, John (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and his friend Bobby (Jim Beavers) to be monster hunters, Sam eventually left and tried to live a normal life. When John disappears, Dean and his brother reunite in order to find him. They then end up fighting a bunch of monsters before finally killing the demon that took their mother, Azazel (Frederic Lehne). Then they fight that demon’s boss, Lilith (Katherine Boecher). They’re joined by an angel named Castiel (Mischa Collins) and together they fight the Devil (Mark Pellegrino). Then they fight the archangel Raphael (Demore Barnes) and the Leviathans, monsters so horrible that God banished them to Limbo. Then it’s God’s scribe Metatron (Curtis Armstrong), a knight of Hell (Alaina Huffman), another king of Hell who is also a dead Scotsman named Crowley (Mark A. Sheppard), God’s evil sister (Emily Swallow), some Brits and the Devil again, the Devil’s son (sort of) (Alexander Calvert), and then finally they fight God himself (Rob Benedict).

But there was always Sam and Dean.

They die a lot, but eventually they actually manage to be the last men standing. 

END SUMMARY

Supernatural’s originally intended plotline ended ten years ago with the defeat of Lucifer and yet that didn’t even slow the show down. There’s a meme online that describes Supernatural as “redneck Dragonball Z” in the sense that every season we’re told that the thing that the boys are fighting is the biggest threat ever and yet the next season the threat is even bigger (with some exceptions). That’s not inaccurate, but the fact that eventually the enemy they fight is literally God (yes, the creator of everything himself) makes me respect the cliche more, since they carried this trend all the way to its logical, yet absurd, conclusion. Also, at least they had the good sense to kill off each of the characters multiple times (I think the Winchesters have died collectively at least a dozen times without counting time-loops), but then I remember that is ALSO a Dragonball Z thing. Maybe it’s that the two shows really contain one very similar theme. Both series are about the ability for people to grow and overcome any challenges through effort and determination. 

Also, there’s some later plotlines on time-travel and alternate universes.

That theme may be the thing that I most like about the series. In Supernatural, there is always a solution to any problem if you work hard enough and learn enough. It’s not just that the Winchesters kick a lot of monster butt, they also constantly are dedicated to reading the lore about all of the enemies that they fight. Sure, ultimately, they have to stand their ground against a horrible monster and stab it through the heart with a thrice-blessed shard of obsidian or whatever, but what worthwhile problem can you solve without exposing yourself to danger? It’s not like the boys always know they’ll come back from the dead, in fact they often assume it’s the last time, but they still stand up and fight the good fight. They hunker down, read a ton of books on the subject, formulate a plan, then put everything on the line to solve it. I FEEL LIKE THERE’S A SOLID LESSON CONTAINED IN THIS.

Rowena literally studies enough to end up a queen.

Then there’s Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. Without them, this show would have failed outright. Their chemistry is as good as any onscreen couple, which is possibly part of why people have shipped them together despite their characters being siblings who have nothing but brotherly affections. Everything about their interplay tends to work, from the comedy to the drama to the tense emotional moments. When they added Mischa Collins, rather than detracting from the duo, it heightened it by giving the pair more time to show how they interact with other close parties. Dean and Castiel may be close as it gets (possibly in canon), but his relationship with Sam is still distinct. No matter what guests showed up, and there were some great ones, the core was still Sam and Dean.

Although Felicia Day could have gotten her own show.

I’m going to opine briefly on the final episode of the show, so if you don’t want spoilers, just know that I will always recommend this series to anyone who likes fantasy. Even if you don’t like some of the episodes, and there are some that are definitely weaker than others (*Cough* racist truck *cough*), the series as a whole is strong. It didn’t last 15 years for nothing.

Not the best part of the show.

As to the finale, I know a lot of people were disappointed. I will admit that I wasn’t happy with it either, but I do have to say I understood why it was a let down and I don’t think it was actually the fault of the show. If you aren’t living under a rock or reading this in the year 2045, you are probably aware that in 2020 the world was struck by a pandemic known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and much of the planet was forced to avoid large gatherings of people. You know what usually requires a large amount of people in a single place? Filming a television show. Even with the final drone shot of the series in which the cast and crew say goodbye to the audience, there was a clearly reduced number of people present for the shoot. And I think that’s what really caused the problem for the finale. 

Fortunately, Impalas can’t get Covid.

I think what they were going for, an episode dedicated solely to Sam and Dean, was actually a great way to send off the series. Their bond, as I said, was what kept the show going. The decision to ***SERIOUSLY, SPOILERS*** kill Dean off for real was basically inevitable. Dean Winchester was never going to quit fighting until he could literally fight no more. Sam, on the other hand, could live a normal life. It was inevitable that Dean would go first, particularly since he spent his whole looking after Sam. I wasn’t upset by that and I was genuinely kind of moved by the scene between them. I also appreciated the cameo by Christine Chatelain from season one as well as by Jim Beavers as the “real” Bobby Singer, but the fact is that for a show that lasted 15 years to only give us two cameos in the last episode while name-dropping a half dozen others is a bit of a let-down. The absence of Castiel, Jack, and Mary Winchester was especially notable. However, I think that really just comes down to the impossible choice that the show had: Finish with who was willing and able to be quarantined to shoot the finale safely (within the budget they have for the episode), or just don’t finish the show. They couldn’t reasonably ask for everyone to just come back after COVID was over, because there was no telling when that will be. So, they had to scale it back to what they could get. The final “drive” montage was even the perfect time to show all of the old familiar faces one last time and have those final send-off scenes, but they couldn’t pull it off. I think the show deserves credit for trying and forgiveness for having a logistically impossible task. And while it might have been a bit of a let down, it wasn’t a BAD episode. It was just smaller than it should have been.

Everything about this shot is majestic. Especially the paychecks.

Overall, I still love the show. It’s been around almost my entire adult life, and I will miss it dearly.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Schitt’s Creek: It Was Worth The Trip – Netflix Review

I finally got through the series and it definitely was time well spent.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy) is the multimillionaire owner of a video store empire. His wife, Moira (Catherine O’Hara), is a former soap opera actress and they have two spoiled adult children, David (Dan Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy). Unfortunately, the family discovers that their business manager has absconded with all of their money and has failed to pay their taxes in years, leaving them essentially penniless. Their only remaining asset is a town that Johnny bought for a young David as a joke: Schitt’s Creek. The family moves to Schitt’s creek and into the local run-down motel managed by Stevie Budd (Emily Hampshire). The very eccentric and nouveau riche Roses quickly start to find themselves in contact, and occasional conflict, with the locals, including idiot Mayor Roland Schitt (Chris Elliott), his wife Jocelyn (Jennifer Robertson), upbeat waitress Twyla (Sarah Levy), local garage owner Bob (John Hemphill), local veterinarian Ted Mullins (Dustin Milligan), councilwoman Ronnie (Karen Robinson), and later local businessman Patrick Brewer (Noah Reid). However, the town and the Roses both start to rub off on each other, and maybe everyone gets a little bit better.

That’s it. That’s the show.

END SUMMARY

I know I was late to this game, but I can say that, having watched the entire series, this show is absolutely worth the time to get through. I was told up front that the first season was weak, and it definitely was in retrospect, but the actors are so good that you can honestly get through the first few episodes based solely on that. A part of the slow start is that they were more focused at the beginning on the original pitch of the show, which was “what happens if you put a reality show family in a small town.” While that premise is funny, the show really starts to hit its stride when the main characters start to actually realize how crappy they are as people and genuinely start to change. It adds a level of sincerity and emotion to the show that allows for the humor to really impact the audience because it’s now contrasted by solid drama. 

Also, it has a Cabaret episode and it’s wonderful.

The amount of comic talent in this show is second to none. Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara have been together in multiple Christopher Guest movies and their chemistry continues on the small screen. While Johnny is often the straight man of the family, which suits Eugene Levy, O’Hara plays a ridiculously over-the-top former actress known for her eccentric grammar and pronunciation choices. If you think someone saying the word “baby” can’t be funny, she will prove you wrong. Dan Levy and Annie Murphy start off as being insufferably annoying, but quickly evolve into fun and compelling characters. It helps that David is usually accompanied by Stevie, whose deadpan snark is perfect with David’s melodrama, while Alexis is usually paired with Ted or Twyla, both of whom are so positive that they balance out Alexis’ general aloofness. All of the supporting characters help to round out the town, although I admit that I never quite got into Roland. He’s generally just too stupid to be enjoyable, which is only redeemed by the fact that Chris Elliott is naturally brilliant. 

They’re a fun group.

Aside from the cast, the strength of the show is that it manages to constantly subvert expectations in the absolute best ways. Any time that you think they’re about to fall into sitcom cliche, they manage to surprise you and turn it into something else that’s brilliant and funny. It seems like that’s one of the most consistent elements and it’s something that’s rare for any show. The fact that it only gets better as the show goes on is even more rare. 

They also have this scene, which is amazing.

Overall, just a great show.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey : It’s Cute, Just Go With It – Netflix Review

As with most things, Ricky Martin’s vanity is the cause of the trouble.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Jeronicus Jangle (Justin Cornwell/Forest Whitaker) is an inventor and toymaker who owns a store called “Jangles and Things.” One day he receives the final component to his greatest invention, a living doll called Don Juan Diego (Ricky Martin). However, Don Juan resents the idea of being mass-produced, so he convinces Jeronicus’ apprentice, Gustafson (Miles Barrow/Keegan-Michael Key) to run away with all of Jeronicus’ blueprints and become a toymaker himself. Because of the theft, Jeronicus is unable to invent anymore, causing financial hardship. His wife, Joanne (Sharon Rose), dies, and he grows distant from his daughter, Jessica (Diaana Babnicova/Anika Noni Rose), who moves away. 

It’s your standard brightly-colored inventor lab from a kids movie.

Years later, Jangle runs a pawn shop with his self-appointed apprentice Edison (Keron L. Dyer). His granddaughter, Journey (Madalen Mills), comes to visit him. It turns out that she is also an aspiring inventor and is determined to help her grandfather finally turn things around. 

END SUMMARY

This movie’s advertisement ran on my Facebook page over and over again for three or four days straight so I am hoping that by watching it I have purged myself from that particular algorithmic nightmare. Fortunately, the movie itself was pretty great. I’m not going to say it’s an instant classic, although I imagine some families will hail it as such, but it certainly was a lot better than I would have expected. Like many Christmas movies, it starts with the framing device of a grandmother reading to her children, however, the book is actually revealed to be an incredibly intricate clockwork device that apparently provides moving visuals as she tells the truth. That cues you in pretty early that this film is going to have a magical element, but not the one that we usually associate with Christmas. 

They have a pretty awesome house.

This movie runs on artifice and mathemagic. Yes, I’m serious. This movie pretty much allows for you to do anything and build anything as long as you can do the math right. The difference is that math in this film includes quantities like “stupendous” or “impossible,” and somehow these can be used to do things like create targeted snowballs or flying robots. It’s done in a very visually creative style and by couching it in a pseudo-scientific premise, the film doesn’t dive into full-on magic. It doesn’t quite match the steampunk aesthetic, being a little too far into the modern age, but it does have a distinct set and costume style that is easy on the eyes.

With the right equation, you can break physics. Somehow.

The musical numbers are actually a lot better than I expected, particularly Keegan-Michael Key’s opening song “Magic Man G.” They’re not your typical Christmas songs, but that’s to be expected from John Legend and Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars’ songwriting partner. They’re energetic, they’re fun, they’re clever, and they never feel cheap or cliche. The message of the film about never giving up and the power of belief is great, as is the lesser message of the power of forgiveness. Parents watching with their children should find them inspired and also enjoy the fact that there are a number of fairly adult lines in it, mostly about how Jeronicus needs to start thinking about romance again with his love interest, Ms. Johnston (Lisa Davina Phillip). Plus, it’s just cute.

Key is a great villain, despite how lovable he is.

Overall, just a great movie and a solid addition to the Netflix Christmas lineup.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Futurama Fridays – S7E8 “Fun on a Bun”

Fry finds his intellectual equals and Leela finds the sunshine of her spotless mind.

SUMMARY

The Professor (Billy West) takes the crew to Oktoberfest in Germany. Fry is excited, but finds out that over the centuries Oktoberfest has become a high-society event which doesn’t allow for drunkenness or debauchery. Fry protests by getting drunk and doing the chicken dance. Leela (Katey Sagal) is so embarrassed that she breaks up with Fry (again). Meanwhile, Bender (John DiMaggio) sees a sausage-making contest and decides to enter, only to find out that everyone uses special ingredients for their meat. The two watch a video explaining that the valley they’re near, the Neander valley, used to contain mammoths. Bender and Fry use the ship to find a mammoth, but as Bender is grinding it up, Fry seemingly falls in and is turned into sausage. Bender doesn’t notice and ends up serving the sausage, leading Leela to eat a sausage dog which appears to contain Fry. Leela is so traumatized that she has her memories of Fry erased. 

Fry’s drumsticks don’t go well with Mammoth.

Fry actually survived the machine, after it took off his clothes and some hair, but fell into the mammoth hole and hit his head causing it to swell. Fry is rescued by neanderthals who live under the ice sheet. Seeing his swollen forehead, they believe Fry to be a fellow caveman and his wound causes memory loss so he quickly agrees with it. Fry leads the neanderthals to attack Oktoberfest in order to take back the surface world. During the attack, the neanderthals end up doing well despite their lack of technology, because Zapp Brannigan (West) is an idiot. Fry and Leela end up fighting but stop when they recognize each other. They kiss, ending the war, and the neanderthals join Oktoberfest and bring back some of the old ways.

END SUMMARY

I actually think this was a well-done episode. It manages to combine the traditional “head wound causes amnesia” plotline with the more futuristic “mind-wipe” plotlines that sci-fi has been bringing lately, most directly Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Much like in those tropes, some level of memory always exists and can be triggered by a strong enough emotion. The show drives the comparison home by having them simultaneously recover from their amnesia. It’s a very Futurama way to deconstruct sci-fi tropes back to their roots. 

And to show yet another Funeral for Fry.

The other thing about this episode is that it is one of the more fun episodes of the last season. Each of the characters’ arcs are solidly comedic, particularly Bender and his quest to be the greatest sausage maker of all time. Bender does actually put forth more effort towards this goal than he usually does, but when he only gets third place (which he calls the greatest injustice that Germany has ever committed), he manages to ensure that his opponents are killed in the ensuing attack. Or at least that’s the story. Fry’s lines to the neanderthals are pretty solid, including his line “I do have vague memories of people refusing to breed with me” that he uses to confirm his neanderthal lineage. The idea of cavemen fighting with spacemen has often been floated, including a famous debate in the show Angel which literally named the “cavemen vs. astronauts” trope, but Futurama is one of the few shows where the key to the fight is that both sides are actually equally stupid. 

And the only one featuring chicken hats.

Overall, solid episode of Futurama.

FAVORITE JOKE

This is another three small joke episode.

1) When Hermes sees mammoths, he calls them “hairy elephantes,” which is both a fun description and also a joke on singer/songwriter Harry Belafonte. 

2) Later, Hermes is attacked by a giant sloth that takes forever to actually maul him. So long, in fact, that the battle pretty much ends by the time it gets there. Having Hermes, a normally serious character, participate in this only makes it that much funnier.

3) Everything about this exchange:

Zapp Brannigan: Up here in the clouds, our technology makes us invincible, like the mighty “x” in tic-tac-toe. Look at those pathetic cavemen down there, loading their silly catapult with…what is that, Kif?

Kif: I believe it’s a saber-tooth cat, sir.

Yes, it’s a Cat-apult.

See you next week, meatbags.

PREVIOUS – Episode 109: The Six Million Dollar Mon

NEXT – Episode 111: Free Will Hunting

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Cautious Hero: Somehow This Was Kinda Fun – Hulu Review

A story of a pathologically cautious protagonist in a fantasy story. 

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Out there in the multiverse are a pantheon of gods who pride themselves on empowering champions to save various worlds. Ristarte (Aki Toyosaki/Jamie Marchi) is the goddess of healing and is tasked to save a planet that has the highest-rank of dangerousness. Knowing that no ordinary champion will be able to defeat the evil there, she searches for candidates and finds a man named Seiya Ryuguin (Yūichirō Umehara/Anthony Bowling) who has naturally superior abilities. When she brings him in, however, she discovers that Seiya is incredibly paranoid and pathologically cautious. He refuses to engage in any fight unless he is absolutely sure of victory. Even when facing low-level opponents or easy situations, he cannot stop himself from overreacting. Eventually, the pair are joined by warrior Mash (Kengo Kawanishi/Chris Thurman) and mage Elulu (Aoi Koga/Sarah Wiedenheft). However, it turns out that the world they’re on is dangerous enough that Seiya might be the only one cautious enough to save it.

Yes, he’s a very generic protagonist in appearance.

END SUMMARY

I literally picked this because the full title, “Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious,” was the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in awhile. I share a Hulu account and I don’t know exactly whose views led to this being suggested, but I’ve never been so pleasantly surprised. This series is another version of taking a typical trope-filled premise and turning it on its head. In this case, Seiya is literally summoned from Japan to a fantasy realm which is deliberately modeled after various RPG games, to the point where everyone has “Stats screens.” Despite that, he shows no interest in actually playing the game. He doesn’t even want to leave the opening area until he is “sufficiently leveled,” basically treating the actual mission like a gamer who won’t move the story forward until they can one-shot every enemy. The humor mostly comes from how much this drives the other characters insane. After all, they’re mostly denied the ability to play their traditional supporting roles by having a protagonist that ends the fights immediately. 

And also from his ridiculously paranoid antics.

The other thing about the show that tends to make it worthwhile is that as much as everyone complains about Seiya’s behavior, a lot of the time he ends up being completely justified. It turns out that most of the villains in the series are particularly genre-savvy, which means they consistently try to disrupt the usual cycle of how the game works. To counter that, Seiya frequently looks to Ristarte’s fellow gods and goddesses for training. The gods’ domain in this series is interesting in its own right, as the deities are just as flawed, if not more so, than the humans. 

They’re mostly super horny, which makes me think they’re Greco-Roman.

The series is only twelve episodes long, which keeps the premise from running too thin. It also contains a decent number of late-series reveals that justify some of the more unusual aspects of the show. It’s a short and self-contained story that actually ends up having some genuinely moving moments, so it’s not hard to get through.

Plus it has a bunch of typical monsters.

Overall, it’s a pretty decent show if you like goofy anime. Or just goofy titles. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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i’m thinking of ending things: Charlie Kaufman Needs to be Tempered – Netflix Review

The acclaimed writer takes his third shot at directing and he probably needs to talk to Spike Jonze again.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-ish)

A young woman (Jessie Buckley) is thinking of breaking up with her boyfriend, Jake (Jesse Plemons), while on a trip to meet his parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis). Jake is a pseudo-intellectual who constantly attempts to quote poems, but often gets them wrong or incomplete. The same is true of most of his opinions; they’re either ripped off from other sources inaccurately or he fails to fully have them. He seems to have broad knowledge of culture, but it turns out he mostly only knows a few specific things. The young woman tries to introduce herself to Jake’s family, but all of her versions of their relationship seem completely irreconcilable. The young woman’s identity seems to change frequently, as do Jake’s parents. Throughout the movie, we also see an elderly janitor (Guy Boyd) who works at a school in the town near Jake’s parents’ house watching kids practice Oklahoma!

Lots of patterns everywhere.

END SUMMARY

I can’t really discuss this movie without somehow spoiling it, but I also don’t know that it hurts the experience. Here’s what I can say without spoilers: much like Kaufman’s previous movies he both wrote and directed, Synecdoche, New York and Anomalisa, most of this film is not literal. You’ll pick up on that pretty early when you see the characters change their appearances and names. The truth of what the film is about is only revealed towards the end and is just subtle enough that you might miss it if you’re not paying attention. I’d also advise you to watch through the film because the last thing you hear might change the film a bit. 

The world is cold. Also, it’s snowing.

A lot of this film is enhanced if you happen to know all of the pop culture that is being referenced, but most of it is pretty specific. For example, about five minutes of the movie is dedicated just to a John Cassavetes film and Pauline Kael’s review of it. If you didn’t immediately know who both of those people are, you’re going to probably be a bit confused during that portion. I mean, you can still enjoy it, but it’s distracting. Some stuff like that happens throughout. 

I mean, the other changes can be distracting.

Overall, if you’re a die-hard Kaufman fan, by which I mean you liked his previous directing works, you will probably enjoy this. If you liked Adaptation or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, this might also be up your alley. Otherwise, this might be a little too much Kaufman. 

*****SPOILERS*****

So, as the movie reveals, the Janitor is just the older Jake. Having completely failed to do anything that he wanted to do with his life, Jake now spends his days imagining the world in which he was smart, funny, accomplished, and had the girlfriend that his parents always wanted for him. As the movie goes on, we see him imagine progressively more ridiculous things, including winning a Nobel Prize (using the speech from A Beautiful Mind) and performing a song from Oklahoma! By the end, we see that Jake has had a complete mental breakdown and is murdering his own mental image. That’s when the movie’s title, which was apparently about the girl dumping Jake, instead becomes about Jake taking his own life. 

The aesthetics are fun.

The surreal nature of the way this film is done is a reflection of Jake’s broken mind. Like many people, Jake feels that he never got the life that Hollywood and pop culture seemed to promise him. He’s resentful of the gap between what he wants and what he actually gets. However, it becomes clear that he mostly is just an entitled loser. He mimics what he hears rather than thinking for himself and produces nothing, but he still wanted all of the rewards. It’s a very sad tale that is even more sadly relatable to many people nowadays. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Wayne: A Psychopath with a Heart of Gold – Amazon Prime Review

The story of a boy, a girl, and a quest for an awesome car.

SUMMARY

Wayne McCullough (Mark McKenna) is a violent teen from Massachusetts whose father is dying of cancer. He meets a local girl named Del (Ciara Bravo) who lost her mother and lives with her violent father and brothers. After Wayne’s dad passes, Wayne resolves to get back his father’s stolen 1979 Pontiac Trans Am that is in the possession of Wayne’s mother’s (Michaela Watkins) new husband (Kirk Ward). They’re pursued by two police officers, Geller and Ganetti (Stephen Kearin and James Earl), as well as Del’s father (Dean Winters), Wayne’s best friend Orlando (Joshua J. Williams), and his principal (Mike O’Malley). 

Do not mess with this kid.

END SUMMARY

This series came out on YouTube Premium back in 2019 and did pretty well for being on YouTube Premium, but, as the platform seems to mostly have stopped making original content now, didn’t end up continuing. They finally moved it to Amazon Prime and, having watched it, I really hope Amazon keeps it going. This show is an interesting blend of action comedy that we don’t often see on television, because it combines a dark, twisted sense of humor with a heavy dose of graphic violence. Of course, this was made by the same people that made Deadpool, so really we should have seen this coming.

Wayne doesn’t have super healing, though.

The lead character is described throughout the series as a kind of Robin Hood or avenging angel figure. He is violent and probably a little psychopathic, but he always makes sure his targets have it coming. When he sees a woman being mistreated by her boyfriend, he can’t help but intervene, even at his own detriment. Early on, the principal indicates that Wayne, like his father, sometimes bullies people, but mostly protects the innocent by bullying other bullies. From a storytelling standpoint, this is brilliant, because we never feel bad about all of the horrible things Wayne does to people, and he does do some horrible things. It helps that we do get a lot of cute moments between him and Del in which it becomes apparent that he does have a very soft side underneath his mean exterior. McKenna’s performance has to carry a lot of narrative weight without a huge amount of dialogue, but he pulls it off flawlessly.

He is really good at the subtle looks.

Similarly, Del is shown to be dealing with the tragic loss of her mother, with whom she was very close. Her mother was a con woman, leading Del to often have the same traits, but like Wayne Del has a strong moral center that appears to be born out of spiting her father’s criminal ways. She also is shown to want to stand up for the little guy and be a leader, initially selling cookies to supposedly raise funds for her mayoral run in five years, when she’s eligible. Of course, like most politicians, she’s also funding the campaign through theft. Bravo manages to be likable and demonstrate a connection to Wayne despite the fact that he’s violent and mostly emotionless.

They have pretty good chemistry, too.

The general theme of the series is that these two are rebelling. They’re good people but not the kind of “good” people that the world is prepared to accept. They don’t care about the rules and they really hate people who use the rules to hurt others. That’s what bonds them. Moreover, that’s what leads them to inspire many of the supporting characters to be more honest about how messed up things can be and to change it. It also includes just a ton of humor which is supplemented, rather than detracted from, by the violence. 

It’s a Bonnie and Clyde with fewer ethical issues.

Overall, this is a great show that everyone needs to watch so that we can maybe get more of it. 

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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Holidate: A Rom-Com for Psychopaths – Netflix Review

Seriously, someone needs therapy.

SUMMARY

Sloane (Emma Roberts) has a family that is completely obsessed with getting her hitched to a good guy. She insists she likes her independence, but they refuse to stop setting her up at every holiday. She discovers that her Aunt Susan (Kristin Chenoweth) has Holidates, guys who she sees specifically for holidays so that she doesn’t have to worry about showing up alone. At the same time, Jackson (Luke Bracey), a golf instructor from Australia, has a very bad date on Christmas and decides he doesn’t want to deal with holidays anymore, since he can’t visit his family. He and Sloane meet up between Christmas and New Years Eve and the two agree to be each other’s Holidates over the course of the next year. 

I wonder if they’ll get together?

END SUMMARY

While this should be a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy with a goofy premise, what sets it apart is that I have never seen a movie this mean-spirited before. Everyone in it is a sociopath. Sloane’s mother is not the stereotypical mom who wants her kids to be married, she apparently is incapable of having a different conversation with her daughter. She constantly calls her with new men and tells her that the thought of being single is equivalent to accepting dying alone from cancer. They even try to make the “someone to be there during chemo” thing into a sweet acknowledgement later in the movie, but that joke appears to have been written both by and for a person who has a head in their fridge. At the same time, everyone in her family isn’t much better, something the film drives home painfully and repeatedly. Then there’s the initial “bad date” that turns Jackson off holidays. The woman he’s with is a ridiculous exaggeration of the typical “too quick to love” character. Instead, she refuses to listen to a thing she says, acts then mentions some massively inappropriate sexual things in front of her parents. It’s like none of the people in this movie can even consider being empathetic or appropriate.

Like certain costumes to an Easter brunch.

The script does have a decent amount of self-awareness when it comes to tropes or cliches, but not enough to end up avoiding any of them. The main characters keep discussing what happens in movies, including the ultimate failure of friends with benefits, but as it is a romantic comedy, you know that’s what’s going to happen by the end. The two leads have a surplus of chemistry, too, which only makes it more ridiculous when Emma Roberts says things like “no one is ever really not looking to date.” She’s pointing out that no one is ever going to immediately deny someone they’re genuinely attracted to just because they have other obligations, then spends the movie doing exactly that. It’s like Babe Ruth calling his shot, only he predicted he would hit himself in the testicles with the bat.

This is when the bat hits the nuts.

Overall, this is a film to skip during the holidays. All of them.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

The New Mutants: The Fault was Not in the Stars – Amazon Review

A solid cast and a good premise couldn’t stop this film from failing hard.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt) is orphaned when her Cheyenne reservation is seemingly destroyed by a tornado. She wakes up in a hospital under the care of Dr. Cecilia Reyes (Alice Braga), who informs Dani that she is a mutant and that she is to remain in the hospital until she learns to control her abilities, whatever they are. The facility has four other teenagers who also have superpowers: Sam Guthrie (Charlie Heaton), who can turn himself into a human cannonball; Illyana Rasputin (Anya Taylor-Joy), who has powers that mimic magic; Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams), who is functionally a werewolf; and Bobby da Costa (Henry Zaga), a mutant who can manipulate solar power. All of them are orphans and all have tragic backstories related to their powers. However, soon things begin to happen around the facility that are weird even for mutants. It turns out that the facility may not be the hospital it seems, nor are all of the people in it.

They’re all young enough that they could have stayed with the franchise for a while.

END SUMMARY

I find it almost impressive that this movie failed this badly, because it seems like it has everything going for it. The premise of “what if we had a horror movie that involved superheroes” has been tried before, with Split being an example of superpowers making a horror trope better, but this one was basically pitched as “haunted school, but the haunting is a reality warper out of control.” That’s such a fun way to revitalize an old trope, particularly by adding in that the teen victims all have their own superpowers, so you could put them in even greater mortal danger and it would be survivable. The idea of a superteam forming in that situation for future films seems easily workable. All of this shows signs of almost inevitable success. Instead, we get a movie that clearly never knew what it wanted to be made by people who didn’t know what they were supposed to be in.

There are actually some decent horror images, too.

Looking into it, this film’s faults don’t seem to be entirely on director Josh Boone. Apparently he and writer Knate Lee had envisioned this as being a full-on horror film, but were told by the studio to tone it down into more of a young adult film. Then, after the success of IT, they were told to go and reshoot it into MORE of a horror film, but still not the hard R or very borderline PG-13 film that Boone had originally wanted. If I hadn’t found out this was the case, I would have assumed something like this had happened. The film seems like it constantly is fighting against itself. 

Also, they needed a little more Breakfast Club.

It doesn’t help that the film starts with a voiceover narration of the “two wolves” story that everyone knows already, but with bears instead of wolves. They don’t finish the parable until the very end of the movie, but since you already know what it ends with, there’s not much of a surprise or a win in the reveal. Similarly, there’s not much of a big win when we see the New Mutants finally start to fight because we always knew that’s what would happen and nothing about the sequence sets it apart. Also, we weirdly have almost no investment in the characters, despite the fact that they’re all mutant kids with tragic backstories and mental issues that should make them perfect for this kind of movie, but we never really get the connection.

If you can’t give Anya Taylor-Joy enough time to make me invested, you have failed.

It’s also incredible that one of my notes is “most of them seem uninterested” about the actors, because these are all very good performers with decent material to work with. Maisie Williams plays a girl whose powers and sexual orientation conflict with her religious upbringing. Anya Taylor-Joy plays a victim of child trafficking whose only friend is a purple dragon. These are two great performers who could absolutely bring these characters to life, but it feels like they never knew what they were supposed to be going for in any scene. Maybe that’s because the director didn’t know either.

And their powers are pretty cool, so it’s not that.

Overall, this movie should have been a hit, but it just fell flat.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Aunty Donna’s Big ol’ House of Fun: Best Sketch Show in A While – Netflix Review

Three Australian YouTube comedians get their own series and it’s hilarious.

SUMMARY

It’s a sketch show. Each episode has a loose theme and the general premise is that three men, Mark Samual Bonanno, Broden Kelly, and Zachary Ruane, live together in a house despite their general incompetence and insanity. Guests include Ed Helms, Scott Aukerman, Weird Al, Kristen Schaal, and some other people who apparently wanted to break into the Australian YouTube watcher market.

Drumming on a crotch is the opening gambit.

END SUMMARY

This show is one of the funniest things I’ve seen. I haven’t genuinely had to pause something because I was laughing too hard in a long time, but I had to do it about once an episode here. Many people state that the secret to comedy is surprise and these three men have taken that lesson to heart.  Many of the set-ups in this series seem to be inspired by children’s television, with the characters acting clueless and having things like a talking dishwasher or a cowboy roommate. It takes these nonsensical setups and tries to play them straight while also interrupting them with completely unrelated jokes. The fourth wall is more of a suggestion, with the characters breaking it to narrate, make asides, or just flat-out comment on production. 

Also, random Olympic Christmas.

Possibly the most impressive thing about this show is that it pulls from literally every level of comedy, from puns to clever references to sight gags, and does it in a way that will guarantee almost anyone will be entertained. Even if you don’t like one joke, you’ll probably enjoy the next one that’s five seconds later. Perhaps the funniest bits are when they take a traditionally childish thing like drumming on pots and work in ridiculously dark or adult jokes. The characters have no consistency whatsoever, but this is one of the rare cases where that works to their benefit. Any character can be the straight man in one scene or the wacky one in the next. They frequently play multiple characters in the same scene, with episodes involving them talking to alternate versions of themselves. 

Parties spontaneously appear and die.

Overall, seriously, you just need to watch this show. It’s hilarious.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/JokerOnTheSofa/), follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.