Here are some takeaways from the episode...
Episode three starts to ramp up the weirdness as we find the group exploring a new being; one that will certainly have implications as the story moves forward. The episode is called "Pollywog", referencing the similarity of the creature Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) found in his trash can, but for my money, I'm going with booger looking, slime alien until someone can zero in on an exact species.
Here are some takeaways from the episode...
Halloween is in the air in the second episode of Stranger Things season two, and who ya gonna call? I can really appreciate how this show takes its time with its story. It doesn't rush to appease those with attention spans of a toddler, but it still manages to move forward. It constantly peels away layers of plot in a way that feels satisfying yet deliberate.
Here are my top five takeaways from episode two, entitled Trick or Treat, Freak...
The long wait is over. Stranger Things once again occupies our Netflix stream, and for at least a few hours, all will be right with the world.
Season 2 wastes no time throwing us back into the world of 80's nostalgia and the Upside Down, with a blend of new additions and familiar faces, all on collision course with a clear and present danger always lurking in the shadows.
Here are my top 5 takeaways from episode 1, entitled MadMax.
Twelve year old Cole (Judah Lewis) is the only one left among his peers who still has a babysitter; a consequence of overprotective parents who have rendered him a timid, socially awkward milquetoast of a kid. He's afraid of getting shots (who isn't really), is constantly tormented by neighborhood bullies, and is generally a nervous sort with few social acquaintances to lean into. It's no surprise he's smitten with Bee (Samara Weaving), the gorgeous, confident sitter who treats him as an equal partner in adolescent life, even if she's a bit older and street smart. If they give you crap, ya gotta "kick 'em in the dick." Seems like solid advice.
Director Taika Waititi's comedic sense has never come into question. Whether his work on HBO's Flight of the Conchords or his hilarious riff on the social dynamics of vampire life in What We Do in the Shadows is your ultimate jam, the man is undeniably funny. So it was a bold move by Marvel Studios to give the reigns of one of its prized franchises to someone with a limited filmography, and no real skin in the game with big budget franchises. Could Waititi dial back his penchant for going for the laughs enough to respect the dramatic elements needed to propel the MCU forward, or would this simply be a campy sidebar to satiate fan's thirst while waiting for Avenger's: Infinity War?
The year of Stephen King adaptations rages on with the release of Gerald's Game, based off his 1992 novel of the same name. King adaptations can certainly be a mixed bag. This year's The Dark Tower was a tragic underachievement, yet the creepy clown tale, It, turned out to be a tremendously entertaining thrill ride. So where does Gerald's Game fall in the pecking order?
During the final shot of writer/director Taylor Sheridan's Wind River, words appear on screen indicating the FBI does not keep statistics on the disappearances of Native American women. To date, those numbers remain a mystery. It's a troubling statement for many reasons, some of which the film attempts to shine a spotlight on. But, is Wind River a purposeful thriller or just a political harangue on the plight of Native Americans?
Legendary Chicago Cubs infielder Ernie Banks said in his Hall of Fame induction speech, "Let's Play Two." With that spirit in mind, let's transition from the ballpark to the Lazy-boy, and let's watch two. I recently revisited a mid- nineties classic, Good Will Hunting; celebrating it's 20th anniversary of release this year. Feeling the nostalgia, and still early enough in the night, I dug into the archives for a second flick that I thought would pair well with it. Deciding I would get my privileged white boy fix satisfied in one fell swoop, I grabbed Dead Poet's Society from the shelf.
Love or hate writer/director Darren Aronofsky (Noah, Black Swan), there's no denying his visions are bold and unique. In an era of cinema bursting at the seams with unoriginality, Aronofsky consistently stands apart from conventional studio storytelling. In many cases, it's a minor miracle that studios even throw bank in his direction, knowing the return on the investment might not pan out.
In his latest, mother!, perhaps his most daring film to date, he unleashes a cacophony of sight and sound unlike anything seen on screen in a long time, if ever. It's a film that revels in its audaciousness. But, is mother! another feather in the cap for Aronofsky, or are the legions of casual moviegoers spouting outrage over the content (the film holds a rare Cinemascore of F), causing some to walk out of theaters, correct in their assessment?
Honestly? A little of both.
Stephen King film adaptations are a mixed bag, ranging from acclaimed (Shawshank Redemption, Carrie, The Shining), to abysmal (Maximum Overdrive, The Dark Tower.) Hollywood seems to have a burning obsession with the horror master's works of late, churning out three films this year alone. The most recent is It, directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama), and written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman.
Full disclaimer, I HATED the book. I respect King's place in literary history, but I find a lot of his stuff to be long winded and tiresome. I took four stabs at reading It before I finally forced myself to choke it down. I don't begrudge anyone their fandom of a property. It certainly has its legions of followers, but I cautiously approached the film expecting to come away underwhelmed. Yet, as far as adaptations go, this one mostly succeeds, and it does so by ditching many of the things that doomed the book for me. I was pleasantly surprised with the result.
Steve has been writing moderately well on the Internet for over ten years. As a middle aged fan-boy, he acknowledges that his relevance in today's culture is barely recognized, but he continues to pretend people like him. Maybe you will too.