by Lisa Waugh
I don’t have cable. I used to be a believer but now I’m a cable atheist. Since I am alone a lot writing up my gak for work, I like the company of Netflix. It’s cheap, I like weird stuff and I’m just not a first run at the movie theatre kind of guy, especially these days.
Here’s what I’ve been watching lately on Netflix Streaming lately:
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (A Match Made by God)
Yeah. Say that 10 times. I love me some Bollywood. Sometimes you just want to sit back, watch a bunch of people from another culture do their thing. The set up for this fun romp is very dramatical but it gets fun pretty fast with a predictable yet enjoyable double lives plot.
The colors pop, Calcutta comes alive and the story unfolds in the magical way that these kinds of stories do. The film is from 2008 and directed by Aditya Chopra (Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Mohabbatein) and produced by his father’s famous Yash Raj Films.
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi stars Shahrukh Khan as Surinder Sahni, the nerdy and loyal employee of Punjab Power Company and Anushka Sharma as Taani, the bride with the broken heart. As a long time lover of Indian cinema, I found RNBDJ luxurious in color and production even though the acting is over the top and sometimes I feel like it’s the 80’s. But isn’t that every Indian film I’ve ever seen?
If you’re looking for a turn-your-mind-off romantic singalong (if you’ve got a Rosetta Stone handy), then Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is for you.
Shameless (Original UK version)
Unlike the US version, this depiction of a rough and tumble ramble of neglected children living in the Chatsworth council flats is watchable, at least for me. I love William H. Macy but the American version seems to try too hard.
The warped minds of the Gallagher family work much better set in the flat gray sky of this low end English town. Everyone in the cast of Shameless does their best although Sheila is a bit annoying in the second season. And after James McAvoy and Anne-Marie Duff exit at the close of season 2, the plots seem to drift off into two many directions, as a TV series will do.
If you’re looking for a wacky series to drift off to each night, Shameless will fill the job just fine. You will learn new terms such as Giro (welfare) and gobshite (person who talks a lot of BS).
The series is prolific and there are loads of episodes on Netflix streaming. You can snap back and forth between the American Showtime series and this one but I wouldn’t bother. The Americans are ripping off the UK and it’s not nearly as interesting… as usual.
Carlin as the cab driver. Huggy Bear as a transvestite. Melanie Mayron as the hot girl. The prostitute in the bathroom. Richard Pryor as a slick preacher with the Pointer Sisters in tow. Franklyn Ajaye with a fro only Erykah Badu could top. Bill Duke and Garrett Morris. It’s a hugely talented cast.
I practically wore out the single by Rose Royce. It was one of the most popular hits of the 70s. In fact, the whole piece is a soundtrack of that time. Or a least a cool little slice of it.
Such a wacky time and it’s fun to see it all again.
I started watching Louie a couple of seasons back and then got busy living my life. I don’t know why I stopped watching this show because it’s wonderful. I haven’t always loved Louis C.K. For some reason, I didn’t get him out of the gate. It wasn’t until his divorce that I started paying attention. C.K.’s divorce made him even more honest, less bitter and more pathetic, hence, endearing. Which is the core element of attraction for his show.
His HBO show, Lucky Louie, was kind of wonky but he’s finally hit his stride with this self-produced, directed and edited show. I love to watch just how raw C.K. will get each week. And the show is surprisingly touching.
His self-effacing style is both charming and entertaining. There’s no smarm in his raw approach to being a dad, being middle aged and divorced and basically, fucking up a lot of things.
My favorite thing about this show is his two daughters, played by Hadley Delany and Ursula Parker. C.K. isn’t afraid to show that he favors his oldest over his youngest and also lets the kids take a few pot shots at him.
In an earlier season, his youngest tells him that she loves going to her Mom’s house (Louie is divorced on screen and off) because she loves her Mother more than him.
After she’s through brushing and walks away, he gives her the finger. It’s awesome. Louis C.K.’s honest portrayal of a parent who is exasperated by fatherhood while trying to figure out his own fucked up life is what makes this show tick.
The Roast of Roseanne
Jane Lynch does an excellent job of hosting this roast. And everyone who went up was pretty cool. I think Carrie Fisher seemed to be the one who was off but if you’ve ingested that much dope, we’re lucky to have Leia at all. Wayne Brady did seem to get a little defensive about being called white.
And Seth Green does not like being called short. I met him once and I said, “Hello, nice to meet you.” I swear to God, he said, “Did you just call me short?!” It was a noisy room and I was towering over him (I’m 5′ 1″) but I didn’t even come close to saying that. I love that I have that story.
So to see every single joke about him come down on his diminutive stature was kind of awesome. Ellen Barkin’s set was a shocker. She was actually funny. So was Katie Segal.
Even Gilbert Gottfried killed. His Rozilla bit could have been obnoxious but he had everyone on the dais in tears. The audience was nearly throwing up from laughing so long and so hard.
Jeff Ross is Jeff Ross. His latest costume was Joe Paterno. He’s like the comic you hire to do your son’s bar mitzvah. And he doesn’t change his act from his Friday night show to the kid’s special day.
The biggest surprise happens toward the end. And let’s just say, it’s surprising because a) it happened and b) because it was touching.
A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
I wish I had a witty bunch of friends like this. We could meet at my rich dad’s huge house in the country and have an orgy. After a sleepless night, it was a fun little romp starring Jason Sudeikis. Basically, we learned that people in their 30s having sex is pretty awkward, like most sex.
Nothing earth shattering but a nice little Saturday morning film after being up all night.
Okay, these guys were brave and this was brutal but why make a film about a bunch of guys who basically got talked into doing something they didn’t want to do and then got screwed.
Some stories aren’t really great for the theatrical treatment. A doc would have served better.
Well acted, shot and directed to be sure but I don’t get the point of North Face at all. Two proficient guys compete in a 1936 climbing of North Face, the most treacherous rock face in the Alps. Toni Kurz wasn’t exactly gung ho to climb. He didn’t climb for competitions, etc. His buddy Andi Hinterstoisser was chomping at the bit.
Their childhood friend, Luise Fellner, fresh from her assistant job at a Berlin newspaper, The Eiger, talks them into the competition. There is no big grand moment but the realistic mountaineering is breathtaking.
All in all, a bummer.
I don’t want to be preachy but… if you use someone’s music, even a note, a beat, a drum hit… you should give them credit and pay them. And in the case of James Brown’s drummer, Clyde Stubblefield, one of the most sampled drummers in history, give him the cash even if James Brown musically stole from him (he was only paid for his session work and not given credit as a creator of his famous funk drum beats) and the record company doesn’t give him a dime.
Don’t thieve from a talented artist who creates the music that is enhancing your work. Yes, I love rap and hip hop and I don’t mind sampling if it’s done well. But mainly, I hate thieves. You didn’t write it, you didn’t go into the studio to record it, you didn’t go through hell or whatever situation for the creation of that sample you are using. Pay for it and give credit.
Or… hire Stubblefield to come play on your album. He’s still alive and ready to work. You’d be playing with a legend. And chances are, by the time you pay for the licensing of his drum beat, it’d be cheaper to fly him out or pay for his session near his home. You can even add some scratch and warp effects to make it sound like back in the day.
Maybe artists do this. I’d like to believe that they do.
I’m sure many artists do the right thing and pay other artists for their work but those who were screwed hard for not clearing their shit – you know who you are, Biz Markie – I’ve got zero sympathy. Okay, ya’ll didn’t know any better back then and your asses got caught. But you know now.
Sampling can truly make a piece special and iconic. But why is that? Because you are capturing the essence of someone else’s talent to boost yours.
Grabbing the best bits and weaving it into art is fine if you… pay and give credit. And fuck Andy Warhol while we’re at it. Hack. And Shephard Fairey should have asked for permission and paid that photog for the image of Barack Obama for his famous Obey poster.
Don’t steal. It makes you and your work look ugly.
God Bless America
I could never stomach Bobcat Golthwait as a stand-up. But I like him as a director. His World’s Greatest Dad was dark, funny and a bit gritty. Just like this film.
When Frank loses his job and is diagnosed with a brain tumor, he decides to kill himself but not before he takes out a few miscreants on his list.
Joel Murray is one of my favorites and does a splendid job playing a shy and introspective Frank who is sick and tired of the mean-spirited, ignorant, catch-phrase, non-thinking culture of America.
Of course, this is a soap box for left leaning thinkers but who love to shoot right wing assholes like the Phelps family and a whinging 16 year-old reality star… so if that’s not your thing, best to skip it. If it is your thing, you’re going to guiltily enjoy it.
Irreverent and rightly capturing a certain voice of our times. A grown man taking a 16 year-old girl on a killing spree is kind of awesome and terrible. And chilling. There’s a movie theater scene that is a little too close to reality.
The Devil’s Double
I like you, Dominic Cooper. You are a good actor. I was never curious about Uday Hussein. Now, I know that he was a psychopath. You played both Uday and his poor suckered friend Latif who was forced to be Uday’s body double, because that makes total sense when you’ve been up for weeks doing blow. It’s weird that I’m talking directly to you, huh?
After transforming Latif into the asshole that is Udah, the crazy second son of Saddam Hussein got out of functions, speeches, any duty that he deemed boring.
The film is based on a true story. Although in real life, Latif and Uday really didn’t look that much alike. Maybe everyone knew it was Latif but didn’t want the beat down if they challenged Uday who’s favorite hobby was picking school girls off the street and forcing them to have sex with him.
What distracted me the most is that Dominic Cooper – with his prosthetic teeth to make Latif look more like Uday – resembled Freddie Mercury. Now I have this weird connection between Saddam Hussein’s crazy fucking son and my favorite singer of all time. Thank you, fucking Netflix.
The girl who plays the love interest reminded me of an Iraqi Tiffany, you know, the 80s pop singer. She bugged. Someone told this actress to bite her lip because she looks sexy. She just looks silly. And they Maya’d the shit out of her face. The digital version of that smeary vaseline/star filter that made Barbara Stanwyck look like she was talking to us from the afterlife.
For a little movie about the craziest of the Husseins, it was okay entertainment. Dominic Cooper is the only reason reason you stay with it, otherwise, it’s a nicely shot Movie of the Week.
Wow. If you hate Christmas, children or just want to watch something that replicates the feeling of doing acid or love the Finnish and old naked men, watch this movie.
As a big hater of Christmas and all of its forced happiness and lies, I was ready to like this movie.
Either they cut out about 30 minutes towards the end in explanation of what the fuckety fuck was going on or I’m not doing near enough mushrooms. Or maybe I just need to be Finnish.
There are some genuinely creepy and delightful moments and my feelings about Santa Claus are finally founded. I love how the Finnish take back their Santa from the Cocoa Cola Claus – the beverage behemoth actually created the one you believe in. Yeah, some corporation bought and sold your dreams. Read about the reanimation of Santa here.
On his blog, Jared Sandman gives it a much easier pass in his well written review. He explains that the film derived out of a couple of shorts that went viral.
Whether you’re into the nog or use fruitcake as ninja stars, it’s a fun little movie. You’ll never disentangle Santa and the Boogey Man again.
Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe
Jim makes me feel great about my fat, middle aged self. And then he makes me feel like I should work out while making fun of myself. Jim is pondering his girth in the face of being a new father… again.
He talks about having his fourth child to basically zero reaction. When he mentions to friends his wife is giving birth at home. They go, “Oh, wow. We wouldn’t do that. We wanted our children to live.”
Gaffigan is like the John Goodman version of Louis C.K. The show is worth the watch especially for his defense of McDonalds and heckling of weightlifters.
An American Werewolf in London
I remember when this film came out in theatres. It makes me feel ancient to say this but this film was a big deal at the time. You had some of the best special FX going at the time plus you got to see the Dr. Pepper guy (David Naughton) do it. Later on, I would have this huge crush on Griffin Dunne (After Hours).
This is when John Landis was king and these FX were just a load of fun to watch. Sure, FX have moved on since this film but they still work.
The film has a real darkness to it even with the Frank Oz cameo.
Odd film. I’ve seen it several times now since it’s premiere in 2011.
Many might skip this film because of Kirsten Dunst or Lars von Trier’s sunny take on things (Dancer in the Dark, anyone?).
I get that about Dunst. She has many haters. She’s never bugged me, though. I have a running list of those who need to stop it but she’s not on it. Strange movie. Part art house, part sci-fi, it gives you a lot to ponder despite a filmmaking pondering their asshole kind of beginning.
I’m not talking about the stunning, uber slow motion visuals that will become quite important later, but the first bits about the wedding. The Bergmanesque dysfunctional family seems a little overwrought when they could have simply focused on why Dunst’s character is just so fucking depressed. Turns out, there’s a good reason.
Leaving us to ponder a few things: How would you behave if you knew the end of the world was coming? How would you spend those last few moments?
I haven’t seen it for years but it really holds up. Woody Allen and Diane Keaton are superb in this feeling. Some of the jokes are even more hilarious now. When he explains to the scientists about artifacts from the late 70s, it’s awesome.
To younger folks, I’m sure this is like watching a silent film. But for those who love Allen and film in general, this one is a gem. Really weird too that I had a thing for Woody around this time. I know. But I’ve been into strange looking white guys at times. Lyle Lovett. Leslie Nielsen.
A favorite line: “Are there any weird creatures out there I should know about like an animal with the body of a crab and the head of a social worker.”
The Bad News Bears
No one seems to bother with these older films but I gotta tell you, they were well made and are worth the time. There’s no schlock, it’s well casted and they portray the kids with more reality and grit.
A 13 year-old smoking, the team drinking bear and the racist little kid seems outright scandalous now. I saw this film when it first came out. Tatum O’Neal and I are the same age. So being 13 and seeing this cool chick… well, I wanted to be Tatum O’Neal.
Matthau has always been a favorite and he’s doing his thing in this one as well. It’s great Sunday afternoon picture.
Trouble the Water
Many people may have moved on from Katrina but it just hasn’t left me. Seeing how the U.S. handles disasters when it doesn’t concern the white or wealthy is disturbing. Kimberly “Black Kold Madina” Rivers documents the coming storm and the aftermath. Using her home video camera, she walks around her neighborhood in the Ninth Ward asking if people are leaving.
It seems that most of her neighbors with any kind of resources left. She and many many others simply couldn’t afford to leave. An estimated 100,000 people didn’t have the finances to get out of the city and Mayor Ray Nagin did not arrange any type of transportation for those in need. He claimed he was being abandoned by the federal government and there’s a very good chance that’s true.
However, some have said that his impassioned finger pointing was merely a deflection from his own inaction. Passionate speeches didn’t save one person. The 911 calls are simply heartbreaking. With callers pleading for rescue and the helpless operators telling them that rescue was not on the way.
The Navy actually threatened Kim and her neighbors when they sought refuge at a nearly empty, soon to be decommissioned Navy facility just 10 blocks from their house.
People just didn’t give a shit about these black and poor residents.
She takes us into her attic with neighbors as the waters rise. She documents a family friend wading chest deep in the waters below saving people one at a time, literally scooping them out of the water and carrying them to safety. Kim has a huge heart and love for her neighbors and stays with them even when she has a chance to leave.
And we come along for the journey of survival and her nomadic existence in the months after.
She and husband Scott plus a stranger they met during the siege are given a moving truck and travel from one friend to the next in search of peace and a place to call their own. It’s a surprisingly hopeful documentary while also pointing out the outright injustice by the federal, state and local government.
One quote sums it up, “If you don’t have money or status, you are not American.”
Six people dealing with loneliness. Could have been a bit over done but wasn’t. Great cast. Nicely done. When the voice over guy locks himself in his sound booth – he lives in a remote area – I got the heebies. That happened to me one time. Only for an hour but still, not a good death I imagine.
Haunts me still. Donald Crowhurst must win a yacht race around the world in 1968 or lose it all. I normally have movies on for background but this one stopped me dead. What the sea did to these men is profound and worth knowing about.
Crowhurst’s story is heartbreaking but the decision of the French sailor is even more odd. After nearly completing the race, he heads in the other direction, abandoning what was waiting for him at home. I’m looking around to see if anyone made a doc about that guy.
We Were Here
Shouldn’t have watched this one the same day as Deep Water. I became a weepy bitch. You have to be in the mood for it because it’s so heavy. Nearly 16,000 men died suddenly from the first advent of AIDS in San Francisco. I lost many of my friends quickly as well in Atlanta and Birmingham. It’s the gay Vietnam in a way. But do tragedies need comparing? All terrible things are terrible.
I lost so many friends and heard about so many more. There are many layers to these tragedies and the scars and memories remain. I miss all of those guys and wish they were still with us. Be in a good place when you watch this one.
The Book Group
An annoying American in Glasgow who starts a book club. The first season was running fairly smoothly but when the second season came along, it’s like badgers got hopped on meth and decided to wear pants. I’m too lazy to see if they changed out the writing staff. It’s just weird where they take it. Like Guiding Light 1970s choices.
Kenny is the best character. Wheelchair bound Kenny is played by Rory McCann who is also Sandor Clegane “The Hound” in Game of Thrones. Which makes me want to get cable so I can watch that show right now.
Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, Season 7
I want to like Anthony Bourdain but between his shitty tattoo, that thumb ring and decision to be a regular host on CNN, I’m leaning more toward “twat” than cool. But it’s the last few episodes of the series that make me like him.
He lets that attempt at cool slip to the side and becomes more of who he probably really is, a 52 year old man who’s tired of traveling the globe, eating entrails and getting pissed at his producer for the dumb scenarios.
He seems more content to visit his wife’s family in Sardinia and make his young daughter happy.
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox
I really wish I didn’t know how nuts Bronner was. I like his soap but this documentary just got on my nerves after a while.
Probably because my boyfriend’s parents are here and Bronner reminds me of the ranting crazy man in the next room.
Great characters played by some really good Brit, Australian and Scottish improv actors. It was a bit of fun and then… knock off the over the top schlock and that slo-mo bit in every fucking scene. Still better than any American medical show, though.
If you like Showtime’s Episodes, you’ll recognize the two misplaced Brits, Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan. Both very wacky here and more subtly funny as the English writers shocked by the fuckery and stupidity of Hollywood in Episodes.
I’ve seen this one a lot and thought I’d revisit it. It holds up. Anjelica Huston’s milking it here and there but it’s a fine little picture. And it’s a great way to see Annette Benning’s tits quite a bit before she became that grouchy lesbian in The Kids Are All Right (the ending and her winning an Oscar for that bugged the shit out of me).
Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell
Kevin Smith needs to shut the fuck up. He’s disappeared up his own ass. Red State was a fucking mess and lost opportunity and he needs stop wearing that outfit. I’m a fucking slob but Kevin looks like a honky life size version of a Homie. One of those Chicano figurines. If only he had made the rapture real, Red State might have been a brilliant little film.
His fake modesty and shitty filmmaking make me want to wish him into the Hack Cornfield.
If I didn’t want to put dirt on top of her, I would have enjoyed this Kiera Knightly film. It’s well made, loved Sam Worthington and Guillaume Canet, even Eva Mendes. And yeah, I’d fuck Eva over Keira. Eva is hot. Keira looks like an iron board cover who’s had acting lessons from that frozen face Twilight twat chick.
But… the film led me to watch this film, Farewell starring Canet and the awesome Emir Kusturica (who is a Serbian director). Basically, Kusturica’s Sergei wants a better world for his son. Being a high powered member of the KGB, he enlists the help of a Frenchmen, Canet, to help bring the whole system down during the Cold War.
There is a random but beautiful scene featuring Sergei’s son performing a queen song in a field, holding a broken lazy susan stalk.
No shit but I actually liked this movie. Good script from Jay Baruchel. And shocked by how good Seann William Scott is in this. Liev Schreiber is great as well. Even if you don’t care for hockey, and I do love me some hockey, it’s still a fun film to watch.
Zeitgeist: The Movie
This movie fucked me up. From start to finish. I don’t know if this is the truth or not but it rattled my cage. Visuals are total shit but the information is the thing you get out of it. The follow up Addendum is online and equally disturbing.
Completely fascinating look at the way we use technology to create art and music. Very well done. A bit hipstery but had something to think about. Namely, the old constraints on putting your shit out there is dead. Go for it. But it would help if you didn’t suck. That still matters.
Full Tilt Boogie
Loved this doc on the making of Tarantino and Rodriguez’ From Dusk Til Dawn. A more realistic view of making a film focused mainly the beleaguered crew and an impending IATSE strike.
American: The Bill Hicks Story
Bill Hicks will make you think twice about how real this world really is. Dead too young but leaving a message of, “This is only a ride. It isn’t real.” And very well made as well.
Woody Allen: A Documentary: Parts 1 & 2
I know he married his sort of step daughter and there were the nake pics of her. She was freaking 13. Jesus. I get it. That’s terrible. But I had loved Woody for so long and this two-parter made me remember why. He’s fucking brilliant.
Yeah, he’s made some duds but the motherfucker has written 70 things and made 48 movies. I’ve made one and never got credit for my writing on it.
He’s a fucking genius and Soon Yi is fine. Mia and the formerly named Satchel, not so much.