Tag Archives: Netflix

Gettin’ Down with the Party of Five!


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Yesterday I was on a nostalgic 90s-mood.  I caught the last few minutes of my childhood favorite Pinocchio, watched a few minutes of Disney’s Hercules before starting my blog post, then heard some good tunes from Nirvana and Sublime while strolling through the beach.  We may be pacing through 2017, but my mind has been craving for some nostalgic 90s content.  As a matter of fact, one classic series I’ve been binge-watching lately is Party of Five.

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Party of Five is a classic 90s teen drama revolving around the Salinger family in San Francisco.  The cast stars Scott Wolf as Bailey, Matthew Fox as Charlie, Neve Campbell (star of the Scream films!) as Julia, Lacey Chabert (voice of Eliza Thornberry on The Wild Thornberrys!), multiple kids starred as Owen, and Paula Devicq as Kirsten.  The parents of the household were killed by a drunk driver, forcing the kids to grow up real fast.  A lot of dark issues pop up during the series, especially with the long-term effects of parental loss.  Other controversial themes that come up during the series include cancer, domestic/substance abuse, abortion, and other ideas.

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After binge-watching two seasons, Party of Five has been amazing to check out.  It’s an emotional roller-coaster through some of the episodes, yet it’s got some mature content for a TV-PG rated series.  This is one 90s classic you can easily binge-watch all seasons on Netflix.

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If Full House and Shameless got together and made a baby, that baby would be Party of Five.  As a matter of fact, I noticed some strikingly similarities to Showtime’s Shameless in many ways.  For one thing, both sets of kids had to grow up quickly once their parents weren’t around (Frank and Monica are alive, but they were deadbeat parents that really weren’t around for the Gallagher clan!).  Both series explore some controversial ideas within each season.  Only difference is that the Gallaghers aren’t shameless about their actions (it’s called Shameless for a reason, duh!).

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Party of Five didn’t have as much diverse characters, but there were truly some colorful people hanging around the Salinger gang.  Ross Anderson came out to Claudia when she set them up on a date on season 1.  Either way, the family accepted Ross for who he was (because the 90s weren’t that homophobic).  Shameless featured not just one, but multiple gay characters in the series.  Ian Gallagher came out to Fiona near the end of season one and had an on-off relationship with Mickey (btw props to Ian for being shameless about his sexuality!  #GoIanGallagher).  Both Shameless and Party of Five have their share of colorful characters in each season.

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Other than the bold characters, both shows features characters doing drugs/alcohol in some of the episode.  Bailey’s former girlfriend Jill was hooked on speed and died of a cocaine overdose at the end of season 1.  There’s lot of drinking scenes, but the craziest of them all was when Claudia got caught drinking with Jody in her tent (FYI, Marla Sokoloff’s bad-girl personality can also be seen in Full House & Fuller House!).  As for Shameless…well, pretty much EVERY drug was used each season.  Cannabis, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, meth, and many other substances were shown since the end of season 7.  While drug/alcohol use was a big deal in the Party of Five household, everyone in the Shameless family were shameless about it (especially with weed!).

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At the end of my rambling between Party of Five and Shameless, I conclude that Party of Five is definitely an interesting show to start on Netflix.  It’s definitely a toned-down version of Shameless, yet features similar concepts between the two series.  I haven’t gotten through half of the series and I look forward to see what new adventures arise for the Salinger clan.  Who knows what crazy drama will stir up next in season 3 of Party of Five.  Who knows, we could see some shameless characters in the future!

2017: The Summer of Franchise-Films


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Summer is about a month away, which can only mean one thing…Summer Blockbusters!  The summer blockbusters make waves every year, with the most action-packed films hitting the big screen.  From superhero franchises to action-packed stories, the summer blockbuster is the season where the film industry rakes in billions of dollars in profits.  With the kids out of school and parents taking more vacation times, more audiences check out the movies during the rainy weather.

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This is the pinnacle season where Hollywood really makes bank and this is the chance to wow the audience during the summer season.  Once the Spring season of comedy film is over, the action-packed franchises make their way into the big screen.  But in a twisted turn of events, Hollywood is bracing for a major decline this year.

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If you’re growing tired of the franchise craze, then you’re not alone – Hollywood is expecting a sharp dip during the box-office season.  Last year’s box office earnings were around $4.5 billion and one number-cruncher predicted that profits could drop as much as 10% this year (to $4 billion!).  While this isn’t a serious profit loss, this drop could cause studios to make some serious changes in the future.

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So why are the numbers going down?  How is it that profits are decreasing in one of the busiest box office seasons?  What underlying factors are hindering people from checking out features at the big screen?

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To start with our first factor, let’s take a look at some of the titles that are coming out soon:

  • Cars 3
  • Despicable Me 3
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
  • Transformers: The Last Knight
  • Alien: Covenant
  • Baywatch
  • The Mummy
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Notice anything about these “new” titles coming out?  They’re ALL franchises!  Every one of these titles will be a sequel, prequel, or a film based off of a familiar idea (Baywatch was a popular drama series during the 1990s before it became a film!).  This franchise-film fad has really taken a hold of the summer blockbuster trend; so much, that it’s the only safe bet that Hollywood plays these games.  Hollywood is playing it safe with the familiar franchise so that it won’t sever its ties with their ever-growing diverse audience around the world.  Releasing a summer blockbusters that audiences will see worldwide is easy, but drawing up an original idea for the domestic audience (audience here in the United States) is much more complicated.

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Hollywood can play it safe for now, but they’ll have to come up with a major plan if profits decrease further in the future.  This is a frustrating/complex situation we have going on.  On the one hand, these franchise films will rake in major profits because they are so well-known all across the world; yet on the other hand, audiences are growing weary of the same franchise ideas hitting the big screens.  Where exactly are those frustrating audiences moving to after seeing too many prequels/sequels of the franchise hits?  Netflix, of course!

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This is another factor in why summer blockbuster sales are decreasing (or box office sales, in general!).  Audiences are turning away from the big screen blockbuster to the silver screen hits from streaming services at their homes.  Streaming sites like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other services are providing better quality content to watch.  For example, one of the most talked-about series last year was Stranger Things when it released on Netflix.  Out of all of the TV series/movies releasing, Stranger Things is the most popular series everyone is flocking to.

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Netflix’s series Sense8 released its 2nd season a few weeks ago and is already taking off with a hit.  The first episode came out back in December and audiences were already psyched for what season 2 had to offer (Hollywood blockbuster films got NOTHING on shows like Sense8, especially after that beautiful orgy scene in the middle of episode 1!).  While Sense8 is pleasing audiences with their action-packed storyline and steamy sex scenes, Hollywood films are boring audiences with their franchise sequels and prequels.  In general, people will save their money for movie tickets and watch films at home through Netflix.

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As an entertainment buff myself, going to the movies is one of my favorite activities on a rainy day.  I enjoy checking out a new film with unique characters and a heart-racing storyline.  Seeing another superhero film this summer won’t hinder my weed buzz, but I will grow weary of watching the same franchise films each year (why would I feel the need to watch ANOTHER Spider-Man movie?).  Why bother taking a trip to the movies when I can smoke up at home and find films on Netflix?  I’m already enjoying the unique content that Netflix offers, so is going to the movies even worth it?  At this point, it isn’t worth spending the $11 on a ticket for another sequel/prequel/franchise title film.

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With that in mind, Hollywood really needs to make serious changes to their range of films.  Since more consumers are watching titles on Netflix, Hollywood must think outside of the box to tap into those audiences.  Playing it safe with the franchise-themed films isn’t going to cut it now that consumers are spreading word about titles like Stranger Things and Sense8.  Not only is Netflix producing better-quality TV series, but they’re also producing amazing films as well.  These titles from Netflix will continue to dominate the entertainment scene as the franchise-films continue to sink from consumer’s interest.

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If you’re not interested in the summer blockbuster list this year, just skip the movies and search for content on Netflix.

13 Reasons Why to Avoid 13 Reasons Why


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While I’m binge-watching the 90s classic Party of Five on Netflix, the latest hit series that everyone’s turned on to is 13 Reasons Why13 Reasons Why is a drama-mystery series that hit the digital shelves on March 31st, 2017.  Based on the 2007 novel of the same name, the series revolves around high school student Hannah Baker who commits suicide after suffering through demoralizing circumstances at her school.  Each episode provides a tape that reveals more insight into why Hannah committed suicide.

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Instead of curiosity getting the best of me, I decided to devote my time to creating a fun blog post out of this provocative film.  Instead of using my free time to binge-watch 13 Reasons Why, I jotted down 13 reasons why I would skip this series.  Each reason, whether for personal or humorous, details why I would refuse to watch something like this.  I’ve pondered about checking this series out and realized that this was not the type of show.

With that, it’s time to reveal 13 reasons why 13 Reasons Why is not a great choice to binge-watch on Netflix.  Here are the 13 reasons:

#1: Depressing

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The first reason for why I’m skipping the series is because it seems like a really depressing series.  Just read this summary right here – “On tape, Hannah unfolds an emotional audio diary, detailing the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Her instructions are clear: each person who receives a package is one of the reasons why she killed herself, and after each person has completed listening to the tapes, they must pass the package on to the next person. If anyone decides to break the chain, a separate set of tapes will be released to the public.”  Yeah, those sentences alone already make you sad enough!

#2: Awkward Conversation

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13 Reasons Why would not make for a good conversation piece with your friends.  You and your buddies/gal pals wouldn’t want to discuss such a depressing series over some beers or wine.  I certainly would not bring this movie up when I’m drinking with my friends in Boston.  Here’s how the conversation could go:

Me: Hey guys!  Anyone seen that series 13 Reasons Why?  You know, the one where that high school girl Hannah kills herself and her students find tapes to figure out why she ended her life?

Everyone: *Awkward Silence*

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Yeah, you can practically hear the crickets chirping.  Avoid using this movie as a conversation piece so that things don’t get awkward.

#3: Weed-Buzz Killer

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A series like 13 Reasons Why would definitely kill my weed buzz.  I’ve got some great Bubba Kush at hand and my buzz would definitely go flat when I start watching this series.  Why would I binge-watch something depressing with cannabis that will keep me uplifted?  Yeah, its DEFINITELY not a 4/20-friendly show.

#4: Too Long

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            This Netflix series has 13 episodes with each episode being 50-60 minutes.  That’s an HOUR each episode about some girl that took her life.  I really couldn’t find the time to watch an hour an episode about some high school girls suicide.  To feel more positive, I’d spend that hour walking along Revere Beach or Nahant on a beautiful day!

#5: Awareness

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Before hearing about this series, I’ve read enough studies/articles about our national suicide rate each year.  I KNOW that suicide is a problem around America (22 vets commit suicide a day, more suicide rates among LGBTQ members, yeah I get the picture!).  Watching 13 Reasons Why will only repeat information that I am already aware of.

#6: Global Awareness

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Not only am I aware of our country’s suicide rate, I’ve also read about other nations dealing with this crisis.  Suicide is a problem spanning all throughout the world (FUN FACT: South Korea has the highest suicide rate out of all Asian countries).  Again, don’t need to reiterate facts about such a depressing problem.

#7: Glorifying Suicide

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Rather than teach people about the dangers of suicide, it seems as though this series glorifies it instead.  13 Reasons Why seems to glorify the idea of suicide and the people who commit these acts.  These people are NOT leaders or heroes!  They are high school kids that were crying for help.  Glorifying the act of suicide isn’t going to help solve the problem.

#8: Lots of ‘13’s

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There’s a theme of the number 13 surrounding this series.  13 tapes, 13 episodes for the first season, and even the title is 13 Reasons Why!  The number 13 is associated with bad luck in society so…yeah, this show would be unlucky.  It may have generated positive reviews, but it got unlucky with its controversial ideas.

#9: Acknowledgement

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Hannah Baker is a fictional character from a novel that was later made into this Netflix series.  Since I don’t know her, why should I feel for her?  I’ve heard of REAL friends that tried to take their life and I feel for them because I actually met them earlier.  It’s times like these where I acknowledge my REAL friends rather than the fictional characters and their drama.

#10: High School Drama

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Graduating from high school meant leaping out of the high school drama that I dealt with at the time.  I live in the real world to deal with REAL WORLD problems, not to hear about some high school soap opera.  Now’s the time to watch series with characters living in the big, bad adult world and not the ‘safe spaces’ of high school.

#11: Title

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Seriously folks…the title for the series is just flat-out vague.  13 Reasons Why…why, what?  13 reasons why she made tapes?  Why she offed herself?  WHERE…is this title leading?

#12: Watch-Party

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If you’re looking to host a watch-party, 13 Reasons Why should not be the theme of your event.  Everyone will be having a great time with some drinks and good weed.  Your guests won’t be having a good time once you start the series.  Those beers and bongs will quickly be replaced by Kleenex boxes as well as trash bags.  To liven up your watch-party, avoid 13 Reasons Why as the show to binge-watch.

#13: Recommendation

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At the end of the day, I simply cannot recommend 13 Reasons Why to anyone.  It simply isn’t the type of show I would be excited about enough to spread the word around to my friends/family.  Instead, this is a series that I DON’T recommend to anyone.

And there you have it – thirteen reasons why 13 Reasons Why is something that I will avoid on Netflix.  If you have any reasons for why you shouldn’t watch it, just read this list I provided.  Instead of binge-watching this tragic series, turn the TV off and go outside for the day.  Stay FAR away from the series, put some music on, and go for a nice walk outside.  That activity alone would convince you that life is purely AWESOME.

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Life is a BEAUTIFUL thing, folks.  Live your life every day the way you see fit.  Suicide is NOT an option, so find the right solution to your problem instead.  Peace, Love, HAPPINESS.

Getting ‘Iron Fisted’ with Marvel’s Iron Fist


Over the past year, Netflix has collaborated with Marvel to release more superhero-type shows.  Series like Daredevil and Luke Cage have infiltrated the Netflix library.  While I’m not the biggest fan of superhero movies or TV series, these were actually pretty decent to watch.  The newest Marvel series that I recently got into was Iron Fist and so far…the series has just been god-awful.

Before I can get into the snooze-fest that is Iron Fist, allow me to provide some background to the show.  Finn Jones stars as Danny Rand a.k.a the Iron Fist, a martial arts expert who calls upon the power of the Iron Fist.  After surviving a terrible plane crash within the Himalayas fifteen years ago, Rand returns to New York City to reclaim his family company Rand Enterprises.  When a threat emerges within the city, he must choose between helping his family’s legacy and his personal duties as the Iron Fist.

That’s the quick background, now here’s my first issue with this show: the pacing.  Iron Fist’s pacing moves just as slow as a glacier, revealing a tiny bit of detail about Danny Rand’s past within each episode.  I know that Danny Rand was taken in by powerful monks within the Himalayas where he gained the Iron Fist, yet I still don’t know exactly HOW he received his powers (speaking of power, his super power seems WEAK compared to the powers of Matt Murdock!).  He drops some details of his ‘horrifying’ training that he got from the monks where he was forced to carry buckets of water miles from his campsite.

How else was your training that sadistic?  Did they force you to eat a pig heart as a daily meal?  Was there some other monk sticking razor-sharp needles into your body?  And while we’re on the subject of your trainer, what’s his background story on why he trained you?  For the love of god, give me something more terrifying!

Not only is the storyline moving at a snail’s pace, but it’s also downright mundane.  Here’s a crucial piece of the story: Danny Rand discovers that Ward is working with another group to ship in -wait for it- HEROIN into New York City.  That’s the ‘danger’ that Rand Enterprises is hiding from the city – synthetic heroin being smuggled into The Big Apple.  It couldn’t be some dangerous monster from a foreign land, it HAD to be heroin (I guess we needed yet ANOTHER reminder of the heroin epidemic happening here in America!).  Even after watching the scene of Ward chasing the dragon in his executive office, I still lost interest in the series.

If I wanted to see the heroin epidemic in action, I could just take a stroll around the Boston Common during the weekday.  It’s preposterous that they went political by bringing out the heroin epidemic into the fictional superhero universe.  Why couldn’t they draw up something more original than synthetic heroin?  This is a superhero series from Marvel, not New Jack City!

Here’s my last problem with the series: the fighting/gore content.  For the love of God, the fighting is just TERRIBLE.  It looked more like choreographed dance lessons than actual fighting against the enemies.  Not only are the fight scenes horrendous, but there’s BARELY any fighting happening at all!  Could you also throw in a few torture scenes as well?  There’s nothing that’s too sadistic that makes me want to hate Danny’s adversary even more (BTW who the HELL is Danny’s adversary exactly?).

There was one gory scene where Madam Gao impales one of her assistants and sticks him inside the truck that Danny escaped out of.  Even after that, I was still growing bored with the childish fights that happen in the series.  I’ve seen more gory action on Supernatural and that show is rated TV-14!  You know that Iron Fist has to be THAT bad when it has less gory content than Supernatural.

All in all, Iron Fist was a disappointing series to watch.  Even after baking up with some Mango Kush before starting an episode, I still grow easily bored and resort to playing Brick Breaker Star on my phone.  This series should be renamed to ‘Iron Fisted’ being that watching this dreadful series is like taking an iron fist up your ass (‘Iron Fisted’ would make for a GREAT porn title!).  If they picked up the pace, brainstormed a more original plot, and added some more violent/gory content, then I may have gotten more into this series.  For now, I hope that the series picks up better with the next season (if they choose to renew it!) so that I don’t get ‘Iron Fisted’ while binge-watching this dull series.

 

Santa Clarita Diet – A Horrific Suburban-Style Comedy!


It’s the middle of February and winter has brought us some cold days here in Massachusetts.  Yesterday we got quite a blizzard and hundreds of schools/offices closed down for the day.  Lucky for me, I didn’t have any obligations to attend to during the blizzard.  This was one of those perfect ‘Netflix and Chill’ kind of snow days to binge-watch your favorite series.

For me, the snow day became the perfect afternoon to finish up Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet.  This horror-comedy series starred Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant as married couple Sheila/Joel Hammond who work as real estate agents in Santa Claritas, California.  Their lives take a twisted turn when Sheila transforms into a living zombie that dines on human flesh.  The single-camera comedy series premiered on February 3rd and consists of 10 episodes.

Before diving into this horrific comedy series, I never got into most of these comedies on basic cable that were set in the gated, suburban neighborhoods.  TV series like Suburgatory or The Neighbors had these mundane story-lines with bland characters and their “problems” they faced every day (your neighbor bought a new grill for the block party that’s better than yours…oh god, THE HORROR.  THE HORROR!).  Most of these sunny suburb shows made me want to gag over the shitty plot-lines for some of the episodes.  Showtime’s Weeds was set in the suburban town of Agrestic, but Nancy Botwin’s pot schemes are what kept me glued to the series.

What made Santa Clarita Diet so interesting was Drew Barrymore’s unique problem of transforming into a zombie.  Sheila wasn’t able to eat normal food, so she had to start eating flesh…human flesh, that is!  On the last scene of the first episode, Gary starts hitting on Sheila outside of her house.  To revolt against his demands, she bites off his fingers and starts devouring him raw.  That final scene of Sheila consuming Gary is what kept me hungry for more!  Things get really wacky in the series as Sheila and Joel search for more human flesh around their neighborhood.

Other than the actual show itself, the title screen provides some cool graphics.  The opening features a dinner plate set with all of the eating utensils and napkin.  Everything seems normal until a drop of blood hits the top of the ‘I’, spilling onto the font that reads “DIET” on the dinner plate.  It drops a subtle hint as to what the single-camera comedy series will be all about.

Overall, Santa Clarita Diet was a great comedy to watch on Netflix.  The series had some great cameos pop up every once in a while (including Nathan Fillion, Patton Oswalt, Thomas Lennon, and Andy Richter).  This was one of those suburban comedy series that I actually enjoyed watching because of its edgier content.  It provided the suburban-style atmosphere, but the story itself got much crazier after each episode.

Santa Clarita Diet isn’t just another cookie-cutter, family-friendly comedy series set with some bland suburban-setting storyline.  There was blood, there was gore, and lots of scheming with the neighbors to keep their secret hidden from everyone.  It’s a different kind of suburban story with a horrific twist where Sheila transforms into a zombie.  If you’re looking for a unique comedy series on Netflix on a cold winter day, you should definitely check out Santa Clarita Diet!