FlixWorthy: Eerie, Indiana, Strange Days, And More
Welcome back to FlixWorthy, your weekly guide to Netflix streaming. Yet again we're bringing you a handful of new or notable selections from Netflix's streaming catalogue. Some will be classics, some will be little-seen gems, some will be shows you might have missed, and some...some will be crap so awful they simply has to be seen to be believed.
Here's what's FlixWorthy this week, kids.
(1991, TV-Y7, 19 episodes)
Boy, this one's a blast from my past. Eerie, Indiana ran for only one season on NBC back in the early '90s. That in itself is surprising, since usually Fox is the home for any interesting but brief genre curiosity. Part Twin Peaks, part Goosebumps, Eerie, Indiana followed the adventures of young Marshall Teller (Omri Katz), whose family moves to the town of the title and discovers that it does indeed live up to its name. Eerie was chock full of weirdoes long before Chloe put up her Wall of Weird over in Smallville. Eerie's oddness doesn't just encompass monsters of the week, however, but such bizarre notions as Tupperware-style containers that can even preserve humans, a friendly ATM, and even an episode that is eerily similar in concept to last Friday's Supernatural. I've got plenty of fond memories of Eerie as an X-Files for the pre-teen set. Will it still hold up when both the show and those of us who loved it the first time are now two decades older? That's one mystery that's easy to solve. Just press "play."
Double-Feature It With...
Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre
(1982, Not Rated, 26 episodes)
Another relic from the childhoods of many who grew up in the '80s, Faerie Tale Theatre tossed an A-list cast of actors into a pot with tons of classic children's stories and stirred to see what resulted. Hosted by Shelley Duvall, the show actually aired on Showtime -- an odd notion given the network's current line-up of drug dealers and benevolent serial killers. Over the course of 26 episodes, performers such as Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Jeff Bridges, Christopher Reeve, Liza Minnelli, and Vincent Price turn up in stories ranging from the familiar ("The Tale of the Frog Prince," "Rumpelstiltskin," "Sleeping Beauty") to the more obscure ("The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers," "The Princess Who Had Never Laughed").
(1995, Rated R, 145 min.)
If there was any justice, Strange Days would be better remembered than it is. Those who do remember it usually do so fondly, but Kathryn Bigelow's mindbender deserves more than just relegation to cult-classic status. Granted, it's been years since I've watched it, so maybe I'm part of the problem. Ralph Fiennes stars as Lenny Nero, the ex-cop with the name of a back-alley porn producer. Since stepping out from behind the badge, Lenny's started making ends meet by dealing in the drug of the moment in his cyberpunk-noir world: virtual reality clips that let the user experience sex and violence without the buzzkill of STDs, unwanted pregnancies, or crippling injuries. Things go sour when one of his clips proves to be a recording of a murder that lots of people don't want looked into. Soon he's on the run with the help of a bodyguard friend (Angela Bassett), trying to solve the murder before he becomes a statistic himself.
Double-Feature It With:
(1995, Rated R, 96 min., HD)
Hollywood has a shaky track record when it comes to science fiction, much less the stylistic sub-genre of cyberpunk, much less anything spawned from the pen of Neuromancer author William Gibson. By most accounts, Johnny Mnemonic is not one of the success stories. Still, it is based on one of Gibson's short stories, and it does co-star both Dolph Lundgren and Henry Rollins. That smacks of trainwreck appeal if nothing else.
(2009, Rated R, 98 min.)
One of the things that often happens when you read the screenplay for a film long before you see the movie is that you'll occasionally fall in love with one particular aspect of the writing, only to be underwhelmed when that aspect inevitably gets downplayed in the finished product. When I read the Daybreakers script by Australian filmmaker twin brothers Michael and Peter Spierig, I fell in love with the details. The sheer amount of thought the Spierigs had put into envisioning every aspect of a society where vampires had won and were now the world majority, farming the few remaining humans for food, was brilliant and admirable. Especially for a genre that has seemingly had all the potential hammered out of it, the Spierigs found a way to make a vampire story interesting again simply by presenting a richly developed world full of underground sidewalks, midnight school zones, and polarized windows for "day driving." While the story at the film's heart is nowhere near as interesting as its setting, it's still worth a watch for genre fans. You can check out Nick's excellent review of the Blu-ray right here.
Double-Feature It With:
(2004, Rated PG-13, 132 min.)
Speaking of richly detailed worlds, is there anybody in the film industry better at populating every inch of the screen with sights and sounds that are both convincing and marvelously strange than Guillermo del Toro? The Golden Army may have been the better film, but Hellboy was a great big-screen introduction to the soft-hearted beast of the apocalypse who wanted no part in his destiny, and a brilliant collaboration between two insanely creative minds (director del Toro and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola).
Roast of William Shatner: Uncensored
(2006, Not Rated, 80 min.)
Ah, William Shatner. You truly are the gift that keeps on giving. You gave us the dramatically pausing, alien-snogging, chest-baring icon that is James Tiberius Kirk. You gave us an excuse to make T.J. Hooker jokes for the past 30 years. You gave us toupees and "everybody on the show hated him" scuttlebutt and even told the Trek nerds to get a life on SNL. Why, without you, we would never have experienced the majesty of "Shatner of the Mount." And then, just when it seemed you would be relegated to nothing more than pop-culture punchlines, convention appearances, and raising horses, you brilliantly satirized your own public persona as Denny Crane and became the very best thing about Boston Legal. After all he has given us over the years, doesn't he deserve something in return? Something like being seated on stage and mocked by C-list comedians and people you previously believed to be dead? You better believe it, buster.
Double-Feature It With:
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
(1986, Rated PG, 118 min., HD)
Sure, it's easy to make fun of William Shatner. But let's not forget that the dude has some solid comedy chops himself. The Voyage Home embraced humor like no Trek film before or since, and while the results were a love-it-or-hate-it film for many, I fall squarely on the "love it" side. To this day, Shatner's double-take when he spots Leonard Nimoy swimming in the whale tank cracks my shit up. Plus, there's that whole "nuclear wessels" thing. You can't go wrong with comedy accents. Unless you're Anton Yelchin.
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