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Jay

STRANGER THINGS

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Just finished this. Pretty good, not great.  Some of the 80's stuff felt a little forced, but for the most part they handled it OK. The opening credits seem more 90's than 80's to me. You can't say it really copies the vibe of any specific 80's TV or movie.  It was clearly a homage but something new. I guess I'd describe it as a little ET, a little CE3K and a little Stand by Me. Wasn't silly like Goonies, and I didn't get a Super 8 vibe really. The kids were likeable, the adults mostly vanilla. Winona Ryder's character annoyed the hell out of me.  The whole thing was entertaining enough, very well acted (mostly) though entirely forgettable.

 

As for the Season 2 "cliffhangers"...

 

Spoiler

The cop leaving the food for someone in the forest was intriguing.  The worm popping out of the kids eye was not...obvious and a little lame.

 

All in all not bad, and I'll check out Season 2 when it rolls around. That said, if Netflix said tomorrow they were cancelling it I wouldn't care much.

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I'm rather amazed that so many of you are "lukewarm" to the series -- at best. 

 

I think it's the very best thing that came out on TV this year. It's you and me on this one, Jay!

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The best new series this year? Nah. I'd put Man in the High Castle (despite the last episode) way ahead of this. And I say that as someone who's a sucker for 80's nostalgia. 

 

EDIT: Well, yeah...I guess Man in the High Castle was last year. Still. :)

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16 hours ago, Jay said:

His eye?  Didn't he cough it up?

And the food he left was for Eleven.

Yeah, you're right, he coughed it up. Where am I getting the worm in the eye from?  Oh...maybe Falling Skies.

 

I guessed it was for Eleven. But how? What was behind the cop betraying Eleven & the kids by revealing their location? Was there a set up I missed? 

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14 hours ago, Nick66 said:

 The kids were likeable, the adults mostly vanilla. Winona Ryder's character annoyed the hell out of me.  The whole thing was entertaining enough, very well acted (mostly) though entirely forgettable.

 

 

Indeed! Winona Ryder always had a limited range (and her voice always feels 'off')  but here she was truly terrible. The more she tried to act, the worse it got. And while the kids weren't exactly bad, I never believed them (except for Eleven) or the adults. Spielberg had a seemingly nonchalant way to presents kids family life but the show never was able to capture that. Sadly, it's a style Steven forgot or unlearned in his later career. 

 

Alex

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22 hours ago, Thor said:

The issue isn't really if the horror was more 'scary' or 'potent' in the 80s in general (I don't think it was), but if you could find any similar 'adult intensity' in the type of sub genre it tries to emulate.

 

I don't really think subgenre distinctions matter. Let's look at the content instead: something like Indiana Jones dealt with themes such as supernatural horror in ways which would be unlikely to be permitted in 12 rated movies made today, let alone PG ones. Stranger Things doesn't exactly sail close to the wind with what it does, it isn't 'edgy' with its tension. That isn't necessarily a criticism of the show, btw. 

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Yes, the "Kid Hero" subgenre matters because it's the biggest thing that the series tries to emulate. What makes the series so great (one of the things, anyway), is how they let this pastiche collide with other, more contemporary horror tropes.

 

By the way, your avatar gives me epilepsy. :eh:

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You've just had an epileptic fit because of my avatar? My sincerest apologies. 

 

"Kid hero" is a subgenre now? I've never heard of that one before. 

 

How about Short Round? A man gets his heart ripped out of his chest during a supernatural ritual sequence in his movie. 

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44 minutes ago, Thor said:

 

By the way, your avatar gives me epilepsy. :eh:

 

LOL. I just told him basically the same thing.

 

Lonnegan, how many people have to suffer before you change your avatar. Think of the kids.

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20 minutes ago, Lonnegan said:

"Kid hero" is a subgenre now? I've never heard of that one before. 

 

Yeah. We've mentioned some examples before -- E.T., THE GOONIES, EXPLORERS, SPACE CAMP, MAC AND ME, FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR etc. This is the MAIN sub genre that the series creators tried to emulate. But then they sprinkle it with other things; some Carpenter, some Stephen King and -- most importantly -- contemporary, adult horror intensity which was NOT present in either of those movies. That's what makes the series appeal to younger audiences who didn't grow up with the movies, and that's what -- IMO -- makes it so great; what gives it that little something "extra".

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On 31-8-2016 at 4:16 PM, Thor said:

1. I absolutely ADORE the show!

 

2. I think the music in it works perfectly.

 

3. However, I'm not that enamoured with the music on album, which is a surprise because it sounded so up my alley when I heard it in the series. On album, it became a little "thin" and directionless. And also too much of it. This could have been an ideal 40-50-minute album. Instead, they went bonkers and released it on not ONE, but TWO CD's.

 

It doesnt help that they released it all out of order (and some music on the album went unused in the show anyway)

I mean I love synth as much as the next guy, and there is good stuff on there. But it didnt grab me as much as say Mr Robots score (which definitely deserved its double volume coverage)

 

The acting I found pretty topnotch tho, from the kids as well

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Actually, I would have wanted them to present it LESS "out of order". I think for this to work on album, they would have needed to pick out the more musical and fullbodied cues, perhaps expanded upon them in the studio, and then presented ONE, fluid 40-50 minute album that worked as its own concept (not two bloody full length albums). They way it is now, it's too much music, the "thin" and directionless cues are allowed too much space, and it seems to follow no musical logic or order whatsoever. The highlights are buried in there, for sure, but they're often few and far between. A missed opportunity!

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7 hours ago, Alexcremers said:

Winona Ryder always had a limited range (and her voice always feels 'off')  but here she was truly terrible. The more she tried to act, the worse it got.

 

I've said this before in the TV thread, but: I strongly disagree. Ryder's performance was just fine. Did her character annoy me? Yes, a lot. But I've encountered people like that, and they annoy me just as much. An annoying performance isn't necessarily a bad performance.

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Ryder was great. She's always been a favourite actress of mine; I've had a crush on her since I was, like, 12.

 

I also love the shots of her in front of the Christmas lights, which remind me of the scene in EDWARD SCISSORHANDS:

 

NTFlX3g3U0NPWDQx_o_edward-scissorhands-i

 

1006065333-oh-col-ryder2.jpg

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On 9/1/2016 at 8:38 AM, crocodile said:

Yes indeed:

 

 

Karol

 

Finally watched this.  Not funny at all!  If this is what a typical Jimmy Fallon sketch is like, I'm glad I don't watch the show at all

 

 

However, it was cool that they recreated the set well, and got all the kids back, and they eased back into their characters exactly!

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15 hours ago, Nick66 said:

I guessed it was for Eleven. But how? What was behind the copy betraying Eleven & the kids by revealing their location? Was there a set up I missed? 

 

You didn't miss anything.  It's all mysteries introduced in that episode that will be explained in Season 2 (presumably)

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The thing with Wynona Ryder's character, for me, was that we are basically already introduced to her when she's in grieving / panic mode.  We never really got to spend any time seeing her normal life with Will before Will got taken to the Upside Down.  Yes, there were a couple flashbacks in the early episodes, but they were really overshadowed by Winona's many crazy/frantic scenes.  I think just showing them happy and normal for a little bit before everything went down would have helped a bit.

 

Because indeed, as the season goes on, Winona gets out of that crazy mode and I came to really like her performance, especially in the last 2-3 episodes.  Looking forward to see what Season 2 will bring, since she should get to do a lot more different things (presumably Will won't get kidnapped again)

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1 hour ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

I've said this before in the TV thread, but: I strongly disagree. Ryder's performance was just fine. Did her character annoy me? Yes, a lot. But I've encountered people like that, and they annoy me just as much. An annoying performance isn't necessarily a bad performance.

 

I can make the distinction between acting and being annoying, Marian. I always thought she was one of the worst actors in Hollywood. I admit, a lot has to do with her voice. I'm very sensitive to voices. A voice is almost 90% of the acting process. To me, Ryder's success has always been a mystery. You could say I'm critical or the Anti-Thor. ;)

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12 minutes ago, Jay said:

The thing with Wynona Ryder's character, for me, was that we are basically already introduced to her when she's in grieving / panic mode.  We never really got to spend any time seeing her normal life with Will before Will got taken to the Upside Down.  Yes, there were a couple flashbacks in the early episodes, but they were really overshadowed by Winona's many crazy/frantic scenes.  I think just showing them happy and normal for a little bit before everything went down would have helped a bit.

 

I don't know. I sort of got the impression that she was a flake and a wreck even before everything went Down (sorry).  And if I recall there were some hints of this in the first episode.  She just strikes me as one of those people that always has drama, and a crisis in her life. And a real crisis just kind of sent her over the edge.

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11 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

 

I can make the distinction between acting and being annoying, Marian. I always thought she was one of the worst actors in Hollywood. I admit, a lot has to do with her voice. I'm very sensitive to voices. A voice is almost 90% of the acting process. To me, Ryder's success has always been a mystery. You could say I'm critical or the Anti-Thor. ;)

 

He, he...in this case, maybe. But I find that we have several overlapping opinions in other areas.

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5 minutes ago, Quintus said:

Noooooooooo! It's vitally important, Thor, that people here feel like their own opinion is somehow unique and that they're a very special snowflake in a sea of generic tastelessness! 

 

I do my best, but even I have to share a viewpoint with someone once or twice.

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On 9/2/2016 at 9:57 AM, Nick66 said:

I don't know. I sort of got the impression that she was a flake and a wreck even before everything went Down (sorry).  And if I recall there were some hints of this in the first episode.  She just strikes me as one of those people that always has drama, and a crisis in her life. And a real crisis just kind of sent her over the edge.

 

On 9/2/2016 at 10:05 AM, Marian Schedenig said:

Yes, she's odd already in the first scene, and that was before she noticed her child was missing. But it always seemed to me that she was supposed to be a disturbed character, to some extent, from the beginning, just like her elder son.

 

There are lines in the show that imply that she's had anxiety problems in the past. With an abusive ex-husband and a history like that, it makes the characters easily jump to the conclusion that she's crazy. 

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3 hours ago, nightscape94 said:

I said it in the TV show thread and I'll say it again here.  Stranger Things is probably the best show Netflix has produced.  It's just about perfect for me aside from some minor quibbles.

 

Here's some perfect music for you:

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, nightscape94 said:

I said it in the TV show thread and I'll say it again here.  Stranger Things is probably the best show Netflix has produced.  It's just about perfect for me aside from some minor quibbles.

 

You said it, bro!

 

Whether or not it's the best thing Netflix has produced, it's a toss-up between this, HOUSE OF CARDS and NARCOS. Ultimately, though, I would agree with you.

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Stranger Things episode 1

 

Surprisingly underwhelming actually. It certainly get's the look right. It really is a mixture of Spielberg and John Carpenter, with a jus of other 80's influences garnished over it (the title sequence is straight out of The Terminator)

 

But for a show that deals with the sudden disappearance of a child this is actually lacking in both suspense and emotion.

Winona overacts, but I actually think that's perfectly fine for the character. I liked the police chief, who walks around hungover and in a bad mood.

The kids seem like they could be good too. But right now the closest resemblance they have to 80's Amblin child heroes is the Goonies, which really isnt a film I care for very much. (basically Spielberg turned up to 11, without the poise and brilliance of his direction)

 

Still, perfectly watchable and it's only 8 eps long, so I will mover forward.

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Episode 2

 

A bit better actually. Some fun scenes with the kids and El, straight out of E.T., And a general deep sense of fear and concern about the missing boy. Liked the scene where the witness at first is convinced the kid who was stealing food from Bennie's wasn't will, but is then kind of spurred on to say that it could have been him. Dodgy policework because of wishful thinking.

But again there are several scenes that i suppose are intended to be suspenseful, but really arent. (Just think what Spielberg, Carpenter or Stephen King in their prime could do with just a lightbulb going on or off)

 

Also, but this is a personal thing, I al but zone out during any scenes featuring the high school kids.

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Absolutely wonderful show. For a teenager from the 80's this is a nostalgia burst. I'm not a fan of electronic music but here it fits brilliantly, especially the opening title music. The kids are awesome, I could adopt 11.

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Yes it does feel like comfort food for those of a certain age. But a lot of it so far is following very predictable story beats. And the fact that visually it references classic 80's cinema so strongly meant that several times now I could predict what was gonna happen at the beginning of a scene.

 

Just finished ep 3 for instance, and the moment the Carol-Anne like child goes into Will's room and stares at the wall you just know a hand is gonna appear ala Poltergeist.

Some good scenes with the younger kids and El though, who goes through the house ala E.T.

I hope the high school kids get much more interesting though. Because upto this point it's been on the level of Beverly Hills 90210 and I have to resist the temptation the fast forward.

I must be in the extreme minority by actually liking Winona Ryder in this.

 

Enjoying it very much so far, but wondering if it will become anything more then just a collection of 1980's tropes?

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2 hours ago, Stefancos said:

Stranger Things episode 1

 

It certainly get's the look right.

 

I liked the look of the first episode, my favorite episode, actually. It's very Bill Butler, containing wide(r) shots and colorful detail. From eppy 2 on, that look is sadly gone and we mostly get close-ups from kids talking in narrow dark lit rooms. To me only the first episode feels cinematic.  

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Wait until you get to the bicycle chase later on, the nod to ET doesn't get much more blatant than it does there. It comes with an ace grin inducing visual twist, though. That was one of the show's more successful moments.  

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Nothing in essence. And I certainly hope there won't be a game changer of a plot twist ala JJ Abrams or Moffat in the last episode or so.

 

Actually so far the story telling has been done very well, and the characters are slowly coming into their own too.

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I just finished ep 4 and I agree. Winona's character might seem batty, but her actions in this one are perfectly logical. Her kid seems to be calling to het from her living room wall, so what does she do? take an axe to it and look genuinely stumped when it turns out nothing is there.

Also liked the scene where Hooper investigates Will's body. The slight hesitation as he makes the decision to cut into the chest. We already know of course it's gotta be a fake body. But it's a nice little touch.

As as someone who was bullied all the way through my school days I naturally approve of the bully pissing himself. The actress playing El is really good btw.

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