That Guy Who Was in That Thing with Mr. Peabody & Sherman Archer

That Guy Who Was in That Thing, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and the first five seasons of Archer are currently available on instant Netflix

Archer

 

Archer (2009-14) – Rated TV-MA

Suave, sophisticated spy Archer may have the coolest gadgets, but he still has issues when it comes to dealing with his boss, who is also his mother.”

Jenny and I binged on fifth season Archer before moving on to the very disappointing third season of House of Cards. Fifth season Archer has a completely different setting. This time the members of ISIS have become impromptu drug dealers. Other than that, you have pretty much the same cast and jokes (although they appear to have left out my favorite, “this is why we have ants”).

So it is slightly disappointing in that much is recycled but still quite funny (and offensive for those of delicate sensibilities). An enjoyable, albeit forgettable, time was had by all.

That Guy

 

That Guy…Who Was in That Thing (2012) – Rated TV-14

Sixteen male actors — who are highly recognizable but not stars — detail their ups and downs as they struggle to forge careers in Hollywood.”

Speaking of forgettable, That Guy…Who Was in That Thing is the story of sixteen hardworking actors where you’ll recognize them but probably won’t know their names. It is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of those who have been successful without having ‘made’ it.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman

 

Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014) – Rated PG

Resurrected from the 1960s animated series “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” canine genius Mr. Peabody and young Sherman take a dizzying ride through time.

I like to change up what I’m watching with my granddaughter from time to time. She can watch the same thing a near infinite number of times but I need a bit of variety. Taking a bit of a break from The PowerPuff Girls and The Octonauts, we watched Mr. Peabody & Sherman. She seemed fine with it as one of the two main characters is a dog.

I thought it was dreadful drek. It is not at all in the spirit of the original. Say goodbye to the goofy, clever humor of the original and hello to factory made cinema.

This is clearly a children’s movie (as it is about two 7-year-olds and a dog) and is even rated PG. Yet we have the typically evil social worker trying to break up the family. We also have a visit to France during the Terror, i.e. when the backlog of executions necessitated the manufacture of a faster method of execution, Le Guillotine. The children also manage to cause the death of one of the main characters.

Rather than crib from the original show, the writers appear to have borrowed their bits from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. There is supposed to be a heartwarming message at the center of this that a dog can be a proper parent. So much so that they hammer it into us again and again.

Bleh! Avoid this and don’t let your children see it either.

New Netflix Streaming Releases for the Week of 3/17/15

Bibbety-boppety-boo! Yay for more Archer!

Comedy: The Comedians of Comedy: The Movie, Joe Rogan: Live, Standby, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, Tyler Perry’s The Single Mom’s Club, Aziz Ansari: Live at Madison Square Garden

Documentary: Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story, 1 Way Up: The Story of Peckham BMX, Back Issues: The Hustler Magazine Story, My Own Man

Drama: May in the Summer, After the Fall, Cesar Chavez, Mr. Pip, Crash

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Family: Believe, How to Train Your Dragon 2

Force Majeure

Foreign: Once Upon a Time in Shanghai, Force Majeure, Faith Connections, Life of Riley

Horror: Hansel vs. Gretel

Archer

Television: One Child, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and new episodes of Rita, Danger 5, Glee, and Archer

This ‘n’ That – The Guild, Starship Troopers Invasion, Archer

The Guild (all six seasons), Archer (four seasons), and Starship Troopers Invasion are currently available on instant Netflix.

The Guild

The Guild (2007-13) – Not rated

Fantasy and reality collide in this engaging Internet series that follows a quirky group of gamers, including Codex (Felicia Day) and Zaboo (Sandeep Parikh), as they struggle to balance real-world relationships with their commitments to playing an addictive online video game. Bound in a tight-knit guild dubbed the Knights of Good, these hopeless geeks confront stiff challenges from controlling mothers, rival factions and, at times, each other.

True story – my wife and I met playing Dungeons & Dragons in college. Admittedly I was the one playing while Jenny was visiting her father but later she joined the group. Many years later, the three of us used to play World of Warcraft far too much. I think that’s the only way people play that game.

Felicia Day started her own web series to lampoon her addiction to World of Warcraft. The Guild was funny and insightful. Jenny and I really enjoyed the first five seasons but we think the series may be played out now as the sixth season was very ho-hum.

Don’t be turned off by the time commitment – a season is only 45-90 minutes.

Archer

Archer (2009-13) – Rated TV-MA

Sophisticated spy Archer may have the coolest gadgets, but he still has issues when it comes to dealing with his boss — who also is his mother.”

I have previously reviewed Archer but now the fourth season is available. It has yet to wear out its welcome and the fourth season is still quite enjoyable.

Starship Troopers Invasion

Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012) – Rated R

A starship crew on a secret mission goes missing in a nebula, and troopers must embark on a rescue mission while also combating invading alien bugs.”

I’m not sure who the audience is for this film. Special effects aficionados will be disappointed that it is animated. While there are nods to Robert Heinlein’s original work, there is little of his work here.

Fans of Verhoeven’s snarky 1997 original will find that this continues the story of a few of the characters. Unfortunately they are voiced by completely different actors and all of the humor and satire have been stripped from the film.

I do have a few good things to say about Invasion. It is far better than the abominable, live action, direct-to-DVD Starship Troopers 3: Marauder. Invasion is competently made and animation allows them to show scenes that would have been prohibitively expensive in live action CGI. There just doesn’t seem to be much life in the movie.

 

Jay, Lars, Archer, Silent Bob, and the Real Girl Go Down Under

Yet still more odds and ends on Netflix

Jay and Silent Bob

Jay and Silent Bob Go Down Under (2012) – Not rated

“Filmmaker and comedian Kevin Smith returns with an all new special, taped in front of a sell out audience in Sydney, Australia. Joined by his infamous buddy Jason Mewes, this impromptu, uncensored hour is filled with bawdy and cautionary tales.”

Kevin Smith is a fantastic speaker with a voice as unique as his directorial vision. He discovered that people were willing to pay him phenomenal sums just to go talk. He then discovered that he could tape the proceedings and sell those as well, netting him a fortune. Generally I would say good for him – Too Fat for 40 is a fascinating talk that includes his ejection from a flight for being too fat and Burn in Hell was his best talk ever covering the making of Red State and his confrontation with the Westboro ‘Church’.

Unfortunately this appears to have made him quite lazy. Perhaps I am too old but his stoner schtick is just juvenile and the presence of lifemate Jason Mewes can only be tolerated in the tiniest of doses. I actually only got nine minutes into Jay and Silent Bob Go Down Under before I was so disgusted that I turned it off.

Lars and the Real GirlLars and the Real Girl (2007) – Rated PG-13

“When a delusional loner buys a life-sized sex doll over the Internet, promptly falls in love with her and starts telling people that she’s his girlfriend, his brother and sister-in-law decide it’s time to intervene.”

“Sometimes I get so lonely I forget what day it is, and how to spell my name.”

I actually expected Lars and the Real Girl to be a raunchy romp and instead it is quite a tender-hearted comedy. I loved the directions that the story went in and the message ultimately gleaned from it. The cast is wonderful and Ryan Gosling does a great job of downplaying…well Ryan Gosling.

Lars is a charming piece of fluff and definitely worth a viewing as long as you can stand a little schmaltz.

ArcherArcher (2009-11) – TV-MA

“Sophisticated spy Archer may have the coolest gadgets, but he still has issues when it comes to dealing with his boss — who also happens to be his mother — in this wicked animated spoof of spy flicks and the sex-crazed agents who populate them.”

On the opposite end of the comedy spectrum lies Archer. I just finished watching the third season and it is hilarious. It is not however charming – the humor is sharp and raw and definitely earns its TV-MA rating. There are very intelligent humorous bits in each episode but also quite a bit of lowbrow humor. If you are easily offended or don’t like mean-spirited comedy then Archer is not for you.

25 Best Cult TV Shows – Netflix 13, Amazon 11

I’m culling this from an article in Entertainment Weekly entitled “25 Best Cult TV Shows from the Past 25 Years”. Netflix has 13 of the 25 series available on instant.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2002)

“Despite her desire to live a normal life at Sunnydale High, tough-as-nails teenager Buffy Summers fulfills her mystical calling as a Slayer to protect humankind from vampires, demons and other supernatural creatures- with some help from her friends.”

Although nowhere near as good, the spinoff series Angel does have its moments and is also available.

Arrested Development (2003-2005)

“This Emmy-winning sitcom follows the Bluths, a wealthy California clan gone to the dogs after patriarch George Sr. gets busted for fraud. Now, long-suffering son Michael keeps the family business afloat as he spars with his dysfunctional relatives.”

There’s always money in the banana stand.”

Mystery Science Theater 3000

“The hit comedy television show about an ordinary man (Michael J. Nelson) and two robots being forced to watch the worst movies ever made becomes a movie about an ordinary man and two robots forced to watch the worst movies ever made. A demented scientist schemes to subject Nelson to unspeakable horrors, but his test subject has mankind’s ultimate defense: a sense of humor, which he and his robot companions use to make hilarious commentary.”

Netflix has the movie and thirteen of the movie episodes available on instant.

The X-Files (1993-2001)

“Tracing both their personal and professional lives, this award-winning Fox series centers on FBI agents Scully (Gillian Anderson), a skeptic, and Mulder (David Duchovny), a believer, and their efforts to uncover a government conspiracy to hide evidence of extraterrestrial activity. From voodoo curses to bodies found in California that are missing various internal organs, the chilling show also stars Mitch Pileggi and Robert Patrick.”

Not only does Netflix have all nine seasons of The X-Files available but they also have the series that inspired The X-Files, Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1993)

“In the year 2364, Capt. Jean-Luc Picard leads the new Enterprise on missions of discovery. First Officer William Riker, engineer Geordi La Forge, and Klingon crewmember Worf join Picard as they explore the universe and interact with alien species.”

Instant Netflix also has Star Trek, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, and Enterprise available.

My So-Called Life (1994)

“Suburban teen Angela Chase (Claire Danes) is changing, but her hair color isn’t the only thing that’s different. She’s also pulling away from her parents to spend more time with a new crop of friends — and a major crush (Jared Leto) with amazing eyes. Along with launching the careers of Leto and Danes (who won a Golden Globe in the series’ first and only season), this teen drama garnered a loyal cult following before its cancellation.”

Lost (2004-2010)

“After their plane crashes on a deserted island, a diverse group of castaways adapt to their new home in this Emmy-winning drama. As if learning to survive and get along weren’t enough, they soon must contend with the island’s mysterious forces”

Firefly (2002)

“Set almost 500 years in the future, this short-lived but much-loved sci-fi series follows the adventures of the ragtag crew of the transport spaceship Serenity, who view no job as too small, too dirty or too close to the line of illegality.”

After you finish this marvelous series, watch Serenity, the movie sequel.

Twin Peaks (1990)

“In David Lynch’s surreal cult classic series, eccentric FBI agent Dale Cooper arrives in Twin Peaks to investigate the murder of teenager Laura Palmer. Soon, many secrets concealed beneath the small town’s façade of normalcy start coming to light.”

Battlestar Galactica (2003-2008)

Deep in the universe, cybernetic Cylons have all but wiped out the human race, laying waste to the Twelve Colonies of Man. Cast out, the few survivors aboard the Battlestar Galactica search for a so-called 13th colony: the mythical planet Earth.”

Instant Netflix also has the original Battlestar Galactica, Galactica 1980, and the prequel to the new Galactica, Caprica. While the 2003-8 Battlestar Galactica is fantastic, the others are not really worth the time.

Supernatural (2005-2010)

“Raised by their dad to fight supernatural forces, grown siblings Dean and Sam crisscross the country in their 1967 Chevy Impala, investigating paranormal activity and picking fights with deadly demons, ghosts and monsters.”

The first six seasons are currently available on Netflix and by the time you finish those I wouldn’t be surprised to see season 7 be available.

Farscape (1999-2002)

“This Australian science fiction series follows the crew of Moya, a living spacecraft that houses a group of various beings united in their desire to escape from a corrupt military force known as Peacekeepers. American astronaut John Crichton (Ben Browder) joins them when he accidentally flies through a wormhole. As the series progresses, John makes enemies with brutal Peacekeeper Scorpius, while developing a relationship with crewmate Aeryn”

Better Off Ted (2009)

“As head of research and development at soulless conglomerate Veridian Dynamics, conflicted single father Ted (Jay Harrington) attempts to balance his personal code of ethics with each of his immoral assignments, such as freezing co-workers or weaponizing pumpkins. This scathing corporate culture satire co-stars Portia de Rossi as Ted’s heartless supervisor and Andrea Anders, the new product tester whom he longs to bed.”

Archer (2009-2011)

“Sophisticated spy Archer may have the coolest gadgets, but he still has issues when it comes to dealing with his boss — who also happens to be his mother — in this wicked animated spoof of spy flicks and the sex-crazed agents who populate them.”

Netflix has the first two seasons of Archer on instant.

Amazon Prime has Pushing Daisies, Better Off Ted, Farscape, the first three seasons of Fringe, Firefly (but not Serenity), Lost, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Buffy (& Angel), Arrested Development, The X-Files and while you don’t get Twin Peaks, Prime members get the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. Amazon charges for some their MST3K content but they have a whopping 71 free ones with Prime – far more than Netflix.

Amazon Prime comes up a few shorter than Netflix but they are pretty close. Now if only Amazon shores up their movie selection, they can be a real Netflix competitor.

Animation update – Archer season 2 and Futurama volume 6

My daughter will enjoy knowing that the second season of Archer is now available on instant Netflix. We have to watch animation during the day as my wife dislikes or is offended by just about all the major shows (South Park, Family Guy, American Dad, even The Simpsons).

Archer (2010) – TV-MA

“Sophisticated spy Archer may have the coolest gadgets, but he still has issues when it comes to dealing with his boss — who also happens to be his mother — in this wicked animated spoof of spy flicks and the sex-crazed agents who populate them.”

This is a silly show. Archer does a better job of lampooning spy movies than American Dad. It has a lot of purposely racy content so it is easy to be offended by it but it does not go out of its way to offend a la South Park. While much of it is lowbrow humor, there are a lot of amusing references to The Manchurian Candidate, Dial M for Murder, The Hindenberg (the movie), John Le Carre’s novels and more.

Futurama (1999-2011) – Rated TV-PG

“Pizza boy Philip J. Fry awakens in the 31st century after 1,000 years of cryogenic preservation in this animated series. After he gets a job at an interplanetary delivery service, Fry embarks on ridiculous escapades to make sense of his predicament.”

Just as silly but much less offensive, Matt Groening’s Futurama continues strong despite being cancelled quite a while ago. Volume six of Futurama has just been released on instant Netflix and I’m sure it does just as good a job at skewering current events and science fiction tropes as the previous five seasons did.