Movie Stream Cast Bonus: The Best of Netflix (2015)

MSC Best of Netflix HeaderOn this special bonus episode of Movie Stream Cast, Josh welcomes you to 2016 by giving you the “Best of Netflix” which is simply his Top 10 list of the best new movies on Netflix in 2015. He also gives a short epitaph for recently-passed cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond.

STREAMING NEXT: Nightcrawler

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MSC Best of Netflix

TOP 10 NEW MOVIES ON NETFLIX

1. An Honest Liar (2015)
2. White God (2015)
3. The Babadook (2014)
4. Faults (2015)
5. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2015)
6. Man From Reno (2015)
7. The One I Love (2014)
8. The Wolfpack (2015)
9. The Midnight Swim (2015)
10. Slow Learners (2015)

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Best of Enemies, Call Me Lucky, Creep, Dinosaur 13, Electric Boogaloo, From Caligari to Hitler, Goodbye World, The Guest, Kung Fury, Last Shift, Manson Family Vacation, The Nightmare, The Propaganda Game, The Prince of Pennsylvania, Life Partners, The Taking of Deborah Logan, Tangerine, Tracks, The Wrecking Crew

Josh’s previous reviews from his Top 10 List:

-An Honest Liar review from Movie Stream Cast
The Babadook review from Horror Movie Podcast
-A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
review from Horror Movie Podcast
The One I Love review from Movie Podcast Weekly

65 thoughts on “Movie Stream Cast Bonus: The Best of Netflix (2015)

  1. The ten movies that I have seen:

    – An Honest Liar – One of the first movies I watched because of MSC. Looking over my review in the comments section of MSC#53, the first three quarters of the film was an interesting tale of this unique figure, but it all went downhill when they chose to take the movie in another direction near the end. Still worth watching though.

    – The Babadook – 2014’s best horror film. A fascinating movie particularly when you finish it and go to compare notes with someone else and you see they interpreted the film in a completely different way.

    – Faults – It’s been a little while since I’ve seen this, but it kept me hooked until the end to see what was really going on.

    – The One I Love – Recently mentioned how much I enjoyed this. A bit of a fun take on the supernatural.

    Out of the ones I haven’t seen, I’ve had my eyes on Slow Learners and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. So those are the ones I’m most likely to check out.

    The plot for White God seems so unusual that I can’t tell if I’m going to love or hate it.

    • My sense is that you’re open-minded enough to appreciate White God, Sal, but you do have to be patient.

      Of course, you’ll have the be patient and open-minded to appreciate A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night because it doesn’t adhere to genre expectations.

      I feel like the ending of An Honest Liar was appropriate, but I agree that it might have been more entertainjng if it had stayed in the debunking vein. I do think it’s a more nuanced, mature film as it is.

      I hope you find Slow Learners as funny as I did. You should know in the first few minutes if you’ll appreciate the humor. Personally, I laughed more the second time I saw it, when watching it with Rachel.

      • White God does have me interested with that plot. How much dialog is in the movie? That’s the only thing that has me worrying. Based on the plot, I’m expecting a movie filled with non-stop barking. Ha

        At some point I’m sure I’ll be posting a review of A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night over at HMP in the comments section.

        For An Honest Liar, I thought they had two different film ideas in their hands. Rather than making one of either the years of debunking or the scandal that was his last few years, they tried to combine them. A film about either story would have been fine, but to combine them ended the film on an unfamiliar down note.

        I tend to watch a lot of not so mainstream comedy movies (I don’t know if that’s the best way to describe them, but it’s the only way I could come up with), so Slow Learners is something I likely would have watched on my own. I like Adam Pally. Happy Endings should have been on the air far longer than it actually was. Tons of comedic talent on that show. I enjoyed his 2014 film, Search Party, as a way to kill an hour and a half. I see he was in The To Do List too, but I can’t remember his role.

        • The spoken lines in White God are in (what I assume is) Hungarian anyway … but I assure you it’s not all barking.

          I guess I can see why you’d say An Honest Liar is two movies and that is a note I gave Tyler Measom when I saw the rough cut, but I think it’s actually just more in love with a standard biographical doc, what Michael Moore calls a “vanity” piece. I just think they handle the debunking stuff so well that you kind if forget it’s about this guy’s whole life. But I do think they do a nice job of working the latter part of his life into the broader themes of the film.

  2. I really have to get to An Honest Liar.

    And it’s sad to hear about the passing of Vilmos Zsigmond. I checked out Blow Out for the first time last year and I loved it.

    • I love Blow Out so much. After wearing out first a VHS, then a no-frills DVD, I was thrilled to get my hands on the new Criterion BluRay. Not sure if I mentioned it on HMP, but I’m pretty sure The Editor was influenced by Blow Out as well.

      • Yeah, one of the common factors in both films that I find really exciting is the use of procedural/behind-the-scenes film industry stuff. There’s something so cool about guys sat at old analogue editing bays messing with reels of film. All the equipment is really interesting to look at and it’s fun to see the hidden aspects of the medium acknowledged within the medium.

      • Criterion BluRays are sooooo expensive! I do love most of their covers though. Do you know why the price jumps so much with their releases, Josh? Is it because they have more extra features? Do they take more care with the transfer?

        • Criterion targets what they see as classic films and invest in the preservation of those films. Yes, their transfers are of the highest quality and they were early mavericks of special features going back to Laserdisc. Criterion had some deal with Disney early on and so some complain that people like Michael Bay, Wes Anderson and Kevin Smith (who all made movies with Disney and/or Miramax) “got a pass” with films that don’t belong in the collection, but other than theirs, it is hard to argue with their selections. One thing to watch for are Barnes and Noble Criterion sales, that usually happens once a year, where you can get any disc for half off.

  3. White God sounds awesome but it also sounds too emotionally intense for me. Will I cry the whole time?

    The honorable mentions are great too. I grew up in PA so Prince of Pennsylvania interests me. Where is Manson Family Vacation streaming? The Nightmare has been on my queue for a while.

    I really liked A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Sal. I actually had to watch it twice because I was so surprised I liked it the first time.

      • Awesome. I swear I’ve looked for it on Netflix before. Oh well. It’s a good thing this podcast helps me manage my queue.

      • I watched Manson Family Vacation last night and it was completely different than I expected. It’s definitely not Manson and his followers vacationing and killing people. It was mostly a story about two brothers working through issues. I thought it was a really good movie but as far as my personal preference, I didn’t really like it that much.

    • Just FYI, Prince of Pennsylvania is about the Foxcatcher saga, in case you didn’t know. I’d like to double-feature those on the show.

      A hardcore dog-lover might shed some tears in White God, but otherwise I’d be surprised. Really curious to hear feedback if anyone watches this one. I want to get into a feature review too.

  4. After finishing White God, it became the first film in history that I stuck around to watch all of the credits solely of the intention of wanting the confirmation of no animals being hurt during filming. The filmmakers were nice enough to put it in the middle of credits instead of at the usual end and it was in nice big font. In addition, they even made note of stating all of the dogs were rescues with the dogs later finding proper homes.

    Before I get to any type of spoilers, I have to ask if there’s any guess as to what the title of White God may mean? Hagen wasn’t even a white dog!

    —SPOILERS FOR WHITE GOD—

    I suppose the first thing that stood out to me was the entire training/prep sequence to train “Max” for the dog fighting. It’s a deplorable activity that I’ve never really looked into as I’ve never had the desire to hear about the horror stories, but that doesn’t take away how interesting it all was. So if you ever wanted to learn about some of the tricks to turn a loving dog into a vicious fighter, White God is there to show you what those monsters do without having to subject yourself to real animal cruelty.

    The ending is bittersweet. It was a touching moment to have Lili sooth Hagen one more time, but I can’t imagine there was a happy moment shortly after the movie ended. I liked what they did with the ending though. It ended on a “Happy” note, but it’s not the fairy tale Hollywood ending where everyone lived happily ever after.

    Due to the subject matter, it was easy for the film to tug at my emotions. More than anything, White God is just about acceptance. When you feel as if you fit in life, things tend to be good. When you’re an outcast, you’ll likely going to be a product of your environment. We saw that with Lili’s attitude and the dogs going on a rampage. Admittedly, I didn’t care much for Lili’s plot and any time the movie cut back to her, I was waiting for the movie to shift back towards Hagen’s story. I understand why we needed to see Lili’s story though. It played into the whole parallel stories between Lili and Hagen.

    There were points where I felt they got a little too close to being cheesy. The horror subplot of the dogs stalking the victims that treated Hagen poorly was too over the top. They were doing a great job with the drama that I was disappointed that it felt a little like a parody.

    Still, I enjoyed the movie. It’s something completely different from what I’m used to watching. The death of the little dog (Marlene?) was heartbreaking. A part of me wants to go rescue a dog after watching this. It also made me want to see a feel good movie with Hagen and his little buddy as they just go on little adventures in the city. Ha
    —END OF SPOILERS—

    Overall, White God was well worth spending two hours watching it on Netflix. If you’re a big dog lover, you might be better off skipping over the movie though.

    • White God (2015)

      How do you know this is a 2015 film? I assume after the 2014 Cannes release it was available to the US via streaming and DVD? Is there a website you use to look this up, Wolfman?

      SPOILERS
      I was mad at Josh and this stupid movie because it begins sad and dramatic and is 2 hours long. Not really my type of movie, but it gets better. The scene where Lili is forced to drop Hagen off at the side of the rode was the worst for me. I just kept repeating to myself, “it’s only a movie, only a movie…” (a la Last House on the Left). I petted my golden retriever, Sprocket, through the whole film! Once hagen is on the streets I expected things to get really brutal but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. By the end of the movie I was loving it. I could have watched the dogs kill the humans all day! In the US, we are really sentimental about dogs (not the animals we eat). This makes the compassion for the “underdogs” much stronger.

      Technically, this movie looks good and sounds good. I especially love how the orchestra sounds. Often in movies when an orchestra plays or a song begins, you can tell they are “lip-syncing” to a polished studio recording. Here the orchestra sounds amateur. There are out of tune notes and the conductor has messy beats but it looks and sounds very authentic. The thing that impressed me the most was the dog acting or training. I’ve never seen so many dogs in a movie and the dogs/trainers did an awesome job! The shot at the end when everyone lies down, blew my mind.

      This movie is about many things. It is a story about a girl and her dog. It’s a story about a girl growing up and having adult relationships in life with her friends, teacher and father. It is a story about oppression from the over-the-top conductor, the police, the dogcatchers, and the father. It is a story about the downtrodden lower-class rising up. It is a story about racism. It is about the redemption of the father and the changing of his Grinchy heart. It is a story about animal cruelty.

      I’m not sure what the title really means. Maybe there is something lost in translation. One person looking to adopt was looking for a white dog. Reading some reviews I learned that people thought the White God was the human or that it was an ode to the 1970 Novel and 1982 film, White Dog. In any case, the strength of the movie is how interpretive it can be.

      • According to Jay of the Dead’s method for determining the date for movies, White God would be a 2015 film since it was only available for all viewers in the US in 2015 despite debuting at Cannes in 2014. For dates, I just go to IMDb. If you scroll down to release date, click on ‘Show more’ and it’ll show you dates for all of it’s big releases around the world.

        —SPOILERS FOR WHITE GOD—

        I’d agree that the violence against the dogs wasn’t as bad as I imagined. I had some pretty nasty expectations in my head, so I was glad to see it didn’t go that dark. Some of the violence is rough to watch though.

        For the dog training, I was most impressed during the dog fighting scene. I just imagine it’s more difficult to train dogs to play fight than getting a hundred or more to run in the same direction or lay down. Still, it’s very impressive for the sheer quantity of dogs they used. I would have hated to be the one in charge of cleaning up after the dogs. Ha

        There’s a certain similarity going on in the life of both Lili and Hagen that I feel the film is about as well. It’s all about abandonment. Hagen is obviously abandoned, but Lili must feel abandoned by everyone in her life. Her mom leaves her for three months, her father has abandoned her emotionally, her heart feels abandoned by the boy she likes that doesn’t seem to really notice her, ect. By the end, it’s the opposite. There’s a sense of belonging. Lili has a relationship with her father and is able to be there for Hagen one last time. Besides reunited with his master, Hagan has also found a community with the other dogs. In Hagan’s case, he’s not going to die alone. For Lili, she’s no longer having to go through life feeling as if she’s alone either.

        In some weird way, Lili had to lose Hagan in order to gain connections in life. It’s as if the bond she had with Hagan may have been holding her back or causing potential relationships to not form.

        –END OF SPOILERS—

        • I never thought about how much poop there would be. That’s pretty hilarious.

          I love your take on the abandonment and belonging. I’m not sure I can bring myself to believe all of the dogs will be killed. Probably, but I’d like to think they at least sneak Hagen out and they live happily ever after. It’s probably more profound if the dogs are laying down as martyrs and accepting their fates.

          • —SPOILERS FOR WHITE GOD—

            I don’t know how responsible it would be to allow Hagen to live, particularly if they kill off the rest of the dogs. With several deaths that have either been found or will be, it wouldn’t take much to get samples of the blood on Hagen’s fur to know that he played a role in their deaths. I can’t imagine a city would allow a dog like that to survive.

            As far as trying to sneak Hagen away before the police arrives, it seems unlikely for the father to do that. They have no idea the sort of things Hagen went through. It’s posing an unknown risk if he were to allow the dog to return home.

            To me, Hagen’s fate was sealed when Lili’s dad told his coworker to wait a few minutes before calling the cops and he then went and laid on the road next to his daughter. He wanted Lili (And possibly Hagen) to have a little bit more of a moment together, this time with him being a part of it. He knows this is a moment he’ll never be able to give Lili ever again.

            Allowing Hagen to survive also removes some of the emotion of the film. In this loss of innocence film, Hagen will be killed because of his actions that no one can rightfully blame him for. It’s unfair for him to be killed when he began as just a happy and innocent dog before everything happened to him.

            Like I said though, the ending is bitter sweet. Lili’s life isn’t all bad now and Hagen managed to find his place in life at the end.

            • Yes, I think all of this is implied when he says “should I call the police” and the father says “not yet.”

              But, let’s look at this like an uprising against the “Empire.” Hagen is Luke Skywalker and after his family abandons him (Luke’s family is killed) he sets out to join the rebellion. The little white dog is Obi-Wan.

              For the sequel we need Hagen alive so he can train with a little green dog in a swamp. What I (unrealistically) want is is Hagen to come back and lead a full-on dog rebellion taking over the world slaughtering all of the bad humans.

              Obviously, that’s not going to happen.

            • As amazing as your sequel idea is (Can you say Oscar worthy material?), there is a fairly noticeable problem. What is Hagen supposed to do in the sequel? All of the enemies are already dead. The storm troopers (Police) aren’t worthy to go after on their own. Darth Vader (Lili’s dad) has already returned from the dark side.

            • Hahaha! Storm Troopers and Darth Vader, good stuff. Hmm, well I guess more bad guys would have show up in the sequel. But, of course, any sequel would take away the profound nature of the first film.

            • If you don’t mind combining Luke/Han to make up Hagen, then:

              – Homeless guy is Lando Calrissian. The guy you think you can trust as you find shelter with him only for him to turn you over to…

              – Restaurant guy is Boba Fett. His purpose allows you to end up in the hands of the wrong person.

              – Dog fighting guy is Jabba the Hutt. The person that willing to pay top dollar to turn Hagen into one of his slaves.

      • So you started by saying that you were mad at me and it wasn’t really your kind of movie, but then as you go on with your review, it sounds like you loved it!

        Which is it, Mark?

        Excellent review, by the way. I loved your breakdown of all of the different meanings you identified. Pretty powerful stuff.

        And, yes. The animal training was incredible. We talked about this when we discussed The Edge on the “Killer Bears” episode of HMP, but I really believe that animals and their trainers should be eligible for a joint Best Actor Oscar. It comes up so rarely, we really ought to be recognizing such incredible work.

        Give my best to Sprocket.

        • I couldn’t really be mad at you, Josh. Even if I found it boring, that shouldn’t ruin my life. First world problems…

          I really liked White God. It stuck with me and I brought it up in conversations all week.

    • I’d love to see the “feel-good-adventure-film” starring Hagan.

      Excellent thoughts, Sal. Thanks. I still want to feature-review this one on the show and will mention your and Mark’s thoughtful comments here.

  5. Great list, Josh!

    I only got to see three of the movies in your top ten: AN HONEST LIAR, THE BABADOOK, and THE WOLFPACK. All three are excellent movies that are very well worth anyone’s time. From your honorable mentions I only saw CREEP, DINOSAUR 13, ELECTRIC BOOGALOO, THE GUEST, KUNG FURY, LAST SHIFT, THE NIGHTMARE, THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN, and TANGERINE. Out of those, the only ones that didn’t quite win me over, were CREEP and THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN, but everything else in that list I’m 100% with you. ELECTRIC BOOGALOO and KUNG FURY were a blast and you already know I’m a huge fan of THE GUEST. LAST SHIFT was a really pleasant surprise and probably one of the scariest movies of the year. What did you think of TANGERINE? I thought it was interesting and funny, but I wasn’t as high on it as the critics were.

    Question. How come you included 2014 releases? Was there not enough 2015 stuff streaming?

    • Ugh… those caps really annoy me now that I’m looking at them haha. Sorry about that. I was trying to follow Dino’s lead because they do help when reading large blocks of text. Having so many of them right next to each other though… not so much.

      #typographyproblems

      • I used to type movie titles in caps when I first started posting on these boards because of Dino. I eventually stopped because A) It was too much work and B) Sometimes it looked like I was just shouting non-stop like a madman whenever it came to lists.

      • That’s funny… I originally started doing it because I was following Josh’s lead (I think), or if not Josh, then one of the hosts. I have seen it done that way other places on the inter-webs, so it seems like an informally accepted standard protocol for calling out film titles.

        As for #typographyproblems, when mentioning >3 movies in a row, I think breaking them out into a list might work better…

        “I only got to see three of the movies in your top ten: AN HONEST LIAR, THE BABADOOK, and THE WOLFPACK. All three are excellent movies that are very well worth anyone’s time. From your honorable mentions I only saw:

        CREEP
        DINOSAUR 13
        ELECTRIC BOOGALOO
        THE GUEST
        KUNG FURY
        LAST SHIFT
        THE NIGHTMARE
        THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN
        TANGERINE.

        Out of those, the only ones that didn’t quite win me over, were CREEP and THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN, but everything else in that list I’m 100% with you. ELECTRIC BOOGALOO and KUNG FURY were a blast and you already know I’m a huge fan of THE GUEST. LAST SHIFT was a really pleasant surprise and probably one of the scariest movies of the year.”

        Just a suggestion; it’s how I normally handle longer lists of movies. Ultimately, these are #firstworldproblems, but there are people who care about this stuff. I do, and I suspect you do as well, my friend.

        • Also, when creating longer movie lists (as opposed to just listing a bunch of movies; think “top 10” kind of list), I typically type movie titles out in normal title case. For something like that, I think it’s implied and unnecessary to call them out in any other way.

        • Haha nice. Yeah that looks way better. I like how you organize and break down your comments, especially the especially long ones. I still have a slight gripe with all caps, but that’s me just being picky. I wish I could use bold or italics instead. Anyone know how to do that?

          • Yeah, from a pure legibility standpoint, all caps are not the best. As for using bold or italics, I actually tried some basic Markdown formatting on a comment a while back (because I know WordPress has the ability to render Markdown in comments if the admin enables it), but it just ended up looking like **this** or _this_ or ~~this~~.

            I wonder if it’ll render html

          • Wow! Looks like html is a winner. I might start doing that (when I’m not feeling lazy).

            p.s. Thanks for the compliment; I’m sure it’s silly to most people, but it is actually something I consider before posting a comment.

      • I’ve always wondered about the CAPS too. I just decided to do nothing but I’m glad this conversation came up. The capital letters help the movies to “pop” when you’re reading a bunch of comments, which I appreciate. In keeping with the MLA, movies are considered long works so they should be italicized. I think the AP uses quotes. Either way it’s not easy to pull out italics and quotes on a phone.

        • I prefer italics, but Dino is right that I used to do caps. I just forgot a couple of times and then realized that didn’t love the look, so it faded out. I also just picked up a lot of Jason’s ticks over the years from doing the MPW and HMP show notes for him and trying to match his established style. He has his own imaginary rules and is very intense about sticking to them. Normally, especially in formal writing, I italicize movie titles. I suppose caps is my next favorite, but I’m lazy and, as Marks says, often on my phone.

          • The more you talk about Jay’s rules, the more I imagine Jay having this giant book of rules and the moment you agree to be a co-host on one of his podcasts, he plops it down on your desk. Ha

          • If only there was a rule book! It would make life with Jason a lot easier. Instead, we’re left to guess and second-guess what existing rules we are inadvertently going to violate.

    • Yeah, I didn’t think there were enough strong 2015 films to make a list, so I added in some 2014 that I didn’t see until 2015. The biggest problem that created is that I forgot two of my favorite films of 2014 because I was looking at these smaller Netflix new releases. In actuality, Nightcrawler and Chef would jump WAY up on this list. Part of me is glad I forgot because I focused in smaller films AND because I am covering them both soon. I don’t know, it was kind of a weird last minute idea, but I will be better organized for it next year and I think I got a few lesser seen films out there.

  6. Firing off a couple more reviews.

    The Wolfpack (2015)

    If you’re expecting a movie with cute little wolves, prepare for ultimate disappointment. Instead, The Wolfpack is a fascinating documentary looking at a family forced to live most of their lives in their little apartment by the patriarch. The one aspect of the boys’ life that I imagine is most relatable is their love of movies. There’s a passion and love for the cinema that creates some beautiful moments in the movie whenever they’re talking about their fandom or you see some of their incredible cosplays (When you consider the fact that they’re all made from stuff around the house). At the same time, it’s a heartbreaking movie as you learn more about them and their ill feelings towards their father for keeping them sheltered. If you’re someone like me that loved 2015’s Room, this one is worth going out of your way to watch as well. Same basic concept with a variety of emotions including the wonderment of seeing these kids finally being able to experience life outside of their apartment.

    Rating: 9/10. Recommendation: Stream it

    The Midnight Swim (2014)

    If I’m to be honest, I was initially frustrated when I realized that this is a found footage film (Or to be more precise, a POV style documentary). On one hand, the camera does add a bit of character traits to one of their three sisters, but I wouldn’t say the movie would have changed much had it been filmed in a more traditional manner. It’s one of those movies where you keep watching because of this sense of dread that it fills you with. Despite nothing actually happening, it was creepy for the majority of the film. Unfortunately, despite what it feels like at points, this is not a horror movie. So if you’re expecting some dramatic climax, you’re going to be disappointed. Visually, there’s some great shots that will help keep you engaged. I’m not sure if this is technically a mumblecore film, but relationships are at the center of the story once you get past the whole mystery of the initial plot. So part of the film is about a family member’s death and how the rest of the family deals with it in their own way. This might be a film I’d enjoy more the second time around due to not worrying about the anticipation of a big finale and then being disappointed when there isn’t one. Still, there’s some great creepy moments including any time June was shown on camera.

    Rating: 6.5/10 Recommendation: Queue It

    • Love your reviews, as usual, Sal. You should write for DVDinfatuation with Dave.

      I can tell these are written as stand-alone reviews rather than in reaction to the podcast, but just wanted to state for the record that I did mention that The Midnight Swim was found footage / faux doc style AND that it was not a horror film when I recommended it. I’m glad you could still enjoy it. It’s probably a minor work, but I REALLY enjoyed the story, tone and themes–to say nothing of the amazing musical number. It’s an odd little gem in my opinion.

      SPOILERS FOR THE MIDNIGHT SWIM

      That little music video alone justified the found footage, I thought, and the format also served to mislead the audience into buying into the supernatural element, which is kind of ingenious in retrospect, even if a bit of a let down for horror fans.

      • Dr. Shock is a beast at the amount of sheer content he puts out. It’s insane. In the forty-eight hours that I’ve been on Twitter, I’ve already renamed the timeline to the Dave B. timeline. Ha

        Yeah, all three of these reviews thus far (Including White God) aren’t in response to anything you said in the podcast. With you only saying a few things about each movie and me not having that knowledge of the movies ahead of time, none of your lines stayed with me. Much like The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, once I finish watching the rest of the top ten, I’m going to re-list to that segment of the podcast to remember what you said about the movies.

        And yes, the music video was indeed one of the highlights of the movie. It did feel a bit out of place since they struggled to just have fun any other time they tried to get something going, but it was so entertaining that I didn’t have a problem with it. Random transitions into a faux music video are some of my favorite moments in movies such as in The Skeleton Twins, The Battery, and The House of the Devil.

        • You’re right. I didn’t saw much about these films. Mostly just one-liners. I’d reviewed a third of them before and plan on reviewing another third on the show in the future.

  7. It’s a snowy Sunday, so let’s just continue with the movie reviews.

    Slow Learners (2015)

    Love it or hate it, Slow Learners is a chick flick. If you’ve seen one, you know the formula. This one doesn’t divert from that formula, so even if you’ve never seen it, you can probably guess what happens. So instead, the movie instead partially relies on it’s cast to stand out. Adam Pally is great and plays the role of an awkward, yet desperate for acceptance character well. I can’t say I as big of a fan of his co-star, Sarah Burns. Watching her, she comes across as a second rate Lucy Punch or maybe even Ellie Kemper. Her character feels as if it was written for someone like Punch though. While they have a minor role in the movie, I loved Pally’s two fellow geek buddies, played by Gil Ozeri and Bobby Moynihan. The book club scene had me in stitches with Ozeri’s character having such a difficult time getting across his message. I wished they would have had a larger role in the film. The film would have been stronger had they spent a larger amount of time during the prep time. Once Pally and Burns’ character get out there and have some success in the dating scene, it didn’t have that same charm that it had when they were down on their luck. I do feel as if Slow Learners is more guy friendly than most chick flicks. It’s trying to do this weird balancing act between being a chick flick and an indie comedy. The result was a more engaging experience than had I been watching a more traditional chick flick. Same rating as The Midnight Swim, but this one comes across as easier to improve for my own tastes.

    Rating: 6.5/10 Recommendation: Queue It

    • I’m surprised you are so adamant about calling Slow Learners a “chick flick” because I don’t see it as that at all. I saw it as a very funny indie comedy and I’m not exactly sure when a film crosses over from something like that to a chick flick. For one thing, I saw the movie as predominantly being told from Adam Pally’s perspective. Can a movie about a man be a chick flick?

      I like Lucy Punch and Ellie Kemper, but I think they are both more arch than Sarah Burns was here. She got a bit wacky at times, but I thought she played it more down to earth than I imagine either of them would.

      I agree that the book club moments were very funny. Those little conversations were hilarious.

      I also think the opening first date scene is one of the funniest such scene I’ve seen all year.

      • It felt to me that the viewer spent just as much time with Adam Pally as we did Sarah Burns. The movie in general has the same beats and follows the same pattern as what I’d consider a traditional chick flick. It is what I consider to be indie chick flick, meaning it’s less sappy and more quirky. Being called a chick flick isn’t a defamatory statement in my mind. It’s just a genre that follows a very set path, not all unlike the slasher sub-genre.

        For the sake of argument, lets say Pally did receive the majority of the screen time. I still believe you can have a chick flick if the star is a man. It’s a bit of a wild example, but wouldn’t Forgetting Sarah Marshall fall under the category of a chick flick with a male lead? Obviously, it isn’t automatically thought of as a chick flick, it does follow the same pattern as one. It does seem as if when there is a chick flick starring a man, there’s greater emphasis on other aspects of the movie than just the romance. Again, extreme example, but Shaun of the Dead shows that.

        That opening date scene was just brutal. That was a scarring for life experience.

  8. Man from Reno (2014)

    One of the more fun movies on Josh’s list. Man from Reno is a mystery that begins with an unknown mystery. In the early going of the film, the characters aren’t even sure what mystery it is that they’re trying to solve. As the film goes on, twists and new revelations are revealed. It’s probably for the best if you go into this knowing as little as possible. For me, one of the big questions that kept me interested was finding out who is good and who is bad. In an interesting aspect, since there are so many Japanese actors and subtitles, it feels like an unique blend between watching an American film and watching a foreign movie. Without giving away what happened, nineteen minutes to go, a moment happens that completely shocked me and came off as completely unexpected. Check out the movie if you’re a fan of No Country for Old Men. The general tone of both movies are similar.

    Rating: 8.5/10 Recommendation: Stream It

      • Do you have any other recommendations for slightly different detective movies like Man from Reno? While watching it, I had the thought that I should be watching more of these sort of movies. I did have such a good experience back in October with The Game too.

        • I want more of these sorts of movies too. Man From Reno is at the top of my to watch list at the moment and I can’t wait.

          • That was actually one of the earliest recommendations I watched because of MSC. My positive review is somewhere in the comments section of a past show.

  9. I don’t know if you’d have any interest in this, but I’d love to hear a similar bonus episode for top tens for other streaming services like Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime.

  10. I finally got around to watching An Honest Liar and boy was I let down.

    Just kidding. I loved it, one of the most intriguing and compelling documentaries I’ve seen in a while.

    POTENTIAL SPOILERS:

    I do agree with the criticisms that it loses it’s way slightly towards the end.
    I guess the point was that no matter how passionate a person is in their quest for transparency we are all ultimately capable of deception if put under certain circumstances but the nature of the deception depicted at the close of the film is so vastly different than the the deceptions purpetrated by disgusting, irredeemable slimeballs like Peter Popoff that the juxtaposition seems irrelevant and superficial from a morally comparative standpoint. The end of the film did have a lot of emotional heft though, it felt slightly unnecessary but served to humanise a seemingly larger than life figure.

    The stuff I found most fascinating was all the debunking of fraudulent assholes though. I actually learned a lot about folks like Popoff from this film and was quite disturbed by it. I’v always been aware of these “faith healer” trends and sleazy televangelist types but I had no idea just how popular these guys were in the states, nor how deep their putrefaction went. It’d be easy for my cynical, agnostic side to criticise the victims for being really dumb and gullible but in truth the willingness to invest in offers of hope in desperate times is a pretty universal human trait. And exploiting that trait is, in my opinion at least, one of the worst things a person can do. So it was super satisfying to see this film play out the way it did. 9/10

  11. Hey Josh, any thoughts/short reviews on the nominations for best doc?

    Amy
    Cartel Land
    The Look of Silence
    What Happened, Miss Simone?
    Winter on Fire

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