This Month on Netflix

13 Jul

If I’m going to watch an embarrassing amount of Netflix, I may as well share the good stuff, right? Without further ado, here are my picks for July:

Movies

  • Kick-Ass

I am SO glad that my son didn’t watch this show with us. The first act was jam-packed with lessons in what kids should not do if they want to live to adulthood. The geeky star of the show made a pretty hilarious accidental superhero, but by the end the REAL hero kicked my teeth in with her awesomeness. Violent but sorta lighthearted, like Batman on Prozac. 5 stars.

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop

A surprising documentary on street art. Thierry Guetta, amateur filmmaker, is the embodiment of obsession; Banksy, the infamous street artist who encourages him, comes to regret doing so. The whole thing almost feels like a setup to one heavy joke. I laughed, so it must have worked.  4 stars.

TV

  • Bones

Do you enjoy watching socially handicapped people interact with the real world (and each other)? Do you secretly wish that you, too, could be a brilliant anthropologist/bestselling author? Do you like a little conspiracy theory with your murder, a little art with your science, and a little romance with your mystery? I wasn’t sure about this series at first. There were some dialogue cliches that made me pause and say “…really?” A few corny exchanges in the beginning wasn’t quite enough to turn me off to the show, so I tried a few more episodes and soon became hooked on the characters. Maybe I’m weird, but I like seeing the many various geek types interact with jocks and normals. 4 stars.

  • Rescue Me

(Caveat: I’m only about two seasons into this show, but I can say it’s worth watching up to that point.)

One phrase from the show sums it up: “There is no rock bottom for you, is there?” Characters who are simultaneously likable and extremely unlikable careen toward the lowest common denominator as fast as they can dig down to a new one, relentlessly crashing into each other in their tumble to the absolute bottom. Do not watch if you are offended by vulgar language or uncomfortable with sex scenes, depression, substance abuse or controversial topics; if racial epithets make you queasy, sexism makes you froth at the mouth, or seeing dead people makes you cringe, this is not the show for you. That said, it’s a very darkly entertaining series, if trainwrecks are your thing. 4 stars.

  • Veronica Mars

We found this one on instant streaming and literally overnight, it was removed and put on the DVD-only queue. I felt both sad and horribly cheated, because damn, that was a fantastic show. We watched five or six hour-long episodes in a row that night, if that’s any indication of how much we liked it. Veronica Mars is an incredibly resourceful and clever girl. Witty and willful, she maintains a strong front in spite of some really torturous personal disasters. She’s my hero, and I’m buying the DVDs as soon as I get the chance. 5 stars.

  • Dexter

Dexter makes me uneasy. Dexter’s relationship with his girlfriend makes me uneasy. The whole SHOW makes me uneasy. It’s creepy, gory and violent, and strangely enough, I found myself kind of understanding–if not precisely rooting for–a psychopath. Empathy for a sociopath? What a bizarre feeling. I can safely say it made me think. It got a little weird by the end of the second season and I haven’t seen the rest (it’s not on instant streaming yet), but it was definitely worth watching at least the first season. 4 stars (5 stars for Season 1).

  • Kitchen Nightmares

Gordon Ramsay whips bad kitchens into shape in his usual verbally-abusive manner. Colorful language and lots of “what the hell were they thinking,” conflicts between chefs and desperate attempts to woo customers. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Your results may vary, but if you like Ramsay, it’s a pretty safe bet. 3.5-4.5 stars, depending on episode

Family shows

  • Phineas & Ferb

There’s a very strict formula for each episode of Phineas and Ferb, but the stories are always uniquely imaginative and fun. The plot is predictable, but the details aren’t. Tons of great original songs in every musical style you can think of. The writers really do a great job and the singers are awesome. Good show to watch with your kids! 4 stars.

  • Peter and the Wolf (2006)

This quirky, spooky animated adventure is only 32 minutes long and set to the classic title score. There isn’t a single line of dialogue, but the characters are very expressive. My kid was glued to the screen and I loved it, too. 4 stars.

Didn’t make the cut:

  • Hoarders. I watched one episode out of curiosity, as a look into the lives of people with serious behavioral issues. It was sad and frustrating to watch, and after a while I just felt like a voyeur watching something that really should remain private between patient and health-care provider. 3 stars.
  • Kyle XY. I found out later it was a family channel series, which explained the simplicity of plot and made the mature content seem even more awkward. Now, I have no objections to mature content in YA material. Young adults have to deal with sex, drinking, drugs, and other difficult subjects in their lives and I think it’s good for them to see how others cope. But presented in an oversimplified, awkward and often cliched format, it just felt wrong. I didn’t really like a single character. Inconsistency, one-dimensional characterizations and bad acting made me stop caring what happened after the first couple of episodes. 2 stars, barely.
  • Parking Wars. Why is this a show? Watch parking enforcement patrol the streets and get verbally abused by the people they ticket! Woo. Oh look, there’s a boot on your car! It combines all the fun of a parking ticket with all the excitement of waiting in line at the DMV. 2 stars.
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20 Responses to “This Month on Netflix”

  1. Tami July 13, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    I’m attracted to the same shows you are, it seems, though I’m quite a bit harsher on my evaluations for the same shows. EVERYONE tells me Bones is awesome, but the first two episodes were so painful to watch that I couldn’t continue. You’re the first person I’ve met even willing to allow that maybe the first few had some rough patches, so at least that makes me feel better.

    Season 1 of Dexter is (imo) the only one worth watching, even though his sister’s character goes from hated to adored by Season 3. Dexter himself becomes less likeable, and the show more uncomfortable for me, as it goes on.

    Kick-Ass was really only entertaining during the little girl scenes (I am not usually a fan of awkward heroes … they make me uncomfortable).

    Have you seen Scott Pilgrim vs the World? The only awkward hero movie I’ve enjoyed, and it took me a long time to settle in and start having fun with it.

    I’m SO SAD I didn’t see this series last month, because they had Pushing Daisies up until July 1 and HOLY BUCKETS was that an awesome show (and then it did weird things in season 2 and then it got canceled, but dangit it was STILL great). If you haven’t seen it, please, let me highly highly recommend it. HIGHLY. Quirky and colorful and odd and funny and entertaining and well written. My favorite character is Private Detective Emerson Cod, who knits his own vests and dresses like a colorblind man. He’s snarky.

    • Bika July 13, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

      Oh, believe me, I was THIS CLOSE to dropping Bones from the queue after the first episode or two. I gave it another shot out of boredom and it really started to grow on me. Not a perfect show, but entertaining. And the characters are likable, which is more than I can say for, say, House. >_>

      You’re not the first person to tell me that Dexter gets worse as the seasons go on, and I think I might just quit while I’m ahead. The first season was awesome, as far as I’m concerned. Wrapped up really nicely to boot.

      I’m used to awkward, so it takes something really … special to push my limits. Haven’t seen Scott Pilgrim, but I probably will (eventually). And I’ll totally check out Pushing Daisies when I get a chance!

      • Tami July 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

        Given your video game background (and the extra-special vegan jokes in the movie) I would absolutely recommend Scott Pilgrim to you. VERY good movie, and the gamer in me had a billion and one reasons to love it.

    • Caulle July 13, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

      Bones is my hero.

      • Bika July 13, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

        She’s a great character!

    • Claire July 15, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

      I absolutely loved Scott Pilgrim. Rock music, video game and comic book references, and martial arts scenes? Yes please.

  2. falconesse July 13, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Veronica Mars. I both love and hate Marty for making me watch it. It falls into the Cancelled Too Soon category for me, and I shake my fist, then rewatch.

    • Bika July 13, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

      I went to bed after watching those first several episodes, so very ready to watch more as soon as I woke up… and it was gone. I’m guessing it leaves a lot of loose ends, then, which makes me sad. I still can’t wait to see more.

  3. Caulle July 13, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    Man, I am not looking forward to Sept 1st rolling around and my Netflix climbing from $18 to $22. As the owner of a PS3 and bitchin’ 52″ TV, I gots ta have my Blu-Ray. But godamn it I also need 15 seasons of streaming Top Gear as well!

    • Bika July 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

      We’re going to ditch the DVD portion and stick with instant streaming only when it switches over. When I got the notice in my email my first thought was “oh no, I abused the service and ruined it for everyone!” but then realized we almost never get around to returning the DVDs we have out. I’ll actually be paying even less for the service we use. Sweet!

      I’ve never watched an episode of Top Gear but I might have to try one now. >_>

      • Caulle July 13, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

        Boy are you in for a treat! Jalopnik just made a Top 10 best Top Gear episodes list last week. I think “Amphibious Cars” is my personal fav. But basically any episode where they have to modify a car in some shape or form is guaranteed to be hilarious.

        http://jalopnik.com/5819342/the-ten-best-top-gear-episodes/gallery/1

      • Bika July 13, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

        Oh, rad. Thanks for the list! 😀

  4. Fallah July 13, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

    It’s been so long since I saw the first few episodes of Bones, and my husband was already hooked on it, that I probably did forget about some clunky dialogue. IMO once Cam joins the cast in S2 things improve dramatically, though some fans are not thrilled with last season (S6) I haven’t seen all of it.

    It’s not necessary the best show ever, but it is definitely one of my favorites and it makes me happy to watch it.

    Dexter, Weeds and Californication all fall into a category I’ll call “This is a TrainWreck But I Can’t Stop Watching”. The characters are a mess, but the show is so intense and insane and doing things no other show is doing that we are hooked despite the flaws in each of them.

    Other shows we like: Eureka (first episode is a little rocky but picks up from there), Warehouse 13 looks interesting (we jumped into the new season premiere, will go back to the beginning)

    • Bika July 13, 2011 at 7:26 pm #

      Rescue Me is one of those trainwreck category shows, too. I have Weeds in my queue for later, I hear it’s good for a few seasons’ watching at least. There’s something kinda reassuring about watching people who make you feel pretty damn good about your own life, I guess. x)

      • sillermoon July 13, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

        Derp. I meant to say that on your recommendation I think we’ll give Rescue Me a shot. I’ve been meaning to try it anyway.

        And yes. My sister calls it “Feel Good Person of the Day”. Basically: hey! At least I’m not THAT f*cked up.

  5. Mom July 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    FYI – Dad loves Bones, me not so much. Altho I can’t shake it entirely because Booth is now on my “list” *biting knuckle*…and I DO like the chemistry between him and Bones. However, the cornball factor took it out of serious watching contention for me – dear GOD sometimes my skin crawls when they get all sappy. As for Dexter – it has it’s ups and downs, but there are always threads worth following, and my faves can change from season to season – we watched the last 5 or 6 episodes of the last season back to back and way too late into the night…then just stared at each other, open mouthed – the wait is going to kill me.

    • Bika July 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

      Booth is cute, but Sweets is my nerdboy crush. He cracks me up and I want to pinch his little baby cheeks.

      And I can see why you wouldn’t like Bones. I know you. I can absolutely see you cringing whenever there’s a group hug or “let’s talk about our feelings” moment. xD

  6. Hillary July 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

    Better. Off. Ted.

    Dear God please watch it.

    • Bika July 13, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

      We watched that sometime last winter. So freakin’ good!

      • Tami July 13, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

        THIS. YES.

        Holy buckets, I can’t believe it took me so long to watch it. ❤

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