The following films and one television show were released on Netflix in the last few months. They may find them under “New Arrivals.” You may be bored, and you may think you want to watch one or more of them. You do not.
They Came Together Hey! Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler in a rom-com directed by David Wain! How could it go wrong? As Vivian wrote in her view, while They Came Together is occasionally funny, “it’s just an extended SNL sketch. You’re not going to care about the characters because you’re not meant to. You’re not going to care about the story because you know what’s going to happen. It’s just the joke. The one joke. This is a movie that you can watch a scene from on YouTube, or while flipping channels (people still do that, right?), and it’s hilarious. But if you’re the kind of person that can watch an hour and a half of loosely linked YouTube videos and not find that tedious… well, friend, this may just be your Citizen Kane.”
The Quiet Ones — Maybe you’re in the mood for a horror movie, and you run across last year’s The Quiet Ones and you think, oh wow! Jared Harris from Mad Men is in this. He is Richard Harris’ son! And it’s inspired by a true story (like all good horror movies!). How bad can it be? Pretty bad, says Bedhead: “Sadly, director John Pogue takes the easy way out with this movie. He takes great care to move his characters out of the university setting and into an optimal environment for eerie scares. He sets up plenty of tension. Then he forgets to do anything but create chaos. There are jump scares a plenty. It’s such a f*cking noisy production. All of the shouting, clapping, and ear-splitting music ruins what could have been an enjoyably chilling experience. Basically, I forgot to be scared after I couldn’t stop being annoyed.”
Noah — Noah’s stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Emma Watson, and comes from director Darren Aronofsky. That sounds great, right? And didn’t you say to yourself when it came out in theaters, “I think I’ll wait and watch it on Netflix someday”? Sorry, it’s not even worth your time on Netflix. “This is a story Aronofsky has wanted to tell on film for almost as long as he’s been a filmmaker. It’s the kind of thing that makes people use empty phrases like “passion project” as a shorthand for the creator’s emotional and logistical investment. Aronofsky really, really wanted to make this film. And the only problem is that a lot of it’s just not that good. Aronofsky’s made the clumsiest kind of literary adaptation: the one that doesn’t stand on its own.”
Save the Date — I saw this movie a while back for the same reason that other people might have wanted to watch it: Because Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie are on the cover. That’s misleading, not in the sense that they aren’t in the movie. Because they are. But in the sense that you might think that Save the Date is worth watching because it stars Alison Brie and Lizzy Caplan. It’s not. I didn’t review it at the time because I couldn’t find an angle to peg the review on. It’s a forgettable indie-flick, a puff of nothing that meanders until it shrugs its way to the end credits. It’s not even worth background watching, except as a screensaver.
Brick Mansions — Maybe you just got back from Furious 7 and you’re feeling spiritually close to Paul Walker and you want to watch another of his films. Don’t let it be Brick Mansions. “This movie is absolutely as stupid as it sounds. It is the sort of story that a nine year old makes up with a bunch of mismatched toys after watching Robocop on the tail end of a marathon of Fast and Furious films intermixed with Jackie Chan flicks while high on cough syrup. To say that the plot makes no sense and is hilariously stupid should go without saying, to elaborate further on it for the next few hundred words would rapidly become just cruel, like scattering thumbtacks in a circle around a blind cat.” On the other hand, Steven Wilson does single out Paul Walker’s very cool Vans as being one of the better parts of the film.
The Identical — I didn’t know anything about The Identical when it opened on 2000 screens last year, except that it starred Seth Green. You may see it on Netflix and click play because you don’t know anything about it, either. Let me tell you this much: The Identical refers to Elvis Presley’s identical twin brother who was born stillborn. This movie presupposes that he didn’t. And that he was given up to a preacher (Ray Liotta) and his barren wife (Ashley Judd). The Identical grows up to be … wait for it … an Elvis impersonator. It’s also a Christian film. As I wrote in my review, “People who accidentally stumble into The Identical while looking for the bathroom will blackout from boredom and leave urine puddles in screenings across the country. People will remember the urine stains. No one will remember The Identical.”
Halt and Catch Fire, Season 1 — The first season of Halt and Catch Fire came out last summer, and maybe you didn’t have any time to watch it then. But maybe you’re a huge fan of Lee Pace, and maybe you thought that AMC could do no wrong. YOU ARE INCORRECT. I don’t care how enticing those season two promos that you kept seeing during Better Call Saul were. This is a terrible, terrible show, despite a strong pilot episode, and despite a strong cast. It goes nowhere except straight to Boredom, Wisconsin, population anyone stubborn enough to ignore my advice and watch anyway. Don’t do it.