Netflix’s “Anne With An E” is the Next Show You Should Binge Watch, Even If No One’s Buzzing about It on Facebook

Though my wife and I have been thoroughly enjoying the fact our 1 year-old daughter has been sleeping through the night for the past 7 months, and therefore enabling us to go to bed by 10 o’clock each night, we found a reason to stay up a little bit past our bed time.

I am of course referring to a new show on Netflix that your friends aren’t talking about on Facebook, but should be: Anne With An E.

The series is somewhat loosely based on the 1908 novel, Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Despite maintaining a TV-PG rating, this version of the story is a bit darker and edgier than the book, and especially more so than the 1985 miniseries.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the premise, here’s the concept:

Back in the days of trains, horses, general stores, and doctors who made house calls, an aging brother and sister in Canada choose to adopt a teenage boy to help them work their farm.

However, the orphanage sends them a girl instead; likely in an attempt to get rid of her.

She’s skinny, red headed, and freckle-faced. She also full of imagination, a chatter box, and extremely intelligent.

Anne is an orphan girl who has never been adopted by a family before and truly doesn’t know what it is to actually be loved by anyone she’s ever met; as her parents died when she was a baby.

Here’s why my wife and I love this show so much, having watched the entire season in less than a week:

Annie With An E is the story of an unloved girl who doesn’t know how to fit in, but who finds a way to win the hearts of the people she encounters. For me, a good story is based on character arc more than anything.

This series does an excellent job of showing how the main characters change for the better from episode to episode- and how forgiveness, along with open-mindedness, are crucial for this evolution.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, I’ll simply leave you with the opening sequence and theme song for Netflix’s Anne with an E.

Advertisements

Dear Jack: Your Unashamed Obsession with the Dinosaur Documentary, Dinotasia

  1. 6 and a half years.

Dear Jack,

Saturday morning as Mommy bought the groceries at Kroger, I stayed home with you and your sister, letting you pick something to watch on Netflix until Mommy got back.

We scrolled through the “Because You Watched Jurassic Park” suggestions and came across a seemingly appropriate selection: Dinotasia. As opposed to being a movie like you’re used to watching, it’s more of a documentary that shows what life was like for dinosaurs, featuring CGI cartoons, as opposed to interviews with paleontologists.

So I explained that to you before I clicked play, “This is a dinosaur documentary.”

As I assume all Kindergarten boys are, you are thoroughly obsessed with dinosaurs with the same degree of passion as you are with Pokemon characters.

Every night before bed, I read to you from your giant Dinosaurs book, as you learn the names and unique features of each dinosaur.

So by watching Dinotasia, you were able to correctly shout out, “Hey Daddy, that’s a Pachycephalosaurus!”

I know I’ve said this a lot before, but you really are a smart kid.

We were able to finish the documentary before Mommy got back with the groceries. And of course, you bombarded her when she came through the door, as you told her all about the dinosaur documentary we had just watched.

Then the next morning on Sunday, you woke up early to watch Dinotasia, a 2nd time; this time with Mommy.

Later that day, as we were leaving from church, Mommy asked you what you did in your group class, which includes some kids that are a bit older than you.

“I told them about the dinosaur documentary, Dinotasia. There was this older girl who thought I was only 3 years old and she didn’t think a 3 year-old could watch a documentary, but I told her I am in Kindergarten.”

We typically talk about what we value. You obviously value Dinotasia. I like having a son who proudly watches dinosaur documentaries.

Love,

Daddy

Parental Review: Stranger Things (Netflix Original Series- Season 1)

Parental Review: Stranger Things (Netflix Original Series- Season 1)

It appears that 2006 is the year for 1983.

First was this summer’s X-Men Apocalypse, and more recently, Disney’s reboot of Pete’s Dragon, both same in that marvelous year in history. And of course, Netflix’s Stranger Things.

I personally have had an obsession with 1983 since I was in Junior High, about a decade later. The culture, the style, the music, the movies, and the TV shows were so enjoyable.

Even John Mayer backs up my theory in his song, “83”, where he admits, “Had it make in ’83.”

So it makes sense to me that people today, in 2016, continue to enjoy seeing the year 1983 brought back to life.

I am thoroughly impressed by the seemingly flawless way the Duffer Brothers have captured 1983 in their new sci-fi thriller, Stranger Things.

There is no question that Stranger Things is an exceptional TV show, like Breaking Bad and Lost.

But the question you might be asking, as a parent, is at what age Stranger Things would be appropriate for your child to watch.

While I can’t answer that question for you, I can give you a brief overview of elements of the show which ultimately give Stranger Things what I deem as the equivalent of an intense PG-13 rated movie.

Profanity:

While there are no major curse words, like “g—d—“ or “f—“, every episode contains multiple uses of “sh—“ and many of the episodes contain the phrase “son of a b—-“ and/or “d-ck”. I should point out that much of the the profanity is by the 12 year-old boys, in addition to the adult characters.

Sex/Nudity:

Most episodes are free of sensuality, but there is an early episode in which 2 teenagers (who are protagonists) engage in sexual activity. While no nudity is shown, the bedroom scene is not a quick one. The event is referenced briefly again in a later episode, in which the girl is referred to as a “sl-t” by the boy she had sex with.

Violence:

There is violence throughout the series, including a girl’s telepathic ability to break bones and even kill people. Additionally, there are many uses of guns and weapons.

Drugs/Alcohol:

There is occasional use of cigarettes and beer by some of the adult characters.

Dark Themes:

The overall theme of Stranger Things has to do with connecting to a darker, sinister parallel universe; as people are being taken there from the 1983 version of Indiana. Again, one of the main characters is able to excess her telepathic abilities.

Stranger Things is by no means a family friendly show, yet it is definitely fascinating, intriguing, and addicting.

As for a child watching it, I say the best comparison for inappropriate content for children would be Lost; regarding profanity, sex, violence, drugs/alcohol, and dark themes.

However, it’s up to the individual parent to decide at what age.

Pee-wee’s Big Holiday: Parental Guide Summary & 5 Minute Movie Review

News-pee_wee_3-netflix-2

On March 18th, Netflix released Pee-wee’s new movie, Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday. My family sat down the day of its release to be one of the first families to watch it.

Not only are my 5 year-old son and I fans of Pee-wee’s work, I was also very curious to find out if this is a kids’ movie or not.

For your convenience, I made this video that goes through every possibly offensive word and innuendo.

Here’s a quick run-down though:

The only true “cuss word” in the movie is near the end, when Pee-Wee Herman is told he is a “bad *ss”.

Pee-Wee himself uses the word “cr*ppy”, as well as two uses of the word “fudge”, as a substitute for something more intense. He also uses the phrase, “halfway to hell,” but it’s in reference to the literal hell, in a sort of Biblical sense.

And I should point out there are 8 uses of the word “stupid” and one use of the word “oh my gosh,” which I am aware are considered bad words in the world of 5 year-olds.

Like the previous two Pee-wee movies, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure in 1985 and Big Top Pee-wee in 1988, language really isn’t what keeps these movies from being a true kids’ movie- it’s the ongoing innuendoes that children likely won’t pick up on, but parents will.

As a parent, this movie will keep you wondering if things are about to get out of hand, but they tame down just in time, each time.

Here are some examples.

-While the movie contains no actual violence, Pee-Wee is held against his will on multiple accounts by people using knives, and eventually a shotgun.

-A woman straddles Pee-wee as she hijacks his car after robbing a bank.

-The 3 women who rob the bank take Pee-Wee to a motel room and tie him up to a chair, then invite male strippers who walk in wearing police uninforms but then strip down to bikini briefs; getting into a pillow fight with the women.

-Soon after Pee-Wee finds potential safety when he arrives at Farmer Brown’s house, only to learn his 9 daughters try to sneak in Pee-wee’s bedroom during the night. He escapes by jumping out of the window.

-Eventually Pee-wee takes a ride on a tour bus with 4 hairdressers, 2 of which are gender-bending men; which may be confusing to children, as was the case with my son.

-There is also a shower scene showing a man with his shirt off. Another bathing scene shows a man and a women assumingly taking a bath together in a wooden tub; though it is briefly showing afterwards the woman has a bathing suit on.

I believe it is worth noting that by the end of the movie, Pee-Herman is referred to multiple times as a boy; when he falls in a well and the story is covered by the news, the headline reads, “Boy in Well.”

So keep in mind that Pee-wee Herman is a boy (not a man, though he is played by the 63 year-old Jewish actor Paul Reubens). Therefore, the “boy” character is thrown into adult situations in which he can not be prepared for.

Also keep in mind this concept is no different than his first movie- remember in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure when he ended up at that bar and saved himself from a violent fight by entertaining the motorcycle gang by dancing?

While my wife wasn’t a fan of this movie’s content, I enjoyed watching it with my son. At age 5, he was too young to pick up on any of the inappropriate material.

He and I enjoyed the non-stop humor of this movie. It’s non-stop laughs and adventure.

It’s rated TV-PG, but I would give it a “light PG-13” rating if it were a movie in a theatre, similar to Ant-Man.

Based on my analysis and my videos, I’ll let you be the judge on whether or not Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday is suitable for your family.

Fuller House Recaps- S1: E5 “Mad Max”

Fuller House Recaps- S1: E5 “Mad Max”

In the canon of the first season of Fuller House, this episode ultimately feels like a filler episode, with the exception of one major revelation:

Stephanie explains to DJ, at the end of the episode, that she is unable to have children.

While I’m sure the writers of Fuller House want the audience to focus the majority of their attention of who DJ will end up with, I don’t.

Instead, I’m sort of obsessed with the fact that the writers have made such a conscious effort to paint Stephanie as the ultimate middle child.

Here she is at age 34, without a real job, without a family of her own, and without any real direction in her life.

Now on top of that, she has recently find out that even when she does settle down and start a family of her own, she can’t have her own biological children.

This plot line is crucial to the character of Stephanie finally beginning to start acting her age. She is now realizing that by infusing herself more fully in to DJ’s family, she can begin to have a sense of being needed by a family again.

To further illustrate this, Stephanie helps “Mad Max” gain confidence by letting him practice his song to Stephanie’s audience, via her cell phone.

This is also the episode where there’s a classic misunderstanding when Ramona flushes a baby diaper down the toilet, causing DJ to believe that a guy who Kimmy set her up with online is actually the plumber. From there, innuendos follow to help ensure we know that Fuller House is not a G-rated show.

Please mark my word. The aspect of Fuller House that is the most intriguing is not DJ, but instead Stephanie.

For this show to really go somewhere, we will have to see Stephanie truly grow into her age; because truly, right now, she’s about a decade behind.

She’s not the typical 34 year-old. Leave it to Stephanie’s family to change that.

Also, here’s my own video version of this recap as well:

Fuller House Recaps: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Fuller House Recaps: Renewed for a 2nd Season

Just a few days after the 1st season of Fuller House was released on Netflix, it was announced that a 2nd season has been ordered.

Therefore, that means there will also be a 2nd season of Fuller House Recaps. I look forward to continuing to be your host and guide not just through the rest of this first season, but the next one as well.

Here’s my video recap of this historic event:

I imagine that Season 2 will answer some of our unanswered questions:

“Why does Uncle Joey wear a wedding ring but never mention his wife or bring her to the house?”

“What about Danny’s wife? We briefly saw her kiss Danny, but I don’t believe we even got a name.”

“Who will DJ choose: Steve or Matt?”

Plus, is there a chance that Mary Kate or Ashley will reprise the role of Michelle? (Either one will do; we don’t have to have both.)

And will Stephanie, age 34, finally start acting like she’s 34?

The fact that Fuller House was so quickly renewed apparently tells us something about the money being made from the show.

Obviously, Netflix must have greatly benefited from the number of viewers that turned out to watch. They realized that whether or not the critics liked the show was irrelevant; what matters is that it’s a popular show.

In other words, the free market decided to make Fuller House so popular it would actually be financially irresponsible to not make a  2nd season.

Ultimately, the whole concept is pretty weird: A feel-good family sitcom from 1987 is resurrected, not on a major TV network, but on a streaming service people can watch anytime.

It was a plan just crazy enough to work. And even if we are mainly here just for the curiosity side of it, we still are indeed coming back.

Good job, free market. Good job, 1980s kids. Good job, Netflix.

Fuller House Recaps- S1: E4, “The Not-So-Great Escape”

Fuller House Recaps- S1: E4, “The Not-So-Great Escape”e-guide-list

In the 4th episode of Fuller House, we are officially introduced to DJ’s veterinarian clinic, as DJ’s son Max is given the responsibility of choosing which spawn of Comet he wants.

The main plot line involves Jackson and Ramona getting into trouble together at school, and therefore, both being suspended; after Jackson makes a (smoke producing?) volcano underneath the smoke alarm in an effort to cause a diversion to help Ramona escape (?) from school.

I find that concept difficult to follow, but it takes even more imagination to figure out how Stephanie and DJ’s boys found so much tomato soup to soak in after the skunk sprayed them.

And speaking of Stephanie, my disappointment for her character (age 34) grows after learning that her career as a DJ (?!) isn’t even paying off: She has a collection of maxed out credit cards, causing her to be unable to pay her $18 coffee bill.

From there, a misunderstanding or two causes Stephanie to pretend to be a single mom in order to impress a guy at the coffee shop.

We also see DJ parenting Kimmy on how to parent, after they initially discipline their children much differently after “the not-so-great-escape”.

This episode is heavy on character development, as we see the character similarities between Jackson and Ramona (yearning 7th graders), as well as Stephanie and Kimmy (adults who lack self-discipline as well as the ability to efficiently discipline children), contrasted against the “real adult” figure of DJ tanner.

Though by the end of this episode, Kimmy (age 39) shows honest efforts to be an adult, Stephanie (age 34) shows she her character will continue to struggle.

Isn’t it at least a little odd that so early on in this series it is becoming evident this show is about adults who failed to grow up?

Must I remind you about Uncle Joey (age 56) on the episode right before this, leading the kids in trashing the house with slime?

Seriously, it’s a theme: Adults who forgot to grow up since Full House ended in 1995.

And don’t forget to watch my video recap here:

If you would like the full version, watch this one instead: