Relevant Watch: The Next Karate Kid @CobraKaiSeries @McSchlossberg @healdrules @jonhurwitz @ralphmacchio @WilliamZabka @MartinKove @Xolo_Mariduena @marymmouser @KarateKidMovie @netflix #netflix #GoodWatch

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here.

Cobra Kai inspired me to watch the often-maligned Next Karate Kid, which I recently learned is on Netflix. It wasn’t Highlander 2 bad, but it was bad, and I was happy when the final credits rolled. I just wanted it to be over. The writing was garbage, but you could still tell that Hilary Swank was going to become a good actor. I love when movies connect (perhaps explaining my obsession with the MCU), so despite its weaknesses, it would be great to see her in a future season of Cobra Kai. The primary villain, Michael Cavalieri, could return, as could Michael Ironside (who really sucked in this) and Jim Ishida. Ishida is the one still-living actor that played a monk. Hell, Walter Goggins could return. Walter Goggins! Despite all its flaws, I’d love to see this movie recognized in Cobra Kai.

After all, it’s not as if Karate Kid III deserved any awards, but we all want to see Terry Silver and Mike Barnes, right? As always, YMMV.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Cobra Kai @CobraKaiSeries
Follow Hayden Schlossberg @McSchlossberg
Follow Josh Heald @healdrules
Follow Jon Hurwitz @jonhurwitz
Follow Ralph Macchio @ralphmacchio
Follow William Zabka @WilliamZabka
Follow Martin Kove @MartinKove
Follow Xolo Mariduena @Xolo_Mariduena
Follow Mary Mouser @marymmouser
Follow the Karate Kid movie @KarateKidMovie
Follow Netflix @netflix

“Screw You!” Watch: Surviving Death @netflix #netflix #GoodWatch

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here.

I’ve watched only one and one-half of the six, 50-minute (or so) episodes of this show. That’s enough. This is an important show to watch, but not for the reasons the show advances. It’s important to see how low humans can get. It’s important to see how assholes will take advantage of peoples’ trauma to make a buck, leaning on the trivial point that “we don’t know everything” to justify making up bullshit at which traumatized people will throw their money. Seriously, to hell with anyone who gives these charlatans a voice.

That’s not to say that this couldn’t be a good show. It could be. There are patterns to near-death experiences that are impossible to ignore, but they should be studied from a psychological perspective to know why we perceive what we do.

Screw you! As always, YMMV.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Netflix @netflix

Apocalyptic Watch: #Spycraft @eoneill @netflix #netflix #GoodWatch

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here.

I just finished Spycraft on Netflix. At first, my thoughts were, “Great. Even more ways in which I have no privacy. Maybe I should take more seriously all these spam emails that claim to have me compromised.” It eventually got worse. Much worse. Now I’m thinking, “Oh, so Armageddon is a real thing. I didn’t know that.” Well, then . . .

“So murder and mayhem. Standard procedure.” (1:58)

This was quite horrifying and educational even though I’m apathetic and technically literate (if not a bit behind the curve after all these years of lawyering). The one thing I didn’t like is that they addressed Robert Hanssen without interviewing Eric O’Neill (or even mentioning him). Eric’s a friend and was the center of the operation that caught Hansen. But that means nothing to most of you.

This was far better than the Social Dilemma. I actually learned something with this one. As always, YMMV.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Eric O’Neill @eoneill
Follow Netflix @netflix

Improved Watch: Disenchantment, Season 3 @disenchantment @netflix #Disenchantment #netflix

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here.

I watched the third season of Disenchantment this weekend via Netflix. The first two seasons were a big meh for me, but I kept going back to the well because I’m such a huge fan of Futurama. Just hearing, for example, the voice of Mom’s oldest son now recast as “Eyeball” makes me laugh a little bit. But this third season was a definite improvement. There were several gags that made me laugh out loud during the first two-thirds of the season.

That said, it wasn’t all good. The writing inexplicably returned to its stale, unfunny self by the last few episodes, relying instead on its cliffhangers to keep us watching. Why? Also, the fate that befell King Zog was supposed to be funny and sympathetic. It was neither. It dragged on way too long and became annoying quickly.

So, was it worth the watch? For the most part, yes, but it’s still having troubles. It’s taking far too long to hit its stride. If it keeps getting better, I’ll keep watching, but if season 4 is a step backwards, it’ll be the last season I watch. If it gets cancelled, I won’t miss it. There’s too much good content out there waiting for me.

As always, YMMV.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Disenchantment @disenchantment
Follow Netflix @netflix

Emotional Watch: The Midnight Sky. I Liked It, but You Probably Won’t. @midnightskymov @netflix #GoodWatch #MidnightSky

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here. For other entries in the Guilty Pleasure category, click here.

When I provide my opinion of movies and TV shows, I try to explain why I liked them. That is, I share a personality trait or life experience that likely made me like or dislike it. If you and I share that trait or experience that the movie or show triggered, then you can reasonably rely on my review. Otherwise, my opinion shouldn’t mean anything to you.

For example, imagine you’re a professional food critic. You tell me that there’s this new product from Kraft called, let’s say, Cocktoasten. You tell me that the combination of herbs and spices are phenomenal and like nothing you’ve ever tasted. I should absolutely try it. The problem is that it’s simply a new form of mac and cheese, and I hate cheese. (I know, I know. That’s weird. Try to stay focused on my point.) It doesn’t matter how good the cheese is; it’s cheese, so I hate it. That’s true of any food. It’s all subjective and pretending that your critique is solely objective is dishonest to your audience and probably yourself.

Clearly, the same thing is true of movies and TV shows, though it’s anymore complex analysis. Certain themes draw some of us in that may leave others uninspired. These often override any objective measures of filmmaking (though these measures are still important). After all, I liked Green Lantern. Because movie and TV critics tend to arrogantly think that their opinions are objective truths, I never listen to them.

The Midnight Sky

This movie is getting hammered by the critics, and obliterated by the audience, and I understand why. It’s not good storytelling, bouncing between two stories that meet at the end in the most predictable of ways. Some people make some dumb decisions along the way. Nevertheless, I really liked it. Why? Because it hit a particularly strong chord with me. As predictable as the ending is, sharing this nature of this chord would be a massive spoiler. That demonstrates yet another reason why reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. The things that may turn you off or on may not be sharable.

I can’t expect anyone else to like this movie, but if there’s a lesson in this post, it’s that ultimately you must form your own opinions, which can vary wildly from the masses. Hence, the notion of guilty pleasures. Unfortunately, with all the content out there and limited time to watch, that can be frustrating.

Obviously, YMMV.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow the Midnight Sky @midnightskymov
Follow Netflix @Netflix

Nostalgic Watch: Cobra Kai, Season 3 @CobraKaiSeries @Netflix #GoodWatch #CobraKai #NoMercy

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here.

As you probably know, YouTube left the “original streaming content” business and sold Cobra Kai to Netflix. Season 3 dropped yesterday, and of course I watched all 5 hours of it immediately, even though it’s not all good.

First off, the good. These writers know how to appeal to the nostalgia, in part because the Karate Kid intellectual property was their favorite. Almost every moment with Daniel, Johnny, and the other characters from the movies hits old guys like me (52 years and counting) right in the gut. They also know how to write in general. The scripts flow brilliantly from one scene to the other. I hate flashbacks, but even that works here.

Now for the bad. As I said, I’m an old guy. The entire storyline surrounding the kids is uninteresting to me. I know why they’re doing it — that’s what the entire intellectual property is about — but I’ve never understood my fellow nerds’ obsession with child protagonists. Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Ender’s Game … none of those interest me. Our primary function as adults is to protect children, not to worship them or even place them as equals. It’s a dynamic I always found weird (and counterproductive), so as an old guy, I just don’t care about the conflict between the kids, and the unrealistic portrayal of what they can do.

In fact, there are many problems with how the show deals with the law, and, sadly, martial arts itself, but as I’ve written about in other contexts, that’s almost always the case. Sometimes you have to beat the audience over the head with overstatement and extreme imagery in order for them to get your point. Ergo, we have Hollywood’s unofficial mantra: Never let the law, science, or common sense get in the way of a good story. Who am I to judge? I love the MCU. 🙂

Again, I don’t fault the writers. This is what the Karate Kid is all about, and they’re not just writing for me. I’ve just outgrown the original genre. But despite that, this show is still fantastic because, unlike many writers, these writers know how to write for multiple audiences. Based on what I’ve seen recently, that’s apparently not an easy feat.

There’s just too much in this show I love for me to be distracted by the things I don’t. I’m looking forward to season 4. As always, YMMV.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Cobra Kai @CobraKaiSeries
Follow Netflix @Netflix

Great Watch: The Queen’s Gambit @anyataylorjoy @SangsterThomas @netflix

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here.

Stop what you’re doing right now and watch this. Don’t argue; just do it.

The Queen’s Gambit is a fictional account of an orphan who grows up to be a chess grandmaster. That doesn’t sound exciting, but it is. The limited series, 7 episodes of less than an hour each, started very strong, dragged in the middle a bit, then finished remarkably. It was very well done and worth your watch.

This show is worth the hype you’ve heard. As always, YMMV.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Anya Taylor Joy @anyataylorjoy
Follow Thomas Brodie-Sangster @SangsterThomas
Follow Netflix @Netflix

Good Watch: Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb @Netflix #Saqqara #archaeology

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here.

Netflix suggested Secrets of the Saqqara Tomb to me. Based on the tagline, it seemed like a documentary, but with all the science fiction Netflix has been sending my way, I assumed it was a supernatural thriller. Either way, I was interested. I’m a sucker for ancient mythology and the cultures that create it, so I’ll legitimately enjoy movies of that sort even if the rest of you don’t. But this is a documentary about a real find. Archaeologists found the tomb of Wahtye, an official of the 5th century Egyptian dynasty.

Clocking in at two hours, it deals with both the real world (e.g., archaeology, budget constraints) and the mythological world (i.e., they find a temple to Bastet/Sekhmet). I don’t think it’s for everyone, but it was right up my alley.

It still could have used an animated mummy. As always, YMMV.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Netflix @Netflix

Good Watch: Challenger @Netflix #GoodWatch

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here.

Certain moments in history define a decade, such as John F. Kennedy getting shot and 9-11. Almost everyone remembers where they were when these events happened, or at least when they heard about them.

In 1986, I was a high school senior. I had transferred from a private (Catholic) high school to a public one, Walter Johnson, for my senior year. (I had to pay for my high school tuition, and knowing that I had to pay for college, needed a financial break.) I entered 5th period Chemistry class, and the teacher said, “The Challenger vaporized on launch.”

“Wasn’t that the one with a teacher on it?” asked a more dimwitted classmate.

“Yep. I don’t see how anyone could have survived.”

In 6th period architectural drawing class, the teacher brought in a TV, and we watched the coverage. I remember exactly how I felt. Challenger on Netflix brought all of that back to me.

The four-episode limited series covers the country’s excitement over the space shuttle program generally, and the Challenger mission in particular. It was the first time an “ordinary” citizen, in this case a teacher, was going into space. The thought around the country was that this was the first step towards space travel becoming an ordinary event for ordinary people. Everyone was in for one hell of a rude awakening.

I enjoyed this show. As always, YMMV.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Netflix @netflix

Good Watch: The Trial of the Chicago 7 @SachaBaronCohen @hitRECordJoe @netflix #GoodWatch

If you enjoy this post, please retweet it. For other entries in the Good Watch category, click here.

I hate courtroom dramas. While I’m not a litigator, I can spot the nonsense when I see it, and legal dramas are always about “drama” first and “legal” last. The same is true for any industry. Some liberties were taken with the story, but based on a little research, this movie largely gets it right. And that story is frustrating. From Wikipedia:

Based on the story of the Chicago Seven, a group of eight defendants charged by the federal government with conspiracy in 1969 and 1970, inciting to riot, and other charges related to anti-Vietnam War and countercultural protests that took place in Chicago, Illinois, on the occasion of the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

The trial was a mess. The judge (ironically) showed nothing but contempt for the defense. All of the charges, including the numerous contempt charges, were overturned on appeal. The Seventh Circuit ordered a new trial, which the Attorney General declined to pursue.

Sacha Baron Cohen was awesome. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was awesome. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II was awesome. Mark Rylance was awesome. Frank Langella was awesome.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is streaming on Netflix. There’s no reason not to watch this movie. As always, YMMV.

Follow me on Twitter @gsllc
Follow Sacha Baron Cohen @SachaBaronCohen
Follow Joseph Gordon-Levitt @hitRECordJoe
Follow Yahya Abdul-Mateen II @yahya
Follow Netflix @Netflix