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Thread: Netflix's "Stranger Things"

  1. #1
    Pie aren't squared, pie are round! Introversion's Avatar
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    Netflix's "Stranger Things"

    Oh my, where to begin? Anyone else watch this yet?

    Eight extremely tight, well-paced episodes of dark, supernatural fun -- psychokinesis, mysterious government ESP experiments gone very awry, and a dimension-hopping monster -- with some very talented child actors, and a good supporting cast including Winona Ryder, who plays the mother of a child gone missing in episode one. Ryder plays this with a perfect mix of fear, pain and anger, insisting that her boy is sending her messages through her house's electrical surges.

    Big shout-out too for David Harbour, who plays the local sheriff, a burn-out who begins to see enough weird sh*t to persuade him that maybe Ryder's character isn't nuts after all.

    But it's really the two child leads -- Millie Bobbie Brown as "Eleven", and Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, friend of the missing boy -- who sell this show. They're really good; can't think of when I've seen better from children in a television series.

    Love the soundtrack, which effectively echoes early 80s films. (The synth-heavy soundtrack brings to mind those of "Big Trouble in Little China" and "The Terminator", with plenty of 80s radio hits for a nostalgic backdrop.)

    We binge-watched the series in three nights, and are going through withdrawals now.

  2. #2
    All the nopes. lizmonster's Avatar
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    I really did like how they wrote the mother. She was credibly vulnerable and terrified, but she didn't whimper and hide in a corner the way so many women are written in things like this. She never let go, and she fought like hell for her kid, no matter how risky or terrifying or insane the fight turned out to be.
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  3. #3
    Thick Skin Pre-Installed Zombie Fraggle's Avatar
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    I binged it in one day and loved it, particularly all the little (and some not-so-little) nods to 1980s Steven Spielberg and Stephen King. The Duffer Brothers also wrote several of the best episodes from S1 of Wayward Pines (another show I adore). I can't wait to see what they do next, other than S2 and beyond of Stranger Things, which is all but etched in stone given the ratings and overwhelmingly positive critical reviews.

  4. #4
    Joker Groupie Celia Cyanide's Avatar
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    I thought it was great, but Winona Ryder was awful.
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  5. #5
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celia Cyanide View Post
    I thought it was great, but Winona Ryder was awful.
    Winona Ryder is practically the kiss of death.

    The first two episodes were not very compelling - except that they got 1983 looking so right that I was having flashbacks (I was 13 years old in 1983.) Although, no one said "douchebag" in 1983. That just wasn't invented yet.

    We just finished episode three and it was a bit more interesting. We'll see. I'll watch four.

  6. #6
    Capeless, wingless, & yet I fly. SuperModerator Williebee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celia Cyanide View Post
    I thought it was great, but Winona Ryder was awful.
    So, it wasn't just me. It's this one note performance that grated on my nerves enough to make me stop watching going into the third episode.
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  7. #7
    All the nopes. lizmonster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williebee View Post
    So, it wasn't just me. It's this one note performance that grated on my nerves enough to make me stop watching going into the third episode.
    Really? I quite liked her.

    I only had two real problems with the show, both around Nancy's storyline. I was hoping they'd go somewhere, but they didn't, so I just put it down to a bit of laziness/writerly clutter. In a show less well-done overall, I wouldn't have forgiven them.
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  8. #8
    Twitching ap123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perks View Post
    Winona Ryder is practically the kiss of death.

    The first two episodes were not very compelling - except that they got 1983 looking so right that I was having flashbacks (I was 13 years old in 1983.) Although, no one said "douchebag" in 1983. That just wasn't invented yet.

    We just finished episode three and it was a bit more interesting. We'll see. I'll watch four.
    Haven't seen the show, just wanted to note the insult "douchebag" was indeed used in 1983.
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  9. #9
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ap123 View Post
    Haven't seen the show, just wanted to note the insult "douchebag" was indeed used in 1983.
    That's funny! I wonder if it was a regional thing? There were four adults in the room (I'm the oldest and would have been about the same age as the kids in the show) and the first time one of the kids on the screen busted out the 'douchebag' it clanged in all of our ears. We were all East Coast and none of us had ever heard the term until way later in life - and one of us was even in the Navy.

    It seemed entirely out of place to us for 1983. (Not to say kids didn't cuss and use slang, of course.)
    Last edited by Perks; 07-28-2016 at 06:50 PM.

  10. #10
    Thick Skin Pre-Installed Zombie Fraggle's Avatar
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    According to Merriam-Webster, the first known use of "douche bag" as a pejorative dates back to circa 1963.

    However, this very interesting writer on DialectBlog did some research and found uses of it much earlier.

    I must admit that douchebag (as an insult applied to people) didnít enter my lexicon until the 2000ís. For many years, in fact, I assumed that the term was a 21st-Century coinage. After doing several searches using Google Books, however, itís clear this isnít the case. The first usage of douchebag/douche bag that I could find in the pejorative sense dates back to at least 1951, in the classic novel From Here to Eternity (here an adjective):

    ďThe trouble with you, Pete,Ē the voice that did not seem to come with him but from that cigaret said savagely, ďis that you canít see further than that douchebag nose of yours.Ē
    . . .

    Itís worth noting, however, that this is the ONLY usage of the type found in 1950ís literature: all other examples of douchebag/douche bag refer to medicine or hygiene. I doubt the term was in popular currency at the time.
    The article is short, so I'm uncomfortable quoting more than that. Bottom line is that from the 1960s forward, it came into more frequent use, with it exploding in the early-2000s. The writer posits that the pejorative use of the term became more popular as the use of the actual hygiene implement became less popular.

    So, I guess we have Summer's Eve to thank for the slang's uptick in use.

    My personal experience is that my earliest recollections of the term being bandied about was in the early 1980s. I can distinctly remember it being a permanent fixture when "doing the dozens" (exchanging off-color insults with another person until one of you gives up, usually from laughing too hard to speak), a.k.a. "Your Mama." So it probably was more of a regional thing in 1983.

    In fairness to the show, however, the Stranger Things writers had precedence in some of the obvious source material, namely Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.


    Tyler: [to Elliot] Douche bag.
    Mary: [hits him on the head] No 'douche bag' talk in my house!

  11. #11
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    Interesting! I remember "penis-breath" from ET, and that sounded like something someone would cobble together in my formative years. It's just funny that we all four reacted that way to "douchebag".

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW Loverofwords's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celia Cyanide View Post
    I thought it was great, but Winona Ryder was awful.
    Just finished this show tonight and thought she was fantastic? One of my favorite parts of the show. Then again, pretty much all of this show was amazing. Cannot wait for season 2.

  13. #13
    We learn by doing telford's Avatar
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    Wynona Ryder hmm. Nails on a blackboard.
    The show itself is great. Netflix has hit another one out of the park. Holding off on the last two episodes. It's been renewed for a second season. Right? Come on, it's Netflix not fox.

  14. #14
    Twitching ap123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perks View Post
    That's funny! I wonder if it was a regional thing? There were four adults in the room (I'm the oldest and would have been about the same age as the kids in the show) and the first time one of the kids on the screen busted out the 'douchebag' it clanged in all of our ears. We were all East Coast and none of us had ever heard the term until way later in life - and one of us was even in the Navy.

    It seemed entirely out of place to us for 1983. (Not to say kids didn't cuss and use slang, of course.)
    Could definitely have been a regional slang at the time. I was also east coast, in Brooklyn, NY.
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  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW Noizchild's Avatar
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    I might try it out.
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  16. #16
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    I so hate it when I cough up gristly bits of tentacle.

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW Loverofwords's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by telford View Post
    It's been renewed for a second season. Right? Come on, it's Netflix not fox.
    Already renewed for a second season.

  18. #18
    Joker Groupie Celia Cyanide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williebee View Post
    So, it wasn't just me. It's this one note performance that grated on my nerves enough to make me stop watching going into the third episode.
    It was completely one note. All she did to express her emotions about her son was to get really shakey, and that's all she did the whole time. She is not, and has never been, a strong enough actress to carry a whole movie. Her only truly good performances have been minor roles.

    Having said that, it was okay, because the whole show reminded me of fun but shitty sci-fi movies that would have had really awkward acting. I loved it, but the kids were the best. I loved the story about how the little girl who played Eleven did not want to shave her head, so they showed her a picture of Charlize Theron in MAD MAX so she could see how badass she looked.
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  19. #19
    Thick Skin Pre-Installed Zombie Fraggle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loverofwords View Post
    Already renewed for a second season.
    Source? All I can find are articles with the creators talking about plans for future seasons, but no confirmation from Netflix as of this moment.

  20. #20
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Celia Cyanide View Post
    It was completely one note. All she did to express her emotions about her son was to get really shakey, and that's all she did the whole time. She is not, and has never been, a strong enough actress to carry a whole movie. Her only truly good performances have been minor roles.

    Having said that, it was okay, because the whole show reminded me of fun but shitty sci-fi movies that would have had really awkward acting. I loved it, but the kids were the best. I loved the story about how the little girl who played Eleven did not want to shave her head, so they showed her a picture of Charlize Theron in MAD MAX so she could see how badass she looked.
    Definitely. I liked the show, but Winona Ryder is almost unwatchable. My favorites were Dustin and Eleven.

  21. #21
    All the nopes. lizmonster's Avatar
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    Huh. I thought Ryder was wonderful. (Those who haven't watched yet: it's apparently a YMMV performance, so don't skip the show because of it.)

    My complaints had more to do with the Awful Boyfriend (who should have been a redshirt but wasn't), and the stereotypical Unattractive Friend. Laziness. I suspect at least in the former case that something more complex was planned, but 8 episodes + timing meant that plot line never got developed.
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  22. #22
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    The boyfriend was interesting, because his entrance was virtually predatory, and I would not have thought they could write their way out of that one. I was impressed.

  23. #23
    All the nopes. lizmonster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perks View Post
    The boyfriend was interesting, because his entrance was virtually predatory, and I would not have thought they could write their way out of that one. I was impressed.
    Another YMMV moment. I thought he was quite palpably predatory, and they just decided he shouldn't be without giving him much in the way of redemption. Didn't ring true to me at all.

    But I'll own up to being sensitive to consent issues, and the fact that Nancy liked him when he didn't hear a single word she said really put me off.
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  24. #24
    delicate #!&@*#! flower Perks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizmonster View Post
    Another YMMV moment. I thought he was quite palpably predatory, and they just decided he shouldn't be without giving him much in the way of redemption. Didn't ring true to me at all.

    But I'll own up to being sensitive to consent issues, and the fact that Nancy liked him when he didn't hear a single word she said really put me off.
    I should have been clearer - I was impressed that they attempted it, that the cliched slicky-boy attitude was a veneer and that he could be jolted out of his grossness. I'm not sure they succeeded, precisely because your objections are accurate and his entrance into the show was almost psychopathic. The writers would probably have needed to give Steve a little bit more screentime to make their case for his transformation. I liked the surprise that he didn't stay as he appeared, but I'm not sure I believed it.

    And though I liked the show, these sorts of things were what I didn't like about it - the stuff that even within a wild sci-fi/horror paradigm you just can't believe. Steve's now-you-see-it-now-you-don't sexual-predator tendencies and Nancy deciding to go alone into the red-dripping, biologically-slimed unlikely tree orifice when Jonathan was no more than a few steps beyond her are two examples.

  25. #25
    All the nopes. lizmonster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perks View Post
    I should have been clearer - I was impressed that they attempted it, that the cliched slicky-boy attitude was a veneer and that he could be jolted out of his grossness. I'm not sure they succeeded, precisely because your objections are accurate and his entrance into the show was almost psychopathic. The writers would probably have needed to give Steve a little bit more screentime to make their case for his transformation. I liked the surprise that he didn't stay as he appeared, but I'm not sure I believed it.

    And though I liked the show, these sorts of things were what I didn't like about it - the stuff that even within a wild sci-fi/horror paradigm you just can't believe. Steve's now-you-see-it-now-you-don't sexual-predator tendencies and Nancy deciding to go alone into the red-dripping, biologically-slimed unlikely tree orifice when Jonathan was no more than a few steps beyond her are two examples.
    I agree with all of this.

    In the large, this was an impressive show, and I was riveted for every minute of it. I'd cheerfully sit through it again, and I'm hopeful for another season. And...it had seams, and flaws, and annoyances. But I still loved it.
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