BKNJ Review: Stranger Things
Warning: a couple minor spoilers.
Head of nail, meet the sledgehammer. Netflix has been on point and ahead of the game for a long time. When they finally became able to make their own content, they started hitting grand-slams with the “Movie/Television Series”. Stranger Things takes this concept to a perfect level. Since it is technically a television series, they open up the “pause-factor” of the viewing experience which allows for a much longer and more intricate story. I’ll get my only real criticism out of the way and point out that Stranger Things starts out very slowly. Enough for me to embarrassingly admit I almost wrote it off. My DP insisted I watch to conclusion. By episode 4, I was hooked like Mr. Brownstone.
Casting Director is probably the most under-appreciated job, yet the entire story and plot depend on it. Carmen Cuba, nice. Winona Ryder, who I wish I could still feel the same way about her as I did in “Heathers”, plays the worried mother perfectly. Vulnerable, yet determined and probably mvp of the team. Her creation of the lights in the house, juxtaposed with the scene where they try to the kill the monster is cinematic platinum.
David Harbor’s “Jim Hopper” was my favorite character. Dark, yet genuine and likable. He catches on to the conspiracy early which is defiantly appreciated. Had the kids been on their own, they would have probably been ****ed. The believable characters make this brilliant plot easily understood. Viewers appreciate authenticity. No one trusts the government anymore. “Hi, we’re from the government, we’re here to help”.
The kids were surprisingly not annoying to me. The one with the lisp, “Dustin Henderson” is an incredibly effective leader. His oddness is overcome by his self-assurance, and plus, there’s some strange stuff going on guys, stop d*cking around.
Finn Wolfhard's "Mike Wheeler" was a great anchor and narrator for “Eleven”. “Eleven” was ultimately an amazing character. At first it was like “wow, weirdo”, but after seeing the hellish conditions “Dr. Brenner” (Mathew Modine, great casting call) had put her through, I quickly warmed up to her. Leave it to people with too much power and not enough perspective to literally exploit the innocent and bring Hell to Earth. “Eleven” had a great back-story, was button-cute in a weird way, and totally bad-ass when things got hopeless.
Now to the love triangle between “Steve Harrington”, the symmetrically-beautiful “Nancy Wheeler”, and the slightly creepy “Jonathan Byers” (just go by "Jon Byers" and get a better haircut and you’re half-way there). Sorry nerds, the series ends in the real world, where the really pretty girls are ultimately only attracted to better-looking, douchey guys. Although, Steve Harrington’s redemption story was pretty solid. Plus, teenaged angst being released on a monster as ugly as that one could probably move mountains. The Monster was utterly horrifying, and a testament to how far we’ve come with visual arts and technology.
Truly amazing stories manage to branch out in many different directions, then pull as much together as possible at the end. There was so much to take in, it is hard to even know if all my questions were answered, but Stranger Things definitely leaves viewers wanting more. Poor “Will Byers”, I felt bad being happy this story wasn’t finished. P.S. Mike Wheeler’s mom is hot.
Overall - must-see