XIXAX Film Forum

Film Discussion => The Small Screen => Topic started by: Tictacbk on July 13, 2016, 02:55:14 AM

Title: Stranger Things
Post by: Tictacbk on July 13, 2016, 02:55:14 AM


Created by: The Duffer Brothers (first created by credit for them).
Premieres: July 15

New Netflix show. I had the privilege of seeing the first two episodes of this tonight. Methinks it's going to be a pretty big hit around here. Spielberg with more than a dash of Stephen King, and some Freaks and Geeks mixed in taboot.  Can't wait to see the rest of the eps.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Sleepless on July 13, 2016, 08:54:32 AM
Been looking forward to this. I think it's got a lot of buzz around it.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Tictacbk on July 15, 2016, 12:11:52 AM
Here's the cold open for anyone on the fence:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKtq-bZgS8I
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Robyn on July 19, 2016, 10:26:02 AM
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: RegularKarate on July 19, 2016, 12:10:01 PM

I liked it. It's definitely got it's flaws, but they did a great job of pulling off that 80s King/Speilberg vibe. The first third relies pretty heavily on that vibe, but eventually it finds itself and despite some spotty acting in parts, it's a pretty fun ride.

I'm also a sucker for that synth score.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Tictacbk on July 22, 2016, 02:33:59 PM
I wish there was more eps to this season. Which I mean both as a compliment and a criticism. I enjoyed every ep and would love to have consumed more of it, and also I felt like some of it was a bit rushed.

Agree, the score ruuuules.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: polkablues on July 22, 2016, 03:52:39 PM
I thought this nailed the style and the tone, most of acting was great (the younger kids were great, the older kids a bit less so, David Harbour was perfect, Matthew Modine should donate his paycheck to charity), and it was all very satisfactorily made. I just wish it had more to say. Homage not in service of a new idea is just a nicely wrapped box with nothing inside.

R.I.P. Barb - she was too good for this world.

Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Ghostboy on July 22, 2016, 04:00:40 PM
Was really sad about Barb.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Kal on July 26, 2016, 12:52:27 AM
Can't wait for next season of this. I felt at some point that they would wrap everything up and the only way to do a second season would be True Detective style with new characters, but turns out there are lots of unanswered questions and possible mysteries for next season. Excited to see how the story continues!


The saddest thing about Barb is that nobody really gave a shit. No parents, no funeral, no investigation, not even a discussion between the main characters about her. So sad.

Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Alexandro on July 28, 2016, 12:52:56 AM
It had been a while since something rubbed me so intensely the wrong way. I basically hated everything about this up until the fourth and a half chapter, which is when I turned it off for good.

It's like an all you can eat buffet of clichés. I don't think there was, in what I saw, a single shot, story point, scene, dialogue, lighting scheme, music cue, or anything that felt like anything else but a direct theft from better, more honest movies. I even hated the haircuts. No common place seemed too low to copycat. Every choice seemed motivated by nostalgia hunger among our generation.

Kids in bikes, UFO's, high school bulles, teen sex followed by bloody carnage, "geeks" reivindication, and an endless package of been there done that. The fact that it was all done so perfectly only added to the bad trip.

Why not just watch ET instead? At least that movie has big soul and a big heart. This was as if an app created the whole thing.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: polkablues on July 28, 2016, 01:18:50 AM
I think my initial reaction to it was along the lines of yours, but once I caught on that's what they going for, that it was just going to be pure pastiche, I was able to start enjoying it on that level. Like listening to a good cover version of a great old song.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: RegularKarate on July 29, 2016, 05:31:14 PM
Yeah, I think those complaints are totally valid and I had them a little while watching it, but everything just worked for me enough to where it didn't bother me at all.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Alexandro on July 29, 2016, 09:33:09 PM
I was giving it all the chances I could, forgiving everything, but I guess I was expecting some twist to it, something on the table more than that. And when it didn't showed, all the other stuff started exasperating me exponentially.


I hated the ET girl and most of that storyline, I got tired pretty quickly of Winona's performance, which seemed the definition of one note. But really, there two instances where I really lost my shit:

1. When the missing kid "died". For starters, we had been asked to give a shit about a kid who appears no longer than five minutes in the first episode, and who keeps being missing by the end of the third. Almost nothing happens except the mystery itself to care, but then he suddenly appears dead. Maybe everyone knew right away, maybe not. But I was so sure they were going to pull that crap of "killing" the character only to bring him back the minute the next episode started, that I watched the start of the fourth episode only to confirm it. Now, In GOT we've had characters return from death, but the dyanmic is so different you actually hope that happens. Here it just feels like minutes of grief unearned. The episode even finishes with a huge crane pull back as characters hug (very nostalgic 80's bullshit, by the way) grieving for the kid that just died. And then of course, the next episode starts withe how he isn't dead at all. I LOATHED that.

2. On the same episode a little later a couple of characters are shown "investigating" at a library. That's when I sad "fuck this". I mean, I'm a sucker for nostalgia as anyone else and I do admire a well written, and well made show, but I need that extra something to care. Just pulling off a vibe is not enough.

In any case, everyone LOVES this show so gives a fuck?
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Drenk on July 30, 2016, 10:56:28 AM
I've watched two episodes. It's not good. And even Xavier Dolan wouldn't like Winona Ryder's acting.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on July 31, 2016, 10:48:10 PM
I think this was worth watching, and it was brutally addictive. But I kinda hated parts of it.

So much of this thing is devoted to skeptics standing in the way and droning on about their doubts while we, the audience, are fifty steps ahead of them. Why on earth do they think people want to watch that? And why does the show put us so far ahead of half the characters? It is not entertaining or engaging in any way to watch people being ignorant, certainly not for so long. What a strange way to pad the running time. There's enough content for 4-5 episodes, certainly not 8.


Eleven was my favorite part of the series by far. Everything about that character and performance worked for me. I don't understand the criticisms; her powers, her story, and her relationship with Mike gave us the realest and most resonant moments. Not even close.

What's the worst part? That's real easy. Lucas, their black friend who is an uber skeptic. Why don't you join the James Randi Foundation already? Give it a rest, kid. Until he is finally convinced, Lucas is supremely annoying. The other guys don’t even like him, which I understand, because he’s a relentless contrarian. The character contributes nothing to the story, except to cause perpetual delays.

And that's what I really struggled with. Throughout most of the middle episodes, especially 4 through 7, the writers find every possible way to halt the plot or even move it backwards. The fact that it's mostly done through cliches makes it sting all the worse. It is absolutely maddening at times. I was almost pulling my hair out. And yet I still couldn't stop watching...

I actually loved the cliffhanger with Will in the bathroom. Felt like the show was suddenly operating on a new level, 15 seconds before it ended. Now I have to watch the next season.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: bigperm on August 01, 2016, 02:25:11 PM
I'm right in line with JB, agree 100%.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: ono on August 01, 2016, 08:41:15 PM
The scene where El steals the Eggos from the grocery store should be Eggos' next commercial.

Okay show.  Criticisms are valid (why should we care about Will when we've known him all of 5 minutes, even if they were a tiny bit charismatic).  Kids are great.  El better come back.  Agreed about Winona being one-note (though it was a good note), and Modine being a waste.  Dustin was the scene stealer.  RIP, Barb.  This reminded me of True Detective a bit (though I didn't like True Detective).  Just doesn't go far enough into explaining its world, and leaves too many loose ends where they didn't need to be.  But still, the ride is very enjoyable.  I forgave all the borrowing and got swept up in the nostalgia and atmosphere.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on August 01, 2016, 09:11:01 PM
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Myxo on September 07, 2016, 01:34:51 PM
I'm really enjoying it so far.

The casting in general but specifically Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven and Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin were outstanding choices. Someone really took their time to find actors who have a very specific chemistry together. You can't make a show like this unless the kids gel on and off screen. I've started following some of them on social media and you can tell this show is a thrill for them. How can you not love watching the careers of these kids take off?

It's hard for me to be too critical about TV like this. Is it full of clichés? Sure it is. Does it have flaws? It does. I feel like it does a lot of things well but nothing extraordinary. The Duffer Brothers have clearly stated that they were inspired by Spielberg, Lynch, Stephen King, etc. As a cover album TV show from that source material I think it's a lot of fun. It will be interesting to see how the momentum from this season carries over to season two. You know the budget and expectations will be much greater. How do the Duffers handle that? Do they stay in their lane and ramp up the strangeness? Or do they fold under the pressure of attracting a wider audience and try to take the show in a direction which doesn't fit?
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on October 31, 2017, 02:50:35 AM
I'm nearing the last couple episodes. Season 2, in my opinion, is better than Season 1. I'll have more thoughts when I'm finished.

This song is used a couple times, once very powerfully (so don't play it if you want to remain pure). But it's so, so good:

Edit: Youtube link went down, so here's the song on the artist's website:

Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 01, 2017, 01:13:31 AM
Finished, and yup, this is significantly better than Season 1. The horror is deeper, and there are more genuine shocks. More epic moments. There was much less (perhaps even none) of this:

Throughout most of the middle episodes, especially 4 through 7, the writers find every possible way to halt the plot or even move it backwards.

In fact, the episodes feel absolutely packed. And once again, it's brutally addictive.

I know Episode 7 did not land with some people, and I definitely get that. It's arguably a misfire. Even so, the sequence starting at 11:30 is really great (largely thanks to the song I linked above).


Will is the surprise MVP of this season for sure. What a performance. Eleven was also great, but my expectations for her were already very high. The girl who played Max gives an uneven performance; the character is good enough to make up for that, though.

Steve is at his best when he's not Nancy's boyfriend. I absolutely loved all the scenes with him and the kids.

For all the talk about the show's unoriginality, it loves to do that trick where it presents us with a stereotype who then defies our expectations. That was Steve in Season 1. Here, it's Bob, and I think the turn was even more credible this time.

In that vein... final episode, during Will's exorcism, I loved how Joyce was like BURN HIM while Jonathan was the weak one. She's so strong now, further melting away that "hysterical grieving mother" stereotype we expected her to fall into in S1.

So much depth was added to Jim Hopper this season. And Max's brother... hoo boy. So many great characters and fun scenes. I'm surprised how much I enjoyed this.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: matt35mm on November 01, 2017, 10:11:19 AM
Unimportant Spoilers

I watched 2 episodes of this new season and found it dreadfully boring, with every beat being super obvious. I found the first season entertaining enough, but so far this season feels worse to me. Just unentertaining. The first season had a bit of mystery to it, from memory, whereas this season CGI-blasts you with a bunch of Upside Down stuff, reveals Eleven in the first episode, then shows several flashbacks depicting how she WALKED from where we saw her last to where she is now. Her discovering the Eggos didn't feel like a payoff so much as, "yeah, I figured that part out when we saw her with Jim Hopper." The greatest mystery so far in the first two episodes is "Who is Mad Max? Is it that girl who suddenly shows up and is named Max?" and the answer was "of course it fucking is." Is she gonna become their friend? Of course she fucking is. The show is actively deflating all of its setups and showing way more than it needs to. And then even just small human moments are super telegraphed. "This is that scene in a movie where a girl is at a party and gets too drunk and the boyfriend is like you've had enough and then struggles to grab the cup of punch and spills it all over the girl, and the guy who's pining for the girl swoops in and takes her home and tucks her into bed." What in the shit? No grace.

Does this kick into gear after episode 2 or is this just not for me?
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 01, 2017, 11:58:46 AM
It's true, the party scene is bad. And lots of moments are very telegraphed. I would not watch this looking for a mystery. There is none.

I would still recommend this season, though. It does get more intense.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: Sleepless on November 02, 2017, 11:25:59 AM
I enjoyed it for what it was, but that's pretty much how I felt about season 1. There are definitely some uneven moments, and this season in particular seems like it's 70% act one of a movie, with the final two episodes serving as a condensed second and third act (with a bottle episode - backdoor pilot? - in there for good measure.)

Not sure whether to suggest you'd like it more if you weren't watching it 1.5 speed, or whether that might actually be better in parts.
Title: Re: Stranger Things
Post by: ©brad on January 29, 2018, 01:30:04 AM
I'm also a sucker for that synth score.

Oh man I'm so here for that synth.

Agree with the consensus. This is almost impossible to hate, largely because of the kids. I actually love Winona as well, particularly in season 2. I blame a lot of her one-note mom hysteria on bad directing.

There are times when it's so blatantly goofy you wonder if they are doing this on purpose because it's a pastiche or if it's just bad writing. I lean more towards the former. The cynic in me nitpicked a lot along the way but there are some truly great moments and performances to make you forgive and forget.

Like the villain/monster is kinda lame, and after two seasons we still don't know what the hell it is or more importantly WHY it's a thing, but then you get to the prom scene montage and you're like aww okay whatever this is good.

I'm excited for next season. They better start explaining shit. And leave Will alone. For god sake that poor little bastard has been through enough.

There are some great dark moments