Sick Day Reviews: Netflix Saves the Day!

What up Geeks!

The last 5 days have been pretty rough on the Geek! I got to see Captain America: Civil War last Thursday night and went to sleep with happy thoughts of writing a nice review. I awoke Friday morning with 101.3 degree fever, chills, body aches and a wicked cough. The flu hit me like a Mississippi Pimp slap! Eventually the flu invited a friend named pneumonia over and that bitch wouldn’t leave…..without antibiotics!

So I did what any couch bound delirious geek would do. I slept like a fiend and in between siestas, I binged on Documentaries, Movies and TV Shows.

30 for 30: Fantastic Lies

First up is a fantastic documentary I stumbled upon on Netflix, called ‘Fantastic Lies‘ that will leave you both angry as hell and proud that our justice system gets things right….now and again. The documentary chronicles the media circus that erupts in the town of Durham, NC, home of the prestigious Duke University, after an exotic dancer accuses 3 Duke Lacrosse players of rape at a house party. The resulting accusations turns the town against the entire Duke Lacrosse program and ignites a firestorm of class warfare in the media. The case is a news producers wet dream, with the “victim” being a poor black woman with mental health issues, who’s struggling to get through school and provide for her children and the “accused” being privileged rich white kids from Duke. It’s shocking how quickly the media turns against these kids, with zero evidence against them. Equally shocking is the levels that a power hungry District Attorney, working with shady police detectives, will sink to, in order to slander these kids in a quest for a conviction that is sure to help him get re-elected. It’s scary to watch people lose their damn minds, protesting with signs that promote castration and something tells me if this was “the good ol’ days,” these boys would’ve been lynched before they saw their day in court. It’s astounding how many of these court documentaries share a the common thread of D.A.’s ignoring evidence and crooked cops manufacturing evidence to “convict” people they think are guilty. From the West Memphis 3, to Making a Murderer, it’s apparent that our court system is broken, as long as we allow these crooked cop’s, attorney’s and judges to get away with this sort of thing. Luckily this documentary has a somewhat happy ending, though everyone involved will never be the same. Check this one out people! It’s currently available on Netflix.

Mirage Men

I’m a sucker for conspiracy documentaries! This documentary supposedly blows the lid of the governments best kept secret about UFO’s and the aliens that fly them. The truth? The government wants you to believe  in them and they’ve spent the last 60 years faking these stories to cover up secret military experiments, for the sake of national security and cold war counter-intelligence. The main focus of the documentary is a man by the name of Richard Doty, a former agent of the Air Force Office Of Special Investigations (AFSOI), who was in charge spinning disinformation about UFO’s, to protect the truth. When a business mogul and researcher named Paul Bennewitz begins seeing strange lights above a desert airbase, Doty and his team of “Mirage Men” spring to action, convincing Bennewitz that he is indeed seeing alien UFO’s. All in an attempt to hide the fact that the military is conducting secret experiments with new technology. They even go so far as to fake crash sites and allow Bennewitz to photograph them. Why? Because it’s easier to paint someone as a lunatic who is claiming that aliens are real. All of this leads Bennewitz down a dark path that see’s him lose his company and eventually his mind. The film also explores a variety of other conspiracies that Doty confesses to have been involved with, some of which shakes the UFO community to it’s core. It’s a well produced documentary, that raises a lot of questions. But at the same time, you have to wonder if this film is another piece of government propaganda that wants you to NOT believe in the existence of UFO’s.  This film is currently available on Netflix!

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

After a couple of serious documentaries, I decided to lighten things up a bit by finally watching ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘, starring Ellie Kemper on Netflix. I’ve had a number of friends recommend this show because of it’s humor, but I had been putting it off because I’m not much of a sitcom guy. The show tells the story of Kimmy Schmidt, who is freed from a fallout bunker, after being held captive by a cult leader with 3 other ladies for 15 years. With new found freedom, Kimmy decides to live in New York City, where this fish out of water must find her place in the world again. Eventually she lands a quirky roommate and finds a nanny job with Jacqueline Voorhees, the arrogant wife of a millionaire. Most of the comedy comes from Kimmy learning to readjust to life outside of the bunker. Her quips are outdated, her refrences are from the 90’s and no one seems to get her. All of this stems from the fact that she keeps her life as an “Indiana Mole Woman” a secret, because she hasn’t quite come to grips with it yet. Despite it’s slapstick tone, I actually like the show quite a bit! (The wife finds the show quite irritating, so it’s not for everyone.) At it’s heart, the show is about learning to love yourself and to just be who you are. Oh, and once you here the theme song, it will never leave your brain. I’ve had it stuck in my head for days and find myself singing it when I wake up. Bottom line? Females are strong as hell!

Nightcrawler (Blu-ray + DVD + DIGITAL HD with UltraViolet)

Holy shit! I’ve had this film on my Netflix list since the day I started an account. For one reason or another, I kept putting it off, even though the film got rave reviews. As someone who’s spent many years as a professional videographer, you’d think I would have seen this by now. Boy am I stupid! The plot revolves around an eccentric guy, named Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) who’s desperate for work. One evening, Bloom stops his car by the scene of an accident and witnesses a freelance camera crew roll up to take news footage to sell. Next thing you know, he’s stealing an expensive bicycle to pawn, so he can buy a video camera and a police scanner! That night, he hits the streets in his beat up Toyota Tercel, hunting for news like an animal. As the story progresses, Bloom becomes more and more unhinged as he continues to chase the bloody stories that sell. This film is amazing! It has a lot to say about the current state of TV news and the garbage that makes big ratings. The depths that Bloom falls to, in order to capture this news….even make this news is astounding. Some even compare his character to Travis Bickle, from Taxi Driver. I can see it! This is by far and away, Gyllenhaal’s best performance and I cannot recommend this film more!!!! Check it out on Netflix immediately! Do not wait like I did!

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon

Finally, we have the documentary, ‘Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon.’ Now this film is NOT available on Netflix. I watched it on ShowtimeGo via my beloved Roku 3 player. You can also watch it on Amazon for $4.99. The film tells the story of the creation of the National Lampoon magazine, that would rise to become one of the funniest satire magazines ever created. It would spawn live theater shows, radio shows and eventually a series of movies and would introduce the world to comedy legends like Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray and the list goes on…. As a former sketch comedy producer/writer/actor, I found the film to be incredibly entertaining. Now I was far too young to read the magazine, but I did grow up on the Lampoon movies. I remember quite distinctly, staying up late to catch ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ or ‘Animal House’, hoping to see boobies on HBO in the 80’s. As a kid, I never understood what National Lampoon was and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered the rich history of the title. This film gives you the entire history of the National Lampoon, from the early Harvard days, to the drug fueled sex craze of the late 70’s. I am shocked by what they were able to get away with in those days, but by today’s standards it’s all pretty tame! We have them to thank for that! The film is hilarious. The film is sad. But most of all, the film is honest! It takes a hard poke at all involved for their comedic genius, their hardcore drug abuse and their growing arrogance that led to their eventual downfall. I highly recommend watching this film if you are a comedy fan of the 70’s and 80’s. It’s one you won’t forget!

As always,

The Geek Abides….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *