Our Souls at Night (Netflix 2017)

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Well, this is a first.  One kernel.  One lonely little kernel.  The first I’ve thrown at a movie or television series. This is probably the most boring movie I have ever watched, and since I’m 68, you would think that a love story about two lonely elderly people would perk me up rather than put me to sleep.

Robert Redford and Jane Fonda were once a dynamic duo in Barefoot in the Park, which was a movie I loved dearly over the years.  If you’ve never seen it, you must watch it.  The two have played together in many other movies, however, this one just puts both of them out to pasture in the most boring and uninteresting tale.  I literally had to walk away from it and then go back later to finish the movie.

Forgive me, Robert.  Forgive me, Jane.  And Matthias Schoenaerts, what are you doing wasting your talent on this slow-moving snail of a tale?

Perhaps all the interest in the release has been the reunion of these life-long friends on screen again.  A fairly good-looking old woman lands on the doorstep of a fairly good-looking old man and suggests he sleep with her.  But we don’t mean sex here – we mean sleep.  She wants a body next to her in bed, and after considering the offer, Louis Waters agrees to Addie Moore’s suggestion. and climbs in between the sheets.  Yawn.

The story turns into a bedtime tale of two people who begin to talk about the weather and end the movie talking about the weather.  In between the nights together, the town gossips, friends die, a grandson is weaved into the story, and along with their respective daughter and son.  Eventually, a romance of sorts ensues, and Lewis thinks he remembers how to do it.  Unfortunately, I hit the fast-forward button on this sleepy tale more than once.  Jane’s hair looks like a poorly made grey wig, while Robert walks around like an old bow-legged man.  Oh, and let’s throw in a broken hip just to make it exciting.

Forgive me for my harshness.  You may love it.  You may yawn.  You may throw one popcorn kernel at the screen.  As for me, I would have walked out but I had nowhere to go since I was already home.

Stranger Things (Netflix 2016)

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Right now at the season of horror and suspense, if you haven’t watched the new Netflix Series, Stranger Things, you better tune in.  It’s strange all right, and the program sort of reminds me of Lost.  You remember, don’t you?  The plane crash, the strange island, the strange things happening.  Well, welcome to the little town Hawkins where strange things are afoot in a town where nothing interesting happens.

It starts out scary enough with a young boy returning home from spending time with his best buddies.  They’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons for ten hours in the basement.  On the way home, strange things happen.  Something creepy is stalking Will Byers in the woods and right into his house.  He runs out into the shed in the backyard to load the family rifle, but before he can defend himself he vanishes into thin air.  The story starts and so do the crazy things in this sleepy town turned literally upside down.

The premise of the story is (spoiler) alternative universes.  The show is filled with all those unanswered and mysterious questions, including a secret government installation.  In their captive is a child with special psychokinetic abilities, who escapes her life as a Guinea pig of sorts (played by Millie Bobby Brown, a very talented young lady).  However, while her story continues on one wave length, it is strangely intertwined with the story of the missing boy.  The show has it all – drama and mystery.  If that isn’t enough, add the element of horror, because out of this alternative universe comes a resident monster into our universe preying upon the town and going for blood.

There are quite a few characters to follow in this story.  And, yes, at times you feel as lost as you were watching Lost.  However, the cast is one huge roller coaster of emotion, including Winona Ryder, the mother of the boy who has disappeared.  Her portrayal of grief, terror, and determination is probably worth an Emmy.  Other great performances are from the family members, hormonal driven teenagers, and David Harbour, who plays the Sheriff in town dealing with all the crazy occurrences and trying to make sense of it all.stranger-things-season-2

There are three young boys who try their best to find their friend, Will, who has disappeared.  One of them befriends No. 11, the young girl who escaped her life from the government crazy people.  The three kids are a comedic release as they banter back and forth.  They are the science geeks of the school and played upon by the bullies, until No. 11 (or L) teaches them a lesson.

If you’re looking for an entertaining, I can’t figure it out show, tune in to Stranger Things.  It will make you scratch your head, jump when the monster appears, and give rise to a thousand questions of what in the world is going on.  After eight episodes of Season 1, we are left hanging for answers until Season 2 rolls around.