The End of the F***ing World (2017-2019) NETFLIX series, 2 seasons
Starring: Jessica Barden, Alex Lawther, Steve Oram, Christine Bottomley, Navin Chowdhry, Wunmi Mosaku, Gemma Whelan, Jonathan Aris, Eileen Davies, Barry Ward
Directors: Jonathan Entwistle (5 in S1); Lucy Tcherniak (4 in S1); Destiny Ekaragha (4 in S2); Lucy Forbes (4 in S2)
Synopsis: James (Alex) and Alyssa (Jessica) are two very introverted social outcasts/misfits who are miserable in their own skins – until fate hurls them together. It’s an uneasy chemistry, which it is bound to be with these two odd, yet lovable – yet try to convince them of that! – individuals. In Season 1, an earth-shattering event happens. In Season 2, they are dealing with the ripples from it. Alyssa can be extremely irritating, but James is a very patient individual. He’s not willing to give up on the one person who has made him feel alive for the first time in his life. Most of the characters in the series are seriously messed up in some way, so if that isn’t your cup of tea, just skip it.
Etc. Exceptionally good soundtracks in this series. Modern and suited to the scenes. COARSE LANGUAGE. Some shocking scenes of violence.
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1993)
Starring: Uma Thurman, Lorraine Bracco, Pat Morita, Angie Dickinson, Keanu Reeves, John Hurt, Rain Phoenix, Ed Begley Jr., Carol Kane, Sean Young, Crispin Glover, Roseanne Barr, Buck Henry
Director: Gus Van Sant
Synopsis: Based on the novel of the same name, written by Tom Robbins, this campy, quirky adventure may not be at the top of the charts with acting ability, but it certainly is entertaining. I read the book many many moons ago and was disappointed by the movie when it first came out (movies often can’t compare to books favorably,) but I wanted to give it another chance after all of this time has gone by. I had forgotten that Tom Robbins himself narrates the story of Sissy Hankshaw, the girl that was born with thumbs meant to hitchhike. Sissy, played by the body-of-a-goddess Uma Thurman, has to “keep movin’” and travels from coast to coast in the US and meets her fair share of interesting people. John Hurt is fantastic as the queer Countess, a millionaire who lives in NYC and has given Sissy different jobs over the years. This time he wants her to go to a fat farm ranch out west and do a photo shoot with endangered whooping cranes. At the ranch, she falls for the adorable, but very capable, cowgirl, Bonanza Jellybean. If this plot doesn’t get your antenna quivering I don’t know what will. There’s a well-known group of actors who do cameos or small roles. The soundtrack was done by kd lang and Ben Mink and fits it well.
Etc. LGBT+ and sexual themes
Klaus (2019) (animated, NETFLIX)
Starring: J.K. Simmons, Joan Cusack, Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones
Director: Sergio Pablos
Synopsis: Santa Claus origin story. I’d read a good review on it (Thanks Jay!) and so watched it last night. It’s a full-length movie, so not like the usual holiday specials. I was very impressed with it and am adding it to my annual Christmas movie watch list (with It’s a Wonderful Life, The Snowman, Charlie Brown Christmas, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.) It starts with a spoiled rich young man (Jesper, voiced by Schwartzman), whose father sends him to a town at the far reaches of the northern land mass to get a post office up and running, in hopes it will build character in the young man. He’s up against a town that’s been steeped in negativity for a long time. Jesper could get back on the boat to the mainland, but then rich daddy said he’d stop the gravy train if he does, so Jesper makes the best of it. As I said it’s a Santa Claus origin story so I don’t want to give too much of the plot away. It’s well-worth a watch and is a movie kids of all ages (even adult ones, like me!) would love.
I also watched Chernobyl, a 5-hour HBO mini-series (available on DVD) and Part 1 of an epic 1959 Japanese 3-part (9-hr) film, The Human Condition, but I don’t have the heart to review Chernobyl other than to say it should be mandatory viewing for every person on the planet, as nuclear power plants – and other earth-hazardous energy producing plants – need to be shut down. I will do a review on The Human Condition when finished with it.