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Posted by on May 12, 2022 in Blog | 1 comment

My Netflix Reviews

 

 

Netflix has pretty much turned into a platform for shows about bad people who do terrible things. Serial killers. Dictators. Con artists. Should you doubt this, then check out the Top Ten on Netflix anytime, and you’ll see what I mean.

After some reluctance, I finally signed up to Netflix two years ago when COVID began, and have been watching ever since. But they sure do feature lots of shows about scumbags.

It’s been a little while since I wrote about the latest Netflix shows I’ve seen. I’ll try to make this a semi-quarterly thing from now on. What follows are the Netflix shows I’ve watched within the last few months, along with a short description, a brief review, and a grade (1-10 scale). Listed in the order they appear on my queue:

MELTDOWN: THREE MILE ISLAND — THis is a by-the-book documentary series on the 1980 nuclear accident/scare in Pennsylvania that was a real-life “China Syndrome.” Highly-detailed and well-done for the most part but lacked enough drama to make me stick it out through multiple episodes. We know Pennsylvania didn’t turn into Chernobyl, so where’s the suspense? Grade–6

WORST ROOMMATE EVER — Guilty-pleasure murder mystery series about sicko killers. Interesting if you’re into crime dramas. Some of these true stories are really hard to believe, like the Sacramento grandmother who invited lonely people to live with her, killed them, buried the bodies in her backyard, then kept on collecting their Social Security checks. Call it an alternative retirement plan. Grade–6.5

JOHN WAYNE GACY TAPES — Who would watch a show, no wait…an entire 6-PART SERIES about killer clown John Wayne Gacy, the sick Chicago mass murder? I got about an episode and a half in, then I couldn’t stomach it anymore. I’ve never felt the urge to slay a clown until now. I needed a shower afterward. Grade–2

CAPTIVE — Another series about average people taken hostage, mostly in places they didn’t belong. Some stories (and escapes) are better than others, but oddly, I found myself watching them all. Most interesting were the psychological aspects of being held captive and not knowing one’s own fate. Better than average series. Grade–6.5

JIMMY SAVILE: A BRITISH HORROR STORY — I’d never heard about this quirky British pervert before until I watched this series (2 or 3 parts, I think). Savile was a popular British personality who was all over the radio and TV for nearly 50 years, then the rumors began circulating about the kiddies he seemed to adore just a little too much. Slightly drawn out too long, but otherwise compelling for some reason I can’t explain. Grade–7

THE CUBA LIBRE STORY — The history of Cuba, mostly told from a pro-Fidel Castro point-of-view. Obviously, I found this fascinating. There’s much to agree about in the first 3-4 episodes, but less so as the series drags on (I believe it’s 6 parts). Still, very well done and a fair assessment of the conditions that led to the Cuban Revolution and aftermath. Grade–8

THE MYSTERY OF MARILYN MONROE — I tried. I really tried. I made it about halfway through episode one, then gave up. I’m not really interested in the subject matter but thought the story might pull me in (as is often the case with well-made documentaries). This one failed. Grade–1

THE ANDY WARHOL DIARIES — I met Andy Warhol once. Another story for a future column. And yet, I’ve never understood the cult-like fascination with Warhol. Still, I was eager to watch this biography to learn more. Parts of it are exceptional, but the story is way too long and detailed for my tastes. Even the art-house crowd would have a hard time sticking this out all the way through. I’ll give it a mixed review. Grade–5

WHITE HOT (ABERCROMBIE AND FITCH) — Desperately tries to make the clothing line/retail stores something they’re not. Way too much cheerleading and adulation for the brand by the filmmaker. Almost turns into an infomercial. Unwatchable after about 20 minutes. Grade–1

LIFE AFTER DEATH WITH TYLER HENRY — Watched entirely out of sick curiosity. Documentary about a (fraud) “psychic” who looks like Mikalky Caulkin and manipulates lots of stupid and gullible victims, mostly desperate middle-aged women who seem to love getting ripped off. A disgraceful farce to be avoided at all costs. Netflix should be ashamed for giving this huckster a platform. Grade–0

OUR GREAT NATIONAL PARKS — Supposedly a Nat-Geo-inspired documentary on nature and the wild, but way too often is unnecessarily violent. Question–Must we see extended footage of the lion ripping a gazelle to shreds that goes on forever? Yeah. we get it, nature can be cruel. I thought President Barack Obama was a solid choice to be the series host and narrator, and he does a fine job. But I sure wish he’d used this rare opportunity on a better program. Grade–4

LIKE A ROLLING STONE — Rock history documentary centering on the legendary RS writer Ben Fong-Torres. Very well done and a must-see if you’re into music and/or journalism. I was most impressed by Fong-Torres relating how he approached so many different personalities in so many ways, but always seemed to come away with a great feature story. Great behind-the-scenes stuff on all the classic rock artists. Grade–8

OPERATION MINCEMEAT — This is a WW2 re-enactment about a supposedly true story starring Colin Firth, who is usually good in whatever he does. But this is a miss and a mess. I surrendered after 25 minutes, mostly out of boredom. Grade–2

UNBELIEVABLE — Series about a rape victim and what she goes through over the years. I’m about halfway through, so far. Tough to watch, at times — but hits all the necessary points. Very educational from the perspective of how rape and similar crimes stick with innocent victims for years and also how cold and indifferent the rest of society seems, especially to these people who experienced horrors they can’t forget. Grade–Incomplete

OUR FATHER — True docudrama about a religious fertility doctor in Indiana who takes “go forth and multiply” way too literally. The pervert decided to use his private love batch on women in his office and turned into Super Daddy. 30 years later, he’s got 100 offspring scattered all over Indiana who find out the truth about their DNA and backgrounds, which ignites a firestorm. Sure to be enjoyed by the smutmeisters who sat all the way through the John Wayne Gacy tapes and The Jimmy Savile Story. Grade–6.5

THE STAIRCASE — Incredibly detailed real-life crime drama and trial of a wealthy man who was charged with killing his wife. The series (7 episodes, I believe) seems way too long, but incredibly holds our attention until the very end. This is one of the best crime dramas I’ve seen, probably because the defendant allowed himself to be filmed over several years during the trial and backroom deliberations. Shows the enormous toll the criminal justice system takes on people, and especially families in a way I’d not thought of before. Very well done. Grade–9

THE STRANGER — British mystery series about con jobs and deceit with lots of twists and turns. I thought the show gets way to complicated and there are so many characters and plots that it’s sometimes difficult to follow. But there are also some good moments. The first two episodes will hook you in, but then it fades. Grade–5.5

BAD VEGAN — A guilty-pleasure documentary about a popular NYC vegan restaurant during the 2010s that becomes an open indictment of the entire social-media, cheek-kissing haute-culture that creates fads that ultimately always fade and fail. At times hard to believe for her naivete, the female restaurant owner is conned out of all her money (and her investors’ money) by a scammer. Really, the tale is hard to believe, but it actually happened. Worth watching for the reasons we all like to watch a Three Card Monte dealer at work. Grade–7.5

ANATOMY OF A SCANDAL — Beautifully filmed crime series about a British member of parliament charged with a crime that then envelopes everyone around him. Slowly builds to a satisfying, somewhat unforeseeable conclusion. Outstanding performances, but what really was memorable were the cinematic themes, that come across like an Academy Award-winning movie. Sometimes quirky, but very well made. Grade–8.5

1 Comment

  1. Watch a show or rather game show on Netflix called Bullshit. I want to see some poker pros go on this show. Great show.

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