TV Binge: Stranger Things (Season 1, 2016)

We FINALLY saw Stranger Things and not to mention, properly binge watched it over our week off from work. It only took us maybe two sittings to get through it all and that is a compliment to it. Whenever we turned it off, we’d always keep wanting to go back to see what happens. That is what makes a good show. But a lot of you already know that since I think we may be the only people in the world with Netflix that hasn’t seen it yet. However, this also gives us an advantage to not have such a long wait for Season 2.

Stranger Things (Season 1, 2016)

Stranger Things

Creator: Matt Duffer & Ross Duffer

Cast: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Noah Schnapp

When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back. – IMDB

I’m going to admit that I put off watching Stranger Things because I tend to avoid watching things when they are mega hyped up. Almost anything that you go in with the expectation of it being the best thing ever made is going to somehow disappoint with a few rare exceptions, I’d say. I can’t say that Stranger Things is the best show in the world because I can think of a few that I’d probably rank before just for its entertainment value and how I get immersed into it but Stranger Things is definitely an awesome show. Its one that will have its creepy moments but at the same time offer thrills at every corner. It also helps that the cast and story and atmosphere is incredibly charming and wonderfully crafted. What deserves a lot of credit for this film is not only the physical town they are in with its mysterious government facility closed to the public but also the way they utilize the area around it from the forest to every backdrop for the show. The setting creates a lot of it and of course its effective use of building up the Upside Down and how they implemented the use of lights.

Stranger Things

I have no idea where to even start with this write-up so lets just start with our stars: The kids or are you really called The Losers (like in IT?) Anyways, details that I can’t remember because I’m really bad at remembering things like that. However, they were fantastic. Of course, Will (played by Noah Schnapp) wasn’t really there for most of the series as he was the one kidnapped but the other kids here are great, especially seeing that they were able to give them distinct personalities and how they are very cool (and nerdy) with their Dungeons and Dragons match at the beginning, which gave us a good feeling of who these kids were. They are such colorful characters and their naivety in dealing with this situation really helped them feel like they were kids faced with something way over their heads and had to find the courage to figure it out and help their friend out. And here’s where we meet Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown who doesn’t have a lot of dialogue but carries her role proficiently. Eleven is possibly one of my favorite characters of Stranger Things because of where she starts and her story, she also has a lot of character development and you all know, I’m a sucker for that.

Stranger Things

Looking to the teens, we have Nancy, played by Natalia Dyer. I’ve seen her before in a movie called I Believe In Unicorns and you can check out the review HERE. She did great there as well. Something about Nancy here makes her also a fantastic character with a lot of development. When she starts, you see her be that nerdy girl who just loves being liked by the popular crowd at school. She seems to forget who she is but somehow in the process of trying to find her best friend who disappears, she teams up with an unpopular character, Jonathan (played by Charlie Heaton) and sparks a somewhat triangle (but not) relationship alongside her boyfriend Steve. This group also being very compelling to watch as they all find growth in their characters and are each great in their own ways. Natalia however does take it away with her awesome acting and how she finds that courage to be pretty badass by the end of the season.

Stranger Things

And then we have the adults. Before we move on, here is where the magic also is for the show to be able to find characters to like for every age group. The adults were equally strong. Winona Ryder plays a powerful mom who is dedicated and believes that her son is still in danger and that he isn’t dead no matter what she sees in front of her. She might sound crazy but she has to do what she has to do to bring her son back and those moments are some of the most intense especially as she find s way to communicate with Will. Alongside the adult crew is the sheriff, played by David Harbour. If we were to talk about a tough guy, David Harbour is a great sheriff, one with a painful story as well that they touched on slightly. However, while he had some softer moments, he also had some great one-liners and it worked so well with his role. Being movie goers, we’re cynical about many things and at times, we even question our characters actions and Sheriff Jim Hopper makes some crazy decisions at times for the investigation and truly has us at the edge of our seat as he pieces everything together.

Overall, Season 1 of Stranger Things does have it all pretty well. It has the dark creepy atmosphere and a fantastic and mysterious world created. The cast is fantastic from the kids to the teens to the adults who all deliver strong roles. While certain roles had more character development than others, it is important to realize that this is TV and not just a movie, so what isn’t done here could most possibly be continued on and focused on in the second season. The beauty of watching TV series is the ability to tell a story that can keep a good pacing but still leave room for the story to expand and/or go deeper into its world and lore. Suffice to say, this was a refreshing experience and we’re looking forward to season 2 which releases in just a few days!

Frankenweenie (2012)

I love Tim Burton.  I’ve been slacking off a bit on the more recent movies that he’s made.  I haven’t seen last year’s Dark Shadows yet, but I intend on owning all his movies and I do own quite a few as of now.  If I wanted to do a Tim Burton marathon, it would be pretty much successful.  The newest animation from Tim Burton is the film version of his short from early on in his directing.   I’ve been looking forward to watching this a while…

frankenweenie posterDirector: Tim Burton

Cast: Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Winona Ryder, James Hiroyuki Liao, Robert Capron

This is a story of a young boy and his dog.  When Victor Frankenstein(Charlie Tahan) loses his dog Sparky, under the inspiration of his new science teacher Mr. Ryzkruski’s (Martin Landau) lesson in class, he decides to use electricity to bring Sparky back to life.  However, he knows that Sparky can’t be revealed and he tries to hide him.  Beyond his control, Sparky ends up wandering around the neighborhood and get seen by his fellow classmates, Edgar (Atticus Shaffer) who then leaks it to Toshiaki (James Hiroyuki Liao) and a few others, who get inspired to change the odds of their chances in the coming science fair and experiments with something that ends up more than they bargained for, the town learns the difference between the good and bad in science.

frankenweenie victor sparky

Tim Burton is definitely great at stop-motion animation.  This is Burton to the core, reaching back to a him that I haven’t seen in his recent works in a long time.  It was missed and this was energetic and passionate piece of work.  The black and white filming really gave it a nice touch and kept it eerie but fun.  Only Burton can actually bring that in, especially when he tosses up the character designs and gives a lot of them some really weird or evil or gentle looks to show their personality.

frankenweenie class

Victor Frankenstein showed such awesome personality and passion for his project as he learned more about science in itself along with its consequences, we also learn and feel as he loses and fights to keep this best friend with him.  We suffer the loss of losing a pet and a part of our family.  In this animation, Victor doesn’t get all the credit though.  Just the classmates involved each had their own charm and magic, whether they were hardcore or mean and he gave it a nice twist by making the characters multicultural.  Plus, it was a mix of evil and some look bad but wasn’t really that bad, some was purely weird and then we have genuinely nice but left out.  All the children was voiced very energetically.

frankenweenie elsa

It was definitely a fun film.  My favorite character had to be Mr. Ryzkruski because he was so blunt and not caring about his consequences.  He was the mentor and inspiration of Victor even till the very end.  Plus, Winona Ryder’s Elsa was really great also.  It was a captivating animation.  There was a charm that really kept this movie engaging the whole time.

frankenweenie ryzkruski

Definitely great watch! If you are a Tim Burton fan, this is definitely a must-see! You can see his passion and energy just by how he perfectly sets everything up.  I loved it! The story was totally awesome, the physical character designs were fitting and they were voiced enthusiastically.  All around fun film.  It never gets too serious even when we hit the peak but it also teaches us lessons and even hits on little signs from the original Frankenstein novel.  It has a lot of style especially with the black and white.

Loved it to bits! 🙂

Whats your Tim Burton fave? Did you like Frankenweenie? Are you a Tim Burton fan?