Top 10 Worst Movies of 2017

It’s hard not to argue that 2017 has been one crazy year with all the politics that occurred. It’s also hard not to argue that this year has been a fantastic year for movies. There have been many that went above and beyond my expectations, as well as many disappointments. Today, I would like to start off–like I always do–with the stinkers. There were A LOT of movies in which I would get mad about for day, because I wish I never wasted two hours from my life. Nevertheless, I’m proud that I saw these movies, so you don’t have to. Without further ado, let’s start my list of the top ten worst movies of 2017. (Don’t worry. I didn’t see The Emoji Movie.)

Dishonorable Mentions: Bright, Free Fire, Gifted, Sleepless, Victoria and Abdul


(Source: CNN)

10. Okja – There are two movies on this list I thought were overrated. Okja, the latest from Snowpiercer director Bong Joon-Ho, is the first. I find the first hour or so to be decent. It contains gorgeous cinematography and tackles the means of the food industry. Not to mention the great use of John Denver’s “Annie’s Song” in one scene. Then, the social satire seems to fall apart. The tone is inconsistent throughout (ranging from childish and innocent to dark and depressing), the cast is a bore (except Tilda Swinton), and has no idea what audience it’s aiming towards. Is it me, or is Jake Gyllenhaal doing his best impression of Jim Carrey’s Environmentalist from In Living Color?


(Source: IMDb)

9. A Dog’s Purpose – Remember this film back in January and the controversy surrounding this movie concerning dog abuse? While it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be, it’s still not very good. Lasse Hallström has directed some really good films including What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and The Hundred-Foot Journey. A Dog’s Purpose does have its moments, and Josh Gad is actually not a bad narrator. However, it suffers from a manipulative script, odd point-of-view shots, embarrassing slapstick, and bland characters. This movie is a movie for dog lovers, by dog lovers.


(Source: IndieWire)

8. The Book of Henry – After directing Jurassic World two years earlier, Colin Trevorrow returns to his small-budget roots with The Book of Henry. The first hour is harmless enough, following a gifted boy (Jaeden Lieberher, who would later star in this year’s great horror film It), who supports his young brother (Jacob Tremblay, Room and Wonder) and hard-working mother. Then, it makes the weird transition of being a straight-up thriller. The pacing is all over the place, the acting is mediocre at best, the characters make poor decisions, and, as a result, The Book of Henry plays out more as a Lifetime Movie of the Year.


(Source: Entertainment Weekly)

7. Baywatch – In my original review, I found this movie to be a decent R-rated comedy. Months after thinking about it, Baywatch is not a good movie. There are some laughs sprinkled throughout and Dwayne Johnson and the rest of the cast seem to have a good time making the movie. It just has too much toilet humor, horrible CGI, stereotypes, and mystery that doesn’t seem to care. I hope, someday, there would be another good film adaptation to a TV show that makes fun of the TV show.

Film Title: The Mummy

(Source: Variety)

6. The Mummy – Whose idea was it to reboot The Mummy? With it being the first film in the so-called “Dark Universe”, this is the beginning of something horrifying, and not in a good way. I love Tom Cruise in almost every movie he has starred in, but he gets his ass kicked quite a bit in this movie. He cannot escape a ridiculous script with numerous plot holes, annoying characters with no charm, forced attempts at humor, and many unintentionally funny moments. Russell Crowe’s portrayal of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde truly defines “miscast”.


(Source: Bloody Disgusting)

5. Better Watch Out – This is the second movie I found to be overrated. A Christmas horror/comedy that delivers on neither the laughs nor the thrills. A babysitting night taking a turn for the worst when one of the kids hold the babysitter hostage. Better Watch Out is just as obnoxious and unpleasant as it sounds. Ed Oxenbould and Olivia DeJonge of The Visit star in this stocking full of coal. If you want to watch a good Christmas movie with the right amount of charm, watch Krampus instead.


(Source: Variety)

4. Tulip Fever – This is what happens when a movie stars two Oscar winners–Alicia Vikander and Christoph Waltz. With an all-star cast, they lose their talents in a soapy, unintentionally silly, predictable, and relatively boring period piece set in 17th-century Amsterdam. Even the sex in this movie makes the sex in Fifty Shades of Grey look arousing. Although it has been delayed since the summer of 2016, it should have stayed on the shelves. I like costume dramas, but Tulip Fever is an absolute disaster on many levels.


(Source: Variety)

3. Fist Fight – Is it just me, or does it seem raunchy comedies have been getting exceptionally worse? Fist Fight is another prime example of a bad raunchy comedy. The jokes go overboard with stupidity, the characters are annoying, and the titular fight is so downright predictable. Just like everyone else, Charlie Day tries way too to be funny, especially when he yells at a high pitch. And also, why the hell are the teachers teaching class, if it’s the last day of school? This is the longest 90 minutes of my entire life!


(Source: The Guardian)

2. The Snowman – The movie has every ingredient of a great thriller; ranging from a great cast, great filmmaker, and based on a pretty damn good book by Jo Nesbø. However, with a part of screenplay being cut resulting in a rushed production is what makes The Snowman so bad. From start to finish, this is a boring, befuddled mess of a movie. The characters don’t amount to anything with the mystery. Michael Fassbender’s Harry Hole (supposed to be “hol-eh”, not “hole”) is nothing but a cliched, depressed alcoholic. Val Kilmer gives the weirdest performance of the year whose voice sounds obviously over-dubbed. Fingers crossed hoping there will be a good version of The Snowman someday. Thankfully, this isn’t the worst movie of the year.


(Source: Now Toronto)

1. The Bye Bye Man – This year has seen some great horror movies–from Jordan Peele’s Get Out to Stephen King’s new adaptation of It. First things first, we got The Bye Bye Man, perhaps the worst horror movie I’ve ever seen. It suffers from cheap scares, annoying-as-hell characters, hilarious deaths, and the mystery of “The Bye Bye Man” raises so many questions concerning the train accident, his CGI dog, and its origins. This movie has been delayed since 2016 as an excuse to re-edit it to a PG-13. Again, it should have remained on the shelf.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the ten movies I hated with a passion. Since I got my frustration out of the way, I can think about the good stuff. Stay tuned until January as I present you my list of the best movies of 2017. Please feel free to leave comments about your picks of the worst movies of the year. I’ll see you all in the new year!

Movie Review: Darkest Hour


Elizabeth Layton (Lily James) writes a little something on her typewriter for Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) in Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour. (Source: Seattle Times)

Starring in about a hundred films, Gary Oldman is one of the greatest character actors working today. Ranging from Sid Vicious (Sid and Nancy), Lee Harvey Oswald (JFK),  Commissioner Gordon (The Dark Knight films), Sirius Black (Harry Potter), Dracula, Stansfield (Leon: The Professional), and Zorg (The Fifth Element), he has one impressive repertoire. Now–he takes part in delivering the most ambitious role of his entire career.

Hundreds of actors have played U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill; from Timothy Spall in The King’s Speech to John Lithgow–a surprising turn–in Netflix’s The Crown. After spending 200 hours in the makeup chair, Oldman is unrecognizable as Churchill in Joe Wright’s new film Darkest Hour. With a screenplay written by Anthony McCarten, it might be a romanticized portrait of Churchill’s first days as Prime Minister, but there is a lot to like here.

In May of 1940, World War II is in full steam. Nazi Germany has just invaded Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Churchill (Oldman) steps in to replace Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup, who took John Hurt’s place after his death) as Prime Minister, accepted by King George VI (Ben Mendelsohn). Right away, he must find a solution to a peace agreement with Germany. With the support of his secretary Elizabeth Layton (Lily James) and wife Clementine (Kristin Scott Thomas), he does whatever he can to save British troops on the beaches of Dunkirk.

Darkest Hour makes a great triple feature with this year’s Their Finest and Dunkirk. Through the long, unbroken shots, the dramatic close-ups, and the gorgeous, vintage sets, this is pure Joe Wright. Oldman delivers his performance with enough wit and empathy that the audience forgets they are watching an actor. We laugh when we’re supposed to (“Will you stop interrupting me while I’m interrupting you!?” he sneers at his War Cabinet.), and we root for him every step of the way when he attempts to save the world.

While James and Mendelsohn are worth mentioning of their wonderful performances, Darkest Hour is Oldman’s show through and through. How can you not have the feeling of standing up and cheering after he delivers his famous “We shall fight on the beaches” speech in Parliament? I would be shocked if he doesn’t get nominated for an Oscar. He is long overdue for one!


Movie Review: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri


Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) gives a piece of her mind to Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell) in Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. (Source: Variety)

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is something Joel and Ethan Coen would direct. It has the dark comedy mixed with drama. Frances McDormand, Joel’s wife and collaborator, leads a terrific cast as a woman on a quest for the truth.

If only they were actually attached. However, that’s not the case.

Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) writes and directs this tale about the fight for justice. It’s foul-mouthed. It’s devastating. It’s violent. And it’s funny.

Divorced mother Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) has heard nothing about who is responsible for raping and murdering her daughter Angela seven months ago. She goes to the local advertising company to rent three billboards outside her home to get the attention from the authorities. They read: “RAPED WHILE DYING.” “STILL NO ARRESTS?” HOW COME, CHIEF WILLOUGHBY?”

After appearing on the news, she becomes a local celebrity. Not surprisingly, her decision of the billboards becomes a controversial topic. When Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) and Officer Dixon (the understated Sam Rockwell) get involved in the case, it’s on!

As a British filmmaker, McDonagh truly understands how messed up our world can be. Especially in America, there has been problems concerning police brutality over the years, from the Detroit riots to the incident in Ferguson. It’s still a recurring issue. Kudos to a razor-sharp script, Three Billboards showcases the madness within its protagonist and the small town she resides.

McDormand’s Hayes is somebody worth rooting for. Despite her frustration, she never backs down to have the police provide her any information about who the perpetrator is. Her morals come into play perfectly here. Her comedic timing is also the icing on the cake. When she drives pass the reporter about the billboards, she tells her this is only the beginning.

She also has a beautiful scene where she encounters a deer, a sign that it might be her daughter reincarnated. “You’re not trying to make me believe in reincarnation, are you?” she asks. “You’re pretty, but you ain’t her.” There is a possibility her brilliant performance will be a shoe-in for her first Oscar since Fargo.

Featuring career-best performances by Harrelson, Rockwell, Peter Dinklage, and Lucas Hedges, Ben Davis’ flawless cinematography, Carter Burwell’s stunning score, and perhaps one of the best screenplays of the year, Three Billboards is a terrific American movie. Certainly one worth discussing about for years to come.


Movie Review: Coco


Miguel and Héctor dance the night away in Coco, Disney/PIXAR’s latest film set during the Day of the Dead. (Source: IMDb)

PIXAR has created some of the most creative, the most wonderful, and the most original animated films of all-time. From the Toy Story films, Finding Nemo, Up, and Inside Out, they offer just enough humor and heart for the entire family. Inside Out and Finding Dory have both found their mojo after the disappointments of Cars 2 and Monsters University. Not to mention The Good Dinosaur (PIXAR’s first ever box-office flop) leaving a sour taste in my mouth. Now–Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) returns to the director’s chair, along with a massive crew, to bring a gorgeous glimpse of the Land of the Dead in Coco.

Set in a small Mexican village, 12-year-old Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) has dreams of becoming a gifted guitar player. However, his family has banned music of any kind for years. Inspired by late guitarist/classic movie star Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), he still wants to be just like him (“Seize your moment” was his famous catchphrase). One day, during the Day of the Dead parade, Miguel visits Ernesto’s tomb. He accidentally picks up his guitar, strums it, and begins to communicate with the dead. This leads him to the Land of the Dead, populated by walking skeletons. Along with his dog Dante (who is the only one from the Land of the Living who can see Miguel) and Héctor (Gael García Bernal), a skeleton joker, Miguel must find Ernesto before it’s too late.

For someone who loves the Spanish culture, I have never seen anything so alive (no pun intended)! With a talented voice cast with the likes of Edward James Olmos and comedian Gabriel Iglesias, Coco features everything I want it to be: humor, charm, twists and turns, beautiful music, flawless animation, and likable characters. It’s a delightful story of restoring one’s legacy. Easily one of PIXAR’s best!


Movie Review: Justice League


Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), and the rest prepare to kick some ass in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. (Source: IMDb)

The DC Extended Universe has finally released a great movie this year with Wonder Woman. Not only did it become the highest-grossing film ever to be directed by a female, but it sparked a new light into popular culture; as it did back in the 1970s. Wonder Woman teams up with Batman and new group of heroes in Justice League, the shortest film in the franchise (clocking in at two hours). Zack Snyder returns to the director’s chair to give a big, beautiful mess. Surprisingly, however, I find it to be quite solid.

After Batman’s (Ben Affleck) fight with Superman (Henry Cavill), Gotham City is in mourning after Superman’s death. Bruce Wayne recruits Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to save the world from a group of mythical aliens, led by Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds). They assemble the Justice League. This includes Barry Allen a.k.a. The Flash (Ezra Miller), Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and Victor Stone a.k.a. Cyborg (Ray Fisher). All of them work together to show Steppenwolf who’s boss.

I will never forget what Snyder did to ruin Batman vs. Superman. He has a tremendous visual style, but he never has enough substance to carry through. While Man of Steel had a different take on Superman, Batman vs. Superman fell apart after the first 30 minutes. The biggest problem with DCEU is how their movies (except Wonder Woman) take themselves so seriously. While Justice League can draw comparisons to The Avengers, I had a good time with it. With a screenplay written by Joss Whedon (of all people), the movie manages to have somewhat of a sense of humor. While the cast does a good job, Miller is the one who steals the show. He maintains Barry Allen’s geeky personality almost to perfection.

While there is a lot of kick-ass action to feast the eyes (how can you not get pumped during the scene where Wonder Woman takes down those terrorists in London?), the movie falters with its bland villain and dull subplots surrounding Superman and Lois Lane (Amy Adams). It’s riddled with holes and it should have been a little longer. But–at least we all got a taste of the upcoming Aquaman. And boy–does it look good!


Movie Review: Lady Bird


Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) with her boyfriend Danny (Lucas Hedges) in Lady Bird, directed by Greta Gerwig. (Source: IMDb)

Ah–how refreshing it is to see something totally original.

Lady Bird marks the directorial debut of Greta Gerwig. The offbeat actress is known for collaborating with Noah Baumbach in movies such as Frances Ha, Greenberg, and Mistress America. For her first film in which she also wrote the screenplay, she makes a coming-of-age tale based on her own life living in Sacramento, California, set almost exactly one year after 9/11. I have never seen a movie this touching all year.

Set during the 2002-2003 school year, Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan)–who chooses to go by “Lady Bird”–is a senior going to an all-girl Catholic high school. She really wants to move out of her parent’s house to go to college in New York City. Her mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf), a hard-working nurse, disapproves of her daughter leaving Sacramento and wants her to be close to home. Because she works double at the hospital, she struggles to give her enough support for Lady Bird and her unemployed husband Larry (Tracy Letts).

Throughout the school year, Lady Bird slowly begins to learn how to be accepted by those around her including best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein), her boyfriends Danny (Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea) and Kyle (Timothée Chalamet, the upcoming Call Me by Your Name), and her teachers.

The most rewarding aspect about Lady Bird is how Gerwig avoids any coming-of-age cliches. She puts the post-9/11 factors to fair use (“9/11 Never Forget” are the words on the bulletin board early in the film). For instance, the father is laid off at his job and is there for his daughter every step of the way about her decisions after high school. Every character feels like they are real people we see every day.

From delivering stellar performances in movies such as Atonement, Hanna, and Brooklyn, Saoirse Ronan dazzles once again as our protagonist. She’s not upset about the politics, but she wants to be accepted by her family and peers. Most importantly, her mother (Oscar-worthy performance by Metcalf). The dynamic between the two is easily the highlight of the film. They do argue with each other every now and then, but they love each other very much. When her mother tells her daughter to be the best version she can be, Lady Bird replies: “What if this is the best version?”

With Sam Levy’s smooth cinematography and a great soundtrack, Lady Bird is filled with twists, turns, and humor. There is one particularly hilarious scene where a priest (who is also a football coach) takes charge of the theater company. In preparation for the school’s production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, he shows the kids a play-by-play of how the play is going to turn out. What a delightful love letter to Gerwig’s hometown and one of the best films of 2017!


Movie Review: The Florida Project


Moonee (Brooklynn Kimberly Prince) and Jancey (Valeria Cotto) see a rainbow over the motel in Sean Baker’s The Florida Project (Source: IndieWire)

Director Sean Baker brought attention in 2015 with his indie film Tangerine. Shot entirely on an iPhone, it follows a transgender prostitute finding out her lover has cheated on her. On a $100,000 budget, its groundbreaking film techniques mixing with tough issues were enough reasons to make it the talk-of-the-town at its premiere at Sundance.

His new film, The Florida Project, gives the audience a glimpse of poverty through the eyes of a child. The results are simply electrifying!

Moonee (Brooklynn Kimberly Prince) is an optimistic 6-year-old girl living with her selfish, unemployed mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) at the Magic Castle, a run-down motel run by manager Bobby (Willem Dafoe), which is located near Walt Disney World. Set during the summer, Moonee and her friends–Jancey (Valeria Cotto) and Scooty (Christopher Rivera)–spend their free time getting into trouble, from spitting on a stranger’s car to setting an abandoned house on fire. This is a summer she will never forget.

The characters in The Florida Project feel like real people. Without any adult supervision, Moonee begins to see the world around her despite the situation she has to go through. With a breakout performance by Prince, she carries through providing the film’s humor and heart. Vinaite’s Halley takes zero shits from anybody while struggling to give the support she needs for her daughter (whom she loves with all of her heart), especially by earning spending her time selling cologne to tourists. The legendary Dafoe has delivered great performances over the years. He gives one of his finest of his career as a manager who always runs into problems at his motel.

There is irony when it comes to the “Happiest Place on Earth”. While not an easy movie to watch, one thing that makes The Florida Project so powerful is its message about the joys of childhood, even in an unpleasant environment. Shot almost entirely on 35 mm film, Baker’s wonderful direction and Alexis Zabe’s cinematography make every scene look like a painting coming to life. I love the scene where Moonee and Jancey sit on a tree while eating bread topped with jam. It might not be a movie I’ll watch again really soon, but seeing it once in theaters is an unforgettable

Movie Review: Only the Brave


Eric Marsh (Josh Brolin) and his team of firefighters take down wildfires in Only the Brave. (Source: AZ Central)

Based on an article in GQ magazine, Only the Brave is a powerful tribute to the Granite Mountain Hotshots, who work together to prevent the spread of wildfires in Arizona. Directed by Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy, Oblivion) and written by Ken Nolan and Eric Singer, this is a movie Peter Berg and Paul Greengrass would have directed if they used steadicam (I mean no disrespect). Josh Brolin leads a stellar cast as Eric Marsh, a fire chief of the Prescott Fire Department, who develops a team of firefighters including amateur Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller), womanizer Chris MacKenzie (Taylor Kitsch), Jesse Steed (James Badge Dale), and many others. Together, they bond as brothers. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. Most of all, it will make you soar. The scene where Marsh talks about his dream of a bear on fire is hard not to hold those tears back. “It was the most beautiful and most terrible thing I’ve ever seen,” he says.


Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok


Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) join to save the world in Thor: Ragnarok. (Source: Crave Online)

I enjoy Thor a lot as a character in the MCU. His first outing in 2011, directed by Kenneth Branagh (known for adapting some of William Shakespeare’s plays), had the right amount of fish-out-of-water humor, mythology, and action. While not perfect in any way, there is no doubt Chris Hemsworth was the perfect choice for Thor. The sequel, Thor: The Dark World, was quite underwhelming and, in my opinion, the weakest entry in the MCU. This time, there is no Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, and Stellan Skarsgård. New Zealand director Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) is the perfect choice to direct Thor: Ragnarok, in which it never takes itself seriously.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is back with a new haircut, new group, and a new motivation.. He finds himself on the planet Sakaar, ruled by the deadpan Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). Without his trusty hammer Mjolnir, he must fight to the death against the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) in a duel, which excites him (“We know each other! He’s a friend from work!”). Why does he do it? It’s the only way for him to return to his homeland to prevent Ragnarok, destroying Asgardian civilization. Thor and Bruce Banner join Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), and Korg (Taika Waititi) to stop the evil Hela (Cate Blanchett) and save Asgard.

Thor: Ragnarok has a Guardians of the Galaxy vibe. Not only is it visually stunning and action-packed (how can you not smile when Led Zeppelin’s “The Immigrant Song” is playing during the opening scene?), it’s also really funny (probably just as funny as Guardians). Waititi also does a great job expanding Norse mythology. Hemsworth proves he still has it; succeeding the physicality and emotional gravity of the story. The supporting cast is memorable. Waititi is known for starring in his own movies. Thor: Ragnarok is no exception. He provides some really funny lines as Korg, a rock warrior imprisoned on Sakaar. Blanchett is downright awesome as Hela, who plans on taking over Asgard. Great stuff!


TV Review: Stranger Things (Season 2)


Will (Noah Schnapp) and the gang (Finn Wolfhard, Caleb McLaughlin, Gaten Matarazzo) notice something weird for the second time in their hometown in the new season of Stranger Things. (Source: Nerdist)

I had no idea what I was in for before watching the first season of Stranger Things last year. From the very first scene (paying homage to E.T.), I knew I was in for a treat! Each episode did not disappoint. It never ceased to surprise me, make me laugh, scared, and imagining I lived during the Reagan era. I recently rewatched it in preparation for the new season. It was great to see these characters I have known and loved (and loved to hate). With season two, the Duffers continue to bring back what made its previous season a joy.

In 1984, a year after Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) returned from the Upside Down, the town of Hawkins is preparing for Halloween. However, it’s struggling to go back the way things were. Pumpkins are beginning to rot, Will is being picked on at school (“Zombie Boy” is what his classmates call him) and is suffering from post-traumatic stress. He is seeing visions of a giant monster terrorizing the entire town. His condition is worsening every single day. His mom Joyce (Winona Ryder), his older brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and the new kid Maxine (Sadie Sink) are with him every step of the way trying to get rid of his condition.

It’s great to see these characters evolve over the course of one season (also continuing to deliver wonderful performances). Officer Hopper (David Harbour) is still dealing with the loss of his only child. He’s trying to do it all over again while protecting Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown)–now with slightly longer hair. Of course, there will be discipline. For Eleven, however, she is wondering all her life who her real parents were. She goes through Hopper’s paper clippings, and goes out of his way to meet her mother (prepare the tissues). Meanwhile, after what she put Will through last time, Joyce will always be there to protect her kids. This time around, Joyce has never experienced Will’s peculiar behavior until his return from the Upside Down.

The most interesting story arc of all is of Nancy (Natalia Dyer). She is grieving the loss of her best friend Barb (a favorite among fans; not to mention social media users using #JusticeforBarb). She and Jonathan decide to take a road trip on whether authorities know where she is. I love their dynamic because they trust in one another–in my opinion, they make better pair than Nancy and Steve (Joe Keery)–and, just like the younger kids, they don’t take shit from anybody.

There are new faces in the new season. Joyce’s new boyfriend Bob (Sean Astin) is a particularly great addition. A techie who works at the RadioShack hopes to be a positive influence on the family, especially Will. There is a great scene where they are talking in the car. Bob understands Will’s situation. He talks to him about standing up to his biggest fear. He explains that he used to have nightmares about this monster as a kid. One night, he tells it to simply “go away”. Then, his nightmares washed away. He’s suggesting to step up and be a man.

The Shadow Monster, inspired by H.P. Lovercraft, is just as eerie as the Demogorgon. The soundtrack features some of the best songs of the time, from Bon Jovi’s “Runaway to The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” (also used in the first season where Jonathan reminisces him listening to this song with Will) to Duran Duran’s “Girls on Film”, and the list goes on and on. I would like to have the next season to feature A-ha’s “Take on Me”.

While I enjoy the show, it does drag a bit and the tone shifts during the seventh episode. It doesn’t feel like I’m watching the same show at times. But–the Duffers put things back on track to provide the thrills, pure emotion, and laughs (i.e. Dustin making a new pet gets a chuckle here and there). The finale is some of the craziest fun I’ve ever had. And the very last scene in the episode is nothing short of perfect! I hope the Duffers keep it up in the future.



My Top 5 Favorite Episodes:
1. “Chapter Nine: The Gate”
2. “Chapter Eight: The Mind Flayer”
3. “Chapter Five: Dig Dug”
4. “Chapter One: Madmax”
5. “Chapter Two: Trick or Treat, Freak”