Tag Archives: Pick of the Week

Netflix Pick of the Week: Scream

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Released in 1996

Since I’ve been on a Wes Craven kick I’ve decided to choose this nineties gem and Kevin Williamson written slasher starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Jamie Kennedy and Drew Barrymore as my Netflix Pick of the Week. A standout picture that has now become cliche due to the saturated market of teen horror that has tried to imitate it, Scream is a great movie born out of a clever script.

Self aware and witty, this nineties slasher knew what it was doing. Scream is more than your typical horror film, while playing with some of the rules set in to motion before slasher scripts were a thing, Scream found its own way in to the heads of its audience. While there are certain things you may question (check out cinema sins Everything Wrong with Scream) the good far out ways the bad. An enjoyable movie that I return to at least once a year, Scream is a classic thanks to great direction by Craven and a fun script by Williamson.

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The cast of characters are far more complex than the characters of this films predecessors. Randy, played by Jamie Kennedy, is the know-it all film buff. He is the odd one out in a group of friends including final girl, Sidney Prescott, who is still reeling from mother’s murder one year prior to the events of the film. Her boyfriend Billy Loomis, with his perfect teen heartthrob hair, is the brooding type while his best friend Stu is the goofball. Tatum is the best friend and the perfect foil to her good girl friend, Sidney. Apart from the high school students is Dewey, a sheriff and brother to Tatum, and Gale Weathers, a reporter who believes Sidney was wrong about the man she accused of killing her mother. There is also a special appearance by Henry Wrinkler as the Principle and a cameo by Director Wes Craven who appears as a Janitor that looks suspiciously like Freddy Kruger.

The film is brutal but not gory. Funny and is dramatic without becoming overly cheesy. There are many ways this film could have gone wrong but while refusing to take itself seriously, Scream is able to standout in a difficult genre.

Checkout MTV’s Scream, on Netflix, A Nightmare on Elm Street and New Nightmare by Director Wes Craven are on Netflix and The Vampire Diaries and The Following created by Kevin Williams are also available on the streaming website.

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Netflix Pick of the Week: Sunset Boulevard

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Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond

Los Angeles resident and famed director Billy Wilder wondered about the lives of retired actresses famous in the days of silent pictures. They still lived in the grand Beverly Hills houses they bought during their career. How is their existence molded by their past lives as film stars? Wilder concocted his own story and imagined the world of an aging, reclusive former film star he named Norma Desmond.

Starring former Vamp of the silver screen, Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard was destined to be a hit. Along side the legendary actress, William Holden starred as down on his luck screenwriter Joe Gillis.  Told in flashback and narrated by Gillis as he recalls the events leading up to his death.

Sunset Boulevard stands out in a genre that had become saturated by the time of its release. A large part of that is most likely due to co-writer Charles Brackett and Writer/Director Wilder who is famous for his work in Noir; having directed two of the best in the genre. Before Sunset Boulevard, Wilder made Double Indemnity, a 1944 Film Noir starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. Double Indemnity is often sited as the film that fits into most categories in the genre and six years later Wilder would direct Desmond, I mean Gloria Swanson in her close up.

Even if you haven’t seen this film chances are you can picture it. A garish middle aged women, a reclusive film star who lives in the past; her dreams of a comeback subverted by her break from reality. Sunset Boulevard’s image of Desmond descending the stairs is engrained in the minds of film lovers everywhere.

Sunset Boulevard is one of my favorites from the genre. It almost acts as a satire of both Film Noir and the industry itself. Not a lot has changed in the years since so many women everywhere can relate to the harsh reality of aging. Apparently we just aren’t as appealing to an audience of men that want us stuck in our twenties. For actresses their careers are harder to lengthen due to the lack of roles offered to women as they age. For men however their careers seem to get better. Norma Desmond is a product of the fantasy world that created her and spat her out when she got a little too old to stand next to the men her age. Stuck in the fantasy world of her own making and with the help of her butler Norma Desmond tries to find a way back into the world she once loved so much but it is her break with reality that will be her final undoing.

Sunset Boulevard is available to watch on Netflix. Below is a clip from the film and an introduction into the crazy world of Desmond herself.

“I am big, it’s the pictures that got small”.