It feels so hard not to love Stranger Things. I get that some people see too many bits and pieces of other shows and movies they love inside of it, but I think the reason the series works so well is that it treats all of those elements with the perfect balance of seriousness and whimsy. If someone's a ridiculous conspiracy theorist, they get played as wacky and out there, but they also get to be surprisingly prescient, as you'd expect in a world where the government is hiding a portal into another dimension.
What I think is especially wonderful is how you can watch a nine-hour adventure starring a bunch of middle school students and so often forget that you're watching a story about children. The Stranger Things kids get taken seriously and are never played off as being silly and immature. And in fact, the naiveté and creativity that comes along with being children continually serves them well. Referencing a Dungeons & Dragons manual really shouldn't help one defeat any real-world problem; but here, it always lends some wisdom that adults never would have thought to look for.
At the same time, I think this season may have done an even better job of exploring the challenges of growing up — romantic interests, friends growing apart, deciding who you want to be and model yourself after. There's been a lot of debate over whether all of these things work as well as they're intended to, and sure, not everything is perfect. But I enjoyed watching season two every bit as much as season one. There really isn't anything else quite as fun on TV.
Check out nine trailers from this week below.
This is pretty neat. Ghost Stories is a single film made up of three separate ghost stories, all held together by a single framing story. To tease the film, IFC put out three separate trailers this week, each focusing on one of the movie's three stories. The first is above, but you can watch the others here and here. There's no release date just yet. It's planned for some time in 2018.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
After the last Star Wars trailer came out, I decided not to watch any more Star Wars trailers — so I haven't actually watched this one. I might even recommend you not watch this one too if you're already sold on the movie. But if you really can't wait, it sounds like there are some real fan-pleasing shots in this short teaser. The movie comes out in just over a month, on December 15th.
Okay, normally I won’t post teasers if they don't actually show the movie they're about, but this one earns it. Slice is by the director behind the wonderful music video for Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment's equally wonderful "Sunday Candy," and it also stars Chance the Rapper. Not only that, but this teaser is one big throwback to the game Line Rider, which I now have a weird nostalgia for even though I haven't thought about it in a decade. (It still exists!) The teaser even recreates a popular Line Rider video, with the same music and much of the same track. Does this have anything to do with the movie? I have no idea, and honestly, I don't care. I love it. Slice comes out sometime next year.
After getting a short teaser the other week, we now have a full trailer for I, Tonya, the surprisingly energetic, vulgar, and violent film about former Olympic figure skating sensation Tonya Harding, whose involvement in an attack on another skater got her banned for life from the US Figure Skating Association. The movie looks like a ton of fun and a far from typical biopic. It comes out sometime this winter.
The Disaster Artist
There have been a bunch of trailers for this already, but watching James Franco pretend to be Tommy Wiseau is just too much fun to ignore. The Disaster Artist comes out December 8th.
In the Fade
In the Fade is Germany's tragically relevant submission for this year's foreign language Oscar. It's a thriller about a woman trying to get revenge after neo-Nazis kill her husband. Reviews have been mixed so far, but Diane Kruger won best actress at Cannes this year for her performance. The film comes to the US on December 27th.
Starz has a new sci-fi series coming up that has J.K. Simmons playing two roles — alternate versions of the same character from connected worlds. The premise seems to have something to do with the Cold War, government secrets, and messing with a near-parallel world. I don't think it's all supposed to be totally clear from this trailer, but it sounds like an interesting setup. The series starts January 21st.
Well this is... something. This documentary goes behind the scenes with the subject and writer of “The Voyeur's Motel,” Gay Talese's scandalous 2016 New Yorker piece about a motel owner who spied on his customers for decades. There was a lot of backlash after the piece's publication, and Talese even disavowed it (briefly) after discovering some discrepancies in the motel owner's accounts. This documentary seems to retell the story and follow along with the ensuing drama. It comes out December 1st.
How did such a good cast get involved in such a bizarre movie?