The Netflix Files: April 20, 2012

The Netflix Files works to find the hidden gems of Netflix’s Watch Instantly feature, the films and TV shows that have gone largely unnoticed by the streaming community. This ever-popular column has been on indefinite hiatus all semester due to other commitments.

You don't want no part of this shit.

While you decide how you want to spend this glorious Friday of Spring Weekend, April 20th of the last year before the earth implodes, be sure to stay cognizant of the dangers of Marihuana addiction, as highlighted by the 1936 classic Reefer Madness.

That’s right, the “new drug menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly increasing numbers” might even find its way onto our beloved campus. Think of how much less fun the What Cheer? Brigade would be if you spent the whole concert wanting to rape, murder, run over pedestrians with your new T-Bird and/or leap out a third-story window just because you think you can fly. Because that’s what you’re looking at with Public Enemy Number One — La Marihuana. Continue Reading

BlogDailyHerald predicts The 2012 Oscars

In anticipation of the 84th Academy Awards ceremony to be held this Sunday night (7pm, ABC), BlogDailyHerald is once again breaking down the major categories for you.

If anything, 2011 was a year marked by nostalgia. Martin Scorsese’s 3D family film Hugo explored the birth of film as an imaginative medium, while its rival The Artist functioned as a love letter to the long-gone silent film genre. Gil Pender, the protagonist of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, contemplated whether nostalgia for a past decade should dominate one’s opinion of the present. The Muppets reminded us of the ragtag band of puppets we’d left behind with the birth of CGI. Of the Best Picture nominees, only one (The Descendants) didn’t take place in the past.

That being said, it’s appropriate that we take another look into the past, to celebrate the films of 2011 that awed and inspired (and sometimes underwhelmed) us. Continue Reading

The Netflix Files: February 9, 2012

Although you may not have known about it, this past Monday, Netflix released its initial venture into original programming to American subscribers. The entire eight-episode first season of Lilyhammer, a fish-out-of-water dramedy about a mafioso trudging his way through snow-coated Lillehammer, Norway, is now available at the click of a button. But is it worth watching?

Norway seems to think so. One million Norwegians tuned in to watch the pilot of Lilyhammer when it premiered there last month. That’s roughly one-fifth of their total population.

It’s also a very, very weird show.

Steven Van Zandt, the star, co-writer and executive producer of the series, is perhaps better known for his role as “Little Steven,” the guitarist and backing vocalist for Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band. He is also recognizable to American audiences for his first and only acting role prior to Lilyhammer as consigliere Silvio Dante on HBO’s The Sopranos. Continue Reading

The Netflix Files: February 2, 2012

For Netflix, 2011 was a pivotal year in determining the company’s sustainability in the face of a flagging home video market and the push toward streamed content. The near-fatal price hike announced in July lost Netflix 800,000 subscribers, and CEO Reed Hastings’ seemingly endless flow of apology emails (as well as one particularly stubborn pothead on Twitter) continued to diminish brand loyalty. In the midst of this, Netflix examined new ways to stay relevant, initiating its unprecedented foray into original content with Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards and the highly-anticipated Arrested Development mini-season. The year culminated on an optimistic note, as stock began to recuperate and Netflix regained 610,000 subscribers.

In light of this, let’s reflect on the significance of 2011 by taking a look at Netflix’s streaming selection of films released last year: the good, the bad and the direct-to-the-bargain-bin-at-Tedeschi shit Nicolas Cage churned out so he wouldn’t have to sell another home. Continue Reading

Web Civ: The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project Wraps Up

A while back, we published a post featuring The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project, in which Northwestern student Lawrence Dai vowed to sit through a full screening of Julie & Julia (2009) every single day for the course of a year and blog about his experience. It was a venture undertaken at the cost of 44,895 man-hours and compromised mental health. Two weeks ago, he hit his 365th watch.

We think it’s best to start at the very beginning in order to properly track Lawrence’s descent into madness (and the evolution of his pending plan to assassinate Amy Adams), but we know you’re busy and all so we’ve composed our own greatest hits from the blog:

Day 1: “This film is simply delightful!” Just you wait.

Day 13: Lawrence begins to match lyrics from Kanye West’s My Dark Twisted Fantasy to what’s going on in the movie. “I don’t need your pussy, bitch, I’m on my own dick” apparently coordinates with Julie’s husband (“Not-Mark-Ruffalo”) looking at her.  Continue Reading

The Netflix Files: December 8, 2011

Everyone in the whole world agrees that Arrested Development was a brilliant show cancelled before its time. Those very same people are now up in arms about the fate of Community, which was recently put on hiatus midseason by NBC.

Vulture takes a rational look at the announcement and deduces that there’s a 70-30 chance that the show will see a Season 4. But if it does, will we demand that an even unlikelier Season 5 come next year (or, more accurately, six-seasons-and-a-movie)? Don’t get me wrong, I think Community is one of the funniest, smartest, bestest comedies on television, but when the study group graduates, where do they go next? Do they resort to teaching, like Dr. Cox and Turk in that last season of Scrubs we’d all like to pretend doesn’t exist? Does Ed Helms eventually take over and pretend no one notices that he’s pulling the exact same schtick as the last guy? Will anyone still give a fuck who the mother is?

I’m firmly in the camp that Community should be granted the four years necessary for a Greenvale diploma, but after that it might be time to call it quits. A show overextending its welcome is far worse than being prematurely cancelled. The entire basis of Community, as showrunner Dan Harmon conceived of it, warrants four years and nothing more (except maybe an awesome post-series movie).

Party Down (2009-2010) is widely considered another brilliant-show-cancelled-before-its-time. It aired on Starz, where it received almost no attention, and it’s known mainly for featuring a pre-Glee Jane Lynch, who ditched the show when Fox came calling. It follows the antics of a catering crew that works various absurd events, ranging from Pepper McMasters Single Seminar to the Stennheiser-Pong Wedding Reception. Party Down was smart, witty and endearing – it also ends on the perfect note, after two seasons and twenty episodes total. Continue Reading