30 Days 30 Netflix Movies: Safety Not Guaranteed

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FilmDistrict / Big Beach

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) stars Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass and Jake Johnson in a movie about time travel and finding yourself. Darius (Plaza) is an intern at Seattle Magazine whose life is figuratively and semi-literally in the toilet. She volunteers to investigate an ad seeking a time travel companion with magazine writer Jeff (Johnson) and fellow intern, Arnau (Karan Soni).

They find Kenneth (Duplass), who wrote the ad, pretty quickly and discover he’s a bit weird. He thinks he’s constantly being followed by the ever-present Them, the government. Darius doubles down and matches his idiosyncrasies, gaining his trust.

Kenneth is like a manchild, completely stunted and lost in time with his denim jacket and old car. Still, he’s intense and endearing. There’s an especially adorable montage where Kenneth and Darius go through weapons and fitness training.

Meanwhile, Jeff tries to meet up with a hookup from decades ago. Ass that he is at this point, he sees her, writes her off as overweight (she isn’t) and is done with it. Jeff gives her another chance at the urging of intern Arnau and surprise, she’s a beautiful person.

Darius tries to figure out Kenneth and whether or not his claims of time travel capabilities are legit, while Jeff tries to sort out what kind of a man he is. Amazingly, this is one of those movies in which virtually everyone experiences pretty major character growth. Kudos to writer, Derek Connolly.

It’s important for me to note that Mary Lynn Rajskub (badass Chloe on 24) looks smoking hot in the dress she wears in her first scene and that I will always have her song from Gilmore Girls stuck in my head.

Also, Kristen Bell has a tiny, kind of icky part later on in the movie. However, I like seeing her face so it was a nice surprise.

The journey in Safety Not Guaranteed is everything but the end result is pretty damn awesome, too. I liked it a lot so I’m going to break my own rule and out of Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It and Hated It Like Poison, I’m giving it Liked It (A Lot).

PS – I lost 15 minutes of my life trying to figure out if I spotted Jorma Taccone (SNL, The Lonely Island) in an early scene or if I was going insane. It’s him but the verdict is still out on the latter. Big thank you to Karan Soni, who favorited my tweet about it.

30 Days 30 Netflix Movies: Heathers

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Getty Images

Heathers (1988) stars Winona Ryder and Christian Slater in a classic tale of girl with hell-bitch friends meets outsider boy who turns out to be a psychopath. We’ve all been there.

Veronica (Ryder) is popular because she can be. Her friends, Heather, Heather and Heather, who all have last names but are really Red Heather, Yellow Heather and Green Heather (Shannen Doherty), are vicious little bitches who like terrorizing their classmates. Veronica isn’t like that but goes along with most of it because high school. Enter JD (Christian Slater).

There’s nothing I could tell most of you that you don’t already know or quote by heart. Heathers covers it all: shit-ass friends, aggressive diary writing, suicide, school violence, rapey sons of bitches and how high school is temporary and never fair.

Usually with movies that are cult classics or mega hyped up, my watching experience is completely different than I expected. Somehow, Heathers was exactly what I expected and that’s a good thing. It’s obvious how Heathers influenced films like Jawbreaker and Mean Girls. Every decade needs its God, high school girls are evil bitches movie but lucky (or unlucky) for us, they all still ring true, years later.

It is weird to watch Heathers now with its discussion on teen suicide and JD’s plan to blow up the school. It’s where crazy shit belongs though, in movies and not actually happening in schools with events unfolding in real time on cable news tickers and Twitter.

If you haven’t seen it, go for it. If you have, check it out again. Out of Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It or Hated It Like Poison, Heathers gets the first Loved It.

30 Days 30 Netflix Movies: The Family

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EuropaCorp, TF1 Films Production, Grive Productions.

Full disclosure: I’m an enormous Luc Besson fan. I mean, The Fifth Element, The Professional, Taken, Lockout? Come on. And Lucy, in theaters July 25, looks amazing.

In The Family, the Manzoni family has been in witness protection for ten years due to the patriarch, Giovanni (Robert De Niro), snitching on his mafia family. The Manzonis, now the Blakes, arrive in Normandy, France, a steep step down from their previous higher-end digs.

The Manzonis have a bounty on their heads, of course, and the mafia has never stopped searching for them, even murdering the wrong family of four.

There’s nothing to do in town but this isn’t new for the kids, Belle and Warren (Dianna Agron and John D’Leo), who fall into their familiar pattern of conning, assault, power plays and generally taking no shit from anyone.

Gio and Maggie (Michelle Pfeiffer) have a harder time assimilating. Maggie used to be the life of the party and has zero patience for the way locals treat her. Gio, against all rules set by his Witsec handler, Stansfield (Tommy Lee Jones), sits in the house’s rundown greenhouse, writes his memoirs and sneaks out every chance he can get. He solves problems his way, which includes violence and intimidation and a lot of it. But haven’t we all wanted to beat a plumber who tried to rip us off or a jerk who interrupts us mid-sentence?

Besson has a history of writing and featuring the most kickass female characters in his movies. This is no exception. Dianna Agron delivers a hell of a speech to rapey boys in the park, one of which she just beat the crap out of with a tennis racket. Michelle Pfeiffer, only slightly more restrained, serves up her vengeance with a polite smile and extra lighter fluid. No one in this movie messes around.

Belle turns out to be a lovestruck 17 year old girl. I accept it and it made sense as I, too, was once a 17 year old girl but it disappointed me. I wanted her to be a female-avenging, ultraviolent, superhero psychopath and not get taken in by some dude who’s a bit cute and a lot into math.

The Family has the action, clever humor and characters to root for that is expected from a Luc Besson film and puts a new twist on the mob movie. I truly enjoyed Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer’s performances. I’m glad they finally got to share scenes on screen together, as they never have before. Out of Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It and Hated It Like Poison, I have to give it a Liked It*.

* My internet was worse than a thousand armpits and it took me a day to gather up enough internets to play the whole thing. I would definitely watch it again, in one sitting, instead of a hundred separate ones. Kiss kiss, Verizon.

30 Days 30 Netflix Movies: Hick

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Phase 4 Films

Hick (2011), written by Andrea Portes (who also wrote the novel), directed by Derick Martini (Lymelife) and starring Chloƫ Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, Carrie), Eddie Redmayne (Les Mis) and Blake Lively (Gossip Girl) is strange and gorgeous. Luli (Moretz) is a thirteen year old bar baby, as her peers call her, that spends her time drawing lush pictures in her notebook and hanging out at the local bar.

Her mother is a professional barfly, her father is a fall down alcoholic and all the regulars know Luli, giving her gifts including a 7-11 keychain for her 13th birthday party in the bar. She’s also given a .45 that she points at Lux, her mother’s new guy, when Luli finds him in her house at 8am the next day. He mistakenly calls it a gun.

Luli has a fondness for classic movies, quoting them in the mirror as she wishes she was anyone else, anywhere else. She decides to run away to Vegas, meeting Eddie (Eddie Redmayne), a cowboy with a limp and an anger problem, and Glenda (Blake Lively), Luli’s smooth talking, optimist fairy godmother, along the way.

Because the world is impossibly small when you want it to be infinite, Glenda and Eddie know each other. Neither fills Luli in on their acquaintance and she, like us, isn’t exactly prepared for what she finds out on her way to Vegas.

It’s an independent film, to be sure, but one that knows what it is and what it wants to say. It’s strange but in an endearing way and Luli’s drawings help connect the dots in her past and present. ChloĆ« Grace Moretz is in virtually every scene and carries it well. Blake Lively was a nice surprise as Glenda. I’m pretty sure we don’t give her enough credit as an actress. Eddie Redmayne was both charming and terrifying. Translation: he did a phenomenal job.

Ray McKinnon showed up about 35 minutes in, which was a nice surprise for this Rectify and Ginny Mule Pictures loving girl. I see he’s also going to be in Mud, another movie on my playlist for this month, so I have that to look forward to.

Hick isn’t the happiest of movies but it manages to end in a positive way. For this series, I’m giving movies a Loved It, Liked It, Didn’t Like It or Hated It Like Poison rating. Hick gets Liked It from me, so check it out sometime.

30 Days 30 Netflix Movies

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If you’re anything like me, you add things to your Netflix queue and leave them there to die. I decided to change this by watching 30 movies from my queue during July. I’m calling it 30 Days 30 Netflix Movies. I’ll be watching all kinds of movies I’ve never seen: new, old, classic and possibly craptastic.

I know July has 31 days but James Gunn and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy comes out on August 1, and I need a day to prepare. Seriously.

Day one hit a snag when Sexy Evil Genius with Katee Sackhoff, Seth Green and Michelle Trachtenberg was removed overnight. I replaced it on the list with In Bruges, which was probably a good idea all around.

The list below is not in any order and I’ll be choosing that day’s movie based on what I feel like watching / what my cat chooses / the weather / because reasons.

1 The Family
2 Girl Most Likely
3 Mud
4 Charlie Countryman
5 Star Trek Into Darkness
6 Cloudy 2
7 Don Jon
8 Tiger Eyes
9 Short Term 12
10 Odd Thomas
11 Kill Me Later
12 Hick
13 Sexy Evil Genius /removed. In Bruges
14 Paradise
15 My Week With Marilyn
16 To The Wonder
17 Upside Down
18 Safe Haven
19 The Ledge
20 Family Weekend
21 The Paperboy
22 Jeff Who Lives at Home /removed! Rapture-Palooza
23 Safety Not Guaranteed
24 Bully
25 Paranorman
26 Heathers
27 Compliance
28 Timer
29 Ondine
30 Say Anything

Join me and watch some from my list or your own queue. It’ll be fun or something! Comment here with what you’re watching or tweet me @boxcollection or using #30Days30NetflixMovies. I know it’s long. It’ll be okay. We’ve got each other and our Netflix accounts.

On TV Tonight: Tuesday, January 7

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FX Networks

Justified is back! Season 5 premieres tonight on FX at 10pm EST. Tonight, Raylan deals with a bunch of Crowes that arrive in town. Michael Rapaport (He’s been in everything. You know him.) plays the formidable head of the Crowe family. Meanwhile, Boyd struggles with Ava being locked away and the episode ends on a scene Walton Goggins told EW “forever change[d] the way that I view Boyd Crowder.” I’m dying to find out what that scene is all about.

Agents of Shield is also back and all new on ABC at 8pm. Tonight promises to deliver information on what happened to Coulson after Avengers. It doesn’t look like Tahiti was as magical of a place as we’ve been led to believe.

What are you watching tonight?

To My Tall Girls, Wherever You May Be

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Dear tall girls,

Despite what the new TurboTax commercial says, you’re not tall in a gross way. What does that even mean? All heights are normal and beautiful. But just in case you’re in that awful, awkward teenage zone where everything about you seems like a point against you, listen to me: You are perfect.

Do you tower over other people in school? Do strangers on the street stop you to ask how tall you are, do you play basketball, volleyball, will you get this item off of this high shelf? Do you hear random people make stunned and kind of rude (and sometimes very rude) comments about your height when you pass by? Do people occasionally just straight up stare at you? It’s not weird. They’re weird. You’re perfect.

I’m 6’1″ and a half and female, and that’s strange for some people, I guess. I’d always been tall for my age but then I grew seven inches in one year of middle school. That made me Tall. And you know what? I like it. It’s perfect.

There are lots of affordable options now for buying jeans and dress pants. No more specialty stores or men’s jeans. You can get cute 37″ inseam jeans readily online, from stores like Alloy.com. No, seriously, some are ripped and badass and others have rhinestones for when you want to go bling-blanging down the halls. It’s perfect.

Most importantly, don’t take criticism from some stupid tax commercial in which a helpless woman needs a man to answer questions and do her taxes for her. Uh, hello? You don’t need a guy for any of that. You also don’t need TurboTax. There are lots of options if you don’t want to do them yourself. Trust me. It’s perfect.

So, tall girl, know this: high school ends, real life (which is much better) begins and you are not now, nor were you ever, gross. You’re perfect and I love you, just as you are.*

*Okay part of that is from Bridget Jones’ Diary but I’m pretty certain Mark Darcy would back me up on this.

PS – Don’t put your shirts in the dryer.

Christmas TV Episodes to Watch on Netflix

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The CW Network, LLC.

Looking to mix up your Christmas watching a bit? Try out these great Christmas TV episodes.

Malcolm in the Middle
Christmas (season 3, episode 7) – Fed up with the boys ruining everything, Lois cancels Christmas until the boys prove they can behave. This upsets Hal, who very much loves Christmas. Cloris Leachman won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy for this episode.

Christmas Trees (season 5, episode 7) – Hal is laid off before Christmas and decides to sell Christmas trees with the boys. Meanwhile, Lois and her team at Lucky Aide hunt down a possibly rabid squirrel.

Frasier
Frasier Grinch (season 3, episode 9) – Frasier and Niles hit the mall to find educational toys for Frasier’s son, despite Martin advising him the hot toy that year is the Outlaw Laser Robo Geek.

Many more below, including Supernatural, How I Met Your Mother, Buffy and Robert Downey Jr.

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