The Queue: Netflix originals summer 2016

Nurah Lambert, Contributing Reporter

As the new semester begins, the switch must be made from idly binge-watching Netflix in the summer, to stress-watching Netflix instead of studying for midterms. Luckily, the range of procrastination material has expanded exponentially with the increase of not only new additions to Netflix’s archive, but also with the growing number of Netflix Original series and movies.

“The Fundamentals of Caring”: 2.5/5 stars

Failed ex-novelist Ben, played by Paul Rudd, is out of work, low on money and almost without dignity. If he isn’t still at rock bottom, he’s very recently recovering. In an act of masked paternal redemption, he takes a job as a caregiver for a cynical boy with muscular dystrophy named Trevor (Craig Roberts).

Following the generic skeletal storyline of many indie coming-of-age films, the two commence a transformative journey together. They road trip through America, hunt for a variety of “World’s Biggest (insert noun here),” pick up a pretty, foul-mouthed runaway named Dot (Selena Gomez) and discover Slim Jims. Based off the novel “The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving” by Jonathan Evison, “The Fundamentals of Caring” is trite, to say it plainly. Although the characters have motivations and emotions, they don’t translate clearly onto the screen, causing the characters to appear empty.

The filmmakers seemed to curate the cinematography and editing more than the actual story development. The landscape shots are stunning even when the plot fails to impress. With the tongue-in-cheek humor and quasi-clever dialogue, the film isn’t completely unenjoyable; it’s just not all that memorable.

“Stranger Things”: 4/5 stars

Set in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana in 1983, “Stranger Things” chronicles the narrative of a missing preteen boy, the friends and family who search for him, an otherworldly monster and a strange, young runaway girl. They sound like a motley crew, but, surprisingly, they all come together pleasantly in this nod to vintage film.

Directors Ross and Matt Duffer admit to drawing inspiration from science fiction maestro Steven Spielberg and distinguished horror novelist Stephen King, creating a hearty mix between “The Goonies,” “E.T.,” and “It.”

Because they don’t bury emotional substance beneath cheap thrills and jump scares, the show becomes more wholesome and more realistic. You can almost envision yourself alongside the gaggle of preteen boys playing Dungeons & Dragons in the basement.

Despite its ’80s feel running deep, the story still has a certain relevance to the audience. As society’s cinematic palate evolves, storytelling through television changes as well and the integration of vintage visual aesthetic and modern-day storytelling blend seamlessly.

“The Get Down”: 3.5/5 stars

The death of disco and the birth of hip-hop come to life with Baz Luhrmann’s latest project, “The Get Down,” set in the late ’70s in dilapidated South Bronx.

The Netflix original series tells the story of how a teenage boy name Ezekiel “Books” Figuero (Justice Smith) and his assorted group of friends discovered hip-hop under the guidance of a red Puma-wearing graffiti artist and aspiring DJ named Shaolin Fantastic (Shameik Moore).

Zeke is a romantic who recites tender poetry to the love of his life, Mylene Cruz (Herizen F. Guardiola), a pastor’s daughter and aspiring disco singer trying to make it out of the Bronx. Visuals are saturated, grandiose and idealistic, which stirred negative reviews that claimed the film wasn’t as gritty as it should have been. It seems, however, that it intended to be a fun, youthful interpretation.

In fact, the youthfulness of the cast both foils and complements the city. They juxtapose the crumbling infrastructure of the Bronx, while fitting the vivaciousness of the disco scene and underground hip-hop setting.

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