Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed (2021) – Paints An Interesting Picture

Released: 25th August
Seen: 6th September

Bob Ross Happy Accidents Betrayal & Greed Info

Between 1983 and 1994, Bob Ross delighted viewers with his charming little show The Joy Of Painting. For over 400 episodes, Bob and a series of guest stars would talk the viewer through methods of painting landscapes and he became a cultural phenomenon. Even now, years after his passing, the image of the cheerful man with the giant afro and the well-used painter’s palette is iconic. Hell, it’s well known enough that a recent episode of Drag Race had someone recreate the look with a wig made of squirrels (and sure, they were in the bottom that week but you still knew who they were). Well, turns out the story of Bob Ross’ legacy wasn’t exactly as happy as the little trees that were in many of his paintings.

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He’s All That (2021) – That Don’t Impress Me Much

Released: 27th August
Seen: 29th August

He's All That Info

Pygmalion is a 1913 play by George Bernard Shaw about a little flower girl being taught how to be a proper English lady after a bet between two men, Higgins and Pickering. If this sounds familiar to those who’ve never heard of Pygmalion that’d be because this play ended up being the inspiration for the mega musical My Fair Lady. It also inspired the 1999 film She’s All That, which hasn’t aged well but I promise you was a gigantic hit back in the day. It was part of this period of time where a lot of classic stories got updated for a 90s teen audience and it might have been the most successful of the bunch, although Cruel Intentions and 10 Things I Hate About You have seemed to live on a lot stronger in pulp culture.

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Vivo (2021) – Magical Monkey Business

Released: 6th August
Seen: 8th August

Vivo Info

While Netflix has been kind of hit or miss with a lot of their releases this year, I have to admit that their animation stuff has been knocking it out of the park almost every time. Arlo the Alligator Boy, Wish Dragon and The Mitchells VS The Machines are some of the best animated films of 2021 so far and it’s nice to see Netflix assuring them wide releases. Now the newest release, Vivo, is gunning to be the 4th great Netflix animated film of the year and goddamn it might be the second best of them all (…hey, Mitchells VS The Machines is a hard act to beat, OK?)

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Pray Away (2021) – One Of The Most Important Doco’s Of The Year

Released: 3rd August
Seen: 3rd August

Pray Away Info

If you want to get on the express ticket to my bad side, be on the side of Conversion Therapy. Conversion Therapy, otherwise known as Pray Away The Gay, is the idea that people can be turned straight via some form of extreme therapy. In reality, it’s a way to force queer people into suppressing their true selves in order to be accepted by a group made up of bigots who have only read one book and decided that the part of that book that said gays were bad was a rule they had to follow forever but the part about mixed fabrics was up for debate. Over the years there have been a lot of documentaries regarding this movement but the recent documentary Pray Away might be one of the best of the bunch.

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Hostage House (2021) – Hell House

Released: 27th July
Seen: 29th July

Hostage House Info

Film releases sometimes happen in little patterns. A certain period of the year is usually for the big blockbusters, another period tends to be for the prestige films trying to get an Oscar, other periods are known as dumping grounds go. Well I’m noticing a new pattern forming, it seems like this point every year is when Netflix seems to release a particularly pathetic wannabe TV movie thriller. First was Secret Obsession, then Dangerous Lies and now we have the utter excrement that is Hostage House, a movie I wouldn’t even program at 3am on the cheapest network you could contemplate.

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A Classic Horror Story (2021) – A Buffet of Horror

Released: 14th July
Seen: 27th July

I’ve made it no secret on this blog that I’m a big fan of horror films, in particular the low budget slashers of the 80s. Sure, they might not be the most highbrow films that are trying to impart some essential message about the meaning of existence but they are an endless amount of fun. Even if the film isn’t technically great, chances are good there’s at least a creative effect or a funny line or something that’s going to be worth talking about later. Recently Netflix impressed the hell out of me with their Fear Street trilogy, a series of films that paid homage to different eras of the slasher genre… well, A Classic Horror Story decided it wanted to try and do that too, only in about a third of the time.

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Things Heard & Seen (2021) – Unsee This

Released: 29th April
Seen: 26th July

Things Heard & Seen Info

In 2016, author Elizabeth Brundage released All Things Cease To Appear, a book that was popular enough to receive a coveted positive book jacket quote by Stephen King so you know it had to be pretty good. It was certainly popular enough to get noticed by Netflix who began production of the film adaptation in 2019, an adaptation they would call Things Heard & Said… because I suppose calling it “Boring Romance And Spookies” would’ve been a little silly. 

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9to5: The Story of A Movement (2021) – What A Way To Make A Doco

Released: 1st February
Seen: 22nd July

9to5 Info

The last year has not exactly been easy for anyone, but especially those in a regular nine to five job that found themselves suddenly unable to work and make the pittance they’d been making previously. Seems like finally this idea of barely getting by with a back breaking job has found a limit that can’t be ignored, since we now know that at any moment something can happen that will just force the planet to shut down for a year. What we’re seeing now, as things very slowly start approaching normal (APPROACHING, we are nowhere near normal again and stop acting like it) is workers have finally had enough of their low wages and poor treatment and are fighting back… a story that feels eerily similar to the one told in the documentary 9to5: The Story of A Movement

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Fear Street Part Three: 1666 (2021) – Bewitching

Released: 16th July
Seen: 17th July

Fear Street Part Three: 1666 Info

In the last two weeks, the Horror community has been treated to the first two parts of the Fear Street series. Both parts have been outstanding, glorious slasher throwbacks that honoured the material they were referencing and didn’t skimp on the gore or lesbianism. They were truly brilliant and have been leading up to this, the final part of the epic story of Sarah Fier and the town of Shadyside. It not only has a lot of questions to answer but it has to live up to the spectacular first two parts… so, how is Fear Street Part Three: 1666? Exactly as good as it needed to be, which is to say, “downright spectacular”

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Good on Paper (2021) – Blank Page: The Movie

Released: 23rd June
Seen: 13th July

Good on Paper Info

When a stand-up comic takes their act and turns it into a movie you can have a few different results. If you want a really good example of a comic’s act made into a pretty good movie, Trainwreck took Amy Shumer’s set and created a fairly fun film with enough jokes to make it through. You could also just film a particularly important set and release it, like Kathy Griffin did with her most recent comedy special that revolved around her recent controversy… third option is to take one specific joke from a set, make it into a film and forget to put jokes in there completely. Sure, that idea might sound good on paper but in practice you get… well, the film Good On Paper.

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