Stranger Things (2016)

Note – spoilers abound in the links, but not the review.

Netflix has been on a roll with its incredible programming offerings, and none have created such an exciting and engaging stir than Stranger Things. An engaging universe that opens and closes a mystery cycle in a mere eight episodes, the Duffer brothers have written and directed a bingeworthy series that we destroyed in a record weekend.

Sending up all of the Stephen Spielberg and other grand spectacular film wonders of the 1980s, Stranger Things was an entertainment experience that was simply not wasted in any aspect of its production, from casting to budget. A gorgeous ensemble show that was a great deal of fun to watch, this piece creates something new from the old. This nostalgia overload combined with an entirely new storyline and universe concept has truly made something special. Without giving too much away, this show has captured elements from E.T., Close Encounters, The Thing, Twin Peaks, Stand By Me, Goonies, and a hundred other references, and blended it with a mysterious storyline that is half Mark Z. Danielewski and half Stephen King. we are very much looking forward to season two. Sexy design and hundreds of original props sweeten the deal, and the performance of the cast who are relatively unknown is not only impressive but entirely convincing.

It has spawned a great deal of excellent content beyond the show, and we’re very much looking forward to season two.

#278 Roman Holiday (1953)

William Wyler’s Roman Holiday is the beginning of the career for the unknown Audrey Hepburn, noted in Schneider’s book that it should have been titled A Star Is Born had they known the acclaim and reception it would receive. When two people who would never and should never have met under romantic circumstances are thrown together in a night of strange coincidences, a beautiful relationship emerges that seems to transcend position, status, work, and boundaries. Even though there is no way that these two can be together for the long haul, it reminds us that the beauty of captivating moments in life should never be ignored because of circumstance. What makes this reverse-Cinderella story all the more captivating is that Hepburn became “the Cinderella story made real by the magic of Hollywood” when she was catapulted into royal stardom after this film (Schneider).


I absolutely loved this film. In many ways, this film captures everything wonderful about the golden age of Hollywood – but most notably the fact that the film started with a solid script and then went to an ensemble cast that worked together like a fine tuned clock. I really enjoyed the location shooting – a character in itself in many ways – but the true magic is the way the performers embodied their roles and tasted the truly excellent words of the screenwriters who worked together to make this an excellent film. The fact that Hepburn began her career in this role stepping into the part as if it were effortlessly tailored for her, we see true magic on the screen in her performance. Peck is no less astounding, bringing a wry, witty joy to a masculinity that melts in the radiance of Hepburn’s charisma.

Gorgeous, funny, dramatic, touching, and adventurous, Roman Holiday was significantly more than I expected when I snatched the special edition out of a $2 clearance bargain bin remembering it was on our list.



What’s not to love about a girl who orders Champagne for lunch?


This film has everything done right. A reporter has a chance encounter with a princess gone rogue, and while the premise already sounds dated, the acting and the script continue to surprise and delight. I love everything that Hepburn has done, and this movie is no exception.  If you don’t already love Audrey Hepburn, it is literally impossible not to fall in love with her after watching this movie. She literally sparkles.

In addition to an excellent cast, the dialogue is smart and funny. The locations are gorgeous. There is dancing on a boat, careening through the streets on a motor bike, and a great chase scene at the end with security agents that is entertaining but never too silly.

There is Champagne for lunch.

Say no more.