Nice Try, Netflix: Enola Holmes

I knew, going into watching Enola Holmes that it probably wasn’t going to be very good. But I shrugged, and though, “Huh. Maybe it will be fine. I can at least give the pilot a chance.” I have no idea how I got the idea it was a TV show, but I was expecting a series with the mystery of the disappearing mother being a long thread tantalizingly teased throughout, and a smaller mystery solved each week. So I was wrong – I mean, I guess it was “fine,” if you believe in disrupting characters to the point that those characters are no longer themselves, and like to watch 16-year-olds barely survive in a dangerous city because you know how annoying teenagers are – of course, everyone is out to kill them. Oh, also – it’s not a TV Show (again, I have no idea how that idea weaved itself into my mind…).

Enola Holmes, which I keep wanting to turn into Enola Hughes because apparently my brain isn’t working today, has a great cast and a large budget, but sucks more than the psychic vampire siphoning off my energy and ability to think clearly today. In fact, Enola Hughes would be a more fitting name for both this movie and it’s main character, because there is no point in making a movie about the Holmes’ family if you’re going to change the characters of both Sherlock and Mycroft beyond recognition.

I think it means well. It’s like, “People love Sherlock, but do we really need another story about this rich white dude who’s just really good at solving mysteries? After all, rich white girls can be good at solving mysteries, too, as Veronica Mars showed us. AND that will mean we can give this film a feminist slant, which educated people in the crumbling facades of democracy that constitute former powerhouses America and England seem into.” For those of you who have noted that:

  1. Sherlock was not, initially rich, which was part of the reason he needed a roommate (hello, Dr. Watson!) until he became rich and famous by solving mysteries;
  2. Veronica Mars was also not rich, in fact a large part of that television series was about the struggle for power and respect in a city with stark divides between the have and have-nots, and V and her pops definitely fell into the “have-nots” category. (In fact, how she was able to afford her bitchin’ camera, completely new wardrobe, regularly maintained coif, and technology gadgets is a mystery of its’ own that will never be solved…);
  3. My faux quote ends in a preposition –

Well done. You are worthy of reading my blog. I did those things on purpose to see if you were paying attention, and you will probably not much like Enola Holmes.

For those of you who did not, you’re not being very observant and/or did not imbibe the same media as me, so sit in the corner with your conical hat, and think about the fact that you might, in fact, like Enola Holmes. The movie is made to appeal to sheep, of which you may be one. You should feel bad about that, and you should engage in some serious self-reflection to try to avoid saying “baa” all the time in the future.

Enola Holmes is basically a re-make of 16 Candles with Bellatrix Lestrange as the purposeful mother, a very watered-down Jake who everyone is trying to kill, and the successful murder of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. As anyone who has read the stories is aware:

Mycroft is not a pompous, blustering idiot. Mycroft is more intelligent than Sherlock. He is also much, much lazier.

And Sherlock Holmes is not a handsome devil lackadaisically solving mysteries, maybe, if he feels like it. Sherlock Holmes is weird. He’s very passionate and high energy when he’s working on a mystery, which he works at with a focus that is possibly psychotic. And when he doesn’t have anything to keep him manic (i.e., another mystery to solve), he is melting into his couch because he’s coming down from his cocaine high, which as anyone who has ever listened to The Weekend knows, means that he is fucking depressed as shit.

Millie Bobby Brown is very pretty, and gives a decent performance as an intelligent woman capable of solving crimes and finding her own way in the world with the myriad of English pounds left to her by her mother. She’s less believable as someone who is naive and uses the word “nincompoop” more than once. And her scattered glances at the audience to break the Fourth Wall feel like a failed attempt to replicate the smart, well-loved performance given by Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag, wherein PWB’s asides to the audience seemingly effortlessly convey meaning to the audience in what is ultimately a sign of her mental breakdown.

If Enola Holmes wasn’t trying to insult the viewer’s intelligence by pulling people in with reference to a well-loved and established fictional character by changing all resemblance to that character, I probably wouldn’t take too much issue with it. In fact, I might even like it. As it is, however, the movie did fail me – first, by not being a television show (which, again, sounds much more likable, because – weekly mysteries done well are always fun to watch), second, by altering those well-established characters in a way that was neither interesting nor thought-provoking and really blatantly point out that the movie should just not in any way even try to affiliate with the beloved characters of Sir Doyle, and would have fared better as the screenwriter’s own flawed creations.

Nice try, Netflix, but fucking do better next time.

Streaming The Order

Netflix’s show The Order is the television equivalent of a sugar-laden, iced coffee drink – intriguing hints of original thinking and pacing, full of components that rely on your either not having a brain or deciding to turn it off while watching, and ultimately, a watered-down version of what you were hoping you were watching.

Two seasons. Twenty episodes. Witches. Golems. Werewolves. Magic. Drama. Cringe-inducing romance. Failed attempts at wit. Cults. Apocalypse. The Order packs a lot into the timeframe that it has, yet somehow generally manages to focus on the wrong things, turning a show full of amazing occurrences and people into a play-by-play of the romance between Jack & Alyssa, two of the most boring people you will ever meet, who take themselves way too seriously, and probably don’t eat enough food. [Warning: this post will be riddled with spoilers, so if you’re interested in watching the show and haven’t seen all of it, stop reading here.]

My biggest fault with this series is its’ insistence that we know all about how the relationship between Alyssa and Jack is evolving (or, in a few non-bile inducing scenes, not). These two characters are the worst ones in the show, which makes them the ones I want the least screen time with (except for a few episodes where Jack has amnesia, sort of, and is taken advantage of by someone infinitely prettier, smarter, and more fun), so to have their gross face-smacking and lustful stares thrust upon my poor, innocent eyeballs when I’m just trying to watch a TV show full of deadly, sexy beings, is the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.

Sometimes, Jack is not the most awful (definition: not boring to me, personally) character on the screen. Alyssa, on the other hand, is always either annoying or infuriating. Okay, first of all, why does every person she meet seem to be sexually attracted to her? Contrary to popular opinion, not everyone is yearning to go to bed with a thin blonde girl. To top that all off, she is self-righteous in that selfish way a lot of white people have. Like it’s not enough to be privileged by virtue of having been born into one of the European immigrant families the US favors, and it’s not enough to be the Aphrodite of campus. She also has to be the most, the best at whatever she’s chosen to be “her thing.” In this case, magic. She literally almost brings about the end of the world because her new lover is killed. The fact that her lover attacked and tried to kill someone else not only doesn’t matter, but Alyssa revises history to talk about how selfless she was, just innocently trying to provide equal access to everyone to something that is dangerous when not handled correctly. You know, like a guns-rights advocate handing out Uzis at an elementary school. Nothing wrong with that, dudes, because Alyssa is in love with this particular guns-rights advocate, so obvs, nothing bad will happen. Alyssa needs to learn that what she wants is not synonymous with what needs to happen.

It also just feels sometimes like the writers are running out of ideas. I think it’s really interesting how many different ideas they’ve smushed together, but then near the end of season 1, you’re thinking to yourself, Is there anyone out there who’s not a werewolf?! Am… Am I a werewolf? Like, yeah, it makes storylines more complicated, but it also makes it seem so much less likely that all of this supernatural stuff is secretly going on, and we mere mortals have never encountered it. Presumably, part of why we mere mortals don’t know about it is because it’s very rare. But then, it feels like 85% of campus is a freakin’ werewolf, and it’s like, c’mon. My credulity is being stretched too thin.

That’s… not the kind of rack I meant. Oh, Alyssa did this for you? What a surprise. No, I will not feel better if she sleeps with me; quite the opposite. Ew.

In summation: I may stop watching now, the main love storyline is so (sososososo*infinity) annoying, the writers need to stop making everyone a werewolf, and Alyssa’s character should just go away. Forever.

Did Netflix Original Heartthrob Noah Centineo Make the Same Movie Twice?

Noah Centineo (“NC” from hereon out, because typing out his full name every time I reference him in this post feels like too much effort) who made an adorable and endearing love interest in the Netflix adaptation of Jenny Han’s YA novel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, as well as Netflix original Sierra Burgess is a Loser, continued to play a high-school aged heartthrob in The Perfect Date, along with the ineffably talented Laura Maurano, and went on to make more movies that I’m not going to list in this post. I often like YA romance movies, so I have seen all of the aforementioned movies.

Then, I noticed another movie, which also featured Centineo, and which also featured a dating app, both of which are components of The Perfect Date. I was intrigued. The movie is called Swiped, and before you leave to go look for it on Netflix, let me warn you – It. Is. Terrible. Almost unwatchable. I put it on, and couldn’t finish it, and I willingly watch Hallmark movies for funsies. Sure, I’m mostly making fun of them, like the years where the costume designers didn’t hem anyone’s pants, the predictable plotlines, or the fact that as I grow older, the protagonist of A Christmas Kiss increasingly seems like an inept she-devil hell-bent on terrorizing her unsuspecting, successful boss who was just asking her to do her job, goshdarnit. But I’m still willing to watch these undeniably slightly terrible movies from start-to-finish. But I couldn’t finish Swiped. So, you know – perspective.

One woman’s Xmas kiss… is another woman’s Xmas nightmare

It kind of fascinates me that NC chose to do both of these movies, with fairly similar concepts, so close together. I mean, there are subtle differences. Although both movies feature technologically proficient teens with the capability to fairly quickly develop an app, The Perfect Date features high school students, whereas Swiped takes place in college. Additionally, although both movies feature teenage characters who are socially awkward, The Perfect Date features that teenage character as more of an intelligent teen girl who is an appropriate love interest, whereas Swiped features that teenage character as a nerdy teen boy who develops the app (I think, again, I could only stand like 20 minutes or so of the movie), seems to have mommy issues, and in reality, wouldn’t get laid (although he’s probably got some love interest in the movie, since I think he’s one of the protagonists). Both movies feature NC, and both rely on his good looks and charm to sway the audience as well as make him seem worthy of redeeming, as well as being a love interest, in spite of his character’s flaws. But only one of these movies work.

The largest differentiator between the two films that I discerned based on my cursory introduction to Swiped was budget. Mainly, The Perfect Date seemed to have one whereas Swiped seems to have been made with considerably less money. Swiped has that noticeable vacuum of sound that low budget films often have, where there is no background noise, which makes the lackluster dialogue that much more apparent. It makes the quirks that the characters should have lack humor, because the person talking to him/her/their-self who would seem odd with the right music playing in the background instead seems more like that homeless guy you walked by the other day muttering to himself and pulling his hair out of his scalp (for some reason, the latter feels a little less cute).

So it’s not the same movie, but it is possible that NC chose both movies for the same reason. My theory*: the idea of developing a dating app with a friend that helps him become a better person and find love so enraptured NC that he immediately signed on to do Swiped (a 2018 movie), and then, when the opportunity to make a strikingly similar movie was proffered, he doubled down, and signed on to do The Perfect Date (a 2019 movie). So why is NC so enraptured by this idea? Maybe he has secret Tinder/Bumble accounts, or maybe his love life is solely arranged by his agent, so the idea of finding love in any other way is intriguing and fascinating, or maybe he wants to be the next Steve Jobs, but, cursed with good looks and a lack of turtlenecks, has to console himself in the arms of pretty ladies in movies and on television instead of becoming the technological visionary he knows in his bones he would otherwise be meant to be.

Those are my rambling thoughts about NC and the mystery of the two similar-but-not-quite-the-same movies. What about you? Have you seen one/both of these movies? Did you also compare and contrast these movies – and if so, did your thoughts coincide with mine? Or, better yet, do you have a conspiracy theory about NC and why he did both films? Please spill in the comments below!

*Completely unfounded and likely untrue.

The Stalker Who Emigrated to Netflix

I finally finished season 1 of the Netflix original You, and I don’t know if it’s very good, but I liked it.

I feel like the majority of the reason why I like it, or at least how it initially hooked my interest, is its’ similarity with another former guilty TV pleasure: Gossip Girl.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize how similar the two shows really are, with the storytelling via voice-over, extreme drama, some blonde bitch everyone’s got the hots for, and, of course, Penn Badgley.

#twinning

I defy you to watch this show and not think: “And then Dan Gilbert from Gossip Girl did what?!” Or think “Hm… Dan Gilbert’s looking a little anemic. He needs to get some sun.” Or even: “No, Dan Gilbert! Stalking is bad. Didn’t follwing Serena around like a kicked dog teach you anything?” It adds an umame-ish element to the show that, while difficult to define, is undeniably delicious.

#umame

As the show progresses, it also gets more interesting. More violence, more drama, more sex, more unrealistic relationships. For while this show begins with the wholly realistic premise that there are creepy guys in the world who could find out pretty much everything about you from your internet presence, this is not a realistic show. Just as campy as it’s sister-show GG, this show includes fantastic elements that are intended to be surreal and frightening. And for me, at least, it worked.

#campy

What about you? Have you seen the show, and if so, what are your thoughts? If not, do you intend to? Why or why not?