Watch This, Not That | Kevin Can F**k Himself vs The Crew

I love a good underdog story. Did you know that right before she landed Schitt’s Creek, Annie Murphy was broke and on the verge of giving up acting? We almost didn’t have have the national treasure, which means we almost didn’t get to watch her in this incredible new show Kevin Can F**k Himself.

Holy shit, this show is amazing. Kevin Can F**k Himself rotates between corny CBS-type sitcom (husband and wife where the husband’s “jokes” are followed by a laugh track to drown out the sound of the channel changing) where Annie plays Allison, a dutiful housewife married to a chauvinistic prick and her real life where things are dark and she’s married to a chauvinistic prick.

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Immediately we see that she’s done with his shit, his dad’s shit, and the neighbors shit. Immediately, women everywhere feel seen. Anyway, after Allison discovers that her dream of owning a home is going to have to remain a dream thanks to Kevin blowing all of their savings, she decides there’s only one thing she can do: kill him. 

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Will she? I don’t know but he’s got it coming. Let’s find out together. Join the lot of us dealing with our own sitcom-Kevin and tune in to Kevin Can F**k Himself every Sunday on AMC at 8 p.m. central time.

Speaking of “sitcom-Kevins”, my Not That pick features a Kevin that I’m sure Kevin Can F**k Himself is mocking. I’m talking about Kevin James and the Not That I’m referring to is his Netflix series The Crew.

First off, The Crew uses a laugh track, and not in the mocking way that Kevin Can F**k Himself does. I mean in a way that they have no choice because it’s the only way they’ll get laughs. The Crew is about a NASCAR team crew chief (Kevin James) that sucks. And that’s about it. I guess. It’s all I could watch.

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The first episode was all over the place. We’re introduced to the shit driver, then there’s a party for the owner. One crew member is talking about squirrel sausage while another talks about fighting with his wife about bed shams. Then the owner retires and makes his twenty-something year-old daughter the new owner (duh) and then I’m assuming that’s when hilarity was supposed to ensue.

It never did.

In fact, the entire dialog between the actors sounds like they were just winging it. It was like Kevin James had to fulfill his contract obligations so Netflix gave him a set, some actors, a production team, and yelled “go!”. The outcome? Another unfunny Kevin.

Don’t be a Kevin. Get in on something funny, original, and fucking brilliant. Watch Kevin Can F**k Himself.

First pic by thewrap.com. Second pic by tumbral.com. Third pic by variety.com.

Watch This, Not That: His House vs. Things Heard and Seen

For the most part, the people in horror movies don’t have it so bad, with the exception of whatever’s trying to kill them. Whether they’re being chased by zombies, serial killers, or whatever demonic spirit they’ve let inhabit a doll, their story usually starts off in a nice house with a nice family and everyone including the toddlers have high-paying jobs. (No wonder the rest of the world hates us). So when Netflix released His House, a horror/drama hybrid, I was pleasantly surprised, and impressed.

His House tells the story of a couple seeking refuge after fleeing their native country: the war-torn South Sudan. They survive the horrendous ordeal and arrive in Britain, eventually receiving housing on the outskirts of London. But it’s not just a regular family home like all of the houses in Insidious. It’s a run down apartment that looks like it’s haunted by the last meth head that lived in it.

Meth head ghosts are the least of their concerns, though. Demons are what they’re fighting, and not just to save themselves but to save what they sacrificed everything for. What kind of demons are they? Who wins? You’ll have to watch this week’s Watch This to find out. Netflix’s His House will mess with your head, which I think we all can agree is the best when it comes to horror.

What isn’t the best is when you have a horror movie figured out in the first 10 minutes and then you have nothing to do for the remainder of the 2 hours. Yes, 2 hours. This week’s Not That was stretched 110 minutes too long and I sat through all of them. Netflix’s Things Heard and Seen features Amanda Seyfried who plays Catherine, a wife who’s given up her life to support the ambitions of her douche husband.

Right off the bat, we’re given insight that there’s something wrong in their marriage: Catherine has an eating disorder. That revelation is immediately followed by another one: Catherine’s husband George (James Norton) has a wandering eye.

Pretty soon, haunted things start happening. A rocking chair moves on its own. Their daughter sees a ghost lady. Catherine smells gas fumes. All of this freaks Catherine out, but then her husband’s colleague explains that it’s NBD, just a woman ghost who’s got her back. Empowered by her supernatural backup, she starts to make her way out of her shitty marriage. During the time she’s getting her groove back, she discovers that her husband is a liar, stole his cousin’s identity, is a cheater, and then also he commits a bunch of murder.

But, surprise!, the ghost men of the house are shit too. Just as Catherine learns everything that’s bad about George and is about to make her move, George drugs her. And, surprise again!, the lady ghost (whose real/ghost name is Ella) can’t help her because of her dick ex-husband ghost. So George kills Catherine. Then he gets away with it because he’s a man. But then he rides off into the ocean and gets killed by the devil? I’m not sure. It doesn’t matter.

What does matter is I sat on my couch rolling my eyes for 2 hours proving that good horror movies are hard to come by, disproving that your eyes will get stuck that way. If you want to try it for yourself then watch Things Heard and Seen. Not responsible for loss of vision or interest.

Photo by screenrant.com

Watch This, Not That: Documentaries

I kind of remember when reality TV was invented. For me, it was invented when Season 8 of MTVs The Real World debuted. Th at’s when I started watching it and I remember thinking it was the exact opposite of the real world. It’s been all downhill from there. A few years ago I had a gig writing comedic recaps on reality shows such as Vanderpump Rules and The Real Housewives of Dallas. That was it for me and have since given up on reality TV (except for My 600lb Life). It’s all documentaries for me and readers, have I got some watch this and not that’s for you.

My first recommendation is YouTube’s The Boy Band Con: The Lou Pearlman Story. In the 90s, most teenage girls were either Team Backstreet Boys or Team N’sync, and if you were Team 98 Degrees you were no friend of mine. Anyway, did you know Lou Pearlman is the reason you had to pick a side? Did you also know that he was a complete fraud who scammed several elderly people out of their life savings with the help of U.S. Representative Charlie Crist? Well, it’s true. Brought to us by Lance Bass’s production company, The Boy Band Con is such a good telling of the boy band craze, the man behind it, and how he deceived so many while simultaneously making music history.

Speaking of the 90s, my next suggestion is all about nostalgia. Before there was Netflix and Chill, there was Be Kind, Rewind. In those days, when you wanted to watch a movie at home you had to physically leave your house and drive (or ride with your parents) to the local video store. For most of us, that video store was Blockbuster. Aahh, Blockbuster. The smell of the weekend. My next watch this is Netflix’s The Last Blockbuster.

I loved this documentary. It tells the story of how Blockbuster came to be, why it was the greatest, what happened to it, and how the very last one is hanging in there. For anyone who wants to reminisce or would like to know more about their botched Netflix deal, I highly suggest The Last Blockbuster.

Here’s something you don’t need to know about: Paris Hilton. Since I’d scored big with that boy band documentary, I let YouTube’s autoplay guide me and next up was This Is Paris, a documentary on Paris. Good god. Sure, her voice finally caught up with her age, but that’s about the only thing that’s tolerable. Other than that the entire documentary is pretty insufferable.

If you watch it, be prepared to weep when you see her museum of MacBooks, explaining that she needs to buy a new one after every breakup. Feel your heart break when you discover she NEVER wears then same outfit twice. At one point she talks about the abuse she endured at bad kids camp that still haunts her to this day (Side note: she recently testified in court against this camp). It’s a serious situation although Nikki Hilton brings us back by asking Paris “do you remember how horrible you were to our parents?” Look, I grew up with a Mexican grandmother so it’s real hard for me to feel bad for Paris. Anyway, unless you’re interested in learning how Paris stayed rich after growing up rich, I do not recommend This Is Paris.

And while we’re on the subject of spoiled rich kids, I also don’t recommend Netflix’s Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal. We all know the story: Aunt Becky used that Full House money to get her bratty, underserving child into USC. And she wasn’t the only one. A bunch of rich parents did it, all with the help of a guy named Rick Singer. The majority of it is shot in reenactments which I get because most of the people this scandal involves are in jail.

The documentary is meant to show how fucked up the system is but here’s the deal: it’s nothing new and it’ll probably never change. And the worse part is there will always be kids that want to go to these shit colleges that allow this.

FUN FACT: I went to school with a girl who wanted to go to the University of Texas at Austin but didn’t get in. Instead of just going to another University of Texas she lied to everyone, telling people she got in and would actually walk around the campus pretending to be a student. She eventually got caught. This happened 20 years ago so this story also serves as a reminder that people don’t forget.

Anyway, my point is, I would rather watch a documentary about that girl than one about something that isn’t that surprising other than Aunt Becky learned dick all from the life lessons on Full House. I do not recommend Operation Varsity Blues.

Watch This, Not That: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel vs. Demonic

According to Google, the definition of ‘horror’ is “an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust” which simultaneously explains, and somehow does not explain, why there are so many shitty movies lumped into this genre on Netflix. It’s tough to find good horror these days, at least something that’s not brought to us by the news anyway. It just so happens I do not watch the news. It also just so happens that the news watches me because this week’s Watch This is a documentary on a story that made national headlines.

This past week, Netflix released a 4-part documentary called Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel which detailed the disappearance of a young tourist named Elisa Lam. I’d actually heard of this case before, not from the news (thank God) but from my favorite YouTube channel, Top5s. About 6 years ago, one of their videos featured the footage of Elisa Lam in an elevator that shocked the interwebs. When I first saw it, it creeped me out. You see, Elisa Lam was a woman who traveled from Canada to L.A., found herself staying at the infamous Cecil Hotel which is where she was last seen. After she was reported missing, video surveillance captured Elisa in one of the elevators looking paranoid and frightened. That was the last anyone saw her until she was discovered more than 2 weeks later in one of the hotel’s water tanks.

Prior to the discovery of what actually happened to her (she climbed in herself which was most likely brought on by her mental illness), the story itself was something out of a true horror film. In fact, some people compared it to the 2005 film Dark Water. Those people would be conspiracy theorists who decided it was their job to find out (i.e. make up) what happened to Elisa Lam. They would also be the same people who helped pin it on someone who’d never even met Elisa Lam, causing that individual to basically give up a part of his life because of the harassment, helping this documentary land in the ‘horror’ genre thanks to that one tidbit of this story being absolutely disgusting. In fact, the scariest part of this documentary is the incredible amount of people who could afford to spend countless hours investigating Elisa Lam’s case, making it difficult at times for actual investigators to do actual investigating.

Then there’s the former GM of the hotel who gives off serious American Horror Story: Hotel vibes – she plays a great villain. The entire documentary is weird and while it’s definitely a shocker of a story, it’s more tragic than anything. The Cecil Hotel is worth Googling as it’s actually pretty disturbing. However, the only reason you should watch the documentary is to understand what mental illness can do to a person as well as understand how much of a tool you’ll look like if you spread conspiracy theories – particularly ones you made up – about a subject matter that effects millions of people.

Coincidentally, this week’s “don’t watch” is a movie based on demonic possession which some are more than ok with classifying as mental illness. Demonic is about a bunch of amateur ghost hunters (what else?) attempt to become professional ghost hunters by venturing into a house where a mass murder took place with a goal of raising the dead. As you may have figured out, the majority of them die because one of them gets possessed but actually he’s dead and it’s his girlfriend who is possessed but not for real her, her baby is possessed.

Other than that stellar description I just provided, here’s why you shouldn’t watch it: as with most terrible horror films, we’re never told or given any sort of inclination as to what and/or who is possessing people. It could be the devil. It could be something pretending to be the devil. It could be a picture frame. Who knows? Not the screenplay writer, that’s for sure. I give it one star and that’s only because Dustin Milligan, AKA Ted from Schitt’s Creek, is in it.

Watch This, Not That: Mercy Black vs. Our House

I like to consider myself a horror enthusiast, a horror snob if you will. When it comes time to pick the movies I’m going to watch for this column, I can barely get through the horror movie section of Netflix without making a sarcastic remark to myself. I’m very witty. Who decides this belongs in horror?, I always think to myself. I should be getting paid to decide what goes in the horror genre. Amateurs, all of them.

Then I watched a movie titled Mercy Black and what the fuck? First off, Mercy Black is a Blumhouse Productions movie – the people who gave us Insidious – so I should’ve known it wouldn’t be too terrible because Blumhouse can do no wrong, ever, not even if they tried.

Mercy Black is about a woman who is returning home after having spent 15 years locked in a mental institution for assisting in the attempted murder of her friend – very Slender Man. Upon her return she has to deal with visions of the past, weird occurrences in the home, and then, her nephew acting like a murderous weird-ass just like she did when she was a kid.

She sets out to help him by trying to figure out if the thing that made her try to kill is real – AKA Mercy Black – or if she made it up. The more she looks into her past, the more it comes back to haunt her (obviously). But not like regular haunt. Like, fucked up haunt. Like people getting stabbed in the eyeballs haunt. I had to watch a couple of episodes of Schitt’s Creek to come down off what I saw. I’m not saying this will give you nightmares but any movie that makes me go “the fuck just happened?” is worth a watch.

What’s not worth a watch is Our House. Our House is about a teen, Ethan, who has to leave college to care for his brother and sister after their parents are killed in a car crash. During the day he does the adult thing (job, taking and picking up the kids from school, etc.) but at night, he works on a project: a machine that he hopes will generate wireless electricity.

As you’ve probably guessed, it does not generate electricity; it generates ghosts, two of which are believed the be their parents. At first you’re like, ok, he brought his parents back and now the kids can live with their parents’ ghosts, super cool. But then the little sister starts talking about a little girl ghost she’s been talking to and then the neighbor’s dead wife comes back but in a black shadow/murderous form and then it turns out that the little girl ghost had been killed by her step-father in that house oh and also the parents’ ghosts are not actually their parents but something evil duh.

SOOOO, we’ve established that the ghosts are not the Casper-kind and eventually so does Ethan, but when he tries to get rid of them the neighbor is like “don’t make my ghost wife go away” even though she’s trying to fucking kill everyone and also she looks like what a 1st grader would draw as their interpretation of a scary ghost. Anyway, before all of the ghosts can kill the family, Ethan smashes his machine and the ghosts are gone and then they move out of the house and also it wasn’t actually the house that was causing the problem it was Ethan and his spirit summoner because the ghosts were fine until his wind machine irritated them. So it shouldn’t have been called Our House, it should’ve been called Ethan Fucking Around With Shit He Shouldn’t.

I probably made it sound cooler than it is. Look, it’s a movie about a homebuilt machine that conjures up murder-y ghosts instead of conjuring up electricity or my recommendation.

Watch This, Not That: Death to 2020 vs. Best of Stand-up 2020

I can’t think of a better way to kick off the first Watch This, Not That of the year than with a comedy edition. We need a laugh now more than ever so I took the liberty of watching a couple of Netflix specials to give you something to brighten your weekend at and something to avoid.

My recommendation on what to watch is the opposite of all those stupid “have we tried unplugging 2020 and plugging it back in, hur hur” memes. I recommend the absolutely hilarious Death to 2020. Created by my favorite writer of all time, Charlie Brooker (also the creator of Black Mirror) and Annabel Jones (Black Mirror producer), Death to 2020 is a recap of the year you had to see to believe and features a handful of A-listers such as Hugh Grant, Tracey Ullman, Lisa Kudrow, Kumail Nanjiani, and my personal favorite, Samuel L. Jackson, as well as a few actors from the UK such as Diane Morgan and Samson Kayo.

True, it was a dreadful year but leave it to Charlie Brooker – with the help of his hysterical cast – to retell it in a way that made me snort-laugh. Listening to Samuel L. Jackson call the Oscars a real “rainbow coalition” in response to their attempt and failing at being more diverse was gold.

From the presidential election to the pandemic to things we didn’t care about – like Harry and Megan and their royal departure – Charlie Brooker and his writers managed to take a dismal year, extract the funny and deliver it to us in the form of a 70 minute mockumentary. 10/10 recommend, as the kids say.

If your goal is to not laugh, then you’ll want to watch Netfilx’s Best of Stand-up 2020. I don’t know who picked “the best” but it’s the exact opposite of that. And it tricks you too because the first 3 minutes feature some good jokes and then, nothing. Look, I get that 2020 was a hard year to find stuff to make fun of but the writers of Death to 2020 did it.

Admittedly, it’s probably hard for anyone other than Dave Chappell to successfully joke about current events. But shit, they could at least try. There was a joke about a dog pooping and another about how guys don’t watch your Instagram stories after you blow them. I’m no prude but what’s funny about drinking a load? Do you laugh at that when you’re beating off to those scenes on YouPorn? Yeah, that’s what I thought. The majority of the jokes featured were low-level at best.

If you can watch hours of people falling over in golf carts and laugh at every single video, or think those “have we tried unplugging the year and plugging it back in” memes then yeah, you’ll probably like Best of Stand-up 2020. If you like jokes you’ve never heard before and are risky (which is annoying to say because jokes shouldn’t be considered “risky” – THEY’RE JOKES), then Death to 2020 is right up your alley.

Photo by: Wikipedia

Watch This, Not That: Delirium vs. The Open House

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Watch This, Not That: Halloween Edition. I’m your host, Typical Jenn, and I believe my taste to be better than the know-nothing movie critics that panned the movie The Exorcism of Emily Rose, one of the best possession movies of all time – FACT. Anyway, I spent my weekend watching horror movies that, for the most part, aren’t well-known so I could report back and give you something to watch this delightful Halloween season.

Let’s begin with my recommendation. If you’re looking for a movie to get into this weekend, I suggest watching Delirium on Netflix. Delirium stars Topher Grace (from That 70s Show which I’ll admit, set my expectations pretty low) who plays Tom Walker, a man who was just released from a mental institution after 20 years. He’s placed on house arrest and sent to live at his father’s house who has since passed away. 

He’s enjoying his newfound semi-freedom for about 7 minutes when shit starts to go down. It starts out with the usual: noises, he starts seeing things. Then, pieces of his past start to manifest like his brother, who’s the reason he ended up in an institution in the first place. The thing is though, he’s a bit mental. So, is he really seeing these things or is it all in his head? My favorite thing about this movie is every time I thought I knew what was going on, I didn’t. It’s not without a few cheesy parts but the twists and turns make up for it – I think you’ll like it.

The next movie I watched was The Open House, also on Netflix. It made approximately zero sense. The Open House is about a mother and son who are forced to move into a relative’s home after their husband/father passes away. The house is up for sale so the deal is they have to be out of the house every Sunday from 10AM to 5PM. 

Weird things happen from the moment they move in. They meet a weird ass lady who is not pertinent to the story whatsoever but keeps making cameos.   More weird things happen in the house like items disappearing and sounds and the hot water keeps going out. Then one night, shit goes from amateur to slasher-ish? Some dude whose face we never see breaks into the house and kills a friend of the mom’s and then tortures the mom and then the son helps her escape but then the guy finds her and just when she gets away again the son accidentally kills her. And then the son escapes but the guy catches him and kills him and then it ends with a car driving to the Open House. 

I don’t know if the open house was how this guy found his victims or if he’d been following them all along. Why didn’t he kill the family who owned it before?! At first I thought it was the town that was fucked up but nope. Listen, I dig movies that make me think one thing and then go in a surprising but even better direction (i.e. Delirium), but this? I just didn’t know what was going on. I don’t think the actors did either, or the directors, or whoever wrote this. I give it negative 134 stars because that’s the exact number of minutes I wasted on this film.

Before that movie I tried watching All Lights Will End. I got about 20 minutes into it and turned it off. I couldn’t get past the terrible acting. Don’t watch that either. Even if it’s the only thing on TV forever there’s absolutely nothing else on it’s either static or this movie – don’t watch it. Carve a pumpkin, take a nap, learn to churn butter. Anything else would be better.

And that’s it for this edition of Watch This, Not That: Halloween Edition.

Photo by: Netflix.com