Making Fun: The Story of Funko

For the longest time I really hated Funko — or what I’ve learned, is that I specifically hated Funko Pop figures. I did finally break down and get some earlier this year, when they released a James Bond series — I never see Bond figures, so couldn’t help myself. Since then, I’ve gotten used to seeing them on my desk, and don’t mind the aesthetic as much as I did. What I didn’t know was that Funko started out being inspired by 60s tiki culture and bobble-heads, and that stuff was really cool. I learned this from the documentary about Funko that’s on Netflix, that’s pretty entertaining to watch — just like the Toys That Made Us series, it’s fun to learn how all of these playthings came to be. It’s an impressive rise to see, and the fandom that accompanies it is pretty nuts too. I’m still not a complete convert to the Funko Pop — I am eyeing the Twin Peaks figures now though — but I do quite like all of those original bobble-head figures they used to produce.

Chelsea Peretti: One of the Greats

As I just wrote, I’ve been binging Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and my favorite character on the show is the one played by Chelsea Peretti. Over the weekend I was reminded that she had done a Netflix comedy special, so I went and watched it, and I’m glad I did. What she does in Brooklyn is not unlike her stand-up style of comedy, and I love it. She also plays around a bit with the tropes of stand-up comedy specials, with sequences that are mostly weird and surreal, and that’s a kind of comedy I like. This special definitely turned me into even more of a fan.

Anon

I’ve been very disappointed with a lot of Netflix’s sci-fi releases, especially when it comes to movies, and so came in to this with low expectations, even if I was quite interested in watching it. By the director of Gattaca, it feels stylish in that same way, and has an interesting premise — our eyes now include an overlay of info, and record everything. I won’t say that it blew me away, but I enjoyed watching it. This is the kind of sci-fi content I’d like to see more of, giving interesting creators a chance to do something on what looks like a mid-tier budget. (Although I guess that didn’t work out for Mute.)

Aggressive Retsuko

I didn’t think this would really be for me — I remember finding the premise of the character (an office lady who loves death metal) pretty funny, but didn’t think much of it beyond that — but I got curious when the animated series popped up on Netflix the other day, and I gotta say that I had a pretty fun time watching a few episodes (which are very binge-able, at like 10-15 minutes in length). Warning though, if you’ve worked in an office in Japan, this may trigger some PTSD.

The Chalet

I really enjoyed this series, that popped up on Netflix recently. It’s a 6-episode mystery set in a small village in France, with a group of people “stranded” and deaths starting. That’s always the best of setups when it comes to mysteries, and my wife and I both had a good time watching it. I think the story and solution were pretty satisfying.

Lost in Space

I watched the first episode of Netflix’s new Lost in Space series, and gotta say I was really impressed. That first episode feels like a movie more than a TV series (in terms of production values), and it sets things up quite nicely for what’s to follow (i.e. I really want to know where this thing is going to go). I was cautiously excited about the series following the first trailers, and I’m glad that it seems to be avoiding the sci-fi curse Netflix has these days (most of its sci-fi productions tend to be disappointing).

Everything Sucks

This has been described as Freaks & Geeks but set in the 90s, and that’s actually not a bad description. I’m 5-6 episodes in, and having a really good time watching it. The kids are great, the story is fun, and the soundtrack is, well, it’s pretty much all the stuff that I was listening to back then (or that I remember hearing a lot). I’m really happy that Netflix produced this.

Fred Armisen: Standup for Drummers

I quite enjoyed this standup special on Netflix. The gimmick is that the audience is entirely composed of drummers, and a lot of the material is drumming-related. I generally like Fred Armisen, always enjoyed him on SNL, and I really like him here. All of the jokes aren’t gold, but he just has a fun way of delivering stuff, and I like when he gets a bit surreal. I think the highlight isn’t even a funny bit, but rather when he runs through drum sets/styles from the past century.

The Cloverfield Paradox

So this popped up suddenly on Netflix, and everyone freaked out, and then the next day everyone one was saying it was shit. I liked the first Cloverfield movie fine, and really liked the second one, 10 Cloverfield Lane (would have liked Dan Trachtenberg to direct another one), and so I still wanted to check this one out. And you know what? I thought this was fine. Sure, not as good as the first two, but it wasn’t the pile of shit everyone seemed to be saying (and I do wish I could have gone into this with no expectations, instead of already expecting it to be bad). I didn’t really know where it was going with everything, liked the stuff it introduced in this “universe” (parallel universes, a possible origin for the monsters of this series, etc.) and it didn’t end in a clean way, which I can appreciate. And what a surprise to see Zhang Ziyi in it! I don’t know if it’s something I’d necessarily recommend to someone on its own, but as part of the series, if you like the other films, I think it’s worth taking in.