Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
So today was supposed to be The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, a black and white parody of 50s B-grade sci-fi. Aliens and scientists race to find a meteor, an undead skeleton plots its resurrection, a hideous mutant ravages the countryside…pretty much every Ed Wood movie rolled into one self-aware send-up. On its face it sounds like a great idea but after 20 minutes I was bored outta my gourd. For every funny line (“Soon we’ll be there, Betty, so you can rest and I…can do science.“) there are a dozen gratuitous, eye rolling winks at the audience. Amusing, sure, but so much cheese tends to chip away at the already meager relatability of intentionally one-dimensional characters. Also the dialogue sounds exactly like the script for The Secret of Monkey Island, which might have been fun in a short film but not feature length. Maybe it gets better (or at least different) in the second and third acts but I’ll never know.
Instead, how about Red Hill (Netflix), a modest little crime thriller starring True Blood‘s Ryan Kwanten? Red Hill is a little like an Aussie version of Training Day, except it’s set in a dusty outback town and there is much less talk of getting one’s shit pushed in. I like the Kwant, really I do, but for some reason I only ever seem to encounter him in goofy genre roles or lackluster dramas. Mercifully Red Hill never reaches too far and Kwanten’s natural earnestness is well utilized. Even if you see the big revelation coming, the movie still delivers a nice emotional payoff once the killer finishes blowing holes in all of Kwanten’s fellow deputies.
Added bonus: If you’re not in the mood for seriousness and death, please allow me to whole heartedly recommend Orange is the New Black. Yeah, it’s basically Weeds in prison but it’s hands down the best Netflix original so far, House of Cards included.