Good afternoon. Gigi the parti poodle here to introduce my novelist once again. This week we…and that, unfortunately, includes the Maltese went on a day trip out to Mount St. Helens. Because of Covid-19 we had to remain in the car most of the time except for quick breaks which we took at quiet locations. I slept in the back of the car on two soft blankets while the Maltese took the front. It was a beautiful comfortably warm day and I enjoyed…
It was lots and lots and lots of fun! I liked going to the mountain too except they do not let dogs look at the mountain.
Tucker, you stupid cur! Do not interrupt me again! No, being canines, we were not allowed to look at the grandeur of the stratovolcano, but we were able to get to the glorious parking lot where we…
I wanted to see the volcano! I wanted to see the volcano! Why cannot dogs see the volcano?!
I DON’T KNOW!!! You know how I detest losing my temper! Pardon me. The Maltese can be a bit overzealous at times. Anyway, it was a lovely drive and my novelist took pictures and…
Pictures are not the same! Pictures are not the same! I want to see the volcano! I want to see the volcano!
You are insufferable! Anyway, here is my novelist.
The best new show on Netflix right now without question is Cobra Kai. I am not kidding. Rarely does a show come along that is as fresh, unique, fun, and outstanding as this one is. I was going to start a new series of blogs about a different subject this week but I am giving that the back burner to tell you to run, not walk to your television set and get ready to be hooked!!!
Cobra Kai originally came out in 2018 on YouTube and Netflix acquired it in June 2020. Netflix is set to launch the show’s third season in 2021. This is the best news in months.
The story takes place thirty-four years after The Karate Kid and we find Daniel LaRusso’s nemesis Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka) grown up, drunk and scraping by. He lives in a meager apartment in Reseda, Los Angeles and works as a handyman. He shares a teenage son with his barfly ex-girlfriend Shannon Keene. The son lives with mom and though plucky is heading down criminal lane.
After losing his handyman gig Johnny runs into his next-door neighbor, a likable mild-mannered teenager named Miguel (Xolo Marideuña) at a convenience store where he is sitting outside eating his food and being harassed by a homeless woman (who is a reoccurring character). Miguel has gone in to purchase some Pepto-Bismol for his grandmother when he is attacked by three of his high school classmates. Using his fine Karate skills, Johnny takes down the three creeps inspiring Miguel (much like the young Daniel LaRusso) to inquire if Johnny would teach him a few moves. Johnny reluctantly takes on the kid’s request and slowly with what meager funds he has begins rebuilding the Cobra Kai dojo of his youth.
Meanwhile Johnny’s son Robby (Tanner Buchanan) decides to get back at dad by dropping out of school and taking a job working at Daniel LaRusso’s car dealership. But he quickly realizes that Daniel (Ralph Macchio delightfully reprising his famous role) is both likable and honorable. Daniel takes a shine to the kid and starts teaching Robby Mr. Miyagi’s style of Karate while in the meantime Miguel becomes smitten with Daniel’s daughter Samantha (Mary Mouser) who is no slouch at Karate either.
This show is so beautifully written it is shocking. Who would have thunk a much later afterward of The Karate Kid film franchise could be so engaging and such pure unadulterated fun? All the characters are delightful especially William Zabka’s Johnny Lawrence who is fantastic as the fifty-something who rises like the phoenix and turns his life around in this comedy/drama yarn. In a quagmire of overly serious and politically correct yawn fests this one rises like cream and last week and today as well (surprise, surprise) is the #1 streamed series on Netflix. Streaming addicts get ready for a whole new batch of crack cause this one’s blue, baby!
What does this mean for writers? This means write something this good! Write a smart feel good script because the world is sitting under a ton of bricks broken and ticked off right now and it wants a massive dose of happy. The success of this show is a forecasting of what Hollywood is going to be looking for post pandemic. That does not mean write a karate movie. That means write a tale on a topic you can really sink your teeth into and elevate and lighten up the dark foreboding mood. Throw that stupid pandemic story of yours in the trash and change course! Write well my friends and stay healthy.
You can check out my books Chicane and the first book in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby! on Amazon both in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s website at www.musicologyrocks.com The second book of the Musicology series, Musicology Volume Two, Kid! is coming in Fall 2020!
SCREENWRITINGU FREE CLASS FRIDAY: Profound Analysis of the movie 42:
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STREAM OF THE WEEK: THE APARTMENT (1960)-Prime Video
Obviously, the Stream of the Week is Cobra Kai. But it is good to take a break and get a movie in there as well. This is the second film the AFI Movies to Watch While We’re Apart missed. And I have no idea why. Every weekday since March 31, 2020, no less, starting with The Wizard of Oz the AFI (American Film Institute) has offered up an outstanding film to watch each day. However, their list has quickly become hit and miss and at times mediocre and landmark cinema is showing up less and less. Last week I offered up the brilliant comedy/satire Harold and Maude and this week I’m offering up The Apartment, one of the finest films ever made about misused corporate power, sexism and open floor plan. The brilliant Billy Wilder tells his masterpiece with wit, charm, and a whole lot of smarm. It, like Cobra Kai is a Comedy/Drama, a genre of film and television which has been sorely lacking in the industry of late pushed aside to make room for superhero films, slasher movies and all-around dreck. If you have already seen The Aprartment watch it again and if you haven’t put it at the very top of your movie list.
The set up works like this: young ambitious C.C. Bud Baxter (Jack Lemon in his momentous roll) is a bachelor who works for an insurance company in New York City and is stuck out in open floor plan. He also happens to be in possession of a bachelor pad which he “graciously” lends to some of the darling middle management men who in turn use it to cheat on their wives by taking their girlfriends there to have sex with them…and occasionally drunk women they pick up in bars. Ironically, Baxter himself is a gentleman and naïve in viewing his exchanges for free motel rent as a harmless way to get a foot in the door and a wrung higher on the ladder…and an office of his own. And impress elevator operator Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine in one of her best performances) with whom he is smitten. His efforts pay off and his exemplary work is brought to the attention of executive Jeff D. Sheldrake (a tour de force performance by Fred MacMurray) a subclinical psychopath who despite being married for twelve years with two sons likes to use secretaries, elevator operators, phone operators and a myriad of other women at the insurance company as his personal Kleenex. As a note the name Jeff D. Sheldrake translates into Jeff the Male Duck. Sheldrake is a surname which is thought to have been a nickname for a vain or showy person. Baxter agrees to make a duplicate key to his apartment for Sheldrake until a dire incident rips the rose-colored glasses from his eyes.
SMART MOVIES FOR SMART KIDS: MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN (2014)-Netflix
Some of you may remember the delightful two-dimensional version of this animated classic about a dog, his boy, and their lessons in history. The newer 3-D version is also charming and a bit flashier. Mr. Peabody is the father of Sherman, a boy he found as a baby in an alley. Although he is a dog, he adopted the boy and raised him as a single parent. Mr. Peabody himself was too intellectual to be adopted and so he decides to take in an unwanted child because he understands what it is like to be rejected. Mr. Peabody teaches Sherman many valuable lessons about history by transporting them to different points in time with the Wayback machine he created. All goes well for dog and boy until a smart but maliciously jealous schoolmate of Sherman’s named Penny causes things to go awry. The movie is great family fun and a true favorite of Gigi’s.