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Article – Netflix Digest: November 2015


Posted November 24, 2015 by

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Netflix Digest: November 2015

Trekking off to the cinema is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Today, with services like Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus and the granddaddy of them all, Netflix, folks are more compelled to stay in, order a pizza, snuggle up in their favorite pair of jammies and let their remote control be their usher or their mobile device be their ticket taker. Nowadays its hush up time, not when the lights go out and the previews start rolling, but rather when your screen goes red and that familiar Netflix banner flashes across in pure white. Instead of being forced to choose between nine or ten feature films playing on the big screens, Netflix subscribers have hundreds of options at their fingertips – be it feature films, documentaries, television shows or stand-up comedy specials. Netflix users spend a total of 10 billion hours per month streaming content and with 60 million subscribers, that means there’s a lot of people, spending a lot of time trying to find something to watch.

Each month I plan to scour the database that is the Netflix streaming service and select a few choice titles that would make for a fabulous Saturday afternoon at the movies, in bed. So cuddle up, slip into something more comfortable (ooh la la) and let me do the leg work. You pay for the service, but only on FilmDebate do I give you the suggestions to take full advantage of the content.


When I was a kid, John Hughes’ films’ were easily accessible. Sure, there may have been a few naughty words, but if your mom was like mine, she didn’t so much mind the cursing, as long as all the women kept their clothes on. I think one reason I really liked John Hughes was because during breaks from school for Thanksgiving and Christmas, you were almost assured to find one of his movies on television. You see, I grew up in the late 80, early 90s, before the advent of streaming services. In my day, if you wanted to see a movie, you did one of three things: 1) went to the theater, 2) went to the video store or 3) happened across something on cable. I did the latter often and during many Thanksgiving breaks, I was often able to find the John Hughes penned Home Alone, which would always excite me. It’s one of those movies that you pass by on TV and you just have to stop and watch, at least a little bit. If you were really lucky, they’d pair it in a double feature with Planes, Trains & Automobiles – sort of a “goodbye turkey, hello Christmas tree” kinda’ deal.

Today I bring to you three films from the incomparable John Hughes – three that are all currently streaming on Netflix and three of which would make for a raucous afternoon at the movies. I secretly hope you’re reading this on a Saturday and I hope it’s early. If I’ve caught you still clad in PJ’s, I’m begging you to stay in them, fix yourself a cup of tea, crawl back into bed and prepare to spend an afternoon with Mr. Hughes…and please, don’t wear socks in the bed – that’s just gross.

1) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Mia Sara, Alan Ruck, Jeffrey Jones, Jennifer Grey and Grey’s original nose

This would be Hughes’ fourth film as a director, having already notched films like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles into his directorial belt. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off tells the story of young Ferris Bueller – an expert at hooky playing, a maestro when it came time to faking sick. If you were anything like me, you missed copious amounts of school growing up and watching Ferris do it with such devious ease was sure to put a smile on your face. Ferris was Matthew Broderick’s sixth film and he was still eleven years away from marrying Carrie Bradshaw a.k.a. Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex in the City). The movie is set in Chicago and Broderick’s onscreen girlfriend is Mia Sara, who was nineteen at the time and guys, if you’re reading this, you’ll thank me for suggesting this one. The film’s other star is Alan Ruck, whom I remembered from the sitcom starring Michael J. Fox, Spin City, but whom you’ll probably recall from…well, you’ll probably recall him from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, because has anyone really not seen this terrific film?! But hey, it’s a film that stands the test of time, so even if you have seen it – it’s a really easy one to watch again.


During the promotional tour for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Matthew Broderick sported a goatee. If I were his agent, I’d have said something to the effect of, “Shave that shit off, you’re supposed to be a teenager GODDAMMIT!”


Cameron (Ruck), mimicking an adult voice and pretending to be Sloane Peterson’s father, calls the school and talks to Mr. Rooney. GOLD!

2) Dutch (1991)

Starring: Ed O’Neil, Ethan Embry, JoBeth Williams, Christopher McDonald

Long before he was pretending to be Sofia Vergara’s husband on Modern Family, Ed O’Neil signed on to be JoBeth Williams’ devoted boyfriend in the Hughes’ penned Dutch. This one is directed by Peter Faiman (Crocodile Dundee) and features O’Neil as Dutch Dooley, a working class, average Joe who is dating a well off, divorced woman, Natalie Standish (Williams). When Natalie’s ex-husband cancels plans to spend Thanksgiving with their son, Doyle; Dutch volunteers to go pick him up at boarding school and bring him home for the holidays. However, Doyle is a hellion who gives Dutch more than a run for his money and the whole thing ends up playing out like Planes, Trains & Automobiles 2.

It’s not on par with other Hughes’ penned classics like National Lampoon’s Vacation or Home Alone, but Dutch earned status as a cult classic, after bombing big time at the box office and it’s easy to see why this one got new life on home video. O’Neil, as per usual, is easy to watch and laugh at and re-watching Dutch kind of makes me want to dig up the DVD collection for Married…with Children and see if O’Neil was always this spot on. Go into this one expecting mediocrity and your expectations will be slightly surpassed. I’ve never been a fan of kid actors in leading roles, however, Ethan Embry (who plays Doyle) pretty much hangs with O’Neil and provides a good enough foil to his Dutch character. Make this part two in your John Hughes, Saturday, pajama marathon, if only so you can bookend the day with two movies that were actually directed by the late filmmaker.


I wrote the above piece on Dutch while on the toilet. You’re welcome…


Dutch Dooley: “Nothing burps better than bacon.”

3) Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

Starring: Steve Martin and John Candy…and that’s really all that matters. Oh yeah, Kevin Bacon has a cameo

Depending on when this posts on FilmDebate, this marathon is only going to make your turkey & stuffing taste better come, as John Candy and Steve Martin star in the ultimate Thanksgiving film – Planes, Trains & Automobiles. In my head, anybody who’s anybody has seen this one, but just in case you’re a somebody who’s one of the body’s who hasn’t, allow me to fill you in. Martin is Neal Page and Candy is Del Griffith, total strangers who are traveling from New York City to Chicago, to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Basically everything goes wrong, the two men end up joined at the hip, with Neal despising the more than annoying Griffith and bada bing, bada boom, you have the formula for a successful, original, hilarious comedy, that everyone SHOULD see at some point in their life.

I don’t want to personally bash anyone’s tastes or anything, but PT&A is the type of film, that if you can’t have a little fun with, then you really need to lighten up. It’s not an Oscar winner or a Shakespeare play, but it’s comedy from two of the all-time greats to ever star in comedies and they work hard for your laughs. Watch this in conjunction with the other two films I’ve presented here today, as I suggested. However, if you just don’t have time for three films, then wait and fire this bad boy up on Thanksgiving morning, sometime between the Macy’s parade and mama ringing the dinner bell. This one plays even better when mixed with the smell of hot turkey and a fresh pumpkin pie.


John Candy passed away at the young age of 43, of a heart attack. His final two films: Wagon’s East and Canadian Bacon – the latter of which was directed by documentarian Michael Moore – are dedicated to his memory. Candy was survived by his wife Rosemary and two children, Jennifer and Christopher…

…if you ask me, he should have named his daughter Penny.

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…And feel free to follow me on Twitter @adduvall1984


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Andrew Duvall
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