Hidden Netflix Gems is a new feature designed to help readers answer that burning question, “What should I watch tonight?” It will be updated every Saturday before the sun goes down.
The second narrative feature from director Penelope Spheeris – who is perhaps best known for helming the best Saturday Night Live movie of all time, Wayne’s World – is a quintessentially ’80s movie, from its squealing guitar-heavy soundtrack to its fetishization of 1950s greaser attitude. It is also compelling, tense and rather brutal, and though it seems to be reaching for relevant social commentary, it never sacrifices its pure entertainment value for this higher goal. This is a film that knows what it does well and sets about doing just that, without pretension.
The Boys Next Door stars a young, pre-“passion,” Charlie Sheen as Bo Richards, a high school outcast whose only real friend is the even more ostracized Roy Alston (Maxwell Caulfield). After a gripping opening credits sequence featuring pictures and voice-over narration of various well-known mass murderers, including David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz and Kenneth “Hillside Strangler” Bianchi, the pair are introduced playing a childish prank on their high school on the last day of their senior year. Faced with nothing better than a future of low-wage labor at a nearby factory, the two crash and basically ruin a party attended by the more popular kids before hitting the streets of L.A. to try and pick up girls by yelling at them from their car windows, with all the success such a method usually brings. Before long, they vent their sexual and social frustrations in a series of increasingly violent acts that escalate from assault to multiple murders in the span of a few hours.
It is interesting to think of Bo and Roy in parallel to Spheeris’ most famous protagonists, Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) and Garth Algar (Dana Carvey) from Wayne’s World. Here, as in that film, we have a dark-haired youth (Bo), who is the smarter and less socially awkward of the two, paired with a blonde guy (Roy), of whom he seems to take care in many ways. Relatively early in the film we see Roy having a one-sided conversation with his neglectful, drunken father (Ron Ross) before hitting the town with Bo, who is shown time and again to have a stronger connection to the world of normal, socially accepted people. In its depiction of the frustrations and alienation that lead to extreme, random violence, The Boys Next Door seems to predict some of the most shocking mass murder cases of the past decade or so, from Columbine to Virginia Tech, among others. However, as disturbing as it often gets in its frank depictions of the boys’ unleashed rage, this movie can best be described as a lurid good time; fans of exploitation movies such as The Last House on the Left and Death Wish are especially encouraged to give this one a look.
Another “2012“-inspired clip focusing on the past examples of the gleeful destruction of my birthplace and homeland as practiced by some of L.A.’s wealthiest creatives. And, yes, I realize the new film also destroys most (all?) of the rest of the world, and Roland Emmerich hasn’t exactly been kind to New York, D.C. and elsewhere in past efforts, but yet I still feel oddly singled out.
Anyhow, there really were serious problems in building L.A.’s still majestically insufficient, extraordinarily expensive subway system, but there was a lot more water involved than fire in the first seriously fouled up attempt at the important goal of creating some decent L.A. public transit in the City of Angels. Still, who wants to see a movie about busted water mains and overflowing sewers. So, instead, we got “Volcano” – from the director of “L.A. Story.” Seriously.
Last night was the season finale of “Hell’s Kitchen” on FOX, and one of the stiffest competitions yet on the show between two low-key but talented Floridians, Danny and Paula. At the end of last week’s episode, they had just chosen their teams for their big dinner service, and Danny chose first since he won the challenge back at the Borgata in Atlantic City. His team was Ben, Giovanni and Carol; Paula had Andrea, L.A., and Lacey. Giovanni didn’t want to be there, and Carol admitted she had been pulling for Paula. But the biggest issue was that Paula got stuck with Lacey. Danny knew he had a decided edge already.
During prep, Lacey was at it already, just being Lacey…as she ruined an entire batch of creme brulee. Then Gordon Ramsay wanted to see the design of each restaurant. Paula went first, with her brightly themed “Sunergy” very impressive to the boss. Then Danny, who couldn’t resist
hanging fish on the wall and calling his restaurant “Velvet Hammer,” a reference to his sexual prowess in high school. I can’t believe he actually went through with that name!
By all accounts I thought last night was going to be the “Hell’s Kitchen” season finale, but it turned out to be mostly a fluff episode, setting up the meat and potatoes of the big showdown between Danny and Paula next Thursday. The show began with a 10-minute recap of the season, followed by the two finalists enjoying way too much champagne together and then feeling like crap when they had to wake up early the next morning.
They met with a designer for their restaurants, and had to pick a name…Paula picked something like “Sunshine” though I don’t quite remember exactly what…and Danny picked “The Velvet Hammer,” saying that was his high school nickname, because he “was smooth but could lay the hammer to the ladies.” Did he really just say that? Did I really just write that? Yep. Freaking hilarious.
Then they traveled on a private jet with Gordon Ramsay to the Borgata in Atlantic City, where one of them would run Ramsay’s new restaurant. Meanwhile, Paula and Danny each had two “advisors” left to keep an eye on the design progress, and those were family members, or Paula’s stripper sister and mom, and Danny’s dad and girlfriend. They were able to communicate with each other via webcam to make sure everything was running smooth.
Last night’s episode of “Hell’s Kitchen” began with Giovanni talking to Carol, and telling her she needs to calm down and stop blaming Andrea and everyone else for her own shortcomings, and that she should focus on trying to win. That Giovanni has his head on straight, and he could win this season. Gordon Ramsay started out by making something that would be on the menu that evening, tartare…both steak and scallops. Yuck….raw meat of any kind makes me want to vomit. Anyway, Ramsay threw a curveball…the beef was actually tuna and the scallops were actually sea bass. Surprise!
That led into the challenge which was the palate competition, in which they chefs are blindfolded and asked to guess what Ramsay was spooning into their mouths. Ben did better than Andrea, but Robert and Giovanni guessed zero correctly. Carol beat out Lacey, and it was down to Paula and Danny, but for their part of the challenge, they had to guess the ingredients in some vegetable soup. Paula won, and the red team’s prize was a photo shoot for TV Guide. The blue team, as their punishment, had to wait on the red team during the photo shoot, as well as prep both kitchens for dinner.