On Netflix: Lewis Black’s “Old Yeller: Live at the Borgata”

Welcome to the first installment of what I hope will be a somewhat frequent series: “On Netflix” (there may also be other services using a similar heading and written in the same style, i.e. “On Prime”). In a nutshell, I will watch random things on Netflix and review them here — I’ll also follow the review with a short list of other things that you can watch on Netflix that I’ve already seen before.

Lewis Black is probably my spirit animal...

Lewis Black is probably my spirit animal…

I wasn’t in the mood for something that needed an abundance of higher order thinking skills, so I decided I’d just watch a comedy special.  Lewis Black is probably my favorite comedian, and I hadn’t seen “Old Yeller” yet, so I hit play.  I was treated to about an hour (give or take the intro/outro credits) of stand-up gold.  It’s difficult to assign a 1-10 rating to a comedy special in the same way I would to a movie or a video game, but if I had to give “Old Yeller” a score it would probably be in the 8.5 area.  The only reason I wouldn’t score it a bit higher is because there were other specials (which used to be on Netflix) that I enjoyed a bit more than this one.

A caveat for anyone who is thinking about watching this special based on my recommendation — Lewis Black’s humor is dark, dry, laced with profanity, and is pretty much in a rant format.  It is because of those things that I love his comedy, but I also realize that this will alienate some people to his humor.  His jokes tend toward the socio-political and he is a master of weaving a tapestry of humor — switching subjects to something seemingly unrelated before tying it all together.  If none of that turns you off, then Lewis Black is definitely a comedian worth checking out of you’re looking for something to kill an hour of your day.

If, however, this doesn’t sound like your thing, here are some other things on Netflix that I’ve already seen and would recommend:

Look! It's Sean Bean!  I bet he survives this one...

Look! It’s Sean Bean! I bet he survives this one…

Black Death is a cool action/horror/supernatural movie that has a very Game of Thrones vibe and is set during the time of the black plague (as the title suggests).  The comparison to GoT is appropriate given that Sean Bean and Carice van Houten are two of the three primary characters in the film, the third being Eddie Redmayne.  If you want to see a movie about knights, the plague, and hunting witches, then this movie might entertain you.  I’d rate it at about a 7.

Look at that awesome Drew Struzan art!

Look at that awesome Drew Struzan art!

Hellboy is on Netflix, still.  If you haven’t seen Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of the popular comic character, then you should make the time to see it.  The second movie, which I’m pretty sure isn’t on Netflix, is my favorite — that said, the first one is still a really fun time.  The movie blends comic book action, comedy, historical fiction, and supernatural elements in a way that is surprising.  Ron Perlman was perfect for this role.  I’d score this one at 7.5, maybe 8 (I haven’t watched it very recently).

"Whosoever holds this hammer..." er, wait...

“Whosoever holds this hammer…” er, wait…

The Sword in the Stone, which is probably my favorite Disney movie (certainly in the top 5), is one of many Disney animated features to be added to Netflix somewhat recently.  A family-friendly and highly-entertaining retelling of the story of King Arthur and Merlin, I’m willing to bet even the most jaded viewer will be entertained once Merlin and Arthur begin to change into different animals.  Also, while we’re on the subject, we just recorded a podcast about Disney animated movies, so give it a listen if you like.  I’d rate this classic at a 9.