We’re gearing up for summer, so it’s time to watch some movies and series that inspire us to get out there and explore! This week, we’re watching Sean Penn’s INTO THE WILD and Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s COSMOS. Buckle up.

But if you’re not into space and the great outdoors, feel free to look back at Episode 20 and Episode 19.

INTO THE WILD – Dir. Sean Penn (2007)

Based on the very true book written by Jon Krakauer from journal entries and first hand accounts, INTO THE WILD shares the amazing story of Chris McCandless (aka Alexander Supertramp) and his journey across the country. He decides to make this trek after graduating from college and giving away all of his savings to charity. His parents think he’s crazy, his friends don’t understand, but all he wants is to experience a life most people never will. Along the way he encounters all sorts of interesting people and has many unique experiences, culminating in his arrival in the vast frontier of Alaska.

This is a story about nature, survival, and the human spirit. It’s heartbreaking, motivating, and awe inspiring. Sean Penn takes us on the journey with Supertramp, played by the naturally gifted Emile Hirsch in his breakout performance. Jena Malone, Vince Vaughn, and Kristen Stewart round out the cast as the few people who support their friend’s quest. This movie isn’t likely to make you want to hitchhike to Alaska, but it very well may cause you to consider change in your life. The directing is superb, the characters are inviting, everything about this movie is fun to watch. But you may cry. Nature does that to people.


Neil DeGrasse Tyson brings us back into the stars with this reboot of Carl Sagan’s classic series. It’s informative and thought provoking with breath taking cinematography and out of this world concepts (literally). You don’t have to be interested in learning or have a penchant for science to enjoy this show. Tyson has a very warm personality that sucks you in and makes you want to watch cool stuff happen in space. That’s really all you need in a good program, right?

My favorite thing to do is put this show on when it’s raining out and I have nothing to do. First of all, it teaches you about space, which is really the coolest thing ever. Secondly, Tyson has the most soothing voice since Morgan Freeman in MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, so if you’re not really interested you can just go to sleep. And thirdly, it’s just a really beautiful show! I have to assume they’re making up what some of these galaxies look like, because they’re simply unbelievable. I freakin’ love space so much, man! Unfortunately, there’s only one season to enjoy, but you will certainly learn a lot.

Documentaries certainly aren’t for everyone. When picking a movie to watch, most people want something that will help them escape from their own world or from reality for 90 minutes. However, there are those rare occasions when you want the most human story imaginable or perhaps you even want to learn something new. Netflix is filled with wonderful documentaries that never seem to get enough love and attention. Some of them, on the other hand, are just plain fun.

But if you’re not into documentaries and don’t want to learn, check out Episode 18 and Episode 17


Indie_Game_The_Movie_posterLike I said above, the best documentaries are human stories. That means you don’t have to be a fan of video games to enjoy a great story about people. That’s what INDIE GAME is. Following the development and release of three various independently produced video games, this documentary captures the struggles and battles faced by artists in today’s society. Creating a video game is not a simple task. Creating a successful video game is nearly impossible. These creators face depression, poverty, and isolation to do the thing they love the most.

This is a documentary that can be translated into a wide array of topics. It’s not just about video games. It’s about art, culture, business, success, and failure. The lessons these creators learn can be attributed to any passion one might have. In this way, the story connects with an audience, which shows in the acclaim this movie has received. All of the subjects are incredibly likeable and interesting, albeit a little nerdy. They care so much about their work, that you can’t help but root for them. I’ve never played any of their games, but after watching this I wanted to go out and buy them; not just to support them, but because they actually just look really fun. If you’ve never watched a documentary before (which would be crazy) this is a great one to start with. It’s very entertaining and heart warming.

DOCUMENTARY NOW – One Season (2015)

295697-1Okay, I tricked you a little bit, because this isn’t actually a documentary. It’s a new series from IFC by Fred Armisen (Portlandia) and Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live) that consists of several short mockumentaries (mock-documentary, for the uninitiated) and it’s absolutely hilarious. These guys are funny as it is, but each episode is parodying another form of documentary filmmaking and they consistently hit it right on the head. It’s unlike any show I’ve ever seen, but I can really only recommend it to people who enjoy documentaries, otherwise the jokes are likely to go right over your head.

Without discussing too many specifics of the show, Hader and Armisen have amazing chemistry together. They star in each episode as the subjects or filmmakers of that chosen documentary. While some of their characters are a little more outlandish than others, I’ve yet to watch an episode where they didn’t crack me up. This show seems to have flown under the radar when it premiered on IFC, but hopefully it can cultivate an audience on Netflix so we can enjoy more seasons of this duo.

Netflix is testing us this week. They really want us to ignore all of our responsibilities in order to watch the new seasons of HOUSE OF CARDS and DAREDEVIL. Seriously, why would they release their two biggest shows within two weeks of one another? I haven’t even gotten a chance to do the dishes, let alone perform the necessary tasks of being a productive member of society.

Anyway, you probably don’t need this, but here are the latest two recommendations: Episode 17 and Episode 16

FAIR WARNING: SPOILERS if you are not at least caught up to the newest seasons.


HOUSE OF CARDSKevin Spacey returns as Frank Underwood, corrupt President of the United States of America. When season 3 ended we saw Claire, played by Robin Wright, leaving the President at a pivotal moment in his campaign to win the office for the first time. We pick up right where we left off; a marriage torn, a campaign failing, and a country unsure of its leaders. Frank spends the season fighting, not just for the presidency, but his life as more and more people begin to see through his lies.

I’m not sure House of Cards will ever quite live up to the success of its first season. Not many shows can hook an audience with such interesting yet despicable characters. It’s a shame that the subsequent seasons didn’t really continue the trend. However, I really think season 4 is a step up. I was very intrigued with everything that was going on. Of course it’s a little ridiculous to believe that someone could become the President of the United States through murder and deceit, but Frank finally gets what’s been coming to him for so long in season 4. He’s now fighting to stay at the top, which is really interesting and different from what we’ve seen before. It’s less politically driven than season 3 and more about righting wrongs and finding justice. So if you enjoy seeing Frank maul his way to the top, you’ll enjoy this season, but you might get what’s coming to you as well.

DAREDEVIL – Season 2

Daredevil_Final_PosterMarvel’s Netflix series have created a whole new fan base for superheroes and heroines. Daredevil and Jessica Jones are unlike anything else on TV or in the movies, so it’s really refreshing to watch the dark and brooding versions of comic book stories. Season 2 of DAREDEVIL is no different. In fact, it expands on everything that made season 1 great, but it adds in some more familiar characters. At this point, Matt Murdoch has created a name for himself (rather, for Daredevil (also known as The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen)) and is firmly planted as New York’s most terrifying vigilante. His order comes into question when a new “hero” shows up, slaying the mob with machine guns.

This season is just fun. The action is much more gritty and violent than anything on cable television or in the Marvel cinematic universe, the villains are really relatable and kind of likable, and Matt Murdoch is simply an awesome dude. I don’t want to talk too much about this season, because you should just watch it. And you should definitely watch season 1 if you haven’t already. It doesn’t matter if you like superheroes are not, Daredevil is fun for the whole family! Except for the kids. It’s an excruciatingly violent show sometimes. But it’s really cool!