Hidden Netflix Gems: ‘Trailer Park Boys’

It’s Saturday night and you need something to watch. Never fear, Hidden Netflix Gems is a new weekly feature designed to help you decide just what it should be, and all without having to scroll through endless pages of crap or even leave the house. Each choice will be streaming on Netflix Instant, and the link below will take you to its page on the site. Look for a new suggestion here every Saturday. 

This week’s Hidden Netflix Gem: “Trailer Park Boys” (2001-2008)

“Trailer Park Boys” is a Canadian mockumentary series following the exploits of Julian (John Paul Tremblay), Ricky (Robb Wells), and Bubbles (Mike Smith), lifelong friends and serial criminals living in a Nova Scotia trailer park—when they aren’t in jail that is. The three pals run petty scams and dream up get rich quick schemes. They grow pot, act in homemade pornos, run bars out of trailers and sell counterfeit CDs. Most of the time, their plans are so ludicrous they need no help getting caught. Nonetheless, the boys live under the watchful eye of cop turned Trailer Park Supervisor Jim Lahey (John Dunsworth), who’s constantly working to derail their plans. The series might just be the best thing ever to come out of America’s hat, and all seven seasons (55 episodes) are currently available on Netflix Instant.

Ricky, Julian, and Bubbles are surrounded by a colorful cast of characters, the residents of Sunnyvale Trailer Park, each with their own trademark mannerisms and personalities.  There’s wannabe rapper J-Roc (Jonathan Torrens), who honestly believes he’s black (he’s not), and Mr. Lahey’s perpetually shirtless, cheeseburger-loving sidekick, Randy (Patrick Roach). There’s Ricky’s on again, off again girlfriend, Lucy (Lucy Decoutere), his father, Ray (Barrie Dunn), a former trucker pretending to need a wheelchair for a disability check, and his fall-guy sidekicks, Cory (Cory Bowles) and Trevor (Michael Jackson), who are never seen without each other, and many more. A young Ellen Page (“Inception,” “Juno”) appears a few times in the first two seasons, playing Mr. Lahey’s daughter. Silly and stupid as they may be, all the characters are incredibly lovable and relatable.

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A Chat with John Landis (“¡Three Amigos!”)

There’s no point in writing an intro for our conversation with John Landis when we’ve already given a perfectly serviceable synopsis of the man’s life and times on his page within Bullz-Eye’s Directors Hall of Fame – which you can find right here – but we will say that we’ve been looking forward to chatting with Landis for quite some time. Although his publicist regretfully informed us that he didn’t have time to talk when we were pulling together the Hall of Fame, we’d kept our fingers crossed that we’d get an opportunity to talk to him one of these days, and at last that time has come, courtesy of the Blu-ray release of “¡Three Amigos!,” which hits shelves on Nov. 22nd.

Bullz-Eye: First of all, in case you haven’t heard, I should let you know that we put you into our Director’s Hall of Fame last year.

John Landis: Oh, thank you very much!

BE: Our pleasure. After all, we’re a guy-centric site, and it would be fair to say that you’ve made a few movies that have been appreciated by many a man over the years…including, of course, “¡Three Amigos!”

JL: [Laughs.] So did you get a chance to watch the Blu-ray, then?

BE: I did. It looks fantastic.

JL: Yeah, I was able to restore it to the way it’s supposed to be seen. I’m very pleased with the way it looks.

BE: I was actually going to ask you about that process. I presume there’s at least a little bit of difference when it comes to restoring a comedy for Blu-ray versus, say, a full-on special effects extravaganza.

JL: Actually, no. [Laughs.] That would be an untrue presumption. I mean, every picture’s individual, and it depends on the look you were going for with that particular movie. When they made the Blu-ray for “Animal House,” I was upset. I thought they made it much too bright and clean. “Animal House” is supposed to look dirty and funky. [Laughs.] I remember the technician, when I had to check it, he kept writing on his chart, “Image degraded per director.” But every movie you make, you try – or at least I do, anyway – for a different kind of look. On “¡Three Amigos!” I was really trying to go for those beautiful westerns that Hollywood used to make in the ‘50s. The Technicolor pictures. We wanted the colors to be incredibly vibrant. You know, the old DVD wasn’t even the correct aspect ratio. So I’m happy that I got the chance to restore it.

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