Weekend Watchlist: The best of the worst


Image via Wikimedia Commons

“Riverdale” title card.

By The Pitt News Staff

With The Pitt News Weekend Watchlist, we tend to grade all of the movies and shows we share with our audiences at solid A’s and B’s. However, this week we’re breaking that cycle and delving into the television shows and films on streaming services that don’t quite deserve top-notch grades. Sometimes, you just need to watch something that’s so bad it’s good, and here is your guide to accomplishing that:

“Riverdale” // Victoria Pfefferle-Gillot, Senior Staff Writer

Netflix // Developed by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa // Grade: D+

Welcome to “Riverdale,” home of iconic family-friendly comic characters Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge and Jughead Jones, but now they’re edgy, have obligatory shirtless moments and are full of soap opera teen angst! I first heard of this show through memes about the show’s middle-school-cringe-level edge — particularly one infamous speech — so I initially stayed away from it. Eventually, curiosity won out, and I recently indulged in the first season on Netflix to see what all the memes were about.  

“Riverdale,” which first aired in 2017 on The CW, tells the story of Archie’s (KJ Apa) high school life in the small, seemingly idyllic eponymous town and his exploration into the sinister things hidden in the cracks of its perfect image. In the first season, Archie and his friends, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Betty (Lili Reinhart), along with new girl Veronica (Camila Mendes) investigate the murder of Jason Blossom, twin brother of Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), who belong to the wealthiest family in the town.  

Admittedly, “Riverdale” can be intriguing. However, aside from that, the sparse bits of well-written material and generally good acting, the show is just a nest of cliche tropes, pretty faces and melodrama like all the other basic teen shows. Character and plot developments often get thrown out or forgotten entirely and the flimsy structure of the show falls apart after the first season. It is fun to laugh at the absurdity of it all though, which is probably the biggest reason why I’ve kept up with it — since the plot is extremely hard to follow.  

“Twilight” // Alex Dolinger, Staff Writer
Hulu // Directed by Catherine Hardwicke // Grade: F

When I am sad, sick or need a reminder that my life is not as crazy as I think it is, I always fire up the Hulu app and watch the movies from the “Twilight” series. The first film of the saga came out in 2008 and it defined my middle school years — despite the poorly written and even more poorly acted storyline. The saga follows Bella (Kristen Stewart), a shy, awkward high school student, and Edward (Robert Pattinson), her creepy vampire boyfriend. The intense relationship between those two characters becomes even more complex when Bella’s friend Jacob (Taylor Lautner) gets involved, creating the most iconic love triangle of the 2000s.

Watching these films is an experience shared by several and loathed by some, and when I look back on my middle school years, it seems like a right of passage to have gone through a “Twilight” phase. It is quite a trip to go back and watch these movies, and think that at one point in time I actually thought they were good — but I suppose that is the fun of it. Stewart’s facial expressions and strange body language around her on-screen love interests ramps up the awkwardness, making these films perfect for a game of “Try Not to Cringe.”

“The Carrie Diaries” // Sarah Connor, Culture Editor

Netflix // Developed by Amy B. Harris // Grade: C-

This prequel show follows a young Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb) in the years before her days as a columnist in “Sex and the City.” Originally airing on The CW in 2013, the show only lasted two seasons before it was cancelled in 2014. However, it was added to Netflix after its cancellation and has since been a popular show on the streaming service.

I first heard about this show from a friend in high school who recommended it to me, and as soon as I saw the gorgeous face of Carrie’s love interest Sebastian (Austin Butler), I was hooked. The sub-par acting was not a concern for me, as long as there was some shallow, teen romance. It wouldn’t be a “Sex and the City” prequel without shallow romance, am I right?

“The Carrie Diaries” is also supposed to take place during the late 1980s, and the producers seem to think that dressing the cast in completely modern fashion trends, but giving them big, curly hair would constitute ’80s nostalgia. They were wrong. It’s so easy to forget that this show is not supposed to take place among people with bad hair in the 2010s until you notice that Carrie and her pals don’t have cell phones and laptops.

This show still earns a passing grade despite its faults. There are some silver linings to the show that don’t include Austin Butler’s face. My personal favorite part of the show is Carrie’s best friend Walt (Brendan Dooling), who undergoes a period of self-realization throughout his time with Carrie in New York City and finds his identity as a gay man. It is a heartwarmingly honest story, which ultimately saved the show for me.

“Creep” and “Creep 2” // Alexa Marzina, Staff Writer

Netflix // Directed by Patrick Brice // Grade: D

I normally don’t like horror movies because I scare easily, but that wasn’t a problem for the “Creep” movies. What’s classified by Netflix and IMDB as horror more closely resembles unintentional satire that may actually rival “Saturday Night Live.”

Released in 2014, “Creep” follows Aaron (Patrick Brice), a videographer who answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day project assigned by Josef (Mark Duplass, producer). Upon meeting at an isolated cabin, Josef reveals to Aaron that he is dying of cancer and wants the video project to be a diary of sorts for his future son, Buddy.

Josef makes Aaron record ridiculous events such as Josef bathing and pretending to drown himself, as well as hiking to a secret place with “healing waters” where he marks “J + A” outlined in a heart on a rock. He also repeatedly scares Aaron by jumping out at him at random or supposedly disappearing. Josef defends his erratic behaviors by saying he just has a “weird sense of humor.” So does the movie, though, as the plot-twist climax may be the most unbelievable of the century.

Josef returns in “Creep 2,” now going by Aaron, and hires videographer Sara (Desiree Akhavan). Aaron even tells Sara in advance that he is a serial killer, but she doesn’t believe him. The two have a thrilling romp in the woods, as Sara tries to turn the tables on Aaron. Peachfuzz returns, but unlike its predecessor, “Creep 2” has an absolute batshit crazy ending which, presumably, sets up “Creep 3,” though its release date hasn’t been announced yet. These outrageous movies stand out for more than just their ridiculous storylines and strange endings. The acting is delightfully terrible, and might just make your day.

While the characters in the Creep franchise do standout — you really wonder whether Josef has some type of untreated personality disorder that explains his behavior — the ridiculous and almost boring plot of this “found-footage horror” film just doesn’t stand up to what it should be. Other than some jumpscares and the surprise ending, there really aren’t any “horror movie” elements present in the movies, and instead include parts that are just downright unsettling.


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