SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — While there's plenty of drama to be observed in the world right now, here are eight new-this-week options that serves as a distraction for those who are interested in getting off the carousel to keep from getting dizzy and catch their breath.
Between 1993-1999 the irreverent humor of the "Animaniacs" was a staple of Fox Kid's block. The series, was built around the adventures of the Warner kids, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot as they bounced their way through pop culture history with a little "Pinky and the Brain" thrown in for variety. It was "Looney Tunes" unleashed. Following the release of 99 episodes and a feature film, "Animaniacs" walked off into the sunset. They never really went away. Thanks to comic convention appearances from Jess Harnell, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, and Rob Paulsen, the actors behind the characters, their voices stayed with us. Now, just when the world need them, "Animaniacs" is returning on Hulu with 13 new episodes. If you loved the show before, you'll be thrilled with where they're going now.
Where to watch: Hulu
The Forgotten Carols
Since 1991, Michael McLean's stageplay "The Forgotten Carols" has been a holiday tradition in Utah. Over the years the show's popularity expanded. I grew up in Salt Lake City, but it was in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where I saw the play in the mid-'90s. It's a simple story of Lillian, a nurse who lacks the holiday spirit, who is asked to provide homecare for an older man named John. Over the course of a few days, John has Lillian help him decorate his Christmas tree. Each ornament has a memory and a song. It's not exactly my cup of tea, but it is sincere and far more effective than a dozen Hallmark films combined.
This was to be the show's 29th consecutive year. It, like many other things, wasn't meant to be. Most theaters will be dark and empty this year. Undaunted, McLean has released a filmed version of the play that does a remarkable job of capturing the feeling of a live performance. The filmed version is playing in select movie theaters across the county. It's certainly worth a look if it is playing in your hometown and you're able to social distance and wear your masks.
Where to watch: Theaters
The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special
If you've ever watched a LEGO movie, then you know "The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special" is going to be an amusing adventure through the best-known scenes of the Star Wars franchise with a hefty amount of silliness and slapstick thrown in. Yes, there is a connection to the infamous "Star Wars Holiday Special" that aired on CBS in 1978 and was quickly thrown out, but mostly its a story about Rey racing through time with Darth Vader on her heels.
Where to watch: Disney+ (Full Review)
Hosted by three-time Olympic medalist Lindsey Vonn, "The Pack" is a reality competition that sees twelve people and their dogs competing in a variety of challenges while traveling around the world. While the human contestants do their best to steal the spotlight, "The Pack" is really about the dogs. The complete series is available to binge watch. Better yet, there's a bunch of events happening this weekend that coincide with the series release. Visit www.packedweekend.com for events happening in your area. While you're at it, click here for a chance to win a prize pack that includes a night stay at Red Roof Inn, a plush toy, holiday treats and toys for your pup .
Where to watch: Amazon Prime
The Last Vermeer
"The Last Vermeer" is based on the true story of Han van Meegeren, an artist and dealer, accused of helping to move stolen works of art for the Nazi party. Claes Bang stars as Captain Joseph Piller, a former Dutch resistance fighter, who traces the sale of a Johannes Vermeer to van Meegeren. Guy Pearce gives us a flamboyant performance as van Meegeren. It's an amusing tale that slowly reveals van Meegeren's true nature. The story gets bogged down in its final act when it essentially becomes a standard courtroom procedural. I would have thought the ending would be a larger exclamation point, but it feels a bit too simplistic. A good story nonetheless.
Where to watch: Theaters
Crazy, Not Insane
Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney ("Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief") presents "Crazy, Not Insane," a compelling examination of the research of psychiatrist Dr. Dorothy Otnow Lewis who has focused her studies on violent individuals suffering from dissociative identity disorder(formerly known as multiple personality disorder). The film also dives into the way the court system has and has not evolved alongside modern psychology. Some view her work as groundbreaking. Others see her as a quack peddling dangerous ideas. Highly recommended.
Where to watch: HBOMax
The Real Right Stuff
Earlier this year, Disney+ released "The Right Stuff," an 8-part series based loosely on Tom Wolfe's 1979 book (and the 1983 cinematic adaptation) about Project Mercury, the first human spaceflight by the United States. "The Real Right Stuff" is, as the title suggests, a documentary that sticks to the facts as it explores the dynamics that existed between the likes of Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, Chuck Yeager, and John Glenn. It's a solid, informative film that feels like it should be part of a larger series that focuses on the early days of the space program. It leaves you wanting more. That's not necessarily a bad thing.
Where to watch: Disney+
"Marvel's 616" is what I'll be watching this weekend. The series looks at the real-life impact that comics have had on society and ordinary people (who sometimes do extraordinary things). It's less about Marvel and more about the power of pop art and why representation matters.
Where to watch: Disney+
Princess Switch 2: Switched Again
I don't foresee myself sitting down to watch "The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again," the allure of Vanessa Hudgens in three roles (that's one more than the original film) isn't enough to draw me into a romantic Christmas movie. However, I know that there are many out there who are looking for something light, silly and filled with holiday warmth. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Escape away my friends, escape away.
Where to watch: Netflix