A couple weeks after everyone else laid the subject to rest, Kevin Smokler is back to talk with me about Wild Wild Country, Netflix's six-part series on the poisonings, beaver-shakes, and other crimes against traditional values perpetrated by a free-love "cult" in 1980s Oregon. It's eminently watchable, but at the same time noticeably incurious about certain aspects of its subjects -- do the Way brothers try too hard not to take a position on either side of the myriad debates the series describes (and creates)? Did they not know how to end the last episode? And is there really a relationship between the Rajneeshi and Jonestown?
Lifetime's 2015 take on the Novack murders, Beautiful And Twisted, goes down a lot easier -- but thanks to a certain fundamental unseriousness about the severe-beating deaths of two of its protagonists, it still got stuck in our craw a little bit. Lifetime movies have come a long way from the damp Victoria Principal starrers of a bygone era, but is there maybe not a middle ground between moistly self-serious and disrespectfully UN-serious? All this plus St. Elmo's references, baseball docus, and The Serial Problem in an all-new XL The Blotter Presents.
- Wild Wild Country on Netflix
- Beautiful & Twisted on Amazon Prime
- Brat Pack America: A Love Letter To '80s Teen Movies, by Kevin Smokler
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