Binge Watch Review – Russian Doll (A Netflix Groundhog Day themed series)

red headed actress in russian doll on netflix
The Groundhog Day theme as an entire Netflix show premise. And it’s damn good.

Russian Doll is the latest show to hit Netflix, and it has a great theme crossing the line between Groundhog Day and Happy Death Day…(and the new Happy Death Day 2U), and what’s even better, this is an entire series and not just one episode (or movie) with a repeating time loop. And, in the best tradition, the protagonist is not someone we like as things begin. Nadia, the lead here, is selfish, self-absorbed, and incredibly hedonistic. She’s also funny. It’s a darkly comedic show.

Sometimes with all the new additions to the Netflix platform, it’s hard to decipher what’s worth watching. I’m only an episode in at this time, but this is definitely a show I would invest in. Natasha Lyonne, who also stars in Orange is the New Black as Nicky, plays Nadia in the series. I really enjoy the personality she brings to her characters. I’m not sure how the loop will be broken, but I definitely think a concoction of Oatmeal, the homeless man she recognizes, and the guy she left the party with all have something to do with it.
[ED NOTE: Shani will be adding her reviews twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, to cover all eight episodes from Season 1.  We’ll update this as she adds them!]

Russian Doll Episode Reviews (From Season One)

  • Episode 1 starts out with Nadia at her birthday party. As she goes through the party, we meet some close friends of hers, and learn about her vagabond cat named Oatmeal who hasn’t returned home in a while. She leaves the party with a guy, and she sees a man on the street who she thinks she recognizes. That same night, she sees Oatmeal. As she crosses the street to get him, she gets hit by a taxi and dies. Once she wakes up, she is back at her birthday party and begins again the death and resurrection loop.

  • Episode 2 of Russian dolls starts out with Nadia respawning once again.  She starts to investigate what is in the drugs that her friend gives to her. From her perspective, that’s when things started going awry. She begins to tell others around her that she’s re-lived this day before and she keeps dying. She’s very on edge because she has several moments when she dies by simply walking down the stairs of the apartment. Towards the end, she stops leaving the apartment via stairs. The number of times she dies by walking down the stairs seriously had me questioning her ability to stay alive. We know that she’s in this world where she’s destined to continue dying, but how many times can one person die by doing a simple everyday task. She’s honestly lucky that she has several lives to spare because it would be very tragic for her to die via stairs on her birthday.

 

  • Episode 3 begins with her investigating the building her party was held in. It’s her friend’s apartment, but she also learned that it was a Jewish school at one point and there’s writing above the door. She solicits the help of her ex to visit a synagogue in order to learn more about this. She ends up seeing the homeless man named Horse, who she recognized in the first episode. She learns that he’s sleeping outside because his shoes were stolen at the homeless shelter and he doesn’t feel safe to sleep there anymore. They cuddle together under a blanket that night, and unfortunately, they both freeze to death. When she awakens, she goes on a mission to find Horse and guard his shoes at the homeless shelter, so he doesn’t end up freezing to death by sleeping outside. Upon leaving the shelter, she ends up in an elevator that begins to free-fall. She realizes this is how she dies again and notices there’s someone else in the elevator who isn’t panicked. She learns he also dies all the time.

This was a twist to the story because we learned that Nadia isn’t the only person in this alternate universe. In an earlier episode, something strange happened; though Nadia kept reliving the same day, no one else had any memory that they had previously lived this day. However, at the end of one of the episodes, we see a plant that was once alive is now wilting. I assume it’s because the plant has been continuing in its own dimension and not restarting like everyone else. Maybe everyone is restarting, but Nadia is the only one who remembers.

 

  • Episode 4 starts from Alan’s perspective on the same day he met Nadia. He’s keeping count of his deaths, and seems to relive his day the same way each time. He’s taking the fortune-telling perspective by trying to speed through conversations as if he’s already heard them. He’s found out his girlfriend is breaking up with him on the day they were supposed to take a trip. We get to the point when he dies in the elevator with Nadia. Their day begins again with each of them knowing about the other. This realization throws Alan off his usual path. Nadia sets out to find him and meets him at his apartment. His day is skewed and they agree to meet up at her birthday party when they die again. Out of frustration, he throws his ring into the river and dies of electrocution. When he respawns, both the ring and his pet fish (who he feeds everyday) are gone. This leads me to think that the world around them isn’t staying still, just like the flowers at Nadia’s party.

 

More episode summaries will be entered as Shani watches them! Stay tuned. 

Russian Doll is the newest Netflix Addition to the Groundhog Day Loop Theme – and it looks GREAT

Russian Doll Theme Song – Gotta Get Up Video & Lyrics (Netflix Does Groundhog Day)

19 Groundhog Day Type Movies – The Ultimate Repeating Day Film List

Quotes Quiz – Movies with Groundhogs Day Themes

Movie Review – Edge of Tomorrow (Live. Die. Repeat.)

Russian Doll Theme Song – Gotta Get Up Video & Lyrics (Netflix Does Groundhog Day)

red headed actress in russian doll on netflix
Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home, and MAYBE not die this time.

Have you binged the new Netflix show Russian Doll? Season One is only eight episodes (a half hour each) long, and I snapped them up like candy all on one night. What makes that even better was I watched it on February 2, that oddball American holiday known as Groundhog Day.

Used to be that this was a day a large rodent would predict the coming of spring, but now Groundhog Day is better known as the time of year to pick a movie or TV episode showcasing a repeating day loop theme.  There’s a big list now, and it keeps growing. To my knowledge, Russian Doll is the first ever TV show to ever base an entire series on the repeating day plot.  It also has the biting wit and birthday shenanigans of similar-themed humor-horror film Happy Death Day.

I enjoyed the holy heck out of it, especially with Natasha Lyonne as the main character. (Remember her, as Nicki from Orange Is The New Black?) Our own RunPee Shani Ogilve is writing up a binge review as I write this. I’ll add the link as it emerges, but here’s a way to get started. Instead of Groundhog Day’s morning song refrain I Got You Babe, Russian Doll begins each “life” with Harry Nilsson’s Gotta Get Up. It’s bouncy, strangely dark, absurdly cheerful, and totally works. It’s also hard to get out of your head, so don’t even try. Enjoy the song and lyrics below:


 Gotta Get Up

(Remastered song by Harry Nilsson)

Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the morning comes
What if I’m late, gotta big date, gotta get home before the sun comes up
Up and away, got a big day, sorry can’t stay, I gotta run, run, yeah
Gotta get home, pick up the phone, I gotta let the people know I’m gonna be late

There was a time when we could dance until a quarter to ten,
We never thought it would end then, we never thought it would end
We used to carry on and drink and do the rock and roll
We never thought we’d get older
We never thought it’d grow cold, but now

Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the morning comes
What if I’m late, gotta big date, gotta get home before the sun comes up
Up and away, got a big day, sorry can’t stay, I gotta run, run, yeah
Gotta get home, pick up the phone, I gotta let the people know I’m gonna be late

Down by the sea she knew a sailor who had been to war
She never even knew a sailor before, she never even knew his name
He’d come to town and he would pound her for a couple of days
And then he’d sail across the bubbly waves and those were happier days, but now

Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the morning comes
What if I’m late, gotta big date, gotta get home before the sun comes up
Up and away, got a big day, sorry can’t stay I gotta run, run, yeah
Gotta get home pick up the phone, I gotta let the people know I’m gonna be late…

(Songwriters: Ted Nilsson. Gotta Get Up lyrics 1971 © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc)


 

Russian Doll is the newest Netflix Addition to the Groundhog Day Loop Theme – and it looks GREAT

19 Groundhog Day Type Movies – The Ultimate Repeating Day Film List

Movie Review – Happy Death Day – Very Fun, Almost Cute Horror Film

Wake up again and again on Groundhog Day with Sonny and Cher (I Got You Babe lyrics & video)

Quiz – The Lego Ninjago Movie – Fun kid action in the shared Lego movie universe

Let’s have some fun with this Lego Ninjago quiz: I’ll give you a quote, and you give me the character. Good Luck! 

Quiz – The Lego Ninjago Movie

If you enjoyed this quotes quiz, take a look at my other Lego movie quizzesThanks for stopping by – Ginger/RunPee Mom

Quiz – The Lego Movie – This film is ‘Awesome”

Quiz – The Lego Batman Movie – Think You Know Your Lego Superhero Quotes?

The Cast of Voices for The Lego Movie 2 – The Second Part

Movie Review – The LEGO Ninjago Movie (the least exciting Lego film for adults)

Movie Review – The LEGO Movie

Movie Review – The LEGO Batman Movie – One of the BEST Batman films, ever

Everything is Awesome – Video and Lyrics to The Lego Movie Theme Song

Quiz – The Lego Batman Movie – Think You Know Your Lego Superhero Quotes?

The only thing more fun than playing with Batman Legos is taking a quiz on The Lego Batman Movie. I’ll give you a Batman Lego film quote, and you supply the correct character who said it. Now with Batman starring in a 3rd Lego movie (the Second Part), he’s kind of a big deal. 😉 Good luck and, as always, have fun.

Quiz – The Lego Batman Movie

Thanks so much for stopping for stopping by.  Maybe you could check out my other quizzes on the stars and their movies. And if you come across one you really like, think about sharing it with another fan of the Lego movies.

Movie Review – The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – “Awesome” Fun, Well-Worth an Evening Out

Movie Review – The LEGO Batman Movie – One of the BEST Batman films, ever

Chris Pratt and the Lego Cast go to Space Camp

The Cast of Voices for The Lego Movie 2 – The Second Part

Iconic Cars From Movies – Walmart Crafts A Winning Superbowl Commercial

Bumblebee is back
Technically, not a car.

It’s crazy, but the Superbowl commercial of the day goes to….Walmart. Walmart! I know! Whodathunk?

I need to make some screen captures, but you can do for now with the below video of the all-out effort made to include beloved, iconic, and a few harder-to-spot cool cars from many movies and TV shows, over many decades of time.

The Plot: These movie cars are sent out to pick up groceries from Walmart, and plays out like a little movie. What did we just see, in which order? 

  • The Batmobile from Batman  (One incarnation of it. Heh, get it? In-CAR-nation?)
  • Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters (And Slimer)
  • KITT, from Knight Rider, which would be my first choice to get my stuff, since I wouldn’t have to even go to Walmart at all. I could just send KITT there and stay home (And I checked…the voice is indeed really KITT’s, as William Daniels reprises his original role!)
  • Lightning McQueen from Cars
  • Mutt Cutts “Shaggin’ Wagon” from Dumb and Dumber
  • The Truckster station wagon from the Griswold Family in National Lampoon’s Vacation
  • The Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo
  • The Jurassic Park Tour Vehicle, complete with a hungry pack of Compies (We’re back in the car…again!)
  • Cinderella’s Pumpkin Coach, with Cinderella herself (Awwwww)
  • The Flintstones Car
  • We also see Bumblebee from the Transformers franchise. Well, why not? We’ll call him a part-time car. Maybe I’ll send him for my groceries
  • And finally, The DeLorean from Back to the Future

I’ve seen a few of these cars in “real life” — made by real people who went out of their way to redesign some wacky classics. To wit: the Ecto-1 in Yuma, AZ, the Mystery Machine in Asheville, NC, and the Delorean in San Diego, CA (that last one was at Comic Con, in the streets of downtown).

But seriously, this nostalgic commercial gets all the loves this year, plus it plays out over Gary Numan’s 1979 hit “Cars”:

The commercial sells the idea that you just show up in your car, and a Walmart Associate will bring out your groceries…which I am totally down with, since I don’t like shopping in person. So it’s a whole lot of brilliant, and whoever pulled this all together (getting all the rights alone must have been a nightmare) deserves their car of choice.

I’m still deciding which one I want. 🙂

Is Bumblebee a prequel or a reboot?

Lyrics and Video to Blitzkrieg Bop from Spider-Man – Homecoming

Part of why Spidey’s Marvel Cinematic Universe showing in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Avengers: Infinity War is better than any previous Spider-Man attempts lies in the fresh charm of Tom Holland, and the lively writing of Marvel’s producers and staff. Homecoming captured the rebooted hero the same way that only Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk fans identified with in Avengers: Assemble (with apologies to Bill Bixby and Lou Farrigno).

So, by some combination of verse and wit, Holland became the spider youth fans waited for, after several mixed live action attempts (in this post, let’s not discuss Mike Morales’ inspired, animated version of Into the Spider-Verse). And while our hearts broke a bit with the closing events of Infinity War, it’s no secret Spidey’s story continues in Marvel’s Phase 4: Spiderman: Far From Home.

To recall happier times with the MCU franchise — before winding up for Avengers: Endgame — take a moment and listen to the perfectly frenetic Ramones’ song Blitzkrieg Bop. This was a fun track to explore Spider-Man’s new skills with! The lyrics are a little hard to decipher here from just listening, so those are included below. The song starts about a minute after this video begins. Enjoy!

 Video to  Blitzkrieg Bop, from Spider-Man: Homecoming


Lyrics to Blitzkrieg Bop

(Song by The Ramones, 1976)

Hey ho, let’s go! hey ho, let’s go!
Hey ho, let’s go! hey ho, let’s go!

They’re forming in straight line
They’re going through a tight wind
The kids are losing their minds
The blitzkrieg bop

They’re piling in the back seat
They’re generating steam heat
Pulsating to the back beat
The blitzkrieg bop

Hey ho, let’s go
Shoot’em in the back now
What they want, I don’t know
They’re all revved up and ready to go

They’re forming in straight line
They’re going through a tight wind
The kids are losing their minds
The blitzkrieg bop

They’re piling in the back seat
They’re generating steam heat
Pulsating to the back beat
The blitzkrieg bop

Hey ho, let’s go
Shoot’em in the back now
What they want, I don’t know
They’re all revved up and ready to go

They’re forming in straight line
They’re going through a tight wind
The kids are losing their minds
The blitzkrieg bop

They’re piling in the back seat
They’re generating steam heat
Pulsating to the back beat
The blitzkrieg bop

Hey ho, let’s go! hey ho, let’s go!
Hey ho, let’s go! hey ho, let’s go!

(Songwriters: Tommy Ramone / Dee Dee Ramone / Johnny Ramone / Joey Ramone. Blitzkrieg Bop lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management)

Movie Review – Spider-Man Homecoming

Avengers 4 Endgame – First Trailer Review

Avengers Infinity War – Characters Missing in Action, Whereabouts Unknown

Avenger Superhero Powers, by Category

Russian Doll is the newest Netflix Addition to the Groundhog Day Loop Theme – and it looks GREAT

 

red headed actress in russian doll on netflix
The Groundhog Day theme as an entire Netflix show premise. And it’s damn good.

RunPeep Shani pointed out that Russian Doll, a new Netflix show, has a Groundhog Day theme. From the trailers it looks like a funny cross between Happy Death Day  (sequel coming Feb 14 this year), and the original Murray’s Groundhog Classic. I’m in!

We think Shani Olgive will do a binge review series too…but I can recommend starting a watch this NOW, on Groundhog Day itself  — Feb 2, to wring the most magical juju from the phenomenon.

Too much of this good thing is never enough with a fun premise like this. Check out the fun trailer:

  Start your engines, and let’s explore a new show with a beloved, classic theme!

Russian Doll UPDATE: On Feb 2, Groundhog Day itself, I binged the entire show at once on Netflix. I’m hooked. Give me more. NOW! (Please?)


A few other perfect films to remind you of some options you need to watch today and through Groundhog Week on this auspicious and bizarre US Holiday:

18 Groundhog Day Type Movies – the Ultimate Repeating Day List

Movie Review – Edge of Tomorrow (Live. Die. Repeat.)

Happy Death Day – All the Clues to the Killer (SPOILERS)

Run Lola Run – A Rewind Review for a Rewind Loop Film

Wake up again and again on Groundhog Day with Sonny and Cher (I Got You Babe lyrics & video)

By the way, there no is shadow here this morning in San Diego. I don’t know if that means more or less winter… Someone educate RunPee.com! 

Or make a note in the comments. Large rodents predicting weather. Why not?

Run Lola Run – A Rewind Review for a Rewind Loop Film

franka potente in run lola run, a ground hog day movie
Lola Runs. And runs again. And again. Happy Groundhog Day!

Even though I’ve only seen this movie one other time, it’s one of my favorites.  There’s plenty to love about Lola.  The premise is simple: Lola has twenty minutes to raise the money to save her boyfriend Manni’s life.  Each failed attempt causes the clock to reset Groundhog Day-style.  Except Lola doesn’t seem to remember she’s lived these twenty minutes before, as she often turns to the same useless source for help. 

 

What I love about the movie is that it’s a love story.  It’s about the power of love.  Lola resets time and defies nature  — by sheer force of will out of her love for Manni.  The movie has an awesome techno soundtrack (one of my all time favorite movie soundtracks).  Director Tom Tykwer uses animation and split screen, among other techniques, to compress time and give the movie a unique look and feel. 

 

One of the coolest things about the movie is the way it briefly cuts away from Lola to show the audience the future of  background characters via jump cut photographs.  And the way those futures change in the different timelines. 

I can hardly think of another movie where such minor characters get to have their stories told.  I love that the film does this in such a breathless style as well, as if it is in just as much of a hurry as Lola, trying to keep pace with her, not wanting to take its eyes off her for too long. 

 

Franka Potente’s Lola is the badass girlfriend you never had.  With her expressive face and shocking red hair, she’s willing to walk in the fire and do whatever it takes to save the man she loves.  It’s hard not to feel what Lola is feeling.  That sympathy is part of what keeps you on the edge of your seat.

 

Although the movie is a scant eighty minutes, you feel like you’ve been on a journey by the end of it.  Tykwer uses music, sound effects, and editing, to make you feel both the pressure Lola is under, and all the ground she is covering.  It’s very effective.  At one point, I found myself on the couch feeling compelled by the music to do SOMETHING, but not knowing what to do, feeling restless and helpless. 

 

A few things to note:  This is a foreign film, so there are subtitles.  There is also some violence.  I was a little more sensitive to the violence this time than I was the first time I watched it. 

 

I was glad this movie lived up to my memory of it.  I would recommend this to fans of Guy Ritchie, Alfred Hitchcock, and Rod Serling (with his show The Twilight Zone). 

If you enjoyed this, you can find more movie reviews on this blog.  And, of course, remember to get Peetimes from the RunPee app the next time you go to the movies.

18 Groundhog Day Type Movies – the Ultimate Repeating Day List

Movie Review – Happy Death Day

Movie Review – Edge of Tomorrow (Live. Die. Repeat.)

Movie Review – Before I Fall

Virgin Review – Source Code

Movie Review – Looper

The Cast of Voices for The Lego Movie 2 – The Second Part

Jason-Momoa-as-Aquaman
Jason Momoa
LEGO2 - Aquaman
Aquaman
Best known for Game of Thrones and Aquaman 
Alison-Brie-as-Unikitty
Alison Brie
Alison-Brie-as-Ultrakatty
Unikitty
Best known as Unikitty in 2 the Lego movies and is the voice of Diane in the animated sitcom BoJack Horseman
Chris-Pratt-as-Emmet-Brickowski-and-Rex-Dangervest
Chris Pratt
Chris-Pratt-as-Emmet
Emmet Brickowski
Chris-Pratt-as-Emmet-Brickowski-and-Rex-Dangervest
Chris Pratt
Chris-Pratt-is-also-Rex-Dangervest
Rex Dangervest
Best known and loved for Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World
Stephanie-Beatriz-as-Sweet-Mayhem
Stephanie Beatriz
Stephanie-Beatriz-as-Mayhem
Sweet Mayhem
Known for the voice of Gina in the animated sitcom BoJack Horseman
Gal-Gadot-as-Wonder-Woman
(Not Gal Gadot)
LEGO2 - Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman
UPDATE: Gal Godot did NOT voice any of the three wonder woman Legos in the movie. (But anyway, Godot  is best known as DC’s own Wonder Woman and the voice of Shank in the animated movie Ralph Breaks the Internet)
Elizabeth-Banks-as-Wyldstyle
Elizabeth Banks
Elizabeth-Banks-as-Lucy
Lucy
Best known for Pitch Perfect and The Hunger Games
Jonah-Hill-as-Green-Lantern
Jonah Hill
LEGO2 - Green Lantern
Green Lantern
  Best known for Moneyball , 21 and 22 Jump Street, and Wolf of Wall Street 
Nick-Offerman-as-Metal-Beard
Nick Offerman
LEGO2 - Metal Beard
Metal Beard
Best known for his role in the sitcom Parks and Recreation
Channing-Tatum-as-Superman
Channing Tatum
LEGO2 - Superman
Superman
Best known for the movie Magic Mike, G.I. Joe: Retaliationand also both 21 and 22 Jump Street
Tiffany-Haddish-as-Queen-Watevra-Wa-Nabi
Tiffany Haddish
Tiffany-Haddish-as-Queen-Whaterva
Queen Watevra Wa-Nabi
Known for Night School and Nobody’s Fool
Charlie-Day-as-Benny
Charlie Day
LEGO2 - Benny
Benny
Best known for It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Will-Arnett-as-Batman
Will Arnett
Will-Arnett-as-Batman
Batman
Best known for Arrested Development, and is the voice for the title character BoJack Horseman

Everything is Awesome – Video and Lyrics to The Lego Movie Theme Song

Movie Review – The LEGO Movie

Movie Review – The LEGO Batman Movie – One of the BEST Batman films, ever

Movie Review – The LEGO Ninjago Movie (the least exciting Lego film for adults)

Movie Review – The Kid Who Would Be King is Charming and Sweet

 

Movie Review - The Kid Who Would Be KingThis character driven movie was about a half hour too long, and that’s the only negative thing I have to say about The Boy Who Would Be King.

I enjoyed this movie a lot. It has all the ingredients needed to keep the audience of children entertained: out of control roots, things on fire, trees that want to hurt you, and a never ending supply of blazing skeletons on horseback. Aren’t there always blazing skeletons on horseback?

There’s enough sound and movement to keep the very young kids happy, and the story will fascinate middle schoolers and even those well into junior high.

As for the adults, well, there’s Patrick Stewart…what else needs to be said? So, parents, back the SUV out of the garage, belt the kids in, and head on down to the local theater. Everyone will have a great time.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: A lot happens in this 2-hour young person’s movie. If you keep to the Peetimes you won’t miss the best action or magical scenes. Try to use the 1st Peetime if you can, but any of the 3 are fine.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Kid Who Would Be King. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for fantasy action violence, scary images, thematic elements including some bullying, and language
Genres: Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Quiz – Sir Patrick Stewart in the Movies

Quiz – King Arthur and his Legend

A Brief Preview Review of The Kid Who Would Be King (No Spoilers)