For this month’s See-Skip roundup, the prevailing themes are sports, social media and catfishing, including one combining all three. Are any of them worth your time? Read on and find out:
'I Love My Dad' is the father of cringe
Boston's James Morosini wrote, directed and stars in what he claims to be the true story of how his estranged father catfished him in order to remain a part of his life. Patton Oswald is seriously good as the even more seriously deranged dad, who creates an elaborate social media persona in the guise of a beautiful lonely heart named Becca (Claudia Sulewski). She’s really a waitress at the diner Dad frequents in Maine, and has no idea he’s lifting pictures off her Facebook page to lend legitimacy to the scam. How Dad manages to keep his son from meeting Becca strains credulity, but it lost me when he starts sexting with junior. The ick factor is off the charts. Do not friend! In theaters. (R for sexual content and language. Showing in theaters. Grade: C)
Beginner's 'Luck': First film from Skydance Animation is an 'eye-popping' winner
The recently widowed, Becky (Grace Caroline Currey), and her Internet-influencer BFF, Hunter (Virginia Gardner), want to get high, as in 2,000 feet atop an abandoned TV tower in the middle of the California desert. They get there, but when the steel ladder literally falls out from under them, they are left with no way down. Director Scott Mann and his co-writer, Jonathan Frank, effectively utilize this scenario to scare the hell out of you, especially those among us terrified of extreme heights. And even though the script is dumber than a box of hammers and drilled full of holes, “Fall” effectively puts the screws to your worst fears by sending the highly resourceful ladies through the physical and emotional wringer. Us too. Don’t look down! In theaters. (PG-13 for bloody images, intense peril and strong language. Showing in theaters; Grade: B-)
'Untold: The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist'
The opening episode in Season 2 of Netflix's popular sports-doc anthology series offers the highly intriguing rehash of the rise and tragic fall of superstar Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o. He’s inarguably the most famous victim of catfishing, falling prey to fellow Polynesian gridder, Naya Tuiasosopo, who for months posed online as a cancer-stricken young woman named Lennay. What’s remarkable about the two-part, two-hour episode is that Te’o is an active participant. Talk about guts! Your heart breaks for him, but you also wonder how an honor student could be so gullible and dumb. Ditto for the folks at ESPN, who bought the story hook, line and sinker before ending up with egg on their faces. The incident pretty much ruined the NFL dreams of Te’o, but, surprisingly, the most sympathetic figure is Tuiasosopo, who was transitioning into a woman at the time. Did he “really” love Te’o? You be the judge. (Streaming on Netflix Aug. 16. Grade: B+)
Movie review: Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock ride the 'Bullet Train'
'Legacy: The True Story of the L.A. Lakers'
Executive produced by Lakers CEO Jeanie Buss, the 10-part Hulu series is not the most objective examination of one of the most successful sports franchises over the past 45 years. But it IS compulsively watchable, particularly the early episodes chronicling the team’s heated rivalry with the Celtics during the Larry Bird era. Bird himself is among the dozens of celebrities and ex-players and Laker executives weighing in. The playboy in bright and shiny armor is Dr. Jerry Buss, the real estate mogul who parlayed all he owned to buy the Lakers in 1979, then sealed his fortuitous fate by drafting Earvin “Magic” Johnson just weeks after taking charge. The rest is … well … history. The takeaway from the first six episodes made available to the press is that nepotism, sexism and jealousy are dominant, along with the innovations Buss introduced to the once-dying NBA. Among them, stadium naming rights, courting glamorous Hollywood stars and the Laker Girls. As one observer notes, Buss brought the Playboy Mansion to the Forum. (Streaming on Hulu Aug. 15. Grade: B+)
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This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: See or skip? 'I Love My Dad' 'Fall,' 'Untold,' Legacy'