Netflix streaming has a lot of gems. Some of them are easy to find, others take some finagling – word of mouth, the “you may also like” function of Netflix, and; more often than not; a drunken night scrolling through the bounty of B movies; never truly finding that white whale of an entertaining movie that you so desperately need.
But sometimes, when it’s daytime and you’re sober, you find something surprisingly worthwhile. When you’ve got good friends who know you, sometimes they send you something that warms the heart, stimulates the mind, tickles the pickle… you get the idea.
With that in mind, I’m looking to tickle YOUR pickle… with cool things that can be found on Netflix streaming. Today we’re reaching way back… back to my childhood. Today I’d like to encourage you to watch Dear Mr. Watterson, a documentary about one man’s journey to put together 90 minutes of Calvin and Hobbes nostalgia.
As a documentary, I’m not sure that this gives you new and interesting facts about C&H that you wouldn’t already know if you’re a big fan of the strip (which I am). It’s mostly a study of the world’s response to C&H as well as its and Bill Watterson’s affect on the comic industry as a whole. You’ll learn about some of his influences, his reclusive ways, and see where he grew up. Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned reclusive ways, Mr. Watterson is not present in the documentary. It’s not surprising but it’s still a tad disappointing.
As I mentioned before, if you’re even a semi-“Calvin and Hobbes”-buff, a lot of the information isn’t going to be new. But that doesn’t make the experience any less enjoyable. While the documentary isn’t the most well-executed film you’ll watch, I do highly recommend it for anyone who has ever enjoyed the strip. The guy who made this film is not a well-known director, isn’t a comic strip nerd, isn’t really anyone special. He just loves Calvin and Hobbes. And that’s the beauty of this film.
I can’t think of how many friends I’ve bonded with over our favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips. Or the times I’ve told myself, “I’ll read just one” and then hours later I’m still reading. Or have caught small C&H references in shows or comics that I enjoy today. The beauty of this documentary is in the subject matter. It’s a 90 minute conversation about Calvin and Hobbes. People from all over the world, comics old and new, marketing gurus… all of them share how they’ve been affected by Bill Watterson’s portrayal of a mischievous boy and his pet tiger.
It’s a testament to the greatness of the comic that now, 20 years later, adults and kids are still reading it. It’s truly transcendent. No merchandising, no reboot, no exploitation. Just beautiful artwork and inspired writing.
So take one weekend to watch this movie. And then I’d recommend curling up with your old books, the internet, or wherever you go to get your fix of Calvin and Hobbes; and take a trip down the C&H rabbit hole. And as they say:
“Let’s Go Exploring!”