Stream This: 'BoJack Horseman' has more than amazing horse puns

The new Netflix toon "BoJack Horseman" stars Will Arnett as a washed-up TV star who's also a talking horse. And we pick a film to celebrate Robin Williams.

Will Arnett voices a talking horse (opposite a slacker voiced by Aaron Paul) on "BoJack Horseman." Credit: Netflix Will Arnett voices a talking horse (opposite a slacker voiced by Aaron Paul) on "BoJack Horseman."
Credit: Netflix

 

BoJack Horseman
Netflix Instant

 

BoJack Horseman, the antihero of the Netflix show “BoJack Horseman,” may be a talking horse (voiced by Will Arnett). But he’s a common modern character: the oblivious, self-centered jerk whose hedonistic, sometimes tyrannical behavior one enjoys rather than hates. Living in an alternate universe where sentient, anthropomorphized animals walk among (and mate with) humans, BoJack is a washed-up TV star of the John Stamos order, having once headlined one of those cheesy ’80s shows with a heartwarming theme song and cute kids. Cut to 20 years later and he’s a drunken louse not above sleeping with the pill-popping hellion (Kristen Schaal) who once played his adopted, catchphrase-slinging daughter.

 

“Horseman” doesn’t start off as fresh — it's essentially an animated "Eastbound & Down," with a mane — though it is funny, as anything would be that featured groaning equine puns. (BoJack wielding a pastry: “It’s a horse of a different…cruller?”) But it quickly finds its own, seriously loopy voice, and subsequent episodes dig deep into the weird that is rock operas, a celebrity roast of Gloria Steinem, an Ira Glass ringtone and an Eva Braun biopic directed by Zach Braff. And BoJack himself becomes strangely decent and likable, warming without turning sentimental. It's a whinny-er! (Sorry.)

 

In "The Birdcage," Robin Williams had a less showy part than Nathan Lane, but he quietly steals the movie anyway. Credit: MGM In "The Birdcage," Robin Williams had a less showy part than Nathan Lane, but he quietly steals the movie anyway.
Credit: MGM

‘The Birdcage’
Netflix Instant

You could celebrate the life and work of the late Robin Williams by watching “Good Morning, Vietnam” or "The Fisher King," two of the few Williams films lurking about on Netflix Instant. But a more unique look at his talents lies in “The Birdcage,” the splashy remake of the French farce “La Cage Aux Folles,” about a gay couple dealing with the visit of right-wing future in-laws. When it came out nearly two decades ago, most of the attention was lavished upon relative nobody Nathan Lane, playing Williams’ eternally flustered cross-dressing partner. Williams was, if you will, the straight man — the one letting Lane take center stage. But while his work is subtle, that doesn’t mean he’s not funny. Indeed, he quietly steals the picture, becoming more and more agitated and flipping out like a pro — proof that he could be just as commanding when reining it all in.

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge

 
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