Wasn't "Thor: Ragnarok" hilarious, especially when Jeff Goldblum and Korg the rock creature were on screen? You can thank director Taika Waititi -- who also voiced Korg -- for the superhero smash's freewheeling sense of humor.
Before he joined the ranks of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the New Zealand native made four buzzworthy films. Here's where you can see his work:
• "Eagle vs Shark" (2007, streaming on Netflix): Burger-flipper Lily (Loren Horsley) and mulleted video game store clerk Jarrod (Jemaine Clement) fall in love -- sorta? -- in this awkward first feature that will please fans of deadpan comedies like "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!" Sample joke: At an animal costume party (hence the title), Lily partakes in a video game tournament and chooses a rather milquetoast moniker for her avatar -- "DANGEROUS PERSON."
• "Boy" (2010, free streaming on vudu): Waititi, who appears in all of his films, plays the father in this coming-of-age story about the titular 11-year-old who finds out the truth about his estranged dad.
• "What We Do in the Shadows" (2014, streaming on Amazon Prime): Waititi and Clement, who also worked with Waititi on four episodes of HBO's "Flight of the Conchords," co-wrote and directed this hilarious mockumentary about a quirky group of flatmates. Oh, did I mention they're vampires? Waititi carries the movie as Viago, a mannered, soft-spoken 379-year-old with a friendly face and a taste for blood. (He makes sure to put down some newspaper around his date before digging into her neck.) Complications arise when a newly turned vampire can't stop telling people what he is, and when the flatmates encounter a pack of werewolves ("not swearwolves," says leader Rhys Darby). This film is an 85-minute blast.
• "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" (2016, streaming on Hulu): A juvenile delinquent (Julian Dennison) and his foster dad ("Jurassic Park" star Sam Neill, great as ever) run afoul of the law and escape into the New Zealand wilderness in a film that perfectly toes the line between comedy and tragedy. Rachel House gets huge laughs as Ricky's overdetermined child welfare case worker -- you saw her as Goldblum's right-hand woman in "Thor," and heard her as "Moana's" grandma. As Dann Gire attested in his 3½-star review, "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" is a "joyously humanistic, sweetly endearing" adventure. And it even has a couple of good doggos in it.
Capt. Kirk's story 'Continues' in web series
Complaints about the marketing and the streaming platform aside, "Star Trek: Discovery" is a big hit for CBS All Access, and has been renewed for a second season. But it's not the only "Trek" series out there -- and no, I'm not talking about Seth MacFarlane's "The Orville."
"Star Trek Continues" is a web series written by, produced by and starring Vic Mignogna, a superfan of the original "Star Trek," which was canceled by NBC in 1969 without a proper series finale. Mignogna's 11 episodes continue that 1969 season, re-creating the look and feel of the original series with new actors inhabiting the iconic roles of Kirk, Spock, Scotty (represented here by original actor James Doohan's son, Chris) and so on. The production is not affiliated with CBS or Paramount Pictures, and operates as a nonprofit -- "Star Trek Continues" is presented ad-free, with no subscription fee, at startrekcontinues.com.
The final episode, "To Boldly Go," Part II, will go live on the website Monday, Nov. 13, and features Lake Forest native and Chicago-area theater veteran Kipleigh Brown in the role of Lt. J.G. Barbara Smith, a character who originally appeared in the "Star Trek" Season 1 classic "Where No Man Has Gone Before."
• Sean Stangland is a Daily Herald multiplatform editor. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanStanglandDH.