Welcome to the Weekend Watch, where we try to point you toward the best ways to spend your viewing time (or, at least, steer you clear of the garbage). In light of the global health crisis and the consequential movie theater closures, this week we wanted to each recommend some quality streaming content you might enjoy.
Locke & Key
I was a late adopter to this series because I had seen some negative reviews on it. They were wrong. This is a totally fun, kinda dark mystical mystery that seems to take all of the fun stuff from it’s predecessors ( the Narnia books, Harry Potter, The Goonies, etc.) and combine it all into a slick bingeable show. I watched the first six in one night and probably would have finished the whole series but I was totally bleary eyed by the end of the last one.
Shocking that I recommend this show I know. But it’s a lot of fun for those of you that don’t have your livingroom covered in LEGO sets as well. In a similar vein to Face Off or The Great British Bake Off you can watch a friendly competition of some of the best builders in the country. All ten episodes are streaming on Hulu right now.
Confession time, I had never seen Labyrinth until last week. I have absolutely no idea how I missed it but I did. I had made a pact with The Lady™ a few years ago that we would sit down and watch it and now we had all the time to do so. Guess what? It’s great! I would suggest revisiting this if you’ve already seen it and if not now’s a great time to check it off the list. Also maybe just use this time to go back and start watching those movies that you’ve somehow missed.
The Witcher III Wild Hunt
Ok time for Loren’s video game corner. After having finished the Netflix series I wanted a little more from this world and Steam had the game and DLC for $15 so it was a bit of a no brainer. I’m about 20 hours in so far and I find it very hard to put down. The game is a pretty standard sword and sorcery RPG but there are some fun elements and honestly the story is fantastic. CD Projekt Red makes some seriously immersive games and this is no exception. I’m also really enjoying that due to the time period of the game it’s almost like a sequel to the show. It’s a big recommend from me and should do a good job holding me over until Cyberpunk 2077 comes out (also from CD Projekt Red).
Dave Made a Maze
A delightfully absurd movie that lies somewhere between Wes Anderson and (I dunno)….. David Lynch, Dave Made a Maze is the story of Dave and he made a maze. It’s right there in the title. Built from cardboard in the middle of the living room, said maze, in a very TARDIS-like way, is much bigger than it appears, and Dave needs rescuing. Honestly, this is one of those movies where the less you know, the better. Just go in with an open mind and, I hope, you’ll enjoy it.
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
The cinematic (albeit streaming) sequel to Breaking Bad, El Camino follows what Jesse Pinkman’s been up to since the finale. While wholly unnecessary, I still found it very watchable and a deserved wrapup to the one, I guess, dangling Breaking Bad thread.
I have a confession. I kinda like watching people dance. I don’t watch any of the dancing reality shows but I do love me some Step Up movies (#moose4life). So, I downloaded TikTok to check out the dance stuff, and because I was bored/curious. And, I have to tell you, there’s so much more than dancing! And a lot of it is garbage! But a lot of it isn’t. I started following a cooking guy who does awesome cooking videos and Justin Willman does some fun magic on there. Who knows if it’ll be the next VIne or the next Instagram. For now though, it’s definitely keeping me entertained.
Mr. Sunday Movies
Look, there are a million of these movie review/breakdown channels on YouTube. But this one is probably my favorite. If you like your pop culture with a side of wry, sarcastic Australian humor, I can’t recommend it enough. There’s also a podcast called The Weekly Planet where two dudes run through the genre pop culture news of the week. But who needs more of those? You should still watch the YouTube channel! (There wasn’t really a trailer, so I pulled one of their reviews as an example.)
Birds of Prey
Given the garbage that was this movie’s predecessor, I went in with zero expectations. And, lord help me, I really enjoyed this. It’s one I would go back and rewatch without hesitation. It’s fun, unhinged, and goddamn is it well directed, particularly the action. Director Cathy Yan and her editorial team need to be commended for how exceptionallyw everything came together. Excellent composition, very few edits, great pacing. Top tier all around. I watched it on-demand, but when the price comes down a bit I’m going to add the UHD to my library.
Brooklyn 99 – Season 7
This show is in its seventh season and it’s still a delight. I’m grateful that the show was rescued from cancelation. It’s the type of goofy entertainment my brain needs right now. I’m sure it’s on a few services, but I’ve been enjoying it on Hulu.
Speaking of Hulu, thank the maker for FX migrating over to that platform. Now I can finally catch up on one of my favorite series, animated or otherwise. For the last few seasons, as a consequence of Archer’s condition, the show has been dabbling in a variety of genres to (mostly) great success. This time out they’re doing full on space sci-fi and it’s solid entertainment. Lots of fun references are woven in with the usual over the top lunacy of the cast. Not a lot of plot this season, but it doesn’t need it. It’s just pure escapism. And that’s fine by me.
Barry – Season 2
Another Hulu find. Thanks to HBO making a bunch of their programming free for a stretch, I’m finally watching the second season of Barry. I honestly wasn’t sure what direction the show was going to take after how the first season wrapped up, but it still manages to balance drama, humor, and sometimes shocking violence effortlessly. The entire cast is still on point. Anthony Carrigan (Noho Hank) and Henry Winkler are goddamn treasures. I’m only halfway through the run, but I’ll wind up finishing this in short order.
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
Seriously. I know. So my daughter is OBSESSED with MLP. I knew very little of it except that I had a handful when I was a kid but we now have watched MANY episodes on YouTube and it’s… good. I mean, KID good, but I will admit I have watched episodes when she’s not around (she tends to want the same ones over and over and I need to know more of the story) There is an overarching mythology but lots of standalones as well. The messages are great and some of their jokes/references are that sneaky kind of funny where you think – wait did they mean??? Oh they did – ha! I almost get the Brony phenomenon… almost.
#United At Home
To be fair, there have only been one of these so far (it’s happening as I type this!) and the first one is for Chuck, which I did not watch, BUT the premise is great and I peeked in for a few mins on FB live and it seems like a solid concept and fun to see everyone in their “natural habitats” I could definitely be into this for shows I’ve loved.
MST3K: Season 11
We all know and love classic MST3K (I would assume as none of you are monsters with no soul.) But I want to toot the horn for the new Jonah Rey led version. The first couple of episodes take a little bit to get going.
Saturday Night Live from Home
Was it perfect? Definitely not. Did all the jokes land? No, not at all. Did it feel weird without an audience laugh? Yep. But they committed and some of the sketches were pretty damn good. I think the forced creativity of this format could bring some fresh new ideas and I’m willing to check it out. If you only want to watch a sketch or two – the monologue by Tom Hanks is good for your soul. Masterclass Quarantine Edition shows off Chloe Fineman’s skills, Middle Aged Mutant Ninja Turtles is just what middle aged me needs.
I was immensely pleased with how they put this together. The book and Cusack movie are both favorites of mine so I was pretty skeptical about it. Especially the stunty casting with Zoe Kravitz as “Rob” (now, short for “Robyn”). But it’s great. It’s really great. They took such good care with casting and music, paying homage to the original pieces (there are SUCH great nods peppered throughout!) while updating things for the present. I enjoyed it every bit as much as the movie and book and may even give it another watch down the line.
Every week, for three weeks now, John Krasinski has bestowed “some good news” upon us with delightful, cheerful, funny episodes of his mock newscast. What started as a simple video at first, made with the employ of his children as the set decorators, has now turned into a challenge to out-stunt himself. In week two, he digitally reunited the original Broadway cast of Hamilton to surprise a nine year old. In week three? Enlisting Big Papi and the Boston Red Sox to reward some very deserving Covid-19 nurses. And throughout each episode he also highlights the good in humanity – showing snippets of social media and videos of the people out there doing good, warming our hearts. It’s good for our souls to watch this. I simply cannot wait to see what he does in week four.
Making the Cut
If you were ever a “Project Runway” fan, this rebirth of the series by Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum, for Amazon, is that show — on Steroids. “Runway” is always shot in one city, LA or NY, with one stunt trip to Paris or something of that ilk. In MTC, they are shooting in Paris, Tokyo, and all over. The cast is not filled with wanna-be up-and-coming designers, it is filled with established, accomplished designers who hide in the shadows of whatever established label they work for. But no longer. They are responsible for elevated, looks each week — two of them. The judging panel includes the wonderfully bitchy Naomi Campbell who I am totally here for. And the prize is (get your pinky ready) ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
Josie and the Pussycats
I revisited this because I know it’s gained such a huge cult following since it failed at the box office — and rightfully so. It’s so much more clever than I remembered! Is it a little dated at this point? Maybe. But I think we can look back on it now and value its charmingness…. It also has a phenomenal poppy soundtrack that includes contributions from the recently late Adam Schlesinger.
Also, as an aside – I fully agree with all of Rick’s Birds of Prey commentary. That movie went too underappreciated. It’s genius and a ton of fun. DC cinematic rep be damned, go watch this one.
So that’s your adapted, upcoming weekend in review. Let us know what you saw, liked and/or hated!
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–Loren, RDT, Rick, Jen, and AJ