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.
I Am Vengeance
The other night I was looking for a dumb action movie to waste my brain on and boy did I find a doozy. Staring Stu Bennet who was formerly Wade Barret in the WWE and currently performing under his own name in the NWA (the wrestling organization not the rap group, but man that’s a great image). Bennet stars as English McToughGuy, who was the best something or other in his vague military unit. He goes to a quaint English village to avenge the death of the last remaining squadmate and goes up against a small-time drug cartel. This drug cartel is made up entirely of British stereotypes and Stu goes through them all. Think Walking Tall but so very British. He even gets a heroin addicted sidekick in Triss Merigold but no word on if she’ll stick around for the sequel. Oh yeah there’s a sequel due out this year and I am here for it.
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD The Final Season
This show has had it’s ups and downs for sure but this season is really doing a great job at wrapping the whole series up. And they are having so much fun with it. The team is jumping through time trying to stop evil space robots from messing with the timeline and the show gets how silly that sounds. They’ve gone from the 30s to the 50s to the 70s so far and are heading to the 80s next week. One of the best parts about this is that not only are they playing up these time periods and how fish out of water they all are, the show’s opening credits reflect the time period they are in. I am going to miss this show when it’s all said and done as a nice piece of extraneous MCU storylines. But hey maybe this can transition Clark Gregg’s Coulson back into the MCU proper.
The Lady™ and I started watching this a few weeks ago and are taking slow. It doesn’t need to be a binger. The show follows a group of unlikely actors, writers, directors etc. making their first movie in post-war Hollywood. I was suckered in because that’s one of my favorite time periods. It does get a little TOO Ryan Murphy here and there but overall it is an enjoyable piece of escapism that I wish dealt with the seriousness of race and sexuality just a little bit more.
A while back Ryan and I reported that Bill and Ted: Face The Music and M4trix were slated to come out on the same day, and the world collectively agreed that day would be Keanu Day. Sadly due to Covid-19 that won’t happen anymore so Rick and The Whitsett Theater Online gave us an entire week! We started with the original Bill and Ted on Monday, My Own Private Idaho on Wednesday, Point Break on Friday, and a double feature of Speed and John Wick for Saturday. Some of our friends have even added to this list by watching things like The Replacements or The Matrix. All in all it’s a bit of fun while we’re all still trying to keep socially distant.
Titanfall 2 on Steam
As for video games this week I’ve got what is potentially the best shooter ever made. Titanfall 2 the sequel to the criminally underplayed original is pretty much a perfect game. It has a short but extremely fun and meaningful single player story and one of the best multiplayer experiences out there. And here’s the best part, it was recently released on Steam for $9.95. If you are at all into the shooter genre of games and somehow haven’t picked this up yet, do yourself a favor and get to it.
The Last of Us Part II
The sequel to one of the best video games of the last decade is quickly becoming regarded as one of the best video games of this decade. Picking up four years later, The Last of Us Part II is a dour exploration into what someone might do if they truly lost everything, during a zombie apocalypse. I’m weary of saying anything else for fear of accidentally revealing spoilers. So, if you liked the first one, you’ll probably like this one, too.
Streaming on the (very niche and, apparently, little watched) DC Universe app, Stargirl is the story of high schooler Courtney Whitmore and her attempts to rebuild the Justice Society of America (with a bunch of her classmates….). Think Buffy meets Arrow with a retro feel. If you’re looking for something a little less “deconstructed” and a little more “traditional” superhero, Stargirl is a pretty good start (save for one episode that dips its toes a little bit in the “dark end of the pool”). And, thankfully, it’s also available on The CW (network and app) the day after it premieres on DCU.
While the link is to his most recent special, I Love Everything, I want to recommend all three specials Patton currently has up on Netflix. While this one is good, totally worth watching, Annihilation and Talking for Clapping are both phenomenal. Part tragedy and all comedy, give yourself an afternoon and just binge all three.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse
Guys, I love me some Tom Holland Spidey. For reals, he is the best live action Peter Parker there is (#sorrynotsorry, Tobey/Andrew). But, serious talk, Into the Spider-Verse is, probably, the best Spider-Man movie ever, animated or not. While Peter (multiple Peters, if I’m being accurate) is in it, this is Miles Morales’ story through and through. While the animation can be a little wonky from time to time, I adjusted relatively quickly. Also, Nicholas Cage voices one of the Spider-Men. Currently streaming on Netflix, do yourself a favor and give it a watch.
Marvel’s The Avengers
I’m going to keep this simple. Though I just linked to the first one’s trailer, all four Avengers movies are now streaming on Disney+. And all four, yes, including Age of Ultron, are worth a revisit.
Lord knows how Bryan Fuller got a standard broadcast network to air this show. I’m about to complete a binge of Season 1 (all three seasons are on Netflix) and this show is juicy. It is dark and gory and mysterious. I have to look away from time to time but I’m hooked in. Despite this being a rather melodramatic version of the FBI, and despite an occasional lack of character development, I just enjoy it a lot.
The Good Liar
Ian McKellen versus Helen Mirren. How could you not love this battle of the wits? McKellen is a career con man whose latest mark, recently widowed Betty (Mirren), is worth millions. Is it a simple con, though? Absolutely not. Lots of twists and turns. Even a good brawl or two. It’s not even a perfect movie – I found some of the delayed exposition annoying – but it’s overall enjoyable.
Jesus. I cannot quite say I “enjoyed” this documentary but it’s well made, compelling, and important. The new Netflix doc follows a team of reporters from The Indianapolis Star as they investigate claims of abuse at USA Gymnastics, who, you will learn by the end, is repugnant and should be deeply ashamed of themselves. Hundreds of survivors speak out here against the monster org and the chief violator, Dr. Larry Nassar. I was in tears by the end, both from disgust and from pure inspiration.
This is also an important one – also via Netflix. I knew I had some things to learn but I had no idea how much… Disclosure is an unprecedented look at the depiction of transgender people and experiences throughout the history of film and television. They have amassed more than 100 years of footage and a multitude of authorities on the subject (Laverne Cox being the most recognizable) to reveal how Hollywood has simultaneously reflected and manufactured our deepest beliefs and anxieties about gender. It might make you uncomfortable at points but I think that’s a good thing. Get out of your bubble and take this one in. (Ed. Note: The Lady™ and I watched this as well, it’s as fascinating as it is informative.)
Yvonne Orji: Momma, I Made It!
This special from Yvonne Orji is funny and joyous – it celebrates her Nigerian-American upbringing with interviews with family members and visits home, intercut with the main event, her first hour-long HBO comedy special. I caught this by accident, just flipping channels, and was immediately taken in and laughed a LOT. Highly recommend this to break up the depressing news cycle we’re entrenched in these days.
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, and AJ