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.
You’ll see that most everyone of us watched and enjoyed this one this week and honestly once you see it you’ll understand why. I’m sure you’ve already heard that it’s a timeloop style movie but it’s kinda more than that. It’s a lot better than a straight to Hulu movie has any right to be, from the cast, to the cinematography, to the writing. Chalk another one up to The Lonely Island. I guess all of that explains why it was the highest selling movie in Sundance history. I really don’t want to say anything about the plot, just sit back and enjoy this one.
Hari Kondabalu: Warn Your Relatives
The Lady™ and I were looking for a stand-up special that we hadn’t watched yet and came across this one. Guess what? It was super funny. Somehow it felt a little dated as it came out 3 years ago and that feels like 3 centuries ago but the non topical jokes hit pretty damn hard. If you are looking for some good stand-up this special will do the trick.
The Classics at The Whitsett Theater Online
I think a lot of us have been missing sports and the summer never feels complete without baseball. This week, after the rousing success of Keanu Week, Rick put together a sort of Snipes week with this, New Jack City, and a personal favorite of mine Demolition Man. One of the nice things about Major League is that even though it’s 31 years old it still holds up and feels relatively current. The game of baseball hasn’t changed much over the years. My personal favorite thing about this movie (besides Bob Euker and James Gammon) is that the climax of the movie is a one game playoff for the division and not the world series. There’s just something great about that.
Destiny 2 Season of the Arrivals
I talk a lot about Destiny as it’s the game I play the most, but this season has so much going for on it stands above and beyond over the last few. A season in Destiny is approximately 3 months of new content so about 4 per year, and the 3 that have come this year have been lacklustre at best. Season of the Arrivals has really stepped everything up but especially the lore which is setting the stage for the next big expansion in
September November 10th (Covid related).There is a deep story to Destiny that I won’t get into here but the bad guys that were set up all the way back in Destiny 1 six years ago (longer than the confederacy mind you) have shown up and are about to wipe 4 of the planets and one enormous ship from our solar system and all the content that goes with them. Couple that with two of the most unique exotic weapons the game has ever seen old Raids becoming relevant again and we’ve got a gamer stew going here. If you have any interest in it at all check out some youtube videos or watch me play live at twitch.tv/lorenelliott
The “Harry Potter” Franchise
“Yer a wizard, Harry.” Immortal words spoken by Hagrid that launched a multi-billion dollar franchise nearly 20 years ago. And because they don’t really have much else, HBO Max has all eight movies available for your streaming enjoyment. If you’re a regular listener to the podcast, you know my girlfriend (aka “The Professor”) and I have been working our way through an epic rewatch of them all. While those first two are admittedly a little rough, they are still watchable as hell, even if for nostalgia’s sake. Recent J.K. Rowling issues aside (just stop tweeting, please, Jo), this is a franchise worth revisiting, all 19 hours and 39 minutes of it.
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman
An interview show that started with (greatly missed) President Barack Obama as its very first guest, you’d think it would have nowhere to go but down. You’d be wrong. Known primarily for, well, being David Letterman, David Letterman hosts this far too infrequent “chat show” with some of the most prolific guests in modern history, and Kanye. And Ellen. But as posturing as those are, there are still nuggets that make them worth watching. Eleven episodes and three specials, it’s currently streaming on Netflix. I promise you’ll find at least 4 of them worth watching.
Ray Romano: Right Here, Around The Corner
You may not realize this but, Ray Romano is (was?) a funny stand-up comic. And he hasn’t done a special in 23 years. So, for this, he did two, back to back, at different clubs, right around the…. well you can read the title. A guy who was on a somewhat funny CBS sitcom for, like, a decade, transitioned to being a pretty solid dramatic actor (he’s amazing in Parenthood) and the voice of an elephant?, squirrel?, tiger? (I’ve never seen the Ice Age movies….), I was surprised by just how much I legit laughed. It’s an hour long and it’s funny. Give it a chance.
I have nothing more to add to what my other contributors have written/will write. Instead of the trailer, here’s a video interview with The Lonely Island. Potential spoiler alert.
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street
Mark Patton’s acting career had a meteoric rise. Long term success and fame was all but guaranteed. Then he took the lead role in what should have been the hottest horror sequel made at the time, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. Instead of further fame, it crippled his career and led him to flee show business entirely. This isn’t your typical horror movie doc. It does an excellent job not just talking about the making of the film, but of its lead actor. Told with the added context of Hollywood’s (and the public’s) attitudes toward homosexuals and the AIDS crisis, the filmmakers paint an in-depth portrait of Patton’s struggle and how he comes to terms with his past. It’s streaming exclusively on Shudder but is available to rent/own on multiple platforms.
Executed with the visual flair of 70s Giallo thrillers and Dressed to Kill-era Brian DePalma, Knife+Heart is the slasher movie I didn’t know I needed, but I’m forever grateful that it exists. You’re in for a neon and blood-soaked ride set in the gay porn scene of 1970s France, where a masked killer is offing adult film actors left right and center. You’ll never look at a dildo the same way again. Stylish, graphic, and incredibly funny, this is a solid entry in the genre. It’s another Shudder exclusive and worth a look if you’re a fan and looking for something off the beaten path.
About five minutes into this I regretted not catching it in theaters. What a big, bold, and exceptional biopic. I had no idea going in that it was a proper musical and I had a phenomenal time watching. And I have endless appreciation that they didn’t go the Bohemian Rhapsody route and soft pedal any of Elton John’s experiences. Top marks all around. It’s streaming free on Amazon Prime and Hulu.
The Vast of Night
Do you like a little mystery in your sci-fi? How about a faithfully recreated 1950s setting? Or an inventive way to tell what would otherwise be a clichéd and familiar tale? Well, The Vast of the Night is for you. Its character-driven approach, a directing style that relies on what you hear rather than see, and a pitch perfect atmosphere make this a must see for fans. My only complaint is that a couple of scenes could have used some tightening, but it’s a grand achievement on a miniscule budget. It’s streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime.
I, too, watched Palm Springs this past week. Even though this film is about an infinite time loop torturing the leads, it still made me want to go to Palm Springs. How did they manage that? I loved the Miloti/Samberg chemistry and thought they made some smart choices to make this feel different than other stories like it. And I thought they stuck the landing which is really hard to do in a story like this. Overall a really fun watch and made me love Andy Samberg just a bit more than I did before.
The Baby-Sitters Club
I was an avid reader of the books when I was a tween (as I think all women my age were,) so I couldn’t resist checking out the new Netflix series. I binged the whole thing over a weekend, mostly while cleaning, cooking, etc. It is a delight! They’ve kept the charm of the original stories with enough updating that moden kids can see themselves in it. Instead of being the “traditional” California girl of the 80s – blond hair, blue eyes, insufferable vegan – she is the traditional California girl of now – Latina, with a recently out father, and a social justice warrior at heart. MaryAnne is biracial which adds a subtle twist on her father’s overbearing demeanor. Claudia’s older sister is played as autistic rather than just mean. When Mary Anne deals with a sick child on her own, she finds her voice by telling the doctors that while the child’s chart says “male” she is indeed a girl and they should respect that. All of what I’m saying makes it sound preachier than it is, at heart it’s still a fun story of girls finding friends, a business, and themselves.
My husband and I have been doing a re-watch of this for a few weeks now (I actually had to look at the previous Weekend Watches to make sure I hadn’t mentioned it before) We started with the pilot and are almost through Season 3. We haven’t gotten to the divisive season 4 yet, and I’m wondering if watching it right after the first three hilarious seasons will make it better or worse. I can say, however, that the first three seasons are pretty brilliant – the jokes come fast and furiously so if one does strike you the next one might.
This has recently come back into rotation in my house. The first 3-5 times I saw it I thought ‘this isn’t as good as Finding Nemo’ then next could I thought ‘it’s hard to watch this knowing all the things I know about how mean Ellen Degeneres is’ and the next 3 I just spent enjoying Ed O’Neill’s performance as Hank the septapus. This past round of watching I am struck by one particular scene where Dory’s mom (in a flashback) cries in the night worried about how a memory-challenged Dory will survive in the ocean. As the mother of an autistic child I tear up every time. It’s moments like this of real, human (fish-y?) emotion that make this watchable over and over. The story of found family and finding your roots resonates to me as an adult. And of course the jokes are funny which makes it a favorite of my child.
(I thought since almost all of us saw this, this week, I’d share a fun cast video instead of a trailer redux.) I really enjoy Andy Samberg (and by the way, if you haven’t seen Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, do) and thought this was a really great vehicle for him. Imagine an even darker, sexier Groundhog Day – but still very funny – with JK Simmons running around like a hysterical mad man. And if you’ll allow me to get really deep for a moment, the movie serves as a pretty poignant metaphor for how endlessly cyclical adulthood can feel and right now, stuck at home, it’s pretty relevant.
The Old Guard
Who can keep track of all the Netflix originals lately? But thankfully someone reminded me about this one… I love-love-love me an ass-kicking Charlize Theron. This is a blast. It’s a superhero flick, but a more sophisticated superhero flick. Is it a Marvel movie? No. But still fun and worth watching. I hope they make more of these (and, I have to add, I hope they get some acting coaching in for KiKi Lane).
And suddenly I’m a true crime fan? It’s never been a genre I got into but between this, the HBO miniseries “I’ll be Gone in the Dark” and “The Genetic Detective” (just finished on ABC), I’m so dug in now. For the youngins, this is a reboot of a series we all watched in the 80s and 90s, done pretty much the same way, but without much loved host Robert Stack (RIP). I haven’t watched an episode yet that didn’t send me down a Google rabbit hole.
David Foster Off the Record
I love that this doc, on Rotten Tomatoes, has an 83% from critics but a 50% from the audience. It’s a clear indication that critics judge the movie differently — they don’t care, like an audience or normal people does, that Foster comes across for the entire film as an unapologetic, extremely arrogant asshole. And he does. And he’d agree with me. The doc is one, long defense by him, but mostly by those who flagellate themselves at him, of his work tactics, his goals, his five marriages to younger women, his failures as a parent… But frankly, if you enjoy his catalog of work, you’ll probably still enjoy it. Lots of good music and visits with great artists. So there’s that. (I bet it’s also a thorn in Foster’s side that the doc ended up on Netflix and not in theaters, as was originally planned.)
I’m quite relieved, in a way, that I got to see this on Disney+. The touring cast of Hamilton I saw at The Pantages here in Los Angeles completely underwhelmed me and made me think I was perhaps not a Hamilton person. But I get it now. It’s really as impressive and powerful as everyone swears it is. I really enjoyed it on my new, big TV with the sound loud. There is also some additional Hamil-content on Disney+ like a cast interview with Robin Roberts (Hamilton: History has its Eyes on You) that you should check out as well.
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