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 don’t even know where to start with this one. I think I enjoyed it? I do appreciate that it is (at least in the first episode) both a story about the injustices black people suffered in the 50s and also elder gods coming to eat your face. It’s such a weird take that I was at the very least super intrigued.
The Outer Banks
Who doesn’t need more teen drama in their lives? How about a show that takes your typical teen class war Romeo and Juliet storyline and mixes in some smuggling and buried treasure? The Outer Banks does that and mixes in some extraordinarily good looking people for good measure. What can I say I’m a sucker for a teen mystery even if it’s not as crazy over the top as Riverdale. Actually this kinda reminds me of a Canadian show called Whistler but switch out the ski resort town for an atlantic seaboard island.
Wrestling has been in a very weird state since the pandemic started, but AEW has been trying to make the best of their unprecedented first year. Not just an alternative to WWE, but something trying to strikeout on their own and mix the best parts of classic old school pro graps with new school production, match style, and flair (no not that Flair). AEW truly feels fresh and yet comforting all at the same time. I hope it has the legs to give Vince a run for his money.
The Classics At The Whitsett Theater Online
I turned the big 4-0 this year and since we can’t have the typical celebration Rick over at The Whitsett Theater Online asked what I wanted to watch for a birthday double feature. How could I not go with two of the best, and by that I mean worst, martial arts movies out there. Who doesn’t want to watch a former actual Olympic gymnast use a conveniently placed pommel horse to attack ravenous old world villagers? Not your speed? Maybe you’d rather watch one of the worst protagonists we’ve ever had not understand kayfabe and stumble his way to the top of a WWE inspired martial arts league. The choice is yours, but I suggest watching with friends and maybe altering your mind first
Like A Version
I don’t remember how I stumbled across this channel but I’m really happy that I did. An Australian radio station has acts from all over come in and cover songs that range from classics to contemporaries. As you would expect some don’t hit but man, when they do? It’s magic. I hope you enjoy falling down this rabbit hole as much as I have.
If we ever get to go back to movie theaters and this has any kind of revival screening in Cinerama I’ll be the first one in line. James Garner stars in this epic look at Formula One racing in the late 1960s. Director John Frankenheimer demanded realism, so races were shot at speed and all but one of the main actors did their own driving. Excellent performances and incredible photography (it was shot on 65mm) make the nearly three hour running time fly by. If you enjoyed Ford vs. Ferrari this is in your wheelhouse. I watched this on the Criterion Channel just before it left for the month, but it’s available on disc from Warner Archive and as a digital rental.
Ip Man 4: The Finale
I love me some Donnie Yen (Flashpoint, Rogue One). He’s undoubtedly one of the finest martial artists working in movies. This final entry in this mostly excellent series of movies (Part 3 is pretty bad, unfortunately) is akin to watching a late 60s-era Hong Kong film with a bit of modern flair. The dialogue is a bit hokey and the scenario is about as simplistic as you can get, but it’s a lot of fun to watch, particularly the final fight between Yen and perennial asskicker Scott Adkins. It’s available on Netflix and a ton of other streaming services.
I watch enough content on YouTube that I pay the fee to get rid of ads. It’s worth every penny. One of the channels I’ve taken a shine to lately belongs to Scottish gamer Big Mooney. Most of what he plays are first person and third person shooters, and every video is a delight. Imagine a light-hearted version of Quint from Jaws narrating his goofy, bullet-ridden adventures in gaming and you’ve got an idea of what you’re in for. His videos are well edited, fully scored, and laugh out loud funny. His ongoing Fallout 4 survival mode run, stints at killing waves of Nazis in Sniper Elite, and trying to take out everyone on a map in Hitman 2 are some of my favorites. He’s a ray of juvenile, splattery light in an otherwise awful world.
I put off watching this series thinking it was just a run of the mill spy show. Man, I could not have been more wrong. Impeccably written, great cast, incredible production value. If you’re tired of meh TV series, give this a shot. Each season puts a new female showrunner in charge to keep things fresh. My lone complaint is that there are a couple of incidents of smart people doing dumb things, but they’re few and far between. Just bring a strong stomach. It’s at times unflinchingly violent and gory. The first two seasons are up on Hulu.
Speaking of unflinchingly violent and gory, this is another series I went into with a lot of trepidation but came away impressed. Serving as a prequel to the oft-sequelized/remake-laden film series, the whole affair is a carefully crafted supernatural mystery that pulls no punches in its efforts to terrorize the audience. Only seasoned horror fans need apply. This show is unsettling and absolutely not for the faint of heart. I’m desperate for a second season. It streams exclusively on Netflix.
I waited a while to watch this. It seemed like something in my wheelhouse but there was something holding me back. Once the second season was released and I learned it involved time travel to the 1960s, I blazed through both seasons of this in a span of about 3 days. Needless to say, I was hooked quickly. The first season was good, a great intro to the characters, but the second season is where they shine. If you are one of those people who nitpick time travel stories, this is not for you. Just sit back and enjoy the ride these characters take you on. It is a delightful use of 15 hours of your time.
Tig Notaro: Happy to Be Here
I think this special is from a while ago and it just showed up in my Netflix feed now. I am recommending this special based almost entirely on a bit she does about the Indigo Girls that might not resonate for everyone but tickled me to no end. Tig seems like an incredibly fun human being and what this special lacked in laugh out loud moments it made up for in her laid back familiarity with the audience. Oh, and she gets in a dig at Ellen before that was the cool thing to do.
My daughter continues to spend the waning weeks of a pandemic-laden summer working her way through the Disney back catalog. Tangled is the story of Rapunzel, which would have been a better title if you ask me. Although, there was a moment watching it the other day where she wraps someone up in her hair and my daughter turned to me and said “he’s Tangled!” with a wink in her eye and a smile that said “I get it mom!” and that was really worth the price of admission. At any rate, the story of a woman breaking quarantine to go to a bar, see some fireworks, and nook it up with a bad boy may be just what you need to see. Late in the movie Rapunzel is gagged with a scarf and my daughter said “She’s wearing her mask!” so really this movie is the gift that keeps on giving.
You Don’t Nomi
Let’s just take a moment to appreciate the perfection of that title. I would have watched this doc for the name alone even without my obvious love of Showgirls. Thanks to some stealthy work by AJ, we were able to stream this together with some friends and it was an excellent group watch. The movie covers all the various schools of thought on Showgirls without specifically backing any one theory. Is it a stealth masterpiece? A horrible mis-fire? Made to be a cult classic? Something else in between? It’s definitely worth a watch but know that you will immediately want to re-watch Showgirls to look for all the bits you may have been missing.
The Great Escape
Perhaps after I watched You Don’t Nomi with Jen, I needed to put some classic cinema into my brain. I have been setting my DVR for, like, 90% of the content airing on Turner Classic Movies these days, thus The Great Escape from 1963 ended up on my DVR. This is also, to be honest, the first time I’ve seen Steve McQueen in a movie and now I’m queuing up Papillon and Bullit as well. I just loved this movie. Hours after it ended, I could not stop thinking about it. I was enthralled and bewitched by both the performances and a rather intriguing score. I also love WWII movies and you can’t get more WWII than this — McQueen, James Garner, James Coburn, Sir Richard Attenborough and more are allied soldiers in a German POW camp during the war, intent on breaking out. Not only to escape, but also to draw Nazi forces away from battle to search for fugitives. Highly recommend it. All the stars and thumbs up.
That Guy/Gal Who Was in That Thing
I put up this Facebook post about favorite character actors and it led to our friend Ky recommending this pair of “that guy” documentaries. Both That Guy Who Was in That Thing and That Gal Who Was in That Thing are filled with faces you’ll totally recognize, belonging to names on the tip of your tongue. It was a lot of fun to hear stories of their comeuppances and the true trenches of the industry. We often forget that you can make quite a good living as an actor without fame; without the paparazzi following you everywhere. And as actor Timothy Omundson says (yes, both he and Xander Berkeley retweeted me and I am bragging), “any person that is considering getting into the acting profession needs to watch these documentaries!” Both are free to watch on Vudu right now, with minimal ads.
You get a glimpse at the underground ballroom community with this series. If you watch “Pose” on FX, you know a little… The original HBO Max program has voguing teams (aka “houses”) competing in “balls” and showcasing sickening fashion in order to achieve “legendary” status. Each episode yields a physical trophy win and bragging rights to one team, which is almost more important to them than the cash prize at the end. It’s just so much fun to watch and a it is culture we almost have never seen. The judges are also entertaining – and that surprised me. Law Roach is the “Simon Cowell” (early seasons when he was an asshole) we enjoy hearing from most, Jameela Jamil is up there for some reason…, ballroom icon Leiomy Maldonado is a Goddess, and I finally got into Megan Thee Stallion – who knew?
Since I finished my Fast & Furious mission, I’m onto a new one, called “Mission: Tom Cruise.” There are only a handful of his movies I’ve not seen so I’m going through those. Minority Report, which is streaming on demand through Showtime right now, was the first one I tackled. I don’t know how it previously got by me. It’s such a TOM CRUISE movie. You know what I mean. It’s no masterpiece (spoiler-ish alert: a lot of questions go completely unanswered) but it’s certainly enjoyable and has a really strong supporting cast. Fun to see baby Colin Farrell here, too, despite the offensive mustache.
Thank God it’s Friday
When I started my list with a cinematic masterpiece hailed by critics for decades, I had no idea I would end up here…. Brace yourselves, kids. This 1978 film directed by Robert Klane (“Weekend at Bernie’s II”) has a 30% on Rotten Tomatoes and stars Donna Summer, Debra Winger, Terri Nunn and Jeff Goldblum. I am also willing to bet that I am the only person who was excited to find Chick Vennera (“Enrique Mas” from The Golden Girls) in this movie. Dancing disco on top of cars in leather, no less. Betcha didn’t know Donna Summer’s most iconic song, “Last Dance,” is from this movie, did you? And that this tacky, horrible, polyester sequin-fest can call itself an Academy Award-winning film because of it. It’s horrendous but it’s wonderful and only an hour and 20 minutes of your time, free on Amazon Prime. Make yourself an unnecessarily strong, fruity cocktail and watch this some night. I insist.
So that’s your adapted, upcoming weekend in review. Let us know what you saw, liked and/or hated!
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–Loren, Rick, Jen, and AJ