Welcome to the streaming column! Here you will find all the tricks and treats you’ve been looking for. Here we go.
Top Netflix Streamer of the Week
I would maintain that “they don’t make them like this anymore”, but that would make me sound like at least half an idiot. It does seem like the genre of pure slapstick silliness has gone by the wayside, replaced by comedies that exist in the real world. If you were going to point to the natural evolution and legacy of a film like Airplane you’d probably go with something like the Scary Movie series, only then you’d also have to punch yourself directly in the face. Evolution? More like a devolution, amiright guys?!
Anyway, Airplane is really funny, especially back-to-back with Spaceballs.
Streamability: Very much so.
Old but New to Streaming Netflix Movies for the Recently Born
The Usual Suspects
They do make them like The Usual Suspects anymore, mostly because this was the film that invented the modern “twist” ending and doomed us to a lifetime of fools trying out the same method (only sucking hind teet at it). My guess is that everyone in the free world has seen this, but maybe you know an impressionable five-year-old who needs a little jolt with his morning latte. Did I ever tell you about the alternate theory that the lawyer, Kobayashi, was the actual bad guy who must not be named (IMDB doesn’t even list him in the credits, bold)? Think about it. It works. But don’t think it about it too hard, because I don’t want to know why it doesn’t work. It’s been too long, and my brain has settled on this film being awesome and that theory being something to pull out at the cocktail parties I never attend.
Streamability: You’d better believe it. I’ll flip you, bro. I’ll flip you for real.
Netflix Animate Me!
The big animation this year was Frozen, a film everyone is falling all over themselves to praise. Sure, it was fine, but if I was raising a daughter in this day and age I’d start to wonder what her chances of being a princess were, even an ice princess, as Disney has made aspirational for her. The Croods? This was the actual best animation of the year, released too early in the year, and it’s about a cavegirl (voiced by Emma Stone) who kills and eats her own food. Baller, right? And Nic Cage is completely tolerable in this one, an upset even if it was only his voice being used. I’ve shown this one to everyone, and now I show it to you, give it a watch hombres and hombrettes.
Physically New Media for Netflix, Streaming Elsewhere
This movie is hilariously terrible, it stars Justin Timberlake as a hapless guy trying to run a gambling empire. It sort of like a bizarro Inside Llewyn Davis in that respect. It gets everything wrong about gambling, website management, human relations, and how to use Ben Affleck. We need to pray Zack Snyder hasn’t seen this and gotten fresh ideas about how to mess up the new Batman / Superman mash-up movie.
Streamability: Only when intoxicated and/or hoping your date gets bored, $4.99 on GooglePlay or at the Fox Digital Website.
Physically New Media for Netflix, Not Streaming
A really low-fi horror film, Banshee Chapter is more of an inspiration as to what you can on a shoestring budget. In that way, it’s also a repudiation of a cinematic world that claims you need $100 million to make something like Wolf of Wall Street, a film that mostly took place in an office building. Back to Banshee Chapter, it is actively creepy, and they’ve got a Hunter S. Thompson doppelganger in the movie. If that doesn’t sell ya I don’t know what will.
Streamability: More buy-ability, but yup, especially if you like the genre.
The Bad, The Bad, and the Ugly New to Netflix
Failure to Launch
I saw a preview for Blended a few days ago, we’ve officially entered the time and place where Adam Sandler movies and “SNL” skits are interchangeable. So Failure to Launch isn’t that bad, judging by the context of truly awful. Hmmm. That could go on the Director’s Cut box of Failure to Launch. You know it’s coming.
Streamability: Not really, no.
And Finally …
Did you watch the Super Bowl last weekend? Did you see Kevin Costner doing press for a film called The Draft? That was terrible, right? Not annoying is Bull Durham, one of the better films about baseball (or beisbol) you’ll see. I still favor The Natural, but if you’re going to stream-y stream a little movie to get ready for pitchers and catchers reporting, you could do far worse than this.
Streamability: Get after it.
See you next week, my fine feathered friends.
Laremy wrote the book on film criticism and could probably throw a baseball harder than Tim Robbins.