Stream Them If You’ve Got Them: Your Guide To Netflix And Streaming, Mar 20, 2014

I know what you’re thinking. You’re all, “Hey man, who needs streaming, Imma be watching that NCAA tournament like it’s going outta style!” But hear this, you big dreamer, you: by 3pm on Thursday your bracket will in shambles (SHAMBLES!) and Warren Buffett will be laughing maniacally off into the night. You’re gonna need solace, you’re going to want a distraction. What happens next to your lifeless carcass? Stream it up, stream it in. Let us begin.

Top Netflix Streamer of the Week
Bad Boys

Remember when the movies meant something? When people were raising the bar all over the place? A kid named Mike Bay used to stroll into the editing suite, hookers in tow, and just jam out to some high performance automobiles, Tea Leoni, and sooooo many naughty words and adult situations?

Honestly, I’m still not totally sure on the physics of this “car race”, and I’m fairly certain M-Bay isn’t either. But you know what? He had a plane, Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, and the last non-ironic action movie ever made. Plus, he did that all before noon. The afternoon? That was for fighter jets and blow.

Streamability: 10,000 percent (on Netflix instant).

Old but New to Streaming Netflix Movies for the Recently Born
It’s been quite a while since I set eyes on Gattaca, but my recollection is that I enjoyed it. I think it had something to do with eugenics, and a plucky little underdog named Ethan Hawks (IRL, not in the movie). Some of the “sci-fi” is going to come off as silly, even a mere 17 years later, but most of it plays pretty well. I’m told it’s an allegory. Also, there’s a super-futuristic car you should check out around the 20-second mark of the trailer.

Streamability: Yeah, it’s worth a ponder (on Netflix instant).

Physically New Media for Netflix, Streaming Elsewhere
American Hustle

We’re here today to confront the backlash to the hype machine of the overrated factor when sussed out against the expectations game.

American Hustle is no longer a movie, at least in the crowds I run with, it’s a statement on how you view the world. Like it? You’re uniformed. Hate it? You’re cynical. Like it, but don’t quite get how it had a Best Picture shot? You’re apolitical. Mad Jeremy Renner didn’t get some love? You’re a hep cat. Think Silver Linings Playbook and The Fighter were both executed on a higher level? Then you’re at a coffee shop, probably talking down to someone.

The point is a pretty good film like American Hustle doesn’t even have any room to be “pretty good” anymore, because it’s too busy being defined as everything else. Personally? I didn’t really get the Oscar love (or nominations), but I didn’t mind it, and I saw it three times (the curse of having different groups of friends who loathe each other). Which makes me a semi-hep cynic, for better or worse. For what it’s worth, my take is the real genius of the movie happens when Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams square off in a ladies restroom. That’s reason enough to watch it right there, just for that moment. It’s a keeper.

Sidenote: There’s some really excellent (though unrelated) dub-step at the 2:15 mark of this clip.

Streamability: Of course, especially if you haven’t seen it yet (on Google Play).

Netflix Streaming Title Only I Like
American Dreamz

Now this is a cynical movie, though because it’s from 2006 it now plays as woefully pollyannish. This was a take on the narrative production behind reality television, which we all clearly take for granted nowadays (as opposed to backthenadays), but there’s something lecherous and glorious about Hollywood making Mandy Moore cheetah-love-stalk Hugh Grant, as if all the 40-something producers don’t have a choice when a young climber wants to climb on top to the top. There’s also a pretty good jag on religious fundamentalism and idiotic government going on in here, which, again, given it was only five years after 9/11, makes this downright courageous. Courageous and lecherous? Yep, that’s how we do around here. It also has Chris Klein in his last lucid moments as an actor. Oh, and at the 1:08 mark there’s a song called “Standing By” by a band called The Actual Tigers that will put a hop in your step, if you can find it. Oddly, that song seems to be of the rare things impervious to YouTubes.

Streamability: Live and let live, that’s what I say (on Netflix instant).

A Thematic Basketball Title if You’re Nasty
Blue Chips
No one remembers who the hell Penny Hardaway is these days, which is precisely why Blue Chips is so damned important. Because that’s just how fast it goes. Anyway, this clip doesn’t have Penny either, we’ll shovel some dirt his way too, but it does have Shaquille O’Neal doing the exact same dunk a dozen times in a row. Also featuring Nick Nolte before he had a bunch of rocks surgically implanted into his cheeks. Sadly, this clip is also living proof that filmmakers feel white people can’t clap along to a beat with a crowd. So it goes.

Streamability: Amazingly, this isn’t even available on Blu-ray. So you’ll have to hit up your local Blockbuster Video.

The Bad, The Bad, and the Ugly
Kill Your Darlings
This should have been good. They had everything working for them. Decent actors, including the guy from Chronicle and the other guy from Boardwalk Empire. Do I even need to mention the guy from Harry Potter? But this movie ended up sucking on wheels, because they made it about average boring human drama. Nothing like taking literary titans and devolving them into telenovela. If I was half the man I was twenty years ago I’d have taken a flamethrower to this movie.

Streamability: Do not seek the treasure (on Google Play).

Finally, and Physically …
Slumber Party Massacre

I mean, this sells itself, doesn’t it? “Close your eyes for a second … and sleep forever”. Good stuff. This is only new to Blu-ray and DVD so I’m cheating again, but with the advent of next day delivery I regret nothing. It could be in your hot little hands by the time you’re mathematically eliminated from winning any March Madness pool on Friday. Synth music! Women talking about their breasts like women do! And don’t forget the whole thing is really just a metaphor for teen pregnancy. I wish I could marry this movie.

Streamability: Act like your Blu-ray player is connected to the Internet, and then put the disc in.

Laremy wrote the book on film criticism and used to be able to dunk like Shaq on a Nerf hoop.