The weekend is approaching. You deserve legendary Netflix entertainment. Check out our five picks starring legendary entertainers proving why they're fantastic.
Robert Redford is a bad-ass with a ladies' Wimbledon haircut in “Three Days of the Condor”
There was a magical time called 1975 in which Robert Redford was indistinguishable from Martina Navratilova. Celebrate that sacred hour with “Three Days of the Condor,” the caper starring Redford as a CIA analyst who goes into hiding with a sultry Brooklyn Heights dame (Faye Dunaway) as foes zero in on him. Plenty of Oscar cred here: In addition to Dunaway, John Houseman and Cliff Robertson have key roles, and nominee Max von Sydow scares the hell out of you as an Alsatian assassin.
Bill Murray makes monotony a joy in “Groundhog Day”
It took me until this year to watch “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and I've decided Andie MacDowell does have a certain something. She didn't really exhibit it in that “Footloose” remake, and for some reason I used that as my MacDowell charisma barometer. You fooled me, Kenny Wormald! In “Groundhog Day,” the 'Dowell tangles with a cantankerous Bill Murray, who finds himself reliving the same day again and again. Murray's dead-eyed confidence while playing along with the same game of “Jeopardy!” he's seen 70 times is a one-of-a-kind comedy treat.
Robert De Niro is a hack who can act in “Taxi Driver”
Ebert had it right about this movie: It is a masterpiece of subtle characterizations. For being such a memorable character, Travis Bickle is mostly an enigma. We're never told was his issues are, if he's a Vietnam vet, or quite why he seems like the poster child for societal rejects, but you're invested in that ambiguity and follow it to darker and darker places. You didn't forget that Albert Brooks is in this, did you? That would be wrong of you.
Marisa Tomei is a revelation for the very first time on “A Different World” (TV series)
And on a vastly different note: I love “A Different World.” When it premiered back in 1987, one critic suggested it was the single worst series ever to garner juggernaut ratings (thanks to its lead-in “The Cosby Show”), but “A Different World” gave us a diverse range of mostly black characters at the fictional Hillman College that was representative, smart, and often hilarious. You cannot deny the saucy power of Jasmine Guy as Whitley Gilbert. You can't even deny the strong, cool presence of Dawnn Lewis as Jaleesa. And even in her first major pop culture moment, Marisa Tomei is so winning as Maggie that her future as a cinematic mainstay feels pretty predictable. Don't you dare forget that Loretta Devine also starred on the first season.
Zach Galifianakis, Maria Bamford, and more are “The Comedians of Comedy”
Comedians give the best interviews, period. They're always entertaining and candid, and that's probably because comedians are often the smartest people in entertainment. When you're funny, you trust your own intelligence, so it's not very likely you settle for vagaries and boring adages when talking about yourself. “The Comedians of Comedy” gives us a bunch of greats including Zach Galifianakis and Maria Bamford — easily two of the finest standups of the 21st century — performing at small rock concert venues and teaching us about life on the road. The above clip is from the short-lived TV show “The Comedians of Comedy,” not the actual film. Sigh. These guys!