There is only one correct way to prepare for the Oscars: resentfully watching every bad, dubious, or weird movie starring this year's honorees and feeling smug about it. StreamFix is here to help. Here are five weird choices streaming on Netflix to get you caught up on some of the 2014 nominees.
“Chalet Girl” with Felicity Jones
Felicity Jones would have more of a chance at an Oscar if she just called herself “the other Carey Mulligan” and dealt with it. Anyway, remember “Chalet Girl”? It was about Felicity Jones and Ed Westwick enjoying wonderful times on the slopes. Let us consult The New York Times' review for some insight into this cinematic journey: “'Chalet Girl' may not be particularly creative or genre busting or even a great example of a romantic comedy. But its premise might make you smile.” I know I always go to the movies for the faint possibility of a smile, so look this one up now. Also: Can we look up Ed Westwick because I think he got lost somewhere in a 2011 smirking fit and hasn't been seen since.
“The House of the Spirits” with Meryl Streep
NEV-ER FOR-GET that Meryl Streep and Glenn Close once costarred in a movie together. And it was a magical movie. And psychic powers were involved. And Winona Ryder, Jeremy Irons, Vanessa Redgrave, Antonio Banderas, and William Hurt were there too. And that they all paled in comparison to the movie's true star, Teri Polo, who continues to cast spells on Meryl and Glenn to this very day.
“Frida” with Edward Norton
Truly, this movie is not that strange. It's mostly very good! Salma Hayek brings all the cast-iron integrity you want in good Kahlo cosplay. But it's like the entire world forgot that Edward Norton once played Nelson Rockefeller in this film. I love, love, love movies that cast a half-dozen random actors as glamorous historical figures. Remember that time we made Hugh Grant play Chopin in “Impromptu”? Or when Kathy Bates barked about good writing as Gertrude Stein in “Midnight in Paris”? This is one of those occasions! Also be sure to enjoy Geoffrey Rush has that old rapscallion Leon Trotsky.
“Bewitched” with Steve Carell
Ohhhhhh. This movie. I don't know how the idea of a real-life witch trying out for a remake of “Bewitched” became a real movie, but here we are. Somehow it goes underreported that Steve Carell played the role of Uncle Arthur in the in-movie remake. Fast-forward through Will Ferrell's endlessly repetitive tantrums to get to Carell throwing down some mad Paul Lynde snickering. (Stephen Colbert also appears as a production-side TV guy.)
“Labor Day” with JK Simmons
There was a time we thought Kate Winslet was infallible. Then, after she won an Oscar, that movie “Carnage” happened to her. What the hell was that? Roman Polanski telling four disinterested actors to yell “GRR!” at each other? I'm still processing it. Then last year “Labor Day” happened to Kate Winslet, proving that even the most talented actress can't amp up a total dud. But give it up for JK Simmons in one of his many minor roles as he faithfully serves up skills alongside Tobey Maguire, James Van Der Beek, and Clark Gregg.