1. Borg vs. McEnroe – How good could a movie about tennis be? A better question, is it better than Wimbledon? That last one is misleading because no film can unseat that Paul Bettany/Kirsten Dunst classic. I kid, I kid, this one is infinitely better and is completely devoid of an awkward romantic center. Instead we got the face-off between two of the greatest tennis players of all time, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, played by Shia LeBeouf and Sverrir Gudnason respectively. For the majority of the film, we get the back stories on both revered athletes peppered into their very different preparations for the biggest match of their career at Wimbledon. LeBeouf brilliantly captures McEnroe’s volatile nature in his strive for greatness without ever having met the real man in the process, much to the subject’s angry displeasure. Gudnason, on the other hand, plays to Borg’s quiet thoughtful side, a phenomenal talent that never wanted the crush of attention that his skills always garnered. We get a bit of insight into both of these unforgettable stars and it all comes together in a totally pace shifting third act, depicting the war these two battled on the court. Seriously, the movie is worth a watch just for that.
2. You Were Never Really Here – A couple years back, director Lynne Ramsey was all set to direct Natalie Portman in a western called Jane Got A Gun. Through unknown circumstances behind the scenes, a reported disagreement between Ramsay and the film’s producer and financier, and she no showed the first day before quitting entirely. Well, that film turned out to be a bit lackluster but luckily for the We Need To Talk About Kevin filmmaker, and more importantly us the viewers, she moved on to this thriller starring Joaquin Phoenix. He plays a disturbed Gulf war veteran who now lives with his mother, making his living tracking down missing teen girls. When one of his clients ends up involving him in a darker conspiracy, his reality starts to fracture and this movie starts to head down a rabbit hole of disturbing proportions. A lot of this film I felt a slight comparison to Taxi Driver with a side of Jacob’s Ladder PTSD but the one thing that was a constant was Joaquin’s performance which is damn riveting in its silence.
3. Monty Python – If I were ever to say that John Cleese, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam didn’t have a formative effect on my idea of comedy then I would be an absolute liar because Monty Python was everything to me. It seems that the comedy gods were listening, or at least Chapman was, because Netflix orchestrated a deal to acquire the entire catalog of their work and it is now already here and we’re talking EVERYTHING. The series, the live specials, the movies and the documentaries. Now you can stop pantomiming your favorite bits to your friends or the uninitiated and actually show them the really product, streaming into your home at the click of a button. Trust me, your wife already appreciates you not John Cleese goose stepping everywhere and kicking over that lamp. Again.