I kind of blew out all the anniversary films and throwbacks on my High Spots this week (check them out!) so I thought I’d throw you five flicks that just hit Netflix instead.
The Disaster Artist – The clout for this film was huge heading into the Golden Globes and after James Franco’s win and the sex abuse accusations it all went away. I hate to be the guy that says “that aside” but the film is still one of my favorites last year, a biopic about the friendship between two dreamers, Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, and the batshit crazy “so bad it’s good” film The Room which would result from this collaboration. Both James and Dave Franco are incredible in their respective roles. To see James chameleon into the oddness of Wiseau is seriously something to behold.
Hail, Caesar! – For a Coen Brothers film, people sure forgot about this one really quick. A quirky little Hollywood behind the scenes story set in 1950s Hollywood, this movie had me in stitches with its brilliant script and reliable performances from Josh Brolin, George Clooney and Tilda Swinton, as well as a breakout role from the now Han Solo actor Alden Ehrenreich. It also helps your eyes that it was shot by 2018 Academy Award winner Roger Deakins, the best way to sell a feature film.
Jarhead – A lot of people said that director Sam Mendes dropped the ball with this adaptation of Anthony Swofford’s book but I quite liked it and I even saw it in theaters. Was it because he followed American Beauty and Road To Perdition with this one, a slightly paler showing of Mendes ability? Maybe. The film shows the extreme boredom of war, with soldiers trained to kill then left to be driven mad in the hot desert of the Middle East. Jake Gyllenhaal commands this film in the lead but it’s Peter Sarsgaard who really brings the gravitas. Keeping with the Deakins theme, he did this one too.
Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels – Guy Ritchie debuted with this film, a biting London Underground crime comedy about a group of friends down on their luck and looking for an easy score to get a crime boss off their backs. The smash cuts and the quick and snappy dialogue was what engaged us but it was the introductions of future stars like Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones that made this one a repeat view. I discovered this one way back on VHS and had it on an almost continuous loop. The pairing of Ritchie and producer Matthew Vaughn may be one of the best ever.
Nick And Nora’s Infinite Playlist – This one is partially for my wife who absolutely adores this film. The chemistry between the leads, Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, is so palpable and the two play to their strengths in a romance that doesn’t immediately go for the clichéd love jugular but instead lets the characters evolve over the course of the film. What results is moments that we may have seen in life or experienced all to a soundtrack featuring an eclectic mix that really does make a blissfully infinite playlist. Imagine that!