WEEKEND WATCHING: OUR TOP NETFLIX INSTANT-WATCHING PICKS


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5.23.2009

Brandon Boyer

12 Replies

It’s been a few months since we last gave each other recommendations for Netflix on 360 weekend watching, and with things popping up and down on the service weekly, I think it’s high time for an update, particularly for this extended three-day blowout.

Here’s my quick rundown of the top things that shouldn’t be missed:

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Let the Right One In: Tomas Alfredson’s take on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel of the (basically) same name skyrocketed itself to one of my top movies of 2008 (landing it square next to Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York) for making a vampire horror movie that isn’t a vampire horror movie (despite what its stateside trailer may tell you), one that I watched four times in the first two months after its release.

It’s a coming of age story, it’s a story of isolation (on everyone’s part) and of broken, dependent relationships, that ends on a note of indistinguishably mixed hope and resolute sadness when you carry the story forward in your mind. It’s also gawpingly gorgeous, and everyone’s got good hair and wicked style. Do not miss this.

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Party Down: With the first season coming to a close Friday night, you now have no excuse to not sit down and watch what I’m going to call right now as the first, best new American comedy series since.. maybe Curb Your Enthusiasm? It’s not just the cast, though that helps, a lineup which includes former State member Ken Marino, Adam Scott (who you remember as the guy who saved it with his solo in the best part of Step Brothers), Freaks and Geeks/Adventureland’s Martin Starr, and Lizzy Caplan (aka My Hollywood Girlfriend; you know her from Cloverfield and as The Only Real Reason To Watch True Blood).

The premise: each episode is a separate LA occasion worked by the titular catering service Party Down, staffed by former/fallen/would-be actors, which sounds like a perfect setup for easy hijinks, and often is, but is always very smartly tempered with an undercurrent of life-reflection — taking the easy, low road after being knocked down. Actual pathos, the kind that the American Office has been managing to scrape together each week since that brutally, Who’s-Afraid-Of-Virgina-Woolf-ishly dark Dinner Party episode. But, also, it’s very, very funny.

Those are my two top, but there’s also, of course, the first season of Graham Linehan’s IT Crowd (which I have intended to talk more about on Offworld for months, let’s do that soon), Søren Larsen’s documentary Lynch, which won’t sell you on David Lynch if you’re already a skeptic, but is an essential peek behind the transcendental curtain if you’re a fanatic, and the Short Films from his box set also recently reared their head on the service, too.

Also from around the network, BBG’s Joel has recommended this documentary on unsung music producer legend Tom Dowd and guest blogger Tiff Chow has had nothing but good things to say about CJ7, the Chinese ‘E.T.’ reimagining from Shaolin Soccer/Kung Fu Hustle director Stephen Chow.

Anyone else dug up any diamonds or have anything to recommend? Let us all know via the comments!


COMMENTS

  1. There’s Six String Samurai, which I won’t bother explaining and instead just give you thie opening crawl:

    “In 1957, the bomb dropped, and the Russians tooks over what was America.

    The last bastion of freedom became a place called Lost Vegas and Elvis was crowned King.

    After Forty Rockin’ years, The King is dead.
    Every guitar picking, sword swinging opportunist, including Death himself, hears the call echoing across the wastelands.

    Vegas needs a new King.”

    Also Primer, which tells the story of a couple of engineers who accidentally invent a time machine in their garage. It’s one of those movies where you don’t really understand what’s going on the first time through until the end.


  2. Great recommendation on Party Down! It’s a really fun show that barely anyone seems to know about. It deserves more buzz than it’s gotten so far. Everyone in it is fantastic, but I’m having a hard time getting used to Martin Starr being a prick.


  3. Anyone who still hasn’t seen Primer should certainly watch that.

    The Lynch documentary was one of the first things I watched after I got my Xbox set up. As a devotee, I found it wonderful.


  4. Jordan_Morris

    Walk Hard: The Dewy Cox Story – I feel like this was unfairly marketed as a “from the guys that brought you Superbad…” movie. It’s a very dumb, very funny Naked Gun-style spoof of rock movies. Great Tim Meadows performance.

    Film Crew: Hollywood After Dark – The post-MST3K movie riffing project from Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy. A great 50’s cuationary tale featuring a stripping Rue Mcclanahan.

    In The Realms of the Unreal – Great documentary about a crazy art guy.


  5. The Last Life in the Universe – Slow paced film about a suicidal librarian who gets tied up in a mob killing. Stars Todanobu Asano.

    Reprise – Norwegian film about two best friends with literary aspirations.

    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – Julian Schnabel film based on the autobiography of French Elle Editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who was completely paralyzed after a stroke.


  6. Go ahead and watch the two seasons of 30 Rock that are available. Amazing show.

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Fantastic movie. Sweet, funny,and heartbreaking.

    SLC Punk: Punks come of age in Salt Lake City. Matthew Lillard in a role I can stand.


  7. What a bunch of good picks in the comments! Primer and Last Life in the Universe, especially.

    Re IT Crowd: I have long intended to catalogue every vinyl toy on Roy and Moss’s desks.

    I love Lizzy Caplan.


  8. BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM and BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER are both available for instant watching. Both are great films, too. I’d recommend skipping the also-available SUPERMAN: DOOMSDAY, which is pretty weak.

    I’ll second SIX-STRING SAMURAI, which I own on DVD. Last I checked, JESUS CHRIST: VAMPIRE SLAYER was also available for instant viewing, yet another b-movie that must be seen to be believed.

    As far as TV shows, MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS, FAWLTY TOWERS, GOOD NEIGHBORS (aka THE GOOD LIFE) and RED DWARF are all available and well worth a watch.

    For documentaries, I recommend HELVETICA and ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM.


  9. On the Documentary tilt, there are a few series “The Life of” animals such as “Birds” and “Mammals” with David Attenborough which are really entertaining. They contain amazing wildlife footage and commentary on some of the world’s most fascinating species, many of which I had never known existed. Nice fare for a restful sunday evening.

    I just finished watching the first series of the IT crowd, and that is a definite recommendation. Primer and Party Down as well.

    If you enjoy someone cruder humor, check out The Whitest Kids You Know (seasons 1, 2 & 3), Superbad, Jesus is Magic

    More picks: Dead Like Me, Grindhouse (double feature), Mythbusters, The Animatrix, Pan’s Labyrinth, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Paprika, etc.


  10. Thanks for the Party Down recommendation. Watched some of it yesterday and loved it!


  11. ‘Bon Cop, Bad Cop’ is the best cop buddy movie I’d seen in years, and I never would have seen it without netflix.

    Sadly it looks like they took it out of instant queue, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for in case they bring it back. Took a tired old genre and showed us it still has some life in it.