Another December weekend has arrived and the calm before the last minute Holiday storm is here. It’s a phenomenal opportunity to lie around and do absolutely nothing but binge your face off so here are some recommendations on what to watch across the major streaming platforms:
Film Rec: Bullet Train (2022) – Five assassins with intersecting assignments duke it out on a Japanese train to finish their missions.
The big release on Netflix this weekend is no doubt Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio but seeing how I haven’t seen that yet I’m going to go with one of my favorite movies from this past summer. Brad Pitt is a riot in this movie and believe it or not its one of only a few action movies on his resume. It comes from director David Leitch (Deadpool 2, John Wick) who is one of the best in the action genre at the moment and I love the brand of humor he brings to this film. The cast also includes Joey King (Kick-Ass), Zazie Beetz (Atlanta), Hiroyuki Sanada (Westworld), Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals), but the best part of the movie is the comedy duo of Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Tenet) who may be about to really take off.
A great addition to the action-comedy genre with a very different kind of performance from Pitt who looks like he’s having the time of his life. It’s a little twisted at points but as someone who loves those kind of movies it felt right up my ally.
TV Rec: Godless (2017) – Legendary outlaw Frank Griffin (Jeff Daniels) and his gang descend upon the town of La Belle, New Mexico, a town inhabited almost completely by women, in search of his former protégé (Jack O’Connell).
This mini series received a lot of acclaim back when it came out a few years back but feels like it very much came and went. Jeff Daniels and Merritt Weaver both won Emmys for their work on this western from Scott Frank (The Queen’s Gambit) and the cast also includes Jack O’Connell (Unbroken), Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), Scoot McNairy (Narcos: Mexico), and Thomas Brodie-Sangster (The Queen’s Gambit). As far as westerns go this is probably one of the better pieces of content to come out in the last decade or so and its only seven episodes long so its a pretty easy watch. Though Netflix does have another western on the way that sounds like it could top it.
Speaking of Netflix TV shows. Is Wednesday actually good? Apparently its putting up better ratings than Stranger Things which is so bizarre to me as I had no idea that an Addams Family spinoff would hold any cultural significance in 2022 but here we are.
Film Rec: Palm Springs (2020) – Sarah (Christin Milioti) falls into an infinite time loop alongside Nyles (Andy Samberg) at her sister’s wedding in the dessert and the two develop a budding romance while living the same day over and over again.
I made a case earlier this week as to why this film deserves more credit as a modern classic and I can’t recommend it enough. Whether you’ve never seen it or just watched it when it came out a few years ago this is a phenomenal film that gets better with each viewing. Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother) are at the top of their game in this sci-fi/fantasy comedy with trademark Lonely Island humor. It’s laugh out loud funny and moments but also has some heavier dramatic moments we don’t see often from Samberg and he crushes every scene he’s in.
The cast also includes J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Peter Gallagher (American Beauty), Camila Mendes (Riverdale), Tyler Hoechlin (Road to Perdition), and June Squibb (Hubie Halloween, yup that’s the one I’m going with). Simmons and Samberg are great together and he steals the few scenes he’s in. What’s great about the film is that it’s a familiar concept (think Groundhog Day but with two people) that never tries to outsmart the audience and it’s only 90 minutes long, never overstaying its welcome.
TV Rec: Abbott Elementary (2021-present) – Janine Teagues (Quinta Brunson) and the faculty at Abbott Elementary School in Philadelphia try to navigate their way through budget issues, crazy parents, and an inept principal (Janelle James) to deliver the best for their students.
The latest addition to the network TV mockumentary genre that gave us The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Modern Family is certainly not the most original show of all time but that doesn’t make it any less funny. Quinta Brunson (Weird: The Al Yankovic Story) does double-duty as the star and showrunner and she’s created a legitimate hit with this show. She won an Emmy for her writing in the first season and Sheryl Lee Ralph (Ray Donavan) took home a win for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series as well, though I would argue that Janelle James (The Comedy Lineup) as Principal Ava Coleman is the real scene stealer in the show.
The show is cast with relative unknowns but they’re all hilarious. Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris) plays a neurotic man-child, journeywoman Lisa Ann Walter (Emeril) is perfect as Melissa Schemmenti, Chris Perfetti’s (Sound of Metal) Jacob is wonderfully over-woke, and William Stanford Davis (Ray Donavan) is always great for a one-liner as the eccentric janitor. I don’t watch a ton of Network TV but safe to say Abbott Elementary is one of the top-tier programs out there right now and can definitely make a run to become one of the most bingeable shows around once it has a few more seasons under its belt. It’s currently in the middle of its second season and each episode is about 22 minutes so its a breeze to watch.
Film Rec: It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – George Bailey (James Stewart) is frustrated with his job, his family, and all the things he never accomplished until an angel (Henry Travers) comes from Heaven to show him what would happen if he were never born.
Probably the oldest thing I’ll ever recommend on here but it’s more of a PSA to let you all know that the film is available on Amazon. It had been at least 20 years since I watched this film and the wife and I threw it on after we finished decorating our Christmas tree last week and it’s just a delightful film. James Stewart (Rear Window) gives one of the all-time great performances and it’s impossible to get through the film without your heart turning into a big ol’ puddle of goo.
It was also interesting watching it through a different lens than when I was a kid. When I was younger I don’t even know if I paid much attention to the film because my parents probably put it on just because it was one of the classics. Now that I’m 30 and I’ve experienced some of the same things George has gone through it’s amazing how relatable and timeless this film still feels 86 years later. Anywho, it’s a Christmas classic so do yourself a favor and take in one of the greats.
TV Rec: The Peripheral (2022) – Set in the future, a former soldier (Jack Reynor) and his gamer sister (Chloe Grace Moretz) come across a new console which sends them into an alternate reality.
Let me start off by saying that I am not caught up on this show so bear with me if it ends up sucking. I’m currently three episodes in and am very intrigued as to where this show is going but its got a solid cast, great visuals, and I love these sci-fi movies and shows that show subtle differences between where we are now and where we will be soon. Look at Looper as a film that does this really well. Anyway, I’m interested in the first few episodes, it can be a little slow at times but I like the direction its going in and critics and audiences seem to have responded well to it so far, holding a 7.9 on IMDb.
The cast features Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass), Jack Reynor (Midsommar), Gary Carr (21 Bridges), JJ Feild (Captain America: The First Avenger), Eli Goree (One Night In Miami), and Louis Herthum (Westworld) among others.
Film Rec: Elvis (2022) – The story of Elvis Pressley (Austin Butler), one the biggest cultural icons in American history, and his up and down relationship with his manager Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks).
I’ll admit I didn’t love this movie when I saw it over the summer. The first act of the film is a total mess and with all sincerity I can say that this is the worst performance of Tom Hanks career. That being said, Austin Butler (Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood) is really fucking good as The King and the film manages to save itself in the middle portion of the film. At two hours and forty minutes it’s a long one and like any other Baz Luhrmann movie it’s very over the top at every corner but all that amplifies Butler’s incredible performance.
If you want to keep an eye on the Oscar race this year then you should give this film a watch. It’s going to be heavily involved in the races for several categories, most notably Best Actor, but I always say it’s hard to bitch about the awards and nominees if you don’t actually see the films so here’s your chance to cross Elvis off your list. Though I will say it’s a shame that (MINOR SPOILER ALERT) we never see him die on the shitter.
TV Rec: Flight of the Conchords (2007-2009) – Bret (Bret McKenzie) and Jemaine (Jemaine Clement) are a two-man rock band from New Zealand trying to make it in New York City with the help of their unqualified manager Murray (Rhys Darby).
While The White Lotus might be all the kids are talking about on social media these days here’s a throwback series that was one of my favorites from when I was growing up. Flight of the Conchords is a phenomenally dry musical comedy featuring an incredible core of characters and just about every B-list comedian imaginable from 15 years ago. The songs the band comes up with are hysterical and the dialogue between the Bret, Jemaine, and Murray is nonsense at its best.
While the show was only on the air for two seasons (20 total half-hour episodes) its amazing to see what the cast has gone on to accomplish. Bret McKenzie won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2011’s The Muppets, Jemaine Clement is one of the minds behind What We Do In The Shadows, and Rhys Darby just crushes everything he’s in, particularly Our Flag Means Death, which premiered on HBO earlier this year. The show was also a breakout role for Kristen Schaal (Bob’s Burgers), who has been one of the great comedic actresses and standup over the last decade or so, and includes several episodes written or directed by Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) before he blew up. Although fun fact, people forget he had a short film nominated back at the Oscars in 2005.
Film Rec: The Santa Clause (1994) – After accidentally knocking Santa Claus off his roof on Christmas Eve, workaholic grump Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) becomes the new Santa and uses his new powers to try and fix his relationship with his family.
Just a classic Christmas movie with a little something for everyone. Out of all the Christmas movies out there, and there’s a lot of them, this one is perfect for just throwing on in the background or sitting down and killing 90 minutes. I wouldn’t say it’s laugh out loud funny but it’s certainly clever enough. Plus it’s amusing to see how far prosthetics have come since 1994.
In addition to Tim Allen the cast features Judge Reinhold (Fast Times at Ridgemont High), Eric Lloyd (The Santa Clause 2 (slim pickings)), Wendy Crewson (Air Force One), and David Krumholtz (Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle).
TV Rec: Andor (2022) – Before the events of Rogue One Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) was a fugitive on the run from the Empire and his journey drives him into joining the rebellion.
I’ve written extensively about Andor previously but if you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon yet, what are you waiting for? This show has some of the best Star Wars content since the original trilogy and at points is even better than The Mandalorian though I wouldn’t go quite as far to say it’s a better show. This is perhaps the most mature piece of Star Wars material ever produced and is very different from everything we’ve seen previously. It just recently wrapped up its first season and the first few episodes are pretty slow and may have you wondering when this show is going to start living up to the hype. To that I say, give it until episode 6 and if that doesn’t do it for you than I don’t know what to tell you.
This show also has some of the best acting in any Star Wars propety. Diego Luna (Narcos: Mexico) is good and all but he’s often upstaged by his supporting cast here, particularly Stellan Skarsgård (Good Will Hunting), Genevieve O’Reilly (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Denise Gough (Under the Banner of Heaven), and Andy Serkis (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes). Skarsgård in particular should be receiving plenty of Emmy hype highlighted by one of the greatest monologues in TV history.
Quick sidebar about Apple TV, I hate how good their original content is because most of the movies and shows on here need to be rented at absurd prices. Little Women is $15! That’s more expensive than a ticket to have seen the movie in theaters four years ago! Rant over.
Film Rec: The Greatest Beer Run Ever (2022) – A man from New York with little direction (Zac Efron) decides to travel to Vietnam to deliver beer to his childhood friends fighting the war.
Peter Farrelly’s follow up to Green Book may not live up to its title but its based on a story so unbelievably stupid its hard to turn away. Zac Efron (Baywatch) delivers one of the best performances of his career as a young man with a very bad idea but its still a fresh look on a genre that has been bled dry. While the writing is a little all over the place the action sequences here are undeniably impressive and it’ll no doubt leave you wanting to crack open a cold one.
The nature of the story structure allows for a lot of supporting roles but the meatiest of them is Russell Crowe (The Nice Guys) as a journalist who helps open Efron’s character’s eyes to the reality that the story Americans are being told about Vietnam is more than meets the eye. Bill Murray also has a cameo though I imagine he read the title of the screenplay and agreed to do the movie for free.
TV Rec: Black Bird (2022) – Convicted arms dealer Jimmy Keene (Taron Egerton) is given a shot to get out of jail by the government if he can convince a suspected serial killer (Paul Walter Hauser) to tell him where he buried his victims.
I feel like this may be one of the more slept on shows to come out this year. Fans of true crime will get a kick out of this in part because the story is equally unique and disturbing. Egerton (Rocketman) is so good in this as a man who knows his charisma is the only thing keeping him alive in one of the most hellish prisons in the country. Paul Walter Hauser is cast incredibly well as real-life serial killer Larry Hall with dialogue that will leave you squirming. Again, if you’re into crime and you’ve never heard of Larry Hall watch this show then enjoy the rabbit hole that ensues. It’s a pretty quick watch too, only six one-hour episodes.
The rest of the cast includes Greg Kinnear (Little Miss Sunshine), Sepideh Moafi (The Deuce), Joe Williamson (Ford v Ferrari), Robert Wisdom (Barry), and one of the last roles for Ray Liotta (Goodfellas).
Leave a Reply