5 Things to Watch

My five-year-old says Planes: Fire & Rescue is worth watching, plus four movies that really are worth streaming on Netflix.

Below is, what I hope will be, the first of many movie reviews by JR Catrow, my five-year-old son. I had a hard time conveying the concept of a star rating to JR, but he assured me that “he likes all movies” and that, despite what you may have heard elsewhere, Planes: Fire & Rescue should be counted as worth watching.

In theaters: Planes: Fire & Rescue

Planes: Fire & Rescue was about Dusty. He was a plane racer, and he was training for a race when his fuel tank broke and he crashed. Someone put an alarm light on him, and when that light turned red it meant he was going to crash. Then, at a corn festival, Dusty flew out to find some new friends to join a crew with. He didn’t want to join the fire crew, and when he made a fire they didn’t come. Then Dusty went to fire camp to learn how to be a fire fighter, and he met some new planes and helicopters (and one guy that could give you new tires) who were in a fire crew. They went out, and instead of flying out of a fire they flew into a fire and put it out with red chemicals.

The thing that I really liked was when Dusty almost crashed–because he flew down, and he thought he was going to crash but somehow he flew back without using his engine. The thing that I really didn’t like was when there was a huge fire that almost covered the whole world, but they didn’t have enough chemicals to put it out. The fire made the helicopter teacher melt–it was so bright and kind of scary (but it wasn’t too scary).

  • Why you should see this movie: It’s cool.
  • Why you shouldn’t: It’s scary a little.
  • Bechdel Test: No. There were two women, one was a car and one was a plane, but they never talked to each other.

New releases

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Now streaming

Death Race 2000 (1975)

by Ross Catrow

David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone star in this “futuristic action sports film” set in 1975’s post-apocalyptic future (which is now our not-nearly-apocalyptic past). Each year, for reasons, teams of racers are pitted against each other in that all-American pastime: the Transcontinental Road Race. Points are awarded for finishing first, of course, but also for killing innocent bystanders with your vehicle.1 This film is campy, exploitive, and features the 100% best pun ever delivered by any actor.

Days of Thunder (1990)

by Ross Catrow

I realize that a bunch of white dudes in suits sat around a table after the success of Top Gun asking, “What else could we stick Tom Cruise in2 that’s fast and could possibly blow up?” Days of Thunder is the wonderful result. Rather than explain what happens in this Cruise classic, just read Roger Ebert’s list of the nine elements that make up a classic Cruise Picture. This one has them all.

The Paper (1994)

by Ross Catrow

Somehow I’d never seen this movie about news, the very industry in which I work, that stars every famous person ever. I want to say it’s oddly prescient about today’s onslaught of clickbait headlines, but the reality is that news has always been about salacious headlines and scandalous pictures–we can just spread them farther and faster now. Things start to go a little off the rails in the third act when Glenn Close takes a (hilarious) pratfall, but hey, it was the 90s. These things happened.

Note: I just realized that The Paper is streaming on HBO not Netflix. I hope you’ll forgive to oversight; it’ll never happen again.

The Master (2012)

by Ross Catrow

One of the things I look for in a great movie is for it to make me feel things, specifically for it to make me feel terrible thing, and The Master stars the…master…of on-screen terrible feelings: Philip Seymour Hoffman. Combined with a brilliant performance by Joaquin Phoenix, The Master contains the absolutely best acting from 2012–despite whatever the stupid Oscars say.

  1. With more points awarded for infants and the elderly; old folks top the scale at 70 points, a full 20 more than kids! 
  2. It’s an expansive list. He’s a small guy that fits practically anywhere. 
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JR Catrow

I am JR. I like to snuggle with Mama and Daddy, and eat French fries, and that’s it. My favorite color is golden.

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