A movie that will pull your faith in Hollywood out from under you like a rug, and then five streaming things that will restore it.
In theaters: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I feel like I should have more to say about The Greatest Disappointment of All Time. This Michael Bay-produced atrocity just plain doesn’t deserve to be talked about. On all points–acting, directing, costumes, lighting, editing, and the granddaddy of them all, writing–it blew so hard it should have a hurricane named after it. Hurricane Stupid Awful Shredder.
One of my most treasured childhood memories gets the 2014: Everything Must Explode treatment, and even thinking about it makes me angry. Compare this film (which has a plot I’ve already forgotten) to Guardians of the Galaxy, and it’s like putting one of those ditzy Disney channel tween actresses up against Meryl Streep. If you value your time, your nostalgia, or your $10, go nowhere near this film.
Still considering it? Chew on this: Michelangelo sees April for the first time (played idiotically by Megan Fox) and goes, “She’s so hot, I can feel my shell getting tight!”
Heroes in a barf shell. Turtle power. ★★★★★
- Why you should see this movie: You got hit in the head sometime between now and the above paragraphs and have suffered temporary, yet devastating amnesia.
- Why you should stay home: There are sock drawers to organize and litter boxes to clean out.
- Bechdel Test: Actually, sort of. April’s boss, played by Whoopi Goldberg, does talk to her about being better at her job. So hey, this film DOES have something going for it!
The Graduate (1967)
The story goes like this: a recent college graduate who’s struggling to feel anything at all is basically manipulated into an affair with the wife of one of his dad’s friends. It’s a comment on the emotionless ennui of it all, but still an entertaining and relatable film, even after all this time. Plus, one of the best final shots in any movie ever. Pure genius.
Here’s to YOU, Mrs. Robinson! ★★★★★★
Two fantastic movies based on a game: Jonathan Lynn’s Clue, the whodunit game of rooms, weapons, and eccentric characters, and Scattergories, the tale of Peter Pan eating pickles with a pen.
I watched Clue over and over again as a child, and the alternate endings still make me laugh. Plus, it’s a good antidote to Legend that’ll replace the terror Tim Curry-as-demon puts in your heart with the whimsy of Tim Curry-as-butler. ★★★★★
The Fisher King (1991)
A Robin Williams movie nobody talks much about, The Fisher King is an interesting, heartwarming, and at times very funny film revolving around one of my favorite things–Arthurian legends! Plus, Jeff Bridges! Two of my favorite things!
Terry Gilliam (love him or hate him) puts a lot of energy into every film he makes, and this one is no different. Get on your 1991 jams and get into this 1991…jam. ★★★★★
Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1998)
(available with Amazon Prime)
One of the cool things about 1990s kids’ shows is that there’s basically no story arc overall. You can just pull up any ol’ episode of this slick, highly stylized classic and prepare yourself for 22 minutes of dark, satisfying fun.1
I started at the beginning, which confuses you by trying to say it’s a weird Batman/Superman hybrid show, but they drop that by episode 2, thank the sweet lord. Like I said, you can just close your eyes, hit the arrow button on your device’s remote, and pick an episode at random. Chances are it’ll be good. ★★★★★
Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey (2014)
Space and stuff, narrated by Neil deGrasseTyson, who is apparently a big deal science guy (although not a great actor, I’ll say that). You will learn a crap-ton about how humans came to be, and you’ll also learn to love the awkward spaceship he’s always flying around in. Maybe.
This several-part miniseries was a big hit when it premiered this spring, if Instagrammed photos of the moon are any indication. And now it can be a big hit in your very own home! Again! Or for the first time! ★★★★★★
- That’s…what she said? ↩