The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest film is definitely worth watching, plus four other movies to stream on Netflix.
In theaters: Guardians of the Galaxy
OK, tell me if you’ve heard this one before: Chris Pratt, an alien, a profesional wrestler, a raccoon, and a tree all walk into a bar…That is literally one of the scenes in Guardians of the Galaxy! There are, of course, many other scenes in Guardians of the Galaxy, and most of them are delightful, but I don’t really need to work through them for you. You can probably guess how it goes: a ragtag band of unlikely heroes heads off in search of a MacGuffin (the Infinity Stone) that could destroy the entire galaxy if it fell into the wrong hands.
Guardians, directed and written by hilarious genius James Gunn (Slither!), succeeds where a lot of today’s massive comic book blockbusters fail. There’s only one villain (mostly). The writing’s smart, funny, and alive. The casting is brilliant. It feels just like a well written comic book, and is proof that with the right script and director you don’t need a fancy or crazy plot to make a thoroughly enjoyable movie.
Marvel has unlocked the secret of these ensemble superhero movies,1 and I will officially watch any and all future superhero teamups. Who’s next on the docket? Maybe the X-Club? ★★★★★★
- Why you should see this movie: Why would you skip a film starring a wrestler, a raccoon, and a tree?
- Why you shouldn’t: Because you’re a boring old fuddy-duddy who hates fun and funtimes.
- Bechdel Test: Technically, yes. The two sisters, Gamora and Nebula, talk about recovering the Infinity Stone, but it’s kind of in the context of pleasing Thanos.
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Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928)
I know, I know, we’ve really been stuck on silent films the last couple of weeks. I can’t help it, I’m addicted to Buster Keaton! Steamboat Bill Jr. is Keaton at his hilarious best, and the final act is totally the basis for every Looney Tunes cartoon you’ve ever seen. He even invents the ol’ “standing still while a house falls on top of you, but you’re OK because the window, like, was lined up perfectly” gag. You know what I’m talking about, it’s the oldest and best joke in the book! ★★★★★
The Longest Day (1962)
This movie, and the book from which it was made, is something I think about continually. It’s a fascinating retelling of D-Day featuring a great mix of major moments and personal anecdotes. Starring a million people like John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and Sean Connery, you’ll have plenty of “Whoa! It’s that guy!” moments. ★★★★★
The Birdcage (1996)
I never wear shoes, because they make me fall down. Agador Spartacus
Hank Azaria at his best is definitely worth one evening of your weekend. Plus Nathan Lane! AH! SO GOOD! ★★★★★★
by Susan Howson
This documentary lovingly pokes just a little fun (but also wraps in a figurative blanket of warmth) at several individuals who have devoted their lives to the moon. No, they don’t work for NASA and no, they aren’t wolves. They run the gamut from believing they own the moon (and selling property there accordingly), to raising funds to be the first person to live on the moon, to just painting really cool pictures of it. You will laugh and feel some embarrassment transfer, but you will also admire their devotion. ★★★★★★
- Here’s the secret: hire a great writer and let them do his or her job. ↩