🖖 What to watch this weekend, #1

The Staircase, Lean on Pete, The Spectacular Now, Wind River

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There is a first time for everything.

Your first time going to a movie festival, first time sexy time, first time eating avocados, first time sending a new newsletter and sticking it to the man.

Fuck algorithms. Why do we trust them so much? Why do we think it’s more important that something is adjusted to your tasted rather than it just be good?

Remember all the big transitions in your life in culture: maybe watching “Saw I,” maybe listening to Avril Lavigne for the first time, watching “City of God,” “Dear Zachary,” “American History X”? Miyazaki movies? Slow Danish dramas?

All of those things were probably not part of anyone’s taste when they came out  — and guess what, they’re amazing. They challenged us, and probably in very real ways, changed who we are.

This is what we want to do with this newsletter. The comeback of film nerds in an apocalyptic world ruled by The Algorithm Robots.

Here are our three recommendations for the week:

#1: A True Crime Masterpiece

Netflix is stopping at nothing to collect the best true crime stories around, a bit like an African dictator looking for aid programs. The latest addition is the incredible thriller mini-series, “The Staircase.” It originally aired in 2004, but Netflix took the same director and allowed him to add new episodes in 2018 to complete the story.

The plot: A famous American novelist’s wife is found dead, and he is accused of killing her. His life comes under scrutiny as everyone asks whether she died in an accident or was murdered. If you liked their other hit, “Making a Murderer,” you will love this. You should also definitely check out “The Keepers” or Netflix’s binge-worthy crime documentary, “Evil Genius.”

“The Staircase” is streaming on Netflix everywhere. Here’s a link to information overload on IMDB. Average rating on Rotten Tomatoes: 8.1/10. Other reviews you might enjoy: The New York Times | The Guardian | Vulture | Vanity Fair | GQ

#2: A Coming-of-Age Drama

A24 + Steve Buscemi = 😍.

In “Lean on Pete,” Buscemi plays a guy called Del Montgomery (of course), who is a racetrack horse owner in Portland, Oregon. He befriends a kid, Charley (Charlie Plummer in an amazing performance), who had been abandoned by his family and is new to Portland.

Together they take care of Montgomery’s only horse, until the kid discovers that the horse is set to be slaughtered. He embarks on an impossible journey across the U.S. to try to save the horse while also looking for his family.

This movie flew under most peoples’ radars. It is truly amazing. If you like “Lean on Pete” you should watch other A24 gems like “Lady Bird” or “The Florida Project.”

“Lean on Pete” is streaming on Amazon Prime. Here’s a link to information overload on IMDB. Average rating on Rotten Tomatoes: 7.9/10. Other reviews you might enjoy: The New York Times | The Guardian | The Atlantic | The New Yorker | Vanity Fair

#3: A Recent Comedy Classic

I’m just going to quote from the late Roger Ebert‘s review of “The Spectacular Now,” one of his last before he passed in 2013, because he phrased it better than I ever could:

“Here is a lovely film about two high school seniors who look, speak and feel like real 18-year-old middle-American human beings. Do you have any idea how rare that is? They aren’t crippled by irony. They aren’t speeded up into cartoons. Their sex lives aren’t insulted by scenes that treat them cheaply.”

“What an affecting film this is. It respects its characters and doesn't use them for its own shabby purposes. How deeply we care about them. Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley are so there. Being young is a solemn business when you really care about someone. Teller has a touch of John Cusack in his “Say Anything” period. Woodley is beautiful in a real person sort if way, studying him with concern, and then that warm smile. We have gone through senior year with these two. We have known them. We have been them.”

Shailene Woodley’s performance is beyond incredible. Truly a spectacular film. If you’ve already seen this, we recommend Netflix’s latest and probably best romcom yet, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.”

“The Spectacular Now” is streaming on Netflix in the U.S., Canada, India and elsewhere. Here’s a link to information overload on IMDB. Average rating on Rotten Tomatoes: 7.8/10. Other reviews you might enjoy: The New York Times | The Guardian | The Washington Post | IndieWire

This week’s most popular review is…

The 🎖 goes to “Wind River,” streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Truth be told, we thought that it wasn’t a very rewarding movie at first. Don’t expect a fast-paced story from the get-go. But as the story unfolds, it is not only action-packed, its reflections on Native American communities are deep and poignant.

That’s it for this week.

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