Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Picks: Five Things You Should Watch on Netflix this Weekend

Exit Through the Gift Shop

This documentary by Banksy is available on Netflix Instant and everybody should watch it. I wish I hadn't waited so long to see it. Jasie went to see it in the theater and ended up going back to watch it three more times. I should have paid closer attention to her enthusiasm, because this documentary absolutely blew my mind. I'm still thinking about it, and I know I will need to watch it two, three, maybe ten more times. I'm not really sure how to describe it. Yes, it's about Banksy, about graffiti and street art, but it's about so much more than that. In fact, I'm probably going to have an entire series of posts about this film because it realigned my view of the world. Here's part of the summary for it:

One of the most provocative films about art ever made, Exit Through the Gift Shop is a fascinating study of low-level criminality, comradeship and incompetence. By turns shocking, hilarious and absurd, this is an enthralling modern-day fairytale... with bolt cutters.

That's not what the movie was about to me. It was about art. Who has the right to make art, what sort of art should be made, what is classified as art, who turns it into art, and how we can understand our relationship with art. I know the other summary sounds more exciting, but I think when the film is stripped of everything else, we're left with a handful of men who are now questioning who they are and what they do.

A Piece of Work

You don't have to be a fan of Joan Rivers to watch A Piece of Work. I wouldn't consider myself a fan, since I'm a little too young to remember anything besides the day time talk show she hosted for awhile and now her regular appearances on E. But I can honestly say after watching this documentary that I am a fan of the woman. She's cursed with self-doubt, and no matter how many times she's validated, no matter how much she's worked, no matter what she owns, no matter how many fans she meets, it's never enough. I've actually asked myself more than once "What will make you happy?" I always imagined it would be more and more proof that I've mattered to somebody, but Joan Rivers proves if you're empty on the inside, it doesn't matter how much money or fans you possess. Of course, the film is funny as well as tragic, sometimes sweet, sometimes frightening, but always human.

The Larry Sanders Show

Why haven't I always watched The Larry Sanders Show? Well, I know the answer to that. I didn't always have HBO, and then when I did have HBO I didn't know that it was the greatest show ever and I should be watching it every week. It's completely changed the way I look at talk shows, but I can't remember the last time a show sucked me in so quickly or made me laugh so hard. Jeffrey Tambor and Rip Torn are amazing. So if you're like me, and you've never seen it before, do yourself a favor and watch an episode or two. The entire series is available on Netflix.

The Great Buck Howard

The Great Buck Howard only has a 72% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and I don't get that at all. I think it should be a bit higher because I don't think this movie was flawed. It was charming and thoughtful with fantastic performances by Collin Hanks and John Malkovich, not to mention Adam Scott's delightful cameo and Steve Zahn being his hilarious and wonderful self. This movie didn't make me ask uncomfortable questions about art and fame and courage and self-confidence, but it did speak to my fears and gently reassured me that everything was going to be all right and magic might still exist in the world. Or it might not. But things will still be all right. Funny, well-written, and well-acted, this is a gem that more people need to see.

She-Ra: Princess of Power

I love She-Ra! She was always my favorite when I was a wee lass. She kicked ass, she had a pretty costume, she had an awesome horse with RAINBOW WINGS. I'd watch He-Man and the other cartoons, but there was a special place in my heart for She-Ra. Imagine how excited I was to see that the first volume of season one is now available. She's smart, she's always the winner, she's never the damsel, and she's just as strong as her more famous brother. I also love her origin story, how she was the force captain of the imperial guard. Volume 1 is her origin story, and even if you don't have fond memories of the cartoon as a child, I think it's still worth watching. It's surprisingly engaging. It also features the perfect beta-male, Bow! I love Bow! He wears a heart on his vest and he ride a pink horse and he says things like "While I was hiding, I noticed...." She-Ra was naturally kicking ass while Bo was hiding. And he's the perfect knight who never tries to show-up his princess and immediately falls in love with She-Ra because she's so amazing.

Here's a wonderful article on Jezebel that explains more about what makes She-Ra a feminist superhero and her general awesomeness.

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