ScreenCrush Staff Picks for What to Watch the Weekend of April 21
If you can’t decide what to watch this weekend, ScreenCrush’s Staff Picks are here to help. They’re like the recommendations at an old video store, except you don’t have to put on pants or go outside to get them. Here are four things to watch this weekend:
This week’s pick was hard. There are so many great titles that have become available to stream in recent weeks, like The Handmaiden (my favorite film from 2016) and The Love Witch (a deliciously designed feminist riff on ’70s cinema), both on Amazon Prime. But a quick peek at Netflix sealed the deal: You need to watch Documentary Now! Season 2. In their sophomore effort, Bill Hader and Fred Armisen continue to take on acclaimed documentaries, including favorites like The Kid Stays in the Picture and The Salesman. It’s more affectionate satire than goofy spoof, though there’s plenty of silliness to go around in episodes like the season premiere, “The Bunker,” based on The War Room and featuring Hader in — what else? — the James Carville role, and delivering one of the funniest lines from anything I watched last year. (It has something to do with taffy.) Whether you’re a documentary-loving cinephile and / or a fan of Armisen and Hader, you’ll love this show (familiarity with the original docs isn’t imperative, though it helps). Oh, and every episode is introduced by Helen Freaking Mirren. If that doesn’t seal the deal, I’m not sure what will.
Documentary Now! Seasons 1-2 are streaming on Netflix.
With everyone (rightfully) plotzing about the selection of Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden to direct Brie Larson in Marvel's Captain Marvel movie, why not go check out (or revisit) Larson’s breakthrough role in Short Term 12? With the movie just added to Hulu, now is the perfect time to watch Larson as Grace, who works at the group home of the title. Writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton explores the inner lives of Short Term 12's residents and employees with patience and limitless empathy, and the cast is one future (now current) star after another: Not only Larson, but also 10 Cloverfield Lane’s John Gallagher Jr., Detroit’s Kaitlyn Dever, Mr. Robot’s Rami Malek, and Atlanta’s Lakeith Stanfield. Short Term 12 is a great showcase for up-and-coming actors, but even more importantly, it's a hugely emotional experience about the positive difference people can make in the lives of others. I have to warn you though: This movie will make you cry. Like, a lot. Make sure you’re stocked up on tissues.
Short Term 12 is streaming on Hulu.
I don’t know about you, but I could definitely use a dumb laugh or two, especially around tax time. Maybe not “Se7en With Farts” dumb, but definitely “dog driving a police car” dumb, and TBS’ Angie Tribeca more than suits that purpose. Carrying on the grand Naked Gun tradition with a dash of CSI, Tribeca brings the mile-a-minute irreverence and sight gags missing from parodies of recent years. And who couldn’t love an actual cop screaming his way through every Caruso-style opening credits? The first season debuted with a 25-hour marathon in early 2016, while Season 2 aired at normal intervals over the summer. Season 3 kicked off last Monday, adding Star Trek star Chris Pine to a long list of guest stars that includes James Franco, Bill Murray, Alfred Molina, and Maya Rudolph. Come for the never-ending parade of police absurdity, but definitely stay for the dog.
You're probably busy watching everything from the latest seasons of The Leftovers to Fargo and Better Call Saul. But among all that drama, you need some humor in your life. Allow me to recommend my new favorite comedy, Chewing Gum, a British series that those of us in the U.S. can devour two seasons of on Netflix. The BAFTA-winning series follows Tracey (played by creator and writer Michaela Coel), a horny 24-year-old living in a London housing estate. When Tracey isn't trying to lose her virginity, often in outrageous scenarios, she's working at a local bodega or praying to a Beyonce poster. There's a snappy cadence to Coel's slapstick humor, which is far raunchier than anything you'll see on Girls or Broad City. The cast's thick accents and the British slang can make it a hard to catch all the jokes, but you could easily laugh while watching the show on mute thanks to Cole's weird facial expressions and gyrating body. In Season 2 the episodes begin to weave in commentary on race, and most refreshing of all, the show depicts working-class families without succumbing to tropes or condescending portrayals of poverty.
Chewing Gum Seasons 1-2 are streaming on Netflix.