FlixWorthy: Munday Barry Munday
Welcome back to FlixWorthy, your weekly guide to Netflix streaming. Yet again we're bringing you a handful of new or notable selections from Netflix's streaming catalogue. Some will be classics, some will be little-seen gems, some will be shows you might have missed, and some...some will be crap so awful they simply has to be seen to be believed. Here's what's FlixWorthy this week, kids.
(2010, Rated R, 94 min., HD)
I saw Barry Munday at South by Southwest last year and kept hoping it would get a theatrical release. According to IMDb it had some sort of limited New York/LA release this past October, but it obviously didn't make much of a splash. That's a shame, but also pretty consistent with poor Barry's luck. Barry's kind of a schmuck, you see. He's an innocently chauvinistic would-be ladies' man who hangs out at air-guitar competitions. He cruises for women at Bennigan's. And then, one day, he fools around with the wrong girl and gets his nuts severed with a trumpet (yes, a trumpet). Bad enough news in and of itself, but he barely has time to adjust to life sans balls before a girl he doesn't remember sleeping with shows up and tells him she's pregnant...and he's the father. Barry Munday is a silly concept that's buttressed by great oddball performances by Patrick Wilson and Judy Greer and just the right dose of heart to ground the insanity. It's worth watching for the support-group scene alone. (You can check out my original SXSW review right here.)
Double-Feature It With:
(2009, Rated R, 93 min., HD)
Buddies Andrew and Ben find themselves targeted with a dare that would daunt any straight male: to film a man-on-man sex scene together for an amateur porn festival. Will they go through with it? Will they chicken out? How do they decide who will be the bottom? All these questions and more will be answered in this improv-heavy indie flick starring Mark Duplass (a regular on The League and one half of directing duo the Duplass Brothers) and Joshua Leonard (The Blair Witch Project).
(2009, Rated PG-13, 108 min., HD)
Jon Amiel helms this look at the life of a man whose work changed the shape of the world and still causes heated debate a century later (whether it should or not at this point is a whole other matter). Paul Bettany stars as Charles Darwin and Jennifer Connelly plays his wife, Emma, in this story that explores the origins of Darwin's "On the Origin of the Species." Lest you think you'll be getting two hours of Bettany writing in journals and staring at finches, the film actually focuses on Darwin's personal journey in the aftermath of the death of his young daughter, a trauma that caused him to begin questioning the existence of God and put him at odds with his religious wife. The film didn't bring in the best reviews, but Bettany's performance has garnered praise, and at the very least it's an interesting look at a controversial man that most people don't actually know that much about.
Double-Feature It With...
The Young Victoria
(2009, Rated PG, 105 min.)
I would ideally recommend pairing this with Shadowlands, which focuses on Christian author and Narnia creator C.S. Lewis...if only for counterpoint's sake. Both films focus on crises of faith in brilliant men who came to very different conclusions. Sadly, however, Shadowlands isn't even available on DVD from Netflix at the moment, so instead you can watch this romantic biopic of Queen Victoria starring the lovely Emily Blunt. And Emily Blunt is one hell of a consolation prize if you ask me.
(2008, Rated R, 92 min., HD)
After yesterday's casting announcements of Tom Hardy as Bane and Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, the esteemed Mr. Eisenberg used Bronson as Exhibit A in his claim that Hardy was perfect for the role of the 'roided-out bat-breaker. In the spirit of solidarity, I thought I'd point out that Bronson is available streaming in HD as we speak. Hardy stars as Charlie Bronson, a notorious criminal dubbed "the most violent prisoner in Britain" and who has spent most of his life in jail, much of that in solitary confinement. It's a look inside the mind of a savage man who wanted more than anything to be famous...and didn't care how he acquired that fame. Most reviewers gave middling praise to the film itself, but Hardy's performance is pretty much universally praised. Watch this one while mentally inserting a Bane hood over Hardy's head. And try to forget that this ever happened.
Double-Feature It With:
(2009, Not Rated, 93 min., HD)
If you're in the mood to evaluate the other half of the newly announced villainous duo from The Dark Knight Rises, I recommend grabbing a copy of Rachel Getting Married or checking out Hathaway's stellar performance in the otherwise unremarkable Love and Other Drugs. Since neither of those is streaming, however, we'll stick with Bronson director Nicolas Winding Refn for another violent and stylized tale, this time focusing on Viking warrior One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen). Don't go in expecting a better version of The 13th Warrior, however; check out Rich's DVD review for more.
Leaving Las Vegas
(1995, Unrated, 112 min.)
People like to pick on Nic Cage these days, and let's face it: he kind of makes it easy for us, doesn't he? But let's not forget that he's actually been damn good on occasion. One of his very best roles is in Leaving Las Vegas, also one of the most depressing movies ever filmed. Cage stars as a downwardly spiraling alcoholic who gives up on life, moves to Las Vegas, and sets about drinking himself to death. Not in the abstract, either: that's literally his goal. Along for the ride is Sera (Elisabeth Shue), a prostitute he befriends during his slow, boozy self-destruction. Cage earned a Best Actor nomination for his performance, and rightly so. I recommend keeping an emergency anti-depression kit on hand to resuscitate any of your friends who may begin rocking in a fetal position or attempting to slice open their arteries during the movie. Suggested anti-depression kit contents: fluffy puppies, that video of the baby panda sneezing, and the last 10 minutes of The Shawshank Redemption.
Double-Feature It With:
Johnny Got His Gun
(1971, Rated PG, 111 min.)
What's that? You're not depressed enough? You still have faith in the possibility for goodness and hope in this bleak, benighted world? Fear not, for Dalton Trumbo rides to the rescue with this tale of a World War I soldier who has lost his arms, legs, eyes, and ears, and now lives trapped in the shell of his own body, walled off in darkness with no way to communicate and no solace from his own tortured thoughts. You're welcome.
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