FlixWorthy Wants To Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name

By David Wharton 2011-04-25 20:07:39
Welcome back to FlixWorthy, your guide to Netflix streaming! Yet again we're bringing you a handful of new or notable selections from Netflix's Instant Watch 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.


Cheers
(1982 - 1992, TV-PG, 11 Seasons)

Times are tough these days. Money's tight. Politics are divisive. The world is constantly coming up with new ways to kill us all. If only there were some way to take a break from all your worries. Perhaps a getaway of some sort? Maybe the sort of place where, I dunno, everybody knows your name. Yes, Netflix has added the entire run of that most fondly remembered love letter to casual alcoholism, Cheers. That's 11 seasons of sexual tension, Cliff-dispensed wisdom, and "Norm!" Sure, this show has been in syndication longer than some of you have been alive, but there's something to be said for watching the show in order. For every episode you've stumbled across a thousand times, I guarantee there will be some you don't remember at all, and it's fascinating to watch a show that became one of the defining programs of its decade evolve over the years. It's even more interesting when you consider that the show was nearly canceled after its premiere ranked dead last in the ratings. If Cheers had aired these days, it's pretty unlikely we would have gotten a single full season, much less 11 of them. What are you waiting for? Pour yourself a beer, grab a stool, and settle in for an afternoon at everybody's favorite watering hole.

Double-Feature It With:

Wings
(1990 - 1996, TV-PG, Eight Seasons)

Okay, so Wings is no Cheers, but the show centered on a small Nantucket airport was actually created by some of the same producers who worked on the award-winning bar-com. If nothing else, you can enjoy the early days of two supporting actors who have gone on to bigger and better things -- Tony Shalhoub and Thomas Haden Church.




Easy A
(2010, Rated PG-13, 92 min.)

The teen sex comedy is a genre that's had all but the last drop of originality squeezed out of it (that's what she said), but every once in a while somebody will find a way to reinvigorate it. Last year the genre got a shot in the arm courtesy of screenwriter Bert V. Royal's Easy A, which used Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter as a launching pad for scandalous shenanigans. Up-and-comer Emma Stone gives a winning performance as Olive, that unique brand of youth that only appears in movies: the impossibly hot teenage girl who is for some reason unpopular at her school. After a little white lie about losing her v-card saddles her with a reputation as a slut, Olive decides to embrace the slander. Soon she's helping lonely, virginal dudes get a popularity bump by claiming to have de-flowered them in exchange for cash and gifts. You can read Katey's four-star review right here.

Double-Feature It With:

Sex Drive
(2008, Unrated, 109 min.)

If you're craving more Emma Stone -- and I certainly wouldn't blame you -- Netflix is also streaming Zombieland. However, since I already recommended that one in a previous column, I'd recommend pairing Easy A with Sex Drive. The road-trip-to-lose-virginity premise is nothing special, but it's got plenty of heart and the supporting cast shines, including James Marsden as the abusive big brother and Clarke Duke stealing every scene as "the best friend." And I haven't even gotten to Seth Green's passive-aggressive Amish mechanic yet. Rumspringa!



Salt
(2010, Rated PG-13, 100 min.)

Salt took a long and tangled route to the big screen. Screenwriter Kurt Wimmer's spy thriller began life with the cumbersome title of The Far-Reaching Philosophy of Edwin A. Salt, but didn't sell until 2007, when Columbia picked it up. Then sporting the somewhat more manageable handle of Edwin A. Salt, the script soon caught the eye of Tom Cruise. After months of speculation and a revolving door of possible directors, Cruise jumped ship to star in Knight and Day, Angelina Jolie was cast in the lead, and Edwin Salt became Evelyn (not to be confused with Evil-Lyn). Whether the finished product was worth all that effort is up for debate. While Jolie is a competent enough action hero, assuming you can ignore her stick-like frame, the script overcomplicates itself and relies on a last-act twist that all but the most dense will see coming well in advance. Still, it's not a bad way to kill an hour and a half, as you can see from both our theatrical and DVD reviews.

Double-Feature It With:

Blind Fury
(1989, Rated R, 86 min.)

Long before director Phillip Noyce was helming the adventures of Evelyn Salt, possible double agent, he was making Blind Fury, a movie where Rutger Hauer plays a blind swordsman. Why are you still reading this? I just told you that you could be watching Rutger Hauer as a blind swordsman right this minute.




Ally McBeal
(1997 - 2001, TV-PG, Five Seasons)

Angelina may have kicked a moderate amount of ass in Salt, but the small screen is preparing to welcome back one of the most iconic female action heroes of all time -- Wonder Woman herself. If you've been paying attention to Cinema Blend at all over the past few months, you've probably read plenty about the development of the new Wonder Woman TV series. You also probably know that she, unfortunately, looks like this. And she's being written by David E. Kelley, who has given us such powerful female role models as, er, Ally McBeal. I kid, I kid. As somebody who loves him some Boston Legal, I can't bust Kelley's chops too much, even if I remain unconvinced that he's the right guy to shepherd Diana into the 21st century. Still, if you want to get a feel for Kelley's sense of humor or immerse yourself in '90s nostalgia, you can watch the entire run of Ally McBeal on Netflix now. Just watch out for dancing babies.

Double-Feature It With:

Grey’s Anatomy
(2005 - 2010, TV-14, Seven Seasons, HD)

Hey, if you're doing an estrogen marathon, you might as well go all in.








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