FlixWorthy Knows There Can Be Only One

By David Wharton 2011-06-16 15:44:41 discussion comments
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.


Highlander
(1986, Rated R, 116 min., HD)

Pity the poor Highlander. Despite the original film being a cult classic, and a decent syndicated TV spin-off, the immortals' adventures on the big screen have dipped steadily into putrescence. Now, after the Highlander franchise has been well and truly Schumachered, Summit Entertainment is trying to clear the decks with a reboot...but that ain't looking too promising. Thankfully, we'll always have the 1986 original, directed by Russell Mulcahy and sporting an unforgettable soundtrack by Queen. And it's not hard to figure out why it's become a classic. You've got sword fights. You've got immortals. You've got Clancy Brown in perhaps his best remembered performance as the brutal, vile Kurgan. You've got Christopher Lambert making no effort whatsoever to affect a Scottish accent. You've got Sean Connery gleefully chewing the scenery as Connor McCloud's mentor, Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez. As a self-contained science fiction adventure, Highlander still holds up. It's just too bad they didn't quit while they were ahead.

Double-Feature It With:

The Crow
(1994, Rated R, 101 min., HD)

Speaking of not quitting while they were ahead, we come to The Crow. However, The Crow's misguided sequels were even worse because Brandon Lee was so good in the lead role. With his death, they should have simply let it stand as an interesting one-off. Instead, we got The Crow: City of Angels, The Crow: Salvation, The Crow: Revenge of the Son of the Attack of the Crow...



The Pledge
(2001, Rated R, 123 min., HD)

Back in 2001, Sean Penn took a break from being obnoxious long enough to direct The Pledge, a mystery film based on a novella by Swiss author Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Jack Nicholson plays Jerry Black, a Nevada sheriff on the cusp of retirement who finds himself pulled back in when he promises the mother of a murdered girl that he will find her killer. He's convinced the police have pinned it on the wrong guy, and finds evidence that suggests the girl's murder was not an isolated incident. Jerry takes the unprecedented step of actually buying a gas station in the area of the murders and settling in as a local. That's one hell of a sting operation. Nicholson gives an uncharacteristically restrained performance, and he's backed by an amazing cast, including Sam Shepard, Aaron Eckhart, Patricia Clarkson, Benicio del Toro, Vanessa Redgrave, Harry Dean Stanton, and Robin Wright Penn. If you're tired of The Killing stringing you along and want to watch a mystery solved in two hours, check out The Pledge.

Double-Feature It With:

Cop Land
(1997, Rated R, 104 min., HD)

If you're looking for another performance that took an actor outside his comfort zone, check out Stallone in Cop Land. He plays a small-town sheriff in New Jersey who gets in deep while investigating corruption in the NYPD. James Mangold directed a cast including Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, and Robert Patrick.




The Edge
(1997, Rated R, 117 min.)

Alec Baldwin may be giving the performance of his life as 30 Rock's Jack Donaghy, but the guy was being awesome for a long time before he became Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming. In The Edge he plays a fashion photographer...but wait! Don't let the job description be a mark against his Manly Points. Because, you see, after he and a businessman played by Anthony Hopkins survive a plane crash deep in the Alaskan wilderness, the pair must work together to survive both the harsh environment and a huge-ass bear. That's right, it's an entire movie of Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins versus a bear. Why this didn't become a long-running TV series where the two actors squared off against various other forms of dangerous wildlife, I do not know. Probably animal cruelty laws were involved. Even better, the whole thing's written by David Mamet, so you get dialogue like "Never feel sorry for a man who owns a bank."

Double-Feature It With:

The Silence of the Lambs
(1991, Rated R, 118 min.)

As Charles Morse in The Edge, Anthony Hopkins survives by his wits and eclectic knowledge of woodland skills. But if he'd been playing Hannibal Lecter, he would have talked the bear into killing itself, then eaten Alec Baldwin's liver with a nice Chianti that he made out of sock sweat and morning dew. I'll leave it to you to decide which movie would be more fun.




Last Night
(1998, Rated R, 95 min.)

There's been a lot of talk about the end of the world lately, what with that whole abortive rapture situation. Hollywood's treatment of the subject tends to be rather bombastic, usually involving rogue asteroids or zombie outbreaks or, er, killer trees. Don McKellar's Last Night takes a bit more restrained approach. The film follows several people as they live out their final hours before an unspecified cataclysm destroys the world. The Canadian film stars indie stalwarts like Sandra Oh, Sarah Polley, and Callum Keith Rennie, and as the above picture might suggest, it gets a little bit dark. If only McKellar had waited a decade and shot in Vancouver, he could have gotten some awesome free background action for his apocalypse. Production value!

Double-Feature It With:

Mad Max
(1979, Rated R, 93 min., HD)

Of course, there's something to be said for a more traditional approach. And there's even more to be said for a young Mel Gibson carving a blood-streaked path of vengeance through a blasted, post-apocalyptic wasteland.








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