September is upon us! Grab those zip up hoodies and skinny jeans because the halcyon days of summer are passing with the end of the month of Auggie-Doggie. Thy sun sets sooner, and shines at but a fraction of it’s full, sweltering potential. I mean, shit, it’s the first week of September and they’re already busting out the pumpkin spiced bratwurst. Maybe that’s just a disgusting Midwest thing, but it’s real and it definitely happened. I got a Snapchat and everything.
To distract myself—and now you, actually, since you’re also thinking about gourd-flavored pork tubes—from this horrible revelation, I’ve gone and done compiled a list of some wonderful films available to stream on everyone’s favorite film funnel, Netflix. Settle in with a blanket, some squash-marinated salmon, and revel in cinematic greatness that defies month or season.
I know it’s not October, the Month of the Spooky, but how can you pass up what is not only the first film to fit the definition of “summer blockbuster,” but also one of Steven Spielberg’s best films? Jaws is a tense thriller, punctuated with dry, gallows humor that only Spielberg can craft. The film is pitch-perfectly cast all around, from Roy Scheider’s Sheriff Brody and his slow decent into paranoia, to drunk Robert Shaw giving an amazing modernized Captain Ishmael impersonation as the iconic Quint. The characters are just as memorable as the terrifying shark attacks. If you haven’t seen Jaws, you are sincerely missing out on a one-of-a-kind movie experience.
In college, one of my professors took the time to meticulously re-edit Pulp Fiction into proper chronological order. It was an informative experience which didn’t necessarily lessen how good the film is, but it definitely took some of the magic away. There’s a reason it was nominated for the best editing Oscar. I don’t know how much explaining I really have to do for this movie, which undoubtedly covers many a dorm room wall with freshly-purchased posters sold on the quad. With Samuel L. Jackson being prime Samuel L. Jackson, a career-rebooting performance from John Travolta, one of Bruce Willis’ best hero characters outside of Hudson Hawk, and a horribly racist cameo from the writer/director himself make this quite the film to behold. In addition to, yknow, all the wondeful writing and fun camerawork and solid music, etc.
Writing on Boogie Nights the other week reignited my love of Paul Thomas Anderson. I wrote about the guy’s oeuvre in school extensively, but his films keep surprising me on the 10th or 20th viewings. Out of his amazing collection, my personal favorite still has to be his maligned, small-scale “romcom,” Punch-Drunk Love. Featuring perhaps Adam Sandler’s only “great” performance to date, a wonderfully melancholy score from Jon Brion, and PTA’s penchant for crafting broken characters trying to find a niche in the cynical world that surrounds them, Punch-Drunk Love‘s greatest asset is it’s warmth and humanity in the face of adversity, anxiety, and loss. This movie makes me feel like, I dunno, things can be okay one day. It’s the only PTA film streaming on Netflix right now, so keep your eyes peeled for more.
What do you think of when I say Sean William Scott? The Rundown? Really? I was assuming you’d say Stiffler, his American Pie character. I was hoping you’d say that so I could say you were wrong to make that your first choice in the whole “Sean William Scott Association Game” I just created, but dang, you’re even more wrong talking about that failed The Rock vehicle. No, you should be thinking of Goon! Yes, Goon! The sequel to this hockey beat-em-up dramedy was recently released, so I believe the superior original deserves a revisit. Featuring a rage-filled yet subtle and subdued performance from The Stiffmiester, the film, written by co-star Jay Baruchel, really shines when he turns his love letter to the sport of hockey into a film about how the sport’s penchant for violence isn’t spectacle, but dedication, and how following your passion can lead to incredible places…even if your passion is beating fellow Canadians to a pulp for money.
You still all jazzed up from Baby Driver from the beginning of summer? You bet your ass you are! With all that primo music but only a few down-and-out action scenes, I bet your mouth is still drippin’ for some tasty, deftly-executed carnage to sink your morsels into, huh? Well crank up Hot Fuzz man! As Edgar Wright’s only out-and-out action film yet, this homage to big budget Hollywood action trash is anything but. With Wright’s tight script with plenty of in-jokes for late 80s and early 90s machismo cinema, winning performances from the straight-laced, stone-faced Simon Pegg and lovable oaf Nick Frost, plus clever shoot-outs and punch-fests, you’d be a big dumb baby if you didn’t drive right home from work and watch Hot Fuzz.