Welcome to our eleventh installment of Sunday Streaming Suggestions!
Writers Jack Martin, Ralph James, Evan Northrup, and new contributor Sarah Smith have delivered a fresh slate of streaming suggestions for your lazy Sunday.
Sound of Metal (2020) - Prime Video
Last week, Carter Ferryman suggested The Night Of, an HBO miniseries starring Riz Ahmed. I flew through it in a few days and I highly recommend that you check it out. I'd seen Ahmed in Nightcrawler, but across eight episodes of top-notch HBO drama, I was enamored by his ability to portray vulnerability and uncertainty in the face of a challenge of a lifetime. Sound of Metal is no different, and though I have a few more 2020 films to watch, it has cemented itself as my favorite narrative feature of the year.
Ruben Stone (Ahmed) is a drummer in a heavy metal duo alongside his long-term girlfriend, Lou (Olivia Cooke). Following a performance, Ruben experiences a high-pitched ringing from his ears and loses a majority of his hearing. He tries to persist, but a few nights later, walks out mid-show as he can no longer bear the intensity of the sound.
Ruben and Lou have both faced demons in their lives, as Ruben is a former addict and Lou has dealt with the suicide of her mother. After visiting a doctor, it's revealed that Ruben has lost almost all of his hearing, permanently. Lou, worried about Ruben potentially relapsing, contacts his sponsor, who directs them to a rehabilitation community for people learning to adapt to deafness. Upon meeting with the community's director, Joe (Paul Raci), the couple decides it's best for Ruben to stay.
Ahmed delivers an incredible performance, perfectly illustrating a damaged man who has to overcome a newfound lifelong struggle. Ahmed's ability to act through his eyes and facial expressions is immaculate; he deserves a Best Actor nod. His scenes with Cooke are heartbreakingly raw, and the two effortlessly draw emotion from the viewer.
Sound of Metal handles the topic of deafness and the deaf community with care and appreciation; I walked away with a great respect for people with deafness. Every performance is great and the film follows its purpose to a T. I couldn't recommend this enough, and I need some more Riz Ahmed in my life.
Midnight Cowboy (1969) - HBO Max
Joe Buck (Jon Voight) is a womanizer... or at least he thinks that he has the chops to be one. Buck leaves the heart of Texas as a dishwasher for greener pastures as a male prostitute in New York City. In a rundown bar, he runs into who he thinks will become his manager—some Italian guy with a limp named Ratso (Dustin Hoffman). After a troubling start to their relationship, Joe and Ratso develop a bond forged by incompetence that teaches them some lessons about life along the way.
It's an evil, lonely, unforgiving and brutally unfair world that we live in. You're not a product of your environment as much as you are a product of who you surround yourself with. You're neither shaped by nurture not nature, but merely your decisions as an adult, or in Joe's case, a man-child starving for love, affection and money.
Midnight Cowboy's a brilliant and stunning movie that never allows its viewer a moment of rest. It never goes in the direction you'd want it to or think that it might. If only more movies were like that; the world would be a better place.
Happiest Season (2020) - Hulu
Looking for a new Christmas movie to add to your yearly rotation? Check out Happiest Season, a Hulu original rom-com starring Kristen Stewart, who goes home with her girlfriend, Harper, on Christmas, only to find out that her parents don't know she's gay.
With a star-studded supporting cast of Dan Levy, Mackenzie Davis, Aubrey Plaza, and Allison Brie, this holiday movie does a great job of juggling heavy topics along with hilarious and heartwarming moments. Not only does Happiest Season stand out of the crowd as a Christmas movie, it is also among the best rom-coms released this year, and an instant add to my list of yearly holiday rewatches.
If you're looking for more festive movies and where to watch them, check out Burbs' holiday movie streaming list here.
Good Omens (2019) - Prime Video
If you’ve got six hours to spare this week—you’re lying if you don’t—and a challenged attention span that thrives without having to give your full attention to a plot, Prime Video’s Good Omens is quite literally a godsend. [queue Bill Hader’s Stefan voice] This show has EVERYTHING. Demon babies, giant dogs, witches, obscure British child actors, fortune-telling, a soundtrack mainly featuring Queen, a bit of ancient history, and one or two Nazi murders.
Released in early 2019, the short series boasts a 4.8/5 star rating on the streaming website, which fairly accurately reflects the entertainment value that the show provides. Omens features British actors Michael Sheen and David Tennant respectively portraying a charming angel and a cheeky demon who are sent to earth to keep balance among the human population. After botching the delivery of an infant antichrist in a hospital run by satanic nuns—stay with me—the two team up in order to stop the Armageddon (for my fellow Jews, this is bible speak for the end of the world), that will occur when the devil child turns 11.
The chemistry between Sheen and Tennant is enough on its own to keep the show in my good books. The two together are an absolute riot and the abundance of British accents highlights witty writing that acts as the true spine of the show. However, if all of this isn’t quite selling it for you, Omens also features Jon Hamm as a violet-eyed archangel and some DELIGHTFUL narration from Frances McDormand as God herself. Progressive, right? The end result is an airy comedy that isn’t at all complicated but still leaves you feeling fulfilled. Overall vibe is something quirky and similar to Netflix’s Series of Unfortunate Events, which I could talk about for hours. Maybe next week.