Welcome to our twelfth installment of Sunday Streaming Suggestions!
Writers Jack Martin, Ralph James, Evan Linden, Carter Ferryman, and Sarah Smith have delivered a fresh slate of streaming suggestions for your lazy Sunday.
Curb Your Enthusiasm - HBO Max
Imagine a chaotic “spinoff” of Seinfeld aired on HBO with little to no boundaries. Sound interesting? I just described Curb Your Enthusiasm, and there’s ten seasons readily available for your viewing pleasure.
Curb Your Enthusiasm follows a semi-fictionalized version of comedy writer and Seinfeld co-creator Larry David throughout his life after the show. Although he now only works when he feels like it, he is managed by Jeff Greene (Jeff Garlin), who is essentially Larry’s sidekick throughout the show’s incessant chaos. Other major characters include Larry’s wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines), as well as comedian and “close friend” Richard Lewis (himself). Celebrities such as Ted Danson and Wanda Sykes make recurring cameos in the show, often finding themselves caught in Larry's web of troubles.
Much like its “sister show” Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm is largely centered around the annoyances of everyday life and the societal norms that come with it. However, Curb is no-holds-barred in its approach, thanks to the lack of censorship for HBO shows. Larry David’s social tact is practically nonexistent; nearly every episode of Curb ends with Larry landing himself in hot water one way or another. I would be remiss not to mention how tangible the awkwardness of Larry’s situations can be, which is a writing trait that I personally admire in a sitcom. Curb’s writing picked up where Seinfeld’s left off—pushing cringy, “slice of life” humor to a darker, more intricate level.
The Nice Guys (2016) - Hulu
Allow me to set a scene: It’s 2017. You’re 18 years old, and your dad asks you to watch a movie. He puts on The Nice Guys. You get distracted by something on your phone. You look up. The movie is over. You tell yourself it sucked. Then, all of a sudden, it’s 2020, you are quarantining, and you need something to watch. The Nice Guys is back, and it is GLORIOUS.
The movie follows Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe, not to be mistaken for Russell Wilson, who I spent the first 10 minutes of the film looking for) as a private detective and “hired enforcer” who find themselves tied together by a case that turns out to be much bigger than expected. Both Gosling and Crowe have absolute peak performances here, but for me, it was Gosling who really shined. I wasn’t a fan of his until this, and yes, I saw Drive.
The plot is set in the late 1970s, which has become clear to me is the prime time for any quality movie or TV show (see: Boogie Nights, HBO’s The Deuce, Dazed and Confused). On top of that, there are three commendable supporting performances from Matt Bomer, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s Margaret Qualley, and Angourie Rice, who was previously insignificant to me outside of the fact that she was a menace in the Spiderman movies. The soundtrack is golden, the nudity is tasteful, and the comedy is on point. Almost every joke hits, and Gosling’s physical bits KILLED me. The best part of all is that everything wraps up nicely in just under two hours, making it the perfect movie to start at 9:00 p.m. and fall asleep to as the credits start to roll.
Roma (2018) - Netflix
Alfonso Cuarón’s cinematic masterpiece plays out in black-and-white. Roma, however, is endlessly colorful—it bursts with life’s hardships that play out in both monstrous and intimate settings over the course of the Mexican Revolution in the 1970s.
The story follows two female leads: Sofía, a wealthy mother of four whose family tensions are on full display, and Cleo—the family's full-time nanny, as well as its strongest support system. As their lives play out on screen, Mexico undergoes major change in awe-inspiring fashion.
Cuarón’s ability to capture both two person scenes and 300+ person protests on camera is nothing short of incredible. Roma is a staggering look at two ends of the economic spectrum—smack dab in the middle of Mexico’s most pivotal decade.
Casino Royale (2006) - Netflix
This week, I decided to embark on a binge of Daniel Craig’s James Bond. I’ve been well-aware of James Bond’s existence for my entire life, but for some reason, I never got around to watching them. It's safe to say I was missing out.
Casino Royale follows a young James Bond (Daniel Craig) who has just been granted 00 status and a license to kill.
When it’s discovered that Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelson), a banker to global terrorist organizations, is set to play in a high-stakes poker game in Montenegro, Bond sets out on a mission to stop him. Guided by the head of MI6, M (Judi Dench), and assisted by a new lover, Vesper (Eva Green), Bond dives headfirst into a journey of espionage and a lot of ass-kicking.
Casino Royale moves at a brisk pace and keeps you on your toes until the credits roll. The film is chock-full of intense action sequences, luxurious vehicles, and beautiful set pieces. Bond feels like a more grounded, emotionally-wounded man than I would have expected entering my viewing, and that’s guided by Craig’s stellar performance.
If you haven’t seen the James Bond series or you are simply looking for an intriguing thriller, Casino Royale is worth the watch.
Rango (2011) - Hulu, Amazon Prime
One of the hardest things in filmmaking is a movie’s ability to separate itself amongst other members of their shared genre. Rango blends all of the best elements of animated movies— an undertone of adult humor, brilliant visuals and an easily digestible storyline—and comes out with movie magic.
Rango (Johnny Depp) is a sheltered thespian who is thrashed into the desert following a brief almost-car accident. To share too much of the storyline would be a disruption of the movie’s best qualities, so I’ll leave it at this... Rango will tug your heart-strings, shock your funny bone with educated wit, and tingle your senses through miraculous visual effects and precise directorial decisions.