Welcome to our thirteenth installment of Sunday Streaming Suggestions!
Writers Jack Martin, Ralph James, Evan Linden, Carter Ferryman, and Evan Northrup have delivered another round of streaming suggestions for your lazy Sunday.
Easy A (2010) - Netflix
In recent years, it has come to the attention of film fanatics that the late 2000s/early 2010s ushered in the last wave of quality teen comedies before the drought of the mid-to-late 2010s. If you subscribe to this notion, Easy A is one of the classics that came before the end of the teen comedy renaissance.
2010 was an interesting time. I believe that a huge factor in the decline of quality teen comedies over the 2010s was due to the advances of the decade; a lot changed for teenagers during this time, and the onset of these changes is seen vividly in Easy A.
Easy A follows Olive (Emma Stone), a typical teenage girl who flew under the radar until a “rumor” about her swept Ojai North High School by storm. During a conversation in the school restroom, Olive casually lied to her eccentric friend Rhiannon (Aly Michalka) about losing her virginity over the weekend. The conversation was overheard by uptight religious freak Marianne (Amanda Bynes), who quickly spread the word around campus. Before long, the whole school saw Olive as “easy,” but she decided to use her newfound reputation to her advantage—soliciting money and gifts to pretend to have sex with dorky guys to improve their social status. Olive embraced the bag-chasing opportunity and gave her persona a whole 180—creating new troubles along the way.
Acting is easily one of the highlights of Easy A; the star-studded film also features Stanley Tucci, Lisa Kudrow, Penn Badgley, and Fred Armisen, among others. Emma Stone and Amanda Bynes both excelled in their roles, and the film’s writing keeps you on your toes the whole way through.
If you’re a fan of other teen comedies from this era (think Superbad, 21 Jump Street, Project X, etc.), Easy A’s viewing experience will be right up there with the rest.
Schitt's Creek - Netflix
Schitt’s Creek, the unique comedic brainchild of Dan and Eugene Levy, is a six season-long gemstone that sprouts from one ingenious question: what would happen if an exorbitantly rich and out-of-touch family was forced to abandon their life of leisure and live in a small town motel?
The setup is simple, but the comedic genius that follows is consistent and creative throughout the six seasons of the show. The Rose family, consisting of Johnny, Moira, David, and Alexis, is forced to come to terms with their new reality; their golden toilets and luxury cars now replaced with leaking ceilings and pick-up trucks. The hilarity of watching them make their way in the real world never subsides. David (Dan Levy) and Moira (Catherine O’Hara) are the stars that shine the brightest, as Catherine O’Hara is able to get laughs just by the way she walks and talks, and Dan Levy’s physical comedy is the best I’ve seen in years.
Beyond the laughs, the show is a much-needed dose of relativity in an age where our timelines are filled with celebrities and all the things their cash can buy. It may sound corny, but every episode of Schitt’s Creek reminds me that money isn’t everything, and that family and love will always be the king currency. At its best moments, Schitt’s Creek isn’t just funny, but also feels like a parable or fairytale about a family that finds what’s really worth living for in a trying time. Schitt’s Creek is a perfect mix of comedy and heartfelt moments, and one of the best sitcoms of the decade, but there’s no need to take my word for it. Winning nine Emmys in 2020, including all the Best Actor/Actress awards and Outstanding Comedy Series, Schitt’s Creek has garnered many accolades in its run and deserved all of them.
More Than A Game (2009) - Amazon Prime Video
With hoops season upon us, it’s the perfect time to educate yourself on the rise of the GOAT, LeBron James. More Than A Game chronicles LeBron’s historic high school career for the St. Vincent-St. Mary Fighting Irish in Akron, Ohio.
The documentary focuses on LeBron’s close friendship with his teammates and the relationships he had with his mentors. It’s a great look into just how famous LeBron was in high school, making it all the more impressive that he’s gone through his career scandal-less.
There are a ton of highlights featuring LeBron dominating helpless high schoolers and interesting B-roll interviews that give an inside look into the legendary high school squad. If you want to learn more about the legend of LeBron or you're itching for some hoops before Tuesday’s tip-off, this is the doc for you.
Phantom Thread (2017) - HBO Max
Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Dey-Lewis are masters of their respective crafts— anyone who’s seen There Will Be Blood (2007) will assure you of that fact. The highest achievement in filmmaking is the ability for a creator to span across several genres, themes, and/or adapted texts, and manage to not lose a single ounce of brilliance in the process. The decade-long intermission from There Will Be Blood to Phantom Thread showcases PTA and DDL’s LeBron-level versatility.
Phantom Thread tells the story of an awfully demanding women’s dressmaker in London named Reynolds Woodcock (DDL). Mr. Woodcock is “a confirmed bachelor” who falls in love with a young waitress named Alma (Vicky Krieps), and after their first date, she becomes his muse. To go on about this film’s plot and characterizations would be to allude to the subtle, yet overwhelming “twist” that befits the ending. There are few movies that benefit from a rewatch as much as Phantom Thread does.
High Maintenance - HBO Max
Ben Sinclair and Katya Blitchfield had a camera, a crew and ambitions when they launched High Maintenance as a fan-funded project on Vimeo years ago. Today, it’s a thriving HBO exclusive that explores the many, many faces of New York City—all of which are strung together by a bike-riding weed dealer (played by creator Ben Sinclair).
High Maintenance is the definition of grassroots television. Its character diversity knows no bounds. Ben Sinclair, who plays “The Guy,” is as nonchalant as he is passionate. He cares about his customers—and after a few episodes—you will too.