Welcome to our eighteenth installment of Sunday Streaming Suggestions!
Writers Carter Ferryman, Jack Martin, Sarah Smith, and Ralph James have delivered a fresh slate of streaming suggestions for your Sunday.
Lady Bird (2017) - Netflix
There are often times that a film defines the genre it falls under. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) isn’t just a comedy; it is comedy. The same can be said about the best coming-of-age film since The Graduate (1968); Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird; the greatest 90-minute movie ever that will leave you wanting more and more from this emotionally toxic and downright intoxicating universe.
Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) is an eccentric high schooler from Sacramento who feels trapped by the suburban nature of her reality. Her experience is both unique and universal; she simultaneously grows up in front of our eyes as an educated young woman who falls in love with a young thespian named Danny (Lucas Hedges) and falls back into her childish tendencies by throwing temper tantrums and deterring from her high school education.
It is, in my opinion, undoubtedly the greatest high school movie of all-time. I recently found out that it was sitting at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for nearly an entire calendar year before a few bad apples spoiled its parade of sheer perfection. I don’t buy into Rotten Tomatoes like my father does, but a perfect score for that long has to mean something. And it does mean something to me because of how much this movie has meant to me in the past. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, but also has the ability to make you cry in the snap of a Timothée Chalamet blink.
Much like how Dazed and Confused (1993) was not only a star-making movie in and of itself but also captured a moment in a plethora of young stars lives like Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey and Parker Posey, Lady Bird pushes the envelope on how quickly a theater kid can become an A-list actor. Saoirse, Chalamet, Hedges and Beanie Feldstein cement themselves as generational superstars, and Laurie Metcalf is the hardened coach who moves them in the right direction with a brilliant performance of her own as Mrs. McPherson, the second most important character in the film.
At the end of the day, it’s not only a coming-of-age dramedy; it’s a story about family. Specifically, the relationship between a mother and daughter; two very stubborn ones, at that, who suffer from financial insecurity and argue at the drop of a hat. Lady Bird has been one of five movies in the revolving door of the title for my favorite movie of all-time— it exists alongside Phantom Thread, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, The Godfather and Boogie Nights—and it’s universally beloved. If that doesn’t encourage you enough to give this movie a shot, then I don’t know what will. You’re a hopeless soul with no taste and are a dangerous human being in my book. Watch Lady Bird, laugh, cry, call your mom, hang up and whatever you do, don’t be like Kyle.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1999) - Amazon Prime Video
Midway through the 90s, Guy Ritchie discovered an astral space between film and stage play—it seems he’s built a monopoly around chaos inside geographical boundaries.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is The Departed before The Departed. It’s the world's best heist, being executed by the world’s dumbest people. Ritchie’s long-recognized opus lacks a main character, but makes up for this obvious void by filling it with 15+ distinct, lovable personalities—all of which quarrel within the confines of *no more than* two-three towering, brownstone streets. Feast your eyes—“Lock Stock” is brash, comedic robbery personified.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
I’m a firm believer that most, if not all, Marvel movies are not suitable to stand alone, but there is one exception—Thor: Ragnarok. Set immediately preceding Infinity War, it is arguably the one MCU film that can be enjoyed at any time without any prior knowledge of the universe or the film’s characters. Directed by the king of quirk Taika Waititi, Ragnarok is unparalleled in wit and personality and truly outshines not only the other Thor movies, but most of the other solo hero films without question. It continues to amaze me how quickly Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston came out of their shells over their run in the MCU; remember when Liam was the most popular brother? Or when Tom Hiddleston was better known as one of Taylor Swift’s exes? One thing that Marvel Studios does exceptionally well at is casting, and these two leads exemplify it. On top of that, we get to feast our eyes on the gifts to humanity that are Tessa Thompson and Jeff Goldblum, who both fit seamlessly into the story and only add to the charm that Ragnarok LITERALLY emanates off of the screen. I would be remiss if I forgot to mention the crown jewel of the movie; Cate Blanchett as Thor and Loki’s forgotten sister Hela, queen of the underworld. She was absolutely SERVING in her weird black villain costume. If you’re new to Marvel, vehemently opposed to it, or have only recently dipped a toe in, Ragnarok is the perfect treat for you. It is also the perfect treat for me, despite the fact that I have seen it and every other MCU movie 10 times already.
Knives Out (2019) - Prime Video
As I glance at my Letterboxd list of 2019 movies, Knives Out sits at number seven. Following my rewatch about a month ago, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t rank it higher (aside from laziness). Simply put, Knives Out is an incredibly fun whodunnit whose ensemble cast instantly grabs your attention and never fails to let go.
When famed mystery author Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead of an apparent suicide, questions begin circulating when private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is hired to investigate. Blanc must navigate the dysfunctional family, who have hidden secrets of their own, and rely on the loyalty of the only person Harlan trusted: his personal caretaker, Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas). To reveal much more would ruin the numerous twists-and-turns that unfold across the film’s 130-minute runtime.
The cast is a true ensemble, featuring the previously mentioned actors as well as Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Jaime Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, Don Johnson, Katherine Langford, and Jaeden Martell. Every character is given their own unique traits, political ideologies, and personal motivations that constantly place them in direct conflict with their counterparts. Behind the direction and screenplay of Rian Johnson, each cast member is given the opportunity to thrive no matter how much screen time they’re given; it’s one of the most memorable ensembles of the last few years.
Knives Out might be a tad over two hours, but it moves quickly, leaving you guessing until “the big reveal” (unless you’re smarter than me and figure it out early). Whether this is your first go-around or third time rewatching, Knives Out proves to be an extremely memorable and smart film that seamlessly blends elements of comedies, crime thrillers, and classic mysteries.