Welcome to our twentieth installment of Sunday Streaming Suggestions!
Writers Evan Linden, Ralph James, Sarah Smith, and Jack Martin have delivered a fresh slate of streaming suggestions for your Sunday.
Freaks and Geeks - Hulu
Despite being prematurely canceled following its first season, Freaks and Geeks arguably has one of the greatest and most fascinating single-season runs of all-time. Aired from 1999 to 2000, the show featured future stars such as Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segal, Linda Cardellini, Busy Phillipps, and John Francis Daley before they became household names.
The show is set in 1980 and follows two distinct groups of high school students (the freaks and the geeks) in suburban Michigan. Lindsay Weir (Cardellini) is the primary protagonist, as the show follows her transition from the “geeks” to the “freaks” during her junior year. She’s a former mathlete and gifted student trying to break away from her old, nerdy friends and her overbearing teachers and parents. Although met with opposition at first, she continually tries to ease her way into the friend group consisting of seniors Daniel Desario (Franco), Ken Miller (Rogen), Nick Andapolis (Segal), and Kim Kelly (Philipps), while navigating the presumable peer pressure that comes with their daily antics. The guys are all part of an informal band (they hate practice more than Allen Iverson), and Kim and Daniel provide the toxic, on-again-off-again relationship you would anticipate from their group. The character dynamics become complex as Lindsay’s younger brother Sam (Francis Daley) is one of the freshman “geeks” that receive routine harassment, alongside his best friends Neil Schweiber (Samm Levine) and Bill Haverchuck (Martin Starr).
Freaks and Geeks is truly a direct portal to 1980. The soundtrack and aesthetics throughout the show are on point, drawing out nostalgia even if you weren’t alive at the time. The writing keeps you invested all the way through, and it ultimately makes you ponder why anyone in their right mind would have ever canceled the show. But who knows? Maybe the second season would have flopped; maybe its flawless first season sealed its legendary status. It’s all conjecture at this point. All we do know is that masterminds Paul Feig and Judd Apatow left us with one of the most iconic shows of all-time, and all we can do now is appreciate its glory. -Evan Linden
Boogie Nights (1997) - Hulu
The story of Dirk Diggler was a decade in the making when Boogie Nights finally came to fruition in 1997. Eddie Adams (Mark Wahlberg) is a 17-year-old kid happily lost in the world when we first meet him washing dishes for a disco club. All it takes is one night to change your life, and we're witness to that early in the film as Adams runs into Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) and reveals his legendarily large penis in the middle of an empty kitchen. Horner, a famous porn producer, sees Adams as something larger than life and wants to untap his potential, so he naturally invites him back to his place to 'audition' with Rollergirl (Heather Graham). Horner becomes both the boss, director and primary father-figure in Adams's life as we see him evolve from a 17-year-old minimum wage earner to an award-winning pornstar named Dirk Diggler who charms everyone he meets.
If that paragraph above either, A.) disturbed you, B.) intrigued you, C.) made you both squirm and giggle to yourself because of the complete absurdity of that admittedly overwhelming summary, then you are completely correct to feel that way. Boogie Nights is unlike anything else you'll ever watch, and by the end of it, you'll be dying to either return to it or complete the rest of Paul Thomas Anderson's filmography, which is only paralleled by Quentin Tarantino (if you ask me).
PTA is one of the greatest, most unique artists alive, and look no further than Boogie Nights as the lead example for that hypothesis. The film features a plethora of legendary actors at either the beginning or center of their young careers: John C. Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina and Luis Guzman. Simply put, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better cast, director, script or movie than Paul Thomas Anderson's pornographic masterpiece. -Ralph James
Coherence (2013) - Hulu
Do you like obscure sci-fi films with a bunch of C-list actors and low budget cameras? Do you like shaky video that looks like it was shot while someone was running with their iPhone? Do you like MIND BLOWING and paranoia-inducing stories? Then Coherence is perfect for you!
I’m going to open with a couple of complaints, because the plot is both original and captivating enough that there isn’t much else to criticize. I hated the cast. Call me a materialist, but if you had replaced the Jaime Lee Curtis lookalike in this movie with the real JLC, and then conducted some more swaps with everyone else, I would have liked the movie more. They are all too plain looking. This is probably not a popular opinion, but I don’t care.
ANYWAYS, the idea behind Coherence is that there is an asteroid passing close to the Earth, and a dysfunctional group of annoying friends get together for a dinner party on the night that the asteroid is supposed to be visible. Some strange physical occurrence results in, essentially, a multiverse opening up on this plain suburban street, which leads to a night of insanity for the friends. I promise you cannot possibly predict all of the twists in this movie, and for only being an hour and a half long, there are a LOT of them. It’s what would happen if you mixed the annoyance of a slasher film (Why would you guys split up? WHY would you open that door? Why would you let anyone in the house?) with a Nolan-esque brain teaser. I’ve never seen anything like it, and according to most reviews, I’m pretty sure nothing else quite like it even exists. I’m ready for a rewatch, and I strongly recommend you all join me.
Training Day (2001) - HBO Max
Today is the last day to watch the recently released Denzel Washington crime thriller, The Little Things, on HBO Max. Let me save you two hours and suggest another film where Denzel Washington plays a cop; except in this one, it's not boring and the supporting cast doesn't speak like they're holding their breath the entire time.
Training Day, directed by Antoine Fuqua, follows rookie cop Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) during his first day as a Los Angeles narcotics officer. He spends the day with seasoned vet Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington), a hardened officer who appears to be more involved in keeping narcotics on the streets.
The "twist" is fairly evident from the start, but as the conspiracy gets further fueled, it's a thrill-ride full of shootouts, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre cameos, and a powerhouse performance from Denzel. Training Day takes place over the course of one day, which keeps the plot moving at a brisk pace, and it's a David Ayer screenplay, so you should expect typical "macho" dudes and a lot of "fuck"s. If you're in the mood for a combination of a thriller, a crooked cop story, and Ethan Hawke tokin' some PCP, then Training Day is for you. -Jack Martin