You know how I have a thing for crime dramas? Well, I got another one for you.
There’s a little twist, though. This crime drama takes place on the other side of the law. And it’s not some corny cop show either.
David Fincher’s Mindhunter is a raw look into the infantile era of criminal psychology—more specifically, the FBI and its Behavioral Science Unit. The show begins in the late 70’s and spans into the early 80’s; this era was something of a heyday for serial killers, creating the need for a breakthrough in criminal psychology. Unfortunately, most figures in law enforcement didn’t see it that way.
The protagonist is Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff), a bright-eyed and ambitious special agent well-versed in psychology. His partner is Bill Tench (Holt McCallany), a hardened, veteran agent who struggles to buy into Holden’s enthusiasm and contemporary ideas. However, Holden and Bill eventually form a bond, and they travel across the country to help solve cold cases and educate police departments on psychology. Most of the time, they are met with old-fashioned, “go by the book” officers who see them as snake oil salesmen. They even face opposition from their FBI superiors, and as a result, conduct many of their activities in secrecy.
Mindhunter is one of Netflix’s most immersive and informative shows to-date. There are currently two easy-to-binge seasons available for your viewing pleasure, with the third season on “indefinite hold.”
Fuck, That’s Delicious (Hulu)
Action Bronson’s enigmatic personality shines through in everything he does. With the release of his latest album, Only For Dolphins, it only feels fair to highlight the greatest travel show on television.
FTD tracks the adventures of Bam Bam and crew: fellow bar-spitter Meyhem Lauren, super producer The Alchemist, and born-sinner Big Body Bes, as they travel at-home and abroad in search of the finest meals the world has to offer.
As you watch Bronson and co. go from Santa Monica fish tacos to wine in a French vineyard, you’re engrossed by the camaraderie. It truly feels like you’re along for the ride with a joint in hand and the button on your pants holding on for dear life. It’s a group of childhood friends from Queens exploring their passions of music, food, and life. While Bronson is undoubtedly the star of the show, it’s the supporting cast that truly ties it together.
The show is an extension of Bronson’s music, as his rhymes constantly deal with the finest delicacies of life: dabs and food. His production, especially on his last two projects (Lamb Over Rice and Only For Dolphins), give the aura of a high-class restaurant in the brisk grips of autumn. FTD is no different. It gives you the urge to travel and explore the intricacies of life, but one thing is certain: you’ll leave with an intense hankering for pasta.
Community (Netflix and Hulu)
I watch sitcoms for two reasons, to laugh, and to wallow in that warm feeling you get when watching a loving group of friends grow together on screen. Most sitcoms lean towards one or the other, Friends and How I Met Your Mother being more focused on loving, close relationships where shows like Seinfeld, The Office, and 30 Rock are all about quick-hitting comedy. Community is the only sitcom that consistently accomplishes both to the highest level, and that’s why it’s my personal favorite.
Created by Dan Harmon (creator of Rick and Morty) and touting big names like Donald Glover, Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong, John Oliver, and Allison Brie, Community brings together a group of loveable misfits who meet at Greendale community college. The show combines weird, meta humor similar to that of Rick and Morty along with classic sitcom shenanigans to create some of the funniest moments to ever grace cable television, while also diving into the complex, deeply flawed characters. The show has its ups and downs (yeah, I’m talking to you season four), but the next time you have the urge to rewatch Friends or The Office, turn on Community instead. You just might end up with a new favorite sitcom.
The Florida Project (2017) - Netflix
If independent feature filmmaker Sean Baker’s 2015 film Tangerine - shot entirely on an iPhone - taught us anything about the creator’s style and intention, it’s that, among other things, he’s a master at giving underrepresented communities the proper spotlight they deserve.
The Florida Project is a pure-hearted, harrowing extension of this ideology. Disney World, the crown jewel of central Florida, is widely considered to be “the happiest place on earth for children.” But what about the surrounding areas? This film follows the poverty-stricken families and community that resides in motels just blocks away from the theme park 6-year-old Brooklynn Prince puts on one of the most impressive adolescent star-roles I’ve ever seen, as she plays Mooney, a bright-eyed, eccentric little kid who is completely oblivious to the nature of her situation - one that sees her mother (Bria Vinaite) struggling to make ends meet. Willem Defoe (Oscar Nominated Best Supporting Actor for this role) puts on the performance of a lifetime - period.
The film is simultaneously beautiful and deeply saddening. The bright, humid colors of the area burst onto screen as chillingly real scenarios unfold. The nearly flawless casts interactions address true-to-life topics that come with brutal poverty - and the brilliant mind of a young child and her friends who see the world differently from the adults that surround her. This is a must watch.
Zodiac (2007) - Netflix and Amazon Prime Video
You would be hard-pressed to name a director with a better filmography than David Fincher, the cynic, fantastically-deprives genius who created: Se7en, Fight Club, Gone Girl, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Mindhunter and
The Social Network. Fincher’s films and brief appearances in the television landscape are sequential to his rise as a commercial and music video director for artists like Billy Idol, Paula Abdul and Madonna. His crown jewel, Zodiac, which is widely considered as one of the greatest movies of the 21st century, is second to none in the detective/crime/thriller sub genre of mainstream media.
Based on a true story set in San Francisc, California, spanning a little over two decades beginning 1969, Zodiac details real-life events and people through the lens of a spastically shaded cinematography and ideology. The cast is headlined by Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., and Jake Gyllenhaal. The three primary characters couldn’t be less alike; Paul Avery’s a drunken reporter for The Chronicle, Robert Graysmith is an Eagle Scout turned cartoonist for the same paper, and Dave Toschi is a homicide detective who lets his emotions get the best of him more often than not. There one similarity is their passion for one of the most infamous murder cases in American history.
Come for Fincher’s genius filmmaking techniques (the shots in this movies will make you ooze), but stay for Robert Downey Jr. wearing an ascot.