Welcome to our fifth installment of Sunday Streaming Suggestions!
Writers Ralph James, Evan Linden, Carter Ferryman, and Evan Northrup delivered another round of classics to stream on your lazy Sunday:
American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson - Netflix
Yup, another crime drama. You’re probably familiar with this story by now, but this show transports you directly to mid-90s California and the unthinkable madness that enveloped it.
Across 10 masterful episodes, each major event of the OJ Simpson murder case unfolds with impeccable writing and attention to detail, complemented by stellar acting from stars such as Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Paulson, John Travolta, David Schwimmer, and Courtney B. Vance. The show was highly acclaimed by critics, and it cleaned up at 2016’s award shows—taking home nine Emmys and two Golden Globe Awards.
The show focuses largely on the key events of the case and the drama that surrounded OJ and those closest to him, but it also provides a unique sociocultural perspective. Race relations were at a boiling point in LA following the 1992 riots, and this case was a potential powder keg for the city. Subsequently, the whole city was polarized throughout the trials. The tension of the case becomes nearly palpable as the story progresses, making for very few dull moments in the show.
The People vs. OJ Simpson is a part of the American Crime Story anthology—a sibling of the wildly-successful American Horror Story series led by masterminds Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk. If you’re into that sort of thing, you will not regret a single second spent watching this show.
Taxi Driver (1976) - Netflix
Not much needs to be said about Scorsese’s introverted cinema classic. I could harp over Robert De Niro’s tour-de-force as Travis Bickle. We could talk about Bernard Herrmann’s beautifully somber musical score for the 1976 masterpiece—or a number of brief, dazzling supporting performances from Cybill Shepard, Jodie Foster and Harvey Keitel. One of cinema’s greatest visionaries places viewers smack-dab in the middle of New York City—a low point in the metropolis’s existence amidst an election year. The film is as reliant on its environment as it is on the inner-workings of Bickle’s brain. Slowly—exhaustingly—we watch a man fed up with the system reach his boiling point. It’s as polarizing as it is disturbing. It’s Scorsese and De Niro at their pinnacle—rivaled by only Raging Bull and Goodfellas.
BoJack Horseman - Netflix
When I imagine the writer's room for BoJack Horseman, I see a bunch of shadow-eyed, half-shaved grunts sitting around in a cigarette smoke-filled basement with some grizzly head honcho throwing their half-finished scripts back in their faces, slamming his fists on the table and screaming, “Sadder! I want it sadder!”
BoJack Horseman follows a burnt-out 90’s sitcom star, a horse named BoJack, who has fallen from fame and landed in a pile of booze, sex, and self-loathing. Set in an absurd, satirical Hollywood inhabited by a mixture of regular humans and walking, talking animals, the show includes a mixture of intensely dark humor and ridiculous slapstick comedy. However, what makes BoJack Horseman the greatest animated show of all-time is the ability to juggle this constant humor with the show’s serious, dark themes. Neither is ever sacrificed for the other, and it results in a hilarious show that is, at its core, about sadness.
On paper, it sounds like it shouldn’t work, and part of the reason it does is because of the stellar voice acting of Will Arnett, Allison Brie, Amy Sedaris, and Aaron Paul. The other reason is the writing. What at first seems like nothing more than a strange dark comedy slowly starts to use its 30-minute episodes to unpack some of the grittiest, hardest realities of human emotion, and does it better than any other show, live or animated, has ever done. You will laugh, you will cry, and you might even feel a few glimpses of hard-earned hope. So please, do yourself a favor. Watch BoJack Horseman.
Fargo (1996) - Netflix
To determine which film is the crown jewel of the Coen Brothers’ discography is a near-impossible task. There are too many options to choose from: No Country for Old Men (2007), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), A Serious Man (2009). The list goes on and on. If I were to be summoned to a deserted island, and I could only take one of their films with me, then I would definitively regret taking anything other than the vehicle for Marge and Norm’s love story.
Fargo, which is based on a true story, details the cluster fuck situation of an idiot car salesman who is in severe-enough money trouble to auction his wife off for ransom to random strangers. The movie is headlined by a cast for the ages, featuring Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, and Steve Buscemi. However, what separates a Coen Bros' movie from every other motion picture that has a major release isn’t the high-level actors that they utilize, but the character actors that keep your eyes glued to the screen.