This week in the leisure diaries, Jason somehow has one recommendation for each major streamer except Disney+ (but if you need one, check out Fire of Love).
How about them Tigers? I didn’t pick Princeton for the upset, and my March Madness bracket is already a disaster, but no one’s eavesdropping on these letters for my thoughts on sports. We’ve got bigger leisure fish to fry.
Movies are back! I may have taken an hour-long detour in the middle of Sunday night’s Academy Awards, but after The Last of Us (now streaming on HBO Max) finale left me morally confused and emotionally bankrupt, the Oscars (and Pedro Pascal in the audience – that guy’s really having a moment, huh?) had just enough earnest charm to rope me back in.
Everything Everywhere All At Once (now streaming on Paramount+) is delightful and fun, but when it premiered last April, nothing about it – a deliriously addled Wuxia comedy – felt particularly Oscar-y to me. Now, it’s a historic winner with more “above the line” Oscars than any film ever! In hindsight, I can see it. It’s a feel-good immigrant family story at heart, and that’s why it resonated with so many people. But the fact that we’re ready to celebrate a messy, earnest, madcap, low-budget “genre” story like this over a more traditional nominee – a precise, arch, mid-budget art-house drama like Tár (now streaming on Peacock), for example – is really exciting to me.
While we’re on the subject of the oddball versus the art-house, I finally got a chance to watch another 2023 Best Picture nominee, Triangle of Sadness (now streaming on Hulu). It’s a dark comedy of manners with one food on each side of the oddball / art-house divide. It’s set mostly aboard a luxury cruise, before slowly unraveling into something like Lord of the Flies. The highlight for me is a slow-motion trainwreck of a sequence that starts with a whiny guest pressuring a crewmember to “have some fun” and get in the hot tub with her, and ends with an actual shipwreck. I won’t spoil what happens in between, but I haven’t laughed that hard at a movie in a long time.
Last up, did you know Donald Glover’s got a new show out today? That’s the hook anyway for Swarm (now streaming on Prime), a purported “sister series” to Atlanta, which he co-created with playwright Janine Nabers. Nabers is running the show, and Dominique Fishbeck (Judas and the Black Messiah) is starring as Dre, a violent, obsessive anti-hero in the vein of Tony Soprano and Don Draper, in a story inspired by my second or third favorite Scorsese movie, The King of Comedy. I have a hard time imagining how all these pieces could fit together, but Glover’s earned more than enough of my trust. (Remember when he told us he was making “Twin Peaks with rappers”?) I’ll plan to watch at least one episode this weekend and find out how he does it.
That’s all for now. Go Tigers?
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