Looking for something great to watch this weekend? Good, because Netflix is still pumping out worthy content for viewers, the trick is choosing the right thing. Popular movies get all the headlines and everyone has opinions about them, but not everyone will know the following films. Trust me, they're all worth seeing.
Best of Enemies (2015)
Directed by Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville
This documentary about the 1968 televised debates between intellectual and author Gore Vidal and conservative pundit and National Review editor William F. Buckley Jr. is a fascinating film on multiple levels. First, it tells the inside story of the debates between two intellectual powerhouses who positively hated one another. And second, it tells the origin of the talking head-laden, opinion-based news telecasts of today. But the real thrill is the moment Buckley snapped and threatened Vidal live on the air after the latter called him a "crypto-Nazi." You'll see how two enemies shaped one another, and how they affected each others' careers and personal lives.
Sing Street (2016)
Directed by John Carney
The story of a posh teen relocating to the bad school in town comes with the usual pitfalls: awkwardness, bullying, and a struggle to make friends. But Sing Street overcomes its cliched intro with a heartfelt story about a kid who starts a band to get the girl. The movie reaches new heights when the band actually turns out to be good. Set in the '80s and featuring an album's worth of catchy pop songs, this is one of the best romances of the year. And the ending rocks.
Queen of Earth (2015)
Directed by Alex Ross Perry
Elisabeth Moss fans rejoice, this one is all hers. Well, I take that back. Queen of Earth belongs to Moss and Katherine Waterston equally. The two talented young actresses play best friends, Catherine and Virginia, who reunite at Ginny's lake house after Catherine breaks up with her longtime boyfriend. The film watches the relationship while flashing back to past moments at the house that come into play. Slowly, Catherine starts showing signs of going insane, and Virginia, doting and helpful at first, slowly realizes the past is gone and their friendship will never be the same. Anyone familiar with Perry will recognize the writer/director's intimate shooting style and fantastic dialogue. He's one of the brightest young filmmakers working today.
Finders Keepers (2015)
Directed by Bryan Carberry, J. Clay Tweel
This 2015 documentary was beloved by critics who appreciate all things weird. It's about a silver-tongued auction hunter who wins a charcoal grill only to discover an amputated human leg inside. Yup. How is that enough for a movie? Well, the leg's owner, an amputee, has been looking for it and wants it back. But the buyer won't give it up. He charges locals a few bucks a pop to see it and is generally one of the least moral, money-hungry, unintentionally hilarious dudes you'll ever see.
Directed by Christian Petzold
Phoenix appeared on more critics' Top 10 lists in 2015 than movies like The Revenant, Creed, and even Star Wars - The Force Awakens. It's a dark and intense film of incredible emotional depth filled with characters with questionable motivations. Set in Berlin, a city of rubble after World War II, Nelly Lenz (Nina Hoff) has survived the Holocaust but not without a disfigured face. A friend helps her visit a plastic surgeon who can't make her look as she did before. Nelly is crushed but she sets out to find her lost husband, Johnny. She sees him in a nightclub, the Phoenix, but he doesn't recognize her and Nelly doesn't reveal who she is. Soon, he enlists her help in posing as his missing wife, i.e. herself, so she can collect her family's sizable inheritance which they'll split. As the story unfolds, it becomes harder to predict and these two actors become more fascinating as they walk lines of truth. It plays on some of the same themes as Vertigo, maybe the best film ever made.