The Movies and TV Shows We Watched This Weekend
Even in the days before coronavirus quarantines, we, the Thrillist Entertainment team, would typically use our weekends to watch tons of TV shows and movies. (Frankly, we would do that during the week too. We watch a lot of stuff.) But, like most everyone right now, we have more time than ever on our hands as we stay home and practice social distancing. Now, our TVs are almost always on in the background as we watch (or have on as a comfort) old favorites, the hottest new Netflix show, or some random title discovered via idle scrolling -- what better time to share the wealth? With that in mind, we're each picking out one thing we watched over the weekend that we think you need to add to your queue, too.
Bosch (Amazon Prime)
For a few years, I've absentmindedly stared at the thumbnail for Amazon's police drama Bosch, an adaptation of author Michael Connelly's long-running series of LA-based detective novels, and asked myself, "Am I the type of person who likes Bosch?" This weekend I watched the first five episodes of the first season and confirmed what I secretly always suspected: I am exactly the type of person who likes Bosch! I like the way Bosch, played with Paul Newman-y cool by Deadwood's Titus Welliver, wears a hemp bracelet, his steadfast refusal to follow the rules if they get in the way of pursuing justice, his inability to button the top buttons on his shirts, his unmatched passion for solving complicated homicide cases, and even his jazzy theme music. Mostly, I love to say Bosch -- a truly great name!
The show that surrounds Hieronymus Bosch -- yes, that's his real name, which he shares with the famous Dutch painter -- is an often fascinating hybrid of slow-drip police procedural grit and espresso-fueled airport paperback thrills. Developed for TV by Eric Overmyer, who collaborated with David Simon on The Wire and Treme, the series mixes street-level details with Hollywood flash. The episodes paired well with the movie I watched this weekend, Spike Lee's emotionally fraught 1995 crime drama Clockers, which was adapted from a novel by Richard Price, another writer on The Wire. Maybe I'm just circling an inevitable re-watch of The Wire at some point in the future. -- Dan Jackson
Event Horizon (Netflix)
I spent the weekend watching films that are as good as everyone says they are (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Hardcore) and one that everyone should accept how good it really is, Event Horizon. Because it is truly great, a perfectly paced sci-fi deep space horror where things turn bad rapidly on a ship that's alive and manned by a crew that doesn't know the utter terrors they're in for after being recruited by a very sinister black hole researcher (Sam Neill, in top form). Though it was famously plagued by studio drama -- it was trimmed to 97 minutes from an original 130 minute runtime (though I would argue it's better for it), and Paramount rushed it out to make room for Titanic -- and crashed and burned at the box office, it wouldn't be the movie it is today had things gone more smoothly. Even the bad foley effects add a very specific charm. My two biggest takeaways after rewatching this movie are that: Paul W.S. Anderson might actually be the superior Paul Anderson (sorry, Paul Thomas), and that Event Horizon is anime. I would absolutely watch a scene-for-scene animated remake of this movie; think of the incredible space art and interior shots of the geometric, 2001-inspired ship! Think of the hell fire person and Niell's carved-up face! Hollywood producers if you're reading this, take my suggestion seriously and get some weirdos like Masaaki Yuasa or Hideaki Anno on this project, stat. -- Leanne Butkovic
Magic Mike (Amazon Prime)
As we face the one of the worst economic crashes of our lifetimes, what better time to watch a movie about the fallout of the 2008 recession?! I figured now was as good as ever a time to finally watch Steven Soderbergh's great Magic Mike, which is just as much a movie about the male strippers at a Tampa club called Xquisite as it is about getting by in an economic fallout. To be totally honest, I actually wasn't aware that the movie was more about the hustle to survive until relatively recently -- which is probably because I was in high school when it was released, and it was marketed to me more as "Channing Tatum takes off his shirt!" than anything else. While I'm definitely late to the party, the film, written by Reid Carolin and loosely based on Tatum's experience working in a stripclub, really is an exquisite number about where people turn in order to support themselves -- enter Mike's exemplar quote, "It's what I do, it's not who I am" -- as well as the capitalistic systems that exist even in those alternative structures. Like, Matthew McConaughey's extremely Matthew McConaghey-y, cowboy-hat-wearing character named Dallas proves to be a guy at the top who ultimately looks out for no one but himself, and the way Soderbergh captures the character and entire film's message about greed in Dallas' final striptease is worth throwing an entire wad of cash at. Tatum's excellent too, as are all of the very campy dance numbers, but his simple one that shows his hip-hop dancer prowess to Ginumwine's "Pony" is definitely the best. Magic Mike, indeed. -- Sadie Bell
Showgirls (Hulu, Starz)
Honestly, is there a better way to spend a quarantined Friday night than getting drunk and watching Showgirls? Maybe. But probably not. So, yes, my boyfriend and I have been continuing our movie nights with daytime episodes of The Office sprinkled in. And when it comes to the films we've been selecting, some patterns are starting to emerge. Essentially, we'll use our prior choices as a jumping-off point. Last Sunday we buckled in for all three hours of Magnolia. When we realized we'd both never seen Paul Thomas Anderson's first feature, Hard Eight, and it was streaming on Prime, that became another selection. So how did we get to Showgirls? Well, seeing Gina Gershon in a bit role in Pretty in Pink, an old favorite, led me to reveal that I'd never seen Paul Verhoeven's trashterpiece Showgirls. (Streaming with Starz.) And soon enough… we were watching Showgirls. Showgirls is sort of perfect entertainment for these times. It's dumb enough that you don't have to turn your brain on but so crazy that you can't look away. And if you're numbing yourself with loads of wine or your booze of choice, you'll end up having an absurd time as Elizabeth Berkley shrieks and gyrates through Vegas as Nomi Malone. The less said about the offensive rape scene at the end the better, but the rest of it is glittery and tawdry and inexplicable. -- Esther Zuckerman
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Disney+)
Still feeling deeply unsatisfied with The Rise of Skywalker and having joined TikTok within the last three months, I felt a bone-deep need for Star Wars content in my life. I'd already rewatched the original trilogy AND the prequels AND Genndy Tartakovsky's mind-blowing Clone Wars animated series, so I turned to something that had kinda been at the back of my mind to watch the next time I had a minute. As it turns out, in a national quarantine you have MANY minutes, so this weekend I started watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the 2008 computer animated Cartoon Network series that's wrapping up its final season this spring. The Clone Wars takes some of its plot from the bones of Tartakovsky's series, but fleshes everything out in new and different ways, focusing more on giving the clone soldiers individuality and inventing Ahsoka Tano, the jedi warrior who was Anakin Skywalker's apprentice before he turned to the Dark Side (who will also be making an appearance in the upcoming season of The Mandalorian!). It's set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith and styled like a World War II newsreel, filling in the huge gap between the films that honestly makes watching the prequel trilogy soooo much better. Also, it gives those horrid battle droids actually funny things to say, so there's that. -- Emma Stefanksy
Weekend of March 20
Beef House (Adult Swim)
The majority of my weekend was spent either playing the new Animal Crossing with something low-stakes on in the background or watching Netflix's as-crazy-as-promised new docuseries Tiger King. But I put down my Switch for 12 whole minutes when I saw that Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim's new Adult Swim series Beef House had surprise-dropped Sunday afternoon, a week ahead of its premiere date. It did not disappoint! It's as beefy and zany as I had hoped for in a Tim & Eric sitcom about five men and Meadow from The Sopranos (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) living together in one house with absolutely no explanation.
The pilot, which feels like it's coming seven seasons into a well-loved multicam sitcom, sees Tim's old army pal Brad coming to stay at the beef house on Easter Sunday, disrupting the Easter Fashion Show and Easter Egg Hunt -- one of the grossest/funniest visual gags was a mound of I don't even know how many dozens of scrambled eggs -- and the housemates plotting a deliriously bad plan, driven by classic sitcom logic, against him to kick him out of their living room. I can't wait to see what else this show has got in the episodes ahead. -- Leanne Butkovic, editor
Carnival Row (Amazon)
When it became clear that none of us would be allowed to return to our offices anytime soon, I immediately made a list of all the TV I ought to catch up on, needed to finish, or had always wanted to start watching but had never gotten around to it. I finally finished Breaking Bad! I did it! Nearly seven years late, but I did it. This weekend, though, I used as an opportunity to finish watching the first season of Amazon Prime's Carnival Row, which, full disclosure, I did not watch all of before adding it to my list of the best sci-fi and fantasy TV shows of last year. I know now that I was right to put it on the list, and maybe should have ranked it a little higher -- but maybe that's the stir-craziness talking.
For those who don't know, or maybe had forgotten since it premiered last August, Carnival Row stars Orlando Bloom as Rycroft Philostrate, a former soldier fighting for the Burgue who now works as a detective trawling the dingy, dangerous streets of Carnival Row, the city district that now houses the "Critch" survivors of the war between the Burgue and the Pact: pixies, fauns, centaurs, you name it. He and his former lover Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevigne) must work together to unravel a mystery behind a series of supernatural murders plaguing the Row, while a second war brews between humans and magical creatures. Yes, clumsy racism metaphors abound. The show is NUTS, and even more nuts when you take into account that it was renewed for a second season even before the first one had premiered. But if you're like me and are jonesing for more episodes of The Witcher, Carnival Row is a pretty good alternative. -- Emma Stefansky, staff writer
Fight Club (HBO)
I'm using this quarantine as an opportunity to fly through classics I feel like I should've seen but haven't. Fight Club, which is currently streaming on HBO GO and HBO Now, is one of those movies. As a fan of David Fincher, it's kind of crazy that I hadn't seen Fight Club, but I think I avoided it because I was aware that it was a movie about toxic masculinity that frat bros everywhere have read wrong and love. I finally got around to watching it, though, and in all its grittiness it's (obviously) really good! I mostly came for Brad Pitt, since we're in a bit of a Pitt-eissance, but his and Edward Norton's performances remain great, especially when they're off-the-wall. (Pitt's N*SYNC-esque millennium looks were also half the fun). I'll spare you any thoughts on the twist since others with this blind spot may exist, but now I see why the movie's known for its ending. (Disclaimer: I actually was clued into the twist because I remembered the movie being on a list of "films that depict mental illness" in my high school AP Psychology class. Dangerous!)
Aside from Fight Club, I also rewatched the very funny, very good Lonely Island feature Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping for some laughs. The bits are still hilarious! And there's even a scene where Andy Samberg's Connor 4 Real is stuck at home drawing horse portraits, which will probably be all of us in no time! In all of its insanity, it was a highly recommended double feature. -- Sadie Bell, editorial assistant
The Invisible Man (iTunes)
One of my favorite SNL sketches, 1991's "America's Most Wanted: Former Child Stars," sums up basically how I'm watching everything right now. It's got everything: Phil Hartman playing John Walsh, host Michael J. Fox playing Partridge Family stud Danny Bonaduce, and Mike Myers as Barry Livingston, AKA My Three Sons' Ernie, who deals with the horror of his reality by sampling a substance with "twice the potency of crack cocaine at half the price" in the same way that I'm streaming literally every single minute of every day to help me get through this period of time. Among the many things I watched this weekend -- including two episodes of Netflix's Tiger King, the season finale of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and yet another in a long string of rewatches of David Lynch's Netflix monkey-starring short film What Did Jack Do? -- my absolute favorite was Leigh Whannell's The Invisible Man, which arrived early on iTunes for quarantine viewing. Not that the movie is perfect; its two twists are both telegraphed and its tone was slightly off, not unlike the (also very watchable) A Simple Favor. But Elisabeth Moss's believably frantic performance more than acquitted any of the movie's shortcomings. It would have been, like, the 20th best Hitchcock film ever, but that's nothing to sniff at. Highly recommended. -- John Sellers, entertainment director
Mask of Zorro (Netflix)
During the quarantine, my boyfriend and I have been sticking to a strict at least one movie a night schedule, alternating who gets to pick. The films have been a mix of old favorites. Last Thursday, I, for instance, put on The Birdcage, which I can basically recite by heart. (It's streaming on Prime.) We started Friday night with Furious 7 -- his pick. (I cried at the end.) Later that night I was scrolling through Netflix when I came across The Mask of Zorro, Martin Campbell's 1998 action adventure starring Antonio Banderas as the masked hero. I distinctly remember seeing this in the theater -- Catherine Zeta-Jones was the prettiest person I'd ever seen to date -- but I did not remember the plot at all. He's Zorro! He slashes a "Z" on his enemies' faces! He rides a cool horse! Being a die-hard horse girl at the age of 8, this cool horse, a black Andalusian, was also very important to me.
There are of course parts of The Mask of Zorro that have aged poorly, mainly to do with matters of representation and opportunities for actors of Latinx descent. But The Mask of Zorro also feels '90s in other, better ways. It's a cliché to say that these kinds of movies don't get made anymore, but these kinds of movies just don't really get made anymore. It's a long, epic adventure that takes its time to get going and waffles between high camp and quasi-social commentary. One minute Banderas' Zorro is in an absurd tango with Zeta-Jones' Elena Montero, the next he's being radicalized to the plight of indigenous people in The Californias. Plus, the scene where Zorro and Elena sword fight in a barn, quite literally rolling in the hay, is still very sexy. -- Esther Zuckerman, senior writer
Miami Vice (DVD/Available on Hulu)
In the past week I've watched movies on the Criterion Channel (Paul Scharader's Patty Hearst, which leaves the platform on March 31st and is pretty wild!), enjoyed stand-up specials on Netflix (Marc Maron's precinct End Times Fun), and played a number of albums I've never checked out before on Spotify (Funky Kingston by Toots and the Maytals, which was highlighted by Pitchfork on Sunday in a thoughtful review). There's always new (old) stuff to discover.
But the most purely enjoyable experience I had this weekend came from an unlikely source: physical media. Tired of scrolling through infinite options, I looked at my DVD collection and asked, "What do I want to watch now?" Michael Mann's enthralling, beguiling 2006 thriller Miami Vice was the answer. I've written about the Mojito-fueled charms of this movie for Thrillist in the past, so I won't go on too long, but I will note that it's an oddly soothing movie to watch in a crisis. (The Havana sequence!) If you have a neglected stack of DVDs lying around -- or maybe one of those cool CD binders -- now is a great time to flip through and pull out a favorite. -- Dan Jackson
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