The Weekend Watchlist
Welcome to our new weekly column, "The Weekend Watchlist," where every Friday the staff will be weighing in on what they're looking forward to watching over the weekend. We hope we can inspire you to do some weekend watching of your own!
This weekend I'm heading to the Society for Cinema & Media Studies Conference in Chicago, IL, which means I probably won't have time to watch much of anything. At least I do get to spend 4ish days listening to cool and interesting people talk about cool and interesting films, television shows, comics, video games, etc. Although I'm not sure that I qualify as either cool or interesting, I'll also be presenting my research on the Planet of the Apes series.
If I was doing my normal weekend thing (pajamas + couch + snacks), I'd probably be watching Legion on Netflix - I haven't started the series yet, but I've heard so many good things that it is now at the top of my list. What's more likely is that I'll take the rare opportunity of being in a hotel room with cable to fall asleep watching the Food Network (re-runs of Chopped are a personal favorite, because who doesn't like watching someone struggle to make a quiche that incorporates grape jelly beans, canned chicken, and radishes?).
I’ve basically designed my whole week around today's season 3 release of Grace and Frankie (Netflix). I adore Jane Fonda (Grace) and Lily Tomlin (Frankie), and their characters’ dichotomous personalities, a play on the odd-couple trope, only enhance their performance, resulting in an engaging, genuine spectacle. While a comedy, the story is centrally about two aging women (aging women = white buffalo in Hollywood) who unexpectedly find themselves restarting their lives, and the series doesn’t shy away from negotiating difficult existentialist questions. There are a number of reasons why this series is worth checking out; and while it definitely loses some points for its upper-class, white privilege tone, it’s got a lot to offer up in the way of social commentary.
I’m also hoping to catch The Innocents (2016) this weekend, a film that has been on my watchlist for far too long. It is a foreign film (French) directed by Anne Fontaine, which is based on true events and tells the story of a convent whose nuns were raped by Soviet soldiers during WWII and found in various states of pregnancy. The Innocents is currently available on Amazon Prime. Here's the trailer:
This weekend I plan to watch the Czech New Wave film, Birds, Orphans, and Fools (director Juraj Jakubisko, 1969). I’m a fan of the absurd and visually lush Eastern European films from this era, and this is a new one to me. Here's a trailer:
And when I get sick of NPR on Sunday morning, I'll probably finish up a collection of shorts by the Russian "Necrorealist" filmmaker, Yevgeny Yufit. If Guy Maddin & John Waters had a baby that was adopted by a Russian sailor, its movies might look like these. There's a nice article on the guy and the strange subgenre he invented with links to his movies here: Exquisite Corpse - Remembering the Underground Filmmaker Who Brought Zombies to the USSR
What I’m most excited to watch this weekend has got to be the “new” documentary Tickled (2016). It’s only been recently released on HBO GO, but I’ve been hearing about this for over a year since its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016. Upon hearing the premise, I was immediately intrigued, as it’s basically impossible not to be. Whose interest wouldn’t be at least a little sparked at “competitive endurance tickling?” About a topic that seems documentary worthy all on its own, Tickled claims to dig deep into this twisted world and uncover some unbelievable stuff. There is also a supplement that’s recently been put out about the fallout since the film’s release that I’ve heard is even crazier. I’m always looking for documentaries that deal with serious topics but keep the tone lighthearted and fun, similar to the style of Michael Moore. I’ve been waiting for months to see this film and I cannot wait to fall deep into that rabbit hole right along with them! Check out the trailer!
Happy Weekend Watching!!