Before you turn on your television, iPad or laptop this weekend and drown in options, The Globe and Mail presents three best cinematic bets that are worth your coveted downtime – no commute to the movie theatre required.
One Mississippi, Amazon Prime
This half-hour comedy-drama hybrid starring Tig Notaro premiered in the same month, September, 2016, as the scene-stealing Amazon original Fleabag. Its second season was overshadowed by the involvement of executive producer Louis C.K.; after The New York Times reported several women’s stories of sexual harassment and assault at the hands of the comedian, Notaro severed ties with him and even wrote an episode that bore striking similarities to some of the allegations. The semi-autobiographical show begins with the death of Tig’s mother, which prompts her to return to her Mississippi town and rekindle her stilted relationship with her taciturn stepfather and Civil War-re-enactor brother. The second season focuses on her relationship with a producer on the radio show she hosts, played by her real-life wife Stephanie Allynne. Offbeat and humane, the show lacks both the coastal setting and corrosive acerbity of so many series centred on a comedian’s life.
Death Proof, Kanopy
Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino’s contribution to the 2007 double feature Grindhouse (the other was Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror), is his most underappreciated effort – and my personal favourite of his films. It’s split into two parts: In the first, a deranged stuntman played by Kurt Russell stalks a group of young women out on the town in Austin, and in the second, a quartet of women working on a film shoot in rural Tennessee turn the tables on him. In keeping with the throwback double-feature concept, Death Proof is shot to look like a 1970s B-movie, complete with “missing reels” and intentionally flubbed edits. The movie itself is often dismissed as a kind of stunt, a trifling exercise in the writer/director’s well-documented nostalgia for the era of greasy exploitation flicks. But there’s something genuinely mesmerizing about a film set in the present day that looks like something from another time – an effective visual metaphor for the persistence of misogyny. The film climaxes with a killer car-chase scene, but it’s also just a great hang-out movie, and features some of Tarantino’s most memorable dialogue.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Disney+
Perhaps your children insisted you take them to see Dolittle last weekend; perhaps you’re generally burned out on CGI creatures and computer-generated landscapes. Let me take you back to a simpler time: 1993, when a movie about three lost pets trying to make their way home through a forbidding wilderness relied on the talents of flesh-and-blood animals (and their wranglers) … and no one thought twice about making a family film populated almost entirely by white faces. If you can look past the antiquated casting, Homeward Bound has plenty to offer, including effective voiceovers from Sally Field (Sassy the cat), Michael J. Fox (the scrappy bulldog Chance) and Don Ameche (the wise golden retriever Shadow). Homeward Bound is the kind of film “they just don’t make any more,” and probably never will again, which is all the more reason to slip it into the rotation of your kids’ go-to films while your suggestions still carry sway.
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