ST. LOUIS — It's that time of the year where the harsh summer heat becomes too much for people to lay under for afternoons on end, so it's officially Netflix and Chill again.
There are three times of the year where people just don't go outside. The brutal chill of the cold, the constant rain in the spring, and the relentless heat in the summer- at least for most people who live in this country.
When it comes to St. Louis weather, the humidity is second to none for truly sucking the air right out of your lungs. The winter produces ice, snow, and unsafe travel options. For a streaming device like Netflix, it's the perfect time to unload a good movie or television series, either from their own shop or a third party. With that being said, let's look at five movies/shows you need to be watching right now. Starting with a borrowed show that is finally getting the proper amount of eyes.
Imagine a red meat fighting series with great writing and the finest actors, and you have Byron Balasco's DirecTV series. Due to improper marketing and a careless regard for talent, you never got to hear how magnetic Jonathan Tucker was or how this will forever stand as Frank Grillo's greatest work. That changed when Netflix acquired it this month.
This is a show for people who want some extra juicy steak with their normal televised entertainment. "Kingdom" isn't all fights, hand wrap, and cuts above the eye; it handles the guilt, rage, and inability to turn off the violence that fighters take home and can't live with in retirement. Balasco's hearty dish is dirty, smart, and quite intoxicating at times to stick your head inside Navy Street. This show was cut short too soon, but it's no longer on a milk carton, so I'll take it.
"The Town" (2009)
Ben Affleck's directorial career is mostly centered around the Oscar success of "Argo," but this riveting Boston cops/robbers drama holds up better for my Boston Baked Beans. If you mixed Michael Mann's "Heat" with "Good Will Hunting," you'd get this flick.
Affleck paid homage to his past with the city shoot and the scenes shot at Fenway Park while bringing together a tightrope cast. While Jon Hamm and Rebecca Hall are great in supporting roles, Jeremy Renner's turn as the venomous snake on Affleck's bank-robbing team takes the cake. Nominated for an Oscar for his work, Renner steals every scene he's in, including one where he helps Affleck's melted heart seek retribution for mistreatment towards his new girlfriend (Hall), who happens to be the hostage they took after the latest heist.
It's complicated, full of intrigue, and includes a bang-bang finale with a soulful final touch.
"F is for Family" (2016-
Bill Burr created plenty of content for the entertainment industry lately. He records at least two podcasts a week, one in which he talks about what's going on in the world with some ranting. There are at least five stand-up comedy specials by Burr on Netflix. He broke in on the movie world with a big role in Judd Apatow's critically acclaimed summer hit, "The King of Staten Island." But his animated series, an ode to his dad and growing up in the 1970's, is a delight on many levels.
Carrying the crude humor of "Family Guy" mixed with "Married with Children," Burr hits all the right notes as a father and husband stuck in a suburban vice, trying not to put his children's heads through the wall. It's maniac ranting and high energy laughs from Burr and company, including a hilarious Michael Kenneth Williams as the local vending machine clerk, Smoky. The writing is inspired, containing more than mere jokes and profanity-laced raging. If you love Burr, watch this. If you don't, move on.
"Living With Yourself" (2019-
Paul Rudd used to be the adorable good guy who melted Alicia Silverstone's heart in "Clueless." Now, he's a full-fledged movie star who can be a con man/superhero ("Ant-Man"), a husband in need of a best friend ("I Love You, Man"), or even a potty-mouthed misfit who is forced into mentoring a young kid in a youth-improvement program ("Role Models"). That's what makes this Netflix series, currently standing at one season, so special. You get all of those Rudds at once, literally ... well, almost.
With a supporting cast including the lovely and fierce Aisling Brea and Tom Brady (okay, it's a glorified cameo), the series follows a unhappy middle-aged grunt who undergoes a procedure meant to drastically improve his life. It's too bad it ultimately upends his entire life. I won't spoil much more of the fun, so let just say you'll get your Rudd's worth here. The show is depressing in the early going and all the jokes don't hit, but it's a wisely-conceived idea with an ever-game Rudd. He expands his everyman abilities without letting the huge role overwhelm him.
"Shot Caller" (2017)
If you ever wondered if Jaime Lannister ever got a true leading role in a film or television show, look no further. This is the role of a lifetime for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who slips into a role that looks like Kevin Bacon in "Death Sentence," but ends up looking more like Bryan Cranston in "Breaking Bad" by the end. The supporting cast includes a who's who of familiar and talented faces like Jon Bernthal, Lake Bell, Benjamin Bratt, and Holt McCallany.
It's a sinister watch and doesn't play out like you initially think, but the surprises and performance from Coster-Waldau helps the film stick its landing. Ric Roman Waugh's film was an under-the-radar thriller that didn't get a wide release, due to its original distributor, Relativity Media, filing for bankruptcy. This delayed the film for nearly two years, before Saban Films acquired and released it. Thankfully, it's found a nice home on Netflix.
That's all I got. 5 things to watch. Two movies and three shows. Bon Appetit, entertainment seekers.
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