Hello, September. Gone are the sweltering hot days, warm nights and summertime fun. In exchange, we find ourselves with chilly evenings, shorter amounts of sunlight and a penchant for trying on our sweaters for the first time in months. That’s right, friends. Summer is gone. Fall is upon us.
This month’s Netflix picks did not come easy. As many of you Netflix users may know, the rate change instituted this month forced many of us to make that always-tough decision between the instant access plan or the DVD plan. Me? I opted for the old-fashioned snail-mail package, thus leaving me without the ability to surf the instant streaming library the company offers.
No fear, though, friends, as blogger extraordinaire Stephanie Mlot chose to stick with the streaming abilities, thus allowing me access to peruse whatever releases Netflix may offer to its customers instantly. So, we thank her dearly and in turn will now recommend jumping on over to her particular blog to check out what fabulously fun things she may have to say. Go ahead. Go.
No, I meant it. Go. Get on out of here.
OK. You’re back? You’re back. Good. This month’s pick include NBC’s greatest show in years, a true classic marathon of a film, and fashion, fashion, fashion! Sounds good, right? Right. So alas, for those of you still holding on tightly to your instant streaming capabilities, the following five picks are choices you really ought to consider. For those of us still relying soley on DVDs, hey — you can always put any of these releases in your queue, you know.
In any case, onward and upward …
1. “30 Rock” — Seasons one through four are available to stream instantly, and honestly, why pass that up? It’s the best show on television today (which, by the way, is different from a “best show ever” tag, mind you), and it’s short. Really short, actually. Like 22-minutes-an-episode short. Alec Baldwin proves he is still the most talented and relevant Baldwin. Tina Fey proves she is the smartest woman alive. And Tracy Morgan proves … well … he proves … well, let’s just say that I do a killer Tracy Morgan impression. So that counts for something, right? Right. Anyways, the cast is fabulous, the cameos are some of the best television has ever seen and the jokes are so lightning quick that 30 percent of them go over everyone’s head during the first viewing, anyways, allowing us all to find a different thing to laugh at each time we go back to view an episode. Believe the hype, friends. This show is deserving of all the awards it has ever received. Still not sold? Do you really believe there could be anything else in the world that could possibly make this happen …
2. “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead” — Fun fact: This is Sidney Lumet’s final film before dying earlier this year. Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke, this is a fun little movie to spend a chilly September night with. Why is it fun, you ask? Well, this is one of those “nothing is in order and you sort of have to connect dots and pay attention to what’s going on” movies. And those, as we all know, are glorious fun. It’s a little graphic and until you realize what’s going on, the story can become a bit confusing at times. But regardless, this is one of the better movies Hoffman has taken on in recent years, and that says something. Sure, Ethan Hawke will never get better than “Training Day,” but he holds his own enough to make sure he doesn’t ruin the flick. Oh. And did I mention the fabulously talented and wonderfully pretty Amy Ryan makes an appearance, too? I didn’t? Well, she does, and when you combine that with an over-looked and underrated Marisa Tomei performance, you have yourself a set of actors that can make any movie worth seeing.
3. “The Right Stuff” — If you have an extra 18 hours, this movie’s great! No, but seriously. Based on the classic Tom Wolfe book and narrated by the one and only Levon Helm, this 1983 account of the Mercury Seven (also known as the Original Seven) and their journey as the first American astronauts into outer space is both a lesson in history and an entertaining look at what went into this country’s first attempt at developing a space program. Don’t believe me? Well, it was nominated for eight Academy Awards (including best picture) and took home four. It holds a 97 percent approval rating on the always-important Rotten Tomatoes film critic Website. And, most of all, you can find it for three bucks at your nearest Big Lots superstore (OK, maybe that’s not an accolade. But it sure is convenient). Yes, it runs longer than three hours. But when you spread it over two discs, you can break that up into portions, making the viewing experience much more tolerable. Hey — if you care a thing about America’s space program and/or astronomy, this movie’s for you. And if you don’t happen to care a thing about America’s space program and/or astronomy, but still like sitting around with a highly regarded 1980s historical flick, this movie is most certainly worth your time. Just ask Roger Ebert.
4. “The Dick Van Dyke Show” — Unbeknownst to me until my father recently mentioned it, Netflix is offering the first five seasons to stream. Talk about classic television. This was “30 Rock” before “30 Rock” (and if you think putting the two shows in the same month’s picks wasn’t done on purpose, you aren’t thinking correctly). But who needs to hear any of this from me? Take a look at it all yourself …
See. That’s funny.
5. “The September Issue” — Get it? Because it’s September, silly! Well, that, and because this is a great inside look at how the most famous fashion publication in the world operates on a daily basis. After having it recommended to me through a friend, I finally sat down with it on the very first night my girlfriend and I moved here, all the way back in January (I only mention the girlfriend part to keep what little shred of manhood I can by admitting to not only loving this movie, but also being a subscriber to Vogue). With boxes upon boxes of unpacked things, rooms that looked more like a disaster zone than a place to live, and a lovely carpet stain that featured red wine and cooking oil (don’t ask), I have fond memories of cuddling up with a Papa John’s pizza, this movie and a bottle of liquor (well, hello to you, too, Maryland!). All nostalgic thoughts aside, though, for anyone who claims to care about either journalism, magazines and/or fashion, this is a must-see. Anna Wintour comes across as everything you would expect Anna Wintour to be and considering how the September issue is always the year’s biggest (which I can vouch for after recently receiving the trillions of pages featured in the latest edition), this documentary proves to be both insightful and entertaining without ever really veering into the pretentious world you probably think surrounds the publication. Forget “The Devil Wears Prada.” Navigate your way over to Netflix’s website and cuddle up with the real thing.