Well, hello April! Not only do you hold my birthday, Easter and the beginning of Major League Baseball’s regular season, but you now also hold the anniversary of this particular blog! Two exclamation points in one paragraph demands your attention.
That said, we cannot celebrate the year anniversary of this particular feature because … well … Netflix Pix didn’t actually begin until May. So we’ll save the reminiscing and reflection for next month. Instead, we will concentrate on five more suggestions for you — yes, you, the fantastically bright blog reader — to consider while thumbing through the streaming portion of Netflix’s offerings over the next few weeks.
Among those possibilities are a Tyler Perry movie (hey, don’t judge!), quite possibly Ryan Gosling’s greatest performance on film and one of the best teenage Saturday morning dramas in the history of mankind. Yes. Your excitement is unparalleled. So before you allow the rain to wash away all the fun you were planning to have this month — yet after you read about booksand boy bands — take a few minutes to think about cozying up with a few chocolate bars and at least one of the following movies. Why? Because I love you. That’s why.
Onward and upward …
1. “Half Nelson” — And it’s not just because Michael from seasons three through five of “The Wire” drops by for a few memorable scenes. This 2006 drama about a teacher whose demons constantly refuse to get out of his way earned Ryan Gosling an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor (he lost to Forrest Whitaker for his work in “The Last King Of Scotland”). All told, it’s probably the heartthrob’s best effort on the big screen with the possible exception of last year’s “Drive,” though it’s always imperative to sit on such considerations for a few years before we can really start to talk about it in a historical context. Either way, this is a mesmerizing piece of film that really should have launched Shareeka Epps into superstardom (and speaking of which, what is she doing today?). If you take one of these five picks this month, make sure it’s this. It’s fantastic. Free Snickers bars for those who disagree.
2. “Saved By The Bell” — All the seasons are here, and really — if you were between the ages of six and 16 between the years 1988 and 1994, this was as much of a staple in your everyday life as sneakers that light up and Aerosmith singles. It’s legendary, really. If Screech didn’t grow up to be such an idiot and if Jesse didn’t run off to get as naked as she possibly could, as quickly as she possibly could, it would be a whole lot easier to look back at those years with a bit more sparkle, but hey — what it is, is what it is.
3. “Swingers” — It’s money, baby! Jon Favreau was still skinny. Vince Vaughn wasn’t annoying, yet. And people still using phones with cords was a popular art (I defy any man to tell me he hasn’t reacted to meeting a woman exactly the way Favreau does at least once in his life). It took only two weeks to write and it essentially launched the two leads into a stratosphere that neither have yet, or probably ever will, come down from. It’s the happiest story a sad-story-lover could ask for. It’s also feather light and at times, even funny. What better way could you possibly spend a couple hours wasting away the time as the days become longer and the sun sets a little later? Put on your sun glasses, brush off that brown suit, re-boot that Sega Genesis and sit down with a fun little film that has since gained cult status. It is money, remember.
4. “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?” — Fact: I once bought somebody “Why Did I Get Married” as a wedding gift. Yes. That sound I hear is your head shaking. OK, OK. I know Tyler Perry is a little annoying these days. And sure, his films do veer into cheeseland way more than they should. But there’s something about whatever he does that I find fascinating and I can’t quite explain why (I still love “The Family That Preys,” no matter what you say). Why the first one — which you should see before watching this one, of course — isn’t available for instant stream is beyond me, but even so, any movie with Jill Scott in it is a movie I’ll sit down with any day of the week. And, just by chance you did happen to see the first one, boy, oh boy, wait until you see how it all turns out! Goodness, gracious. The only thing more juicy is R. Kelly’s “Trapped In The Closet” series.
5. “Casino Jack” — Because if you are going to see one Jack Abramoff movie from 2010, “Casino Jack” should be it. No, it’s not the best movie you’ve ever seen. In fact, it’s probably not even one of the 10 best Kevin Spacey movies you’ve ever seen, either. But Jon Lovitz makes an appearance and if you are like me and only recently started to revisit “The Critic” on DVD, seeing him on screen, not in cartoon form, will bring a smile to your face. Considering I had a grand total of zero expectations, this far exceeded them. And hey — if you like it, the DVD just moved to the $5 bin at Wal-Mart. Remember whose birthday it is this month …