June, oh June. How you tease me with your warm weather and your mostly sunny skies. You bring the official beginning to summer, and you also provide graduations, baseball games, bad television, long days, pretty nights and mosquitos that swarm me every time I golf. You’re pretty, June. I just don’t know how much I’d want to marry you.
That said, this month’s picks might just be my favorite set yet, having done this for more than a year now. Yes, each month’s selections have been special in their own right, but this list is filled with home runs all across the board. We have something modern. We have a few indie-laden releases. And we have Hank Moody shacked up with Demi Moore. What more could an instant-streamer ask for?
That’s what I thought. So as the weather becomes hot enough to fry eggs on the ground and make elongated periods of time outdoors unbearable, take the following five suggestions into consideration when coming up with an excuse for a break from the sun by spending a few minutes in the cool, air-conditioned confines of your own home. Why? Because graduation parties can only be entertaining for so long before the beer becomes stale, the hot dog buns become hard and that one family member you spend years trying to avoid finally realizes that you can spare a few minutes to “talk.”
If there was ever a list to pay attention to in the long and storied (i.e. tiny and irrelevant) history of this feature, the following would be it. Yes. That is not an overstatement.
Onward and upward …
1. “Drive” — After it being such a buzzed-about movie, people came away from this with either a feeling of love or a feeling of hate. And considering I just got done explaining how much I think this might be my favorite set of suggestions, which category do you think I fall in? That was rhetorical. The always-fabulous Carey Mulligan plays the yin to Ryan Gosling’s super messed-up yang and Albert Brooks wins “Scariest Dude Of The Year” honors with his strikingly memorable performance. Why this has already made its way to Instant World is a question I can’t answer because as I said the minute I initially finished watching this movie for the first time, “Drive” is a modern day “Taxi Driver.” Even more so, the first 15 minutes of this is quite literally one of the best opening sequences I’ve ever seen begin a movie. It’s thrilling. It’s slick. It’s captivating. And most of all, it’s the perfect way to begin a movie smothered in violence and existentialism. Oh, and even if you hate the flick, it’s got a killer soundtrack. Watch this now.
2. “Cold Weather” — From the “One of the best movies you’ve never seen” file comes “Cold Weather,” a 2010 independent film that is still adored by the 592 people who have ever actually watched it. There is mystery. There is hipster-dom. There is Portland. And there is ice. So, so much ice. And because I don’t want to give anything away, I’ll just offer this trailer …
3. “Louie” — Only season one is available to stream and that’s a good thing because that’s the only season I can speak to. It’s great. Anyone familiar with Louis C.K.’s stand-up routine already knows how dark, angry and depressing he can be, and this show relays that sentiment better than any of his other, previous forays into television land. He writes, directs, acts, produces and probably even packages the DVDs together when they are shipped to stores. From the poker games to doctor’s appointments to cringe-worthy first dates, this is the show that is currently sitting in the sweetest spot in television — it’s not popular enough to become worn out, yet it’s not obscure enough to be off anyone’s radar. Critics love it. Fans crave it. And maybe even most importantly, it brought Louis C.K. back into the minds of the mainstream, which is a place in which he deserves to be.
4. “The Joneses” — I was actually a bit surprised to find that I hadn’t already offered this one up. It was clear some movie studio somewhere thought this had a shot at being a much bigger movie than it was, but the reality is that for one reason or another, “The Joneses” never really got the exposure it probably deserved. David Duchovny gets his “Californication” on, though this time, his Mr. Moody has a heart, and the tale of a group of people coming together to manipulate the public turns super dark, super quick. Demi Moore, Amber Heard and Ben Hollingsworth round out the cast in a superb manner and all told, it’s probably the only good thing the former Mrs. Kutcher has done in years. Sure, the plot might not seem all that enthralling at first — four strangers move into a neighborhood to try and essentially sell high-end products to consumers in a subliminal manner — but as the flick moves, you begin to realize that the premise is far more poignant than you had initially intended. Yes. This is worth your time.
5. “Lost In Translation” — I believe I wrote the following after I watched “Somewhere,” Sofia Coppola’s 2010 indictment on Hollywood: “I completely understand why the people who hate Sofia Coppola’s movies hate Sofia Coppola’s movies … But I love Sofia Coppola’s movies.” That love affair began with this 2003 Bill Murray-starring movie about a sad guy and a sad girl who by chance meet up in Tokyo. Coppola won an Oscar for best screenplay and the world lost its breath when it saw Scarlett Johansson walk around her hotel room in her underwear. And then the ending — my God, the ending! What does he say to her? How does it end? Why did anyone make the third “Godfather?” None of those questions are answered here, but at least two of them will stick with you forever.