ScreenCrush Staff Picks For What to Watch the Weekend of July 7
If you can’t decide what to watch this weekend, ScreenCrush’s Staff Picks are here to help. They’re like the recommendations at an old video store, except you don’t have to put on pants or go outside to get them. Here are four things to watch this weekend:
Erin Oliver Whitney:
When you see Spider-Man: Homecoming, you might have the same thought I did – sure, the new Spidey is great, but boy, is this movie full of some fantastic young actors! It’s a great excuse to check them out in their breakout roles. I could tell you to go watch Angourie Rice in The Nice Guys, Abraham Attah in Beasts of No Nation, or Tony Revolori in The Grand Budapest Hotel. But instead I’m going to recommend Michael Barbieri in Little Men. The 14-year-old actor was the standout of Ira Sachs’ 2016 Sundance breakout, a feisty ball of energy with the confidence and charm of a young Pacino. Barbieri plays Tony, the son of a dress shop owner who’s being pushed out of her rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood by the parents of the boy (Theo Taplitz) Tony’s become friends with. It’s a sweet and moving story about the purity of young friendship contrasted against the realities of adulthood.
Little Men and Homecoming are also a great pairing for the ways both show authentic snapshots of New York City youth – Sachs film is like a slice right out of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and Homecoming, unlike most blockbusters, actually features diverse teenage actors playing, you know, teenagers. Barbieri will also be in The Dark Tower this summer, so best get familiar before he blows up.
Little Men is available on Netflix.
I’ve been keeping this one in my back pocket for the past few weeks, saving it for the right occasion, but there’s really no wrong time to revisit David Fincher’s moody and masterful thriller. And if you have yet to experience Zodiac, then I have no idea what you are doing wasting your time with meaningless nonsense like the internet when this immaculate film is readily available to stream. Equal parts procedural and journalistic thriller, Zodiac is a riveting walk through a labyrinth of obsession: A scarily unknowable (and uncatchable) sociopath obsessed with murder and the men obsessed with finding him in a city edging ever closer to hysteria. It’s almost redundant to label any one film a masterpiece when the director in question deals almost exclusively in making masterpieces. Zodiac may very well be Fincher’s best work to date; it might also boast the best performances Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. have given to date — considering the famously obsessive man behind the camera, that’s not surprising.
Zodiac is available on Netflix.
The release of Spider-Man: Homecoming this week proves there’s no one way to bring the webhead to life. Whether high drama or high school, we’ve all gravitated to different interpretations of the character that range from Sam Raimi’s earnest 2002 take, to the animated Ultimate Spider-Man’s mix of Scott Pilgrim and The Avengers. Kids’ WB outlier The Spectacular Spider-Man falls somewhere in the middle, mixing a simpler animation style with a pre-Young Justice Greg Weisman’s mature sense of storytelling. It might even feel like the closest precursor to Homecoming; keeping Peter Parker firmly in high school, and deftly weaving familiar characters among the cast with the patience to spin their famous story arcs in new directions. Spectacular was too late to ride the Raimi version’s goodwill, and too early to pivot off the MCU or Amazing franchise, but brought a visual panache and energy back to Spidey’s adventures that perfectly complements your pre- or post-Homecoming fix.
The Spectacular Spider-Man is available on Crackle.
Now that Edgar Wright is officially a Hollywood big shot (seriously, go see Baby Driver), now’s a great time to check out his earlier work. And what better place to start than his BAFTA-nominated Channel 4 sitcom Spaced? The premise: Tim (Simon Pegg), an aspiring comic artist, and Daisy (Jessica Stevenson), a wannabe novelist, meet by chance while searching for apartments. They decide to take one together, pretending they’re a couple to appease their landlord Marsha, but insisting to all of their friends that, of course, they’re NOT. Which, naturally, makes you ship the two of them immediately. Things tend to get very surreal very quickly as Tim and Daisy come up with ways to pass the time while they figure out what the heck they want to do with their lives. Other recurring characters are Daisy’s oddly-dressed, very alternative friend Twist (Katy Carmichael), their experimental painter flat-mate Brian (Mark Heap), and Tim’s video game obsessed BFF Mike (Nick Frost!). And as a showcase for Wright’s directorial talents, it’s matchless. While the Cornetto Trilogy may be his best work to date, nothing beats the wild, nerdy abandon of Spaced, how nimbly he flits across genres as easily as flipping through channels on a TV.
Spaced is available on Hulu.