Instant Picks of the Week 1/1/2016
Gone are the days of scrolling mindlessly through your queue! No longer will you have to sift through the vastness of what’s coming to the instant viewing wastelands this month! Whether you’re looking for a stellar film or an exciting new show to binge, Instant Picks of the Week brings you the hottest releases in film and television on instant viewing platforms that we know you’ll love, or at the very least not despise.
NATHAN FOR YOU (Hulu, Comedy Central)
NATHAN FOR YOU, written, directed, and performed (?) by Nathan Fielder, masquerades as a reality television show about small businesses while revealing the lengths people will go to be on television and the willingness seemingly all people have to put their trust in someone with a plan (even if it’s crazy). Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder plays “Nathan,” a quasi-parody of himself and someone who graduated from business school with “pretty good grades.” His character is lonely and selfish and while the each episode is primarily about helping a small business with a harebrained scheme, they are also about helping Nathan find friends, love, and confidence. The secret sauce that makes NATHAN FOR YOU such a joy to watch is two-fold. First, all of the businesses on the show truly think they are being helped; they never know they are on a Comedy Central show until the episode airs. Second, Nathan has become an expert at finding the secret weirdness in the people he helps. It would take either a very gullible person or a truly crazy person to think Nathan’s plans are a good idea. Luckily, the show features a lot of the latter rather than the former. The best moments are when someone says something crazy and the camera cuts to Nathan and you can see in his eyes that he can’t believe how lucky he is to find something so strange. It’s moments like those that bring you back, making you feel like an accomplice in Nathan’s ultimately helpful joke. Always weird and surprisingly clever, NATHAN FOR YOU is a perfect binge for the New Year. [Ian Campbell]
A sophisticated powerplay set almost entirely inside of a single motel room, FAULTS is about how an expert in debunking mind control attempts to save a young girl from the cult of which she has become a member. A low-budget gem of 2015 that’s gone under most everyone’s radar, it’s a great example of how to expertly use limited resources to effectively tell a haunting morality tale, boasting some strong performances and a unique concept. Having completed its festival circuit in 2014, FAULTS got its official release the following year and promptly wound up on Netflix, a surprising (and disappointing) fate for such a diabolically clever screenplay. [Sergio Zaciu]