Instant Picks of the Week 7/7/17
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.
FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH (HBO Go)
Never in my life did I anticipate to flat-out adore a High School comedy. Outside of AMERICAN GRAFITTI, I VITELONNI and its cohorts, I never took much of a liking to the teen subgenre. This is probably also why I put off watching FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH for so long. And I’m so happy to know it was a horrible mistake! This is an absolutely outstanding film. It’s written with a precision, wit, and free spirit that few youth films manage to capture. Much like its namesake, this 1982 caper is speedy. The vignettes are disparate, but all equally captivating. The fact that nothing ends the way you anticipate only helps this. Amy Heckerling really knows how to direct the hell out of her actors, and Cameron Crowe’s writing is so refreshing in its dichotomy of authenticity and exaggeration. And that’s what I love about FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH. It feels like it was written in an attempt to capture every tall tale that a high school student overheard during their four-year tenure. It’s cute, it’s honest, it’s ugly, and unashamed to explore the harsh truths of adolescence. In the 2010s, we are so concerned with authenticity and diversity that we’ve lost track of originality. We’ve become so trapped in the tropes that the 198’s helped establish that we’ve forgotten a simple truth: the teen films we remember are the ones that aren’t concerned with following a template. [Sergio Zaciu]
WIENER-DOG (Amazon Video)
What an amusing and interesting year 2016 was for independent comedies out of Sundance. If you’re a cynical film junkie under the age of 40, chances are incredibly high that you will be both deeply amused and deeply disturbed by what WIENER-DOG has to offer. WIENER-DOG’s primary goal is subverting audience expectations of “adorable dog movies,” so it’s understandable that the film currently sits with a 66 on Metacritic and infamously received boos and walkouts from its Sundance audience.This mixed reception probably has a lot to do with the fact that WIENER-DOG is not so much about an adorable dog as it is about the selfish, messy ways humans use dogs as a social tool when their own abilities to connect with others fail. The conceit of the film is built on the titular dachshund passing from one owner to the next in a series of vignettes, participating in each owner’s life differently depending on that owner’s specific needs. Solondz absolutely deserves credit for his evocative and masterful direction; he still has an astute ability to pull layers of pained subtext out of his actors’ every gesture and expression, a captivating sight to behold from scene to scene. Overall, WIENER-DOG is a work that should delight any audience member willing to go into the experience looking to be shocked and provoked. [Carter Moon]