We are all stuck at home. We are all desperate for things to watch. To save you some time sifting through the countless streaming services I semi-regularly post things I have caught recently – both new and old – that I have dug. No refunds if you watch something I liked and hated it. That is a you problem, not a me problem.
The Queen’s Gambit – Limited series, seven episodes all streaming on Netflix – OK, I am going to tell you what this show is about, but please stay awake and stay with me. This is a show about a young female orphan in the 60s who is a world-class chess prodigy while struggling with addiction. I know, I know. Not the most exciting premise for a show ever, but trust me, it is a wonderful series. You know you need some hot chess action in your life.
This isn’t a situation where you have to be a modern day Bobby Fisher to enjoy it, either. My chess knowledge is limited to “the horse dudes move in an L, the ones with the ball on their head go diagonal” etc. They make it easy and accessible. Another thing I loved about the show is how they change up the format of how they show the big matches to keep it fresh. That is one of my biggest complaints about sports like say Friday Night Lights where every big game unfolds in the same way. Intense closeups of players smashing into each other with some uptempo song in the background and it is capped off with the good guys miraculously winning at the end. The Queen’s Gambit does a great job of mixing up how the big matches are shown so it isn’t as boring as say, well, watching people play chess.
The acting here is phenomenal as well. I hope Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays the grownup version of the prodigy in question, becomes a household name after this. Also — are you sitting down for this? — it has the kid from Love, Actually ALL GROWN UP and he looks the EXACT SAME. Trust me, you will mark out when he first appears on screen. He plays another chess wunderkind who, for some reason, wears an Indiana Jones hat and carries a knife around with him at all times.
I give The Queen’s Gambit five checkmates out of five.
Borat Subsequent Movie Film – Streaming on Amazon – I realize by now that most people who have wanted to watch the new Borat probably have and nothing I say here will probably convince someone who isn’t interested into giving it a shot. But this is my website, I loved the movie, and I wanna talk about it…so there.
A second Borat movie was always one of those things that everyone wanted but it just didn’t seem possible. How could Sacha Baron Cohen possibly trick more idiots after the first one made that character so well-known across the globe? Well, never doubt SBC because that SOB pulled it off.
Cohen is his usual hilarious and masterful self, but the big takeaway for me was the Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova who played his daughter. She stole the show. Cohen has long been established as a master of this sort of comedy, but to see an unknown actress like Bakalova not only hold her own, but outshine Cohen, was something incredible to see. Give her an Oscar, ya cowards.
I give Borat Subsequent Movie Film four Johnny the Monkeys out of five.
Moneyball – Streaming on Netflix – A baseball movie that shows very, very little baseball? OK! The Oscar nominated Brad Pitt/Jonah Hill movie recently got put on Netflix so I gave it a rewatch recently and really enjoyed it.
It is the true (well, true-ish, always liberties taken in these kinds of things) about Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane (Pitt) using advanced statistics and new ways of looking at baseball to keep his small-market A’s competitive against the major market teams like the Yankees.
Pitt and Hill totally rip in this movie and, like Queen’s Gambit, you don’t need to be a baseball savant or stat-head to enjoy this thing. Plus, it gave us the classic Jonah Hill on-the-phone-silent-fist-pump gif you see on Twitter each day.
I give Moneyball four OBS+s out of five.
New Girl – Entire series streaming on Netflix – A show I never caught while it was on but had heard nothing but good things. It is as enjoyable and funny as everyone told me it was. Zooey Deschanel is her usual delightful, charming, and awkward self. The three male roommates, who I didn’t know much about going into it, are great as well.
This is just an easy, breezy sitcom watch. Perfect for mindless laughs and smiles. I have even missed some episodes and you can pick things up pretty quickly. It is like hanging out and laughing with your pals. Plus, there is an episode starring Prince!
I give New Girl 3.5 Zooey Deschanel glasses out of five.
Nathan For You – Entire series streaming on Hulu – One of the funnier shows of the last twenty years that sadly flew under the radar a bit too much so I want to give it some love. I have recently been rewatching episodes of this show and laughing as hard as I did the first time.
Comedian Nathan Fielder plays a fictional version of himself in this reality show where he offers business advice to struggling local businesses. The advice is over-the-top and ridiculous but Fielder has the Sacha Baron Cohen gene where he is able to play it straight during incredibly awkward moments without breaking. It creates some of the funniest and cringe-inducing scenes on television. Put it on your list if you have never experienced the joy that is Nathan For You or go back and rewatch it if you are a fan already.
I give Nathan For You five awkward silences out of five.