ScreenCrush Staff Picks for What to Watch the Weekend of June 9
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:
I was tardy to the Girlboss party, judging by the negative reactions floating around social media. But I didn’t let those opinions keep me from giving this Netflix series a chance, and neither should you. I binge-watched the entire first season last weekend, if that gives you any indication of how much I enjoyed this show from Pitch Perfect scribe Kay Cannon.
Based on Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso’s memoir of the same name, Girlboss centers on a slightly fictionalized version of Sophia (Britt Robertson), a struggling and deeply flawed twentysomething who loses her job and stumbles upon a potentially brilliant business idea. I wasn’t familiar with Amoruso (and the controversy surrounding her company) going into the series, but even after doing a little Google research, I still feel the same about Girlboss: If you enjoy hard-to-love female leads who wear their flaws on their sleeves, this show is for you.
If you love the idea of a period comedy set in 2006-2007, and all the pop culture references that entails, this show is for you. (There is an entire episode devoted to The O.C. Season 3 finale, and it might be the most personally relevant thing I will see all year.) If you’re into stories of female friendship and young women clumsily figuring out their place in the world, this show is for you.
Several viewers criticized Girlboss for having such an unlikable female lead — a complaint that would never be made about shows with “unlikable” male leads like Breaking Bad and Mad Men, and one that says a lot about the unreasonable standards to which women are held. But describing a female lead as “unlikable” is the quickest way to get me to watch something.
Girlboss is available to stream on Netflix.
While the premise of The Autopsy of Jane Doe might make it sound like a skeezy exploitation film – two small-town corners slowly dissect the body of a beautiful women in order to figure out the cause of death – I can assure you: It is a classy and intelligent exploitation film, with some very good performances. Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch star as Tommy and Austin Tilden, father and son, and the coroners in their tiny burg. One unassuming night, an alabaster-skinned corpse (Olwen Kelly) is wheeled into their facility, and the unraveling of a strange mystery begins. Norwegian director Andre Ovredal (he previously made the cult hit Trollhunter) proceeds through his story at a methodical pace, taking time to establish his characters and build an atmosphere of claustrophobic dread. Things get a bit too wacky for my taste in the final act, but with Cox and Hirsch both lending this Autopsy plenty of gravitas, there’s still a lot to admire. Oh, and there’s also super-graphic autopsy sequences if you’re into that sort of thing. But like I said, they’re extremely classy super-graphic autopsy sequences.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe is currently available for rent on Amazon.
Netflix dramas have their lulls, just like show. That’s what makes Season 5 of Orange Is the New Black such an intriguing new swing for the series; To crunch that span even further into a three-day prison riot kicked off by the emotional climax of last season. The large cast also carries the benefit of never having to drag out any one storyline too long, and there’s an undeniable freshness to seeing characters like Black Cindy or Big Boo relish in new opportunities and the absence of any rules. The role-reversal also gives previously one-note guards a wide range of new colors to play, with the same balance of comedy and drama now bolstered by a few thriller aspects as the riot grows more complicated. And you wouldn’t want the hackers to win, right? They already got poor Steve Harvey.
Orange Is the New Black Season 5 is available to stream on Netflix.
As much as I love 20th Century Woman, and anything where Annette Bening smokes the hell out of a cigarette, the Mike Mills movie I keep returning to again and again is Beginners. While his Oscar nominee from last year told the story of his mother (played by Bening), Beginners is all about Mills’ father, who came out of the closet at 75 while battling (and eventually dying of) cancer. Ewan McGregor plays Mills’ fictional counterpart Oliver, an illustrator swimming in depression as he reminisces about his father’s (Plummer) final years. Plummer is soulful and warmly funny as Hal, the performance that finally earned him his first Oscar. Rarely do we get to see coming of age tales about characters late in life, much less ones that celebrate new romance while grappling with loss. Some may find it overly twee, or consider Melanie Laurent’s character a manic pixie dream girl, but there’s an intimacy and honesty to Beginners that’s infectious. After five viewings, it still makes me laugh through tears.
Beginners is available to stream on Netflix.