TV Recap: Nov. 13-20, 2022

NEW SHOWS
Documentary Now! – “Trouver Frisson” (B+) / season finale
A heartwarming tribute to the films of Agnès Varda, and one of the few non-cynical entries of the show as the whole. I hope this isn’t the end of this brilliant but extremely low-rated show. But if it is, it went out on a high note.

BINGEING
Mad Men – Season 3 (A- average)
An incredible season of television, capped off with one of the most entertaining episodes of any series. The only reason I can’t grade it higher is the lackluster “Souvenir.” Take it out and this is among the best full seasons of TV.

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TV Recap: Nov. 6-12, 2022

NEW SHOWS
The Handmaid’s Tale – “Safe” (B-) / season finale
This season was even more frustrating than last season. You could almost feel the writers stretching this out for 10 more episodes, only to rush this finale that made the baffling decision to make June and Serena mom BFFs. Still, it’s well-acted and directed, and the show at least dealt with the reality that many countries – no matter how progressive – are still hostile to refugees. It was a dumb story arc, but you bet your ass I’m still gonna watch the final season next year.

Atlanta – “It Was All a Dream” (A) / series finale
Was Darius dreaming at the end? Does it even matter? Atlanta cranked up the surreal flourishes for this finale, exploring the city – or at least Darius’s mind – and finding terror, pressure, beauty and joy. A perfect ending, unless you wanted something more straightforward. And anyone who stuck with the show this long knows that’s not what they do.

BINGEING
NewsRadio – Season 3 (A- average)
With two seasons to go, I’m ready to declare this the best workplace comedy ever (give or take Cheers, which is technically a workplace comedy). The ensemble works together flawlessly, and the stretch of episodes that aired in the winter and spring of 1997 are among the best of any sitcom of the 90s.

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Too Early for This: Oscar Picks – November 2022

BEST PICTURE
Armageddon Time
Avatar: The Way of Water
Babylon
The Banshees of Inisherin
Everything Everywhere All at Once
The Fabelmans
She Said
TÁR
White Noise
Women Talking

Falling off: Bardo, Empire of Light, The Son
Rising star: Top Gun: Maverick

The skinny: After flopping at multiple festivals, the latest self-indulgent films from past Best Director winners Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Sam Mendes will likely vanish without a trace, alongside The Son, which failed to live up to the acclaim of Florian Zeller’s previous film The Father. But movies about movies? They’re still in, with Spielberg’s autobiographical The Fabelmans currently in the lead. Speaking of the autobiographical, Armageddon Time is getting a pass until it goes wide, but Maverick is (almost literally) on its tail.

BEST DIRECTOR
Damien Chazelle, Babylon
Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans
Todd Field, TÁR
Noah Baumbach, White Noise
Sarah Polley, Women Talking

Falling off: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Sam Mendes, Ruben Östlund
Rising star: Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave

The skinny: Spielberg is the most financially successful producer and director of the last 50 years, and he already has two Oscars for directing, but it would be hard to see him losing to anyone in this slate. Another international director could also pop in, and right now it looks like Park Chan-wook, with Ruben Östlund falling off thanks to a chilly domestic reception to Triangle of Sadness.

BEST ACTOR
Austin Butler, Elvis
Adam Driver, White Noise
Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
Brendan Fraser, The Whale
Hugh Jackman, The Son

Falling off: Colin Firth
Rising star: Bill Nighy, Living

The skinny: I only have one question: Where is the trailer for The Whale? Fraser is still the odds-on favorite, but are we ever going to get a look at his performance?

BEST ACTRESS
Cate Blanchett, TÁR
Ana de Armas, Blonde
Danielle Deadwyler, Till
Carey Mulligan, She Said
Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Falling off: Viola Davis
Rising star: Jennifer Lawrence, Causeway

The skinny: Blanchett is likely to pick up her third Oscar. It’s the performance of the year, but she does have some serious competition from Danielle Deadwyler and Michelle Yeoh, neither of whom have been nominated before.

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TV Recap: Oct. 30-Nov. 5, 2022

NEW SHOWS
The White Lotus – “Ciao” (B+) / season premiere
Not quite as immediately gripping as the first season, but there’s still no shortage of where the show could go, even as some characters seem obvious replacements for Season 1’s awful rich people.

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Streaming Picks: November 2022

FILMS
Top Picks
Devil in a Blue Dress – Hulu 11/1
Little Woods – HBO Max 11/1
Top Five – Paramount+ 11/1
Nope – Peacock 11/18

Other Recommendations
2 Days in the Valley – Prime and Paramount+ 11/1
10 Things I Hate About You – Prime 1/1
28 Days Later – Hulu 11/1
500 Days of Summer – HBO Max 11/1
Accepted – HBO Max 11/1
Adaptation – Hulu 11/1
Along Came Polly – Hulu and Peacock 11/1
American Gangster – Peacock 11/1
Balto – Peacock 11/1
Basic Instinct – Paramount+ 11/1
Beethoven – Peacock 11/1
The Big Lebowski – Peacock 11/1
The Bodyguard – Netflix 11/1
The Bone Collector – Peacock 11/1
The Boss – Peacock 11/1
Bridesmaids – Peacock 11/1
Brown Sugar – Prime 11/1
Bruce Almighty – Peacock 11/1
Caddyshack – HBO Max 11/1
The Call (2013) – Hulu 11/1
Carpool – Hulu 11/1
Casino – Peacock 11/1
Cast Away – Hulu 11/1
Christmas Vacation – HBO Max 11/1
Clueless – Paramount+ 11/1
Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop – Prime 11/1
Crimson Tide – Paramount+ 11/1
The Crow – Paramount+ 11/1
Dawn of the Dead (2004) – Hulu 11/1
Death Becomes Her – Peacock 11/1
Death Race – Peacock 11/1
The Deer Hunter – Peacock 11/1
Dennis the Menace – Netflix 11/1
Despicable Me – Peacock 11/1
Down to Earth – Prime and Paramount+ 11/1
Dr. No – Paramount+ 11/1
Dracula (1992) – Paramount+ 11/1
Draft Day – HBO Max 11/1
Easy A – Peacock 11/1
Face/Off – Prime 11/1
The Family Man – Peacock 11/1
Flight – Paramount+ 11/1
Fools Rush In – Hulu 11/1
Footloose (1984) – Paramount+ 11/1
Forgetting Sarah Marshall – Peacock 11/1
Forrest Gump – Paramount+ 11/1
From Russia with Love – Paramount+ 11/1
Funny Face – Paramount+ 11/1
GoldenEye – Paramount+ 11/1
Goldfinger – Paramount+ 11/1
Gremlins – Peacock 11/1
Gremlins 2: The New Batch – Peacock 11/1
Harry and the Hendersons – Peacock 11/1
Harry Potter series – HBO Max 11/1
High Fidelity – Prime and Paramount+ 11/1
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days – Paramount+ 11/1
I Am Not Your Negro – Hulu 11/1
I Know What You Did Last Summer – Hulu 11/1
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer – Hulu 11/1
In & Out – Paramount+ 11/1
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – Prime 11/1
The Italian Job (2003) – Paramount+ 11/1
Jacob’s Ladder (1990) – Prime 11/1
Just Friends – Peacock 11/1
King Kong (2005) – Peacock 11/1
Kingdom of Heaven – Prime 11/1
The Last of the Mohicans (1992) – Peacock 11/1
The Legend of Zorro – Netflix 11/1
Legends of the Fall – Hulu 11/1
Liar Liar – Peacock 11/1
License to Kill – Paramount+ 11/1
The Little Rascals – Netflix 11/1
Love Actually – Peacock 11/1
Lucy – Peacock 11/1
The Machinist – Prime 11/1
The Madness of King George – Prime and Paramount+ 11/1
Major Payne – Peacock 11/1
Mama – Hulu 11/1
The Manchurian Candidate (2004) – Prime 11/1
The Mask of Zorro – Netflix 11/1
Meet the Fockers – Peacock 11/1
Meet the Parents – Peacock 11/1
The Mexican – Paramount+ 11/1
Miami Blues – Prime and Paramount+ 11/1
Minority Report – Paramount+ 11/1
Miss Sloane – HBO Max 11/1
Moneyball – Netflix 11/1
Monsters vs. Aliens – Peacock 11/1
MouseHunt – Prime and Paramount+ 11/1
Mr. Mom – HBO Max 11/1
Murder in the First – HBO Max 11/1
My Beautiful Laundrette – HBO Max 11/1
The Naked Gun – Paramount+ 11/1
Neighbors (2014) – HBO Max 11/1
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Hulu 11/1
Nick of Time – Prime and Paramount+ 11/1
Not Another Teen Movie – Hulu 11/1
Notting Hill – Hulu and Netflix 11/1
Office Space – Hulu 11/1
Once upon a Time in Mexico – Hulu 11/1
Paranormal Activity – Paramount+ 11/1
The Patriot – Hulu 11/1
The Perfect Storm – Hulu 11/1
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Hulu and Paramount+ 11/1
Pride & Prejudice (2005) – Peacock 11/1
Primal Fear – Prime and Paramount+ 11/1
The Professional – Prime and Paramount+ 11/1
Punch-Drunk Love – Hulu 11/1
Raging Bull – HBO Max 11/1
Reality Bites – Peacock 11/1
The Replacements – Peacock 11/1
Richard III (1995) – HBO Max 11/1
Road to Perdition – Prime 11/1
Role Models – Peacock 11/1
Se7en – HBO Max 11/1
Say Anything – Hulu 11/1
School of Rock – Paramount+ 11/1
Scrooged – Prime and Paramount+ 11/1
Secret Window – Hulu 11/1
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – Peacock 11/1
Selena – Peacock 11/1
The Sessions – Hulu 11/1
Shanghai Knights – Hulu 11/1
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow – Prime 11/1
Something Wild (1986) – Prime and Paramount+ 11/1
Spanglish – Hulu 11/1
Split – Paramount+ 11/1
Stargate – HBO Max 11/1
Starship Troopers – Paramount+ 11/1
Still Alice – Hulu and Netflix 11/1
Strictly Ballroom – Paramount+ 11/1
Super 8 – Paramount+ 11/1
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines – Hulu 11/1
Things We Lost in the Fire – Prime and Paramount+ 11/1
Three Amigos – HBO Max and Paramount+ 11/1
Tootsie – Hulu 11/1
Training Day – Netflix 11/1
Up in the Air – Netflix 11/1
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit – Peacock 11/1
Wanderlust – Peacock 11/1
Whiplash – Peacock 11/1
You Don’t Mess with the Zohan – Hulu 11/1
War Horse – Prime 11/1
The Warriors – Paramount+ 11/1
The Weather Man – Paramount+ 11/1
While We’re Young – HBO Max 11/1
Zoolander – Paramount+ 11/1
Saw – Hulu 11/2
The Cabin in the Woods – Prime 11/3
Licorice Pizza – Paramount+ 11/3
Captain Phillips – Netflix 11/6
Angels & Demons – Netflix 11/9
Warm Bodies – Hulu and Prime 11/10
Fruitvale Station – Hulu, Prime and HBO Max 11/11
Booksmart – Peacock 11/20

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TV Recap: Oct. 16-22, 2022

NEW SHOWS
Documentary Now! – “Soldier of Illusion” (A-) / season premiere
This show couldn’t be more niche, but I absolutely adore it and hope it runs for as long as the creative team wants to keep it going. This season premiere parodies Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams brilliantly, but it picks up other aspects of the troubled partnership between Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski, too. We’ve seen Alexander Skarsgard’s comic chops before, but I was blown away by how hilarious August Diehl (most often cast as a Nazi officer) was.

CURRENT SHOWS & SPECIALS
Werewolf by Night (B+)
Probably the best complete thing to come out of the MCU’s Phase Four. I could not give less of a shit about the “Bloodstone” or whatever use it may have in projects to come. But the style and tone are so much more interesting than just about anything they’ve done in the past two years.

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TV Recap: Oct. 9-15, 2022

NEW SHOWS
Kevin Can F**k Himself – “Allison’s House” (A) / series finale
A strong finale to a challenging season. The show’s final “break” between reality and sitcom pulled everything together, showing us the real Kevin: an emotionally abusive, selfish asshole, not an occasionally lovable doofus.

BINGEING
Mad Men – Season 2 (A- average)
A stronger season with perhaps the richest bench of characters in dramatic television history. Don’s business trip/hedonistic descent to L.A. made for one of the best arcs I’ve ever seen.

NewsRadio – Season 2 (A- average)
Funnier and sharper, it’s magnificent how everyone in its large ensemble gets a chance to be the funniest character at any given moment.

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TV Recap: Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2022

NEW SHOWS
Reservation Dogs – “I Still Believe” (A) / season finale
While some of the twists and turns of our quartet’s journey to California were predictable (car trouble, losing that big wad of cash), a lot of it was not (Incubus lead singer Brandon Boyd playing White Jesus, original sexy sax man Tim Cappello). But the catharsis of their big group hug in the Pacific Ocean had me weeping. There really isn’t another show as funny, original and deep as this on any platform.

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Streaming Picks: October 2022

FILMS
Top Picks
Jacob’s Ladder – Paramount+ 10/1
Jennifer’s Body – Prime and Paramount+ 10/1
The Skin I Live In – Hulu 10/1
Tremors – Peacock 10/1
The Witch – HBO Max 10/1
It’s spooky season, so I’ve highlighted some excellent horror movies. Jennifer’s Body and Tremors are a lot of fun, but the others are pretty fucked up, with Pedro Almodóvar’s 2011 film taking the cake. Weirdly Netflix isn’t big on horror this month, but they do have a new Mike Flanagan show.

Other Recommendations
13 Hours – Prime 10/1
17 Again – Netflix 10/1
30 Minutes or Less – Netflix 10/1
The 40-Year-Old Virgin – Peacock 10/1
About Time – Hulu 10/1
The Abyss – Hulu 10/1
The Addams Family – Paramount+ 10/1
The Age of Innocence – Hulu 10/1
A.I. Artificial Intelligence – Prime and Paramount+ 10/1
Air Force One – Peacock 10/1
All About My Mother – Hulu 10/1
America’s Sweethearts – Hulu 10/1
The American President – HBO Max 10/1
American Ultra – Hulu 10/1
Animal House – Peacock 10/1
Annihilation – Prime 10/1
Apollo 13 – Peacock 10/1
Arachnophobia – Peacock 10/1
As Above, So Below – Hulu 10/1
Back to the Future – Peacock 10/1
The Bad News Bears (1976) – HBO Max 10/1
Blade – Hulu 10/1
Blade II – Hulu 10/1
Blazing Saddles – Hulu 10/1
The Bourne Legacy – Peacock 10/1
The Bourne Ultimatum – Peacock 10/1
Bridesmaids – Prime 10/1
The Bridge on the River Kwai – HBO Max 10/1
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – HBO Max 10/1
Call Me by Your Name – Netflix and HBO Max 10/1
Casino – Hulu 10/1
Cedar Rapids – Hulu 10/1
Chocolat (2000) – Netflix 10/1
Christmas in Connecticut (1945) – HBO Max 10/1
City Slickers – Netflix 10/1
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Hulu 10/1
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Prime 10/1
Cyrus – Prime 10/1
Dante’s Peak – Peacock 10/1
Definitely, Maybe – Peacock 10/1
Desperado – Hulu 10/1
The Dictator – Prime and Paramount+ 10/1
District 9 – HBO Max 10/1
Dude, Where’s My Car? – HBO Max 10/1
Edward Scissorhands – Prime 10/1
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – Peacock 10/1
European Vacation – Netflix 10/1
Event Horizon – Paramount+ 10/1
Fair Game (2010) – HBO Max 10/1
The Fugitive – Hulu 10/1
Galaxy Quest – Peacock 10/1
Get Shorty – Prime 10/1
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) – Hulu 10/1
The Godfather trilogy – Peacock 10/1
High-Rise – Prime 10/1
Hoosiers – HBO Max 10/1
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days – Netflix 10/1
How to Train Your Dragon – Peacock 10/1
Hulk – Hulu 10/1
I Know What You Did Last Summer – Paramount+ 10/1
I Love You, Man – Netflix 10/1
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer – Paramount+ 10/1
I’m Gonna Git You Sucka – HBO Max 10/1
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) – Paramount+ 10/1
Jumanji – Peacock 10/1
Juno – HBO Max 10/1
Kiss the Girls – HBO Max 10/1
Krampus – Peacock 10/1
Land of the Lost – Netflix and Prime 10/1
Layer Cake – Hulu 10/1
Let Me In – Hulu 10/1
Let’s Be Cops – HBO Max 10/1
Looper – Hulu 10/1
Man on Fire – Prime 10/1
Monster House – Hulu 10/1
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) – Netflix 10/1
The Natural – Peacock 10/1
Nightcrawler – HBO Max 10/1
Nowitzki: The Perfect Shot – Prime 10/1
O Brother, Where Art Thou? – Hulu 10/1
Ocean’s Eleven – Netflix 10/1
Ocean’s Thirteen – Netflix 10/1
Ocean’s Twelve – Netflix 10/1
Old School – Paramount+ 10/1
Patriot Games – Prime and Paramount+ 10/1
A Perfect Getaway – Peacock 10/1
The Perfect Host – HBO Max 10/1
The Perfect Storm – HBO Max 10/1
Piranha (2010) – Hulu and Prime 10/1
Point Break (1991) – Netflix 10/1
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping – HBO Max 10/1
The Purple Rose of Cairo – Prime and Paramount+ 10/1
The Pursuit of Happyness – Hulu 10/1
Risky Business – Netflix 10/1
A River Runs Through It – Hulu 10/1
The River Wild – Peacock 10/1
The Rocky Horror Picture Show – Hulu 10/1
Rookie of the Year – Peacock 10/1
Rush Hour – Netflix 10/1
Rush Hour 2 – Netflix 10/1
Salt – Hulu 10/1
Saw – Peacock 10/1
Seabiscuit – Prime 10/1
Se7en – Peacock 10/1
Shane – Prime and Paramount+ 10/1
Shanghai Knights – Prime 10/1
Shutter Island – Prime and Paramount+ 10/1
The Silence of the Lambs – Prime 10/1
The Sixth Sense – Hulu 10/1
Source Code – Prime 10/1
Spotlight – HBO Max 10/1
Spy – Peacock 10/1
Support the Girls – Prime 10/1
S.W.A.T. – HBO Max 10/1
Taken – Peacock 10/1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) – Netflix 10/1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze – Netflix 10/1
Twister – Hulu 10/1
Unbreakable – Hulu 10/1
Undercover Brother – Hulu 10/1
Up in the Air – Prime 10/1
Vacation (1983) – Netflix 10/1
Vanilla Sky – Prime and Paramount+ 10/1
The Visit – Peacock 10/1
Waist Deep – HBO Max 10/1
Wedding Crashers – Netflix 10/1
The Wedding Singer – Peacock 10/1
Winchester – Hulu and Prime 10/1
The Woman in Black – Paramount+ 10/1
X-Men – Hulu 10/1
X-Men: First Class – Peacock 10/1
Zack and Miri Make a Porno – Prime 10/1
Zombieland – Peacock 10/1
Catch Me if You Can – Paramount+ 10/3
Desperately Seeking Susan – Paramount+ 10/3
Fruitvale Station – Paramount+ 10/3
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – Paramount+ 10/3
The Manchurian Candidate (2004) – Paramount+ 10/3
Mean Girls – Paramount+ 10/3
Raiders of the Lost Ark – Paramount+ 10/3
Scream – Paramount+ 10/3
Scream 2 – Paramount+ 10/3
Silverado – Paramount+ 10/3
Something’s Gotta Give – Paramount+ 10/3
Tootsie – Paramount+ 10/3
WarGames – Paramount+ 10/3
Drumline – Disney+ 10/7
The Northman – Prime 10/11
Don’t Breathe – Peacock 10/15
The French Dispatch – Hulu 10/25
Crimes of the Future – Hulu 10/31
The Way Way Back – Hulu 10/31

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TV Recap: Sept. 18-24, 2022

NEW SHOWS
Abbott Elementary – “Development Day” (A) / season premiere
Basically everything you could want in the season premiere to last year’s breakout comedy. Everything here plays to the show’s strengths: It’s realistic without being bleak, sweet without being saccharine and funny without sacrificing logic or heart.

BINGEING
Mad Men – Season 1 (B+ average)
After many years of stopping and starting this often slow-paced, character-driven show, I finally made it through the first season, and I now understand why everyone was so obsessed with it. Jon Hamm is giving the performance of a lifetime as Don Draper, but it’s the writing of such miserable characters that will keep me hooked until the end.

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