Text from last night: "Other than that crazy tiger movie, anything good on Netflix?"
You're goddamn right there is good shit on Netflix. This person hadn't seen ROAD TO PERDITION so I immediately suggested that just like I'm going to here right now.
ROAD TO PERDITION is the most underappreciated film that Tom Hanks has starred in (save for BACHELOR PARTY). Moviegoers got so used to seeing Hanks as a wholesome, decent everyman that every role prompted
oh god no! yet another unoriginal Jimmy Stewart comparison. Maybe that's why he decided to mix it up to play a gangster and play it very well in this 2002 flick. But when RTP dropped, I don't think viewers cottoned to the idea of seeing Hanks play a buttonman for an Irish gangster (the legendary Paul Newman in his last live, excellent role). Whatever. I loved Sam Mendes's (1917) follow-up to his Best Picture-winning AMERICAN BEAUTY. It's a wonderfully shot mob road movie in which Michael Sullivan (Hanks) and his young namesake son (Tyler Hoechlin) have to split town for the boy's safety while Sullivan simultaneously tends to "business". Winner of the Best Cinematography Oscar, it was nominated for five others including the last of Newman's 10 acting nominations. Jude Law and Daniel Craig try to out-creep each other in roles that will make you need a shower afterwards (that's a compliment). RTP picks up momentum as it goes and becomes a nail-biter with a jaw-dropping climax.
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER is one of the best coming-of-age movies this century and a feel-good John Hughesian flick it is not. Dealing with some heavy topics (depression and suicide among them), this 2012 entry is about troubled freshman Charlie trying to navigate the social status super-highway that is high school while also dealing with serious mental health issues. Logan Lerman is excellent as Charlie as are Ezra Miller and Emma Watson as two of his pals (also keep your eyes peeled for Ruth from "Ozark" and Greg from "Succession"). And everybody should have a teacher like Paul Rudd's Mr. Anderson. When this debuted on HBO a few years back, I got #Shawshanked every single time I came across it. Not because it spoke to me at that age (I was happy and had a blast in HS) but because it's a damn fine movie. (I don't give a shit if "the book is better", this is a movie blog).
DRIVE is an excellent half-action/half-drama starring Ryan Gosling as a brooding, mysterious stunt driver who has a side gig as a wheelman for scores. Driver, as he's referred to in the credits, takes an altruistic interest in his attractive neighbor and her young son. When the kid's father gets out of the joint, Driver extends his generosity to the man who is burdened by a huge, unfair protection debt from prison. This is when the movie quickly goes from second gear to fifth. There's a botched robbery, some gruesome deaths, Jewish mobsters, incredible car chases, a whacking that will remind you of "Jackass", the most memorable elevator scene since DRESSED TO KILL, and some incredible performances. The all-star line-up includes Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, Christina Hendricks, and Ron Perlman and each of them does fantastic work here. This 2011 Michael Mann-inspired flick is one of my favorite of the decade.
SENNA is a 2010 sports doc that I went into completely blind. I knew next to nothing about Formula One racing and even less about Ayrton Senna. After I finished it, I immediately placed it into my Top 3 Sports Documentaries™. Director Asif Kapadia, who also directed the stellar, heartbreaking AMY, does a masterful job here as well capturing Senna's life, career, and rivalry with competitor Alain Prost. Rather than feeling like a relic, the roughly 30-year-old racetrack footage from inside the car instead gives the viewer a feel for what driving a Grand Prix is actually like. When you don't feel like you're playing Pole Position, you feel like you're on the emotional roller coaster that the beloved Brazilian driver was on during his career. Trust me when I say that you don't even need to have summoned an Uber to enjoy this incredible documentary about a race car driver.