ScreenCrush Staff Picks for What to Watch the Weekend of April 7
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:
As the other recommendations below show, there’s endless options for great TV and movies to stream this weekend. But maybe you don’t have time to start a new series or commit to an entire movie. If you want a quick hit of romance with dashes of comedy and drama, Her Story is the perfect pick. The Gotham Award-winning web series follows an unlikely romance between two Los Angeles women, Allie, a lesbian journalist played by co-creator and writer Laura Zek, and Violet, a trans woman played by fellow co-creator and writer Jen Richards. Outside of select shows like Transparent and Orange Is the New Black, we rarely see trans women play fully developed characters. Even less common are stories that explore what it’s like dating as a trans person. Her Story charts the blossoming romance between Allie and Violet, the shame and struggles of an abusive relationship, and the fears of coming out while dating. The show also unpacks the tensions that often arise between the lesbian and trans communities. Made by and starring a handful of talented women, including trans actress Angelica Ross and executive producer Eve Ensler, Her Story revamps the way trans and queer women are depicted onscreen. With only seven episodes (each running under 10 minutes), the show is easy to binge in one sitting, but it’ll also leave you craving a second season.
Her Story is streaming on YouTube.
I definitely haven’t written enough about Arnold Schwarzenegger this week, so with Aftermath now in theaters and on VOD I’m going to recommend another of the Governator’s interesting late-career dramas, Maggie. In this unusual zombie movie, Schwarzenegger plays the father of a teenage girl (Abigail Breslin) who’s been bitten by a flesh-eater. Maggie is definitely going to turn into a zombie; the only question is when. Schwarzenegger’s Wade refuses to ship her off to a quarantine zone to die alone, so he continues to care for her even as her condition worsens and she becomes a threat. The world of Maggie doesn’t entirely make sense (would the government just let people take infected loved ones home, where they could bite more people?) but the emotional payoff of the scenario is huge, with Schwarzenegger delivering an effectively haunted performance. If Maggie turns, will Wade be able to kill his own daughter? After watching this dude slaughter hundreds of guys while cracking jokes over the years, there’s something particularly poignant about him not being able to deal with the loss of a single life.
Maggie is streaming on Hulu.
Nicolas Pesce is the latest filmmaker to emerge from the collective that gave us compelling films like Martha Marcy May Marlene and Christine. Pesce’s debut feature is a black and white horror film, an artful and elegantly grotesque character study that takes an unexpected turn by the end of the first act. The Eyes of My Mother stars newcomer Kika Magalhães as a young woman who lives a sheltered life in a fairly remote countryside home, and whose preoccupation with the practical lessons imparted by her mother veers into obsession following a series of intimate tragedies. Influenced by ’70s horror and Alfred Hitchcock, Pesce’s film serves as a cautionary tale for parents about the necessity of socializing your children. Not to say too much, but in some ways The Eyes of My Mother feels like a prequel to a horror film that was never made, giving viewers an empathetic and beautifully unnerving origin story to the antagonist in a lesser film.
The Get Down is a curious project, even for Baz Luhrmann. The first six episodes of this South Bronx drama burst with color and a vibrant coming-of-age energy that spanned everything from the literal origins of hip-hop to the underground queer culture of ‘70s New York. Those first episodes have been going unappreciated on Netflix since August; Friday brings us a final five episodes to complete The Get Down Brothers’ musical rise over Season 1. I’m admittedly intrigued by Luhrmann’s claims that “Part II” pulls a tighter focus around the core cast of Justice’s Smith’s Zeke, Herizen F. Guardiola’s Mylene, and Shameik Moore’s Shaolin Fantastic while downplaying some of the broader historical overlay of the Bronx. So long as The Get Down Part II keeps that Kung-Fu Western energy and reigns in Luhrmann’s tendency to get lost in spectacle, the final five installments might just get the respect and attention this series deserves.
The Get Down Part I and Part II are streaming on Netflix.