Hello, friends. We made it to Friday. Holy cow was this a long week.
Last Friday, I mentioned that I wanted to watch a few Oscar-nominated movies ahead of the broadcast on April 25, and I squeezed in two this week! More to come in a moment.
Before diving into this week's top picks, here are a few exciting things coming up:
- Thursday, April 1 - After months of waiting, we're getting a new season of Top Chef on Bravo! This new season takes place in Portland, OR. You can watch the trailer here.
- Thursday, April 15 - Younger returns to TV Land! If you've been sleeping on this show, catch up before the premiere. It's about a woman who lies about her age to score a job at a publishing house and builds a new life around her false persona, including an amazing best friend at work and a dreamy, much younger boyfriend. #TeamJosh
- Tuesday, May 4 - Real Housewives of New York City returns to Bravo and the trailer looks bananas! I continue to miss Bethenny Frankel as part of the cast, but the Ramona-coaster keeps things interesting.
Now onto this week's recommendations!
1. The One (Netflix) - I must admit that I learned about this new Netflix show not via the streaming app, but on a podcast.
Singer Jessie Ware and her mother Lenny host a podcast called Table Manners which is one of my all-time favorites. Jessie's older sister, Hannah Ware, is the star of The One and Jessie and Lenny graciously had her on to let her promote the show.
Hannah plans Rebecca Webb, the co-founder of a dating app that matches people on their genetic likelihood to be compatible. It's seen as revolutionary and when the story begins, they've already matched over one million people.
The problem? They stole a database to test their theories.
While the show is being marketed as a series about a futuristic dating app, it's really part CEO power struggle (think Succession) and part murder mystery (think Broadchurch).
There are eight episodes, each 45 minutes. The season finale ends on a cliffhanger, so I hope they get greenlit for a season two!
2. Nomadland (Hulu) - After Chloe Zhao took home the Best Director trophies at the Golden Globes and the Critic's Choice Awards, I prioritized watching her film, Nomadland.
It stars Frances McDormand as Fern, a woman who has recently lost her husband. She decides to purchase a van, outfit it as her home and hit the road.
The movie follows her through multiple cities, campsites and temporary jobs. While the tone of the film is very melancholy, there are bright spots in the form of Fern's friendships with other "van life" people and of course, the spectacular natural beauty they experience - sunsets, ocean waves, deserts, rock formations.
Zhao has received much praise for turning her lens toward this kind of story. Next up, she directs Marvel Eternals.
3. Sound of Metal (Amazon) - It was during an episode of the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast that my interest was piqued about Sound of Metal. The movie has an interesting origin story (read more about that here) that starts with Derek Cianfrance’s unfinished documentary, Metalhead, about a heavy-metal drummer with ruptured eardrums.
In this movie, Riz Ahmed stars as Ruben, a drummer who is gradually losing his hearing. He's in a band with his girlfriend, Lou (actress Olivia Cooke), and keeps the secret from her as long as he can. One day, he wakes up with no hearing at all.
Ruben, who is also a recovering addict, winds up in a group home that is basically a rehab center specifically for people with hearing loss. The house manager, Joe, is played brilliantly by Paul Raci.
Ruben has to learn a completely new way of life, including how to reconnect with music.
I found this movie to be engaging, surprising and a honest portrayal of the human condition.
Ahmed is nominated for an Oscar for this role and he deserves to win it.
Once you've watched, treat yourself to this Fresh Air interview where Ahmed shares how he prepared for this unique role.
4. The Last Blockbuster (Netflix) - This Netflix documentary is exactly what it sounds like - a look at the final retail location of Blockbuster, the beloved video rental store.
When I got my driver's license at age sixteen, Blockbuster was one of the places I drove to most frequently. It was located next door to a Papa Gino's (prime location) and I used to head over there every weekend with either my mom or my best friend to pick out a few movies to watch that week.
I so clearly remember walking the perimeter of the store, where all the new releases were proudly displayed on the yellow walls. You'd take home your selections and then find yourself racing to drop them back off before you could be charged late fees.
This film is 90 minutes of pure nostalgia. Celebrities are interviewed about their own memories of the video stores (including Adam Brody from The O.C. and comedian Doug Benson), and a great deal of screen time is given to a woman named Sandi, the long-time manager of the final Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon.
Watching this will give you all the feels (and make you want to hit up a concession stand).
There you have it! I'll be back next Friday with a fresh round of picks.