What To Watch: 05/15/2020

Friday night’s a night for movies — back in the time before March, when we would gather in a large room with plushy recliners and 10 dollar popcorns, it could be date night or family night or a chance to just escape from the real world into darkness and imagination by your own damn self. Welp, Friday is still pretty film-heavy — in fact, even the series have that cinematic glow about them. All that’s left to say is… let’s all go to the lobby!

The Great [Hulu]
This highly fictionalized series from the screenwriter of The Favorite follows the rise of Catherine the Great, Russia’s longest-reigning female ruler. I have my reservations, with how liberally The Favorite treated facts, but with Elle Fanning in the role of a complicate protagonist, it looks hella fun.

The Last Narc [Amazon Prime]
Yes, you’ve prob seen Narcos: Mexico but now get a real look at the story behind one of the most infamous murders in cartel history. Director Tiller Russell’s docu-series delves into the case of DEA agent Kiki Camarena’s murder and all the questions surrounding it since. The series features interviews with special agent Hector Berrellez (who ran the DEA’s investigation into Camarena’s murder) as well as some of his secret sources. I’m here for all the surprise intel we’ll see regarding involvement of people on both sides of the border, if you get my drift.

Basketball County: In The Water [Showtime, 9p]
Prince George’s County, Maryland, has become notorious for its probability-defying prowess for producing future NBA stars (and at least one Thingamajig). Kevin Durant, Victor Oladipo, and others discuss the craziness of playing in such a high-school basketball Mecca.

Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian [Disney Plus]
The Mandalorian was a sensation that made baby yoda an icon. If you haven’t had enough then Disney+ has your back with The Gallery, a series detailing what happened on the show behind the scenes. This week’s episode focuses on interviews with the cast.



  • As the force behind the delightful Money Heist (if you haven’t yet seen it, the no-frills title gives you a pretty good starting idea of what to expect), Alex Pina has managed to make even narcissistic terrorists appealing, but with White Lines he has the real challenge of doing the same for an Ibiza DJ. The Anglo-Spanish thriller is English-language and starts with the discovery of the murdered body of said Ibiza DJ 20 years after the act. His sister Zoe travels to the isle to try to piece together the story. It’s on Netflix, of course.
  • Another promising Netflix program for fans of Money Heist is the French import Inhuman Resources (ah, the English translators landed on a fun pun). Former footballer Eric  Cantona stars as Alain Delambre, a former executive in his late-50s so crazed by six years of unemployment, he vows to do anything — including criminal acts — to lock down that position. We feel ya, Alain.
  • Even more great Netflix content for fans of the apparent show-of-the-day about the heisters who love the money; however, this one is more on the goofy side. Colombia’s The Unremarkable Janquini (or Chichipatos in Spanish) shows the misadventures of a mediocre magician after he accidentally disappears a wanted criminal during a police raid (wait, isn’t that an Arrested Development first episode sub-plot?)
  • There’s more magic to be had withMasters of Illusionhas been quietly presenting a showcase for magicians since 2000{?!}.  Is that Dean Cain hosting? We think it is. It’s all live from the notorious L.A. magician safe haven The Magic Castle — a secret society you may know from its use in a pivotal scene of Love or its parody in Arrested Development, but our favorite ref may be this hilarious routine by Paul F. Tompkins.


  • It was just announced last week, but Fury Files should appeal to fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe who are jonesing for new content while we’re holed up inside. It’s pretty much exactly what the title sounds like as in each episode the venerable head of SHIELD tells the story of one of its famous (or less so) superheroes, only with Chi McBride fills in for Samuel L. Jackson as the voice of Nick Fury.
  • If you’re in the mood for a real-life inspiration culled from the stories of our current crisis, CBS lauds the COVID-19 front liners with Bravery & Hope: 7 Days on the Front Line.
  • If you’d prefer light-hearted escape, well, the Lifetime/Hallmark vortex has your back. Tonight’s Lifetime movie is pretty darn Lifetime-y — Engaged To A Psycho. It’s a dogme-style exploration of ennui vs. the human spirit set in 1930s Iceland… we’re kidding: Deanna is preparing for her marriage to fiance Karl, but someone is trying to kill her — we’re guessing either her cousin Goose, or, based on the title, perhaps the titular “psycho” she’s engaged to (even money).

The VoD Trailer Round-Up

  • Alice – In this French import, when the titular Alice’s husband suddenly leaves her, she finds liberation in taking a job at the call girl center her ex frequented, which feels very, very French — like Depardieu-level French.
  • Castle in the Ground – A moody drama set in the world of the opiate invasion of small-town America as a teenager grieving his mother’s death takes up with a troubled neighbor. It will end in what? Tears, people… tears!
  • Fourteen – More moody drama about drugs and mental illness abounds in this Dan Sallitt (The Unspeakable Act) film about two friends trying to remain so as tensions build. It’s not a sequel to the terrific 2003 flick Thirteen, even if it should be.
  • Proximity – Teen tries to prove his alien abduction while also finding himself in this not-overly-well reviewed sci-fi flick.
  • Scoob! – The Scooby-Doo and the gang origin story you never knew you needed. Seriously though, the Scooby and Shaggy meeting looks insanely cute, even if this film is getting predictably bad reviews. Also, Scooby is coherent, which may creep out 1970s and 1980s kids as much as did a visible Snuffleupagus.
  • Up From the Streets – This Michael Murphy documentary chronicles the rise of jazz from New Orleans’, you guessed it, streets, and its vital nature in the city up to this day. Ever hear Hannibal Buress’ bit about how easy it is to rent a band to follow you around the town?
  • The Wolf House – This uniquely animated Chilean-German collaboration grabs the title of this week’s latest in the alphabet release and its best reviewed (currently at a 92 in Metacritic.

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