Monke: Movies for guys to watch … for free
Guys, do you ever walk in the house at 7 p.m. on a Monday and the woman in your life has commandeered the primary household TV for her ritualistic viewing of “The Bachelor”?
That means you find yourself in front of a tablet or a TV and can’t find anything good to watch, especially now that Monday Night Football is done for the season.
In that case, here are a few films that can be found on Netflix’s streaming service that can tide you over on those boring Mondays (or any other boring day, really).
“Snowpiercer:” This one snuck up on a lot of people last summer. It’s an post-apocalyptic indie action drama financed and directed by South Koreans stars Chris Evans, aka “Captain America,” who rocks a beard. Long story short, the world’s remaining population lives aboard a 3-mile-long train rocketing through the aftermath of a landscape of snow and ice, a byproduct of an experiment to end global warming gone wrong. Don’t worry, it’s all explained quite nicely in the film. It’s an interesting essay in social class structure and is beautifully shot with incredible set pieces — especially considering it’s all set on a train. If you like action movies, it’s a must-watch. If you like dramas that make you think, it’s a must-watch. (Rated R)
“Odd Thomas:” Typically, when I stream movies or TV shows, I’m pretty particular in the ones I pick. This was not one of those picks, and I was pleasantly surprised. I clicked on this one simply because I like the lead actor, Anton Yelchin (“Star Trek”), who plays the title character. Adapted from a Dean Koontz novel of the same name, “Odd Thomas” is a paranormal investigator who can see ghosts. Though somewhat predictable and at times plodding, it’s good sci-fi fare that benefits from Willem Defoe (“Spider-Man,” “Boondock Saints”) in a supporting role and some pretty solid CGI for a low-budget flick. It has heart, humor and decent action, and a touching ending that I didn’t really expect.
“Don Jon:” Do you like Scarlett Johansson? Yes? OK, then watch this. … Well, I guess there’s more to it than that, but not much more. It’s a decent movie with bulked-up Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Looper,” “The Dark Knight Rises”) playing a gym-tan-laundry New Jersey womanizer who enjoys satisfying his primal urges — until he finds a woman who appears, at least for a time, to be his perfect girl. It’s takes you in directions you’re not expecting and doesn’t end like you think it will. Again, it’s not the greatest movie and is strictly for adults. But it’s a good, quick watch. Also, ’90s kids will laugh out loud when Jon gets caught singing “Good Vibrations.” (Rated: R)
“Stretch:” If you’ve seen “Smokin’ Aces” or “The A-Team,” you know what kind of director Joe Carnahan is. His films are full of quick cuts, crazy action pieces and witty, deranged dialogue. That’s “Stretch” in a nutshell. Patrick Wilson (“Insidious,” “Watchmen”) is a down-on-his-luck limo driver and a wannabe actor while Chris Pine (“Star Trek”) is his out-of-his-mind fare. Jessica Alba, Brooklyn Decker and James Badge Dale are solid in supporting roles. This one takes a bit to get going, but once it does, it’s kind of a hoot. (Rated: R)
“Nick Offerman: American Ham:” The mustachioed comedian and woodworker (seriously) of “Parks and Recreation” fame filmed this stand-up special for Netflix last year and it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. “American Ham” offers his “10 tips for a prosperous life,” which will make you applaud or jeer, depending on where you fall ideologically. There’s laughs for everyone here, from the ultra-conservative to the ultra-liberal, and some things that’ll make both cringe. That’s the mark of a good comedian. Keep everyone squirming. Among his tips (which I won’t completely spoil) are “Go outside. Remain.” and “Eat red meat.” Admit it. That’s kind of genius. (Not Rated)
Monke is the managing editor of The Dickinson Press. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, call him at 701-456-1205, tweet him at monkebusiness and read his past features and columns at monke.areavoices.com.