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5 shows to watch this weekend

For cord cutters, the anticipation of watching an event live gets transferred over to the weekly dumps of content on the various video streaming platforms. What’s dropping when becomes important knowledge to have, as you organize your queue. If you don’t have time to comb through all the content coming down the series of tubes that make up the Internet, don’t worry — we do. Here are our picks for what you should watch this week.

Life Itself

Netflix

LifeItself

Film buffs often bemoan the current state of mainstream movies, that are packed with sequels and empty effects, but devoid of depth. There are plenty of great independent films out there, but the more commercial products seem to be diluted and dull, especially in comparison to our nostalgic memory of films from previous eras. There is definitely one thing missing from the world of film in the last few years: the art form’s biggest champion.

Famous film critic Roger Ebert passed away in 2013, and his death has left a sizable void in the discussion of film that was once filled by his authoritative voice. His life and love of film is captured in the new documentary Life Itself. Based on Ebert’s memoir and brought to life by the director of Hoop Dreams (which Ebert loved), the film is life-affirming and honest, just as Ebert was. With honest looks at his rivalry with fellow critic Gene Siskel, his own foray into movie making, his battle with cancer, and his loving family, it’s an intimate look at a man who is missed by the art community. This movie definitely gets a thumbs up.

Listen Up Philip

Amazon Prime

ListenUpPhilip

If you think about it, there are a lot of movies that revolve around writers. This probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, seeing as they’re written by, well, writers. After all, they do say it’s best to write what you know. Still, don’t let a familiar premise — a writer, waiting for his second novel to be published, becomes bored with his life and relationships — turn you off to Listen Up Phillip. It’s an uncompromising and complex film that does its dealings in dark comedy. Jason Schwartzman stars as the self-absorbed author with plenty of lessons to learn.

Bloodline

Netflix

BLOODLINE

Netflix’s original series Bloodline debuts this weekend. If the track record for Netflix’s original creations holds up, it’s sure to be strong entry into the world of serialized drama. It’s already getting great reviews, and it has a killer tagline: “We’re not bad people, but we did a bad thing.” If that’s not an enticing teaser, I don’t know what it. The show will follow the Rayburn family, a wealthy brood that lives in the lazy Florida sun and runs a successful resort. However, things aren’t as they appear on the bayou, and the family is more like the black lagoons than the white beaches.

Back Issues: The Hustler Magazine Story

NetflixAmazon Prime

HustlerBackIssues

Larry Flynt has never been one to avoid controversy. The publisher of Hustler has more often courted controversy than avoided it, but what would you expect of someone who runs a smut magazine? This documentary details the interesting history of the rag that took on Playboy by playing on its anything goes reputation. It’s an approach that stems from the magazine’s birth in the back room of a strip club (because where else would one hatch such an idea?). The documentary looks at the perverted legacy of the magazine and its creator.

Third Rock From the Sun

Netflix

3rd-rock-from-the-sun

At a time when the sitcom was arguably at its peak, with Seinfeld and Friends still on the air, 3rd Rock from the Sun is a bit of a forgotten relic. Of course, it gave us Joseph Gordon-Levitt, so we all have that to be thankful for, but it also had one of the weirdest premises — aliens pose as humans to observe the behavior of those on Earth — and consistent laughs thanks to a strong cast led by John Lithgow and Kristen Johnston. If you forgot all about it or never saw it, now’s your chance to catch up.