It’s wild and wooly out there in the world of streaming video. As movies and TV shows become increasingly accessible through a variety of services, it has also become increasingly difficult to keep track of what is available where, what is expiring when, and what is actually worth watching. So every Friday, Vulture will have a list of recommendations of movies and TV shows that are new to Netflix (as well as Hulu, Amazon, On Demand, and other streaming sites), those that are expiring, and those that you should watch just because.
Muhammad and Larry
It is a fact that When We Were Kings, the 1996 Academy Award–winning documentary about the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, is one of the best American sports films ever made. And one of the most entertaining, thanks to the grand showboating of Ali, who runs his mouth as if he had no chance, taunting and boasting with unbroken verbal perfection. Muhammad and Larry is a sad if no less interesting double of When We Were Kings. Part of ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series, the film picks up in 1980, two years after Ali had retired. He has agreed to fight again (for the money, of course) despite the fact that he is past his prime and (unbeknownst to those around him at the time) beginning to show early signs of Parkinson’s Disease. Ali attempts to talk and strut as if he were a younger man, and it’s all so very tragic. It’s no spoiler to say that he gets destroyed by Larry Holmes, a younger, less charismatic fighter who wears his insecurities on his trunks. It’s a tragic tale, co-directed in a simple style by Albert Maysles, one of the brother filmmaking team behind Gimme Shelter and Grey Gardens. (Available on Netflix.)
The Cabin in the Woods
Do you like scary movies? Do you like funny movies? Do you like clever movies? Do you like clever horror comedies? Then The Cabin in the Woods is for you. The 2011 film, co-written by Joss Whedon and directed by Drew Goddard, is a satirical look at the old “horny kids go stay at a remote location and bad shit happens” trope. It would really be cruel for me to reveal any more about this movie before you watch it other than to say it’s bloody and twisty and very satisfying. (Available on Netflix.)
The original Star Trek films
Star Trek Into Darkness, J.J. Abrams’s sequel to his 2009 reboot, comes out this weekend and, like his first film, it’s radically different from the six (six-and-a-half, if you count Generations) movies starring the original crew — it’s fast and bright and super action-packed. Which is fine and great, and each generation gets the Star Trek it deserves. But as bad as a few of the Shatner-Nimoy films are (Uhura’s moon dance — that is all), there’s a great nostalgic pleasure to be had in watching them. Star Treks one through six — The Motion Picture, Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock, The Voyage Home, The Final Frontier, The Undiscovered Country — are all available for free on Amazon Prime if you’re a member. The Next Generation films are also there too. (Available on Amazon Prime.)