The CBS Sunday Night Movie: Titanic
The latest in CBS' revival of the old-school Sunday Night Movie is one of the biggest movies of all time, about a grimy sketch artist who sneaks onto a boat and romances a rebellious debutante, only for true love to be interrupted by one of the most famous naval tragedies of all time, staged brilliantly by one absolute madman of a director, and finished off by a Celine Dion song that is literally embedded in the DNA of anyone conceived between 1997 and 1999. When you hit the watch party (because whooo boy are there gonna be watch parties for this) don't forget to have your custom zoom backgrounds installed, including the beyond-obvious heart-filled visual tribute to the true star of Titanic Billy Z—wait what do you mean there isn't a Zoom background dedicated to Billy Zane!? This is outrageous. I would like to speak to CBS's manag—
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Of course, you can't watch Titanic and not follow it up with Avatar. But I don't mean the one with the weird cat people who plug their hair into sky horse-dragon-things. I mean the good Avatar, the animated anime-esque fantasy epic that ran on Nickelodeon for three seasons. And while there are no shortage of those kind of stories to work through now (thanks, Game of Thrones) many of them invariably become sort of a trudge or a slog. That never happens with Avatar. The show isn't just a potent example of modern myth done right, but a great example of how animation can unlock both action and emotion in a way live-action just can't touch.
Shogun Assassin w/ Live Commentary from RZA and The Hollywood Theatre's Dan Halsted
Are you missing the Hollywood Theatre? Of course you are, you're a sane, rational human being who loves independent cinema and the sort of care in presentation that Dan Halsted and the Hollywood staff provides. Especially when they schedule outright kung fu classics like they regularly do. Tonight (6:15 pm, $10) is a great opportunity to capture some of that magic in your living room as Dan teams up with the RZA (yes, that RZA. Bobby Digital, himself. Bong bong.) to deliver a live commentary over Roger Corman's 1980 grindhouse classic re-cut of the Lone Wolf and Cub series, Shogun Assassin. You can ask questions to the both of them during the film as well, and the screening will be moderated by 36 Chambers co-founder Mustafa Shaikh.
Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything
For those who like good things in their lives, this thoughtful lefty nerd is the best, and you will miss out on a ton of laughs if you aren’t settling into your couch to watch the latest stand-up special from America’s most lovable comic, and perhaps the only worthwhile person to follow on twitter (@pattonoswalt). I Love Everything (Now streaming, Netflix) follows up his hilarious and touching Annihilation with an hour of jokes that find Patton finding new love, searching for the cosmic significance in mundane happenings, and suffering existential dread at a Denny's. Who among us doesn't relate, huh?
Set in mid-1980s Los Angeles, GLOW (Now streaming, Netflix) tells the story of 12 struggling actors who are chosen to star in an all-female wrestling show. But first, they must learn how to wrestle! Marc Maron plays the series’ cynical writer/director Sam Sylvia, who reluctantly participates in the project between snorts of coke. His leading Gorgeous Ladies are the volcanic protagonist Debbie, AKA “Liberty Bell” (Betty Gilpin), and Ruth, AKA “Zoya the Destroyer” (Alison Brie), who once wronged Debbie outside of the ring and is now trying to accept her position as the league’s heel. These “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling” are mostly actors who reached for the moon and landed in space junk. They wanted Hollywood, but got a ramshackle warehouse in the San Fernando Valley. They wanted “real parts,” but got roles that’re completely reductive. Be patient with GLOW—the series (created by Carly Mensch and Liz Flahive, with many of its very best episodes directed by Lynn Shelton) takes awhile to warm up. Once it does, you’ll find a refreshing mix of wit, drama, and body slams, all dressed up in the gaudy glamor of the ’80s. CIARA DOLAN
National Memorial Day Concert
Actors Joe Mantegna (Fat Tony on The Simpsons, Joey Zasa in The Godfather Part III) and Gary Sinise (the kidnapper in Ransom, one of the guards on The Green Mile) host this traditional celebration held on the eve of Memorial Day, featuring musical performances, dramatic readings, and documentary footage paying tribute to those who have served in the US Military, starting at 5 pm on PBS.
Never Have I Ever
Mindy Kaling's follow-up to The Mindy Project and the under-seen and under-appreciated Late Night is a new romantic comedy for Netflix named after a classic teen game that very often led to awkward, endearing, cringy, and complicated truths being unearthed. The show absolutely lives up to that promise, centering on a high school sophomore named Devi, still getting over the sudden death of her father, her own psychosomatic paralysis, and less-heavy-but-no-less-important dilemmas like "thick arm hair," "Can I get Paxton the hot jock to like me," and "am I doing kegels right." Never Have I Ever doesn't go for the big joke anywhere near as often as Kaling's previous projects, but what it loses in comedic audacity, it makes up for with an abundance of heart. This is one of the most binge-able things on Netflix right now (which is saying something) and definitely features the best sitcom voice-over narration done by an enfant terrible tennis legend.
John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection
So, when you're done binging Never Have I Ever, you might want to find out a little bit more about its kindly narrator, who was... not so kindly when he reigned supreme as the most famous tennis player in the world. This documentary, using a treasure trove of 16mm footage taken during the 1984 French Open (Mac specifically shouts out this faceoff with Ivan Lendl in Never Have I Ever!) isn't very much like ESPN's recent success, The Last Dance, which promised a lot of unseen footage and revelations but was mostly a 10-hour-long Air Jordan commercial. In the Realm of Perfection (now streaming, Amazon Prime) is filled with slo-mo shots of MacEnroe in action, and ends up being just as much a documentary of how he played the game (fiercely, and under a constant sense of being wronged) as it is a means of using the sport of tennis to make sense of film as an artform.
Pickathon Concert a Day: Broken Social Scene
It’s always astonishing that Canadian indie-rock collective Broken Social Scene manages to get back together every few years, but what’s more astonishing is how their myriad talents and voices come together to produce such consistently great music, with soaring sonic effects, comet-like melodies, and actual, real-life hope tucked into every bar. NED LANNAMANN
Kota the Friend
Last weekend, pop phenom Charli XCX released a "quarantine album" to much fanfare and dancing and wonder. This weekend, another "quarantine album" (is this gonna become a genre real quick here?) hit from up-and-coming indie rapper Kota the Friend, whose vibe is decidedly less dancy but arguably even more feel-good. It's like Everything, his breezy, 37-minute long new LP (w/ guest appearances from Lupita Nyong'o and Lakeith Stanfield alongside Joey Bada$$, KYLE, Kaiit and more) was specifically cooked up in Kota's lab to provide your headphones a strong dose of lo-fi sunshine to help counteract this crisis, carefully laid over the kind of horn-dusted, lightly scratched chillhop grooves that would cause even a YouTube anime girl to stop doing her homework and just listen for a minute—or 37 of 'em.