Skooby's picks: three movies to stream this weekend

There are thousands of movies available to stream all the time. This is good, but it’s also overwhelming: when you have that many options, how can you choose just one? Every Friday, I’m presenting you with just three movies available to stream that you should watch to avoid that stress. I’ll hand out different movie recommendations every week.

Some Like It Hot

some-like-it-hot-cover.jpg

Available on: Amazon Prime

Marilyn Monroe might be the most famous actress in movie history. Her image adorns Warhol paintings and dorm-room posters, and she remains one of America’s most recognizable exports more than 50 years after her tragic death. Yet few people I know have ever seen a Marilyn Monroe movie, let alone know her as anything beyond a sex symbol.

Let this be the weekend to change that by checking out Some Like It Hot on Amazon Prime. The 1959 comedy stars Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as a pair of musicians who dress like women and join an all-female band in order to evade the ruthless gangsters out to kill them. The film’s consideration of gender politics is ahead of its time and the writing is top-notch, but the reason to watch is Monroe, who stars as a member of the band who Lemmon and Curtis’s characters each fall in love with. Monroe was a divine comic performer, and her sexiness on screen was always subversive and self-aware. Stick around till the end for one of the great closing lines in movie history.

L.A. Confidential

curtis-hanson-dead-700x300.jpg

Available on: Netflix

L.A. Confidential is an homage to classic noir films like Chinatown, so much so that it borders on self-parody (a fun drinking game: take a shot anytime a character says “justice.” I bet you’ll be able to guess that this movie is about justice). That doesn’t mean, though, that it doesn’t work. The writing is often hokey, but the story is so damn exciting that it doesn’t really matter.

The film follows a web of crime and greed in L.A., centered on three cops: the goody-two-shoes newcomer Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), the morally evolving attention-lover Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), and the justice by way of brute force advocate Bud White (Russell Crowe). How these three change over the course is just as much the source of the tension as the mystery of the plot itself. Kim Basinger also stars as a call girl named Lynn Bracken, a role for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar with very little screen time.

Annihilation

annihilation-natalie-portman-shooting-deer.jpg

Available on: Hulu

When I reviewed Annihilation last February, I was decidedly mixed on writer-director Alex Garland’s follow-up to the exquisite Ex Machina. While I don’t mind a movie that is ambiguous in its message, Annihilation felt downright incomprehensible. Still, the movie’s unique imagery has stuck with me almost a year later, and for Garland’s unparalleled style alone it’s worth watching.

The original sci-fi film stars Natalie Portman as the leader of a group of scientists who investigate a mysterious visual oddity that kind of looks like a giant soap bubble. Revealing anything beyond that would dip into spoiler territory, although I will say that a miming sequence near the end is one of the most memorable scenes I saw all of last year, even if I didn’t get it at all. Now that Annihilation is streaming, it’s a perfect opportunity to try to figure it all out.