It’s December, and that means your home will be invaded by children and family and the holiday spirit. Don’t get me wrong, I love fairy lights and tinsel and presents and the great family cooking with cookies and cranberry sauce and rosemary potatoes and making rum-infested cakes. But I do draw the line at enthusiastic nieces putting glitter glue on my foldable RayBans.
So before I begin to sound like the Grinch for having to give up watching UEFA playoff matches and sit through the millionth viewing of kiddie Christmas movies, let me guide you how you can spend one last week with the best grown up shows online.
No matter what you do, someone is bound to mention ‘social media influencers’ in a marketing meeting. Some will ‘hmm’ sagely, knowing that real influencers charge real money for tweets and Instagram posts and what have you. Others will insist they are overrated.
The American Meme on Netflix will take you into the lives of those who found fifteen minutes of fame and teach you a thing or two about reinventing yourself. You are amazed at what they have done with fame. Paris Hilton, DJ Khaled, Kirill Was Here, Brittany Furlan the Vine Girl, that boy who kissed Britney Spears in Toxic, The Fat Jew share their ups and downs. As Spock would say, ‘Fascinating.’ VIDEO
If you are a footie fan, there’s
Make Us Dream on Amazon Prime. Steven Gerrard stars. Here is the trailer: VIDEO
Football is loyalty and passion. You understand passion, but the loyalty is something that makes fans weep and also get angry enough to burn you down. Oh, the nights one has spent watching history being made by the men in red. To be able to carry that legacy on your shoulders every time you go through the tunnel and deliver is something that will give you pause. I used to be a great fan of Michael Ballack and Miroslav Klose, Zizou (Zinedine Zidane) and Francesco Caputo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and love the magic behind the passing game that Brazilians once played. To get into the head of Steven Gerrard is worth all the beer you can drink in the 103 minutes of the documentary.
After Liverpool’s red, get set to watch a film that has more red than all the poinsettias in the neighbourhood. Watch one of the coolest cannot-eat-popcorn but stare unblinkingly at the screen films. Yes,
Tumbbad. It’s a horror movie that stays with you longer than you’d think. But it’s not your haunted houses with creaking doors or ghosts who walk type movie.
It gets into your head and shows you what greed can do to you. Yes, there’s a creepy granny in the film, but come on! Who hasn’t had one really, really old great grandparent who slept like they were dead and if you went up close to check whether they had popped it, suddenly snorted through their sleep apnea and made all you kids scream and run out of the room?
Tumbbad is one of those films that has been so beautifully made, you don’t know whether to watch the colours and the beauty of the frames or just be terrified of the story unfolding in front of you. VIDEO Lysistrata is a Greek comedy, which shows how women can manipulate men into stopping wars by denying them sex. Of course, it’s not very well known, because no one is going to admit that it is funny. But Spike Lee takes the play and converts it to something more. Chi-Raq is about sex and violence and the murder of a young child in South side Chicago. It’s about women who take an oath in order to change their world. Wesley Snipes, Dave Chappelle, Nick Cannon, John Cusack and even Samuel L Jackson tell their gun riddled stories in a way only Spike Lee can tell. VIDEO
If you have the time to binge watch, then you’ll have
Dogs Of Berlin to watch on Netflix. Yes, it’s a cop show, but is he a good cop or a bad cop? Is his White Supremacist family going to taint his career forever or will justice prevail in the murder of a Turkish player in the German football team? In a world battling with the rights and the wrongs of immigration, this German show makes you cringe when you hear racist things, but it also teaches you hope. VIDEO
Speaking of dogs, there is a serious contender for the Oscars hidden away on Netflix.
Isle Of Dogs. It’s hand created. It’s animation. It’s magical. Especially if you are love dogs. There is so much to say about the magic of this film, I will recommend it to you every week until you watch it. The Japanophile in me celebrates this film. Both Netflix and Amazon studios have brought us some path-breaking films. This one is among the top. VIDEO
If you wish to make the most of your Prime account, don’t stray from the site. You have to watch the psychological drama
The Wall. Imagine being in the crosshairs of a sniper with only a crumbling wall to save you. Imagine what you will do to save yourself? Another very sharp film about war is Last Flag Flying. Will shared memories redeem you? Why do we continue to have more graves in Arlington?
I used to live in Portland OR, and have a special place in the heart for everything Oregon. And a man many of my friends loved to hate was John Callahan, a cartoonist who was disabled, but used his art skills to get people actually angry and riled. Such were his home-truths.
Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot is a film as irreverent as John Callahan used to be. It celebrates his life and you will be as horrified as you’d want to burst out laughing at his sheer audacity. This film stars Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara and Jack Black make this film brilliant. It was shown at the Mumbai Film Festival and is now on Amazon Prime. It’s delicious. VIDEO
1983, Vir Das, The Unknown Hitman on Netflix and have your mind blown in different directions. I am halfway through Pine Gap, putting off wrapping presents. But there’s a couple of weeks before Christmas and I am hoping my artistic sister will show up, get excited by all the lovely wrapping paper and ribbons and will do the present wrapping for me. Until next week, watch the super funny, super awesome The Disaster Artist. VIDEO Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication.