A guide to the week’s best and worst TV shows and movies from The Daily Beast’s Obsessed critics.
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There are roughly 47,000—oh, wait, a new Netflix Original just dropped; make that 47,001—TV shows and movies coming out each week. At Obsessed, we consider it our social duty to help you see the best and skip the rest.
We’ve already got a variety of in-depth, exclusive coverage on all of your streaming favorites and new releases, but sometimes what you’re looking for is a simple Do or Don’t. That’s why we created See/Skip, to tell you exactly what our writers think you should See and what you can Skip from the past week’s crowded entertainment landscape.
Causeway is a dutiful and quiet examination of the complicated idea of home and the difficulty of trauma. It’s also proof that the weird bout of Jennifer Lawrence backlash a few years ago was totally unfounded.
Brian Tyree Henry and Jennifer Lawrence in Causeway.
Here’s Coleman Spilde’s take:
“Co-written by author Otessa Moshfegh alongside Luke Goebel and Elizabeth Sanders, Causeway unfolds like a novel. As Lynsey and James discover that they have more in common than they realized, the film’s deliberate pace and realistic dialogue ground the burgeoning friendship with authenticity. It’s a film that’s more focused on the development of its characters than any major statements about war or politics. Instead of opting for an overbearing thematic stance, Causeway is an optimistic but wholly pragmatic examination of how we move through our most acute traumas, led by two of the most captivating dramatic performances of the year.
The film is a heavy exploration of deep-set trauma, and it occasionally buckles under the weight of its themes. Some will read the film’s central relationship as a will they/won’t they romance story, despite Neugebauer’s direction setting up the film’s intent from the start. Unfortunately, it’s an easy mistake to make, considering that Causeway is constrained by its limited runtime. It’s not a film that feels rushed, but rather underdeveloped at times. In a landscape of both theatrical and streaming fare that push the audience’s attention span with nearly three-hour-long epics, Causeway is the rare 90-minute film I wished was longer.”
Blockbuster is a show that should be baked in feel-good, millennial, video-store nostalgia. Instead, it’s a mess of abandoned plotlines and rote workplace comedy. My $800 late fee for It Takes Two deserved better.
Randall Park, Tyler Alvarez, Kamaia Fairburn, Melissa Fumero, and Madeleine Arthur in Blockbuster.
Here’s Kevin Fallon’s take:
“There is a warranted protectiveness that—brace yourself for the most upsettingly violent phrase in the English language—geriatric millennials feel toward Blockbuster, because of that nostalgia and those cherished memories. Understandably, then, we are going to more highly scrutinize the Blockbuster series than we would other innocuous streaming comedies. Knowing that, I can say pretty definitively: We, the Blockbuster generation, deserve better.
Maybe if Blockbuster leaned further into that meta self-awareness, there would be more about it to recommend. But the thing that makes it special, the connection to Blockbuster, is essentially ignored, resulting in a workplace comedy that isn’t particularly unique or memorable. Instead, there’s commentary about the differences between millennials and Gen Z that isn’t novel or clever. A will-they-won’t-they relationship between Timmy and Eliza couldn’t be snoozier or more obvious. And even with scene-stealers like Curb Your Enthusiasm’s JB Smoove in the supporting cast, there’s no character that stands out as having potential to be a fan-favorite.”
See: Enola Holmes 2
Enola Holmes 2 is a fun and farcical continuation of the YA heroine’s misadventures and a great showcase for Millie Bobby Brown—if only we could get her out of the Netflix Industrial Complex for good.
Henry Cavill, Millie Bobby Brown, and Louis Partridge in Enola Holmes 2.
Here’s Fletcher Peters’ take:
“Alas, only Netflix seems to have picked up on Millie Bobby Brown’s undeniable charisma. Unfortunately, it’s taken the streamer years to update her two unfolding storylines. New seasons of Stranger Things, as we all know, take years to come out, and it’s been another couple of years since her triumphant Enola Holmes debuted. But Enola Holmes 2 is finally here to break the fourth wall all over again, with another wonderful performance from the chipper leading actress and her flurry of delightful co-stars.
By far the best part about Enola Holmes 2, though, is more Sherlock (aka “Swol-lock”) Holmes. Yes, it’s ironic—this is obviously Enola’s story about proving herself apart from her older brother. But the pair work so well together that it would be a crime to separate them. Enola, foolish and headstrong, butts her way into Sherlock’s detective work—though she’s often more social and thoughtful than him, he’s got quite a bit to teach her. Hearty, buff, and level-headed, Cavill is the perfect match for Brown’s bubbly Enola.”
See: Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me
Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me might be another entry into the dime-a-dozen music documentary pool, but proves itself a worthy depiction of chronic illness and mental health struggles outside of its vanity project roots.
Selena Gomez in Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me.
Here’s Kyndall Cunningham’s take
“It was only a matter of time before Selena Gomez, a fairly private and sometimes press-averse pop star, would use the medium to her advantage—although, seeds for a documentary had been planted as early as 2015. After watching Madonna: Truth or Dare, Gomez recruited director Alek Keshishian, who also directed her ‘Hands to Myself’ music video (and is her manager’s brother) to follow her around on the world tour for her second studio album, Revival. However, their plans came to a halt when Gomez ended the tour after 55 shows, citing depression and anxiety as a result of her lupus. In 2018, she was admitted into a psychiatric facility.
That said, I found My Mind and Me to be a more intriguing documentary in its less PR-ish sequences. Seeing Gomez visit her elementary school in Texas and reunite with her childhood neighbors is sweet and a touching reminder of her humble beginnings. But the more candid footage of her at work, as she complains about doing press for her album Rare and feeling ‘like a product,’ create a more compelling story about the nature of celebrity. And yet, aside from occasional footage of Gomez being swarmed by paparazzi and asked incessantly about her ex Justin Bieber, the documentary isn’t all that interested in Selena Gomez, the superstar.”
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Jennifer Lawrence's 'Causeway' Proves How Much Hollywood … – The Daily Beast