What’s new MMT Fam! I have to be honest, between catching up on work-related projects, taking care of home tasks, the MS Walk campaign, and watching a few of my TV faves – Underground, American Crime, Feud: Bette and Joan, Shots Fired, Black*ish, Empire, and Greenleaf have all had my full attention 😉 – I didn’t watch anything new on Netflix this month. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have any recommendations for you to check out, and it doesn’t mean I haven’t been on the service…raises hand slowly to admit I started re-binging the Netflix Celia Cruz telenovela and completely re-binged the first season of Queen Sugar now on Hulu! 🙂
The first thing I want to acknowledge is the passing of celebrated writer/producer/director Mr. Jonathan Demme, whose seminal works include hit films like Philadelphia, Rachel Getting Married, and the harrowing psychological thriller The Silence of the Lambs – the latter of which won him the Academy Award for Best Director, as well as introduced us to Anthony Hopkin’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lecter (a character first seen in the 1986 Michael Mann film Manhunter) and Jodie Foster’s equally lauded Academy and Golden Globe award performance as Clarice Starling.
Although I wish all of the aforementioned Demme films – in addition to the movie adaptation of Toni Morrison’s novel Beloved starring Oprah Winfrey, Thandie Newton, Kimberly Elise and Danny Glover – were on Netflix, they are not. However, there are two films – one drama and one concert feature – directed by the iconic director currently streaming on the service.
So, the first pick from this month is The Manchurian Candidate, the 2004 remake of the 1962 classic starring Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep and Kimberly Elise. The movie follows Major Ben Marco (Denzel Washington), a Gulf War veteran who finds himself having terrible nightmares years after his squadron was ambushed. He begins to suspect everything he previously remembered from that event – which includes squad-mate Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber), now a vice-presidential candidate, being a hero. As Marco’s doubts deepen, and his clarity sharpens, Shaw’s nears his political goal and Marco must figure out the truth and stop and diabolical plan against immeasurable odds.
Similar to experiences I have with the films Philadelphia and Silence of the Lambs, when I catch this political thriller in syndication anywhere I feel compelled to watch – no matter that I own them all either in physical or digital copy.
My next pick is the Demme directed 2016 performance film Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids. This entertaining movie highlights Timberlake’s energetic Las Vegas show, which was the culmination of his two-year 20/20 Experience tour. Filmed over the final nights of the tour, Demme gives a 90-minute look at both the background players and the man of the hour, as well as the final dynamic stage result.
My last pick ties into those previously mentioned TV faves, since the first season of the OWN series Greenleaf is now streaming! The series follows the lives of the fictional, Memphis mega church owning Greenleaf family, centering on the story of Grace – who returns home after a 20 year absence to mourn the tragic loss of a younger sibling. Betrayals and abuses are uncovered, and hidden secrets are revealed throughout the season.
Now in its second season, the season one première of this show drew 3.04 million viewers – more than any other show on the OWN network at that time. It really is “must see” TV viewing and I caution you not to start it unless you have time for another episode or two. 😉
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the last episode of another fave mentioned earlier – Shots Fired which airs on the FOX network on Wednesday nights – was directed by the late Jonathan Demme, who passed on the same day it aired. I call that providence. Rest in Peace Sir.
Until next thought, Thomasena