Paul McGuire Grimes, creator of Paul’s Trip to the Movies, has three things you might want to watch this weekend.
THE SOCIAL DILEMMA (Netflix)
You probably have seen your social media feeds buzzing about the new documentary The Social Dilemma. It’s now streaming on Netflix, and there’s a reason why people are so alarmed. Think about how often you are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google, or other apps to quickly pass the time. Before you know it you’re down a rabbit hole of negativity, shocking news, and ads targeting something you googled recently. Now you’re angry once you realized it was all a waste of time. The Social Dilemma is here to not only alarm you but to hopefully change your habits.
It’s a timely documentary knowing how much of this includes coverage and discussion of the coronavirus and how information regarding a pandemic spread faster than it could be controlled. The Social Dilemma breaks down how all of that happens given how algorithms built within each of these apps work.
On a humane level, the interviewees remind us that the evolution of technology has grown faster than the evolution of our brain and how it operates. Thus we give it power to tell us how to feel based on the number of likes, comments, and retweets our own posts get.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (Netflix)
Aaron Sorkin is best known for high-powered courtroom dramas and politically charged stories like A Few Good Men, The West Wing, and The Newsroom. His latest, The Trial of the Chicago 7, is now streaming on Netflix and couldn’t come at a better time. A legal battle between peaceful protestors and an aggressive Chicago police force is what is at stake. No, it’s not 2020 but rather the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The peaceful protestors are wanting an end to the Vietnam War. No indictments came under the President Johnson’s Attorney General, but months later under Nixon’s new attorney general, eight men find themselves on trial for conspiracy to cross state lines and incite violence.
It’s easy to make parallels to today’s divided society and what it means to be a peaceful protestor. On trial we have members considered to be Yippies, democrat students, and the leader of the Black Panther movement. There’s a question as to whether they all worked together or if they’re merely all “radical left but in different costumes” Sorkin wrestles whether there is a right or wrong way to protest with these characters.
The majority of the film rests inside the courtroom walls of this political trial with flashbacks to the protests leading up to that big moment that got these men on trial. Sorkin’s at his best when he slings legal jargon from one end of the court to another. Frankly, it’s wickedly funny at the same time.
The Trial of the Chicago 7 will have you stirring afterwards. I naturally wanted to dig deeper into this story as the history lesson will leave you shaking your head knowing our climate still has a long way to go.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS
ON THE ROCKS (AppleTV+)
The reunion of director Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray is one to be excited about. Their new film On the Rocks is now in select theaters and is streaming on AppleTV+. On the Rocks features Rashida Jones as Laura, she’s a married mother of two kids who’s in a rut. She’s an author suffering from writer’s block, doesn’t quite feel connected to the other school moms, and starts to suspect that her husband is cheating on her. Bill Murray stars as Laura’s dad Felix. They have a complicated relationship, but he uses his connections to help Laura spy on her husband and his potential infidelity.
At one point, Rashida Jones’ character Laura tells her father “Can you ever just act normal around any woman?” You may cringe with some of his commentary, but that’s Coppola’s point with how Laura responds to his antics. There’s a generational divide present that so many of us can relate to with the conversations we have with our parents about life and relationships. It’s evident Coppola either wrote the role with Murray in mind or she trusted him to play around and improv his way through certain scenes.
Coppola set On the Rocks in New York City and it felt apparent that she wanted the city to feel part of this story. We know New York to be the big bustling city that it is and yet, we see how Laura feels isolated and alone despite having whatever she wants at her fingertips. There’s a sense of privilege with these characters as drivers can be called at any moment.
On the Rocks could have been a downer yet there was something simple and whimsical about its New York City setting. Sometimes we let our worst fears get to us and that’s certainly at play which oddly enough brings this father/daughter relationship closer together.
RATING: 4 out of 5 TICKET STUBS