How many ways are there to say the wide releases are terrible this week? We've had to do it quite a few times throughout this summer, and one can only be so witty about it. Sure, there have been highlights: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Edge of Tomorrow, Neighbors. But don't those films feel like ages ago? We're just stuck in this miasma of wide-release mediocrity, and only on demand movies can tide us over until fall. (Bring It On!)
Hollywood, we wish we knew how to quit you. You're giving us three movies that combined only hit a 69% freshness rating. What did we do to deserve this? Doing most of the legwork in that equation is The Expendables 3. Our David Sims broke down the entire cast by a variety of metrics earlier this week. It is unquestionably more fun than The Expendables 3 will be.
That said, the old men blowing stuff up promise to be more exciting than The Giver! We did not like The Giver. We did not like it at all. And no one else seemed to like it much, either. Yet people liked it more than Let's Be Cops. Any joke in this space about the unfortunate nature of a movie called Let's Be Cops opening after this week would be pretty tasteless, so let's just say safe money is on it not topping the box office come Monday morning.
In Limited Release
If you're just dying to get out of the house and go to the theater, Frank is easily your best bet. With a 90% score on Rotten Tomatoes and writer Jon Ronson's lovely interview with our Esther Zuckerman, it promises to be both funny and affecting. Plus, we all need to support Michael Fassbender, right?
Also opening this weekend in limited release: Life After Beth, starring Parks & Recreation's Aubrey Plaza. At 43% on RT, it's not great, but compared to the wide releases this week, it's practically a gem. If you're a Plaza fan, there are certainly worse ways to spend your weekend.
Streaming on Netflix
Feeling sexy this weekend? Trust us, you're not feeling half as sexy as the cast of Nymphomaniac. Lars Von Trier's balls-to-the-wall (so to speak) hot mess is available for streaming in two parts. We recommend spacing out your viewing, because all the great Shia LaBeouf shoulder action might get you too hot and bothered otherwise.
Video on Demand
How long has it been since you've seen Bring It On? Unless your answer is "I'm watching it right now, The Wire," it has been too long since you last saw Bring It On. Roger Ebert once referred to this as "the Citizen Kane of cheerleading movies," and he's so right. The endless stream of sequels may have tarnished its legacy, but there's so much good here. Kirsten Dunst doing some of her career-best work! Eliza Dushku doing her actual career-best work! Jesse Bradford making us fall in love with him! Gabrielle Union being the most flawless person on the planet! If you watch one movie this weekend, be major and watch Bring It On.
In any other week, we'd be gushing about how much we love Clueless and how you should absolutely watch it on demand. And you should do that! But watch Bring It On first, okay?
Movies on TV
There's something called 2 Guns premiering at 8 on Saturday night on HBO. It stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, and it was far better reviewed than you'd expect. So maybe watch that? (Watch Bring It On again instead.)
And finally, Showtime is airing Dead Poets Society on Sunday at 4:45 p.m. Despite the movie's moments of smarm, Robin Williams remains so effortlessly entertaining in it. It's one of our favorite Williams performances – if you love it, too, consider making some time this Sunday to sit back and enjoy the late great at work.