Streaming gems include steamy McConaughey film, bizarre series

popcorn movie snacks

If you’re like me and there’s just about nothing on regular TV to suit, streaming options are plentiful. My husband and I found several surprise gems including a Matthew McConaughey film I’d never heard of, a Bradley Cooper film I hadn’t seen, and a series that is a real mind blower. The McConaughey film had a sexual scene that blew my mind; it involved takeout fried chicken.

In Killer Joe McConaughey portrays a cop gone bad because he’s a cop who’s also an assassin. McConaughey’s role is very dark—some critics call the film ‘Southern Gothic,’ but in the story, the setting matters little. This film is all about character and there’s a cornucopia of dysfunction, innocence, true evil, and ignorance in the actions of the family of McConaughey’s love/sex interest Dottie who is played by Juno Temple. Toss in the dysfunction of Dottie’s father Ansel Smith (Thomas Haden Church), her stepmother Sharla (Gina Gershon), and her brother Chris (Emile Hirsch), and you have a perfect stew of wackiness as the family hires Killer Joe to kill Chris and Dottie’s biological mother to get their hands on her life insurance. Chris justifies this by claiming the mom stole the drug money he owed a dealer.

By the time this riveting film gets to the sexual scene involving a piece of fried chicken, your mind is half-blown. After the drumstick scene, it’s totally blown. You won’t even recognize McConaughey as the camera moves in to focus on his face in that scene.

Another film I hadn’t seen is Serena starring Bradley Cooper. I confess I had a hard time sticking with this film. For one thing, the plot is straight out of Shakespeare, with an emphasis on a quasi-clone of Lady Macbeth as driver of most of the action. You do see some of the safety risks and environmental repercussions inherent in the timber industry in the early 1900s, but it’s more a surface look than a deep one. The sexual scenes between Cooper who portrays timber baron George Pemberton and his wife Serena (Jennifer Lawrence) seem thrown in for good measure rather than arising organically (yes, I hear some of you snickering at the usage of those two words there) from their relationship. My husband stuck with this film better than I did. I found myself scrolling headlines on my phone towards the end, but if you’re hard up for something to watch, Cooper and Lawrence create an interesting couple in a somewhat overused plot.

The series I have been able to watch is The Act. It’s a Hulu original based on a true story. The story involves a maniacally protective mother Dee Dee and her daughter Gypsy, and the scam the mother runs in part to earn money from sympathetic people. Gypsy is presented to people as a teen with the mind of a child who has an endless assortment of medical problems. Nature intervenes and Gypsy, who learns she is older than her mother claims, begins to do what all teens do—rebel against authority. By the time Dee Dee is murdered, you’re almost ready to off her yourself. She is that wicked. Patricia Arquette may be a clueless partisan when it comes to politics, but she does a fabulous job portraying Dee Dee in this film. Gypsy, played by Joey King, makes the role her own, and fans of Margo Martindale will savor seeing this incredible actress take on the role of Dee Dee’s mother.

If none of these films or series rock your boat, there’s always YouTube. My husband enjoys the fishing shows on YouTube, including those featuring bathing beauties catching large fish. 😊

(Kay B. Day; November 10, 2020)

Cover of Rebecca Day’s new novel, ‘Derelict’.

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