Happy Labor Day weekend, stream fans! Summer may be drawing to an official close, but there's nothing withering about the content we're highlighting for you this week. With "Passion" out in theaters today, we'd like to give Brian De Palma a high five: over forty years of filmmaking, and the director remains as polarizing as ever, continuing to delight and disappoint audiences with his unique style and scandalous content. Check out one of his earlier films below, followed by an homage to "Closed Circuit" director John Crowley with the inclusion of his feature debut. Also, a pre-theatrical release of a horror-comedy with the most disgustingly awesome villain we've ever heard of, a long-forgotten comedy with Tim Robbins and John Cusack, and a straight-to-DVD release of The Rock and Liam Hemsworth's latest vehicle. Okay, so maybe that last pick is a little withering. But the leaves have to fall sometime, right? And, of course, we have another treasured title from the bastion of goodness that is the Criterion Collection. Enjoy!
What It's About: When they find themselves abruptly unemployed, friends Ivan (John Cusack) and Josh (Tim Robbins) decide to start a music video production company. It initially appears as though the former security guards have found their life's work, as they direct a hit video and give a fading soul duo (Sam Moore and Junior Walker) their last quick boost of popularity. However, as Ivan and Josh make their way towards the heart of the music industry, their unorthodox methods begin to make waves, and they suddenly find themselves on the wrong side of a powerful politician. Cameos abound, from "Weird Al" Yankovic, Ted Nugent, and Courtney Love to Roscoe's House of Chicken 'n Waffles, a Los Angeles institution.
Why You Should Stream It: This satire from co-writer and director Bill Fishman should be a welcome treat for cult film fanatics everywhere. Widely unavailable until its recent appearance on Hulu, "Tapeheads" is '80s comedy at its best—raunchy, topical, and scathingly witty—and manages to hold up well despite the datedness of its premise. Both Cusack and Robbins are put to good use here as extremely likeable but clueless videophiles, their interactions as watchable as any good buddy film; given a chance to stretch their comedic wings a bit more than usual offers unexpectedly uproarious results. Finally, the film does its main characters proud with an excellently curated music selection, as a high-energy soundtrack from California-based ska band Fishbone is complimented with performances by Devo and Bo Diddley.
Where It's Available: Hulu
"Bad Milo!" (2013)
What It's About: Ever have a bad day? So bad that you wanted to get rid of everything that made it suck that much? Well, be careful what you wish for. A wicked boss (Patrick Warburton), a deadbeat dad (Stephen Root), an overbearing mother (Mary Kay Place), and undue pressure from his wife (Gillian Jacobs) have sent Duncan (Ken Marino) over the edge. Far enough over the edge that a creature named Milo, fashioned via his meteoric anxiety, comes out of the protagonist's butt and begins slaughtering all those problem people. So, naturally, Duncan decides to befriend the little ass-born fiend with the hope of keeping its murderous rampages in check. Good god, this summary isn't even close to being facetious.
Why You Should Stream It: We did just explain the premise, right? Directed and co-written by short film veteran and Duplass Brothers-confederate Jacob Vaughn, the irreverently funny and often disgusting "Bad Milo!" is an inspired piece of cinema: intricate, well-executed, and just the right side of absurd. The actors are strong all around too, Marino's straight man buffeted up against the quirky supporting players time and again with hilarious results. Peter Stormare's turn as a nutty hypnotherapist bent on helping Duncan confront his inner demon is particularly enjoyable, the veteran actor's intensity upping the camp factor to delicious heights. And then there's Milo. A puppet with black saucer eyes, razor sharp teeth, and a head shaped like E.T.'s, who goos and growls with equal enthusiasm, the pint-sized monster is reminiscent of screwy '80s creature features, excessive blood spatter and all. For more on the "good butt fun" of the movie, watch the series of interviews with Marino and Jacobs from this year's SXSW Film Festival. "Bad Milo!" arrives in theaters October 4th.
Where It's Available: Cable on Demand, iTunes, VUDU