This weekend before Memorial Day weekend, settle down with a documentary about writing about socialites, a high-fantasy adventure, an action thriller starring J.Lo, a drama vehicle starring Tom Hanks, a tense relationship forged in war, and a light look at the history of multicultural cooking in the United States.
Queenmaker: The Making of an It Girl - Hulu
Picked by Growth Associate Keara O’Driscoll
If you're like me and love all things pop culture, or if to you the "classics" means shows like The Hills and The Simple Life, then this documentary is right up your alley. The Hulu original tells the story of early 2000s bloggers tracking the lives of the socialites in New York City, people famous for being famous (and fabulous). If you’ve watch shows like The Real Housewives of New York , NYC Prep, Gossip Girl, or follow the real world modern-day version of Gossip Girl (not the horrible HBO Max reboot but what I call Queen of Instagram, Deuxmoi), you will love this chronicle of early 2000s New York City socialite culture.
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves - Paramount+
Picked by Digital Editor Mike Nam
The track record for TV and film adaptations of the popular roleplaying game system, Dungeons & Dragons, has been, shall we say, terrible. So, it was a bit of a shock when the fun, breezy Honor Among Thieves, starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Regé-Jean Page, Justice Smith, and Hugh Grant delivered an actually good movie in the theaters this spring. You don't need to be a fan of the fantasy games and books (though it adds a lot) to enjoy this over-the-top adventure with a heart that lands its jokes. Check it out now streaming on Paramount+.
The Mother - Netflix
Picked by Lawrence Banton
I have to admit, I have not watched this film yet so we'll be going on the journey together if you decide to watch this weekend. J.Lo is a trained assassin in this one, and she's torn between going on the run to save her own life, as well as that of her newborn, or standing and fighting. Surprisingly, she apparently opts for a life in solitude, until she catches wind that her former partners have kidnapped her daughter. Now, guns are blazing in an all-out war to rescue her kid.
A Man Called Otto - Netflix
Picked by Senior Editor Dina Ross
This film is everything you expect in a Tom Hanks flick: you'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll think about your dad. It's been a while since I barreled through a feature like this, but I'm so glad I did. Hanks plays a grumpy old neighbor who snaps at everyone around him until he meets his match in a friendly, harried mother of two — soon-to-be three. With no high-tech imagery or cheap laughs, you just have the acting, writing, and scenic shots to lean on, and this film holds up.
The Covenant - Amazon Prime Video
Picked by Reporter Alex Vuocolo
The Covenant, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, is inspired by the true story of an Afghani interpreter who carried a severely wounded U.S. officer across dangerous terrain while the Taliban was in hot pursuit. The film begins as a riveting action thriller and eventually becomes a tense interpersonal drama about two men who forge a bond and go above and beyond to help each other survive a war that has dragged on for far too long. In short, this is one of the best films of its type since Black Hawk Down.
The Great American Recipe - PBS Picked by Newsletter Writer Graison Dangor
With America's love of Top Chef, Hell's Kitchen, and other reality cooking shows with Mad Max vibes, I would never have expected that the success of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix would create such an appetite here for gentler culinary competitions. But now we have The Big Brunch, a rebooted Great American Baking Show, and The Great American Recipe, the last of which "celebrates the multiculturalism that makes American food unique and iconic" with home cooks from around the country preparing the food they grew up with. The whole first season is streaming ahead of Season 2's premiere in June. (A new season of The Great American Baking Show also began this month on the Roku Channel.)
Editor's Note: Best wishes to Mike Nam, one of this column's founders, as he moves on to his next big hit.