Another Friday arrives, and with it, the question of what you’ll stream this weekend. There are plenty of lists that’ll give you a rundown of what’s arriving on the various services, of what’s hot and what’s not. But the biggest problem with streaming is that there’s too much choice. To help cut through the noise, we’ve hand-selected a few films, each chosen deliberately.
Something New: Diego Maradona (HBO)
Whether you know everything or nothing about Diego Maradona, one of soccer’s all-time greats and sports’ all-time polarizers, you’ll get a solid kick out of Asif Kapadia’s (Amy, The Warrior) new documentary. The footage of the Argentinian in his prime, especially with Napoli and his national team, is electric (to quote a teammate, Maradona was “Great! Like a fish!”). The depiction of the ‘80s—the cars, the clothes, and the hair (oh the glorious hair!)—is a hoot. And Kapadia manages to be thorough, while also moving things along at a good pace (it clocks in at 2 hours, 10 minutes).
But Kapadia seems most interested in celebrity, and that’s where the film really flourishes. We spend more time watching Maradona be mobbed by invasive press and obsessive fans than by opposing defenders. Kapadia shows him for all his warts—he cheats on his wife with prostitutes, cavorts with mobsters, develops a cocaine habit, and flatly denies a woman’s claim that he fathered her son. If he were playing today, you imagine he’d probably be canceled.
By no stretch does Kapadia excuse Maradona’s behavior. But what he does do is extend the culpability—to us. When Maradona led Napoli to a championship, his Italian fans elevated him to god status. His misdeeds were largely known, but the public looked the other way. And it was only after he helped defeat the Italian team in the 1990 World Cup that the authorities and fans vilified him for his crimes, precipitating his public and athletic demise. The textures and aesthetics are decidedly of the ‘80s, but Maradona’s story continues to play itself out today.
Something to Quench Your Banderas Thirst: Puss in Boots
Though more refined, Antonio Banderas is like Flaming Hot Cheetos in two ways: He’s zesty, and also, the more you get, the more you want. Banderas plays prominent roles in two films currently in theaters: Steven Soderbergh’s lively Panama Papers comedy, The Laundromat, and Pedro Almodovar’s intimate, autobiographical drama, Pain & Glory. It’s enough Banderas for a double feature… which, if we’re being honest, probably still isn’t enough Banderas.
Fortunately, the various streaming services are plenty stocked with Banderas. You can watch Gun Shy or Life Itself on Prime, The 33 on HBO NOW, or The Legend of Zorro on Sony Crackle. But, c’mon, if your thirst for Banderas will never be quenched… we all know what Banderas you’re going to choose (on HBO NOW).
Something Old Worth Reconsidering: Mr. Jealousy (Amazon Prime)
Every artist’s path is unique. But for many great filmmakers, there’s a similar starting template. The first film marks the imperfect yet thrilling—or, thrillingly imperfect—emergence of a new voice, and then the second marks the refinement of that voice. There’s still an excess of ideas and fresh energy, but there’s also deeper control. Often, those sophomore efforts are the ones we most associate with the filmmaker’s early work: Boogie Nights, Pulp Fiction, Lost in Translation, Stranger Than Paradise, Rushmore, Big, Se7en, the list goes on.