Sure-Fire Streaming: Ode To Joy, IT: Chapter II, Fatman, and more!
By Jordan Parker
Ode To Joy – Available On Netflix
I'm skeptical just about any time a movie comes based on a news story, but Ode To Joy defies convention and turns out to be a great time.
Following the WBEZ Chicago “This American Life” story, this follows a man with a neurological disorder who faints when he feels happiness.
Charlie faints every time he feels joy, and so he spends his time trying to live as quiet and mundane a life as possible to avoid trauma. He's a single librarian who keeps to himself.
Even babies or puppies on the street can set him off – so he's hardly ready when he meets wild, beautiful Francesca, who is the opposite of what he wants.
Starring The Hobbit's Martin Freeman, Deadpool's Morena Baccarin, Jake Lacy and Big Bang Theory's Melissa Rauch, this is a fantastic little indie.
It's got so much to adore and the cast makes it all the better. I really, really got a kick out of this one.
IT: Chapter II – Available On Netflix
This follow-up to the box-office smash and terrifying Stephen King novel adaptation IT has a whole lot going for it.
Set 27 years after the horrific events of the initial film, a gang of friends goes back to their hometown Derry to face murderous clown Pennywise once again.
Director Andy Muschietti is back here, and while Chapter II may not match the amazing original – mostly due to its bloated two-hour-forty-nine minute running time – there are some awesome things to behold.
It gets under your skin in a dark, creepy way, and the adult stars cast to portray older versions of the kids from the original are nearly pitch-perfect.
Jessica Chastain, James MacAvoy, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, and James Ransome step in, with the child stars back in flashbacks. Bill Skarsgard is back as Pennywise as well.
But it's comedian Bill Hader as an older jokester Richie Tozier who really gives the performance of his career.
It's not perfect, but IT 2 is well worth your time if you love horror and Stephen King.
Fatman – Available On Prime Video
For all you oddball film aficionados out there, yes, I'm recommending an R-rated actioner Christmas movie in July.
It's a strange little film, but Fatman is about Santa Claus, whose business is declining because kids no longer believe, and the world just continues to become more cynical and violent.
He's offered a top-secret contract from the military to keep him afloat. Meanwhile, a young kid named Billy hires a hitman to kill Santa after getting a lump of coal.
This is a rowdy, pitch-black film that only certain people will enjoy. It's violent, crude, and Mel Gibson plays a very, very angry Santa.
Walton Goggins – one of my favourite actors – is a hitman, and it also stars Marianna Jean-Baptiste.
Director-writers Esholm Nelms and Ian Nelms create one of the weirdest movies I've seen in years, in an absolutely good way.
Outbreak – Available On Netflix
It may be a little on-the-nose to choose this as a pick given the current state of affairs, but Outbreak really is an incredible film.
It follows an African monkey that transmits a deadly virus when it's brought into America. A small California town is quarantined as the virus wreaks havoc, killing people all over.
When a team of Army doctors try to get things contained, they find resistance from superiors trying to contain hysteria and from those inside the army with ulterior motives.
The cast includes Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, Donald Sutherland and Cuba Gooding Jr., and frankly, they're all fantastic.
This big-budget spectacle from director Wolfgang Peterson is hugely entertaining, dramatic and hits all the right notes.
The Tomorrow War – Available On Prime Video
This sci-fi action tilt is one of the best, most entertaining movies to hit the streamer in a long, long time.
Starring Chris Pratt, there were initially plans for a very big wide release in theatres, but that soon became impossible.
And so this movie about a man conscripted into a future war against aliens was a welcome addition to Amazon Prime. He goes into the future to save humanity and stop the aliens from destroying the earth.
By doing so, he faces his own mortality, and fights for his family.
Pratt and Yvonne Strahovski head up a pretty awesome cast, and bring their A-game talent to the proceedings here.
The action sequences and script are more than up to par, and with supporting turns from J.K. Simmons, Betty Gilpin, and Sam Richardson, it's a pretty eclectic cast.
This is top-tier filmmaking and a heck of a good time that can be viewed from your home.