Culture Briefs

Five Films to Stream: Friendship

Remember what it was like to see friends? Here are five recommendations for films centered around close friendships you can see instead.

One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (1977): An Agnès Varda film that follows the relationship between city teen Pauline and young mother Suzanne. Their unlikely friendship stands the test of time and distance, with both gravitating towards the 1970s Women’s Movement in France. I would loosely categorize this as a musical but, if so, it is the best type—with harpsichord theater troupes, postcards, feminism and soft flowy styling. Watch on Criterion Channel.

First Cow (2019): Kelly Reichardt is my current reigning queen of Westerns, though she has wholly redefined that genre. Her latest film sees a shy cook and a Chinese immigrant connecting on the Oregon frontier as biscuit business partners. The pacing is unrushed and the mood is lovely…until it isn’t. Spoiler: the opening shot tells us that things are not going to end well, but the support these men show each other remains tender and selfless. The cow is an adorable star as well! Watch on Fubo or Showtime.

Ghost World (2001): Enid and Rebecca are too-cool, too-smart, outsider teen girls, freshly released from high school but stuck in a world of phonies. The emotional range is subtle but under the quirkiness is a somber current of loss many of us can remember as our closest childhood friendships started to drift apart into adulthood. The movie is adapted from the comic by Daniel Clowes, who co-wrote the screenplay with director Terry Zwigoff (a man partial to eccentrics) and co-stars this writer’s dream man Steve Buscemi. Watch on YouTube, Tubi, Prime or Hoopla.

Da 5 Bloods (2020): A band of Black veterans (and son) reconnect on an odyssey of burden and explosive gore in the Vietnam jungle. Spike Lee is always mashing together genre and it works masterfully here. Everything hits for maximum impact in what may be the most surprising war drama and caper I have ever seen. There is no filler and the cast all shine. RIP Chadwick Boseman. Delroy Lindo especially, as MAGA-hatted Paul, delivers a soul-bearing performance of grief. Watch on Netflix.

Thelma & Louise (1991): This movie came out nearly 30 years ago but it stands as an electrifying classic about women and ride-or-die besties. A girls weekend turns into an outlaw cross-country chase after Louise shoots a man attempting to rape Thelma. This is a world of ding-dong misogynists (possible exception Harvey Keitel’s detective character) and these two heroines have hit their breaking point and tasted freedom. The original trailer tries to sell it as a feel good comedy, which is kind of lousy marketing in my opinion! Watch on Tubi, YouTube, Hoopla or Sling.

Honorable Mentions:
Daisies (1966): HBO Max
Okja (2017): Netflix
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016): Netflix