Each week within this column we strive to pair the latest in theatrical releases to worthwhile titles currently available on Netflix Instant Watch. This week we offer alternatives to Wrath of the Titans, Mirror Mirror and Goon.
Sam Worthington reprises his role as the mythical Greek hero Perseus in this action-packed sequel to 2010’s Clash of the Titans. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes co-star.
Revel in Greek greats:
Hercules (1983) The Incredible Hulk’s Lou Ferrigno stars in this cult classic as the Greece’s most legendary hero. Here Hercules is on quest to save the beautiful Princess Cassiopeia from the cruel clutches of the sorcerer Minos. Ingrid Anderson co-stars.
Jason and the Argonauts (2000) Jason London (Dazed & Confused) stars in this 2-part TV miniseries as the titular noble warrior who leads his brave ranks to battle the terrors of Poseidon, vicious harpies and a fearsome dragon, all in search for the Golden Fleece. Frank Langella and Natasha Henstridge co-star.
Jim Henson’s the Storyteller: Greek Myths (1991) In the second series of Henson’s acclaimed series, he and Anthony Minghella collaborated on bringing together man and Muppet to bring the best of Greek Myths to television, including “Daedalus and Icarus,” “Orpheus and Eurydice,” “Theseus and the Minotaur,” & “Perseus and the Gorgon.”
The classic tale of Snow White is re-imagined by the inventive auteur Tarsem Singh. Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer and Lily Collins star.
Seeking more unconventional princess tales?
The Tale of Despereaux (2008) This spirited adaptation of Kate DiCamillo’s lauded fantasy novel offers an inventive take on tales of damsels in distress and chivalrous knights. Here, the hero is not some burly cavalier on a mighty steed, but a wee mouse with over-sized sense of bravery named Despereaux (Matthew Broderick). When a series of frightful misunderstandings leads to a kingdom under siege of fear and grief, it’s this mighty mouse who will rescue the princess, and save the day. Dustin Hoffman and Emma Watson co-star in this odd yet endearing adventure.
A Knight’s Tale (2001) Heath Ledger fronts this spirited tale of medieval romance with a modern flare. William Thatcher (Ledger) who dreams of wealth and prestige, and to get he and his loyal band of friends (Alan Tudyk, Paul Bettany and Mark Addy) masquerade as a knight and his servants to compete in the opulent jousting competitions, throughout the kingdom, where he draws the notice of a fiery princess (Shannyn Sossamon). Rufus Sewell co-stars as a merciless rival.
She-Ra: Princess of Power (1985) The very definition of a self-rescuing princess is She-ra, Princess of Power, the super-powered alter ego of the lovely Princess Adora. In each episode, she battles the evil forces of the wicked sorcerer Hordak, sometimes aided by her brother, He-Man. Seasons 1 and 2 are Now Streaming.
Seann William Scott stars as a scrappy underdog who becomes a hockey star when his bouncer-born brawler skills are unleashed upon the rink. Jay Baruchel and Live Schreiber co-star.
Craving more sport comedies?
The Winning Season (2009) Sam Rockwell leads as Bill, a depressed, divorced dishwasher with a teen daughter who loathes him. He is a loser on every front. But once his friend, the local high school principal (Rob Corddry) cajoles him become the coach of the girls’ basketball team, Bill finds a new lease on life through mentoring fellows underdogs as scrappy at heart as he is. Emma Roberts co-stars.
The Swimsuit Issue (2008) This cheeky offering out Sweden focuses on the unexpected outcome of a wild bachelor party. Fueled by booze Fredrik and his friends end up cavorting at a local pool, giving the middle-aged schlub the inspiration to form a synchronized swimming team. It’s like The Full Monty, but wetter.
Ping Pong Playa (2007) For something more out there, check out this wacky indie that centers on C-dub Wang, a Chinese-American wannabe gangsta’ whose forced to takeover his family’s ping pong supply business after a fateful accident. After overcoming his initial reluctance, C-dub not only embraces his Ping-Pong prowess, but also becomes a force to be reckoned with…in very short shorts.
TFS contributor Jonathan Sullivan offers this week’s Wild Card:
Factotum (2005) Like the classic Charles Bukowski novel on which it’s based, this drama is essentially a series of vignettes featuring the alcoholic Hank Chinaski (Matt Dillon) moving from menial job to menial job, woman to woman, bar to bar all while he attempts to accomplish the one goal he has in his life: get published. For a lot of people, it seems like a sad situation; I’m pretty sure most don’t dream of living in flophouses and stealing cigarettes out of people’s cars. But for me? It’s my ultimate escapist movie. Although I do hope to one day land a job to pay my bills (mostly my student loans), part of me desires to live the Chinaski lifestyle; there’s just something so inherently and weirdly romantic about it. The adaptation moves the story out of the 50’s and into a more contemporary setting, filled with interesting character work, especially Fisher Stevens‘ turn as a compulsive gambler who works with Chinaski at a bike shop. Dillon perfectly steps into the shoes of Hank Chinaski, and Factotum marks what I think is his greatest role. This movie may turn off some with its lack of a true plot and its romanticizing of being a “starving artist”, but it’s worth watching for the nuggets of philosophy littered throughout that may make you reconsider your approach to life. I’ll never get to live like Chinaski but thanks to Factotum I can always pretend.
For more picks, check our Now Streaming archive.
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