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5 Best Discussion-sparking Movies On (hulu)

moodDiscussion-sparkingOn (hulu)

Do you know that euphoric feeling you get when you watch a smart, eloquent person talk about important ideas? Multiply that by two in Best of Enemies.This 2015 documentary traces the debates between two of the brightest intellectuals around the Nixon and Reagan eras. Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley couldn’t be more opposed to each other in ideas and values. One is an ardent liberal, who wrote books and movies around gay sex (back in the 1960s), female empowerment, and the fall of the so-called American Empire. The second is an elitist and a Republican guided by Christian values and status quo ideals.ABC put them together as commentators the 1968 presidential debates, and as such, they would change the future of talk-show TV forever. They both considered debating a sport, and they both were the best in their craft. It’s so, so entertaining to watch them spar with each other. They despised each other, I know that’s not something I should be proud of enjoying, but I did. These debates were not so much a clash of tepid arguments but more of a clash of geniuses.

9.1
Staff Pick

In the year of the Netflix TV Show Maniac, another absurdist title stole critics’ hearts. Sorry to Bother You is a movie set in an alternate reality, where capitalism and greed are accentuated. Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta) is a guy called Cassius who struggles to pay his bills. However, when at a tele-marketing job an old-timer tells him to use a “white voice”, he starts moving up the ranks of his bizarre society. A really smart movie that will be mostly enjoyed by those who watch it for its entertaining value, and not so much for its commentary. It is like a Black Mirror episode stretched into a movie.

8.2
Staff Pick

The Square is a peculiar movie about a respected contemporary art museum curator as he goes through a few very specific events. He looses his wallet, his children fight, the art he oversees is does not make sense to an interviewer... Each one of these events would usually require a precise response but all they do is bring out his insecurities and his illusions about life. These reactions lead him to very unusual situations. A thought-provoking and incredibly intelligent film that's just a treat to watch. If you liked Force Majeure by the same director, The Square is even better!

7.9

Adapted from the Lionel Shriver novel of the same name, We Need to Talk About Kevin is the story of a mother (Tilda Swinton) that never quite bonds with her child, but not by her choice. The son grows up to do a heinous act that begs the question: nature or nurture? This film is an uncompromising view on the development of an unloved child. Silent pain gets voice. Feelings are shown by actions not emotions in an authentic, comprehensible and aesthetic manner. Great work.

7.9
Also see: Best Films
Best Films are our staff picks, they're all movies rated 8.0 and above. Here, we selected three for you.

Taika Waititi’s follow-up to the (also great) What We Do in the Shadows, is a pure delight and the perfect antidote after a bad day or a steady diet of too many sad movies. "Bad egg" Ricky Baker has been bounced out of more foster care situations than he cares to remember until he's given his last chance with a couple living on a rural New Zealand farm. After tragedy strikes early in the film Ricky and his foster uncle (Hec) find themselves on the run in the bush while a nationwide manhunt is initiated on their behalf. Hip-hop enthusiast Ricky and crusty, cantankerous Hec make quite the inspired pairing; this is a very funny film full of the deadpan humor that has become emblematic of Waititi's work (Flight of the Conchords, Boy) but it is also oddly touching and full of heart.

9.6
Staff Pick

Atlanta is the work of mastermind Donald Glover, who you may know as Troy from Community, two-time Grammy Nominated rapper Childish Gambino, or again from his successful stand-up career. He goes all out here, in what feels like a complete use of his entire multi-talent arsenal (he directs, writes and stars as the lead), as well as a vehicle for what he has to say about the city where he grew up. Earn (Glover) is a Princeton University dropout who has a baby with his ex-girlfriend and who is so broke he is de-facto homeless. When he learns that his cousin has been somewhat successful as a rapper called Paper Boi, he tries to reconnect with him to become his manager. The story of the smart but failed college dropout intertwines with the musician hustle, to give many hilarious moments and characters (look out for Darius, played by LaKeith Stanfield), but mostly a very genuine and relevant work. A fun, sharp and unique show.

9.6

Yes, it is adapted from the book. Now let’s get on to more critical information I can give you as someone who has already watched it: clear up the next 7 hours. I started it at midnight, finished it at 7am. This binge-worthy historical drama tells the story of how the illegitimate son of the richest man in Russia (played by Paul Dano) finds himself in the center of his country’s downfall as it faces another Napoleon invasion. Romance intertwines with war, tragedy and greed. Tolstoy himself (author of the book this series is based on) recognized that the tangled story is not novel-like, “even less is it a poem, and still less a historical chronicle". Directed by Tom Harper (Peaky Blinders), it has an almost obsessive attention to detail that captures the glamor, deceit, and insanity of its time. More importantly, it stays true to the philosophical nature of the written material, and by extension becomes an illustrative work on the human condition in general.

9.6
That's all for the 5 Best Discussion-sparking Movies On (hulu)
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