Blog: Our weekend watchlist, movie edition

After sharing our top shows to check out on steaming services last week, The Pitt News staff has prepared another weekend watchlist. This time, with movies featured on Hulu and Netflix.


Image via Wikimedia Commons

Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding in “I, Tonya.”

By The Pitt News Staff

Last week we shared our top television shows to stream during the bad winter weather. This week, there may not be a storm coming, but we are ready to share our weekend watchlist. Instead of series, The Pitt News staff is recommending some of our favorite films from streaming services. Grab some popcorn and blankets, and have a movie night with friends this weekend!

“I, Tonya” // Sarah Connor, Culture Editor

Hulu // Directed by Craig Gillespie // Rating: A

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As an ex-figure skater, I wake up every day wishing I could get back on the ice. I miss the soothing sound of ice scratching against my blades and the satisfaction of landing a difficult jump. That said, I love seeing my favorite sport gaining some popularity in the world of film. My personal favorite skating film, “I Tonya,” was released in 2017, just before the 2018 Olympics.

“I, Tonya” is a biographical film following the life and skating career of Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie), the most infamous figure in the history of not only skating, but all Olympic sports. The film focuses on Harding’s rough childhood with her controlling single mother, LaVona Golden (Allison Janney), and her rise to skating royalty. Harding became the first American woman to land the nearly impossible triple axel at the 1991 U.S. Figure Skating National Championships — and although Margot Robbie trained for months to take on the role of Harding, the triple axel is so difficult that the producers had to recreate this moment with CGI, since they couldn’t find a skating double who could perform the jump.

The film reaches a culmination with the famous attack on Harding’s competitive rival Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver) in 1994. The scenes of the attack — orchestrated by Harding’s ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) — are dramatic and suspenseful, keeping the audience glued to the screen.

“Atlantis: The Lost Empire” // Victoria Pfefferle-Gillot, Senior Staff Writer

Netflix // Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise // Rating: A+

I have always had a soft spot for the underdogs of the Disney canon, ones that never really had widespread appeal, like “The Black Cauldron,” “The Great Mouse Detective” and “Oliver and Company.” These films are, in my opinion, just as good as any popular princess movie or musical, but they didn’t get the same love from the studio or many people I know.

“Atlantis: The Lost Empire”  was released in 2001. It is set in 1914 and follows the journey of linguist Milo Thatch (Michael J. Fox), who comes into possession of an ancient journal that can lead him to the lost, mythical city of Atlantis. With the help of a team of diverse explorers, scientists and engineers, Milo discovers a long-preserved Atlantean civilization with extraordinary secrets.

“Atlantis” features a hugely representative cast of characters, including African American and Native American medic Dr. Sweet (Phil Morris) and teenage Puerto Rican mechanic Audrey Ramirez (Jacqueline Obradors). The Atlantean princess Kida (Cree Summer) is intelligent, compassionate and badass, and one of the best Disney princesses ever. If you enjoy adventure stories like “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” or if you’re like the movie’s production team and want a Disney film with fewer songs and more explosions, then don’t let “Atlantis” sink out of your view.          

“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” // Tamara Alchoufete,  For The Pitt News

Netflix // Directed by Susan Johnson // Rating: B+

If you love cheesy romantic comedies, this movie is for you. This Netflix original, released August 2018, is a wholesome, high school love story. I’ve watched it at least five times because I am a sucker for a happy ending. So when I don’t have the mental capacity to read hundreds of pages of literary garb, I choose to be whisked away into the world of a 16-year-old girl whose biggest dilemma is whether she should choose Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) or Josh (Israel Broussard). It is the cookie-cutter atmosphere of high school life the rom-com industry prides itself on.

“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is adapted from Korean American author Jenny Han’s best-selling novel of the same name. Lara Jean’s character was created to mirror Han’s own identity and heritage. The story is told from the viewpoint of Lara Jean (Lana Condor), who writes letters to five guys she’s had strong feelings for but never finds the courage to send them out. However, her kid sister Kitty (Anna Cathcart) can’t stand seeing her older sister being stuck in the house binging “Golden Girls” with her so she sends out the letters behind Lara’s back.

After the letters get sent out, a whirlwind of emotions, shock, relief, anger — you name it — will leave you simultaneously screaming into a pillow and swooning. The latter would be from seeing Noah Centineo on screen for the better half of one hour and 39 minutes.

“Support the Girls” // Apoorva Kethidi, Staff Writer

Hulu // Directed by Andrew Bujalski // Rating: A-

2018 was a year of many outstanding independent films, but none were anything like “Support the Girls.” The film focuses on a bar called Double Whammies and its general manager Lisa (Regina Hall). Double Whammies is described as a sports bar, or more accurately, a “sports bar with curves” since the main appeal of the bar is the young waitresses in crop tops and roller skates.

This sweet and humorous dramatic comedy only spans one day of Lisa’s life as she deals with many problems that arise at the bar and in her personal life. She takes her job very seriously, especially when it comes to protecting her fellow waitresses from unwanted and inappropriate attention from the bar’s regulars. She has formed a very personal bond with all the young women she employs, so if they have a problem so does she.

This subsequently leads into the title of the film, as Lisa holds a “Support the Girls” car wash to help fellow employee Shaina (Jana Kramer), who hit her abusive boyfriend with her car and is staying with Lisa until she can get back on her feet. However, she must have the car wash under the guise of wanting to get new uniforms for the girls, otherwise her impatient and aggressive boss Cubby (James Le Gros), owner of Double Whammies, would not approve.

On the surface, “Support the Girls” may not seem like the feminist movie that it is. But once you crack through the barrier, it becomes clear that it is more than just a film about a bar. It’s about the struggles working women face from sexism to racism to unwanted sexual attention — all of which are problems women face daily.

“Pan’s Labyrinth” // Elizabeth Donnelly, Staff Writer

Netflix // Directed by Guillermo del Toro // Rating: A

From Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro, comes this mystical movie that ties the fantasy world in with reality. “Pan’s Labyrinth,” also known by its original name “El laberinto del fauno,” is an international drama — with dialogue spoken in Spanish — that follows the life of young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) as she lives in Spain after the Spanish Civil War.

This movie is presented as almost a fairy tale — something meant for children — but the storyline darkens quickly, warranting the R rating it received. “Pan’s Labyrinth” incorporates fantastical elements into Ofelia’s everyday life — the main one being the Faun (Doug Jones), who is sent to give Ofelia three tasks to complete so she can regain her spot as the princess of the underworld. Guillermo del Toro was able to construct an amazing storyline in which fantasy and reality coexist, creating a world in which Ofelia must fight to survive.

“Pan’s Labyrinth” has astounding costume and set designs. Guillermo del Toro is known for creating enticing mystical characters, but this movie really succeeded in designing the Faun and the Pale Man, both played by Doug Jones. The cinematography already creates a very ominous film, but with character and set design included, the creepiness is escalated immensely. If you’re in the mood for a dramatic yet captivating tale of trials and tribulations, then “Pan’s Labyrinth” is a must-see film for you.