Weekend Watchlist | Summer picks you might have missed

By The Pitt News Staff

Have you ever been scrolling through a streaming service and gone, “Wait, when did this drop?” There are new streaming services dropping every day it seems, and with them a slew of original content that can be hard to keep track of. Don’t worry though, because The Pitt News staff is here to help recommend things that might have slipped through the cracks.

Centaurworld (Netflix) // Sinéad McDevitt, Digital Manager

Do you enjoy watching the after effects of trauma on different communities through the lens of a colorful animated musical? Did you even know you wanted to see that? Then you should check out “Centaurworld” on Netflix. A Warhorse named Horse gets transported from a grimdark fantasy world into the titular colorful My-Little-Pony-esque land filled with “singing and dancing half-animal half-man things.” Don’t let the colorful surroundings, squishy character designs and Y-7 fool you, it doesn’t take long before the dark sides of the world start to show up. In episode eight a character gets eaten by a whale and it’s a pretty blatant metaphor for suicide (they get better).

The show’s music is great, and it’s sung by some broadway powerhouses like Kimiko Glenn and Jessie Mueller from “Waitress,” Renée Elise Goldsberry, best known for playing Angelica Schuyler in “Hamilton” and Lea Salonga, the singing voice for Mulan and Jasmine. I can’t recommend this show enough, but make sure you have tissues on hand and are prepared to get the songs stuck in your head for weeks.

Luca (Disney+) // Diana Velasquez, Culture Editor

If you’re an avid watcher of TikToks you probably already know about the meme phenomenon that is Pixar’s “Luca.” While you might want to watch it to understand the internet’s weird obsession with two fish-boys from the ‘60s Italian riviera, you should also watch it because it’s a freaking awesome movie. 

“Luca” centers on two young sea monsters, Luca (Jacob Tremblay) and Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) living in northern Italy by Genoa. Luca, who has lived a sheltered life under the ocean with his overbearing parents, finds himself drawn to the outgoing Alberto who takes him to visit the forbidden “surface world” where the humans live. Luca, who has never been out of the water before, finds that he turns into a human when dry. After both boys decide to run away to the nearby human town to chase their dream of owning a Vespa, they find themselves entangled in a local triathlon while trying to avoid the unmasking of their identities to the local sea-monster hunters. It’s more sedate than some of Pixar’s other movies, but the animation is quirky and absolutely gorgeous. And like all Pixar movies I, and surely many of the others watching, found themselves bawling at the movie’s conclusion. 

The Empty Man (HBO Max) // Simon Sweeney, Staff Writer

The film is not actually a streaming original, but has fallen through the cracks of streaming nonetheless. It was shot years ago, caught up in the Disney-Fox merger, and dumped entirely without ceremony into a smattering of theaters in late 2020 before being released –– initially in the wrong aspect ratio –– to home video. There it was picked up and trumpeted as a masterpiece of modern horror by an ever-growing internet cult and now “The Empty Man” gets its first shot at widespread viewership on HBO Max.

It’s got a lot going for it –– steady, precise direction, a sense of impenetrable mythology and, crucially, an ability to be actually scary not seen in so long that it seems initially impossible. Built around urban legends and underground whispers and not afraid to ignore the tenets of logic and get chest-deep in its own tangled lore, it follows in the spirit of such icons as the recently resurrected “Candyman,” elegant and bold. “The Empty Man” is calm, confident and fascinating, an object created as a perfect counter to the present wave of airless, hollow horror filmmaking. It’s not to be understood, but it is to be experienced.

Feel Good (Netflix) // Charlie Taylor, Contributing Editor

The first season of “Feel Good,” Mae Martin’s semi-autobiographical comedy, came out in March 2020, around the height of quarantine. An exploration of personal trauma interlaced with awkward humor, the show follows Mae, a recovering addict, as she falls in love with George (Charlotte Ritchie), who previously considered herself straight.

Season two hit Netflix in June, and Mae and George are still trying to work out their issues. Looming over Mae’s head are both the question of her gender identity and her unresolved trauma — especially as her friend Scott (John Ross Bowie) re-enters her life. Mae values his friendship and believes he helped her through her addiction, but as her loved ones question the fact that she lived with the grown-up Scott as a young teen, she uncovers trauma she had left hidden for years. The show portrays Mae’s relationship to her trauma in a heartbreakingly honest light, while refusing to romanticize her relationship with George. That honesty makes “Feel Good” a refreshing queer love story.

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