Paramount Plus is one of the newest arrivals on the streaming scene, and while its roster is rolling out plenty of exciting streaming original and acquired shows, there are plenty of movies that are worth exploring. From the classic to the current and from the vintage to the very new, Paramount Plus offers an excellent movie lineup. To save you some time from surfing, The Manual has dug out a few of the very best below.
The original spoof movie remains one of the funniest. Airplane! contains an all-star cast that includes Leslie “Don’t call me Shirley,” Nielsen’s turn as Dr. Rumack and Beau Bridges as Jack McCroskey, the addled former smoker, alcoholic, and apparent glue-sniffing advocate.
As the situation deteriorates on a floundering jet (that’s constantly aided by the sound of a propeller plane) the jokes fly fast and furious. There are so many that it takes multiple views to even catch them all. (Watch out for McCroskey’s sneering visage repeated ad infinitum behind him in an iconic scene.)
From Randy (Lorna Patterson )the Stewardess announcing, “There is no reason to become alarmed and we hope you enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who can fly a plane?” to Captain Oveur (Peter Graves) asking a kid in the cockpit, “Joey, have you ever been to a Turkish prison?,” the movie remains eminently quotable. Even Beaver Cleaver’s mom, actress Barbara Billingsley, makes an appearance in Airplane!.
An entry into the film odes to greed hall of fame, The Wolf of Wall Street is a fabulous journey into forsaken levels of self-interest.Based on Jordan Belfort’s real-life autobiography, The Wolf of Wall Street follows Belfort’s rise from stockbroker into penny stock hawker to a self-made millionaire who founds Stratton Oakmont at age 30. The over-the-counter brokerage house sells mounds of poor stock picks to uninformed investors, taking livelihoods along the way to making his brokers millionaires themselves. The party, the sex, the drugs, the whole house of cards, however, has to eventually fall. Filmmaker Martin Scorsese directs the on-screen story of the non-stop thrills at Stratton, where corruption ruled and more was never enough.
In Ascension, we get to see a modern capital economy’s growth from on the ground up. The 2021 MTV documentary film follows the pursuit of the Chinese dream through a 3 billion-member society that erupts in a riot of class stratification after permitting a regulated capitalism that, prioritizes productivity and innovation over all else. This includes civil rights like freedom of speech, press, and more.
Ascension premiered in June 2021 at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won Best Documentary Feature. Director and producer, Jessica Kingdon originally did not intend to focus solely on China, according to the director. She described it as “an image-driven essay film composed of a series of vignettes, climbing up the rungs of China’s social ladder.” Like steps up society’s levels, Ascension is tiered into three stories, elevating up through classes — the proletariat, the aspirational middle, and a wanton elite — strict social tiers where the wealthiest are crystalized at the top.
After almost a quarter of a century on air and a movie or two in, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone finally revealed what would happen to Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny later on in life. Kind of. One of the highlights of the holiday season, South Park: Post COVID: The Return of COVID is another rampaging romp through hyperbolic American reality in a small Colorado mountain town.
The plot follows the gang brought back together in 2020 as they try and prevent COVID’s appearance so that an upside-world won’t ever happen. In this strange place, Cartman is the second most successful of the boys, becoming an apparently devoted rabbi. Kenny, a mysterious billionaire as a man, is still dead. Kyle has a life, but not much of one, and Stan’s has taken a terrible turn. Obstacles of course arise in traveling back to the past, including the appearance of a negative force in Victor Chaos.
At times crude, dark, hilarious, and ridiculous, and yet somehow making sense, the South Park formula works just as well in long form. You’ll have to stream it, however, to see how.
Speaking of dark, Rosemary’s Baby shines as a pitch black horror flick from a fittingly disgraced and troubled Roman Polanski.
Mia Farrow plays Rosemary, pregnant with seemingly no control over her decisions or the being gestating in her. Young and naive, Rosemary accepts this treatment as a matter of fact. She spends the movie at the mercy of her overbearing neighbors (Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer), co-conspiratorial husband, Guy (John Cassavetes), and doctor (Ralph Bellamy).
Ghastly dreams fill recurring nights. After too many meetings with a demon with glowing yellow eyes, she realizes that there may be something awful in her womb. In addition to being very scary, Rosemary’s Baby is a vicious commentary on how easy it is to crush Rosemary’s spirit in service of the great self-serving god.
“You cannot make friends with the rock stars,” Philip Seymour Hoffman says as Ur-rock critic Lester Bangs in Almost Famous.
Classic line after classic line drops in this true-to-life paean to rock n’ roll.
Cameron Crowe wrote and directed this autobiographical masterpiece about his young life becoming a music writer for Rolling Stone. William Miller (Patrick Fugit) is a high school student who fakes his way into a gig writing for what was the world’s most famous music magazine in the early 1970s. It’s serendipity that throws him into rock band Stillwater’s tour bus.
The 15-year-old Miller’s first assignment is to tour with Stillwater and document the behind-the-scenes experience — warts and all. In a world where planes fall from the sky and beautiful women slip into and out of the fold, bandmates bicker like little kids, and guitarist’s leap from roofs, Miller finds a more complicated adult world on the roller coaster ride.
One of the richest films of its era, Almost Famous includes incredible performances from the gone-too-soon Hoffman, Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, and Frances McDormand.
“I want you to hit me as hard as you can.”
Adapted from the Chuck Palahniuk book of the same name, Fight Club is still smacking masochistic fans over 20 years after it appeared. The story of a very bored and very unslept, unnamed narrator (Edward Norton), the modern man’s life is finally shaken up by Brad Pitt’s turn as the uber-male Tyler Durden.
The too-tightly-wound insomniac soon pairs with Durden in escaping today’s dirge to masculinity by channeling primal male aggression into a bloody new therapy. As underground “fight clubs” begin to bubble up across the country, the narrator’s purposeful spiral towards the void quickly finds the oblivion he seeks.
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