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5 Movies You Should See in Theaters Now

Rarely, if ever, have there been five movies in simultaneous release that I would enthusiastically recommend to anyone, even in the midst of the annual holiday slew of prestige Oscar hopefuls. This year is different.

The Wrestler

This is a rare film indeed. Written by former Onion scribe Robert Siegel, the script isn't at all what you'd expect from a comic genius: in Siegel's own words, it's "20% comedy, 80% darkness." Directed by hyperkinetic auteur Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream), it's an unusually restrained and naturalistic outing for a filmmaker known for quick cuts and visual tricks. The movie works on a curiously satisfying meta-narrative level that no one could've planned for, but worked out beautifully: it's the story of a washed-up professional wrestler called Randy "the Ram" Robinson, barely eking out a living 20 years after his prime, willing his body to continue taking punishment in the ring that it can no longer withstand because the ring is the only place the Ram feels like himself. In a bit of brilliant casting, the Ram is played by Mickey Rourke, himself a (formerly) washed-up actor, the conventional wisdom about whom is that he's 20 years past his prime, and who in the early 1990s quit acting to re-start an old career as a professional boxer. If Rouke doesn't look quite like he used to, well, neither does the Ram, and both of them have been hit in the face many, many times.

It's my favorite film of the year. Check out the trailer. Bruce Springsteen doesn't write an original song for just any old movie.

Doubt

I saw Doubt on Broadway. It was, and still is, the best play I've ever seen; critics agreed, showering it, and its star Cherry Jones, with Tony awards. (Fun fact: when Cherry came to Los Angeles, she stayed in the apartment across the hall from me. Besides being a great actress, she's an incredibly nice person.) When I heard they were making a movie of Doubt, I was skeptical that anyone, even Meryl Streep, could fill the shoes of Cherry's role the way she did. Also, filmed adaptations of theatrical productions are full of pitfalls, the most obvious one being that people sitting in a room talking for two hours tends not to be very cinematic. Though the film wasn't quite as good as the play, in my humble estimation, it was close enough; Streep's performance is powerful, if markedly different than Cherry's, and the unfancy direction doesn't get in the way of the fantastic writing. I wish there were clips of Cherry's performance on YouTube; instead, here's the trailer for the film:

Frost/Nixon

It's definitely unusual for there to be two -- good -- adaptations of Broadway productions in release at the same time. For my money, Frost/Nixon is the better of the two, largely because it retains its Broadway cast in the filmed adaptation. Michael Sheen and Frank Langella play David Frost and Richard Nixon, respectively, who met for an astounding 30 hours' worth of interviews not long after Nixon left office. It was billed as "the trial Nixon never got." Going in, I had no idea how director Ron Howard and writer Peter Morgan (who wrote the play as well as 2006's The Queen) were going to make a movie about two people sitting in chairs opposite one another interesting -- but it was riveting. The stakes couldn't have been higher: Nixon was defending his reputation, and Frost, a popular talk show host who had never been taken seriously in journalistic circles, staked his entire career on the gambit. The performances are amazing, the story fascinating and, always a bonus for flossy moviegoers like myself, it's all true.

Slumdog Millionaire

A fascinating hybrid of genres and cultures, Slumdog is based on an Indian novel, directed with great flair by Englishman Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later), shot in English and Hindi and set in colorful, rollicking Mumbai. It's the story of a street kid from Mumbai named Jamal who, at the beginning of the movie, is being tortured by a TV producer who suspects he cheated on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? Jamal swears he hasn't cheated, and tells the amazing story of his life in flashbacks as he explains to the producer how he knew the answer to every question on the show. It's a great story with an amazing structure, executed perfectly. It'll certainly be in contention for some Oscars this year -- see it!

Milk

I think the Best Actor Oscar this year is going to be a dead heat between Mickey Rourke, for his impressive return to form in The Wrestler, and Sean Penn, for his lively, heartbreaking turn as murdered activist and politician Harvey Milk. Fans of the blog may know Harvey Milk best from his association with the notorious "Twinkie defense" -- lawyers for Milk's assassin, fellow San Fransisco Supervisor Dan White, got his sentence reduced from murder to involuntary manslaughter by noting that the normally health-conscious White had not been himself before the killings, and had taken to drinking great volumes of Coca-cola and eating junk food. Also, in another example of meta-narrative magic, Milk was released just as California's prop 8 controversy was heating up, making much of the film's 70s-era fight for gay rights seem downright contemporary.

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Every New Movie, TV Series, and Special Coming to Netflix in May
Netflix
Netflix

Netflix is making way for loads of laughs in its library in May, with a handful of original comedy specials (Steve Martin, Martin Short, Carol Burnett, Tig Notaro, and John Mulvaney will all be there), plus the long-awaited return of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Here’s every new movie, TV series, and special making its way to Netflix in May.

MAY 1

27: Gone Too Soon

A Life of Its Own: The Truth About Medical Marijuana

Amelie

Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Season 1

Beautiful Girls

Darc

God's Own Country

Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous Live at Radio City

Mr. Woodcock

My Perfect Romance

Pocoyo & Cars

Pocoyo & The Space Circus

Queens of Comedy: Season 1

Reasonable Doubt

Red Dragon

Scream 2

Shrek

Simon: Season 1

Sliding Doors

Sometimes

The Bourne Ultimatum

The Carter Effect

The Clapper

The Reaping

The Strange Name Movie

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V: Season 2

MAY 2

Jailbreak

MAY 4

A Little Help with Carol Burnett

Anon

Busted!: Season 1

Dear White People: Volume 2

End Game

Forgive Us Our Debts

Kong: King of the Apes: Season 2

Manhunt

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Tina Fey

No Estoy Loca

The Rain: Season 1

MAY 5

Faces Places

MAY 6

The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale

MAY 8

Desolation

Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives

MAY 9

Dirty Girl

MAY 11

Bill Nye Saves the World: Season 3

Evil Genius: the True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist

Spirit Riding Free: Season 5

The Kissing Booth

The Who Was? Show: Season 1

MAY 13

Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife

MAY 14

The Phantom of the Opera

MAY 15

Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce: Season 4

Grand Designs: Seasons 13 - 14

Only God Forgives

The Game 365: Seasons 15 - 16

MAY 16

89

Mamma Mia!

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

The Kingdom

Wanted

MAY 18

Cargo

Catching Feelings

Inspector Gadget: Season 4

MAY 19

Bridge to Terabithia

Disney’s Scandal: Season 7

Small Town Crime

MAY 20

Some Kind of Beautiful

MAY 21

Señora Acero: Season 4

MAY 22

Mob Psycho 100: Season 1

Shooter: Season 2

Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 2

Tig Notaro Happy To Be Here

MAY 23

Explained

MAY 24

Fauda: Season 2

Survivors Guide to Prison

MAY 25

Ibiza

Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life

The Toys That Made Us: Season 2

Trollhunters: Part 3

MAY 26

Sara's Notebook

MAY 27

The Break with Michelle Wolf

MAY 29

Disney·Pixar's Coco

MAY 30

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4

MAY 31

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Howard Stern

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The First-Ever Troop of Homeless Girl Scouts Just Crushed Their Cookie Sales Goal
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iStock

Selling 32,500 boxes of cookies in a single week would be noteworthy for any team of Girl Scouts, but it's an especially sweet achievement for Troop 6000: The New York City-based chapter is the first-ever Girl Scout troop composed entirely of children living in homeless shelters.

According to NBC News, this season marked the first time the troop took part in the organization's annual cookie sale tradition. In early April, they received exclusive permission to set up shop inside the Kellogg's Café in Union Square. They kicked off their inaugural stand sale aiming to sell at least 6000 boxes of cookies: At the end of six days, they had sold more than 32,500.

Some customers waited in line an hour to purchase boxes from the history-making young women. Others gave their money directly to the troop, collectively donating over $15,000 to fund trips and activities. After purchasing their cookies, customers could also buy special Girl Scout cookie-inspired menu items from the Kellogg's store, with all proceeds going to Troop 6000.

The troop formed in 2016 as a collaboration between the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Mayor de Blasio, and the city Department of Homeless Services. Meetings are held in shelters across the city, and many of the troop leaders, often mothers of the scouts, are homeless women themselves. About 40 percent of New York's homeless population are children, and Troop 6000 had to expand last summer to accommodate a flood of new recruits. Today, there are about 300 girls enrolled in the program.

[h/t NBC News]

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