While local rep theaters are out of commission, we'll be putting together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. This week, we highlight movies that document the highs and lows of that fickle creature Creativity, which is frustratingly difficult to summon amid tempestuous current events.
Opening Night (1977)
A master class in acting, auteur John Cassavetes' unforgettable drama centers on Myrtle Gordon (Gena Rowlands, his real-life wife), a fading theater actress who spirals into personal turmoil after a teenage fan is hit by a car while trying to meet her. Ben Gazzara, Joan Blondell and Cassavetes himself all co-star. Amazon Prime, HBO Go, HBO Max, iTunes, Kanopy, Vudu.
Her Smell (2018)
One of the greatest and most underseen movies of 2018, Her Smell plays out like a contemporary Opening Night, but with riot grrrl punk instead of the theater. Elisabeth Moss stars as Becky Something, an unstable rocker past her prime who struggles to come to terms with her need for sobriety and loss of creativity. Grungy and dizzying in all the best ways. Google Play, HBO Go, HBO Max, Hulu, Kanopy, Vudu, YouTube.
Young Adult (2011)
Yet another movie about an unhinged blond artist going publicly nuts! Written by the inimitable Diablo Cody, this dramedy follows the return of YA author Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) to her hometown after receiving a new baby announcement from an old flame (Patrick Wilson) she still harbors feelings for. The results are inevitably messy. Amazon Prime, Crackle, Google Play, iTunes, Kanopy, Pluto TV, Vudu, YouTube.
Madeline's Madeline (2018)
This borderline experimental character study explores the inextricable connection between art and personal experience. Newcomer Helena Howard delivers an incredible performance as the titular Madeline, a teenager in a prestigious improvisational theater group who is pushed to the breaking point by her relentless director. Amazon Prime, Google Play, Kanopy, YouTube.
Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present (2012)
You may have heard of performance artist Marina Abramovic from her famous MoMA exhibition, where strangers were invited to sit across from her as she sat in a chair—silent and immobile—for a grand total of 736 hours. This intimate documentary chronicles her preparation for the historic piece and provides an eye-opening retrospective of her vast body of work. Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, Kanopy, Sling TV, Vudu, YouTube.