PORTLAND PICK: Al Corley’s 2005 comedy Bigger Than the Sky will resonate with any shy soul who has used acting to blast free of their inhibitions. As an amateur cast as Cyrano, Marcus Thomas bristles with painfully perfect awkwardness, but his character’s self-reinvention (and his combative friendship with a castmate played by John Corbett) rings true. It’s also a treat to see the Hollywood Theatre on screen, even if the film hilariously confuses Portland’s east and west sides in the opening credits. Apple TV+.
INDIE PICK: Mansplaining the Manic Pixie Dream Girl theory doesn’t make you woke, film bros. Released in 2004, Zach Braff’s Garden State may have a hero (Braff) who falls for a manic-ish, pixie-ish gal (Natalie Portman), but there’s more emotional truth in one moment of the movie than there is in an encyclopedia of snarky critiques. Plus, Garden State has a secret weapon: Mark (Peter Sarsgaard), a tough stoner whose act of unexpected compassion gently transforms the film. Amazon Prime.
HOLLYWOOD PICK: The great Justin Lin is no longer directing the next Fast & Furious film (boo!). So why not check out his first entry in the series, 2006′s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift? Lucas Black’s lead performance as an American hooligan in Japan is delightfully atrocious, but the action is transcendent—especially a four-car chase that parts a crowd at Tokyo’s bustling Shibuya Crossing like the Red Sea. HBO Max.
INTERNATIONAL PICK: With Japanese cinema god Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Broker headed for Cannes, now is the time to revisit Shoplifters, which may be his masterpiece. Just speaking certain lines from the film—especially “If they loved you, if they really loved you, this is what you do” and “Dad”—is enough to reduce Kore-eda acolytes to ecstatic tears, but it’s no downer. Like the main characters, who leap into the air during a day at the beach, you will take flight as you watch, borne aloft by their love. Amazon Prime/Magnolia Selects, Tubi.