Courtesy TV Junkie

As we continue to social distance the shit out of each other, we find more and more options for our viewing pleasure online. Here are but four gems I came across in my virtual travels.

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TV Junkie

Have you seen that show on Netflix called Tiger King? Me too. What a bunch of sociopathic nuts those folks are.

To quote another Netflix property out there I’ll probably never watch, Don’t F**k With Cats … or tigers, lions, monkeys, or any other animals. Seriously, just leave them the hell alone.

As awesomely awful as Tiger King‘s main characters were, there was a minor character on that shitshow circus that I was really curious about. Luckily, a random YouTube suggestion led me to Michael Cain and Matt Radecki’s 2006 rapid fire TMI documentary, TV Junkie.

Remember Rick Kirkham, Tiger King‘s videographer? Well, in TV Junkie we’re given a more expansive, more harrowing backstory of Kirkham before Joe Exotic was even on his radar. From minute one, it’s established that once he got a still camera as a kid, Kirkham documented everything he did in whatever medium he had on hand — over 3,000 hours of stuff.

With very little narration, we’re there watching as a 14-year-old Kirkham experiments with his camera. He films his vacations, the mundane stuff, his sexual exploits, his interactions with celebrities, himself working as a correspondent on the set of Inside Edition, and eventually he films himself crashing and burning into a crack cocaine nightmare.

Once the movie starts, you can’t look away as the sometimes likable, sometimes loathsome Kirkham descends into a hell of his own making.

Available on virtually every platform but Netflix, the flick is an exhausting, cautionary tale. If you loved or were fascinated by Tiger King, there’s a good chance you’ll be engrossed by all 104 minutes of this doc.

Tigertail

Alan Yang’s Tigertail is another Netflix property that has tiger in the title but has nothing to do with horrible humans doing horrible things.

Pin-Jui, a Taiwanese factory worker, leaves his homeland and the love of his life to seek a better life in America. From there, we follow the toll his decisions have taken on him, his relationship with his daughter, and the resulting desire to pursue the dreams he once ignored.

The film reminds me of some of Wong Kar-wai’s more mainstream films like Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love. The love and tragedy within the film are not of the loud and demonstrative kind we normally see. All the characters, including secondary ones, are richer characters than we may be used to.

Tigertail is visually beautiful and quietly wistful. If you don’t mind reading your film, I can’t recommend it enough. You’ll get swept up in the film’s lowkey grandeur.

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Killer Sofa

Imagine this. You’re a sofa (considering the amount of time you’ve been at home sitting down the past few weeks, this may not be that hard to imagine).

So as a sentient sofa dealing with people sitting on you all day, you’re probably feeling a slew of emotions. Some emotions are, considering your lack of mobility, probably a little homicidal. Even the title of Killer Sofa is wonderful because it is truth in advertising.

Francesca, beleaguered by guys who won’t leave her alone, soon finds herself in possession of a recliner that contains a Dybukk — the spirit of one of her dedicated, obsessed weirdos. There are homicide detectives named Gravy and Grape. An older gentleman has a vision after touching the recliner. This movie is absurd in the best kind of way (only slightly less absurd than the killer tire film, Rubber).

This movie, available on Amazon and YouTube, had no business being this fun.

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Beastie Boys Story

King Ad Rock (aka Adam Horovitz) and Micheal Diamond (aka Mike D) stand before a live studio audience and talk about friendship and being Beastie Boys with the late Adam Yauch (MCA). In a nutshell, that’s it.

While Apple TV’s film does go through the self congratulatory check list of all of the key moments of the Beastie Boys, for this fanboy, it’s more than that. A lot of that has to do with the creative force directing the whole shebang, Mr. Being John Malkovich himself, Spike Jonze.

As you would expect, the background music keeps the storytelling alive but more than anything it is Horovitz and Diamond’s animated recollections of their triumphs, regrets, and failures that keep things moving.

From an objective standpoint, it’s like the filmed stage monologues that Spaulding Gray was known for. I got choked up listening to Horovitz reflect on Yauch. I really enjoyed this but it’s also tugging at my nostalgia strings so my bias for the band and what they helped usher in creatively is so high that I don’t know if my rose colored glasses are still stuck to my face. Would it win over any new fans? Maybe.

For those who have an undying love for the trio, stay through the credits. On an unrelated but totally related point, there is a book out there titled Beastie Boys Book that makes for a nice companion piece to the movie.