Dominic LeRose and Johnny Bildings are seniors at UW-Madison who are fanatics about all things entertainment. Their goal is to recommend their favorite movies, TV shows, books, music, documentaries and specials to make the dismal times of the current pandemic a little less sufferable.
Under-sung compared to “The Social Network” just five years earlier, Danny Boyle’s “Steve Jobs” chronicles three product launches & days in the life of eponymous Apple founder & tech visionary - filled with all of the wonderful Aaron Sorkin dialogue I’ve raved about before and a Michael Fassbender transformation you won’t soon forget. The film successfully splits itself into 30-minute scenes that show us the man in the defining moments of his career and just how differently he saw the world, creating a unique vision of the biopic that makes sense given the scope of the subject at examination. With Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels and even Seth Rogen in strong supporting roles, I don’t know how I ever managed to let this one slip through the cracks.
One of the most visually arresting spectacles I’ve ever seen, JA Bayona’s 2012 film stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor as Marie & Henry Bennett - a British couple who take their family on vacation to Thailand in the days leading up to the Great Tsunami of 2004 and soon become separated as full-fledged disaster wrecks havoc upon the small island nation. Filled with jaw-dropping recreations of the initial surge and other moments of godlike phenomena, the journey takes on the full range of human emotion as Marie & her son Lucas - played by a young Tom Holland - struggle to stay alive and reunite with the rest of their family, clinging to the hope they can be found somewhere among the vast destruction that surrounds them. A true masterwork of disaster cinema, I guarantee there won’t be a dry eye in the house as you watch them navigate something that seems almost too far-fetched to believe actually happened.
'Nathan For You'
Disaster movie...pandemic...maybe something lighter to take the edge off? With four short seasons of genuinely hilarious documentary-style comedy, ease into the final weeks of classes by enjoying another underappreciated comedy in “Nathan For You”. Led by a former business school graduate and self-proclaimed “pretty smart guy,” comedian Nathan Fielder aims to help struggling small businesses across America by coming up with some truly outlandish marketing campaigns - more often than not getting quite a few puzzled looks in the process and providing every ounce of social awkwardness he possesses into every interaction he endures. Available on HBO Max and Hulu and perfect for both business & non-business majors alike, this show is cringe comedy at its finest and makes you chuckle at everything your textbook ever taught you.
The rock band that brought us hit albums such as Ten and Rearviewmirror, few bands have as much appeal as the classic rock group Pearl Jam. Led by the fearless guitarist and singer Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam’s rugged, powerful blend of passion and pain is incorporated in every song they create, from classic tunes such as “Black” and “Yellow Ledbetter” to rarer gems such as “Release” and “Just Breathe.” This is a band that not only consistently creates epic rock and roll hits that feed the soul but a band that captures the struggles of the human condition and provides us comfort through music.
'Saving Private Ryan'
With Veteran’s Day falling in the middle of November, what better film to watch than the greatest war movie of all time? Steven Spielberg’s finest film, “Saving Private Ryan” captures the raw truths of warfare and places us in the center of Europe during WWII with staggering detail and intensity. Featuring brutally realistic combat and one of Tom Hanks’ best performances, this American classic honors those who served in WWII to help save the world from tyranny and raises deep moral questions about how far a group of soldiers should go to save one soldier. With everything working perfectly in place, this is a film impossible not to admire.
'Real Time With Bill Maher'
One of the most outspoken political commentators and comedians, Bill Maher has stirred controversy for nearly 20 years, and rightfully so. Harshly critical of the left, right, and anyone in between who says something illogical, Maher’s sharp analysis of American politics that incorporates political views from all spectrums is one of the smartest shows you can watch on television. Featuring guests from all walks o0f life and political backgrounds, you can’t go wrong having a good laugh while also gaining new insight into our current political and social climate