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Ready to catch up on your binge watching and wanting a little local Birmingham flavor in your watch list? We reached out to Gareth Jones of Sleep in Cinema and others to get their recommendations. Here’s what we found.
1. Sidewalk Film’s recommendations
When you’ve got extra time on your hands, why not consult the experts for their recommendations of the best movies to watch?
2. Movies directed and produced by people from Birmingham
First, some movies + shows with a local focus:
- Four Little Girls, directed by Spike Lee with Birmingham’s own Michele Forman as associate producer.
- Look for Alabama Blackbelt Blues on Alabama Public Television (APT) in the fall of 2020
- The Making of Romeo & Juliet is another APT documentary that’s perfect if you missed the recent performances by The Alabama Ballet and Alabama Symphony Orchestra.
- Discovering Alabama is a show from APT that’ll help you feel like you’re out exploring the great outdoors, even if you’re cozy on your couch.
Dana Goldberg’s post-apocalyptic action horror thrillers seem strangely prescient.
Dana Goldberg and I went to Mountain Brook High School together, and she amazed us all by going on to become the Hollywood producer of a trio of films about the end of the world that feel strangely topical right now:
- I am Legend: Dana was one of the producers on the 2007 version of this post-apocalyptic action thriller featuring an unstoppable deadly virus. While it’s hard to find the 2007 version, Amazon Prime will direct you to the 2017 version, starring Will Smith.
- Annihilation: If a deadly virus run amok isn’t scary enough for you, how ’bout a “shimmer” with mutations around every corner that threaten life as we know it? This one stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh + Tessa Thompson. Watch it here.
- World War Z: Perhaps a zombie pandemic is more what you’re in the mood for. If so, this 2013 apocalyptic action horror film (I honestly didn’t know such a genre existed, having stopped my horror-watching career with The Exorcist during college) is for you. Brad Pitt stars in this one. You’ll find it on a number of different streaming services, including Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, and iTunes.
Daniel Scheinert’s dark humor could be just what the doctor ordered.
Daniel Scheinert is a Jefferson County International Baccalaureate alum who got his start in local theatre. Inspired by the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, he pivoted into film and hasn’t looked back.
- The Death of Dick Long: Dark comedy seems to fit the mood right now, and this one won’t disappoint. If you didn’t see this one at the Sidewalk Film Festival, catch it on Amazon Prime.
- Swiss Army Man: If you’ve ever wondered what Danielle Radcliffe has done since the Harry Potter movies, you need to check this one out. Winner of the Sundance Film Festival Directing Award, it looks dark, funny and unlike anything you’ve ever seen. For a small price, you can catch this one on Amazon Prime, iTunes, GooglePlay and Netflix.
Catch up on some high points in cinema history with director John Badham’s films.
John Badham is an English-born American director who moved to his dad’s hometown of Birmingham when he was two years old. You may have seen some of the films this Indian Springs grad made—if not, here’s your chance:
3. These movies featuring Birmingham and Alabama actors’ll keep you busy
- Tallulah Bankhead was from Huntsville, but for the purposes of this list, we’ll expand our horizons to include her. Lifeboat by Hitchcock‘s a good one to start with.
- Dean Jones, from Decatur, was a beloved Disney actor. For some classic laughs, check out The Love Bug and The Shaggy DA on Disney + as well as many others with him.
- Walton Goggins was born in Birmingham and has been in a lot of film and TV productions, including The Hateful Eight, Them That Follow, Justified, Sons of Anarchy and The Righteous Gemstones.
- Louise Fletcher, from Birmingham, was in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, To Kill A Mockingbird which also stars another Badham
- Mary Badham, John Badham’s sister, as Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird.
Gareth also recommends listening the SideTalks podcast as a way to brush up on your movie knowledge.
Now tell us, Birmingham, what did we miss? What Birmingham-influenced shows and movies are you streaming right now? Tag us on social @Bham Now and let us know.
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