Welcome to the IndieWire Watch List, a weekly feature that takes everything the site’s critics and editors are currently obsessed with and collects it all together in one place. From the best new movies and shows to can’t-miss streaming content and whatever else we can’t get out of our heads, consider this your one-stop shop for what to watch this weekend.
This week’s highlights include Rihanna day drinking, Jessie Buckley bringing you to tears, and the holy grail of anime coming to Netflix.
7. “Old Town Road” Cover [Musical Collective – YouTube]
The geniuses at Postmodern Jukebox have done it again, and this time they’re giving a bluesy spin to what is arguably the song of the year (although Billie Eilish would like to have a word). Lil Nas X’s remix of his song “Old Town Road” with Billy Ray Cyrus has attracted the likes of jazz great Miche Braden, whose vocals alone give unexpected drama. Throughout her attitude-laden performance, she adds her own personal touches, including commandeering the piano and a mic drop for the ages. The video is only about four minutes, but Braden owns every second on screen. Whoa, baby!—Hanh Nguyen, Senior Editor
6. Jessie Buckley in “Wild Rose” [Film — Theatrical]
A winsome crossover between the social-realism of Ken Loach and the country spirit of Kacey Musgraves, Tom Harper’s “Wild Rose” might follow the familiar melodies of a fish-out-of-water crowdpleaser, but this story of a delinquent Glasgow woman who dreams of singing at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry still manages to sound unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Credit for that belongs to the ridiculous talent of Jessie Buckley, whose unbridled lead performance builds on her work in “Beast” and “Chernobyl” to confirm the young Irish star as one of the most exciting people you could ever hope to see on a movie screen. She’s a force of nature in every scene, but your heart stops beating whenever she starts to sing. Don’t believe me? Just check out the video above, where Buckley belts out the movie’s signature ballad (co-written by Mary Steenburgen!)—David Ehrlich, Senior Film Critic
5. “The Edge of Democracy” [Film — Netflix]
American viewers watching Petra Costa’s “The Edge of Democracy” — an angry, intimate, and haunting portrait of Brazil’s recent slide back into the open jaws of dictatorship — might find it morbidly fitting that the nation’s capital is one hour ahead of Washington D.C.; for all the specificity of Costa’s doc, her film can’t help but feel like a preview of what might be coming for us. At what point does a story about one failing democracy become a story about all failing democracies? Perhaps there’s no way of knowing until it’s already too late. —David Ehrlich, Senior Film Critic
4. Forky in “Toy Story 4” [Sentient Spork — Theatrical]
To talk about “Toy Story 4” is to talk about Forky. This is a movie that doesn’t initially appear to have any compelling reason to exist — the forced but satisfying third installment of Pixar’s signature franchise seemed to wrap things up when it came out almost a full decade ago — and yet Forky alone is enough to elevate this potential cash-grab into the beautiful and hilarious coda that its long-running series needed to be truly complete. Forky is the hero we need in 2019.
A plastic spork with mismatched googly eyes, a red pipe cleaner for arms, and an existential crisis that causes him to snap even though he technically can’t even bend, Forky (voiced by Tony Hale, doing a lobotomized Buster Bluth) was never meant to be a toy; he’s just an art project that a young girl named Bonnie frankensteins together in kindergarten one day. But something magical happens when she writes her name along the bottom of the wooden popsicle sticks that Forky uses as his stupid little feet: He comes to life. He’s endowed with a soul. Bonnie’s affection for this misbegotten thing is all it takes to transform an inanimate object into a character with a name and a home and a place to belong.
Sentience is a strange thing to give to a spork, and Forky may be slow to wrap his brainless scoop of a head around these hard ideas — he’s convinced that he’s a piece of trash, and spends a brilliant sequence doing everything in his power to get back into the garbage — but he still epitomizes the big idea that props up the “Toy Story” universe, if not Pixar’s entire brand. These movies don’t just present love as something we look for, but also quite literally as the force that animates life itself. —David Ehrlich, Senior Film Critic
3. Seth Meyers and Rihanna Go Day Drinking [Late Night Segment — YouTube]
There are a lot of segments to love on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” but few showcase the eponymous host’s giddy enthusiasm as much as “Day Drinking,” a bit in which Meyers and a celebrity get outrageously drunk in the middle of the day and film it for our entertainment. This week, the gods blessed Meyers and “Late Night” and each and every one of us with the greatest day-drinking buddy of all: Rihanna. While the music goddess, philanthropist and Fenty fashion guru kept it low key as she grew increasingly intoxicated, Meyers – both sober and drunk – was all of us: In disbelief that he got to chill with Rihanna. And what the segment ultimately reveals is that it would be so amazing to hang out with Rihanna and also that every one of us would make an absolute ass of ourselves in the process.
The auspicious timing of the video, which was featured on June 20, seems calculated to create headlines for Meyers in the final days of Emmy nomination voting. It’s a good strategy for a great show that deserves all the Emmy love it can get. —Libby Hill, IndieWire TV Awards Editor
2. “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” [Film — Theatrical]
Toni Morrison, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of many critically acclaimed novels, as well as editor of other works of iconic African-American literature, and professor emeritus at Princeton University, is the subject of director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ documentary. Premiering at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, it’s not the first film on the 88-year-old Morrison’s life and work, but it’s certainly the most comprehensive. Friends for almost 40 years, Morrison is open and candid in her conversations with Greenfield-Sanders, in a film that assembles her peers, critics and colleagues (including a who’s who of the American literary, media, academic and political landscapes), as well as a treasure trove of archival material, for an enlightening exploration of her life and work. Magnolia Pictures opens the film in select US theaters today. —Tambay Obenson, Staff Writer
1. “Neon Genesis Evangelion” [Anime Series — Netflix]
It feels too good to be true — the result of a licensing coup so extreme that some otaku might think of it as the Fourth Impact. After more than 10 years of being unavailable to buy on DVD (or acquire via any other legal means), all 26 episodes of Anno Hideaki’s “Neon Genesis Evangelion” are now streaming on Netflix, along with both of the unhinged feature-length films that Anno made in response to complaints that the show’s notoriously oblique nervous-breakdown of an ending didn’t make any sense.
Critical opinion about over the new dubs has yet to arrive at a consensus, but this is still the same monolithic saga that shook the anime world to its foundations — still the same psychologically implosive saga that turned a familiar story about kids piloting giant robots into an unsolvable exploration of the human psyche. If you’re at all into anime, or even casually interested in a work of popular television so daring that only David Lynch has come anywhere close to it on this side of the world, “Neon Genesis Evangelion” is essential viewing.—David Ehrlich, Senior Film Critic