There’s a whole lotta content out there these days, and that’s putting it mildly. IndieWire does its best to sort the jewels from the junk and keep readers up to speed on the film, TV, and digital media that’s worth their time, but not even the most avid consumers of pop culture can find room for it all on their radars. The sheer volume of stuff has made it almost impossible for people to even keep tabs on the stuff they know they want to watch; at a time when a week can feel like a year, that great new indie you read about on Monday can feel like a distant memory by the time you finally get a chance to go see it on Friday.
With that in mind, we’re excited to introduce the IndieWire Watch List, a new 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 the splashy return of HBO’s biggest little show, one of the year’s best American films, and a comedy sketch that will forever change the way you Instagram about brunch.
7. “Live From Here” [Radio Show]
Chris Thile’s “Live from Here” might be a weekly radio show, but the video clips of its performances have become one of the best ongoing concert series anywhere online. There are plenty of original songs, mixed in with new, one-of-a-kind interpretations of classics from a rotating group of some of the best musicians on the planet. But one example from last month, Lake Street Dive lead singer Rachael Price’s stunning cover of Tom Waits’ heartbreaking “Take it with Me,” is enough to make you want to tune in to see (and hear) what magic is in store every week. — Steve Greene, Associate TV Editor
6. “Big Little Lies: Season 2” [Limited Series — HBO]
The women of Monterey are back, and their lies are both bigger — and littler! — than they were before. Much of “Big Little Lies” Season 2, HBO’s pricey sequel to what was initially a limited series, is the same. The star-studded cast has returned, along with writer David E. Kelley. So has Jean-Marc Vallée, who directed and edited the entirety of the first season, and now comes back to lend a hand in the editing room and maintain the series’ groovy rhythm. But the mystery is gone.
Liane Moriarty’s original story was built on buildup toward a reveal: Who died, and who killed them? After answering that question, her Season 2 structure pivots from a juicy murder-mystery into a heartbreaking cover-up, as the ramifications of their actions affect the Monterey Five in ways both expected and startling. Under the urgent eye of new director Andrea Arnold, “Big Little Lies” Season 2 is a wholly different beast — but it’s still very, very good.—Ben Travers, Critic & Deputy Editor, TV
5. “Infinite Football” [Streaming Film — Kanopy]
Smirking and mirthful, this documentary from Romanian director Cornelieu Poromboiu (“12:08 East of Bucharest”) introduces us to a workaday bureaucrat named Laurențiu Ginghină who’s convinced that the most popular sport on planet Earth isn’t being played the right way. “The rules of football are wrong,” he states outright. He says we should ban right angles, divide teams into sub-teams, and restrict players to certain parts of the field — he’s been dreaming about this his entire life. “Infinite Football” begins as a Herzogian portrait of a self-possessed dreamer, but every one of its laughs is followed by a bitter political backwash. Watching Ginghină suffer through the futility of his government job — where he works to expedite his own obsolescence — we hit upon the poignancy of trying to make the world a better place, and how even the slightest effort to create a brighter tomorrow can seem like tilting at windmills.
“Infinite Football” is streaming for free on Kanopy, and is one of many great reasons why anyone with a library card should sign up for the service.— David Ehrlich, Senior Film Critic
4. “Instagram” [Comedy Sketch — YouTube]
A wonderful entrée to Tim Robinson’s deviously funny Netflix sketch show “I Think You Should Leave,” “Instagram” might be the single most perfect little pearl of comedy we’ve seen this year. This demented (but all too real) look at the subtleties of social media features a hilarious Vanessa Bayer as a foul-mouthed but well-meaning woman who just can’t seem to wrap her head around the fine art of photo captioning her friends. It’s only 128 seconds long, and it deserves to be in the permanent collection of the Louvre.—DE
3. “The Other Two” [TV Series — Comedy Central]
“The Other Two” premieres in the plum timeslot directly after “Broad City,” and Comedy Central couldn’t have done better for its hilarious new series. Former “Saturday Night Live” writers Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider are behind this showbiz satire about two adult siblings who are still struggling with their careers when their 13-year-old brother suddenly becomes a viral singing sensation. Broad and goofy, yet snarky as hell, this comedy hasn’t met a pop culture reference it didn’t love to exploit. But beneath that farce is a surprisingly endearing portrait of a loving family still raw from shared pain.— Hanh Nguyen, Senior TV Editor
Now you can watch the entire first season of “The Other Two” streaming for free on Comedy Central’s site. Click here for IndieWire’s full review.
2. “I Am Easy to Find” [Short Film — Streaming]
At a time when streaming technology has inspired major stars to make “visual albums” that range from incendiary battle cries (“Lemonade”) to glorified streaming commercials (“Guava Island”), “I Am Easy to Find” — which is the name of The National’s new album, as well as the title of the 25-minute short that “Beginners” director Mike Mills made alongside it — points to an even greater potential. Developed in secret over 18 months of radically free-form collaboration, this beautiful experiment suggests that a video doesn’t have to be made after the fact of its music; that film can be as much a part of an album as an album is a part of a film. And Alicia Vikander’s nearly wordless performance is one of the year’s best.—DE
Click here to read IndieWire’s in-depth story on the making of “I Am Easy to Find.”
1. “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” [Theatrical Film — NY/LA/SF]
Shot in a woozy, unreal, and dryly comedic style that splits the difference between Spike Jonze and Spike Lee, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” slows the world down just enough for you to feel it changing. Both a spiteful love letter and a hilarious surrender, Talbot’s debut is as much a requiem for the things we lose as it is a pointed reminder that nothing is really ours to keep. This is a special film for how bravely it steels its characters for a future where most of us can only belong to each other. It’s a film that’s as sad for its city as it is for all of the people who can no longer afford to live there. It’s one of the most essential indies so far this year.— DE
Read IndieWire’s full review here, and be sure to check out Tambay Obenson’s story about how the pain of Jimmie Fails’ eviction fueled him to make this movie. “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” opens today in New York, LA, and San Francisco via A24. It will expand to more cities in the weeks to come.