Entertainment

You Need to Check Out 'The Meyerowitz Stories' and More This Weekend

Kvetch with Dustin Hoffman and Adam Sandler, jam with Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, and get psyched out by the BBC's animated opera series.
October 13, 2017, 2:35pm
(L) Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller in The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected). Photo: Netflix. (R) Happy Death Day. Photo: Universal Pictures

Looking for some stuff to catch up on this weekend? Whether it's TV, movies, books, or anything in between—VICE has you covered. Read on for our staff recommendations on what to take in during your downtime:

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

I haven't yet seen The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), the latest film from Noah Baumbach that hits Netflix this Friday—but I know I'll love it. I find myself constantly drawn to Baumbach's brand of acerbic, negative-leaning modern comedy, from the millennial angst of Frances Ha and Mistress America to the anti-everything lamentations of While We're Young. I even liked Greenberg. (Really!) So a new Baumbach movie with starring roles from Ben Stiller (who also recently starred in Mike White's very Baumbach-looking Brad's Status), Dustin Hoffman, and Adam Sandler is candy for my bitter brain, and that's before getting to the fact that it's always a treat to watch Sandler flex any muscle that isn't anally related. (Side note: If you're looking for something to take the edge off after this one, why not throw on Sandler's Netflix film from earlier this year, Sandy Wexler? At least, see how long you can get through it.) —Larry Fitzmaurice

Ai Weiwei's Human Flow

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei is world-renowned for being prolific, political, and having a strong personal brand. But with Human Flow, his documentary about the global refugee crisis, the spotlight is decidedly not on the artist. It's trained on hundreds of thousands of humans across the globe fleeing persecution, famine, and war. Admirably, Ai contextualizes the crisis by looking at its vastness as well as its individual tragedies. It's quite a feat: Not only does the film document refugee stories in 23 different countries over the course of a year, it leverages sweeping, gorgeous drone footage that reduces humans to minuscule data points before zooming in on heart-wrenching personal dramas. It's an admirable humanitarian effort that shines a light on the magnitude of the many crises in a way that hits home more powerfully than the nightly news. —Kara Weisenstein

Happy Death Day

There are few things that will get me to the theater faster than "ridiculous slasher film," but "ridiculous slasher film with a Groundhog's Day twist" will certainly do the trick. Happy Death Day is exactly that: College student Tree (Jessica Rothe) wakes up on her birthday, goes throughout the day, is murdered by the end of it, and then wakes up and does it all again. It's actually a legitimately chilling premise—how often do you wake up from a nightmare scared to go back to sleep because you don't want to relive it? Happy Death Day is a recurring nightmare that Tree has no choice but to relive. Sure, there are so many elements of the movie that are absurd and illogical, but what slasher movie is free of those? At least with Happy Death Day, which does have good performances and gleeful jump scares, I found it easy to put those frustrations on the back burner for 96 minutes and enjoy it all the way through, surprisingly invested in figuring out the mystery at the center. —Pilot Viruet

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Lice

The idea of Aussie rock impresario Courtney Barnett and Philly boy Kurt Vile recording an album together makes almost too much sense, to the point where it seems like a clever joke someone would make. Both traffic in guitars both crunchy and languid, both have endearingly distinctive and slack singing voices, both are impressively long-haired. So, hey, why wouldn't they make an album together? Well, they did, and it's very good. Collaborative albums don't always work for one reason or another, but Lotta Sea Lice is remarkable in how these two found ways to enmesh themselves within each other's sonic worlds. Think of it less as chocolate and peanut butter and more like stacking two Reese's cups on top of each other and jamming them in your mouth—only without the potential choking hazard. —LF

Operavox

If you've ever seen an opera and thought, This is cool, but I wish I knew what was going on, Operavox, currently on YouTube, is the perfect weekend binge-watch. Back in the mid 90s, the BBC commissioned six adaptations of famous operas, in six unique animation styles. It's like a high-class version of The Animatrix: Rossini's "The Barber of Seville" opts for painstaking stop-motion, while Bizet's "Carmen" is gorgeously rotoscoped, and a Ralph Bakshi-style take on Wagner's "Das Rheingold" is actually worthy of the word "epic." But the real buried treasure here is "The Magic Flute," for which a crack team of all-but-forgotten Russian animators turns Mozart's most famous opera into an Aeon Flux_-y phantasmagoria. Sure, people who know operas will criticize it for even attempting to turn three-plus-hour French, German, and Italian masterworks into 30-minute English-language episodes, but who even... ? Psychoactives were made for this: Get really stoned and glean yourself some throwback touchstones. _—Emerson Rosenthal

Njideka Akunyili Crosby at the Tang Learning Museum

Tucked inside the campus of Saratoga Springs' Skidmore College, the Tang Learning Museum annually devotes a major show to a mid-career artist. This year, curator Steven Matijcio selected Njideka Akunyili Crosby for an exhibit of work by the Nigerian-born, LA-based artist. If the American dream still exists, it's evident in people like Crosby. The mixed-media artist came to the United States in 1999, channeling her cultural shift into large, figurative collages. She sticks real artifacts from her past, like family photos, bolts of cloth, and cutouts from Nigerian newspapers onto masterfully painted portraits to showcase her family's daily life back home.

On Wednesday, she was awarded the $625,000 MacArthur Grant for representing "the hybridity characteristic of transnational experience." In a time when telling positive stories about immigrants has become an act of resistance in and of itself, checking out this bona fide genius's work is worth the three-hour train ride from Penn Station. The show opens Saturday—you can find more info here. —Beckett Mufson