Another holiday weekend is upon us, with the Fourth of July luckily placed on a Friday for your three-day convenience. So you know what that means: lots of time on the couch, doing fuck all. But you know if you flip around on your overpriced cable box, you’re just gonna wind up on some Law & Order or Real Housewives marathon, and who’s got that many brain cells to kill? Instead, we point you in the direction of the best recent additions to Netflix’s streaming library — about 20 hours of great filmmaking to consume, which means you’re on your own for the other two days. (Click on the title link to watch them right now.)
Directors Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund peek into the crime-ridden slums of Rio de Janeiro, tracing several young men from childhood to young adulthood. But mere description — which makes the film sound like a solemn drama (or, even worse, “poverty porn”) — doesn’t do justice to the film’s rollicking energy and visceral power, which transform the tale into a kind of Brazillian Goodfellas (with all the structural inventiveness, jaw-dropping plot turns, and dark humor such a description entails).