Billy Bob Thornton

The 7 Best Movies to Buy or Stream This Week: ‘Bridge of Spies,’ ‘Man Up’

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After a brief, Sundance-induced hiatus last week, our home media column is back and our cup runneth over – seven movies this week instead of the customary five. (But if it evens it out for you, at least three are movies most other critics don’t recommend.) The spectrum this week runs from a Best Picture nominee to a first-person dating documentary to a charmingly goofy rom-com; a little something for everyone, in other words, even you fans of mediocre Bill Murray movies.
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The Slow Erosion of the TV vs. Movie Actor Class System

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I know you’re supposed to let a movie draw you into its narrative without excess baggage, and its characters should exist only as themselves and so on, but I had an odd moment of external realization when I first saw About Alex (which is out this week on DVD, and is pretty good). The scene comes about six minutes into this junior Big Chill, and there’s nothing earth-shattering about it as a scene; Siri (Maggie Grace) meets Josh (Max Greenfield) and Sarah (Aubrey Plaza) at the train station to drive them to the cabin where they and several other old friends are spending the weekend. But as the three characters embraced and reconnected, something in the back of my head whispered, “Look, it’s Schmidt and April Ludgate meeting up with Shannon from Lost.” And no, that didn’t make this scene the culmination of some sort of weird TV fan fiction; it merely accentuated, with a rare bit of clarity, how much the game has changed for actors, in terms of the transition from TV to film (and back).
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‘Fargo’ Season 1 Episode 7 Recap: “Who Shaves the Barber?”

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I’m fascinated by Lester Nygaard. He’s an absolutely terrible person but one who is able to convince himself that he’s not. He gets worse and worse as the series go on yet I am still 100% invested in his story, always wanting to know more about him, and always simultaneously disgusted and impressed by his actions. There’s no arguing that he’s despicable but what keeps me interested is how, during these last few weeks, he’s shown a surprising and frightening aptitude for criminal behavior. 
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‘Fargo’ Season 1 Episode 5 Recap: “The Six Ungraspables”

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Last week’s episode, “Eating The Blame” was the most interesting episode of Fargo so far as it seamlessly weaved the series in with the film. It was a game-changer that wasn’t exactly a game-changer; it appears that quick cold open is about as deep as this connection will get (and I’m OK with this). This week’s episode is interesting in a different way. It often feels like a retelling of the events so far but it somehow works and remains engaging. It’s more visually stimulating than the rest of the season has been, it brings Molly closer to the end game, and it’s just straight-up good. At the risk of sounding simplistic, this is what keeps sticking out for me when I watch Fargo: It’s such a good show. Easy as that.
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FX’s Darkly Funny ‘Fargo’ Is Far More Than a Coen Brothers Rehash

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Here are the reservations that we must get out of the way first: Fargo the series is not a strict adaptation of Fargo the film. It is superficially similar but should be seen as a separate entity. Although Fargo borrows settings, themes, accents, violence, and a hell of a lot of snow from the movie, it is a distant cousin, twice removed, not a copycat child. It should also be said that, aside from its origin (and other films from the Coen brothers), Fargo will be compared to a handful of recent television dramas. There are shades of Breaking Bad and True Detective, two shows that are still lingering in our minds. Fargo does not take place in a unique universe. We have already seen detective thrillers, middle-class white dude antiheroes, unfortunate women, questions of masculinity, gleeful acts of disturbing violence, and good people who suddenly realize that they are capable of not-so-good actions. That said? Fargo is a thoroughly enjoyable watch (particularly the first episode), beautifully shot, and very, very funny. 
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