For those of you who have already seen Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice or just need something to make your movie watching weekend worthwhile, our contributors have banded together in the Hall of Recommendations to provide you a Wonder Twin-activated duo of picks from the best of what is streaming. Pop your popcorn, take the night off from costumed vigilantism and enjoy a good movie in the comfort of your own home. Happy movie watching weekend everyone!
via Gene Gosewehr
American Genius (Netflix) – History fans, especially those of American history, might find this docu-drama mini-series from National Geographic a good way to spend the weekend. With eight episodes, American Genius takes a look at some of the greatest rivalries among American inventors, and how those rivalries shaped the products they created and forced progress through the competition.
Among the coverage in this series are some rivalries that most Americans are familiar with, at least on a surface level; Gates vs. Jobs, Edison vs. Tesla. But there is also light brought to some less commonly known conflicts such as Farnsworth vs. Sarnoff (first to invent the television), and Hearst vs. Pulitzer (control of the publishing industry). Something that immediately occurs to me after a couple episodes is the amazing coincidence of people in similar geographic locations, within a few months or years of one another, can come up with such amazingly complex ideas almost entirely separate of one another. Also, and of particular note in these episodes is a recognition for when rivalries and competition can be healthy, and when they appear to do nothing but breed anger and hatred. In many ways these minisodes could provide ample evidence to arguments of systemic inequality and greed in the American capitalist system. But, as Milton Friedman once famously said in a Phil Donahue interview, “Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed?”. Instead, I think this mini-series does more to show the nature of the human heart when facing defeat and the prospect of the fruits of their labor being relegated to obscurity.
Also, as a warning, there are many reviews on Netflix claiming numerous inaccuracies in the facts of most of these episodes. Others say most of those issues boil down to anachronisms. None the less, it’s probably a good idea to check other sources before bragging to your buddies about how you know the inventor of the television was a 14-year-old farm boy from Idaho.
via The Film Avenger
Best of Enemies (Netflix) – With the presidential election looming, this film presents a very prescient observation. The debates between William F. Buckley, Jr. and Gore Vidal during the 1968 election could be credited with creating the modern political TV “talking head” debate format. But this film is about more than politics, as it explores the two men’s genuine hatred of one another. It’s an interesting and tragic look at what hatred does to the heart, and what happens when bitter animosities are left unreconciled.