There’s a seemingly endless sea of viewing choices out there right now on Netflix, Amazon and Apple Plus, but sometimes you want to just enjoy the equivalent of comfort food and see something fun that you already love.
Since a month on Coronavirus lockdown also likely inspires people to want to watch things “blow up real good,” this week I’m suggesting a few great buddy cop comedies and one that’s a must to avoid – plus alerting you to another streaming option with some of the greatest TV shows ever created, for free this month only.
First up, the four Lethal Weapon movies are currently available on Netflix. These are the prime examples of the buddy-cop genre, as the 1987 original shot Mel Gibson to superstar status as mentally unstable Los Angeles cop Martin Riggs, alongside Danny Glover as Roger Murtaugh, an older veteran cop who’s ever approaching retirement and constantly muttering how he’s “getting too old for this s***.” In the first movie, which is rightly deemed a classic, they take on drug traffickers, but it’s the second movie that’s my favorite as they took on evil South African diplomats (at the height of the world turning against that nation’s apartheid policies), who brilliantly think they can get away with their plans due to diplomatic immunity.
What really made “Lethal Weapon 2” shine was the addition of Joe Pesci, in a career-making role as non-stop motormouth Leo Getz, to the mix, but the third and fourth chapters were a bit less entertaining as they kept adding more lead characters to the mix and overwhelming the storylines. Still, the action scenes and one-liners in all four movies are top-notch, and they’re all a great way to take your mind off the miseries of lockdown for a couple hours each.
Another buddy-cop movie I recommend on Netflix now is The “Other Guys,” which stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as two desk-bound loser cops – one a nerdy accountant with an improbably attractive wife (Eva Mendes), the other a hothead who accidentally shot New York Yankees star Derek Jeter and cost the team the World Series. When the city’s wildest superhero duo of coops (Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson) are killed after attempting to jump from 20 stories into some bushes and missing, the losers are determined to get their moment to shine.
“The Other Guys” is a nonstop funny movie not only because of the great chemistry between its stars, but also the surreal and absurd one-liners they deliver throughout that poke ridiculous fun at cop-movie tough-guy banter. A bonus comes in the surprising fact that the crime they try to foil is actually complexly written, involving a billionaire investor and heavy-duty financial fraud, which both keeps viewer interest and manages to make some points about global finance in an escapist film made just two years after the 2008 global meltdown.
I was going to try and review the current Netflix hit movie Coffee & Kareem (it’s in their US top 10 most watched shows right now), starring Ed Helms (“The Office” and “The Hangover” movies) as a white cop named Coffee and an obnoxious kid actor named Terence Little Gardenhigh as a 12-year-old named Kareem, whose single mother (Taraji P. Henson) is dating Coffee. The premise rests on Kareem catching his unwitting mom and Coffee having sex and hoping to scare Coffee away by turning some drug dealers on him, only to find that both of them are in danger and have to team up to get out of it.
The trailer for “Coffee & Kareem” seemed to have some laughs and thrills, but the movie is unrelentingly vulgar and crass from its opening minutes and seemed like it wasn’t going to change at all. I gave up several minutes in, having found the most disgusting lines spewing forth from the young actor Gardenhigh in what constitutes a truly irresponsible effort by the filmmakers. I’m still mentioning it because despite it’s R-equivalent TV-MA rating, the trailer’s focus on Kareem might lure plenty of youngsters into watching it and this is one movie that should be skipped at all costs.
It’s not just my opinion – the user reviews on IMDb offer up plenty of outrage towards this as well.
Finally, I want to tip everyone off to a truly great offer going on this month from the HBO Now streaming service. Nine of the esteemed pay-cable network’s all-time best series are available in their entirety for free, without requiring membership for at least the rest of April: “The Sopranos,” “Big Little Lies,” “The Wire,” “Veep,” “Succession,” “True Blood,” “Barry,” “Silicon Valley” and “Six Feet Under.” Among the several movies offered for free are two of my favorites from 2019 – “Blinded by the Light” and “Isn’t It Romantic” – and popular animated kid films “Happy Feet Two” and “Smallfoot.”