Now that every new streaming platform is premiering original series and films on a daily basis, the mountain of must-see material is only exponentially. Getting to the theater once a week was hard enough; how are we now expected to binge-watch it all, even from the comfort of our own couch? To help scale that Everest of viewing pleasure, here’s our short list of what to watch, binge, and actually drive to the theater for this April.
What to Go Out For
Everybody Wants Some
After his Best Picture-nominated magnum opus Boyhood, there was every reason to expect a creative slump from Richard Linklater. Far from it. His latest creation, Everybody Wants Some, Linklater’s so-called spiritual sequel to his early coming-of-age classic Dazed and Confused, displays an artist still fully at the peak of his powers. As with most of his work, the film features a plot thinner than water: A team of college baseball players spend the weekend before classes doing what you’d expect—screwing around, drinking excessively, and trying to get laid. But while that description may read like a Porky’s sequel, in Linklater’s hand it blossoms into the kind of philosophical stoner poetry that only he can master. A meditation on camaraderie, youth, and moving up in life, Everybody Wants Some is like a great joint: it’ll chill you out, make you babble exuberantly about big ideas, and leave you feeling as if maybe, just maybe, you’ve glimpsed the cosmic framework that can make quotidian life feel so achingly beautiful. Now playing in limited release; wide release April 15; everybodywantssomemovie.com.
If you prefer nerve-wracking tension to a genial high, Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room serves up some stronger medicine. After a striking debut with Blue Ruin, Saulnier’s follow-up film turns the screw Straw Dogs style with this story of a punk band barricaded inside their venue by Oregon Neo-Nazis. Impeccable craft, heart-pounding thrills, and Patrick Stewart as a skinhead: who could ask for anything more? Limited release April 15; wide-release April 29; greenroom-movie.com.
Irish writer-director John Carney has twice excelled at translating the emotional flow of music-making to film, with Once and Begin Again. Now, he completes the hat trick with his most personal film yet, Sing Street, about a young Dublin teenager who tries to get the girl with one of the oldest, if not easiest tricks in the book: he starts a band. The only problem is they have no idea how to play anything. April 15.
What to Stay Home For
Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicon Valley on HBO
Between Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicon Valley, HBO owns Sunday night. As probably the most obsessed-over show currently airing, Game of Thrones needs little endorsement as must-see television. Nonetheless, last season’s heart-wrenching (albeit not totally convincing) death of fan favorite Jon Snow has further upped the ante for the new season—as well as the fact that the series will finally overtake the narrative in George R.R. Martin’s still-unfinished cycle. With America in the midst of its quadrennial election-madness, Veep should prove a timely and necessary tonic to our collective political vertigo, especially with Julia Louis Dreyfus’s broken-glass smile and the acid wit of its writing. Yet, of the three, we might be most excited for the return of Silicon Valley. When even Goldman Sachs tries to start calling itself a “technology” company, you know start-up culture has cornered the market as today’s Zeitgeist. And Mike Judge’s show knows how to perfectly skewer it. (Need more proof? Google enlisted series star Thomas Middleditch for its infamous April Fools’ prank.) Taking the Bay Area’s blinder-bound tech titans down a couple of much-needed pegs, Silicon Valley clearly has as much fun popping the tech bubble as everyone else did inflating it. Season premieres April 24; hbowatch.com.
The Night Manager on AMC
Spymaster John Le Carre’s thrillers have made consistently great film adaptations, and now this notoriously dense novel jumps to the small screen (or computer) as a mini-series. As if Le Carre’s masterly storytelling ability weren’t reason enough, The Night Manager features a murderers’ row of British acting talent: Tom Hiddleston as ex-British soldier Jonathon Pine; Olivia Colman as the intelligence operative who recruits him; and the incomparable Hugh Laurie as a villainous arms dealer Richard Roper, and their target. Premieres April 19; amc.com.
What to Binge On
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix
Minute-by-minute, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt may land more jokes—and breezily smart ones to boot—than any other comedy showing on any platform, digital, televised, or film. After far too long a wait, the madcap series returns to Netflix for a second helping with Elle Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt, the former mole woman perpetually stuck in the ’90s who’s blissfully conquering 21st-century Manhattan one clueless smile at a time. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is one of those rare series that merits—nay demands—repeat binge watching. Available April 15; netflix.com.
Catastrophe on Amazon Prime
As a wise kindergartener once said, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby…” Amazon’s sharp trans-Atlantic comedy slyly flips the order of the family-rearing script and reaps a perceptive dark comedy about modern love and its trials and travails. This season (the series’ second) sees the arrival of Sharon (Sharon Horgan) and Rob’s (Rob Delaney) delightfully disruptive bundle of joy, which means the brutally honest relationship comedy should only get that much more brutal, and that much more honest. Available April 8; amazon.com.
Photos: Green Room, courtesy Broad Green Pictures; Everybody Wants Some, courtesy Paramount Films; Game of Thrones, courtesy HBO