Netflix Instant Pick: Newman and Redford

Every week we recommend something we love that is available via Netflix instant view, the greatest thing ever created! Enjoy!

One of the all-time best ( and perhaps sexiest) on screen duos is that of Paul Newman and Robert Redford. While they both have illustrious and varied film careers on their own, together, their on screen charisma is undeniable which elevates Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting to near the top of their respective filmographies.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was Redford and Newman’s first collaboration, and one of the great Westerns of all time. The film shows the two title characters and their exploits with The Hole in the Wall Gang in Wyoming, and then eventually Bolivia where they flee the law close at their heels. A very lighthearted take on the traditional outlaw film, I love the mix here of action and comedy, and the audience can’t help but feel like they are following Butch and Sundance on their amazing adventure.

Redford was an almost last minute casting decision, and one that was hated by the studio (Fox), who preferred Marlon Brando or Steve McQueen. It was a decision that certainly changed Redford’s career, and he has used the moniker Sundance ever since for both his estate, and the film festival he founded in Park City, Utah.

The Sting came just four years later, becoming the second pairing of Newman and Redford, and Butch Cassidy director George Roy Hill. It’s a classic con film with Redford as the up-and-comer and Paul Newman as the retired veteran called back for one last job. The two team up to pull a long con on Doyle Lonnegan (the amazing Robert Shaw) to get revenge for the death of Redford’s original mentor. The film became one of the biggest hits of the early 1970s, and won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, and Adapted Score.

The film boasts both a great story and great acting, placing it near the top of my all-time best film list. I’ve watched it several times now, and each time I come away impressed by just how smart and entertaining this film is.

Both Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting are among the best films ever (Butch Cassidy is #73 on AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list), and the chemistry between Redford and Newman is something that has yet to be duplicated by any modern acting duo. Whether you watch them for the first time or the fiftieth, make sure to go check them out on Netflix Instant!

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The Sting

Netflix Instant Pick runs every Thursday on Filmhash. Past picks are here.

Netflix Instant Pick: Mel Brooks Parodies

Every week we recommend a movie we love that is available via Netflix instant view, the greatest thing ever created! Enjoy!

Spaceballs and Robin Hood: Men in Tights are movies that may be on your List of Shame, but with both on Netflix Instant, that’s easily rectified. Mel Brooks is a singular name in parody and these are among his most celebrated, and most recent parody films. Brooks only made four films in the 80s and 90s in this genre, but with little quantity comes great quality.

Spaceballs (1987) is a landmark in a peculiar subgenre: the Star Wars parody. While the film also features many other cultural references, Star Wars was Brooks’ main target. It’s a fertile ground for parody, as we have seen in subsequent years (where shows like Family Guy and Robot Chicken have done multiple entire episodes dedicated to it). What’s funny to me is that this film came out just 10 years after the release of the first Star Wars film, and critics were complaining that they were already over saturated with it. Ebert wrote in his original review, “The strangest thing about Spaceballs is that it should have been made several years ago, before our appetite for Star Wars satires had been completely exhausted…this movie already has been made over the last 10 years by countless other satirists.”

However, don’t let that deter you. After all, If you haven’t seen Spaceballs, then you’ll never know why “Pizza [the Hutt] is going to send out…for you!

Watch Spaceballs here.

Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) is the parody film Brooks made after Spaceballs, and is his last good film to date. Like its predecessor, the film is a direct parody, and luckily it adheres as close to the Robin Hood mythos as Young Frankenstein is to its source material. However, like Brooks’ other historical parodies, it includes a lot of anachronisms as humor, aided by the great Dave Chapelle as Achoo.

Brooks particular target this time, the Kevin Costner film Prince of Thieves, is probably a less popular film now that Men in Tights has become a cult classic. By broadening this film to encompass the whole Robin Hood legend, and not just one specific portrayal, it bolsters the parody to stand in its own right. Lead Cary Elwes elevates the film to new heights with his now famous line, “Unlike some other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent!”

Watch Robin Hood: Men in Tights here.

Netflix Instant Pick runs every Thursday on Filmhash. Past picks are here.