The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015)

kimmyschmidtKimmy Schmidt (Ellie Kemper) is a wide-eyed, enthusiastic young adult living in New York for the first time—but hers is not like all the other stories that begin this way. Kimmy was recently rescued from a doomsday cult in Indiana, where she was held against her will for most of her adolescent life. Unwilling to return home and be known forever as one of the “Mole Women,” Kimmy starts life fresh in the Big Apple by finding an apartment and a job.

From the team behind 30 Rock, this quirky comedy brings a lot of enthusiasm and good-natured humor to an otherwise dark backstory. Kimmy will have the audience laughing with her day-to-day life and her cluelessness to pop culture, and fans of comedy will notice more than a few familiar faces, including Tituss Burgess, Carol Kane, Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski, Amy Sedaris, and Jon Hamm. (Fair warning: the theme song will be stuck in your head for at least a week after.) Watch the first season on Netflix—now available on our roku devices!

The Straight Story (1999) G

straightstoryBased on the true story of Alvin Straight, The Straight Story is a beautiful homage to America’s heartland—its landscape and its people. Alvin, a World War II vet, has a childlike spirit and nerves of steel. To visit his brother who just had a stroke, he bravely embarks on a journey across Iowa and Wisconsin despite the fact that he can’t drive and that he has to use two canes to walk. His mode of transportation? An old John Deere lawn mower. Sleeping arrangements? In the makeshift trailer he’s hauling. Meals? Taken in the cornfields he pulls into–and cooked in the campfires he builds!

Despite experiencing setbacks throughout his journey, Alvin’s faith and resolve are unshakable. After all, he has a great purpose: to see the brother he hasn’t spoken to in ten years. He is also lucky to find people along the way who are willing to lend a helping hand. But this story’s real charm is that Alvin gives as much as he receives, leaving all the strangers he encounters better off for having met him.

Princess Jellyfish: The Complete Series (2010)

princessjellyfishAre you looking for a rom-com anime about characters who aren’t in high school? In the anime world, this is hard to find! Princess Jellyfish is the answer to your prayers. It has love, drama, but also plenty of comedy to keep everything light. The story follows Tsukimi, who lives in a women-only apartment called Amamizukan; all the residents are otakus, people who have obsessions with one particular thing. Tsukimi, our protagonist, is obsessed with all things jellyfish. Her world is turned upside down when she meets a woman, one night, while gazing longingly at the jellyfish in a pet store.

Pirate Radio (2009) R

pirateradioThis insanely hilarious movie tells the story of the swinging 60s in London. The music was the rage for every kid who had a transistor radio to his ear or under his pillow at night. The BBC was only playing less than an hour a day. Pirate radio stations on ships anchored off the coast of England played 24/7. Of course, you need a “bad guy” to keep the story interesting, and he appears in the form of Kenneth Branagh as an uptight politician vowing to shut down pirate radio stations. Bill Nighy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and more star in Pirate Radio, which is an amusing tale – but the real treat is the music!

Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead (2010)

fatsickdeadThis entertaining documentary may not inspire you to go out and buy a juicer, but it will make you aware of the debilitating effects of obesity and an unhealthy diet. Australian filmmaker Joe Cross is overweight and suffering from the side effects of a steroid he takes to treat an autoimmune disease. In desperation, he goes on a 60 day juice fast as he travels across the United States. As he regains his health (and loses weight), he shares his story with people he encounters, including a morbidly obese trucker from Iowa who suffers from the same autoimmune disease Cross had.

Find a copy of Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead at the library—and then watch Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead 2 on Hoopla.

The Judge (2014) R

judgeOne of the best movies of 2014!

Great acting from all, especially Robert Downey, Jr. and Robert Duvall, in a very compelling story from beginning to end about the messiness of life and the complexity of family relations. Downey, a young, cocky, but successful Chicago lawyer goes home to small town Indiana to attend his mother’s funeral. Reconnecting with his estranged father (Duvall), the town’s judge, proves a challenge.

The aging judge is accused of murder in a hit-and-run of a biker on a dark, rainy night and Downey ends up representing his cantankerous father. One surprise after another unfolds and we are drawn into the drama hook, line, and sinker. Well written, excellent acting, The Judge is a winner you should see.

The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) PG

hundredfootWhen their restaurant in India is attacked and England didn’t work out for them, the Kadam family begins traveling Europe to find a new home for their restaurant. Fate intervenes by stranding the family in a small French village, where they find a perfect home, with one exception: it’s directly across the street from a high class French restaurant. Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren), the owner of the restaurant opposite, and the Kadam patriarch (Om Puri) begin a feud, but Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), Madame Mallory’s beautiful young apprentice, and Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) begin building a close relationship.

Despite the constant setbacks from the feud, Hassan proves himself to be as adept with French cuisine as he is with Indian, occasionally blending the two, which could be the bridge between the two restaurants. Check out The Hundred-Foot Journey today.

The Wind Rises (2013) PG-13

windrisesI thoroughly enjoyed The Wind Rises, an Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature Film of 2013 and another exceptional film by the talented director and animator, Hayao Miyazaki.

Jiro, a nearsighted Japanese boy, is fascinated by flying and in his dreams meets Gianni Caproni, an Italian aeronautical designer. The determined and perfectionist Jiro goes on to design military airplanes.

The film is visually stunning with vivid colors. Through hand-drawn scenes, Miyazaki is able to subtly express the emotions of wonder, anger, sadness, and love.

Well-known actors dubbed the English version of the film. The original Japanese version with English subtitles is also available. Miyazaki is one of the last hand-drawn animators and allows no more than 10% of footage to be computer generated.

Words and Pictures (2013) PG-13

wordsnpicsClive Owen and Juliette Binoche play an art teacher (Binoche) and an English teacher (Owen) who work at a Maine prep school.

They both are battling their own demons when they meet. They soon begin an open debate whether words or pictures have the greater power. It is the battle of right brain versus left brain dominance. The war between the teachers becomes a school-wide event.

Words and Pictures is a unique movie. Owen and Binoche are wonderfully matched in a Hepburn/Tracy kind of relationship. This is a movie not to be missed. It is intelligent, witty, and presents a “no frills” relationship between two adults.