Once a week, Procrastinate Better features a peek into the Netflix queue of a staffer or critic. No tampering with the results to make ourselves seem more or less erudite, we swear! Just the brief opportunity to explain (or defend, as the case may be) the choices. This installment comes from Slate senior editor Josh Levin. More Candid Queues here.
1) Grand Theft Auto : Netflix may never have a dumber idea than "Friends," the feature — mercifully spiked earlier this year — that encouraged people to paw through their buddies' movie picks. (Uh, no, you didn't see Emmanuelle on Taboo Island at the top of my queue. You must be confusing it with Shoah .) Before its demise, Netflix Friends did lead me (via my sister) to this Ron Howard-directed car chase farce, which has absolutely nothing to do with the let's-kill-some-hookers video game. That appears to be a source of confusion in this Netflix "member review": "A game thats m for mature they should really start makeing more movies now that a like total movie thats just like the game would be way better." Look out, Pauline Kael!
2) Knowing : I've been curious about this Nicolas Cage-starring, numerological thriller ever since Roger Ebert — going against the resounding critical consensus — declared it " among the best science-fiction films I've seen ." Ebert, like me, is in the tank for Knowing director Alex Proyas, who helmed the fantastically creepy Dark City . Still, this looks almost as terrible as that Jim Carrey movie about how the number 23 is evil .
3) Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans : Yes, I have queued up every Nicolas Cage movie since Valley Girl ... which, now that I think about it, I kind of want to see. ( Valley Girl: Special Edition ... added.) I watched the original Bad Lieutenant recently, and I'm skeptical that any lieutenant could be worse than Harvey Keitel. Let's see what you've got, Cage. Also, I'm from New Orleans, and I want to see if Werner Herzog filmed anything in or around my childhood bedroom.
4) The Best of Times : My colleague Dan Engber recommended this movie about a pair of oldsters (Robin Williams and Kurt Russell) out to avenge a crushing high-school football defeat. Despite a strong push from Engber — or perhaps from Engber's soused Netflix muse — this has stalled out in my queue. Robin Williams, after all, isn't funny.
5) Bigger, Stronger, Faster* : As Slate 's sports editor, I should've watched this highly praised steroids documentary a long time ago. The problem is that I'm sick of reading, writing, and watching movies about performance-enhancing drugs. But this is at the top of my instant queue, which means I could watch it RIGHT NOW. Or maybe some other time.