Ranking the New Amazon Prime Exclusives

Amazon Prime's Instant Video is always pretty proud of their exclusive content, and they have every right to be, but maybe it's showing your cards a little bit to explain out loud, "We're talking about Netflix here, people. This is stuff you can't get on Netflix. Please love me." In the interests of following through on their ample promise, then, here are the newest exclusives, ranked in order of whether you really even count as "exclusive" if nobody wants you to begin with.

See that empty spot up there on the couch, next to Hambone? That spot's for you. Settle in.

Ranking the New Amazon Prime Exclusives

#5 (TIE) The Woman In Black and 24: Redemption

Nothing against Harry Potter, and in fact I have heard only nice, noncommittal things about his scary-lady movie, but it looks boring as all hell. On the other hand, there's a 24... movie? Set between seasons six and seven because the real-life Writers' Strike interrupted the realtime nature of Jack's boring struggles. Also seasons seven and eight are available, if your needs for heartpounding suspense and exceptionalism are somehow not currently being met by the horrors of the real world everywhere you look this week.

#4: Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

I love America and I love girls, any kind of girls, short ones giant ones whatever kind, so this seems like a winner to me. Kit Kittredge: A Soaking Wet American Girl Currently Writhing Around on a Nice Sprotscar Like Tawny Kitaen would have put this one higher on the list, I'm afraid, but it still belongs above stupid Keifer Sutherland: An American Tool. (Tool of violence, of propaganda and tool of whisper-yelling.) (Is it a good movie to bring your doll? No, that is not how this works. It is literally the opposite.)

Ranking the New Amazon Prime Exclusives

#3: The Spectacular Now

What I know about this movie is that it has that hot new actor in it—you know, the one you could pick out of a lineup, the one who looks like some guy whose older brother also went to this school—and that he drinks out of a container? Everyone I know who saw this movie, they mention the illicit drinking out of the container. Like maybe he drinks wine out of a Big Gulp? Nah, there's nothing out of the ordinary about that. (If there is, maybe put me in your movie next time.) The twist is that he dies of his cancer, which was in remission, while she goes into hiding in a famous house in Amsterdam. The twist is that it all takes place in the Rather Unremarkable Past, putting the lie to its own title. The twist is he plays both Shailene Woodley's brother and her boyfriend in this particular dystopia, instead of having to pick one. Spectacular!

#2: Louis CK: Shameless

Not to lay a hot take on you, but the backlash is coming soon. I don't even know why. He has done exactly one thing that bothered me, ever. (And never earned back, despite the avalanches of prophetic apologists bullying anyone who brought it up promising it would all make sense one day.) Sometimes I think his show goes into first-draft territory and then it becomes a bluffing game where inside his head it's like, "I think maybe this was not a fully formed idea when we began filming, but oh well. Never let 'em see you perspire"—a metaphor, obviously—but then the next week it's like, so amazing. So I don't know. Sometimes we just get tired of our toys, I guess. He also has an eye for graphic detail, a visceral eloquence, such that I feel like we all pretty much know what it's like to have sex with him. He has put that in our minds with such clarity that it goes to a freshman dorm place of like, "My green may very well be your blue. But I know to 1080p detail what Louis CK's dick looks like, just in my mind."

Ranking the New Amazon Prime Exclusives

#1 The Bling Ring and Spring Breakers (TIE)

If you have not seen either of these movies, you need to get your ass to Prime and get that going. Drop what you are doing. They are both fantastic. Made by polarizing auteurs who stray into stylistics at their peril, tend to focus on segments of the population we'd rather forget about (privileged white girls on the one hand, abject mid-American trash on the other) and decadence we'd prefer not to feel implicated by, both of whom who have in recent years traveled ouroborically into their own navels and come out strangely refreshed, and both of whom managed to tackle the one of the supreme aspects of our media zeitgeist—the spiritual and/or ideological benefits of rebellion for those with zero reason to rebel; Eat, Pray, Love angled into violent acts of pointless anarchy; new phases of negotiation with the male gaze, etc.—at right around the same time.

While Sofia Coppola has decided to return to the real world, presenting possibly her first film that is more heightened than flattened by her artist's eye, we see Korine going the opposite direction too, collaging his usual repulsive/evocative images together toward an actual purpose beyond itself for the first time: Spring Breakers tells a story, rather than simply "existing," but leaves behind none of its artistry in doing so. Movies with real people in them—people with seductive and radioactive interiors, people for e.g. like Vanessa Hudgens's and Katie Chang's characters in their respective films; feral people—made by established indies who barely seemed to have an interest in real people until lately: Amazing.

It's been a privilege to watch them grow as artists, most of whose work I pretty much can't abide, but even moreso to find us in a time where you can watch a movie about, say, American girls writhing around soaking wet on a Trans Am and feel like the point is no longer to feel serviced (or alienated) by that. You can get titillated or you can get outraged, whatever cranks your engine, but you can no longer ascribe those responses entirely to authorial intent: A subtle thing, but one that's been leading somewhere great for a while now.

[ Images/video via Fox, Fox, Warner Bros., A24, A24, e! Online, and A24]

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