Roma, The Boss and the year’s top movies

Roma will also be playing in theaters starting December 13.

The Boss (photo credit: KEVIN MAZUR)
The Boss
(photo credit: KEVIN MAZUR)
Netflix continues to deliver thrilling content, and this week is no exception. Starting on December 14, Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma (which had not yet been released for previews at press time), which has won virtually every critics’ award, will begin streaming.
This semiautobiographical film set in a middle-class neighborhood in Mexico City in the 1970s may well be the first foreign-language film to win a Best Picture Oscar.
Cuaron has directed international movies, such as Children of Men and Gravity, as well as Mexican films, including Y Tu Mama Tambien.
Roma will also be playing in theaters starting December 13.
Starting on December 16, Springsteen on Broadway, a filmed performance of Bruce Springsteen’s live show, will begin streaming on Netflix. Based on Springsteen’s autobiography, Born to Run, it loosely follows the themes in that book and allows The Boss to release his inner preacher – Springsteen sounds like a Bible-thumping holy roller, as he utters the words that link the songs.
Viewers should be aware that this performance is only partly a concert, and those boomers who want to watch this with their kids or grandchildren might be better off showing them clips of old Springsteen videos on YouTube.
But for loyal fans, it’s The Boss at his best. Alternately reminiscing, confessing, exhorting, joking and seducing, he tells the story of his childhood, particularly his complex relationship with his depressed father; how he almost didn’t learn to play guitar; his early life on the road; his big break; his relationship with the late Clarence Clemons, his saxophonist in the E Street Band; his love for his wife, Patty Scialfa, who joins him on stage for two songs; and his hopes for America during the Trump era.
He sings rousing versions of many songs, including “My Hometown,” “Thunder Road,” “Born in the USA” (which he growls like a blues song), “Dancing in the Dark,” “Long Time Comin’” (a moving rendition that spotlights his reconciliation with his father), “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” “The Rising” and, of course, “Born to Run.”
The duets with Scialfa, “Tougher than the Rest” and “Brilliant Disguise,” display the chemistry the two have always had in live performances, made all the more touching because they have been married for decades.
Although anyone with Springsteen’s stage presence has to have a healthy ego, he displays flashes of self-deprecating humor, saying, “Now, I’ve never held an honest job in my entire life. I’ve never done any hard labor.
I’ve never worked nine to five. I’ve never worked five days a week until right now.... I’ve never seen the inside of a factory, and yet it’s all I’ve ever written about. Standing before you is a man who has become wildly and absurdly successful writing about something about which he has had absolutely no personal experience. I made it all up. That’s how good I am.”
He also admits that the “Born to Run” rebel persona was also something of a mask, laughing about how he called his hometown “a death trap, a suicide rap,” but now lives 10 minutes away. Wondering if he should have sung, “Born to come back,” he says, “Who would have bought that sh*t? Nobody.”
If you’re more interested in classical music, you can see Itzhak, Alison Chernick’s engaging, award-winning documentary about the charismatic master violinist Itzhak Perlman, on YES VOD and STING TV throughout the month.
If you missed some of the year’s big movies, you can catch up with them now on television. One of my favorites, Juliet, Naked, based on the wonderful novel by Nick Hornby about a woman whose boyfriend is obsessed with an obscure rocker, becomes available on HOT VOD Movies and YES VOD on December 20. It stars the very wonderful Chris O’Dowd as the boyfriend, Ethan Hawke as the rock star and Rose Byrne as the woman in their lives.
Crazy Rich Asians, which will probably play better on the small screen than in theaters, and the so-bad-it’s-funny giant shark drama The Meg will be on YES VOD starting on December 17.