Today’s recommendation isn’t a particularly comfortable film to watch, but its subject matter makes it an important one. Director Peter Nicks‘ 2012 documentary The Waiting Room gives viewers a glimpse into the harrowing challenges that a highly trafficked, public emergency room faces on a daily basis. The film has won several awards on the festival circuit and made the Academy’s “Best Documentary” shortlist back in 2013. It’s currently streaming on Netflix for your viewing pleasure, or displeasure perhaps, depending on how well you handle watching intense medical situations unfold.
Filmed on location in Oakland’s Highland Hospital, a 236 bed medical center that cares for over 90,000 patients annually, The Waiting Room is set within the medical center’s emergency room. Nicks makes it clear from the film’s opening shots that Highland’s ER is an extremely crowded facility that cares for a diverse population. Long wait times are a virtual guarantee at Highland and the doc does a fantastic job of making the frustration, fear, and anxiety associated with such delays palpable. Imagine waiting all day in a crowded DMV location, filled front to back with strangers, except you’re not there to tend to a driving issue but rather a potentially serious medical one that you know going in you can’t pay for. What some might consider a nightmare is a daily reality for this facility and the population it serves. Through its vérité approach, The Waiting Room doesn’t tell you how difficult it is to care for the uninsured or how dehumanizing it can be to wait hours on end for medical help you know you can’t afford. It shows you these things in vivid, uncompromising detail.
With a difficult to watch recommendation in hand, let’s get to this week’s Top 5:
1. AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Coverage
Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron hit theaters this weekend which, considering how much time we’ve devoted to covering the film, is kind of a big deal. I watched the pic on Thursday and found it to be entertaining, consistently funny, and a worthy follow-up to 2012’s The Avengers. Captain America: The Winter Soldier remains my favorite Marvel film to date, but that’s neither here nor there. To celebrate Age of Ultron‘s release, we’ve had a ton of recent coverage for the film. You can click here to browse all of it or check out some of my personal favorites such as: Matt’s review, the cast revealing to Steve the worst jobs they’ve ever had, an explanation of the film’s ending, and Jeremy Renner singing about Hawkeye’s many “superpowers”.
2. Josh Trank Leaves STAR WARS Anthology Film
Just yesterday we learned that Josh Trank has vacated the director’s chair for the upcoming Star Wars anthology film he was slated to helm. Trank called it a “personal decision to move forward on a different path” but questions regarding his behavior while making Fox’s Fantastic Four have surfaced suggesting that perhaps the decision wasn’t Trank’s alone. As someone who really liked Chronicle and has high expectations for Fantastic Four as a result, I’ll admit that I find this news disconcerting. Here’s to hoping that FF still delivers and Trank’s promising future as a filmmaker isn’t entirely derailed by this high-profile turn of events.
3. TRAINWRECK Set Visit
One of my most anticipated movies of the summer is Judd Apatow and Amy Schumer’s comedy Trainwreck. The trailer was good (hopefully without giving away too many jokes), Perri enjoyed the “work in progress” cut of the film that screened at SXSW, and my love of The 40-Year-Old Virgin means that I’m always excited for anything Apatow directs. It should come as no surprise, then, that our Trainwreck set visit coverage makes this week’s list. Check out a visit recap including over 15 things to know about the pic as well as a set interview with writer/star Amy Schumer.
4. Trailer for Rodney Ascher’s THE NIGHTMARE
Director Rodney Ascher’s documentary Room 237 explored a number of fascinating interpretations of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and was one of the best docs that I watched in 2013. His follow-up doc, The Nightmare, looks at sleep paralysis through the lens of those who suffer from the condition in its most extreme form. If this first trailer is any indication, it’s terrifying as hell and I can’t wait to check it out when it hits limited theaters and VOD next month.
5. Inflight Entertainment: 9 Great Movies You Shouldn’t Watch on a Plane
In life, it’s important to understand your environment and act/react accordingly. I may love wearing basketball shorts and a zip-up hoodie. That doesn’t make said attire appropriate for, say, a wedding. This principle of “context is king” applies to any number of real-life situations. For example, the fact that you love a movie doesn’t automatically make it an ideal choice to watch while flying. Our Haleigh Foutch tackles this exact situation and names nine instances of great films that make for absolutely horrible inflight entertainment. Keep these in mind the next time you’re boarding a plane. The people sitting next to you will undoubtedly appreciate your consideration.