Kirsten Dunst’s ‘Civil War’ Role Will Chill You to the Bone

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/A24
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty/A24
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There are roughly 47,000—oh, wait, a new Netflix Original just dropped; make that 47,001—TV shows and movies coming out each week. At Obsessed, we consider it our social duty to help you see the best and skip the rest.

We’ve already got a variety of in-depth, exclusive coverage on all of your streaming favorites and new releases, but sometimes what you’re looking for is a simple Do or Don’t. That’s why we created See/Skip, to tell you exactly what our writers think you should See and what you can Skip from the past week’s crowded entertainment landscape.

See: Civil War

Civil War embeds its audience in the turmoil of a brutal war on American soil, employing imagery of millions caught in the middle of political corruption and violent dissension, while a harrowing Kirsten Dunst performance holds it all together like unsettlingly noxious glue.

Here’s Nick Schager’s take:

“American democracy seems to be teetering on the brink of collapse, and writer/director Alex Garland exploits that feeling for unbearably despairing suspense and censure with Civil War, a vision of a near-future in which the United States is no longer united. Less interested in devising one-to-one parallels with our present than with laying bare the catastrophic consequences of the division, hatred, and apathy that currently run amok from coast to coast, the Annihilation and Men auteur’s latest, in theaters April 12, is a portrait of individual and societal breakdown that plays like a companion piece to his 28 Days Later, except that this time around the vicious monsters are all of us. Spearheaded by a poignant Kirsten Dunst performance, and rife with harrowing, pulse-pounding set pieces, it’s a towering genre film about a not-so-fanciful end times—one that both understands, and proves, the peerless power of the visual image.

Alex Garland’s ‘Civil War’ Is an Explosive Warning Against a Trump Takeover

In a New York hotel room, acclaimed war photographer Lee (Kirsten Dunst) watches the country’s president (Nick Offerman) proclaim, not very convincingly, that a great government victory over the secessionist Western Forces campaign led by California and Texas is on the horizon. Outside, explosions boom, and as she lies in a bathtub, her face in her hands, Lee recalls some of the numerous unforgettable examples of man’s cruelty from her globe-trotting career. What once was distant and foreign, however, is now commonplace at home, as is reinforced when she and her journalist partner Joel (Wagner Moura) cover a city event that turns fatal, and which compels Lee to instinctively save the life of Jessie (Cailee Spaeny), an aspiring photojournalist whose naivete is a grave threat to her safety.”

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See: Stress Positions

John Early in Stress Positions.

John Early in Stress Positions


Stress Positions is a classic screwball comedy for the COVID era, but far more funny and inventive than the eye rolls that sentence might elicit. It’s nasty, pretty mean, totally unexpected, and always outrageous—much like the first half of 2020 was for all of us.

Here’s Emma Stefansky’s take:

“Most of us still cringe when we hear the phrase ‘COVID movie,’ not because it’s ‘too soon,’ but because seemingly every angle of the pandemic, of lockdown, of vaccine paranoia has already been dramatized. We’ve had dramas about how social isolation is bad, thrillers about lockdown home invasion, horror movies about the next transmittable contagion beyond our dimension. After four years we’ve kind of covered it, and, frankly, it’s not a subject that many people necessarily want to keep revisiting. Theda Hammel’s Stress Positions, on the other hand, manages to be a COVID movie without being a “COVID movie,” using the pandemic as mere backdrop for a slyly hilarious comedy about life on pause.

‘Stress Positions’ Is the First Genuinely Funny COVID Period Piece

It’s the early months of lockdown in New York, an anxious time for the residents of what was then an epicenter for disease transmission. Still, everyone has other shit to deal with. Exasperated Terry Goon (Hammel’s frequent collaborator John Early) is steadfastly refusing to look at the divorce papers from the ex-husband whose brownstone Terry is still living in while playing host to his nephew Bahlul (Qaher Harhash), a half-Moroccan model recuperating from an injury while picking apart his racial and gender identities. Then there’s Karla (Hammel), a trans woman whose girlfriend Vanessa (Amy Zimmer) stole her life story for the plot of her bestselling novel and is hard at work on another one while Karla wonders if they should separate. Terry’s upstairs neighbor Coco (Rebecca F. Wright) thinks COVID is fake, and delivery driver Ronald (Faheem Ali) flirts with everyone coming in and out of Terry’s building.”

Read more.

See: Lovers and Liars

Benedict Polizzi, center, on Lovers and Liars.

Benedict Polizzi, center, on Lovers and Liars

The CW

Lovers and Liars is an FBoy Island spinoff with a gender-swapped premise. Here, three men must determine which women have come to take their money, and which ones are really there to find love. No surprise: These guys are total boneheads.

Here’s Laura Bradley’s take:

The CW has officially blown its magic conch shell and ushered in a new beachside dating show. Lovers and Liars, an FBoy Island spinoff that for some reason is not called FGirl Island, premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. ET. This series has everything FBoy Island fans have come to expect. Nikki Glaser is back as our sarcastic, self-deprecating host, and the show’s voice is as cheeky as ever. (Translation: Prepare for a lot of jokes at our leading men’s expense.)

The CW’s Male-Led ‘FBoy Island’ Spinoff Proves Dudes Are Clueless

All of that said, the premiere episode did leave me with one question. Are these guys even trying to sniff out the women who’ve come to take their money, or are they basing their decision-making on vibes alone? Each season on FBoy Island, we’ve watched three women date their way through dozens of guys to determine who has come as a Nice Guy and who is an unrepentant FBoy. Nice Guys have agreed to split the $100,000 cash prize, should they get chosen in the end, while FBoys reserve the right to take the money and run. Lovers and Liars flips the script, challenging three buff bros to figure out which women have come to the island For the Right Reasons..”

Read more.

Skip: Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead

A film still from Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

The cast of Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead


Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead is a remake that should’ve been left as a 33-year-old cadaver. The original film’s nonsensical premise is even more ridiculous in this modern retelling that’s about as fun as your babysitter letting her annoying college boyfriend come over.

Here’s Jesse Hassenger’s take:

“When four siblings conspire to surreptitiously dispose of a dead body, tweenage Melissa (Ayaamii Sledge) raises an important point about their caution levels: ‘It’s not 1991—there are cameras everywhere!’ Why is her frame of reference 33 years ago, at least two decades before her birth? The same two reasons these kids are looking into body disposal in the first place: This is a remake of the 1991 movie Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

‘Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead’ Remake Barely Makes Sense

That is, the movie’s story remains nonsensical; redoing it in the first place isn’t so crazy, at least if you’re abiding by the maxim that when rummaging through back catalogs for remakes, it’s best to avoid the stone-cold classics. The original film is more of a VHS fave for a very particular demographic who didn’t mind its 1991 bait-and-switch. The advertising promised endless scenes of teen partying and mischief (the campaign seemed to be built around the miscreant brother nasally intoning ‘The dishes are done, man!’ after skeet-shooting the household plates), while the movie itself delivered an ’80s hangover of a story about a young underdog (Christina Applegate) making it in the fashion business.”

Read more.

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