Our staffers have some recommendations for what you can watch at the theater or in the comfort of your home this weekend.
K. Austin Collins: It is, in some ways, a difficult movie. We get long scenes dedicated to the recovery. We linger on the immediate pain and frustration of Jeff’s gauze getting removed for the first time, for example, and sit alongside him and his mother as the engineers designing Jeff’s prosthetic legs talk him through the making of the casts, the design of the prosthetics, and the new ways this will all shape his life. Stronger feels, in some ways, like a collective story: Here are all the people who helped.
Adam Nayman: Battle of the Sexes means to be frank and daring, but everything is sanitized and safe. Scenes that should be charged with emotion, like [Billie Jean] King’s first romantic encounter with her hairdresser turned love, Marilyn Barnett (Andrea Riseborough), and subsequent, unspoken confessional with her husband, Larry (Austin Stowell), suffer from a treatment that’s determined to keep us from ever judging the heroine too harshly. [Emma] Stone’s modulation of King’s mounting anxiety, insecurity, and wavering focus before the [Bobby] Riggs match gets undermined by [Jonathan] Dayton and [Valerie] Faris’s insistence on her infallibility, which renders the uplift of the finale a foregone conclusion in dramatic terms as well as historical ones.
Collins: This movie thankfully isn’t marred by worshipful self-seriousness. It’s also, unfortunately, not much of a movie besides: It’s a funny-enough cascade of tropes and troubles that, though not unentertaining, you wish had been written and directed by other people. It’s a strange affair. The plot largely amounts to a series of escalating missions until [Barry] Seal recognizes, a bit late, that he’s in too deep.
Ben Lindbergh: Discovery has to balance both the big and small, remaining faithful to its TV forebears but not so faithful as to stray into retread territory, as 2013’s Into Darkness did. Some longtime Trek fans are naturally suspicious of shootouts and explosions encroaching on Star Trek’s contemplative side; go overboard on battles, the thinking goes, and, as [Alex] Kurtzman says, “suddenly it’s Star Wars.” In the early going, Discovery does find a balance: Its costumes and set design are straight out of Abrams’s Star Trek, and its shipboard soundscapes, at times, seem to hail from its ancestor TV series, but the show has the heart of a hybrid.
Andrew Gruttadaro: Larry David—social assassin, four-eyed fuck, utmost respecter of wood—returns to HBO on Sunday with a new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. It’s been six years since the last episode of Curb aired, and the extended hiatus has allowed us to contemplate some very important questions: Can you pause toast? Is the chat-and-cut a morally indefensible move? Are all bows one in the same? Curb returns for its ninth season with a whole new set of (probably meaningless) questions, and thank god for that.
Alison Herman: SNL’s topical material can roughly be divided into three categories: the cold open, “Update,” and standard-but-still-timely sketches like “Black Jeopardy” or “A Day Off.” After a rocky start to the Michael Che–Colin Jost era of “Update,” SNL was confident enough in their performance to give them a summer spinoff, which reached its controversial peak with Tina Fey’s post-Charlottesville sheet cake. And since the cold open is where the Trump impressions usually happen, it’s an ever-more-reliable subject of post-show aggregation. But cold-open humor is often some of the show’s most obvious and transparently reactive; about half the jokes in this Lester Holt sketch are ripped directly from the headlines, right down to [Mikey] Day’s Paul Ryan serving up two scoops of ice cream.
Disclsoure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.