There’s a plethora of on demand video
out there these days. So much so that sometimes it can be hard to wade
through it all and find something worth watching. Watch This Now is
your guide to instant video on Netflix, Hulu and elsewhere,
highlighting the very best stuff that you can watch right now.

is Music Week at Watch This Now. We’ll be bringing you the best
musicals, music docs, performance films and music biopics available
instantly online.

Whatever happened to Alan Parker? Did The Life of David Gale just completely do him in? I’ve seen lesser directors get out of movie jail much, much faster.

Parker’s a good candidate for a Music Week version of Watch This Now. He’s directed some really terrific musicals over the years: the bizarro kid gangster film Bugsy Malone, the psychotropic Pink Floyd’s The Wall, the original Fame, and the toe-tapping Midnight Express. But it’s possible that his best musical might be The Commitments, based on the first book in Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown Trilogy.

The Commitments is the band that Jimmy Rabbite manages. He makes them over from a synth pop group into a soul outfit, looking to bring soul to Dublin. The movie is funny and moving, and Parker finds the sad beauty in a down on its luck Dublin (a city that’s in much better shape these days, that’s for sure). And there are a huge number of incredible musical numbers as The Commitments rock out with killer covers of soul classics.

A little more serious than the book upon which it was based, Parker’s movie was a smash hit. Versions of The Commitments toured the world for years after the movie’s release (and may still be touring, for all I know). The other two books in Doyle’s Barrytown Trilogy, The Snapper and The Van, were adapted for UK TV, but I’ve never seen them. I imagine they’re pretty good: Stephen Frears directed both and Colm Meany is in all three films as Jimmy Rabitte Sr (the books are great, by the way. You can buy a collected edition of The Barrytown Trilogy by clicking here).

The Commitments is a wonderful film, but it’s also a Watch This Now that you can put on in the background and just enjoy musically (and not just the music. I could listen to Irish people talk all day). If you do watch the whole thing, you’ll note that Glen Hansard, of the lyric Once, is Outspan Foster, the guitar player. And you know what? I haven’t seen The Commitments in a long time. Later on today I’ll be joining you in Watching This Now.