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NETFLIX & ILL is a monthly dive into the thousands of movies and documentaries available on streaming home media services. We’ll do our best to stay away from well-known classic films masses have already consumed. Think of our NETFLIX & ILL features as swap meet finds, forgotten or undiscovered gems, if you will. Enjoy. 
BASQUIAT Theatrical release: 1996 Directed by: Julian Schnabel Starring: Jefferey Wright, David Bowie, Gary Oldman, Benecio Del Toro, Dennis Hopper Budget: $3 Million Box Office: $3.3 Million Flop Level: Low Streaming Service: Netflix By now the postmodernist/neo expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is almost a household name. He's been branded on everything from t-shirts to poorly executed Reebok collaborations and no doubt most of you have seen the excellent documentary Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant ChildRegardless, if you haven't heard of him you've already likely been exposed to his work, but didn't connect the art with the artist. image Basquiat was released by the Weinstein bothers' infamous former production company Miramax in 1996, and was directed by well-known artist and then first-time director Julian Schnabel, who went on to make Before Night Falls and the beautiful The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Schnabel, portrayed by Gary Oldman in the movie, was already well established as part of the New York art scene, and one of Basquiat's contemporaries. He started as a consultant for another director looking to make a film on Basquiat, then decided instead to take a stab at directing. Schnabel, using his status as a socialite and artist was able to draw together an amazing cast including a then unknown Benicio Del Toro, Claire Forlani, Courtney Love, Dennis Hopper and David Bowie (in perhaps what was the best onscreen portrayal of Andy Warhol). Whereas the documentary The Radiant Child concentrates more on the effect fame had on Basquiat, the film takes a much broader approach to the time period and the culture of the New York art scene. The mood and tone of this film is fantastic; the soundtrack alone makes it worth the watch. Save yourself the headache and give Basquiat a shot the next time you're scrolling through your Netflix list, drawing a blank. You'll be a much cooler person if you do. Words by Michael Cherrito


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