The summer’s finally over, people are going back to school and looking for something to watch. The problem is the seemingly endless selection across Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video causes most of us to be crippled by choice. That’s where I come in. I have hand-selected 10 great movies covering various genres and moods to help you browse less and watch more.
Mission: Impossible- Fallout (Hulu, Prime)
The latest entry in the mission impossible franchise is not only one of the greatest action movies of the past few years, it’s one of the greatest action movies ever made. Tom Cruise’s death wish has resulting in one of the most daring, breathtaking movies ever. Each set-piece is more exhilarating than the last and will keep you on the edge of your couch for its whole run-time. It’s still a pretty new movie so you probably should watch it as soon as you can, lest the license run out.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Netflix)
Speaking of greatest action movies ever made, Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a truly beautiful wuxia film featuring effortless martial arts and some dreamlike fight sequences. It’s not just an action film, it’s also a rich romance elevated by some incredible performances and a universal story. It’s unlike any other movie and should be watched by everyone at least once.
Maybe you’re not into action movies. Maybe you want a slow burn drama that will challenge you intellectually and define art. Burning is that movie. Lee Chang-Dong’s psychological masterpiece electrified arthouse screens last year thanks to its complex narrative and incendiary performances, including The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun. It’s a challenging watch, but a rewarding one.
If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu)
If you want incendiary performances but aren’t in the mood to read subtitles, If Beale Street Could Talk is certainly another good option. Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to Moonlight is a complicated romance film that pushes boundaries and asks several difficult questions. It’s heavy, but will leave you crying and thinking for hours.
Drop Dead Gorgeous (Hulu)
Maybe you’re not looking for a movie to challenge you. You just want a movie you can turn your brain off to and laugh. Drop Dead Gorgeous is the perfect comedy for you. This twenty year old mockumentary depicts a small town beauty pageant plagued by a series of inopportune deaths. Think Best In Show meets Heathers, but don’t forget the iconic performances from Kirsten Dunst, Allison Janney and Amy Adams. If you haven’t seen this movie, I can guarantee you’ll find it hilarious.
The Beach Bum (Hulu)
Looking for a zany comedy with more of an edge? Try Harmony Korinne’s The Beach Bum on for size. This “stoner odyssey” sees Matthew McConaughey’s Moondog wandering through life getting in progressively stranger situations all while keeping positive and relaxed. Is the movie unscripted or does it just feel that way? Who knows, but I can say, while hilarious, The Beach Bum is not for the faint of heart.
Little Women (Netflix)
Are you as excited about the new Little Women movie as the rest of the world? Do your self a favor and watch the adaptation from the 90’s. Gillian Armstrong’s take on Alcott’s classic story is honestly underrated, as it’s one of the most charming movies ever made. Winona Ryder and Christian Bale give some wonderful performances, not to mention Kirsten Dunst as cute little Amy.
My Life As a Zucchini (Netflix)
It’s Back To School time and maybe you want a movie that reminds you of what it feels like to be a kid. This french Claymation film is one of the cutest films ever made about a group of kids at an orphanage. It’s a work of art, but a short work of art, the kind you can watch all in one sitting instead of having to break it up over several nights of viewing.
Eighth Grade (Amazon Prime)
Sometimes being reminded of what it’s like to be a kid isn’t cute so much as it is cringe-inducing. That’s where Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade comes in, a masterpiece that shows what it’s really like to be a kid in the modern age. Elsie Fisher gives a star-making performance in a movie that is perfect to watch during the back-to-school season. Plus it was my favorite movie of 2018. There’s nothing more I can do to get you to watch it. If you haven’t seen Eighth Grade by now, that’s on you.
A Simple Favor (Hulu, Prime)
Alright, if none of these other movies appealed to you, maybe you just want some dumb fun. I’ve got just the movie for you. Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor is a big, silly blast. Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively shine in this stylish, pulpy little thriller. It’s goofy and unembarrassed and absolutely will make for a great Friday night in.