(Via The Master)
Each week Yahoo Tech’s Alyssa Bereznak will help you pick the best movies and shows to stream online.
As July creeps up on us, Netflix is dumping a big batch of new movies into its library. Some gems include wonderful early ’90s tearjerkers like My Girl, cheesy late-’80s comedies like Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and steamy ’90s thrillers like Basic Instinct.
Yes, Netflix is in no short supply of flicks from 20 years ago. But that’s not to say there aren’t a few more recent titles in the group, most notably Christian Bale’s Out of the Furnace and the Scientology-inspired The Master. Or if you want to get way classic, try Audrey Hepburn’s iconic film Funny Face.
No matter your chronological preference, it’s time to crank up your air conditioner and queue up these titles for all those hot July nights when you just … can’t.
Available now: Broadway actress Elaine Stritch is having a bit of a second coming as she approaches her 90th birthday. But that doesn’t mean that she’s enjoying herself. Earlier this year, she casually dropped the F-bomb on national television while dressed in fur. And last year she told Vanity Fair, “I’m about as unhappy as anybody can be.”
This 2013 documentary follows the storied performer as she continues to be the fabulous and frank New York figure that she was born to be. It also features interviews from admirers Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Nathan Lane, James Gandolfini, and more.
Available June 30: Before Macaulay Culkin was playing in a band called Pizza Underground and wearing meta T-shirts, he was falling in love for the first time in My Girl. The tender 1991 film follows the adolescent romance between Vada (Anna Chlumsky) and Thomas (Culkin). Vada is a shy outcast with a mortician father, whose only real companion is Thomas. The two grow up together and eventually spark a romance. Then something really, really horrible happens and everyone’s heart is broken. All I’ll say is I had nightmares about bees for days after watching this.
Available July 1: As erotic thrillers go, you can’t get any more classic than this 1992 film. Sharon Stone plays mystery-novel-writing seductress Catherine Tramell, who may or may not have a thing for tying guys up in Hermés scarves and stabbing them with an ice pick. To get to the bottom of a series of murders she’s linked to, a detective (Michael Douglas) gets on the case, both literally and figuratively. But after finding himself entrenched in a series of love affairs, he realizes he’s being played by Tramell.
There’s that whole plot, yes. But, really, the movie is most famous for an interrogation scene in which Stone reveals that she’s not wearing underwear. It captivated a nation and infuriated Stone, causing her to slap the director after she watched it.
Either way, it’s sitting there, in your Netflix library, ready to watch for … historical purposes.
Available July 1: John Singleton’s directorial debut tells the story of three African-American guys living in the notoriously rough South Central Los Angeles. Each has his own thing going: Ricky (Morris Chestnut) is an accomplished athlete who hopes to go to school, Doughboy (Ice Cube) deals dope, and Tre (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) is a smart underachiever. The three come to a breaking point after a rival gang targets their group and threatens to derail their lives. Though sometimes heavy handed, this 1991 film is a refreshing take on the gray areas of urban poverty and crime. And, if nothing else, it proved that Ice Cube is a damn good actor.
Available July 1: Americans may know Brazil as that place where the U.S. team won-lost itself into the next World Cup elimination round. But it’s also a country plagued with poverty and crime, as so expertly depicted in this 2002 drama. Based on a 1997 novel of the same name, the film was first released in Brazil but soon earned worldwide praise, garnering four Academy Award nominations.
Through the eyes of a narrator named Rocket, the film follows the spread of organized crime in a slum of Rio de Janeiro between the 1960s and 1980s, tracing the lives of Rocket and his two childhood friends, as their paths diverge in their effort to survive. It’s devastating, to be sure, but also important to watch! You’ll never look at Rio the same way again.
Available July 1: Based on the 1927 George Gershwin Broadway musical of the same name, Funny Face details the story of fashion photographer Dick Avery (played by Fred Astaire) who is sent out to scout a new face of fashion. He discovers a Greenwich Village bookstore clerk named Jo (played by the incomparable Audrey Hepburn) and whisks her off to Paris.
Somewhat of a Cara Delevingne of her time, she struggles to conform to the stuffy code of the European fashion world, a trait that ultimately charms Avery enough to fall in love. This film is so revered that you’ve probably seen it endlessly screencapped across the Internet’s fashion blogs. The outfits are just that fabulous.
Available July 1: For the very few of you who are unacquainted, this 1989 movie is about an inventor who accidentally shrinks his (and the neighbors’) kids. They’re swept out into the backyard, which we quickly come to realize is much more treacherous when you’re the size of a dust mite.
Something about this movie makes me nostalgic for a time when we knew so little about the future of technology that the biggest danger we could imagine was a dude accidentally shrinking things with a laser beam.
(By the way, if one isn’t enough, the sequel’s on Netflix, too).
Available July 1: For many, this 1998 film was where Lindsay Lohan, then a talented child actress, caught our eye. She plays identical twins who were separated at birth when their parents broke up. One was raised in England with her mother to be a proper lady who wears tweed suits. The other adopted a tomboy attitude growing up with her dad on a winery. The two meet at camp and devise a scheme to reunite their parents that involves inadvisable ear piercing. Also, I should note that the plot of this movie is something most therapists would advise to not try at home.
Watch it to satisfy the nostalgia you feel for a time when there was a simpler Lohan in the world.
Available July 9: This high-stakes drama was overshadowed by other dazzling Oscar contenders when it came out last December, but its excellent cast and captivating story line are nothing to sneeze at. Christian Bale plays Russell Baze, a blue-collar dude with a wonderful wife (Zoë Saldana), a dying father, and a brother who gets mixed up with the wrong crowd after serving in Iraq (Casey Affleck). When his brother goes missing and the police fail to locate him, Baze takes the law into his own hands and hunts down the gang he suspects with an AK. Its plot and gorgeous shots of middle-of-nowhere terrain are reminiscent of True Detective, perhaps because the gang’s head honcho is played by Woody Harrelson.
Available July 14: This 2012 Paul Thomas Anderson film follows a World War II veteran (played by Joaquin Phoenix) as he attempts to adjust to society. He finds a leader in Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who heads a cultish religious movement known as “The Cause.” The eerie tale was inspired by L. Ron Hubbard, who founded the Church of Scientology in 1952.
It’s an unsettling story that’s well supported by its talented cast of actors, which include Laura Dern and Amy Adams. Adams, in particular, aced what may very well be the most awkward scene to film in the history of the world.