We’re all going a little stir crazy right now. The shelter in place orders that have been in place for almost a month now are still looming over the heads of much of the country and we’re all pretty quickly running out of things to do. And while the whole world lost its mind over Tiger King, the relatively short five hour runtime doesn’t do much but stave off boredom for an afternoon. It’s with that in mind that we began looking at all the streaming platforms to find the best movies currently available to stream. We’ve assembled a fantastic list of new and old movies across multiple services for you to enjoy across this weekend and beyond.
This year’s best picture winner hit Hulu this week, giving audiences unfettered access to Bong-Joon Ho’s masterpiece of class tension. No one who was paying attention was at all shocked by Parasite’s sweep of prestige categories this year. It is a work of art, giving the world a chance to see what fans of Korean cinema have been asserting for years: Ho is one of the best directors of all time. The tension is palpable and builds to a shocking conclusion in a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
2020’s best film might have already been released. This stunner from writer/director Celine Sciamma won acclaim all throughout last year, winning best screenplay at Cannes in addition to being up for the coveted Palm D’or. While you might have missed it during its theatrical release earlier this year, which unfortunately coincided with the start of the COVID-19 outbreak for much of the country, Hulu quickly ensured that audiences would be able to see it as soon as they possibly could. It is one of the most stunningly beautiful love stories of the 21st century and will leave you positively wrecked in the best possible ways.
Say what you will about Shia LaBeouf, he wrote one of the best screenplays last year with this semiautobiographical tale about a child star fighting to overcome a descent into self-destruction. What results is a raw and poignant exploration of overcoming abuse and fighting against the expectations we so willingly put upon young shoulders. Honey Boy is one of the best depictions of child stardom ever made.
It’s a shame more people didn’t see French director Claire Denis’s English language debut. High Life is a thoughtful, arthouse deconstruction of science fiction that explores the depths of humanity in the far reaches of space. Robert Pattinson stars as a condemned killer isolated on a ship hurtling towards a black hole with no one but his daughter to keep him company. Beautifully filmed and artfully assembled, High Life eschews the action tropes of the genre for a more restrained, and universal, tale.
Guillermo Del Toro’s breakthrough classic remains as important today as it did 13 years ago, when it first hit screens. This poignant reimagining of the fairytale tropes serves to remind us that stories need not be solely the realm of children and that fairytales can, and still do, help us understand and navigate the world in even the darkest of times.
If you haven’t seen this cult classic from Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly then have I got a treat for you. The two star in this fantastically funny and endlessly quotable film directed by future Academy Award winner Adam McKay. While Ferrell and Reilly are frequent collaborators, their chemistry here, as two middle aged losers whose parents get married, is arguably the best it’s ever been, resulting in an astoundingly hilarious break from reality.
Forget everything else Disney+ has to offer, having 24/7 access to this 1988 fantasy from writer George Lucas and director Ron Howard is, in itself, worth the monthly cost of the streaming service. 32 years since its release, and it still feels as timeless and wonderful as ever, even if some of the effects are a bit dated. That only adds to the charm of this tale of good vs evil, which has spawned a massive cult following and has led to the development of a sequel series which began earlier this year. This is escapism at its finest and, ultimately, another tale of hope to get you through dark times.
Return to Oz
This absolutely batshit sequel to The Wizard of Oz was the stuff of nightmares to children of the 80s but, these days, is full of a kind of whimsical, Tim Burtonesque charm. Which isn’t to say it’s not disturbing. The 80s were a weird time for Disney and they found themselves exploring some dark waters in films like this, The Black Cauldron, and even Tron. Distilling elements from L. Frank Baum’s first five or so Oz books into one film, Return to Oz is a wild and absurd take on Baum’s wild and absurd world.
Literally any documentary from Les Blank
Les Blank toed the line, such as it exists, between film verité and avant garde, creating slice of life documentaries on subjects ranging from Mardi Gras (Always for Pleasure), garlic (Garlic is As Good As Ten Mothers), Zydeco legend Clifton Chernier (Hot Pepper), and gap-toothed women (Gap-Toothed Women). Generally short films, Blank manages to capture an essence of niche life that is applicable to the wider world, capturing the essence of humanity within small interests and his films will inspire, enthrall, and delight you.
If you’ve never seen this absolutely bizarre bit of Japanese horror than settle in and prepare yourself for a wild ride. I’m not gonna tell you much, but what I do want you to keep in mind while you’re watching is that after the bosses of legendary Japanese movie studio saw Jaws, they demanded a horror film that would match it for intensity and affect. How they got from point A to point B on this one is anyone’s guess but, regardless, they certainly made one of the most insane bits of cinema ever produced.