A round-up for your weekend watch list.
You lay in bed scrolling through option after option, genre after genre, no longer understanding what you’re reading until you finally just fall asleep while the Netflix Originals screen watches over you with pity. Wipe that look of chagrin off your face. It’s not your fault. With a surfeit of options, we all fall victim to indecisive show selection. This weekend will be different. This weekend you have a curated list below at your disposal. This weekend you will turn to Netflix with confidence because we’ve sorted out the best options that you can stream on Netflix right now.
Hidden in its catalogs, Netflix has Best Picture winners, cult classics, new seasons of popular shows and more that are all listed below. You’ll even see an appearance from the most polarizing man in music, Kanye West. All of the selections serve as relatively recent additions to the ever-expanding Netflix catalogue.
No Best Picture victory of this decade has had more drama around it than Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight. We all remember the debacle with La La Land,but there are more reasons to check out this film besides revisiting old drama. This movie is fantastic. It was the first LGBTQ-related film as well as the first film with an all-black cast to win Best Picture.
This coming-of-age drama doesn’t turn far from the genre’s traditional troupes, but it presents them in such a refreshingly honest, and at many times brutal, way that it is easily deserving of its critical praise. Moonlight focuses on three specific chapters in the life of one gay, African-American man living in Florida. It’s an emotionally destabilizing journey painted through the sublime direction of Barry Jenkins. Moonlight is a must-see if you have the time this weekend.
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman
It’s hard to forget seeing David Letterman emerge after a three-year-long retirement accompanied by a beard that rivals Santa Claus to reveal his next show. It was over a year ago when Netflix announced Letterman’s next career move would be an hour-long interview show boasting former president Barack Obama and Jay-Z as guests in its inaugural season. My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman returns this Friday, May 31st on Netflix, this time around promoting Kanye West amongst other guests.
In one released clip from the new season, Kanye gives Letterman a style makeover. “It’s like when I used to work at the GAP, bro,” Kanye says as he prepares Letterman to be presented in front of Kim Kardashian West and Kris Jenner. The second season of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman is certainly worth checking out.
Batman Begins & The Dark Knight
With confirmation of Robert Pattinson taking Ben Affleck’s place as Batman, now is the perfect time to revisit the man who many believe played the caped crusader best, Christian Bale. Christopher Nolan’s take on Batman ascended above the superhero genre, proving that comic book inspired films could be subversive, critically adored, and marketed to a far larger demographic than previously believed. In this sense, it’s paved the way for the (ironically) Marvel obsessed culture that permeates today.
With The Dark Knight, Nolan moved away from the high caliber, over the top set-pieces superhero films were known for at the time, and opted for a more subtle approach. The Dark Knight is a character study. It dives into the minds of two juxtaposing views: Good and Evil. Heath Ledger gives the performance of his career representing the latter. The Dark Knight is regarded as one of the best modern superhero films and is now available on Netflix.
If you're looking to a more challenging viewing, turn to the newly released Joy. Ironically titled, this film follows the path of Joy, a Nigerian sex worker in Austria. By the point where which the story begins, Joy is clearly experienced. She takes in a younger girl, new to the world of sex trafficking, named Precious. Joy will do her best to break the cycle, but escaping this world proves to be an enormous challenge.
The performance of Joy Anwulika Alphonsus in the lead is harrowing; the pain of her existence is palpable through the screen. The story constantly plays with your emotions. Joy will tear you down, but at moments, when Joy gets a break to forget about the world she’s found herself in, so do you, until she’s ripped back into reality and the cycle continues. Joy is without a doubt worth your time this weekend.
Always Be My Maybe
On a lighter note, Ali Wong and Randall Park have teamed up to bring audiences Always Be My Maybe, the story of childhood sweethearts reconnecting after a fifteen-year separation. This romantic comedy also features Keanu Reeves, fresh off the release of John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum.
When the two run into each other again, they find themselves living in drastically different lives. Marcus (Randall Park) still works with his father and is dating a new girlfriend. Sasha (Ali Wong) is now a celebrity chef in a relationship the rich and handsome Brandon (Daniel Dae Kim). Always Be My Maybe is a return to form for the romantic comedy genre and makes for a fun viewing this weekend.
If you enjoy Netflix’s wildly popular Orange Is the New Black, then Jailbirds should pique your interest. Jailbirds takes a serious look at the lives of female inmates in the Sacramento County Jail. This docu-series focuses on inmates in for a wide array from crimes ranging from theft to murder. It may seem like a bleak topic, but the inmates featured in the show generally bring surprisingly upbeat energy that makes for a captivating watch.
It’s incredibly eye-opening to hear from the inmates and understand their unique perspectives. Some only ostensibly vow they will change but with others, you can feel the passion and desire to grow and get back to the free world. You’d be mistaken to skip over this one.
When They See Us
When They See Us introduces us to the five young men, made famous as The Central Park Five for their arrest on the night of April 19, 1989. While all the signs say otherwise, they are charged for the rape and murder of Trisha Meili and the narrative around the boys becomes framed into one of savagery, anger, and a pack on a rampage.
This dramatization displays just how disorienting the situation was for the boys and how easily and they were coaxed into their confessions. Over the course of the series, creator Ava DuVernay takes viewers through the trial, as well as the difficulties the five men had reintegrating into society. When They See Us is one of the most interesting new additions to Netflix.
How To Sell Drugs Online (Fast)
Inspired by true events, How To Sell Drugs Online (Fast) tells the story of how a heartbroken teenager, Moritz Zimmermann, begins selling ecstasy online in hopes to win back his ex-girlfriend. The absurdity begins fast and eventually, Zimmermann becomes one of the biggest dealers in Europe. The series is clearly meant for Generation Z with themes of online connectivity, insecurity, anxiety, and dread of the future.
At its core, How To Sell Drugs Online (Fast) is a buddy comedy. The series mostly revolves around two characters, Zimmermann, known as “Mo” and his friend Lenny. With a hilarious premise, it’s bound to be a good watch this weekend.
Rapper/Filmmaker Slick Naim has released his newest venture through Netflix. It’s Bruno! focuses on the day to day operations of Malcolm (Slick Naim) and his dog Bruno. It’s that simple. What keeps viewers engaged is the oddity of the world in which they live and the way in which the show is filmed.
It’s Bruno! is slightly (very slightly) reminiscent of another New York show that recently ended, Broad City. Similarly, the story of Malcolm and Bruno is about the journey, not the destination. The show serves up a series of mini-adventures, which each episode bite-sized (approximately 15 minutes or so), as we follow along with Malcolm and Bruno for seemingly mundane activities, such as walking over to the local bodega, or the corner store to get dog food -- but excitement inevitably finds them.
A murderer who kills to improve the ratings of his TV show may sound like a corny cable drama, but it’s actually the true story of Wallace Souza. Netflix’s new true crime series, Killer Ratings, takes a look at a series of murders connected to improving the ratings of the Brazilian television program Canal Livre.
In 2009, Souza was accused of hiring hitman to target five individuals. After the murders, Souza would be the first reporter on the scene to cover the attacks. It’s nearly impossible to believe it truly happened, so make sure to watch Killer Ratings this weekend to find out how.
For fans of neo-noir, Netflix has released a new series in the same dark, moody vein you already love. What/If has secrets, surprise twists, betrayal and more all sprinkled into a ten-hour limited series. The performances from Jane Levy and Renee Zellweger stand out above the script and keep you immersed.
Lisa Ruiz (Jane Levy) and her husband Sean (Blake Jenner) are running out of options. They need to secure funding for their medical start-up and mysterious venture capitalist Anne Montgomery (Renee Zellweger) shows up at the right time. Montgomery seems to be the answer the couple has been looking for; however, there is one caveat, Montgomery wants one night alone with Sean. Check out the nail-biting social thriller this weekend on Netflix.
50/50 marks an interesting point in the career of the lovable, hilarious Seth Rogen: it is one of the first points where Rogan finds success venturing away from straightforward, bong-ripping comedy. Not that 50/50 isn’t funny, it’s quite funny, but that humor is the main factor in what makes it so serious. Until this point, cancer had yet to be portrayed in such an accurate way on screen. The film’s refusal to stop making jokes no matter how serious the topic reflects the power of comedy and friendship in a beautiful way. 50/50 revolves around Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and the reaction of his friends and family to his cancer diagnosis.
The film goes through stages of shock, denial, resistance and finally, acceptance, all the while making viewers crackle along with Seth Rogen’s iconic laugh. The audience pushes away the inevitable ending until we cannot any longer. The film reaches an emotional depth by the climax no one would have expected in a comedy starring Seth Rogen in 2011. In this sense, the film opened the doors for Rogan to appear in movies like Steve Jobs and Longshot.
It may seem like another film with two female leads (Allison Williams and Logan Browning) pitted against each other from the start, but that’s what The Perfection wants you to think. The film actually evolves into a feminist revenge mission against the abusive teacher of two musical prodigies. The timing of the film's release seems appropriate in the era of the “#MeToo” movement.
After the passing of her mother, Charlotte (Allison Williams) is introduced to upcoming musician Elizabeth (Logan Browning) and the two bond over shared experiences at their musical academy. We don’t know much, but after Charlotte experiences quick flashbacks of screaming, we know there is something more to this story. If you want to find out what happens over the next hour and thirty minutes, check out The Perfection this weekend.
She’s Gotta Have It
The newest season of this Spike Lee joint is now on Netflix. Reaching its second season, She’s Gotta Have It, based on the 1986 Spike Lee film of the same name, is starting to branch off from the source material it began with. The series carries a brilliant cast featuring DeWanda Wise, Anthony Ramos and more who all make the show worth watching.
If you aren’t caught up, binge the first season of She’s Gotta Have It this weekend. The show takes an unabashed look into our country’s views on sex and race in the modern age. Just like the original movie, the Netflix remake centers on Nola Darling, a compelling, polyamorous, intelligent young woman living in a gentrified Brooklyn.
Few movies that involve race relations can depict a white man as a hero without coming off as a distasteful white savior; however, in 2008, Clint Eastwood managed to do so. With Gran Torino, Eastwood portrays a gritty, American, retired Detroit autoworker living in a diverse neighborhood with Asian, Latino, and Black families. At the start of the film, Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) is a bigoted war veteran who spends his days drinking; but, after a botched robbery attempt for his car, Walt is thrust into the world of crime. The ensuing story is heartbreaking, exciting and comes together for a brilliant climax.
If you get a chance, make sure to find Gran Torino on Netflix to see some of Clint Eastwood’s best work.
Outlander (Season One & Two)
With the fifth season of Outlander having been officially announced, now is a perfect time to check out the first two seasons of the show. One minute, Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe) is enjoying a honeymoon in Scotland and the next, she is transported to 1743. In order to survive, she marries Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan), a charming Scottish warrior. The two find themselves in a Jacobite rebellion, Claire knows is doomed to fail.
The show has been met with critical praise and it’s first two seasons are now available on Netflix. Make sure to check out Outlander this weekend in preparation of the shows fifth season.
One of the most popular films of 2012, Magic Mike, directed by Steven Soderbergh, is now available on Netflix. Mike (Channing Tatum) may be just a handyman by day, but at night he works as the headliner in an all-male stripping group. The group works at a club owned by Dallas (Matthew McConaughey).
Magic Mike is a reverse on the traditional male-gaze towards young females that has always existed in Hollywood. This time around, men are the object and Steven Soderbergh directs it perfectly. Magic Mike is funny, thought-provoking and features memorable performances from it’s cast. The film has a hint of truth to it as Tatum worked as a stripper in Tampa, Florida at the age of eighteen. Definitely watch Magic Mike on this weekend if you haven’t so far.