You probably spent most of your winter binging on steaming content. Now that it’s summer, you should get outside more, right?
Makes sense on paper. Too bad Netflix is dumping another batch of excellent movies onto their service. Check out eight titles hitting today, July 1, and two more worth waiting for.
1. MEAN GIRLS (2004)
Rachel McAdams was 25 when she played high school verbal assassin Regina George; Amy Poehler (who played her mom) is only eight years her senior, but who’s counting? Mean Girls perfectly captured the clique culture of adolescence to become one of the most well-regarded teen movies of all time.
2. THE BIG SHORT (2015)
Adam McKay’s takedown of the subprime mortgage crisis continues author Michael Lewis’s near-perfect record of adaptations that started with Moneyball. Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Christian Bale star. (Streams July 6)
3. BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA (1986)
Kurt Russell and John Carpenter have made many beautiful things together, but nothing beats the sheer weirdness of Big Trouble and its complete deconstruction of the ‘80s beefcake hero. As swaggering Jack Burton running amok in a mystical San Francisco’s Chinatown, Russell is usually a step behind everyone else and spends a portion of the film knocked unconscious. Would The Rock allow that? (He might: he's working on a remake.)
4. THE STING (1973)
Paul Newman and Robert Redford are grifters during the Great Depression who set out to fleece Robert Shaw. A con movie with two of the biggest movie stars of the 20th century, the film plays out with the precision of a Swiss watch and won seven Academy Awards in 1974, including Best Picture.
5. CINDERELLA MAN (2005)
Overlooked as a bland period boxing drama at the time of its release, Ron Howard’s film about Depression-era fighter Jim Braddock (Russell Crowe) is clichéd in all the best ways. There’s the nervous wife (Renée Zellweger), the health scare (opponent Max Baer has killed men in the ring), and the desperation (the Braddocks are down to basically eating dirt). So why give it a chance? Because virtually every bit of it is true, taken from the real Braddock’s own fight out of poverty—and because Paul Giamatti (as Braddock’s trainer) hasn’t turned in a bad performance yet.
6. THE ITALIAN JOB (2003)
There was a time when Jason Statham was a supporting player in reasonably good films—as opposed to leading roles in filmed concussions—including this loose remake of the 1969 Michael Caine heist drama. Mark Wahlberg leads a team of thieves looking for revenge against a former colleague (Edward Norton) who double-crossed them. Statham is Handsome Rob, their wheel man; director F. Gary Gray is taking over the Fast and Furious franchise with Fast 8 in 2017, so if you want to know how he handles a car chase, here's your chance to find out.
7. THE BACK TO THE FUTURE TRILOGY (1985-1989)
The adventures of Marty McFly aren’t exactly hidden cinema treasures, but they’re always worth revisiting. If you take the trilogy out for another spin, check out the prosthetics that prompted actor Crispin Glover to sue the production for using his likeness in the sequels (he bowed out after the first), some incredibly fleeting scenes featuring fired-McFly Eric Stoltz’s shoulder, and future Biff Tannen’s eerie resemblance to Donald Trump.
8. WORKING GIRL (1988)
Melanie Griffith is a small-time secretary with a business degree who takes her boss’s absence as an opportunity to climb the corporate ladder. The film, directed by Mike Nichols, earned six Oscar nominations, and features a steady parade of “Is that—?" appearances by David Duchovny, Kevin Spacey, and Alec Baldwin. It’s also the only time Harrison Ford ever took a supporting role in the 1980s.
9. THE INVITATION (2015)
Logan Marshall-Green is a father struggling to come to terms with the death of his young son; he accepts a dinner invitation from his ex-wife two years after their marriage dissolved as a result of the tragedy. Things get progressively stranger from there, including a “twist” ending that feels earned. (Streams July 8)
10. THE ALBERT BROOKS COLLECTION
Seven of Brooks’s most enduring films—The Muse, Defending Your Life, Lost in America, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, Modern Romance, Mother, and his debut, Real Life—are all streaming for the first time. If you’re new to the comedian’s understated brand of humor, try sampling 1985’s Lost in America, where he plays a burnt-out businessman who decides to quit life and take his wife out on a Winnebago, with predictably tragic results. A character at his worst is usually when Brooks is at his best.