Okja

(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.)

Summer is here, which means it’s time for summer movie season! Which also means that most of the movies hitting multiplexes will be terrible. Why not stay home and stream some good movies instead?

This latest edition of Now Stream This features what might be the best film of 2017, and surprise surprise, it’s a film made for Netflix. The monocles of movie theater purists everywhere likely just shattered at that news, but this is the age we live in. Below you’ll also find a French horror film, a Japanese New Wave classic, an animated cult classic, a masterpiece of trash cinema and much more. So crank up the AC, turn on the TV and avoid going outside and making human contact at all costs! Let’s get streaming.

1. Okja

Streaming on Netflix June 28

Audiences (and judges) at Cannes were slightly hostile over the concept of Netflix movies running in competition this year. And then they saw Okja. Like it or not, it’s time to realize that Netflix is a major player in film distribution, and with Okja they might very well have delivered the best film of 2017. A funny, imaginative and often heartbreaking experience, this film from Bong Joon-ho will remind you that movies can sometimes be truly magical. Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun) is a young farm girl who has grown up in the mountains of South Korea raising Okja, a giant creature genetically engineered by the nefarious Mirando Corporation. When Mirando comes calling to haul Okja off to the slaughterhouse, Mija sets off on a globe-trotting adventure to rescue her. As an added bonus, Jake Gyllenhaal is in the film giving one of the strangest performances of his career. Okja may not be destined for the big screen, but that doesn’t make it any less of a film. And what a magnificent film it is.

For fans of: The Host, E.T., Monster Trucks, Tilda Swinton in various wigs.

2. The Iron Giant

Now Streaming on Netflix

This week, Michael Bay brings more Bayhem to the big screen with yet another incoherent Transformers sequel. However, If you’d like a little heart and soul to go with your clanking robot behemoths, you’d be wise to skip the theater and stream Brad Bird’s earnest animated film The Iron Giant. A young boy befriends a giant alien robot (voiced by Vin Diesel), but the growing friendship is put in serious peril once the trigger-happy U.S. government learns of the giant’s existence. Using an animation style that draws on the work of Norman Rockwell, The Iron Giant feels quaint and unique when compared to other animated films of the 1990s. The Iron Giant was virtually ignored in theaters due to poor marketing, but a much-earned cult status arose thanks to marathon showings on the Cartoon Network. There’s more honest emotion in one minute of this film than there is in the approximately 400 hours of all the Transformers films combined.

For fans of: Superman (1978), The Incredibles, Ratatouille, weeping during cartoons.

3. Dark City

Streaming on Hulu July 1

Alex Proyas’ eerie neo-noir Dark City was criminally underseen when it hit theaters in 1998, but now you can watch it from the comfort of your own living room. This is a spooky but gorgeous mind-trip about amnesiac John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) who wakes up one night only to find almost the entire nameless, imposing city he dwells in asleep. Things only get weirder from there, as he’s drawn into a conspiracy involving the very nature of time and existence itself. Pursued by chalk-faced men decked out in gothic frocks, and slowly realizing that the sun never seems to rise, Murdoch struggles to uncover his past while waiting to see if he even has a future. Loaded with trippy visuals and haunting concepts, think of this as the art-house cousin to The Matrix. It’s also one of several films that features Jennifer Connelly standing at the end of a long dock, for whatever reason.

For fans of: Blade Runner, The Matrix, Brazil, never-ending night.

4. Road House

Streaming on Hulu July 1

Oh, hell yes. Now we’re talking! Rowdy Herrington’s Road House is the greatest American film ever made (maybe) – a glorious work of trash cinema loaded with brawls, brews and beauty. And also a monster truck. Patrick Swayze is Dalton, a world-renowned bouncer who also has a degree in philosophy, but what he really majored in was kicking ass. Dalton gets recruited to clean up the Double Deuce, a surly bar overrun with rowdy jerks. Everything changes when Dalton rolls into town, punching heads and changing hearts. This is bad news for Ben Gazzara, who plays the local crime kingpin who runs the town and also drives all over the highway while singing the 1954 doo-wop song “Sh-Boom.” Just when you think this movie can’t get any better, Sam Elliott shows up with long greasy hair and Dalton literally rips a man’s throat open with his bare hands. Road House!

For fans of: Point Break, Dirty Dancing, Tango and Cash, bar fights with a touch of romance.

5. 20th Century Women

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video June 28

Mike Mills pays tribute to his childhood and the single mother who raised him in the sublime 20th Century Women. Annette Bening delivers one of the best performances of her already acclaimed career playing a single mom in the 1970s, struggling to understand her young son (Lucas Jade Zumann) while he in turn is trying to make sense of the world and people around him. Equally funny and poignant, 20th Century Women lingers with you long after you’ve watched it, like a wonderful memory that you know will never truly fade. As great as Bening is here, the film is almost stolen by Greta Gerwig, giving a sure-to-be-iconic performance with a dynamite haircut to match. If you’re not shedding a tear or two during the last five minutes of this movie, you are a heartless ghoul of some kind, and back to the graveyard with you, I say!

For fans of: Beginners, Mistress America, The Royal Tenenbaums, killer soundtracks.

Continue Reading The Best Movies Streaming in June and Beyond >>

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