Best Movies Streaming Right Now June 21

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

Attention streaming movie fans: I’ve gathered up 10 must-stream movies to make your life easier. You’re welcome. In this edition of Now Stream This, you’ll find a wild Western from Sam Raimi; the directorial debut of Kelly Reichardt; the acting debut of Edward Norton; not one but two Ralph Fiennes films; an underrated ghost movie; a documentary about one of the worst films ever made, and more!

These are the best movies streaming right now. Let’s get streaming.

The Best Movies Streaming Right Now

1. The Quick and the Dead
Now Streaming on Hulu

Release Date: 1995

Genre: Weird Western

Director: Sam Raimi

Cast: Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Russell Crowe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Roberts Blossom, Kevin Conway, Lance Henriksen, Pat Hingle, Gary Sinise

Before Sam Raimi became a blockbuster filmmaker with Spider-Man, he was still an indie weirdo crafting wild, stylish movies that the general public just didn’t quite get. One of the best of the bunch is this gonzo 1995 Western in which Raimi stages a series of elaborate shoot-outs in inventive, strange ways. At times it looks like the camera is on top of the bullets as they zig and zag around the dusty streets. And when those bullets hit, it’s not a simple flesh wound. Characters are thrown through the air as if they’ve just been hit with a battering ram. When that doesn’t happen, holes the size of grapefruits open up in people’s heads. None of it is bound by the laws of physics or reality, and it’s great.

In The Quick and the DeadSharon Stone plays a loner who rides into an Old West town under the rule of Gene Hackman (playing a sort-of parody of his character from Unforgiven). Hackman’s character runs a big shoot-out competition in the streets, and Stone enters with the hope of getting to him to settle some unfinished business. Along the way, a gunslinger-turned-preacher (played by a young, svelte Russell Crowe) gets roped into the mess. A baby-faced Leonardo DiCaprio is also on hand as Hackman’s cocky illegitimate son. I long for the days when Sam Raimi still made movies like this – it’s silly, it’s inventive, it’s wildly entertaining. I promise you’ve never seen a Western like this.

For fans of: The Evil DeadUnforgivenDjango Unchained, tons of character actors showing up for a few minutes before dying.

 

2. River of Grass
Now Streaming on FilmStruck

Release Date: 1995

Genre: Indie neo-noir (sort of?)

Director: Kelly Reichardt

Cast: Lisa Bowman, Larry Fessenden

Kelly Reichardt made her directorial debut with this ambling, shambling movie that defies conventional classification. Somewhere in the Florida Everglades, bored housewife Cozy (Lisa Bowman) befriends shaggy handyman Lee Ray (Larry Fessenden). “People used to think this area was uninhabitable,” Cozy tells us in the opening narration, “but more and more it’s becoming civilized, and they say that within two years there will be a shopping center every fifteen miles.” Cozy and Lee Ray end up involved in an accidental shooting that may or may not have killed someone. After the shooting, the duo decide to go on the lam…and yet they can never seem to get out of the Everglades.

Like most Reichardt movies, River of Grass has a pace of its own. It doesn’t unfold so much as it drifts, like clouds cutting across a wide-open sky. The film is loaded with pink-hued skies, lit-up swimming pools, run down motels, and crickets singing in the grass. It’s a hypnotic, enticing film, and instantly established Reichardt as a filmmaker to pay attention to. Reichardt called the film “a road movie without the road, a love story without the love, and a crime story without the crime,” and later added: “My first film…is like a road movie…They aren’t able to work their way out of town, actually. It’s a theme that started at the beginning, and I look back, and I guess it’s just a good setup for different kinds of searching: question-asking, looking for the next place to go, what are you looking for, what are you leaving. All those things are good for grounding it in getting from point A to point B.”

For fans of: Certain WomenBadlandsThe Florida Project, looking at images of Florida without ever actually going there.

 

3. In Bruges
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2008

Genre: Dark comedy

Director: Martin McDonagh

Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy

To hell with Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Martin McDonagh‘s true masterpiece is the pitch-black 2008 comedy In Bruges. The film finds two hitmen (the expertly paired Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) laying low in Belgium. It should be something like a vacation, but the restless, miserable Farrell can’t settle. Farrell and Gleeson bicker and banter, bouncing off each other like pinballs. And then there’s Ralph Fiennes, stealing the show as Farrell and Gleeson’s foul-mouthed, short-tempered boss who is coming to Bruges to settle a score. In Bruges is loaded with laugh-out-loud funny moments, but buried under it all is an almost astonishing level of melancholy. Once you peel away all the barbed jokes and comic set-pieces, you find a film dealing with depression and suicidal undertones. It’s a remarkable experience, and McDonagh balances it all masterfully.

For fans of: Seven PsychopathsBurn After ReadingThe Guard, creative cursing.

 

4. The Untouchables
Now Streaming on Hulu

Release Date: 1987

Genre: Gangster movie

Director: Brian De Palma

Cast: Kevin Costner Charles, Martin Smith, Andy García, Robert De Niro, Sean Connery

Brian De Palma‘s 100% historically inaccurate story about Elliot Ness trying to bring down Al Capone is cinematic dynamite. It sizzles and explodes, bursting with style, drama, and a whole lot of blood. Kevin Costner is the super-square Treasury agent Ness, sworn to uphold the laws of Prohibition on the streets of Chicago. That puts Ness in the crosshairs of cartoon gangster Al Capone (Robert De Niro, hamming it up big time). While other lawmen are easily bought off by Capone, Ness is too pure of heart to go in for that sort of thing. He hooks up with a beat-cop (Sean Connery, in his only Oscar-winning role) and forms a team of good guys who will do what ever it takes to stop Capone’s empire.

Did any of this stuff actually happen? No, not really! But it doesn’t matter. De Palma, a master behind the camera, stages one spectacular moment after another: bombings, machine gun shootouts, point-of-view stalking sequences, and of course, the famous scene where a baby carriage rolls perilously down the steps of a train station (lifted straight from the Odessa steps sequence in Battleship Potemkin). Everyone is bringing their A-game here, especially Connery, who makes the biggest impression. But the real star of the film is Ennio Morricone‘s catchy, triumphant musical score. A shot of Ness and his men spilling out onto the Chicago streets as Morricone’s music swells is guaranteed to give you goosebumps.

For fans of: Carlito’s WayDick TracyOnce Upon A Time In America, Sean Connery trying to make his Scottish accent sound like an Irish accent.

 

5. Quiz Show
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 1994

Genre: Historical drama

Director: Robert Redford

Cast: John Turturro, Rob Morrow, Ralph Fiennes, David Paymer, Paul Scofield

Robert Redford helms this dry-but-fascinating drama based on the Twenty One quiz show scandals of the 1950s. Audiences couldn’t get enough of NBC’s popular TV game show, but here’s the thing: it was fixed, with contestants being fed answers. After reigning champ John Turturro is essentially fired from the show by being made to lose, NBC recruits Columbia University instructor Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes). Van Doren is whip-smart, and could probably win the show without knowing the answers upfront. But he goes along with the ruse anyway. Unfortunately, an investigator (Rob Morrow) begins looking into the whole affair, threatening to expose it all. In the grand scheme of things (especially looking back now, in the hell-year that is 2018), cheating on a TV game show isn’t that big a deal. But it was a major scandal at the time, and Redford’s film does a great job of showing us why. Quiz Show‘s production design is exemplary, effectively transporting audiences back to the ’50s. And Fiennes turns in a fine(s) performance as Van Doren. Bonus: look for a cameo from Martin Scorsese, playing a TV executive.

For fans of: Hollywoodland Goodnight and Good Luck, Frost/Nixon, Geritol.

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