The Amazon Prime Video catalog is growing by the month, and not only because a ton of old movies are jumping into the public domain. They’re getting their hands on Oscar and Emmy winners, along with an ever increasing selection of original programming. If you don’t have Amazon, now may be the time to consider signing up, if only because you’ve run out of stuff to watch on Netflix. Here are the 9 best things coming to Amazon Prime Video this month.
When it comes to cult classics, perhaps none speak to audiences as loudly as Cameron Crowe’s hit “Almost Famous,” which follows the story of 15-year-old William Miller (Patrick Fugit) and his dive into rock and roll journalism for none other than Rolling Stone. Loosely based on Crowe’s own experiences writing for Rolling Stone while still in high school, Miller deals with the culture shock of transitioning out of the doldrums of the common high school classroom and into the fast and fun life of a touring rock and roll band. What starts as a small assignment covering one of his favorite rock bands turns into a 3,000-word front-page feature, all while Miller tries to figure out how to keep his overprotective mother Elaine (Frances McDormand) at bay, graduate high school, and not do drugs or have sex (one of which, he fails miserably at). If it sounds like a wild ride, it is. Check it out.
Days of Thunder
Is Days of Thunder more of a cinematic tire fire than a Hollywood hit movie? Maybe. But is there something incredibly special and nostalgic about what it brings to the big screen? Absolutely. Don Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer, Tony Scott, and Tom Cruise (the Top Gun folks) reunited on this project, which tells the story of Cole Trickle (Tom Cruise), a young southern stock-car driver who possesses incredible talent, but can’t manage to turn it into on-the-track success. It’s your typical cheesy 90s action/adventure movie with dramatic plot twists about loyalty and comeuppance, with a little romance thrown in for good measure (God bless young Nicole Kidman).
Another one from the cult teen classic vault, Election is a film by Paramount Pictures and MTV, and stars Reese Witherspoon as Tracy Flick, an overly ambitious high school prep vying for the “job” as senior Class President. The film also stars Matthew Broderick as Jim McAllister, a popular teacher at the school whose personal and professional anxieties are exacerbated throughout the election, and Chris Klein (yes, that dude from American Pie) as Paul Metzler, Flick’s primary political opposition. Aside from being an awesome slice of nostalgic late ‘90s gold (1999, to be precise), it’s also surprisingly funny and well-executed. Definitely worth a watch.
There Will Be Blood
This ruthlessly brilliant drama, set in early 20th century California at the peak of the California oil boom, is at times shocking and violent, eerie, and even downright brutal. It deals with themes like the dangers of religious servitude, greed, human disparity, and the real screwed up nature of the oil industry in the great American West. We’d go into a plot preview, but this movie truthfully has so many wild twists and turns and such great writing that it’d take us far too much time to put it all down here. Just know that to not watch it should be considered a criminal offense.
When most people think of Playboy, they think of it as little more than one of the world’s most prominent nudie magazines; Hugh Hefner, the magazine’s founder, a mere smut peddler. Of course, anyone familiar with the magazine knows of Hefner’s incredible story as the self-made millionaire who left Esquire in 1952 in order to do things his way. This Amazon Original tells the story of Hefner, America’s most widely known play-boy and businessman, but also one of the country’s preeminent activists, businessmen, sexual rights celebrators, LGBT supporters, entrepreneurs, and literary pioneers. Learn about the man who gave Aretha Franklin her first stage in front of a white audience, and the man who wasn’t afraid to publish “The Crooked Man” when others refused.
In a World…
In a World… is what happens when you mix a fun and quirky screenplay with an incredible cast of some of the world’s funniest people. Carol (Lake Bell) is a vocal coach who’s trying to break into the apparently super competitive world of movie trailer voiceover artists. She eventually strikes it big enough to rival the industry’s best movie trailer voiceover artist, who is coincidentally her dad. The movie also features appearances by some seriously great comedians, including Rob Corddry, Demetri Martin, Nick Offerman, Tig Notaro, Alexandra Holden and several others. It currently holds a 92% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and earned a Sundance 2013 Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. If that’s not enough to convince you to check this one out, we’re not sure what is.
The short version of it is that Thirteen is a pretty accurate look into the seedier lives of America’s youth. Literally take everything about your wild and crazy youth and translate it to the screen, and in the lives of three 13-year-old kids just learning about things like sex, drugs, and teenage angst. What makes this film a standout in its class is how truthful and brutally honest it is in the telling of these girls’ stories—identity crises, substance abuse, and even self mutilation are all part of the plot line here. In the end, you’re left with something so much more than a teenage party movie with edgy kids. You’re left with a real-life portrait of the American teenager, uncensored and unadulterated.
Catastrophe: Season 3
We don’t ordinarily pick up on the “Rom Com” TV/film genre, but when a show gets it as perfect as Catastrophe, it’s difficult not to take notice. The show stars Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan as Rob Norris and Sharon Morris, a Boston ad executive and London school teacher who wind up expecting a child after a week-long hormone-charged sexcapade during one of Rob’s business trips. Rob moves to the UK to help figure things out with Sharon, and real-world (and incredibly written) hilarity ensues. The first two seasons currently hold a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and we’re hoping Season 3 will follow suit!
Starring Ewan McGregor (in his directorial debut!), Jennifer Connelly, and Dakota Fanning, American Pastoral is a movie based on a Pulitzer-prize winning novel of the same name. McGregor plays the roll of Swede Levov, a former high school athlete and business owner who marries a former beauty queen (Connelly), inherits his father’s business, and appears to lead the perfect life. That is, until his daughter, Merry (Dakota Fanning), commits an act of domestic terrorism against a post office in what we learn is a protest of the Vietnam War. Perhaps the craziest part of the whole movie is that the post office bombing is the least stand-out thing that occurs. In fact, it’s just a catalyst for all of the other crazy shit that goes on throughout. Admittedly, the film has received pretty spotty ratings, but we’re big fans of it, nonetheless.
Also a Netflix subscriber? Check out our picks for new Netflix releases here.