August can be one of the dullest months of the year. Summer is on its way out, everybody has barbecued beyond their heart’s content, and we’re all ready to set our sights on the crisp relief of fall. Worst of all, pretty much nothing good is on TV. That is, unless you’re a Netflix subscriber. For you, August is a hell of a month for some great original content and excellent classics. If you haven’t already checked out July’s Coming to Netflix article, go catch up now. It’ll tide you over until everything this gets released this month.
Christmas is still a few months out, and this isn’t exactly a “wholesome family classic,” but it is one of our favorite holiday movies. Starring Billy Bob Thornton as Willie T. Soke and Tony Cox as his dwarf cohort Marcus, Bad Santa is about the absolute worst Santa Claus ever of all time. Like, ever. We don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but think of it as this: A heartwarming holiday story about the importance of giving and caring, peppered with sex, booze, police chases, more sex, blackmail, and all the other stuff you need to get into the holiday spirit.
The original Matrix movie is far and away the best in the franchise, and it makes its triumphant return to Netflix in August. The Matrix stars Keanu Reeves as Neo, a disenchanted computer programmer who discovers that the world he has been living in is completely fake. Essentially, Neo becomes the leader of a band of rebels who are staging a revolution against the machines who run their lives, in an attempt to free everyone from the machines’ control. It has an 87% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s a classic that, if you haven’t seen already, you absolutely have to.
Ask people what their favorite Quentin Tarantino movie is, and for whatever reason, Jackie Brown is almost always omitted from the conversation. In fact, a lot of people don’t even realize it’s a Tarantino film. It’s excusable, since it’s actually one of his more understated movies. But there are still some Tarantino staples here. For example, Samuel Jackson is in it, playing the excellent role of Ordell Robbie, an LA-based arms dealer who’s caught up in a conflict when his money woman, Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is busted trying to smuggle money into the country for him. The film’s cast also includes the likes of Robert De Niro, Robert Forster, Michael Keaton, Bridget Fonda, a young Chris Tucker, Michael Bowen and more. It’s a criminally underrated film, but hopefully the Netflix exposure will get it into more of those Tarantino conversations.
The Addams Family
We absolutely love the Addams Family franchise, and the 1991 original The Addams Family is our absolute favorite. The film is exactly what you’d expect from The Addams Family—a little bit quirky, a little bit funny, super weird, with a little bit of terror thrown in for taste. It stars Anjelica Huston as Morticia, Raul Julia as Gomez, Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester, Christina Ricci as Wednesday, and Jimmy Workman as Pugsley. Oh, and Carel Struycken as Lurch—can’t forget him! The plot basically revolves around a greedy and dubious mother and son Margaret and Tully Alford (played by Dana Ivey and Dan Hedaya) who conspire to marry Uncle Fester, kill him, and then take the family’s fortune. That is, until they get a taste of what it means to be an Addams.
The Number 23
Jim Carrey went through a weird phase in the 2000’s where he kind of swore off comedy in order to explore deeper, more serious roles. We saw it in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Majestic, but The Number 23 is really one of those films that blew us away. The psychological thriller stars Carrey as Walter Sparrow a wild man with a past marred by murder and rage. Sparrow is given a book called The Number 23 by his wife, written by a man named Topsy Kretts. Sparrow reads the book and becomes obsessed with its characters and its plot line, noticing striking similarities between himself and the main character. The film is plot twist after plot list, and while it wasn’t critically or commercially successful, it’s a really good one if you have the time.
An eye-opening Netflix Original documentary, Icarus explores an issue that has affected the sports world for decades: Doping. While everyone from Lance Armstrong to Jose Canseco has been busted for doping there is perhaps no country more guilty of it than Russia. It’s purported that 99% of Russian athletes use illegal performance enhancement drugs, but the issue goes widely unreported because of how secretive Russian athletic officials and trainers are. Icarus tears open the door to expose one of the biggest and perhaps most horrifying provable instances of sports doping in the crime’s history. It also frames the larger question, how prominent is doping on the world stage, and what does it say about how treatment of professional athletes?
Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later
When Netflix announced they were making Wet Hot American Summer, a cult classic film about the weirdest summer camp on the planet, into a Netflix Original series, everyone was skeptical—us included. But, as Netflix tends to do lately, they hit it out of the park. They brought back the original cast and gave the series an authentic feel that wouldn’t have happened if they didn’t get so much right. Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later is essentially a sequel to the prequel’s original, and focuses on the 10-year reunion of the Camp Firewood counselors. The original cast showed up in force for the sequel, including Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Michael Ian Black, Kristen Wiig, Jason Schwartzman and many others. You won’t see Bradley Cooper, who won’t return due to “scheduling conflict,” but that might just mean we’re getting another H. Jon Benjamin type talking can. We’ll play skeptic again and say we’re not so sure it deserved an entire series, but we’re approaching it with as open and enthusiastic a mind as we can.
If you haven’t already heard, we’re big cards fans—especially poker. So when a movie like 21 pops up, we’re all in. 21 stars Jim Sturgess as Ben Campbell, a brilliant MIT student who gets accepted into Harvard Medical School, but can’t afford the $300k to go there. One of Campbell’s professors, Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey), takes note of Campbell’s brilliance, and decides to allow him onto his blackjack team. Comprised of other students, the “team” is basically just a heist team of card counters. Of course, things go awry, and Campbell must decide whether he wants to risk it all, or go home. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a real good one.
Marvel’s The Defenders
We’ve already seen what Netflix can do with a superhero series (Can we get an amen for Luke Cage please?), so we’re really excited to see how they do Marvel’s The Defenders justice. The series will be set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will feature all of The Defenders, including Charlie Cox as Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Mike Colter as Luke Cage, and Finn Jones as Iron Fist. The 8-show first season will revolve around The Defenders as they team up to fight The Hand and from what we’ve heard already, it’s going to feel a lot like The Avengers in all the right ways.
Disjointed: Part 1
The description for Disjointed: Part 1 is a little vague, but we know that it revolves around Kathy Bates—one of our favorite female leads—and weed. Bates stars as Ruth, a life-long medical marijuana advocate that has dreamed of owning a dispensary her entire life. Ruth gets her wish, opens the dispensary, and from what we can imagine, things get weird. We don’t know much about this one, but we don’t really need to—count us in.
While you’re here, check out our picks for Amazon Prime Video this month too.