The folks at Netflix knew they had to come out swinging in July. Not only are we ramping up for one of the hottest months of the year (which, let’s face it, means we’re going to be spending a lot more time indoors rather than grill-side), we’re also losing some really, really great stuff: Futurama (Seasons 1-6), Blazing Saddles, Batman, El Dorado, Kevin Hart: Laugh At My Pain—and that’s just a quick look at a long and depressing list.
Luckily, Netflix came through in the clutch for subscribers this month, with a solid lineup of new additions, including a couple classics, an anticipated Netflix Original, and some real interesting original and classic documentaries. Here’re the 10 best things coming to Netflix in July.
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
We were bummed a few months back when Netflix announced the departure of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, so when we saw it on the list for this month, we couldn’t help but include it here. This great American classic, released in 1982 and directed by the one and only Steven Spielberg, stars the likes of Drew Barrymore, Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, and Peter Coyote. It tells the story of a young and lonely boy, Elliott (Thomas), who finds love and companionship in a literal extra-terrestrial that’s just trying to get home. It has been preserved in the National Film Registry for its cultural significance, was the highest-grossing film of the 1980s, and is considered to many to be a cinematic masterpiece. If you’ve never seen it, now’s the time.
Best in Show
There’s no real other way to put this—Best in Show is absolutely ridiculous. Starring writer and director Christopher Guest, along with a hilariously talented cast that including Eugene Levy, Parker Rose, Michael Hitchcock, Michael McKean, Bob Balaban, Fred Willard, and a ton of others, Best in Show is a mockumentary that looks at the very real intensity of dog shows through the eyes of a bunch of ridiculous and obsessive dog owners. The film profiles a group of very different—but equally absurd—competition dog owners, and it’s brilliantly funny, wonderfully acted, and so absurd from beginning to end. Best in Show is to dog shows what Spinal Tap is to 80’s rock.
The Truth is in The Stars
One of a few excellent documentaries coming out this month, The Truth is in The Stars follows William Shatner, the original Captain Kirk, as he asks some of the world’s most brilliant innovators, celebrities, and political figureheads—like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, and Jason Alexander—what kind of impact they believe Star Trek has had on humankind since its release. While its premise sounds a little self-aggrandizing, given the nature of the Star Trek phenomenon and its impact on the general population’s views on space travel, it’s a valid question. What kind of tone did Star Trek set for the world’s venture into space? Is it possible for the world to live up to the standards it set? Did it set any measurable standards at all? Shatner asks all these questions and more, and the answers are fascinating.
Some people love Nicholas Cage and some people hate Nicholas Cage. We’re in the former, largely thanks to Matchstick Men, one of his all-time greatest roles. Cage plays Roy Waller, a talented con man who also happens to suffer from extreme obsessive-compulsive disorder and Tourette’s Syndrome. While discussing the plot would ruin its epic twist, essentially, Roy’s doctor reaches out to his estranged wife and learns that Roy has a daughter, who he eventually shows the ropes of conning. After a big job, Roy learns that things aren’t exactly what they seem. Screwed up things happen, but it does have a really awesome happy ending. Watch it.
One of the rare occasions we don’t trust a Rotten Tomatoes score (41% is criminally low for this one), Police Academy is an ‘80s cult comedy classic that stars Steve Guttenberg as Carey Mahoney, a goofy, easy-going guy who’s forced into the police academy in lieu of a jail sentence. The movie essentially tells the story of Mahoney’s time in the academy along with other fresh recruits—Larvell Jones (Michael Winslow), George Martin (Andrew Ruben), Eugene Tackleberry (David Graf), Karen Thompson (Kim Cattrall), and others—as they come up and eventually become the city’s newest police officers—despite the best efforts of a disgruntled police chief. Imagine Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but with cops.
Extraordinary: The Stan Romanek Story
If you know anything about UFO conspiracies in the last two decades, you’ve heard of the highly controversial Stan Romanek. Romanek has famously claimed that he has been abducted and continuously contacted by extraterrestrials, and has reported finding unexplained wounds, receiving messages, being contacted in the middle of the night, etc. He’s most famous for his “Boo Video,” in which what appears to be an alien peers into Romanek’s home through one of the windows. This documentary doesn’t necessarily pick one side or the other, but instead summarizes the evidence Romanek has obtained over the years, explores Romanek’s life and how his claims have affected the lives of his friends and families, and even features interviews with several professionals who corroborate Romanek’s stories and validate his claims. Whatever side you fall on in the alien debate, the documentary is fascinating, to say the least.
Lion is an absolutely beautiful story about Saroo (Dev Patel), a young Indian boy who gets lost on a train in his home country and winds up adopted into a loving and supportive Australian family. Twenty-five years later, while eating a meal with friends one evening that reminds him of his childhood, Saroo recollects his past and decides he’s going to do his best to find his village and return to his childhood home. We don’t want to give away too much, but the film itself is powerful and emotionally moving and learning it was based on a true story completely changed the way we thought about family and love. It sounds mushy, but we can’t say enough good things about this film.
Netflix Original documentary Chasing Coral makes its debut this month and joins an awesome library of compelling documentaries. Climate change is wreaking havoc on marine ecosystems and perhaps none are more threatened than our coral reefs. Chasing Coral is Jeff Orlowski’s follow-up to his 2012 environmental film Chasing Ice, and follows a team of marine biologists, filmmakers, and camera designers as they attempt to set up cameras that catch—in real time—the coral reef bleaching occurring throughout the world right now. It’s not just fascinating from an environmentalist’s standpoint (frankly, to an environmentalist, it plays more like a horror film), but it’s also exceptionally interesting to see what these teams went through in order to capture these stunningly tragic bleachings on film.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
We, like, all respectable Star Wars fans, were skeptical when they announced they were going to be making movies outside of the canonized trilogies and not featuring our favorite sky walking family. However, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story gets every accolade in our book for being one of the best Star Wars films to date. It’s the first of the Star Wars Anthology series and if they keep making them like this, we’ll keep going to the theater. Rogue One immediately predates the original saga and tells the story of a band of rebels who try to steal the plans for the Death Star and thereby save the galaxy. The film was purposefully shot to look and feel different than the original trilogy, and it watches like something very uniquely its own, but also very undeniably Star Wars. Also, Darth Vader, holy shit.
Ozark Season 1
Many are calling Ozark Netflix’s next big thing, and from the looks of the trailer, we’re inclined to agree. The show follows Marty Bird (Jason Bateman), a seemingly average financial planner who moves he and his family from their cushy life in the suburbs of Chicago to an isolated resort community in the Missouri Ozarks after he is forced to pay a debt to a Mexican drug lord. It looks like Ozark is a bit of a slow burn, but we’ve willing to bet it gets real good.
While you’re here, we have picks for Amazon Prime Video too.