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The best movies to watch and where they are streamed

The best movies to watch and where they are streamed

Important movies to watch this summer.

The summer heat is like many unpleasant things in life. First you try to pretend it does not exist, then you ignore it, then you behave as if it is not so bad before you finally just give in and admit that it is unbearable.

Admission is the first step towards acceptance. Or something.

Summer movies also help.

They will not lower the temperature, but the right ones can make things much more comfortable. They also serve as a reminder that regardless of the climate, summer is a time when great things happen. It is a marker, a transition period, sometimes between grade levels, sometimes adolescence and adulthood. Sometimes it’s just fun.

These films reflect that.


It might be the perfect summer movie. It’s pretty much a perfect movie all the way around. It is without a doubt Steven Spielberg’s best film, a complete nightmare scenario with a shark eating small swimmers while incompetent bureaucrats ignore the reality in front of them – and the attempts of a few to do things right. Friendship means friendship, in fact.

Here’s how to see: Streamer on Peacock.

‘Do the right thing’

A scene from Spike Lees

Spike Lee’s masterpiece, set for a scorching hot day in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Mookie (Lee), a pizza delivery man, moves cautiously through racial strife between blacks and Italian-Americans. It’s funny, it’s honest, it’s moving, it’s frustrating and it’s ingenious. The filmmaking is technically flawless; you can almost feel the heat radiating from the streets. You can also feel the excitement, build against heartache.

Here’s how to see: Available for rent on iTunes and Prime Video.

‘Summer of Soul’

Ahmir Khalib Thompson (better known as Questlove) won an Oscar for this captivating documentary, which tells the story of six summer Sundays in 1969 when the Harlem Cultural Festival took place. Recordings sat around for 50 years; Questlove finally got hold of it and edited it into a fantastic portrait of fantastic performances by Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, Nina Simone and so many more. But Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples sing “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” is transcendent.

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Here’s how to see: Streaming on Disney + and Hulu.

‘Moonrise Kingdom’

Young love seen through Wes Anderson’s eyes, which means that it is offbeat, stylized, self-conscious and ultimately a little fantastic. Sam (Jared Gilman), a 12-year-old boy, escapes from the summer scout camp in 1965; he and 12-year-old Suzy (Kara Hayward) escape to an isolated beach. Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton are just some of the people looking for them.

Here’s how to see: Streaming on HBO Max.

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Jesse Eisenberg (left) and Kristen Stewart record

James (Jesse Eisenberg) has graduated from college and plans to travel through Europe before attending graduate school of journalism (!). The trip falls through and he ends up working at Adventureland in the summer, where he falls for Em (Kristen Stewart), who has an affair with the married Mike (Ryan Reynolds, in a rare role as a heel). Greg Mottola’s film is clever (especially when it comes to music; a practical knowledge of Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love” is especially useful) and captures the confusion by trying to take the next big step when plans don’t go your way.

Here’s how to see: Streaming on HBO Max.

‘Graduation student’

And sometimes you have no plans after you finish college. This is the situation Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) finds himself in – on the run, not part of his parents’ generation, which he finds pointless in trying to figure out his own. Mike Nichols’ classic of all time is an exploration of the divide. (After all, this was 1967.) Benjamin ends up having an affair with Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the wife of her father’s law partner, but eventually falls for her daughter (Katharine Ross). One of the best endings ever too.

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Here’s how to see: Available for rent on iTunes and Prime Video.

“The way back”

Steve Carell as a villain! In a way. He plays Trent, a jerk who dates Pam (Toni Collette), the mother of Duncan (Liam James). Duncan is 14 and has to spend a summer on the beach with his mother and Trent, who have little use for him. Things are going about as bad as you think, or maybe worse. But Duncan meets Owen (a fantastic Sam Rockwell) who works at Water Wizz, a water park where Duncan feels far more welcome and learns a lot about himself. It’s a different kind of coming-of-age story. And it’s a better one.

Here’s how to see: Streaming on HBO Max.


Delroy Lindo (right) in a scene from Universal's

Before compiling this list, Spike Lee may not have stood out as a summer filmmaker, but here we are. This intimate, somewhat autobiographical film follows a family living in Brooklyn (much of the film takes place in the summer). Troy (Zelda Harris), 9, and her brothers navigate life with their parents (Alfre Woodard and Delroy Lindo) through adventure and tragedy. It’s a beautiful movie – not Lee’s best, but maybe my favorite. A couple of Lindo’s scenes are just breathtaking in their honesty and emotion.

Here’s how to see: Available for rent on iTunes and Prime Video.

“Confused and confused”

Richard Linklater’s film about the last day of high school in Texas in 1976 is spot on, from the car crawling through the parking lot while “Sweet Emotion” is played to the obscurity of the barrel parties to just about everything, really. Matthew McConaughey became a breakout star for his portrayal of the Silesian Wooderson; Ben Affleck also hit big after playing the sadistic O’Bannion. But Wiley Wiggins steals the movie as Mitch, a freshman who just tries to get through the night unscathed. Good luck with that.

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Here’s how to see: Streamer on Peacock.

‘American Graffiti’

George Lucas had a life before “Star Wars”, you know. Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfuss play Steve and Curt, friends who graduated from high school in 1962 and plan to go to college. The film follows them, along with Laurie (Cindy Williams), Steve’s girlfriend and Curt’s sister, and many others the night before they leave. Curt becomes obsessed with finding a woman (Suzanne Somers) in a T-Bird stopped by a light, but it’s really just a vehicle for interactions between the characters. Genuine and personal, it’s Lucas’ best directed film.

Here’s how to see: Available for rent on iTunes and Prime Video.

«Girl tour»

It's time for prayer

Old friends reunite for a car ride – yes, yes, you’ve seen this kind of movie before. You just did not see it with Tiffany Haddish. She, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith are going to the Essence Festival in New Orleans, where Hall’s Oprah-like character is scheduled to speak. Hilarity follows, much of it with the courtesy of Haddish.

Here’s how to see: Available for rent on iTunes and Prime Video.

Reach Goodykoontz at [email protected] Facebook: Twitter: @goodyk. Subscribe to the weekly movie newsletter.

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