July 2019’s Best Streaming Titles: Stranger Things, Veronica Mars, Taxi Driver, Hero, Hackers

Coming soon: Eleven and the gang, Neptune’s best P.I., Travis Bickle, Zhang Yimou’s martial arts epic, hacking the planet, and more.
Stranger Things 3
It’s time to return to Hawkins with Eleven and the rest of the gang.

As Netflix et al. add more content, it’s difficult to know what to look for amidst all of the newly added titles. So at the start of every month, I publish a list of particularly noteworthy and interesting movies and TV shows to add to your streaming queues.

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Caddyshack (July 1)

I consider my first viewing of Caddyshack a foundational experience. Granted, I didn’t understand everything that went on — I just thought it was funny when Bill Murray tried to blow up the golf course — but I’ve since come to appreciate Chevy Chase’s screwball humor, the endless sight gags and puns, and of course, that sweet, smooth Kenny Loggins soundtrack.

Taxi Driver (July 1)

Martin Scorsese’s dark tale about a mentally unstable cab driver who slowly succumbs to insanity as he drives through New York City’s slimy underbelly is one of the all-time great films, thanks to an iconic performance by Robert De Niro, Scorsese’s assured direction, and Bernard Herrmann’s harrowing soundtrack (his final composition before he died).

Stranger Things 3 (July 4)

The third season of Netflix’s beloved Stranger Things arrives on July 4, so when you want to take a break from grilling burgers and shooting off fireworks, you can celebrate America’s independence by watching the latest adventures of Eleven, Mike, and the rest of the Hawkins gang. This being Hawkins, there’ll be plenty of creepy occurrences and evil creatures, but the gang’s biggest battle might be with growing up. (Who am I kidding? Watch out for the flesh monster, kids!)

3Below: Tales of Arcadia: Part 2 (July 12)

The Guillermo del Toro-created Trollhunters turned out to be a delightful surprise, with engaging characters, fun adventure, and an intricate mythology. The quasi-sequel 3Below puts an alien spin on the series when a group of extraterrestrial refugees make their home in the town of Arcadia, bringing with them a whole new level of action and adventure. The series features the voice talents of Tatiana Maslany, Diego Luna, Glenn Close, and Nick Offerman.

Inglourious Basterds (July 22)

In Quentin Tarantino’s take on a World War II epic, a group of American soldiers are sent into Germany-occupied France for a single purpose: killing as many Nazis as possible. Of course, this being a Tarantino film, and one of his “alternate historical” films at that, things are bound to get over-the-top and overly stylized.

The Great Hack (July 24)

Picked up by Netflix after it garnered acclaim on the film festival circuit earlier this year, this documentary about the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal — where Facebook leaked millions of users’ personal data — delves into the privacy debacle that has engulfed the social media giant in recent years.

Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Netflix in July 2019.


Airplane! (July 1)

What remains to be said about this, one of the greatest comedies of all time? Its near-endless supply of sight gags, absurdities, cameos, and slapstick humor is something for the ages. From Robert Stack’s battle with a bunch of Hare Krishnas to Lloyd Bridges’ glue-sniffing, from the epic disco battle to the jive translation, Airplane! has everything you could possibly want in a movie, and then some.

Big Fish (July 1)

Tim Burton is, to put it mildly, an eccentric director. But Big Fish finds him channelling those eccentricities into one of his most straightforward and charming movies, about a man who discovers that there might be some truth to all of his father’s tall tales. Both of Burton’s parents died in the years leading up to his work on Big Fish, which almost certainly informs its storyline and gives it some emotional heft.

Hero (July 1)

Jet Li once talked about turning down the Matrix sequels to star in Zhang Yimou’s Hero instead. Which was definitely the right choice: the Matrix sequels were underwhelming (to say the least) while Hero is one of the greatest martial arts films of all time (read my review). It’s certainly one of the most beautiful thanks to stunning visuals, an evocative score, and beautiful costumes. As for the martial arts, they’re the epitome of visual poetry, whether its combatants are fighting each other in their minds’ eyes or gliding over a mirror-like lake.

Mission: Impossible III (July 1)

The Mission Impossible franchise has become one of our best action/adventure franchises, due in large part to their mind-blowing stunts and action set pieces. Mission: Impossible III helped jumpstart the series after the ludicrous Mission: Impossible 2, due in large part to J. J. Abrams’ direction. Tom Cruise is back as IMF agent Ethan Hunt, who finds himself squaring off against a vicious arms dealer (played by the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman).

Gone Baby Gone (July 12)

In this harrowing neo-noir, the city of Boston is galvanized when a young girl is abducted. At the center of it is small-time private investigator Patrick Kenzie, whose quest to find the girl takes him from the city’s seediest neighborhoods to its loftiest halls of power. With its taut pacing, ominous atmosphere, and solid performances from Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Ed Harris, and Amy Ryan (who received an Oscar nomination for her performance as the young girl’s unstable mom), you’d never tell that Gone Baby Gone was Ben Affleck’s directorial debut.

Veronica Mars, Season 4 (July 26)

My favorite TV P.I. is back (sorry, Magnum). When someone begins murdering spring breakers in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars finds herself drawn into a conflict between her hometown’s elite and its working class. I expect lots of twists and turns, accompanied by plenty of snarky comebacks. (Veronica Mars’ first three seasons are also on Hulu, and they get my highest recommendation, too.)

Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days (July 31)

Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds is one of the most successful films in Korean history, a CGI-filled action spectacle set in the after-life. The sequel, Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days, picks up where its predecessor left off, as guardians tasked with ushering the recently deceased into the great beyond must face trials and uncover conspiracies from their own past. You’ll probably want to watch the first film, which is also streaming on Hulu, before diving into this one.

Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Hulu in July 2019.

Amazon Prime

The Boys (July 26) 

If you’re like me and experiencing a little bit of “superhero exhaustion” these days, then maybe The Boys will be a nice change of pace. Based on a comic book series by Garth Ennis (Preacher, Hellblazer, 2000 AD), The Boys is set in a world where superheroes have grown increasingly corrupt and unchecked, and it’s up to an unruly bunch of secret agents to put them back in their place — often with bloody results.

Corpse Bride (July 31)

Starring the voices of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Emily Watson, Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride is a fanciful fairy tale about a young man who accidentally finds himself married to, well, a corpse. It’s certainly macabre and spooky, but what else would you expect from a Tim Burton film?

Dumb and Dumber (July 31)

Sometimes you just want a really dumb, juvenile movie — and nothing fits that bill better than Jim Carrey’s Dumb and Dumber. When two friends, both of whom are dumber than a bucket of lotion, head out to Colorado to return a briefcase of money, they get caught up in a comedy of errors with only their own stupidity and lack of guile to save them.

Hackers (July 31)

Hackers is completely unrealistic in its depiction of computers and technology. And yet, it’s one of the best computer movies ever made because of its over-the-top sense of style and joyful, anarchistic idealism. (I highly recommend reading this oral history of the film’s genesis and production.) Yeah, I can nitpick and mock its depiction of hacking and how computer networks and interfaces work. But secretly, I totally wish all of that stuff really did work (and look) like it does in Hackers.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (July 31)

Several Star Trek movies are coming to Amazon in July, and of them all, The Voyage Home is probably my favorite (with First Contact a close second). When an alien probe threatens Earth, James T. Kirk and the Enterprise crew travel back in time to find the one thing that might save humanity: humpback whales. Directed by Leonard Nimoy, The Voyage Home is arguably the funnest Star Trek movie, as the Enterprise crew find themselves confronting 20th-century San Francisco.

Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Amazon in July 2019. As usual, there’s a lot of overlap between Hulu and Amazon Prime’s offerings.

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