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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Back to the Future (May 1)
In this classic time travel movie, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) accidentally ends up in the year 1955 courtesy of a souped up, plutonium-powered DeLorean. His shock upon arriving in the past is compounded when he meets his parents as teenagers, his future mother falls for him, and he squares off against the school bully. Since its 1985 release, Back to the Future has become a pop culture phenomena, inspiring video games, a theme park ride, and even a stage musical.
Song of the Sea (May 1)
A young boy who blames their mother’s death on his younger sister threatens her with scary stories based on Irish mythology. But when he discovers the truth behind those myths, and that his sister is more than she appears to be, his family must travel through strange and wonderful places to come to terms with their loss. Song of the Sea is a gorgeously animated film that draws on Irish mythology to tell a bittersweet, heartwarming tale of grief and forgiveness.
Avatar: The Last Airbender (May 15)
The world’s four nations — Earth, Water, Air, and Fire — have been at war with each other ever since the Avatar, a mystical leader tasked with bringing peace to the world, went missing a century ago. When a pair of siblings from the Water Tribe find the missing Avatar, they hope he can unite the nations. There’s just one problem: he’s a goofy, fun-loving twelve-year-old boy who doesn’t want to be the Avatar. Put simply, Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the best animated series of all time, blending anime-inspired style with rich characters and epic world-building.
United 93 (May 16)
A Hollywood film about the September 11 terror attacks could’ve gone wrong in all sorts of ways. However, Paul Greengrass’ United 93 — which tells the story of the brave passengers and crew who fought against the hijackers, causing their plane to crash before it could hit its target — walks that line admirably by telling a gripping-yet-tasteful story that honors the heroes of that day.
Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything (May 19)
For his latest standup special, Patton Oswalt tackles some big topics: turning 50, remarrying after the tragic death of his first wife, and buying a new house. Oswalt’s previous Netflix special, 2017’s Annihilation, is also highly recommended.
Hannah Gadsby: Douglas (May 26)
Hannah Gadsby’s previous standup special, 2018’s Nanette, was praised by some as a brilliant deconstruction of comedy and criticized by others as a glorified TED talk. Personally, I found it very moving (and funny) as Gadsby tackled topics including homophobia, abuse, and her own tendency for self-deprecation and self-humiliation. Suffice to say, I’m looking forward to Douglas.
Space Force (May 29)
A new workplace comedy about the formation of the recently announced United States Space Force that’s by one of the guys behind Parks and Recreation? And it stars Steve Carell, John Malkovich, and Fred Willard, you say? How long do I have to wait until I can start watching it?
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Netflix in May 2020.
Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (May 1)
The first two films in Christopher Nolan’s storied “Dark Knight” trilogy arrive on Hulu. Batman Begins explores Bruce Wayne’s evolution into the Caped Crusader as he confronts Ra’s al Ghul and the League of Shadows. The Dark Knight finds Batman matching wits with his greatest and most iconic foe, The Joker, played with wild abandon and intensity by Heath Ledger (who was posthumously awarded the “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar for his work).
Demolition Man (May 1)
Now here’s a slice of prime ’90s Hollywood “so bad it’s good” cinematic fluff. In The Demolition Man’s vision of the future, criminals are reprogrammed while in cryogenic stasis, leading to a utopian society. Until a psychopath breaks free, that is, and — of course — there’s only one man who can stop him. Come for the gratuitous violence and cheesy one-liners, stay for Wesley Snipes’ scene-chewing and Sylvester Stallone’s “man out of time” shtick.
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Hulu in May 2020.
Upload (May 1)
In the future, dying people can upload their minds into whatever digital afterlife they want. When a man dies an untimely death in a self-driving car accident, he’s uploaded into his girlfriend’s family’s afterlife, complete with his own customer service rep. I get some definite Good Place vibes from Upload, as I’m sure there’ll be plenty of philosophizing on the nature of existence to go alongside the comedy.
Here’s everything arriving on and leaving Amazon in May 2020. As usual, there’s a lot of overlap between Hulu and Amazon Prime’s offerings.
Prop Culture (May 1)
Prop Culture offers a look at the props that’ve brought so many classic Disney movies to life, as well as the people who create, use, and collect them. Among the movies featured are Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Mary Poppins, Tron, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Muppet Movie, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Honey, I Shrunk The Kids.
Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian (May 4)
There’s no denying that The Mandalorian is a massive success for Disney+ and the Star Wars franchise. It told an original story in that galaxy far, far away with intriguing characters and groundbreaking special effects. Oh, and it introduced us to Baby Yoda. This eight-part documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at the acclaimed series, including interviews with Jon Favreau, Werner Herzog, and Taika Waititi.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (May 22)
Mr. Fox has a fantastic life, with a loving wife, good friends, and a good job. But what he really wants to do is steal food and play pranks on the nasty farmers living near his home. Needless to say, hilarity and hijinks ensue. Fantastic Mr. Fox’s blending of stop motion animation with Wes Anderson’s trademark aesthetic and dry humor is a match made in heaven. And the star-studded voice cast — which includes George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Owen Wilson — is the icing on the cake.
Here’s everything arriving on Disney+ in May 2020.