This month’s additions to Netflix’s roster are precisely the kind of fare one expects for summer: nostalgic fan favorites, Classic Hollywood romcoms, and easy ’80s action flicks. While the offerings are sparse in the way of complex or artful material, there are still a number of enjoyable films to revisit on the streaming service this month. As always, we’ve highlighted those titles that are likely to interest the more discerning viewer.
Back to the Future I, II, & III (Robert Zemeckis, 1985-1990)
Whether seeking to revisit your own childhood or educate your kids in the pop culture classics of days past, Netflix has you covered. On July 1st, it will be streaming Back to the Future parts I, II, and III. The franchise follows iconic Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) in his various escapades throughout time. The films are fun, yet they also delve into the kinds of philosophic questions that give popcorn flicks like these a more lasting place within our imaginations.
Batman: The Movie (Leslie H. Martinson, 1966)
Before there was Michael Keaton, before there was Val Kilmer, before George Clooney, Christian Bale, or Ben Affleck — there was Adam West. While the dark knight’s franchise is benefiting from renewed audience interest, diehard fans may enjoy revisiting the very earliest days of the bat’s film career. Starring a host of classic film and TV personalities with whom most of us are unfamiliar, Batman: the Movie is most likely a bit of nostalgic, novelty fun. That is, however, precisely it’s appeal.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953)
If you are unaware of this film and therefore require a pithy review to compel you to see it, you are both impoverished and incredibly lucky. Not only do you get to see Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for the first time, you get to do so for free this very month. As was usual for altogether too short career, Marilyn Monroe is typecast in this film as a ditzy blonde seeking financial compensation for her substantial sexual appeal. Or is she? In classic Hollywood style, this Howard Hawks production complicates easy gold-digger narratives in order to offer a fun and funny exploration of mid-century anxieties about gender roles and love.
Mean Girls (Mark Waters, 2004)
The film snob in me wants to dislike Mean Girls for several reasons: its treatment of “frivolous” material, the prominence of Lindsey Lohan in its cast, it pseudo-status as a teen drama. However, as is usually the case, the film snob in me is at war with who I am at heart: a woman who enjoys a good story. If one can set aside the critiques, which are often based on little more than a distaste for teenage girlhood, what one is left with in Mean Girls is an expertly composed and edited story of social climb and revenge. It offers not only nuanced 2000s gender politics, it does so by way of some of the decade’s best one-liners. There is much to be gained and little to lose in spending an hour or so with this film.
The Big Short, (Adam McKay, 2015)
This recent release garnered an impressive amount of critical attention, claiming for itself five Academy Award nominations, including a win in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. The film is based on a non-fiction book detailing the 2008 United States financial crisis precipitated by the burst of the country’s housing bubble. Boasting an all-star cast comprised of Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt, The Big Short promises drama and humor in proportions appropriate to the season.
Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, 2015)
Ergüven’s Turkish-French ensemble film debuted to incredible applause at Cannes in 2015, where it won the Europa Cinemas Label Award. Since then, it has won a veritable bevy of awards, attracting the attention of critics and savvy viewers alike. The film, which chronicles the story of five orphaned sisters in a small village in Turkey as they struggle against the social conventions of their situation, is by far the most sophisticated fare coming to Netflix this month, and it is a must-see for anyone interested in staying abreast of the international independent film scene.
Films Leaving Netflix
In addition to this list of important or interesting films coming to Netflix in July, there are also a number of great films leaving the streaming service. Without the benefit of a capsule review, we offer these to you here in the hopes that you are able to catch one or two before they emigrate to paid services.
2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971)
A League of Their Own (Penny Marshall, 1992)
How to Marry a Millionaire (Jean Negulesco, 1953)
The Quiet Man (John Ford, 1952)
All the Star Trek films
Serenity (Joss Whedon, 2005)