Summer is here, and while the box office is lighting up with new movies in theaters (finally), sometimes you either can’t or don’t want to go out. And if you’re staying in, you’re certainly looking for a new movie to watch on Netflix. Not to fear, we’ve put together a handy list of seven movies that have been newly added to Netflix in June that are well worth watching. They range from comedies to Oscar-winning dramas to classic 80s films, and while they may not provide the spectacle that one gets from visiting the theater, they’re sure to hit the spot whether you’re looking for something that’s emotion-driven, thought-provoking, or even a bit of both.
Stand by Me
Available on: June 1st
Director: Rob Reiner
Writers: Bruce A. Evans and Raynold Gideon
Cast: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, and Kiefer Sutherland
If you’ve never seen Stand by Me, then you’ve never seen one of the best coming-of-age movies ever made. Based on the short story “The Body” by Stephen King, the film takes place over Labor Day weekend in 1959 and follows four young boys who venture just outside their small town of Castle Rock to see a dead body. The film is told as a flashback via voiceover narration, as the adult version of Wil Wheaton’s character makes observations about the internal struggles each boy was facing when the others had no idea. The film feels nostalgic but in a truthful way – like fondly looking back on summers as a youngster, when you didn’t have a care in the world but also had no idea what kinds of battles your friends were facing at home. The performances are excellent, especially from Wheaton and River Phoenix, and the film comes to a melancholic conclusion without encroaching saccharine territory.
Available on: June 1st
Director: Jake Kasdan
Writers: Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel, Lucy Punch, and John Michael Higgins
If it’s an R-rated comedy you’re in the mood for, 2011’s Bad Teacher is solid. Directed by Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle helmer Jake Kasdan and written by The Office alums Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, the film stars Cameron Diaz as a lazy, foul-mouthed teacher on the cusp of quitting her job when her rich fiancé dumps her. She decides to set her sights on a mild-mannered (and wealthy) substitute teacher played by Justin Timberlake, and also decides the way to win him over is with breast implants. As she enacts her plans, she cracks wise with a laid back gym teacher played by Jason Segel. The film is kind of like an R-rated, inappropriate version of School of Rock.
Million Dollar Baby
Available on: June 1st
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Paul Haggis
Cast: Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, and Margo Martindale
Clint Eastwood’s 2004 film Million Dollar Baby was not only a box office success, it also took the Oscars by storm, winning Best Picture, Director, Actress, and Supporting Actor for Morgan Freeman. The film tells the story of an aspiring female boxer (Hilary Swank) who looks to a grizzled veteran (Eastwood) to train her. And while the first half or so of the movie follows this track, the story takes a sharp left turn at a certain point and delves into much darker and more emotional territory.
The Big Lebowski
Available on: June 1st
Directors/Writers: The Coen Brothers
Cast: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, and Philip Seymour Hoffman
Nobody does absurd quite like The Coen Brothers, two of the most versatile and singular directors in history. You know a Coen Brothers movie when you see it, whether it’s a stark drama like No Country for Old Men or a goofy comedy like Burn After Reading. And their 1998 comedy The Big Lebowski fits that bill perfectly – it’s as idiosyncratic as it is funny, and it introduced the world to the iconic character of The Dude. The story is fairly simple – a stoner played by Jeff Bridges gets his rug ruined when criminals break into his house, mistaking him for another person who has the same name. So The Dude goes about setting things straight, and ends up on an odyssey that brings him into contact with everything from kidnappers to Nihilists. There’s a reason this became a cult classic.
Available on: June 7th
Director: Mark Waters
Writer: Daniel Waters
Cast: Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Cameron Monaghan, Danila Kozlovsky, Sarah Hyland, Olga Kurylenko, and Gabriel Byrne
Few saw the YA adaptation Vampire Academy when it hit theaters in 2014, but now’s the time to rectify that mistake. The film is a cross between Mean Girls and Harry Potter, but with vampires instead of witches and wizards. Zoey Deutch stars as a half-human, half-vampire hybrid who is enrolled at a mysterious boarding school for the vampire-inclined. She and her friends begin to suspect something is amiss at the school, and they go down a rabbit hole of deadly secrets. The film’s script hails from Heathers and Batman Returns writer Daniel Waters and Mean Girls director Mark Waters, and their distinct voices are felt throughout to make for a darkly funny, colorful, and thrilling affair that’s far more compelling than you’re expecting.
Silver Linings Playbook
Available on: June 17th
Director/Writer: David O. Russell
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, and Chris Tucker
Silver Linings Playbook is really a drama about mental health, a traditional romcom, and a sports movie all in one. I Heart Huckabees filmmaker David O. Russell took a sharp turn into more commercial territory with this 2012 film, which was a box office success and scored numerous Oscar nominations and a win for Jennifer Lawrence’s performance. The film really hinges on the chemistry between Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, as Cooper plays a man with bipolar disorder recently released from a psychiatric facility who strikes up a relationship with a young widow. The central plot finds Lawrence helping Cooper get his wife back if he, in return, helps her win a dance competition, and you can probably surmise what happens next.
Killing Them Softly
Available on: June 30th
Director/Writer: Andrew Dominik
Cast: Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, James Gandolfini, Ben Mendelsohn, Ray Liotta, Sam Shepard, and Richard Jenkins
While 2012’s Killing Them Softly was marketed as a “hitman movie starring Brad Pitt,” the film is very much not that. Indeed, from the mind of The Assassination of Jesse James filmmaker Andrew Dominik comes a searing screed against capitalism, set against the backdrop of the hitman world. Pitt plays a man who plans to rob a Mafia poker game, and the story follows the aftermath of said crime. The film takes place during the fall of 2008, and the American presidential race and financial crisis are both front and center throughout the movie, serving to drive the thematic (and ironic) thrust of the story. This movie is definitely not for everyone, but it’s one of the boldest films Pitt has ever made.