In a normal year, this is the part of summer movie season where titles start to dry up, blockbusters start to lumber away from screens, and film fans start taking risks on sleepers and lesser-known flicks. But 2020 is not a normal year, and summer movie season basically doesn't exist. But that doesn't mean we're about to suffer any appreciable lack of filmed entertainment to enjoy. On the contrary, there's drive-in delights, new discs (that's right! Physical media is still around!), and because it's a new month, that means a ton of new (and old) titles are coming to streaming platforms. Oh yeah, all that and Beyoncé, too. Here's our guide to the best Things to Watch this weekend!
Jump to: Drive-Ins | Supporting Local Theaters | New on Blu-Ray | Streaming This Weekend
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Ghostbusters and The Karate Kid
Pull up in your car, turn up your speakers, and let the 99w Drive-In fill your windshield with their latest throwback double-feature, a one-two-punch (or kick, if you will) of mid-'80s blockbuster phenomena. The night starts with the sci-fi/thriller/workplace comedy Ghostbusters, which began life as a weird Dan Aykroyd fever-dream and wound up a barely-contained nuclear bomb of one-liners memorized by 40-year-old-men everywhere, and finishes with a satisfying foot straight to the face courtesy of Mr. Miyagi and Daniel-San in The Karate Kid. It's a cruel summer, indeed, but this makes it feel a little better.
50 First Dates
If you don't mind the drive south (more opportunities to memorize the Hamilton soundtrack on the way, really), you can visit Silverton's Oregon Garden and take in this Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore... classic? Is that the right word for it? Remember that weird period of time about 20 years ago where Sandler and Barrymore were almost as big as Hanks and Ryan when it came to romantic comedies? Well now you don't have to remember! You can witness it firsthand on the Garden's big screen!
The Oregon Gardens
You could head east, if you wish, and find an oasis of drive-in magic in The Dalles, where the Sunshine Mill has hung one really big screen on the side of their parking lot and turned it into a theater, one which will be screening the "How in the hell did this become family-friendly-entertainment" blockbuster musical Grease, which is really kind of a sleazy and gross story about greaser assholes constantly mistreating the women who have the bad luck to hove into the cone of their horny gaze. But the music is still great, the dance numbers still pop, and seeing a bunch of late 20-somethings pretend to be teenagers is always amusing! This is your chance to watch John Travolta get his dick slammed in a car door at the drive-in, at the drive-in! Life was not meant for wasting such opportunities!
The Man from Hong Kong w/ Live Commentary from Brian Trenchard-Smith and the Hollywood Theatre's Dan Halsted
Are you missing the Hollywood Theatre? Of course you are, you're a sane, rational human being who loves independent cinema and the sort of care in presentation that Dan Halsted and the Hollywood staff provides. Especially when they schedule gonzo kung fu classics like they regularly do. This stream is a great opportunity to capture some of that magic in your living room as Dan teams up with director Brian Trenchard-Smith to watch and discuss 1975's The Man from Hong Kong, starring Jimmy Wang Yu as a "master crime fighter" called in by the Australian cops to stop a massive drug-smuggling ring led by former Bond (On Her Majesty's Secret Service) George Lazenby. Mustafa Shaikh, co-founder of 36 Chambers, will moderate the screening.
Gremlins: A Puppet Story
Legendary effects specialist (or special effects legend? Either/or) Chris Walas leads this behind-the-scenes journey made especially for Hollywood Theatre viewers, walking the audience through how Gremlins got made, and featuring very rare photos and video from his own personal archive.
John Lewis: Good Trouble
The late civil rights activist and Georgia congressman John Lewis fought for voting rights, gun control, healthcare reform, and immigration over the course of his long career. Using archival footage and interviews from his late years, Dawn Porter's documentary explores Lewis's childhood, his 1957 meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., and his lasting legacy on the social justice movements of the present.
In this crime caper set in New York's Chinatown, a recently widowed 80-year-old woman follows a fortune teller's advice and heads to the nearest casino to win some big bucks. But things don't go so great, as they often don't at casinos. When two gambling gangsters show up at her door and start demanding money, she and her newly acquired bodyguard do what must be done: kick ass for the duration of the film.
Clinton Street Theater
2020 Sundance Film Festival Shorts Tour
Sundance presents this virtual tour highlighting six short films accepted to the fest for 2020. Previous years featured new shorts from up-and-coming talents like Wes Anderson, Spike Lee, Lake Bell, Todd Haynes, and Taika Waititi. What household name will be discovered this year?
Wonder Woman: The Complete Collection
Sometimes revisiting your nostalgic past is an exercise you shouldn't indulge. In fact, it's safe to say that's the case most times. Which makes our culture's predilection towards subsisting solely on nostalgia a weird choice. ANYWAY: This box-set collecting all three seasons of the Lynda Carter-starring Wonder Woman TV series that ran from 1975 to 1979 is definitely worth indulging, because its camp delights have only gotten better and more worthy of appreciation in the decades since. Boy, superheroes used to be fun, didn't they?
The Outsider: The Complete First Season
So, the guy who wrote Lush Life and worked on The Wire (Richard Price) decided he wanted to take a crack at adapting Stephen King, and went about it in a really interesting way: He completely rewrote one of King's most popular characters (Holly Gibney), cast Cynthia Erivo to play her, and then stuck Holly in the middle of a supernatural possession story filled with people who are operating as if it's a regular ol' crime procedural instead of a freaky little campfire tale. Yes, this is also streaming on HBO Max, but if you really want to appreciate the cinematography and direction on display (which is stunning every episode), this blu-ray collection is the only way to go.
Speaking of appreciating cinematography: Stanley Kubrick's widescreen epic Spartacus comes to 4K UHD for the first time, and is easily the best the film has ever looked short of being one of the very few people who saw it opening night back in 1960. If you have a UHD player and a 4K display prepare to see Kirk Douglas' oiled, phenomenal chest like you've never seen it before. Oh, that and it's also one of the last legitimately great Hollywood swords-and-sandals blockbusters before Hollywood imploded and filmmakers like Kubrick, Ashby, Peckinpah, and Altman began really changing the game.
HUMP! Greatest Hits - Volume 1
Have you just watched your first HUMP! and are now in a post-coital glow, wondering just what the hell the past festivals must have looked like? Well GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE: After getting permission from filmmakers to bring their films online, we're bringing you several volumes of our (and audience) favorites from 2005-2018. Get ready for HUMP! Greatest Hits! You will see films that shock you, that make you laugh, that turn you on, and ou will also be touched by the sincerity and vulnerability with which these films are lovingly made. HUMP!'s main mission is to change the way America sees-and makes and shares-porn.
Black is King
Do any other words beyond "A Film by Beyoncé" need to be written in order to prompt folks to make the most of that Disney+ subscription this weekend? The question isn't "Will this rule all pop-culture discussion for the next week." The question is probably "Will this break every record that Hamilton only just set last month?"
IFC Films continues to bring the indie goods to VOD, this week premiering Summerland, Olivier Award-winning director Jessica Swale's debut film, set during World War II, about a reclusive English writer (Gemma Arterton) who ends up becoming an adoptive mother to a boy who escaped the London bombings, while also finding herself falling in love with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, like, you know, everyone does when they're around Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
Hey, while we're talking about Gugu Mbatha-Raw: A whole bunch of people completely slept on the superhero movie she made last year with writer/director Julia Hart. It's been streaming on Hulu for a little bit now, and the less you know about how it's a superhero story, or what this superhero story is actually about, the better. Just hit play, open yourself to this slow-burn of a drama, and remember to tell your friends about it next time they start in on whether Thor 2 is better than X-Men 8 or whatever.
I'll Be Gone in the Dark
This weekend sees the finale of HBO's new documentary series, based on the late Michelle McNamara's true-crime book about her life, and her fixation on figuring out the Golden State Killer's identity and bringing him to justice. Directed by Liz Garbus, and using interviews, archival footage, and police files, all narrated using original recordings of McNamara and actor Amy Ryan reading from her book, the series alternates between examining the effect this hunt had on McNamara, and the effect the Killer himself had on California communities in the '70s and '80s.
Celebrate this movie's 10th birthday (it's been a decade since it came out? Damn.) by giving it a spin now that it's been added to Amazon Prime. Inception's surreal, jarring visuals are nothing short of breathtaking; when paired with Nolan's gorgeous, visceral soundscapes (BRAMMMMM), they're riveting to discover and impossible to forget.
Amazon Prime Video
Being John Malkovich
It took writer Charlie Kaufman about a decade to get this movie off the ground due to the necessity of having Malkovich in a central role. Malkovich loved the script. He even wanted to produce it, but he wouldn't be in it. Kaufman refused to make the film with anyone else, and Malkovich eventually came around to the idea that a film about an unemployed puppeteer who discovers a portal into John Malkovich's brain wouldn’t be the end of his career. Also: It’s so difficult to separate the character of Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) from the picture of David Foster Wallace on the back of A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. This movie will never not secretly be the story of David Foster Wallace finding a portal into John Malkovich's brain. That's just the situation.
The Umbrella Academy
Netflix premieres the second season of their superhero dramedy based on the stylish, punchy comic written by My Chemical Romance singer Gerard Way and drawn by Brazilian artist Gabriel Bá. Lovers swoon, time-space gets ripped apart, and there’s a lot of shooting and punching; The Umbrella Academy captures the same heightened sensation offered by My Chemical Romance’s music: operatic melodrama, given life by gleeful riffs and catchy hooks.
Much in the same way Die Hard's status as a Christmas movie started as a cute observation that came to swallow it whole, Top Gun's innate gayness was once just a knowing, winking in-joke among film dorks, but now has become the aspect that defines Tony Scott's glistening, teeth-clacking ad for the US Navy. You can try to watch it as it was presumably intended it be seen in the repressed-yet-beefy heart of the Reagan '80s. But those abs! Those butts! ("I want butts!") The volleyball game. 30 years of time has reframed Top Gun entirely, and unlike Die Hard's redefinition, this glossy, fetish-friendly framework has helped make the film more entertaining. We may not be getting Tom Cruise's Maverick sequel this year like we were hoping, but being able to take the highway to the Danger Zone whenever we want is a nice consolation
Amazon Prime Video, Hulu
Much like Freddy and Jason before him, Chucky survived the artificial extension of his celluloid lifespan by descending into self-aware, gloryhallastoopid self-parody as the sequels stacked up. But Chucky also shares with those two titans of horror a (comparatively) more low-key introduction—1988's Child’s Play introduced the idea that a doll could get possessed and kill the living shit out of you with way more seriousness than the premise ever deserved. Thanks to horror veteran Tom Holland's solid direction and Brad Dourif's sheer force of will, Chucky embodies a successful perversion of innocence that isn't just smirky and smug, it's also legitimately scary.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
The year is 1805 and Napoleon is running roughshod over Europe. The only thing stopping France from infecting the whole of the continent is the tiny island of England, which may be lacking in ground forces, but kicks ass on the high seas. Master and Commander may not be sexy, but it's extremely realistic, filling its ship with lashings, maggot-filled food, dirty stinking sailors, and the occasional goat. It's also the last great film by Australian writer/director Peter Weir (Witness, Dead Poets Society, Fearless).
Idiocracy: Extended Version
In 2006, 20th Century Fox looked at Mike Judge’s follow-up to Office Space and decided whatever Idiocracy was, it wasn’t good enough for theatrical distribution. They abandoned it in a couple theaters for a week, stuck it on DVD, and called it good. But the film not only found an audience on home video, that audience spent the next decade proselytizing on its behalf. Idiocracy was no longer a sloppy-yet-satisfying satire of our culture’s inability to handle progress—it was a prophetic vision of how access to all the information in the world doesn’t matter if the people accessing it don’t give a fuck about reading. Except now, on the other side of the shit-smeared, Trumpian looking glass, Idiocracy seems quaint more than anything. A lot of the jokes still land, yeah. But the belly-laughs are a little more sour and sad than you might remember. For example: Terry Crews was, in retrospect, playing this role a little too well. Damn.
Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
Before Zack Snyder was allowed to turn the DC Universe into an objectivist nightmare starring Ben Affleck and Jesse Eisenberg, he was given the keys to a children's book series about warmongering owls with abs and knives strapped to their feet. Maybe the books didn't have the abs and knife-feet, but the movie does, and that's why Zack Snyder is a "visionary." If you're thinking this Ga'Hoole thing sounds like film executives with too much money saw Snyder's adaptation of 300 and thought "What if this, but owls?" you are correct. That's what this is. If you don't have any drugs this weekend but want to feel like you've smoked something dangerous and are now utterly lost and bewildered in an incomprehensible visual wilderness, stream this.
Deep Blue Sea 3
At long last, our national nightmare is concluded. No longer will we as a people have to live under the knowledge that a complete Deep Blue Sea trilogy eludes our grasp. This weekend, the saga concludes! And in grand style, as a sunken island town watched over by an "eminent marine biologist" (Tania Raymonde of LOST) is unduly terrorized by genetically enhanced bull sharks who seek to mate with Great Whites to become the most ultimate of all killer fish. Ponder this, dear reader: Is any other movie premiering this weekend going to have sex-crazed homicidal genetic freak sharks wreaking havoc underneath a rickety town made almost entirely out of houses on stilts stuck in the water? No. The answer to that question is No.
And if you're not feeling any of the above options (crazy!) don't forget to check out our guide to 2020's most Emmy nominated shows, and maybe binge a couple highly-acclaimed series this weekend!