The Best Movies to Stream in Seattle This Weekend: September 10-13, 2020

Unpregnant, Our Time Machine, and More Top Picks
September 9, 2020
Two friends take a road trip across state lines to access a safe abortion clinic in Lee Goldenberg's teen buddy comedy Unpregnant, which is streaming on HBO Max. (Courtesy of HBO Max)

With wildfire smoke clinging in the air and making it difficult to breathe, staying inside is your best bet this weekend. Here's a fresh round of options for movies to watch through local theaters, like father-son documentary Our Time Machine, plus a few nationally streaming options, like Rent-A-Pal. Longing for the big(ger) screen? Check out our guide to drive-in movie theaters in the Seattle area this week, or check out our calendar of on-demand movies streaming through local theaters.

Jump to: New & Noteworthy: Supporting Seattle Businesses | New & Noteworthy: Nationwide | Last Chance to Stream: Films Ending This Week

New & Noteworthy: Supporting Seattle Businesses

15th Annual Hump Film Fest - Encore Presentation
Our colleagues, the creators of HUMP!, were crushed to cancel their originally planned fall tour. But after receiving enthusiastic support and permission from the filmmakers to show their films online, they knew that the show must go on! Even if we can’t watch together in movie theaters, we can still watch the 16 sexy short films, curated by Dan Savage, in the privacy and safety of our homes. Dan will introduce the show and then take you straight to the great dirty movies that showcase an amazing range of shapes, colors, sexualities, kinks, and fetishes!
Available via The Stranger

But I'm a Cheerleader
Natasha Lyonne stars in this 1999 cult classic about a peppy high-schooler whose religious parents send her to an anti-gay boot camp (whose staff is helmed by none other than a baby-faced RuPaul) when they realize she's not actually that into her football-star boyfriend. The title of the movie sums up her reaction, and what follows is a pastel-hued romp filled with very sweet, very gay identity revelations, plus a lot of matching outfits. You can rent the movie on YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and other platforms for this virtual watch party with MoPOP as part of their Grow Up! series.
Watch party Available via MoPOP
Sunday only

The story of a Cambodian teenager sold into forced labor on a Thai fishing boat drives Rodd Rathjen's new minimalist Australian thriller. 
Available via Scarecrow Video
Opening Friday

Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President
When he ran for office in the '70s, Jimmy Carter's friendship with famous musicians of the day like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, and Paul Simon—who would all go on to frequent his political events as performers—was one of the main things to get him noticed on the campaign trail. This documentary features interviews with Carter, Dylan, the Allmans, and other old-timers recalling those years. 
Available via Grand Cinema

Our Time Machine
Looking at the works of contemporary Chinese artist Maleonn, it's easy to see how much his father's former role as the artistic director of the Shanghai Chinese Opera Theater inspired him—Maleonn's conceptual pieces often center subjects in thespian-like costumes, surrounded by props, lit by warm spotlights. In this documentary, Maleonn undertakes a new project to connect with his aging dad through a couple of steampunk-ish mechanical puppets. "I want to use it to show my father how much I appreciate everything he's done for me," says the artist. You will absolutely sniffle and ponder your own mortality.
Available via Northwest Film Forum and SIFF
Opening Friday

Thin Skin
Thin Skin, a new film directed by The Stranger's Charles Mudede (Police Beat, Zoo) and co-written by Lindy West and Ahamefule J. Oluo, stars Oluo as a man weighed down by divorce, family drama, and the bureaucracy of his corporate job, who finds solace after hours as a trumpeter in Seattle's jazz clubs. See the film on Saturday as part of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time Based Art Festival.
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art

Vinyl Nation
Has the resurgence of vinyl in the digital age made music fandom more inclusive or more divided? This documentary traces the audio format's history and revival.
Available via Capitol Theater

New & Noteworthy: Nationwide

An 11-year-old girl rebels against her conservative family by joining a dance crew in French-Senegalese filmmaker Maïmouna Doucouré's Cuties, which has gotten some flak (it was almost taken off Netflix by way of a popular petition) for what some consider its sexualization of young girls. Other disagree. "It’s a portrait of girls that decries how sexuality is force-fed to them and/or viewed as the only way to foster self-esteem at far too young an age. It is the polar opposite of what it’s accused of being," writes David Fear. Decide for yourself. 
Available via Netflix

Get Organized with the Home Edit
If you love peeking into the lives of people like Reese Witherspoon and you need tips for organizing your closet, this Netflix show is for you. In each episode, the hosts go to a famous person's house and finesse their enormous walk-in closets for optimal efficiency.
Available via Netflix

Julie and the Phantoms
After an untimely death in the mid-'90s from a bad batch of hot dogs, a pop-punk band reappears in their old studio. Their sole witness? A reasonably freaked-out, recently-motherless teen named Julie. It gets weirder from there, as the group discovers that when they play with her, other people can see and hear them for the duration of their set. This new Netflix series is from the same minds that created High School Musical, which is unmistakable given its "aggressively earnest dialogue, eye-poppingly bright 2004 era fashion, uptight blonde diva rival and romances so chaste that a kiss on the cheek becomes an electrifying event," as one Variety review reads.
Available via Netflix

Rent-A-Pal is a character study masquerading as a thriller. The feature debut from writer and director Jon Stevenson focuses on 40-year-old David, an isolated man who spends most of his waking moments caring for his ailing mother who has dementia. To overcome his loneliness, he tries to put himself out there by joining a dating service where he must make a recorded pitch. He doesn't get many responses, and it quickly becomes clear why he lives with his mother. While dejected, David finds a VHS tape of a bizarre program that features a maniacally happy host named Andy (Wil Wheaton) who pledges to be his friend. Andy will play cards, make jokes, and attempt to chat with David. Think of a call-and-response Dora the Explorer—if she became almost demonic. David soon develops an obsession with the program. He watches it for hours on end. The winding tape's sound becomes a constant buzzing, and the host's cheery voice warps to become sinister and otherworldly. The real exciting part of the film is the nature of the tape. Is Andy responding to David directly? At moments it seems like he may be. At others, it seems coincidental—a creation of David's mind. CHASE HUTCHINSON
Available via multiple platforms
Premiering Friday

The Social Dilemma
You probably know Jeff Orlowski from his climate-focused documentaries Chasing Ice and Chasing Choral, which brought melting glaciers and eroding coral reefs to light. In his latest film, he raises another existential threat: social media. The film relies on insights from former technologist Tristan Harris, who cites the epidemic of misinformation, manipulation, virality, addiction, filter bubbling, and other bad stuff that thrives on social media platforms, as well as other former big-tech employees who now denounce those companies' work.
Available via Netflix

Crossing state lines to get an abortion is, unfortunately, nothing new in America, but the global pandemic made the issue even more prevalent for people seeking reproductive autonomy in conservative states like Alabama. Following the excellent Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Rachel Lee Goldenberg's teen buddy comedy (starring teen buddies Haley Lu Richardson and Barbie Ferreira) is the second film of the year built around that road trip. "Its driving force may seem topical, but the story’s heart is timeless: the harmony between longtime friends, and Veronica and Bailey throw themselves into even the most fraught situations with giddy enthusiasm," wrote Natalia Winkelman for the New York Times.
Available via HBO Max

If you want to participate in the dialogue around Marshall Todd and cartoonist Keith Knight's controversial new Hulu original, here's the gist before you hit play: The show's Black protagonist, Keef, plays a comic artist who's determined to "[keep] it light" in his work, aka evade matters of race and politics that might alienate his mostly-white audience. But when Keef becomes the victim of a racist police encounter, his perspective changes. That sounds good on its face, but the film has received quite a bit of criticism for its datedness in a time of societal resurgence against racist police violence. Alan Sepinwall's Rolling Stone review describes the film as "a product of a time that feels like a million years ago, when someone like Keef could more easily compartmentalize his blackness without thinking about the institutionalized racism that’s palpable across life in the United States." 
Available via Hulu

Last Chance to Stream: Films Ending This Week

Made in Bangladesh
After a factory fire kills one of her co-workers, a garment worker in Bangladesh dedicates herself to starting a union, despite opposition from her own friends and colleagues, in Rubaiyat Hossain's film championing workers' rights. 
Available via SIFF

Thursday only

Moroni for President
Every four years, the largest Native American tribe in the US, Navajo Nation, elects a new president to represent its people. This film follows the campaign of 2018 candidate Moroni Benally, whose background as a gay Mormon set him apart as an underdog. 
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Out Stealing Horses
In this scenic, flashback-filled film based on the novel by Per Petterson, an aging man reflects on his childhood summers when he discovers that his neighbor in his new countryside town—where he moves after the death of his wife—is a man he's met before. These SIFF screenings include a post-film discussion between director Hans Petter Moland and Stellan Skarsgård.
Available via SIFF
Thursday only

Three women in different parts of the country and on different sides of the aisle (Detroit's Myya Jones, Granville's Bryn Bird, and suburban Illinois' Julie Cho) fight to improve their communities in Hillary Bachelder's feature-length documentary debut.
Available via Northwest Film Forum

Looking for more ways to support local movie theaters? These on-demand streaming options through the Northwest Film Forum, SIFF, and elsewhere are available to watch anytime.