The Best Movies to Stream in Seattle This Weekend: September 17-20, 2020

Local Sightings, RBG, and More Top Picks
September 16, 2020
Ruth Bader Ginsburg "quite literally changed life for women," wrote Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg. Cry over her death and learn about her life and her careeer by streaming the 2018 documentary RBG on Hulu.

The world is *looks up* still on fire, but on the bright side, the Local Sightings Film Festival and Crypticon start this weekend, along with another fresh round of options for movies to watch through local theaters. We've rounded them up below (like the beach house-set family dramedy Blackbird), plus a slew of new nationally streaming options (like a new season of Pen15). 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 and our roundup of Emmy-nominated shows to watch before the awards show airs this Sunday. 


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
Saturday only

Blackbird
At peace with death, a woman (Susan Sarandon) with a terminal illness summons her star-studded friends and family (including Kate Winslet and Mia Wasikowska) for one last hurrah before going through with an assisted suicide. If you're drawn to beach house/cabin-set reunion dramedies, you know exactly what you're getting into with this new feature from the director of Tea With the Dames.
Available via SIFF
Opening Friday

A Chef's Voyage
On the 15th anniversary of his 3 Star Michelin Los Gatos restaurant Manresa, Chef David Kinch and his team pack up and head to France to attempt to stage nine ambitious meals over the course of 10 days alongside superstar chefs at their iconic restaurants in Paris, Provence, and Marseille.
Available via SIFF
Opening Friday

Crypticon Seattle Film Festival
The Pacific Northwest was made for fall. This is our fucking season. We thrive in darkness, solitude, and moisture. This is our time to patiently sit through this uncontrollable wildfire smog, then don our best comfy sweater and pick out our favorite seat on the couch for three days’ worth of creepy-crawly movies that can lead us into the season that is our birthright. Doing that festive labor for us this year is Crypticon, the annual horror film festival that is now online thanks to insert-2020-extenuating-circumstance-here. This weekend fest, now in its 14th year, serves up the full horror spectrum in a series of shorts (plus one feature film) that run the gamut from gross to gory and eerie to electrifying. If your favorite season of American Horror Story was 1984, I highly recommend the “In the Woods” film block. Have a nasty fantasy about boning Viggo Mortensen in The Road? Then buy a ticket to “Traveling Fears & More!” Or go right ahead and buy a weekend pass to get access to each delicious morsel of sick, twisted, pre-Halloween action. KIM SELLING
Available via The Stranger
Opening Friday

Softie
A human-rights activist and provocative photojournalist decides to run for office in a regional election in his native Kenya, determined to prevail with a "clean campaign" despite his opponents' corrupt practices.
Available via SIFF
Opening Friday

Hairspray
"Turns out when John Waters isn’t making people eat dog pickles on camera, he’s got some pretty decent pop sensibilities. But just because Hairspray fizzes over like a freshly shaken bottle of effervescent sunshine doesn’t mean Waters took a break from tweaking the squares. The surface-level joys constitute the deliciously campy candied shell coating messages about institutionalized racism in 1960s Baltimore and the multiple ways society unfairly judges its children, especially its girls," wrote former Mercury staffer Bobby Roberts. This watch-along with MoPOP includes a pre- and post-screening discussion with staff and The Stranger's own Matt Baume.
Watch party available via MoPOP
Friday only

Local Sightings Film Festival 2020
This always-great, hyper-local film festival highlights indie filmmakers who eschew New York or LA for the earnest and eccentric Northwest. "Local Sightings acts as a showcase and watering hole for regional filmmakers, VR artists, and others who range from emotional storytellers to nature documentarists to political essayists," wrote former Stranger Arts Calendar Joule Zelman last year. The 23rd annual event is, natch, entirely online, with feature blocks like 24 Hours in the CHOP, about the recent clashes between police and protestors on Capitol Hill and the resilience of Black Lives Matter activists, and Fall Back Down, which press materials describe as "simultaneously a murder mystery, a rom-com, and an anarchic ride through the Vancouver B.C. underground."
Available via Northwest Film Forum
Opening Friday

A Towering Task: The Story of The Peace Corps
What caused John F. Kennedy to create the Peace Corps in 1961, and how has it evolved over time? This documentary narrated by Annette Bening (!) explores the organization's history and what it means to be a global citizen. 
Available via Grand Cinema
Thursday only

Wild Daze
Get ready to cry angry tears as you learn about the lasting illegal elephant-poaching crisis in Africa in this documentary featuring Keith David, Albert Maritz, and Jane Goodall. Filmmaker Phyllis Stuart makes a point of explaining the impact of these poaching on the environment as a whole, while also offering some hopeful ideas for the future.
Available via Grand Cinema
Opening Friday

New & Noteworthy: Nationwide

All In: The Fight for Democracy
You can't look at an American election (like the one we have looming in November) without confronting the reality of voter suppression. That's what's in store for Liz Garbus and Lisa Cortés's documentary centered around the expertise of former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives Stacey Abrams, who breaks down laws and barriers to voting rights that you might not know about.
Available via Amazon Prime
Premiering Friday

Alone
A story told in five parts, Alone is a remake of the Swedish film Försvunnen. It's a lean and effective survival story about a road trip gone awry—and it more than surpasses its source material. Jessica, played by Jules Wilcox, has packed up all her possessions into a U-Haul and moved without telling anyone. She's running from a recent loss and wants to start over in the Pacific Northwest. She gets much more than she bargained for when a man, played by a menacing Marc Menchaca, begins pursuing and harassing her. What starts as a misunderstanding on the road becomes a game of cat and mouse as Jessica must overcome various obstacles, from a punctured tire to a series of gruesome injuries, to be free of her pursuer. What makes Alone stand out from other cat-and-mouse stories is how Jessica handles her situation. Far too often, characters are either trapped by their circumstances with no agency or—even worse—make terrible decisions that undercut the tension. Jessica makes a series of smart choices to try to escape her situation, making it more tense when they don’t work. The real fear comes from a character taking the best course of action only to have it not be enough. CHASE HUTCHINSON
Available via Shudder

Archer
This animated show for adults, about a spy who emerges from a coma believing that he and all his coworkers lived through an L.A. noir and went to space, is back with its 11th season. Catch the premiere on FXX, or catch up on previous seasons on Hulu.
Available via FXX

Babyteeth
Praise for Shannon Murphy's Babyteeth (adapted for the screen by Rita Kalnejais from her play of the same name) revolves mostly around its light and colors and attention to small objects, which, looking outside in September 2020, might just be worthy of your time for a couple of hours. The film follows Milla (Sharp Objects' Eliza Scanlen), a teenager with a terminal illness who falls mutually in love with a greasy sad-boy Moses (Toby Wallace).
Available via Hulu
Premiering Friday

Challenger: The Final Flight
This docuseries delves into the 1986 explosion of NASA's Challenger space shuttle, which shocked just about everyone after a quarter-century of smooth space flights.
Available via Netflix

The Devil All the Time
Not that you needed any more convincing, but Antonio Campos proves that police stations aren't always on the side of safety for all. His new unsettling Netflix thriller, which features Robert Pattinson as a mean preacher, follows a young man who's determined to protect his loved ones from the evangelical-tinged corruption that plagues his small rural town.
Available via Netflix

The Fight
Five civil rights attorneys fight for justice on behalf of a migrant mother separated from her child, a transgender soldier at risk of losing his career, and basic reproductive and voting rights that face threats from the Trump administration. This Kerry Washington-produced documentary will absolutely give you a new sense of appreciation for the ACLU. 
Available via Hulu
Premiering Friday

The Great Pottery Throw Down
Now that The Great British Bake Off has piqued your interest in reality shows made across the pond, turn your attention to this pottery show made by—wait for it—the same people. Is there anything more soothing than watching shiny-wet clay being shaped on a wheel? No.  
Available via HBO Max

Pen15
If you were a sentient being who grew up remotely within the vicinity of the early-2000s, any given scene in Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle's hilarious show about the perils and occasional joys of awkward teenhood, in which they play versions of their past selves, can feel like reading your old journal from middle school; feelings you thought were buried forever in the time capsule behind your school's football field resurface like a craggy hand from a grave, but you can't stop reading. This time, though, you realize (hopefully not for the first time) that it wasn't your own essence that bred that era of sadness and insecurity and appreciation for penis jokes; it was just impossible, socially constructed standards publically sizing you up for the first time. The new season looks like more of what everyone loved from the previous one, but with a pool party and more makeout sessions. 
Available via Hulu
Premiering Friday

Raised by Wolves
Raised by Wolves begins with a falling star. It is a spaceship that lands on a planet called Kepler-22b. In the spaceship, which is small and shaped like the kind of smooth pebble you might find along the bank of a river and decide to keep, are two androids named Father and Mother. The father is black, and mother is white. They are Adam and Eve. The implication of this racial coding is that the colors of humankind spring from this primordial miscegenation, but let's not get into that in this post. Let's instead turn our attention to the androids, and focus not on their mission, which is to seed a dusty planet with humans, nor on their place in the kind of science fiction cinema that Ridley Scott initiated in 1979 with the film Alien (a shot in the second episode, "Pentagram," of a dead and decapitated android makes this clear enough). Rather, let's focus on the blunt fact that they do not believe in God. The humans do believe in God, or at least some of them do, but not the androids. They are strict atheists. CHARLES MUDEDE
Available via HBO Max

RBG
"Over the long course of her career, RBG repeatedly defended the rights of everyone to live free from bias, but, as Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg says, Ginsburg 'quite literally changed life for women.' With intimate interviews with family and friends, as well as RBG herself, the film captures the life of a woman with a heart none of us wants to stop ticking," wrote Katie Herzog about Julie Cohen and Betsy West's 2018 documentary. RIP, RBG. 
Available via Hulu

Residue
Returning to Washington, D.C. after several years of trying (and failing) to write an autobiographical script in L.A., a Black man finds that gentrification has all but obliterated his old neighborhood, Q Street. This is Merawi Gerima’s debut feature. 
Available via Netflix

Sherman’s Showcase
This eight-episode special, which aired on IFC last year, comes from the minds of former Late Night writers Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle. It tells the story of a phony commercial selling an imaginary box-set of a fictional vintage TV program that satirizes various aspects of Black pop culture. "It plays like a 21st-century version of The Groove Tube, Tunnel Vision, and The Kentucky Fried Movie, grind-house comedies from the ’70s that I’d guess Quentin Tarantino and Rza watch together on the regular while sharing a frosty 40," wrote Michael A. Gonzales for Vulture. 
Available via IFC
Premiering Friday

Sing On!
Contestants are judged (by Titus Burgess, in part) on how accurately they can perform someone else's interpretation of a song in this new take on the singing reality-show genre.
Available via Netflix

Spiral
Spiral stars Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman as Malik in an unsettling and surprisingly affecting story of small-town horror. Malik is a writer moving to a new place with his partner Aaron. He's looking for a fresh start. Aaron's daughter is also in tow. Chill, right? Maybe? No. Malik will soon wish he'd never set foot there. On arriving, Malik begins to notice strange goings-on in the community. The neighbors appear to be doing some ritual—maybe a red flag—and there's a palpable sense of hostility toward them as newcomers, which reaches a boiling point when Malik's home gets tagged with a homophobic slur—definitely a red flag. If you scroll through the comments on Spiral's trailer, you’ll see the reductive suggestion that the film is “basically Get Out for Gays.” That's... not exactly right. Malik is not just visiting, like in Get Out, he's moving to the neighborhood. That distinction gives the story a very different perspective. Him being unwelcome means his attempt to start fresh will have failed, which provides the film complex emotional stakes. CHASE HUTCHINSON
Available via Shudder

Staged
David Tennant and Michael Sheen take their Good Omens chemistry to the Zoom room (or whatever platform filmmakers use to film things in quarantine). They play two actors who continue rehearsing together online despite the COVID-19 cancellation of their West End play.
Available via Hulu

We Are Who We Are
The director of Call Me By Your Name brings us another story of an American teenager plopped in an Italian village, this time care of his military mom (Chloe Sevigny), who's been assigned to take over the American military base there. With limited options for socializing, he makes friends with a group of American kids who also live on the base, and the relationships he builds there drive the series.
Available via HBO Max

Last Chance to Stream: Films Ending This Week

Coup 53
Newly recovered 16mm footage and documents compiled by director Taghi Amirani and famed film editor Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now) supplement this account of Operation Ajax, during which the CIA and MI6 overthrew Prime Minister Mossadegh of Iran. The film happens to open on the 67th anniversary of the coup.
Available via SIFF
Thursday only

Desert One
Using archival footage and interviews with players on both sides, documentarian Barbara Kopple (Miss Sharon Jones!, Harlan County USA) explores a real-life secret mission to free hostages during the 1979 Iranian revolution.
Available via SIFF
Thursday only

Jazz on a Summer's Day
Filmed on a balmy night in Fort Adams State Park at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, this 4K-restored classic is believed to be one the first concert films ever recorded (!). It boasts Louis Armstrong, Thelonius Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Anita O'Day, Chuck Berry, Dinah Washington, and other legends among its lineup, closing with Mahalia Jackson's rendition of "The Lord's Prayer" at midnight
Available via SIFF
Thursday only

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.