BBQs, pool parties, hiking, meals with family and friends. Or … or … you can forget all that and watch some great stuff on TV this Labor Day weekend. This is a list for those who choose the latter, a rundown of 10 worthwhile movies and shows now available to stream.
The Flash — Max
Warner Bros. boss David Zaslav infamously declared The Flash “the best superhero movie I’ve ever seen.” When the film was released in May, everyone wondered how many superhero films Zaslav had watched before this one. Yet the DC title starring Ezra Miller (which is a whole other conversation) also wasn’t nearly as lousy as its shockingly low box office suggested. The Flash is a modern-day spin on Back to the Future with clever dialogue, some affecting moments and, for once, a climactic CG-filled battle that isn’t the solution to the superhero’s crisis.
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One Piece — Netflix
This live-action adaptation of a Japanese anime TV series — no, wait, come back, it’s supposed to be good, really! One Piece is pretty far from Cowboy Bebop with an 80 percent critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, and THR‘s review called it a “celebration of the power of childlike wonder that itself feels like the delightful product of a kid’s imagination.” The charming eight-episode tale follows Monkey D. Luffy (Iñaki Godoy) on his quest to become a pirate king. Alternate magical pick: Wheel of Time season two on Prime Video.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny — Video on Demand
Judging by Indy 5‘s box office, plenty of fans skipped the latest installment when it landed in theaters in June. It’s a solid entry (though far from the best), with director James Mangold stepping in for Steven Spielberg and an 80-year-old Ford still managing to pull off his iconic role as he chases down a time-bending MacGuffin alongside Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Alternate new-to-VOD pick: The admittedly just-OK vampire-on-a-ship movie: The Last Voyage of the Demeter.
Jaws (all of them!) — Netflix
So, Shark Week was a month ago, and Jaws is set during a Fourth of July weekend, not Labor Day, and you’ve surely seen it a few times. Spielberg’s 1975 classic is too great and holds up too well upon repeated viewing, to not have it on the list. Especially since Netflix now has its sequels too — including 1987’s notorious Jaws the Revenge, where the remaining Brody family flees the great white shark in New England by going to an island in the Bahamas and the shark follows them. It’s not often a franchise contains one of the best films ever made and a so-terrible-it’s-hilarious entry too. Alternate new Netflix movie pick: Dune director Denis Villeneuve’s first contact drama Arrival.
Ahsoka — Disney+
Three episodes into Disney+’s latest Star Wars show starring Rosario Dawson, and it’s a comedown from the gritty realism, thoughtful ideas and practical sets of Andor. It’s all very “look at this familiar setting-droid-ship-costume-character.” (In fact, the entire narrative thrust is “we need to find characters” — Ezra, Thrawn. As if finding characters is itself a story rather than something that should happen within a story). Still, Ahsoka got an 87 percent on RT (even if THR‘s critic disagreed) and even not-great Star Wars — which we’ve had plenty of over the years — is still fun.
How to Blow Up a Pipeline — Hulu
One of the more acclaimed (and little-seen) movies of the year is now streaming. The film has a 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (though its audience score is a more modest 63 percent). It is billed as “a high-stakes eco-thriller ignited by riveting and complex antiheroes” and follows a fictional group of eight young people who decide to blow up an oil pipeline and the moral and practical results of their actions. THR‘s review called it “a compelling heist thriller for the climate crisis era.”
Below Deck (Sailing Yacht season three and Down Under season two) — Peacock
The escapist Below Deck franchise has been chronicling the workplace drama of young superyacht crews working in beautiful settings since 2013. The franchise manages to pull off its odd mix of crew members dutifully cleaning cabins and politely dealing with demanding guests, followed by drunken fighting and hookups on their nights off. Yet, the franchise has rarely had two more compelling seasons than the recently completed third season of Sailing Yacht and the current second season of Down Under — the latter winning praise for how the crew handled two sexual misconduct scandals, with a Rolling Stone writer saying the show had “one of the most impactful episodes of reality TV I’ve seen in a very long time.” Alternate pick: Love Is Blind: After the Altar season four (Netflix).
Justified: City Primeval — Hulu
The return of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) for this limited series — which had its finale last week — has been a treat for fans of FX’s Justified. But you don’t need to have watched the previous seasons to enjoy Givens’ Elmore Leonard-inspired dryly witty dialogue as he journeys to Detroit to help the police catch a killer. The show currently has a 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes (though its audience score is markedly lower at 50 percent, with some saying it doesn’t live up to the original).
Reservation Dogs season three — Hulu
Reservation Dogs follows the lives of four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma and premiered to considerable acclaim when it first debuted two years ago. Somehow, the show has managed to keep getting better — the current third and final season has a perfect 100 percent critics score on RT, with THR‘s critic calling it a superb final stretch.
Asteroid City — Peacock
Wes Anderson’s latest follows a group of parents and their talented kids quarantined in a 1950s desert town that’s interrupted by an extraterrestrial. As usual for Anderson, it features an all-star cast that includes Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Margot Robbie and Jason Schwartzman, to name a few. While critics don’t see this film as one of the director’s best (75 percent on RT), some say it’s far too pleased with itself, the film remains a solidly entertaining entry for Anderson fans.
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