Summer is a great time to indulge in lighthearted, comforting, and even cheesy viewing, and June's new streaming titles seem attuned to that, offering everything from ’90s rom-coms to trashy TV dramas to nostalgic comedy classics.
But there’s more to the month’s offerings than just comfort-food viewing. Some of the great films from the second half of 2016 are still making their way to streaming services, meaning it’s a great time to catch up some of the acclaimed films you may have missed last year. And a preponderance of movies from acclaimed and distinctive modern directors (David Lynch, Jonathan Demme, David Fincher, Jim Jarmusch, Paul Verhoeven, Rian Johnson, and Bong Joon-ho) means it’s also a fine time to dive into the canons of some of the great auteurs of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Whatever way your summer viewing tastes lean, though, there’s a streaming debut to be excited for. Here are June’s best new-to-streaming options, broken down by premiere date and platform.
Premiering June 1
The 100 season four, Netflix
After a messy third season, The CW’s post-apocalyptic teen soap The 100 returns to form in season four. It’s still not quite as taut and horrifying as it was in its first two seasons, but season four recognizes that the most compelling strand of The 100 is the slow development of its teen heroes into cold-blooded manipulators who are ready and willing to betray their closest friends and loved ones at any moment for the greater good. So as nuclear apocalypse threatens the planet — again — you can make a drinking game out of every time our heroine Clarke thinks about who she’s willing to abandon to a horrible radiation-inflicted death when the time comes, and chug when it’s one of her best friends.
13 Going on 30, Netflix
Sure, 2004’s 13 Going on 30 boasts a stellar comedic cast — Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Andy Serkis, and, for some miraculous reason, Mark Ruffalo — but it’s also one of the last great romantic comedies. It has a gimmicky, gleefully silly plot (a 13-year-old girl wants desperately to be “30, flirty, and thriving,” and gets her wish) and all of the wild, girly fashion you could want. But its best moment is when Garner gets a whole boring adult party dancing to “Thriller.” Ah, simpler times.
Bend It Like Beckham, HBO
Bend It Like Beckham is one of the sprightliest and warmest comedies of its era, a sweet-natured story about the forbidden love between an Anglo-Indian girl, soccer, and the girl’s best friend (and Jonathan Rhys Meyers’s cheekbones). It’s a family tale, sports movie, and girl-power story all rolled into one absurdly charming package, and the best possible thing to watch when you just want something that will make you smile.
Blue Velvet, Amazon and Hulu
Before there was Twin Peaks, director David Lynch took another visit to a very different small town hiding dark secrets, also accompanied by Kyle MacLachlan. But this 1986 film is an entirely different animal from Lynch’s famous TV series, despite all of the surface similarities. It’s one of the most influential “You know, small towns are kind of corrupt on the inside!” movies ever made, and it marked Lynch as the surreal chronicler of America’s darkest heart he’d always been destined to become.
A tricky, self-aware film noir that openly flaunts its love of classic hardboiled detective clichés, Brick sees Joseph Gordon-Levitt going on a quest to solve the mysterious death of his ex-girlfriend while femme fatale Nora Zehetner leads him through a labyrinthine ring of teen drug peddlers. The film solidified writer-director Rian Johnson and Levitt’s places as indie Hollywood darlings, and presaged their later partnership in 2012’s Looper, another Johnson-penned film with a serpentine plot. But Looper was a comparatively big-budget ruckus that served as a calling card for Johnson’s role overseeing the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII; made with its plot and its heart on its sleeve, Brick is sleeker, smarter, and almost better than it has any right to be.
Hulu goes full-on Jim Henson with the return of these two classic Muppet films, which are both a delight even though they couldn’t be more different. Muppet Treasure Island is a wisecracking, fourth-wall-breaking, musical take on the Robert Louis Stevenson tale, starring Tim Curry in one of his most fun performances as a scenery-chewing, singing Long John Silver. And even if you’re not a fan of the Muppets, The Muppets Take Manhattan is worth watching just for its status as — honestly — one of the quintessential show business films of the ’80s. Campy and dripping with theater references, the gang from The Muppet Show escape to New York to hobnob with a coterie of stars from Liza Minnelli to legendary Sardi’s owner Vincent Sardi Jr., all while trying to make it big on Broadway so that Kermit and Miss Piggy can finally get hitched. It’s the perfect, “Hey, gang! Let’s put on a show!” tale of the Great White Way, told as only the Muppets can.
Muriel's Wedding, Starz
A movie about a desperate woman trying to get married at all costs sounds like a colossally clichéd bummer, but instead, Muriel’s Wedding is an unlikely burst of joy that lets Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths loose on a truly fun script set to a stellar Abba soundtrack (and in fantastic and/or awkward ’90s clothes, no less). Turn this one on when you need a pity party to turn into a party, period.
Young Frankenstein, Netflix
On paper, Young Frankenstein — like just about all of Mel Brooks’s movies — should absolutely not work. The comedy is a meticulous sendup of 1931’s Frankenstein, black-and-white picture and all. Gene Wilder’s Victor Frankenstein (pronounced “Franken-steen,” and don’t you forget it) is a wild-eyed scientist whose anger gets the best of him just like it does his horrific creation (played by a perfectly doltish Peter Boyle). In the middle, Frankenstein and his monster tap dance to “Puttin’ on the Ritz” for no reason at all other than that co-writers Wilder and Brooks thought it was funny. But Young Frankenstein — also starring Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn, and Cloris Leachman — is one of Brooks’s best movies, thanks to everyone’s commitment to making the absurd as absurd as they possibly can.
Among the many incredible things about David Fincher’s true crime masterpiece — including how dated it doesn’t feel a decade later — is how suspenseful and taut it manages to be despite how non-suspenseful its subject is. The failed attempt to find Los Angeles’s Zodiac serial killer remains one of the most famous, and famously unsolved, investigations of the 20th century. Yet Fincher and his superb ensemble of actors — including Jake Gyllenhaal, Chloe Sevigny, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and a particularly chilling John Carroll Lynch — turn the obsession and ruin behind that failure into a harrowingly human drama.
Premiering June 2
Black-ish season three, Hulu
The third season of Black-ish is slightly more hit or miss than the show’s tremendous second season, but the highs were so high that you’ll float right past the lows (like the trip to Disney World teased above).
Premiering June 5
20th Century Women, Amazon
One of 2016’s finest films, 20th Century Women is a gorgeous story about a makeshift family in the 1970s full of lost people trying to find their way through a rapidly changing world. Featuring standout performances from Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig, and Elle Fanning, 20th Century Women funnels cultural uncertainty through a multigenerational story that’s light on its feet, funny, and wide-ranging, full of bright performances, evocative music, and the occasional experimental flourish. It’s a collection of moments that act like strokes of a paintbrush, and it’s not until the end that the vivid whole is revealed.
The title of this HBO documentary is an epigram uttered by comedy legend Carl Reiner, the host of this celebration of entertainers and regular people alike who are not only still kicking but thriving, well into their 90s. Reiner sits down for amiable, unselfconsciously humorous chats with famous nonagenarians like Betty White, Dick Van Dyke, Stan Lee, Norman Lear, and Kirk Douglas, as well as Reiner’s longtime comedic associate Mel Brooks. However, the doc also makes time for not-so-famous names who prove you can still be vital and adventurous into your 90s, from the oldest woman ever to run a marathon to a D-Day veteran who still parachutes.
Premiering June 8
Cousin Bobby, Sundance Now
The late-April death of Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme sparked renewed interest in his work, which was quite varied in form but always deeply humane. One of the best examples of that quality, though, has been largely unavailable since it came out in the early ’90s: Cousin Bobby, a documentary about Demme’s cousin named, you guessed it, Bobby — a.k.a. Robert Castle, an Episcopalian minister in Harlem, New York, who strives to improve the lives of people of color both locally and nationwide. Cousin Bobby has previously only been available on VHS, but Sundance Now is presenting a restored version that will hopefully bring this stirring, personal little documentary the wider attention it deserves.
I Am Not Your Negro, Amazon
Raoul Peck’s mesmerizing 2016 documentary takes the text of James Baldwin’s final book proposal and weaves it into a 90-minute collage about the history of race relations in the United States, filled with gorgeous prose and heartbreaking images, with the voice of Samuel L. Jackson narrating it all. If you’ve never been exposed to Baldwin, this is a great place to start. And even if you have, Peck’s film is a considerable achievement.
Premiering June 9
Orange Is the New Black season five, Netflix
The last time we saw the women of Litchfield Penitentiary, the entire prison was in open revolt over awful living conditions and the sudden, completely avoidable death of one of their own. By the end of the finale, Diaz was pointing a gun squarely at one of the guards, jaw set as everyone egged her on. Dealing with this fallout will be tricky, and season five is taking it on by picking right back up where it left off and concentrating solely on the three days following the events of the season four finale. It’s a risky gamble, so it’ll be interesting to see how — or if — the show pulls it off.
Premiering June 10
Daughters of the Dust, Netflix
In 1991, Daughters of the Dust became the first feature film directed by an African-American woman to open theatrically in the United States. Written and directed by Julie Dash, it tells the story of three generations of women on St. Helena Island in South Carolina preparing to migrate north. It gained widespread acclaim as a lyrical film that combined rich language, lush visuals, and song to tell its story. Last year, to commemorate its 25th anniversary, the film was restored and played at the Toronto Film Festival. And if some of it looks familiar, that might be because it served as inspiration for a number of sequences in Beyoncé’s Lemonade.
Premiering June 13
Oh, Hello on Broadway, Netflix
John Mulaney and Nick Kroll have played George St. Geegland and Gil Faizon (respectively), two of the Upper West Side’s best and crankiest old men, for more than a decade now. The characters, proud weirdos with a penchant for pranking people by ordering them “too much tuna,” proved so popular with their fans that Mulaney and Kroll took their touring show to Broadway, where it evolved into a sendup of Broadway itself. But if you missed them onstage, you can soon see them on Netflix in a taped version of the show in all its bizarre glory. Chances are George and Gil will either mystify you completely or make you laugh too hard to see straight.
Premiering June 14
Quantico season two, Netflix
Quantico is one amazing trashy mess almost completely devoid of logical storytelling. That said, if you’re looking for a silly, empty-calorie, gasp-inducing show that feels like the love child of Shondaland and Homeland, there is no greater guilty pleasure. The second season picks up as Alex (Priyanka Chopra) and her gang, who trained at the FBI together, are at the center of yet another massive terrorist attack that will force them to call upon the lessons learned during a stint with the CIA. These people are the most highly trained special agents this fictional world has to offer, yet somehow they are still just really awful at their jobs … which is probably what makes Quantico such cheesy fun.
Premiering June 16
Scandal season six, Netflix
One of Scandal’s biggest weaknesses is that there’s a lot going on at any given time. People kill each other. The “good” guys torture and maim. There was a gay wedding that involved a prostitute and blackmail. At one point in the show, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) was kidnapped and almost sold to Iran. Perhaps that’s why this sixth season, with its focus on a presidential race and an assassination attempt, feels like a bit of a relief — until it cranks up all those signature Shondaland twists and takes a turn in the later part of the season.
The Strain season three, Hulu
Most of this season is about the vampire-hunting characters trying to find and kill a giant red worm. Television is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Premiering June 17
The Conjuring 2, HBO Now
For horror fans, HBO’s addition this month of The Conjuring (also available starting June 1) and its 2016 sequel is great news — and not only because The Conjuring 2 introduces a petrifying nun straight out of the Babadook goth-chic toolkit who’s getting her own Nunoff next year, like The Conjuring’s demon doll Annabelle before her. But the nun is just one item among The Conjuring 2’s rich bag of terrors. What really makes this sequel worth watching is the way it effortlessly culls impressive amounts of horror from the cases of its subjects, real-life demon hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren, while also acknowledging the real-life controversy and fully justified skepticism surrounding the Warrens themselves. It’s perhaps the first successful cinematic horror franchise to not only question its entire premise — the existence of demonic warfare — but also pin that premise around a central love story.
Star Trek Beyond, Amazon and Hulu
After the crushing, confusing, overbearing mess that was 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, 2016’s Beyond rights course with what amounts to a supersize episode of the original 1960s TV show. The crew of the USS Enterprise crash-lands on a mysterious planet, where they are drawn into the schemes of an even more mysterious villain. There’s action and space battles and aliens — but the story never loses sight of the characters or their interactions, which are the core of any Trek.
Premiering June 20
Heads up: Disney’s seafaring musical adventure Moana, one of 2016’s most purely delightful mainstream movies, kid-oriented or otherwise, is now available for repeat viewing (or, if you have young kids, constant, nonstop viewing) on Netflix. You’re welcome!
Premiering June 22
One of 2016’s best films, the quiet, Adam Driver–starring drama Paterson is as good an example as any of the fine-tuned observational style that characterizes the work of accomplished indie director Jim Jarmusch. Paterson follows Driver’s poetry-writing bus driver named Paterson, who lives in Paterson, New Jersey, and loves the work of poet William Carlos Williams (who wrote an epic poem called “Paterson,” in case you’re still working out that title’s significance). The film follows the daily routines of Paterson and his partner (played luminously by Golshifteh Farahani), chronicling them with quiet reverence — so quiet that it’s possible to miss Paterson’s defining event when it finally does arrive. This is one that both requires and rewards attentive viewing.
Premiering June 23
GLOW season one, Netflix
As Netflix continues to churn out original series every other week, GLOW has managed to catch our eye. The scripted series takes on the very real history of GLOW, a.k.a. the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, who reigned over Los Angeles wrestling rings with their own TV show from 1986 to 1989. The Netflix cast promises to dive into both the history of GLOW and some of the individual stories to come out of it, with Alison Brie playing a frustrated actress who joins GLOW to play a female character who does more than pour men drinks.
Premiering June 28
Barely a month after its Cannes premiere (where it was part of the festival’s big Netflix controversy), Okja’s wacky, colorful, satirical take on factory farming and corporate greed heads to streaming, where its title character (a superpig raised in the hills of Korea) can bound its way into hearts worldwide. The movie is every bit as weird — and on the whole as wonderful — as you’d expect from Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer, The Host). Starring Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ahn Seo-Hyun, and Byung Hee-bong, Okja is a big, ambitious movie, and when it works, it is ridiculously fun.
Premiering June 29
Director Paul Verhoeven’s 2016 French film about a woman who is raped in her own home, then refuses to report what happened to her, doesn’t conform to essentially any narrative expectations you might have of it. That means the movie won’t be for everyone — and even those who like it might not be entirely sure how much they do. One thing’s clear, though: Isabelle Huppert’s Oscar-nominated performance as the main character is one of the best of its year.
Premiering June 30
Naomi Watts joins the long string of movie actors making the move to TV in this new drama that we know very little about. The Netflix-provided description says it’s about a therapist who gets way too involved in her patients’ lives, which is exactly what the above teaser trailer also shows. Haven’t heard that one before! (Our big question: Why, exactly, isn’t this just a movie of the musical Gypsy starring Naomi Watts? Inquiring minds, etc., etc.)