Some would say we’ve been spoiled with all of the great movies and TV that Netflix has gifted us over the last few months. Others would say that we deserve it – after all, we are paying a monthly subscription fee to be provided with entertainment to help us ignore life’s harsh realities. But no matter what side you fall on, you’ll be in the same boat as everyone else this July once you see what Netflix is delivering to us.
Get ready to be holed up in front of the nearest screen, eyes bloodshot and imagination fried from binging endless content this month. Whether its TV you’ve been waiting a year for, movies you’ve seen over and over, or something new that you can’t wait to dive into, here are 12 Netflix Additions You Need to Watch This July.
12 Back to the Future Trilogy – July 1
The future has come and gone with the passing of October 21, 2015, but that doesn’t mean the Back to the Future trilogy isn’t as stunning and enjoyable as it was when it first came out. Whether you’ve never seen the films or you’ve seen them hundreds of times, the Back to the Future trilogy is still a nerd’s paradise, and watching Marty McFly’s adventures in time never loses its ability to make us wish we had our very own flux capacitor. And a DeLorean. We wouldn’t turn down a DeLorean.
Starting with Back to the Future, the trilogy kicks off with a master class in time travel; this is how you make a science fiction movie fun and enjoyable and filled to the brim with iconic moments. Next, Back to the Future Part II builds on the success of its predecessor and provides a thrilling follow up with enough change in the formula to be interesting, while still giving fans of the first more of the same to love. Finally, Part III, um, exists, and while there’s some fun to be had, the Western genre seems a strange fit for the trilogy. All in all though, you can’t go wrong spending a stormy summer afternoon going back to back to back with Back to the Future on Netflix.
11 Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011) – July 1
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was a polarizing film when it was released during the height of Oscar season in 2011, and its reputation is now that of an undeserving Best Picture nominee. Dismissed by critics who felt it was emotionally manipulative, the film deserves another look five years removed from its release and some of the expectations that came with the pedigree of those in front of and behind the camera.
Directed by Oscar nominee Stephen Daldry, written by Oscar winner Eric Roth based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, and starring Oscar nominees/winners aplenty in Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks, and Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close may not be the masterpiece it had the potential to be, but its successes far outweigh its failures. Anchored by an otherworldly performance by child actor Thomas Horn, the film is layered in nuance and heart that make up for some of its shortcomings, and a beautiful score as well as a uniquely told story make Extremely Loud the type of movie that you’ll wish you’d never dismissed so easily in the first place.
10 Hey Arnold! The Movie (2002) – July 1
Hey Arnold! The Movie is everything a film based on a popular 90s kids show should be; it’s goofy, it’s weird, and it raises the stakes for our animated heroes. Focusing on Arnold and his gang of local slum lords – or, um, normal children – attempting to save their neighborhood from development, Hey Arnold! The Movie is the kind of throwback film that reminds you of your childhood and the time spent in front of the TV on Saturday mornings instead of out with your friends saving your neighborhood.
Regardless of rubbing in your face the fact that you wasted your youth, you’re guaranteed to be flooded with memories and emotions as you put on Hey Arnold! The Movie. With everything from the head shapes of the clearly deformed cartoon children to the nearly-criminal stalking of Arthur’s bully Helga reminding you of the joys of Hey Arnold, once you start up the film there’s no stopping it. And while it may be lacking some of the creativity and pop that made the original TV show so special, nostalgia proves that nothing from the 90s and early 2000s is technically bad, so enjoy every moment of Hey Arnold! The Movie while you can.
9 Gladiator (2000) – July 1
Every once in a while you want to throw on a good epic and get lost in three hours of heart-pumping, action-packed, expertly-produced filmmaking. So when that moment calls, as it inevitably will during the dog days of summer, turn on Gladiator.
The Russell Crowe starring Best Picture winner checks off every box on any movie buff’s list, and 16 years later it’s still as glorious and Maximus as you remember. It’s essentially a mini-Game of Thrones marathon, and now that Thrones is done until next year you can imagine Russell Crowe is a reincarnated Ned Stark and the lion that tries to eat him is that little prick Joffrey. But however you choose to watch Gladiator, the important thing is that you do watch it, as it will fill every gluttonous genre urge you’ll ever have, but it does it while being a slickly directed film with a great central performance and a surprisingly powerful story to go along with its ground-breaking images and mega-sized scale.
8 Jim Jefferies: Freedumb (2016) – July 1
Jim Jefferies: BARE was part of the first wave of Netflix original comedy specials and it really showcased everything that the streaming giant does best. Wrapped in a slick package and conceived of by one of the more popular – yet not populist – stand-ups of our time, BARE introduced people around the world to Jim Jefferies and from there they decided whether or not this Australian comedian was for them.
But if you’ve already made that distinction and decided that yes, the hilarious Jim Jefferies is indeed for you, then you’ll be glad to hear that Jefferies is back with another Netflix special this month. Called Freedumb, look for Jefferies to do exactly what you’d expect him to do and tell “politically incorrect” jokes riddled with swearing in that aggressive yet charming Australian way. Having lived in America for the past few years and built up his material on the subject, Jefferies’ newest act takes on the United States, politics, gun control, Donald Trump, and that intangible idea of freedom that gives those of us that choose to laugh the freedom to laugh with Jim Jefferies.
7 Mean Girls (2004) – July 1
Mean Girls debuted at a time when Lindsay Lohan was the hottest actress around and Tina Fey was a Saturday Night Live alum that had written a pretty good movie. Fast forward to a decade later and Lohan is known for the nonsense she tweets and Fey is at the top of the Hollywood pecking order. So, looking at this (welcome) role-reversal, it’s somewhat fitting that Mean Girls – starring Lohan and written by Fey – is a film about the female social ladder and the constantly changing nature of popularity and success.
Or maybe that’s looking too deep into it, and really the film is just a hilarious look at high school with some killer memorable lines and a likable cast that brought the characters to life. Now looked at as a cult classic, Mean Girls has that classic Tina Fey wit now that we’ve seen enough of Fey’s work to know exactly what that wit sounds like. With Mean Girls, Fey proved that she was ready to be in the big leagues, while Lohan proved that nothing – not even a great performance in a hit film – guarantees you lasting success. But regardless of the lessons we’ve learned about Hollywood’s social hierarchy, the only thing that Mean Girls taught us that really matters is that no matter what segment of the audience you fit into a good movie is a good movie; and Mean Girls is a good movie.
6 The Big Short (2015) – July 6
2015’s most surprising movie wasn’t one about an astronaut stranded on Mars or Leonardo DiCaprio crawling across America and grunting, but rather it was a movie about the financial crisis of the late 2000s. Astoundingly creative and packed with a deeply surprising energy, The Big Short took director Adam McKay’s comedic sensibilities and packed them into a movie that had no right being as funny and entertaining as it was. And yet, come July 6th we’re going to watch it again and again.
By all measures, a film about Christian Bale playing a forward-thinking hedge fund manager should have put us to sleep faster than the housing bubble could burst, but with magnetic performances and an electrifying script The Big Short became the movie to watch as 2015 wound to a close. Now available on Netflix for all of us to see, The Big Short should be streamed not only for its entertainment value, but for its educational value as well. Somehow managing to do a better job explaining the financial crisis in just over two hours as any expert has been able to explain it in eight years, The Big Short goes above and beyond in its quest to inform and amuse, and it does both in a way that makes us happy we spend money on Netflix every month rather than saving away to be fiscally responsible members of society.
5 The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (Season 3) – July 14
David Cross’ greatest achievement so far may be this absurdly dark and deranged British comedy, which after airing two little-seen seasons that wrapped up in 2012 inexplicably came back for a third this year. It was something no one asked for or expected – especially after the Season 2 finale had (SPOILER) literally scorched the Earth, but fans of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret were nonetheless excited to revisit the sad little world of Todd Margaret and see what magnitude of trouble he would find himself in this time.
The series was complex to a fault – its jokes went deeper than Arrested Development ever dreamed and its timeline shifts essentially required viewers to keep a detailed journal – but the show was nonetheless hilarious, brilliant, and disgustingly crude all at once. Compounded by the fact that every single reference in the third season refers to something that happened in a season that aired 4 years earlier, the show’s jokes were ambitious in a way that can only be fully appreciated with multiple rewatches and a slight dose of insanity. If – after this description – watching Todd Margaret sounds like a fun task that you’d be up to, then you’ll be rewarded with a show so laugh out loud funny that you’ll need to tell everyone you know to get on board. They won’t of course, and this incredibly British yet aggressively American comedy will continue to rest in obscurity until its fourth season airs sometime in 2021.
4 BoJack Horseman (Season 3) – July 22
Speaking of Arrested Development stars, Will Arnett returns to Netflix for Season 3 of the astoundingly perfect BoJack Horseman. After leaving us in a depressing state of confused hysteria throughout its first two seasons, BoJack is set to pick up right where it left off and give fans a dose of animated reality. Perhaps the most human show currently on television – ironic considering nearly all of the characters are talking animals – BoJack Horseman revels in its ability to cut to the core of human emotions and spread it all over the place like a horse puking up cotton candy.
The fact of the matter is that BoJack Horseman is a comedy, sure, but it’s also a deeply cynical drama with touches of lightness and optimism only shining through where they would in the real world. And that’s exactly where BoJack takes place; the real world. The world of BoJack Horseman is a world where a horse-man is a washed-up 90s sitcom actor with a sunglasses-wearing dog as his best friend/arch-nemesis and a pink cat is his Hollywood power agent and girlfriend. But it’s also a world with betrayal, grief, guilt, resentment, and some of the funniest one-liners and sight-gags you’ll ever see on TV. It’s a roller-coaster is what it is, and Season 3 looks to continue BoJack Horseman down the road of best television shows on Netflix.
3 Degrassi: Next Class (Season 2) – July 22
Degrassi is an institution and thankfully Netflix saved us all from the collapse of that institution when they saved the series last year and brought it to Netflix in a semi-reboot called Degrassi: Next Class. Now entering its second season, Next Class is as Degrassi as it’s ever been; that’s to say it’s still occasionally campy, often sentimental, sometimes challenging, a little controversial, and very much Canadian.
Migrating to Netflix and dumping its seasons all at once has proven to reinvigorate the series creatively, and a new look for the show sets it apart from other versions that have been on television on and off since 1979. But ultimately, Degrassi is Degrassi no matter what you put after the colon or what service it airs on, and if this is your type of show, it’s on Netflix for you whenever you want. In sickness and in health, on TV or on Netflix, with Drake or without, Degrassi will be there for you if you want it.
2 Tallulah (2016) – July 29
Ellen Page stars in the type of Netflix Original Film that you’re glad they put on their service, because it’s the kind of underrated gem that you’d never find otherwise. Tallulah finds Page and Allison Janney reunited after their roles in Juno in a film that could not be more similar and yet have more differences. An indie drama that has more happen in it than your typical meandering and reflective low budget film, Tallulah puts Page and Janney in the center of a story about a young woman who turns to her ex-boyfriend’s mom for help when she finds herself caring for a toddler that isn’t hers.
With Page playing a woman dealing with motherhood – albeit in a very different way than Juno – she makes her return to feature films count after what felt like an extended absence from the limelight. Great performances stand out here amongst a well-written script and nice, understated direction, and with those things going for it Tallulah proves that as long as Netflix keeps distributing well-made films, we’ll keep paying our membership fees to see them.
1 HitRecord (Season 2) – July 31
Joseph Gordon Levitt’s HitRecord is a compelling look at what TV should look like in a YouTube age. Best described as a modern take on the variety show, the frenetic, funny, dramatic, creative, and occasionally awe-inspiring series is a fun watch that doesn’t ask too much from its viewers. Taking material from fans across the world and showcasing it in unique ways, HitRecord revolves around a community of people that contribute to the show week after week.
Never running out of content or repeating itself thanks to an innovative model to source material from creative people all over the world, the series focuses on a new theme each week that always manages to be fresh and exciting thanks to interpretations by fans. And its this collaboration between fans and viewers that makes HitRecord such an interesting series, and after two seasons it’s clear that the “experimental” part of this series has come to an end; the experiment worked and entertaining television was created.
Which of these new additions are you most looking forward to watching? Let us know in the comments!