Ah, July 4th: the holiday of sparklers and cookouts and celebration with family and friends—or so it's supposed to be. Anyone who has tried to rush from their friend’s backyard to the nearest scenic overlook for fireworks knows the holiday usually ends up being more like this: You drive out to a crowded lawn, wait nearly an hour for those 15 minutes of fireworks, watch children run around screaming with those awful noisemakers, and then inch along for five hours as you try to make your way back home in a traffic bottleneck with the rest of the city. No thanks.
If you’ve got a rooftop with a great view or an invite to a superb barbecue, good for you. Otherwise, if you'd rather avoid all of that by staying in, here's a list of shows and films hitting Netflix in July that you can watch instead, (plus a few bonus selections that came in in June, that are well worth it). The ice-cold beer and the shriveled hot dog are optional.
Stranger Things Season 3
The insanely popular series’ long-awaited third season is getting released right on July 4—the ultimate power move for everyone who would rather stay in. We don't know too much yet, but according to Netflix, the Hawkins crew are growing up and, uh, "romance blossoms." season two upped the ante by introducing the Mind Flayer, and with "Eleven and her friends [being] reminded that evil never ends; it evolves," who knows what monsters lurk in season three.
This now-classic one-last-night genre film needs basically no introduction, but it's the perfect option for you and your friends to get incredibly drunk to in lieu of those disturbingly family-friendly July 4 festivities. Bonus points if you're already in Vegas, where opportunities to drug yourself and nearly ruin your life abound.
If you're in the mood for something a little more noir and a little more thriller, this Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster starring Martin Scorsese masterpiece is hard to top. Apparently the film narrowly avoided an X rating by desaturating the blood a few shades from "candy apple red" to "burgundy," or so Tarantino has said.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Speaking of masterpieces, here's your chance to watch Kevin James play a rent-a-cop in a New Jersey mall. Despite having perhaps the dumbest premise ever, the film has it all: Segways, conspiracies, Black Friday, and a wedding at a mall. If that isn't convincing enough, at least watch it so you can enjoy the memes.
Lady in the Water
There's always time to watch the M. Night Shyamalan film that made us avoid our own swimming pools all summer. The whole film is pretty strange; Bryce Dallas Howard plays an, uh, "narph” (a portmanteau of water and nymph), Paul Giamatti does his best, and M. Night Shyamalan plays… a character called the Author. The Author is apparently writing a book for the sake of "humanity," which, of course, is why Bryce Dallas Narph—actually, her character's name is Story (subtle)—has to find him. Excellent.
Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington star in this landmark film about a gay lawyer hiding his sexual identity and AIDS diagnosis. It was Hollywood's first big production to acknowledge and address the HIV/AIDS crisis and the homophobia associated with it—more than a decade after the AIDS crisis began, no less—and it’s all wrapped in a heartbreaking story of courtroom drama. The Fourth of July is about America; so is Philadelphia.
The fake-found-footage, creepy monster film will be on Netflix, if you're looking to spend the evening watching contrived horror of a monster destroying New York instead of thinking about the real-life problems with our nation.
And In Case You Missed Them, These Are The Best TV Shows and Movies New to Netflix in June
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
This Oscar-winning film tells the story of Miles Morales, the first Black/Latinx Spider-Man, and the movie is surprisingly good, considering there are a billion other previous Spider-Men (Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland).
Neon Genesis Evangelion
This very buzz-y, cult classic anime got redubbed by Netflix, effectively introducing it to a massive new audience. Maybe one of those fans can be you?
Grey's Anatomy Season 15
Ah, yes, the melodramatic hospital drama we just can’t quit—and thankfully haven’t had to, since it’s been on the air since 2005. This is the last season of Grey's Anatomy—the finale of which originally aired a month ago on ABC. And even if you're not at season 15 yet, you can watch all 14 seasons that precede it, if you'd like. It's always a good time to binge something from Shonda Rhimes.
3% Season 3
This popular Brazilian dystopian series has been extremely overlooked in the US. The show follows people who try to escape the societal poverty of the "Inland" by competing in a series of trials, with only 3% making it to the idyllic "Offshore." After season two, factions have shifted, and major players have died. It's thrilling, soapy, and riveting enough that you’ll figure, “Eh, I’ve seen fireworks before.”
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