Picks for the Pandemic: More Streaming Recommendations

July 14, 2020 -

The Tropic is providing our curated streaming recommendations during our closure. Here are a few collections to check out! (Streaming services in parentheses are offering the films free to subscribers — most are also available to rent from Google Play, Amazon, Vudu and others.)

Best of 2020

Ford v. Ferrari
American car designer Carroll Shelby and the British-born driver Ken Miles (Matt Damon and Christian Bale) work together to battle corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company and take on the dominating race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.

The Assistant
A searing look at a day in the life of an assistant to a powerful executive. As Jane follows her daily routine, she grows increasingly aware of the insidious abuse that threatens every aspect of her position.

Moynihan (Prime/Kanopy)
A biographical portrait of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, twentieth century colossus: public intellectual, policy specialist, ambassador, New York senator and longtime Key West resident.

In this American remake of the Swedish black comedy Force Majeure, a married couple (Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus) barely escaping an avalanche during a family ski vacation in the Alps, only to have their lives thrown into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate how they feel about each other.

Uncut Gems (Netflix)
A charismatic New York City jeweler (Adam Sandler) always on the lookout for the next big score makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime. Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win.

Best 0f 2019

Downton Abbey (HBOMax / DirecTV)
The beloved Crawleys and their intrepid staff prepare for the most important moment of their lives. A royal visit from the King and Queen of England will unleash scandal, romance and intrigue that will leave the future of Downton hanging in the balance.

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (DirecTV)
Los Angeles, 1969. TV star Rick Dalton, a struggling actor specializing in westerns, and stuntman Cliff Booth, his best friend, try to survive in a constantly changing movie industry. Dalton is the neighbor of the young and promising actress and model Sharon Tate, who has just married the prestigious Polish director Roman Polanski …

Rocketman (Prime / Hulu)
The story of Elton John’s life, from his years as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music through his influential and enduring musical partnership with Bernie Taupin.

On the Basis of Sex (DirecTV / Showtime)
Young lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg teams with her husband Marty to bring a groundbreaking case before the U.S. Court of Appeals and overturn a century of sex discrimination.

Vice (Hulu)
The untold true story of Vice President Dick Cheney, a Washington insider who changed the course of history.

Best of 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody (HBOMax)
Singer Freddie Mercury, guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor and bass guitarist John Deacon take the music world by storm when they form the rock ‘n’ roll band Queen in 1970. Hit songs become instant classics. When Mercury’s increasingly wild lifestyle starts to spiral out of control, Queen soon faces its greatest challenge yet – finding a way to keep the band together amid the success and excess.

A Star is Born (HBOMax)
The drama of love and the pitfalls of fame take center stage in this hit remake about a successful singer and his young protege. Bradley Cooper directs and stars alongside Lady Gaga in the box-office smash that earned eight Academy Award nominations while winning for Best Original Song (for Gaga’s “Shallow”).

Green Book (DirecTV / Showtime)
In 2019’s Best Picture Oscar winner, Tony Lip, a bouncer in 1962, is hired to drive pianist Don Shirley on a tour through the Deep South in the days when African Americans, forced to find alternate accommodations and services due to segregation laws below the Mason-Dixon Line, relied on a guide called The Negro Motorist Green Book.

The African American Experience

13th (Netflix)
Award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay (Selma, A Wrinkle in Time) directs this in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality.

Crime and Punishment (Hulu)
This New York Times Critics’ Pick chronicles the real struggles of a group of whistleblower cops in New York as they fight back against the illegal arrest quotas they’re pressured to abide by.

Dear White People (Netflix)
Based on creator Justin Simien’s acclaimed film, this comedy series follows students of color as they navigate the daily slights and slippery politics of life at an Ivy League college that’s not nearly as “post-racial” as it thinks.

Do The Right Thing (Available for rent on Prime Video, AppleTV, Google Play, YouTube and others)
In Spike Lee’s incendiary classic, it’s the hottest day of the year on a Brooklyn street—and residents can do nothing, do something, or do the right thing.

Get Out (Available for rent on Prime Video, AppleTV, Google Play, YouTube and others)
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is a tense, disturbing thriller about what happens when people of color are invited, but not exactly welcome.

If Beale Street Could Talk (Hulu)
Based on the novel by James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk is a soulful drama from director Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) about a young couple fighting for justice in the name of love and the promise of the American dream.

Just Mercy (Prime)
Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx star in the powerful true story of Harvard-educated lawyer Bryan Stevenson, who goes to Alabama to defend the disenfranchised and wrongly condemned — including Walter McMillian, a man sentenced to death despite evidence proving his innocence.

Mudbound (Netflix)
Writer/director Dee Rees tells the powerful story of two Mississippi families — one black, one white — who confront the brutal realities of prejudice, farming and friendship in a divided World War II era.

Celebrate Pride

The Laramie Project (HBOMax)
What happens to an American town when a terrible crime rips it apart and thrusts it into the national spotlight? That is the question that led a New York City theatre troupe to the town of Laramie, Wyoming, to seek out residents whose lives were changed after a gay college student named Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten, tied to a fence and left for dead off a rural road.

Pride (Amazon Prime)
Based on an inspirational true story. Set in the summer of 1984, when Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is on strike. At the Gay Pride March in London, a group of gay and lesbian activists decides to raise money to support the families of the striking miners. But there is a problem: the Union seems embarrassed to receive their support.

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (Netflix)
Structured as a whodunit, with activist Victoria Cruz cast as detective and audience surrogate, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson celebrates the lasting political legacy of Stonewall activist Johnson, while seeking to finally solve the mystery of her unexplained death.

The Normal Heart (HBOMax)
Telling the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s, director Ryan Murphy takes an unflinching look at the nation’s sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fight to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city and nation in denial.

The Times of Harvey Milk (HBOMax)
Harvey Milk was an outspoken human rights activist and one of the first openly gay U.S. politicians elected to public office; even after his assassination in 1978, he continued to inspire disenfranchised people around the world. This 1984 documentary traces his life and influence.

Before Stonewall (Hoopla)
New York City’s Stonewall Inn is regarded by many as the site of gay and lesbian liberation since it was at this bar that drag queens fought back against police June 27-28, 1969. This 1985 documentary uses extensive archival film, movie clips and personal recollections to construct an audiovisual history of the gay community before the Stonewall riots.

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