I took some time out of my very busy schedule (of WebExing into classes for two hours a week and trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my time) to compile all of the quality films streaming on Amazon Prime, HBO Go, Hulu and Netflix right now.
The Student will be releasing my recommendations in weekly installments until the end of the semester. This week, we have true-crime documentaries, fun documentaries and dramas for you.
Favorites are bolded.
True crime documentaries/docuseries
“Mommy Dead and Dearest” (HBO)
This story, of perhaps the most public case of Munchausen by proxy ever, was adapted into a Hulu drama (“The Act”) last year.
“I Love You, Now Die” (HBO)
In two parts, this docuseries examines the prosecution and defense of Michelle Carter, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the 2017 death of her boyfriend, Conrad Roy. He died by suicide, and she was accused of encouraging him to follow through with it over the phone.
“At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal” (HBO Go)
Chronicles the abuse that former physician Larry Nassar subjected hundreds of female gymnasts to.
“The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley” (HBO Go)
It was very hip of Elizabeth Holmes to scam investors out of billions of dollars at a time when female scammers were trendy, for her tech startup Theranos.
“Abducted in Plain Sight” (Netflix)
A married couple was afraid to report that a family friend had kidnapped their daughter, because he threatened to reveal that he was having affairs with both the husband and wife. That is the least crazy aspect of this documentary.
“The Devil Next Door” (Netflix)
Did a notorious Nazi concentration camp guard escape after World War II and raise a family in Cleveland under a different name? Maybe.
“Evil Genius” (Netflix)
Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong is who you all think Carole Baskin is.
“Chasing Happiness” (Amazon Prime)
The Jonas Brothers’ origin story: a heartwarming tale of a trio of New Jersey brothers making it big, taking a break and then pulling off an unprecedented comeback.
“Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds” (HBO)
Carrie Fisher walks back and forth between her and her famous mother’s houses, and they both discuss their careers and complicated family tree. Fisher’s French Bulldog, Gary, makes several appearances.
“Everything is Copy — Nora Ephron: Scripted and Unscripted” (HBO)
Directed by her son, Jacob Bernstein, “Everything is Copy” lets Nora Ephron’s (very famous!) friends talk about her life as a reporter, columnist, screenwriter and director. Essential viewing for any journalism student or woman, IMHO.
“Jane Fonda in Five Acts” (HBO Go)
Learn more about the HBO-described “Girl next door, sex kitten, activist” and “fitness tycoon.” She’s also one of my favorite Hollywood icons of all time (not that anyone asked).
“Love, Gilda” (Hulu)
The titular Gilda (Radner) was the first person cast on “Saturday Night Live” in its inaugural season, in 1975. This doc follows her career and personal life.
“Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper” (HBO)
You (millennials) have heard of Anderson Cooper, but have you heard of his mom, who was way cooler? I had not prior to watching this documentary.
“Searching for Sugar Man” (Netflix)
I had also never heard of Rodriguez prior to watching this documentary, which was unfortunate.
“Miss Americana” (Netflix)
As I wrote in the Student last month, this documentary will endear, or at least explain, Taylor Swift to you.
“Gaga: Five Foot Two” (Netflix)
Yet another musician documentary, this time about Lady Gaga. It came out in 2017, and documents her time making “Joanne” and preparing to perform at the Super Bowl.
“The Farewell” (Amazon Prime)
The matriarch of a Chinese family is diagnosed with terminal cancer, and everyone decides to keep it a secret from her. The family gathers in Beijing to say goodbye to her, under the guise of attending a wedding. A true story, based on writer/director Lulu Wang’s life.
“Terms of Endearment” (Amazon Prime)
Women have a fraught mother-daughter relationship. Jack Nicholson plays the classic Astronaut Next Door.
“A Star is Born” (2018) (HBO Go)
Worse than the original “Star is Born” but immeasurably better than the third “Star is Born.” Cannot speak for the second.
“Good Will Hunting” (Hulu)
I’m moving to Boston this fall, and my dad is now telling everyone to watch this. If he knew you, he would tell you to watch it, too.
“The Duchess” (Netflix)
A stunning entry in the KKPPCU (Keira Knightley Period Piece Cinematic Universe).
A recently divorced guy finds love with an Alexa-esque computer program. Amy Adams is there.
“Blue Valentine” (Netflix)
Watch a relationship fall apart in an absolutely devastating way.
“Anna Karenina” (2012) (Netflix)
Yet another flawless entry in the KKPPCU and a gorgeous adaptation of the Tolstoy classic.
“The Florida Project” (Netflix)
A six-year-old girl and her young mother live in a motel on the outskirts of Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
“The Social Network” (Netflix)
David Fincher’s film about the founding of Facebook. Jesse Eisenberg’s asshole portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg holds up well.
“Marriage Story” (Netflix)
One of this year’s Best Picture nominees and ambiguously autobiographical for writer/director Noah Baumbach.