Avoid the June Swoon and settle in with some hot summer items including movies celebrating Pride Month, the steamy Mississippi Delta, a fiery 'Ambulance' chase, the sultry South of France, the sizzling 'Sopranos' prequel, and sunny 'Central Park.'
Fire Island - Hulu
Picked by Mike Nam
Just in time for Pride Month, the queer romantic comedy Fire Island stars Asian American leads Joel Kim Booster and Bowen Yang. The New York island getaway has historically been a refuge for LGBTQ vacationers, and the comedic duo joins Margaret Cho, who spoke to Cheddar about this modernized take on Pride and Prejudice.
Pride - Peacock
Picked by Digital Editor Mike Nam
Speaking of Pride, this 2014 feature film is based on the true story of striking UK coal miners receiving help from an unlikely source — the gay community. Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners was an activist group that was formed to raise funds for the mining towns facing some of the same antagonists the UK queer population faced: Margaret Thatcher, the police, and the tabloids. It's a heartwarming story of different marginalized groups finding common ground and building solidary, and the events became a major turning point for gay rights in Great Britain.
P-Valley: Season 2 - Starz
Picked by Producer Lawrence Banton
This weekend, we're taking it back to The Pynk also known as P-Valley! The infamous back-roads Mississippi strip club that took the Starz network by storm is set to make its Season 2 comeback. In its debut season during the summer of 2020, viewers weren't just enthralled by jaw-dropping moves on the poles that could only be found in this particular area of the South, it was also the drama, the scandal, and the lies! Last season we saw a mother-daughter relationship edge toward the brink of no return, a string of stripper robberies, a sneaky link that had social media buzzing for days, and a murder on what was to be the last operating night for the club. I expect the upcoming season to kick off and get right back into the mess.
Ambulance - Amazon Prime Video & Peacock
Picked by Reporter Alex Vuocolo
Director Michael Bay has spent much of the last decade making Transformers sequels, so it was a pleasant surprise when news broke that his next film was an original story about a bank robbery-gone-wrong and a citywide police chase in a rogue EMT vehicle. As a sucker for this kind of thing, I went into the film with high expectations, and it did not disappoint. It's jam-packed with plot twists, well-sketched characters, and some of the best practical special effects in years. Movies like this (big-budget action films unattached to an existing franchise) are increasingly rare, and I made a point to see this one on the big screen. However, if you prefer an at-home viewing, this blockbuster-par-excellence is now available for rent on Amazon Prime Video or free with ads on Peacock.
Downton Abbey - Amazon Prime, Peacock, The Roku Channel
Picked by Growth Associate Keara O'Driscoll
If you haven't already experienced the life-changing movie that is Downton Abbey: A New Era in theaters please do yourself the favor. As someone who went into the movie blind, I will definitely be tuning into the series that started it all, and I hope you’ll be taking the journey with me.
**I also have to add The Crown on Netflix as an honorable mention for those looking for a way to celebrate the Queen's Jubilee this weekend!
The Many Saints of Newark - HBO Max
Picked by Producer Jack Gallop
Mob movie fanatics like myself are still rattled by Ray Liotta’s passing last week, so in his honor, I’m recommending The Sopranos prequel film, The Many Saints of Newark. It features one of Liotta’s last roles, where he plays the father of the main character, Dickie Moltisanti, and the grandfather of the legendary Sopranos character, Christopher. Even if you never got around to watching The Sopranos, this film is comfort food for anyone who likes the genre. If you are a Sopranos fan who never got around to watching the film, which premiered last September — possibly fearing it wouldn’t do justice to one of the greatest shows of all time — you’ll enjoy judging how familiar characters, like Olivia, Silvio, and Paulie Walnuts, are portrayed. Liotta and Michael Gandolfini, son of the late James Gandolfini, deliver fantastic performances, making The Many Saints of Newark worth a watch if you missed having the fictional mobsters in your life.
Central Park - Apple TV+
Picked by Sr. News Editor Dina Ross
Central Park is an animated sitcom on Apple TV+ which strikes sweet-happy-chuckle notes, rather than, say, Family Guy humor. In the show, Owen Tillerman (voiced by Leslie Odom, Jr.) is the park manager for New York's most famous green space. He, his journalist wife (Kathryn Hahn), and their kids (Tituss Burgess and Emmy Raver-Lampman) are just trying to live their best lives while concurrently stopping the trouble stirred up by an elderly hotel heiress (Stanley Tucci) who wants to raze Central Park. In addition to the easy-going storylines, it's fun to see cartoon depictions of some of NYC's most famous neighborhoods. The show premiered in July 2020 and Season 2 wrapped up this April. The series has been renewed for a third season, but no ETA on the release date yet. If you like Bob's Burgers and The Great North, which I do, you're sure to like this series, too.