There’s more to watch than ever before and more streaming services on which to watch it. Here at Watching, a film and TV recommendation website from The New York Times, we direct you toward what’s new and what’s good.
Every month, as various licenses expire, streaming services lose movies and series from their catalogs. Here are seven movies (and one TV series) leaving Netflix at the end of this month.
‘An Unmarried Woman’
Erica Benton (Jill Clayburgh) enjoys a life of leisure and luxury as the wife of a wealthy Manhattan stockbroker, but she finds herself lost in the world when he abandons her for a younger woman. This drama follows the Erica as she rebuilds herself from the ground up, finding new satisfaction in friends, dating and self-sufficiency. The film’s feminist politics earned it praise at the time of its release, and although the idea of a divorced woman’s getting back on her feet may not be so novel now, Benton’s emotional arc still has universal appeal. Clayburgh’s Academy Award-nominated performance cycles through frustration, confusion and helplessness before arriving at a hard-earned sense of satisfaction — a feel-good personal journey to selfhood.
Mel Brooks made mincemeat of the Western with this anarchic satire, interrogating the genre’s problematic racial history in his own gleefully ribald way. Cleavon Little leads in his role as the newly appointed sheriff of a predominantly white town — which is none too pleased to be taking orders from a black man — and Gene Wilder is a treat as his boozy gunslinger sidekick. The rapid-fire punch lines run from sophomoric to sophisticated, culminating in an inspired burst of surrealism that blows right through the fourth wall.
‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’
The image of Marilyn Monroe as a dumb-blonde sex symbol crystallized with this raucous, randy comedy about a pair of man-eaters on the hunt for a suitable husband. Monroe plays the unrepentant gold-digger Lorelei, and Jane Russell shares top billing as her best pal, Dorothy, each as glamorous and well-dressed as the other. With razor-sharp wit and exemplary double entendre, the two showgirls fend off the advances of assorted creeps while thirsting after a pair of well-heeled bachelors. The “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” sequence is part of showbiz legend.
Making a movie appropriate for kids didn’t stop Martin Scorsese from constructing another valentine to the his lifelong love, the cinema. His fable about an orphan (Asa Butterfield) living in a French train station also provides a history of early silent film, with young Hugo’s befriending a fictionalized version of the movie pioneer Georges Méliès. Scorsese puts the full sum of his talents to use on unalloyed fun before locating a little core of melancholy and following through with the kindest, warmest conclusion he’s ever allowed.
‘While You Were Sleeping’
A seemingly harebrained premise begot this high point of the ’90s rom-com boom: Sandra Bullock plays a Chicago train token collector who saves the life of her commuter crush, but he slips into a coma. A misunderstanding leaves the man’s family with the impression that she’s his fiancée, and to complicate matters further, she begins developing genuine feelings for her vegetative faux-beau’s brother (Bill Pullman). It might be a tad implausible, but it yields some bubbly, infectiously charming courtship between the rich-in-chemistry leads.
Melanie Griffith takes on corporate America in this glass-ceiling-smashing comedy. She plays Tess, a lowly secretary at a high-power Wall Street investment firm, who has dreams of a corporate card and corner office. With a bit of resourcefulness, a can-do attitude and some help from her partner in crime, Cynthia (Joan Cusack), she maneuvers her way to the top of the heap and catches the eye of a rakishly handsome executive (Harrison Ford). The proud feminist overtones and a host of delectable supporting performances — Sigourney Weaver plays Tess’s ruthless boss, and Alec Baldwin is perfectly oily as her philandering boyfriend — make this an endlessly pleasurable rewatch.
‘Futurama’ Seasons 1-6
“The Simpsons” was a tough act to follow, but creator Matt Groening delivered a worthy successor with this sci-fi comedy set 1,000 years in the future. After a millennium spent in cryogenic deep-freeze, Fry, a pizza delivery boy, stumbles into a hyper-advanced metropolis and falls in with a purple-haired Cyclops, a hedonistic robot and a cephalopod scientist. Groening makes use of the signature moves he picked up in Springfield — absurd one-liners, ingenious sight gags, elaborate pop-culture parody — and demonstrates the same flexibility of tone in “Futurama,” integrating bone-deep pathos with the laughs. (The episode “Jurassic Bark,” about Fry’s dog, is not for the faint of heart.)