Watching: Only the Best Things

On Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Disney+

By The Watching Team

The weekend is here. Maybe you’ll spend some time outside, maybe you’ll hole up and watch a movie or TV series. Regardless of what streaming service you subscribe to, we’re here to help. We’ve gone through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ to find the best titles on each service.


Here’s one of the 50 best movies on Netflix

From left, Andrew Garfield, Joseph Mazzello, Jesse Eisenberg and Patrick Mapel in “The Social Network.”Merrick Morton/Columbia Pictures

‘The Social Network’

The unlikely marriage of the screwball-inspired screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and the chilly visual stylist David Fincher birthed one of the finest works of both their careers, a “fleet, weirdly funny, exhilarating, alarming and fictionalized” account of the early days of Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg (brought to hard-edge, sneering life by Jesse Eisenberg). Sorkin’s ingenious, Oscar-winning script spins the Facebook origin story as a Silicon Valley “Citizen Kane,” dazzlingly hopscotching through flashbacks and framing devices. But the ruthlessness of Fincher’s cleareyed direction is what brings the picture together, presciently framing Zuckerberg as the media mogul of the future — and hinting at the trouble that entails.


Here is one of the best TV shows on Netflix

“Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts,” an eco-fantasy series from DreamWorks Animation and Netflix, features voice performances from Sterling K. Brown, Dan Stevens, Lea DeLaria and others.Netflix

‘Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts’

An unusually bright and cheery post-apocalyptic adventure, this kid-friendly cartoon follows a teenage girl named Kipo (voiced by Karen Fukuhara), who leaves her society’s underground hideaway to journey through a ruined landscape, populated by intelligent, superpowered mutant animals. There’s peril aplenty, but the show’s tone hardly ever turns too dark. The plucky heroine, her strange companions and the whimsical creature designs may remind animation fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s imaginative take on young adult fantasy. Our critic said, “It has a visual sophistication that separates it from the other shows.”


Have a Hulu subscription? It’s a lot to wade through. We can help!

Mary Kay Place in “Diane.”Tribeca Film Festival, via Associated Press


Mary Kay Place has carved out a remarkable career as a valuable supporting player (including memorable turns in “The Big Chill,” “Being John Malkovich” and “Girl, Interrupted”), but she was rarely given the opportunity to show what she could do in a leading role. The writer and director Kent Jones changed that with this acclaimed independent drama, featuring Place as a prototypical good citizen who spends her days volunteering in her small town, supporting friends and family in various states of duress and contemplating her own mortality. Jones makes this woman seem familiar and knowable, but his subtle screenplay (and Place’s powerful performance) slowly peels away those layers, revealing unexpected regrets and complexities. Our critic called it “a rich and tender study of a woman hollowed out by remorse.”

Amazon Prime Video doesn’t make it easy to find stuff. Luckily, we have done the work for you.

Frances McDormand in the 1996 film “Fargo.”Michael Tackett/Gramercy Pictures


Frances McDormand won her first Oscar for her unforgettable performance in this indie smash from Joel and Ethan Coen (“at their clever best,” per our critic). McDormand takes what could have been a caricature — Marge Gunderson, the very pregnant Minnesota police chief with a cheerful Midwestern disposition — and turns it into one of the warmest characters of the entire Coen canon: She deftly conveys not only Marge’s sense of “Minnesota nice,” but her sharp investigative skills and keen instincts for the nuances of human nature.

Disney+ is full of older classics. But there are a lot of newer things to watch as well.

Fin Argus and Sabrina Carpenter in “Clouds.”Disney+


Shortly before succumbing to osteosarcoma, a bone cancer that had put him through multiple operations and rounds of chemotherapy as a child, the Minnesota singer-songwriter Zach Sobiech had the ambition to start a band and release an EP. The single, “Clouds,” went viral on YouTube and hit No. 1 on iTunes after his death at 18. Now Sobiech’s story has formed the basis for this touching inspirational drama, which casts Fin Argus as a kid determined to live the fullest life possible, from pursuing his musical dreams to putting himself in the middle of a love triangle.

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