Watching: The Best Things to Watch

On Netflix, Amazon 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

Emma Stone portrays a girl who fakes promiscuity in “Easy A.”Adam Taylor/Screen Gems

‘Easy A’

This winking update to “The Scarlet Letter” has much to recommend it, including the witty and quotable screenplay, the sly indictments of bullying and rumor-mongering and the deep bench of supporting players. But “Easy A” is mostly memorable as the breakthrough of Emma Stone, an “irresistible presence” whose turn as a high-school cause célèbre quickly transformed her from a memorable supporting player to a soaring leading lady — and with good reason. She’s wise and wisecracking, quick with a quip but never less than convincing as a tortured teen.

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Here is one of the best TV shows on Netflix

Michael Jordan, left, and Magic Johnson in “The Last Dance.”Andrew D. Bernstein/Netflix

‘The Last Dance’

The Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls weren’t just the most dominant NBA team of the 1990s; they were also a constant source of off-the-court drama, famed for their glamorous lifestyles and bitter interpersonal conflicts. The addicting 10-part docu-series “The Last Dance” arrived at just the right time in the summer of 2020, giving sports fans and TV fans something to look forward to each week with its detailed look back at the Bulls and Jordan’s decade of glory and excess. Our critic Wesley Morris said: “You could call these 10 hours a walk down memory lane. But that’d be like calling Mardi Gras a parade.”

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

Robert De Niro in “Raging Bull.”United Artists/Kobal Collection

‘Raging Bull’

Robert De Niro won his second Academy Award for his fiercely physical and psychologically punishing performance in this searing adaptation of the autobiography of the middleweight champion Jake LaMotta. It’s a relentlessly downbeat piece of work, but the force of De Niro’s performance and the energy of Martin Scorsese’s direction are hard to overstate, or to forget. Our critic called it Scorsese’s “most ambitious film as well as his finest.”

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

Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth in “The Lady From Shanghai” (1948).Columbia Pictures

‘The Lady from Shanghai’

Orson Welles attempted to repair his flailing film career (and his marriage to Rita Hayworth, whom he cast as a femme fatale) in this moody and visually striking film noir. Welles portrays a crewman hired to sail Hayworth and her husband’s yacht, and finds himself drawn into a wicked web of deception, sex and murder. As was often the case with his later works, “Shanghai” suffered from extensive studio interference and reshoots. But even in its expurgated form, this is an expert potboiler, and its oft-imitated house-of-mirrors climax is as gripping as ever. Our critic called it “at once fluid and discordant,” and “filled with virtuoso set pieces.”

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

A scene from “Kim Possible.”Disney

‘Kim Possible’

The concept for this witty animated series is a James Bond twist on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”: What if a teenage girl devoted her unique physical gifts toward fighting evil while also dealing with the pressures of high school? Here, Kim gets some help from her less-competent best friend, Ron Stoppable; his naked mole rat, Rufus; and Wade, a 10-year-old computer genius. But mostly she faces the mad scientist Dr. Drakken and other supervillains on her own. She is also humbled by the more typical headaches of being an adolescent.

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