By Josh Terry
Summer is finally here and the weather has been exceedingly nice and oftentimes too warm. If you weren’t careful, however, you could’ve easily spent the past month indoors watching all the new movies and TV shows on your streaming services. We hope you didn’t because summers only happen once a year, but if you did, you couldn’t go wrong with some of these series and films. From the tense kitchen drama of FX’s The Bear to the carefree but still super solid basketball romp of Netflix’s Hustle or the laugh-away-the-pain dramedy of Showtime’s Flatbush Misdemeanors, here are the 10 best TV shows and movies that hit streaming in June.
The Bear (TV Series, FX on Hulu)
In this tense and slickly-edited drama, Shameless star Jeremy Allen White plays Carmen Berzatto, a prestigious chef who returns home to Chicago to take over the family Italian beef business after his brother kills himself. Fans of the Safdie Brothers’ frenetic and nervy style of filmmaking will have something to love in this show where the pressures of being in a fast-paced kitchen are showcased with no punches held. For a show set in the Windy City, there are a lot of overt but surface-level references to what it’s like to live there in Malort billboards, disdain regarding ketchup on hot dogs, multiple Wilco syncs, and jokes about Tom Skilling and White Sox legend Minnie Miñoso. That said, for locals, some of the main plot points seem off: why is the restaurant in River North? Why are they worried about that already gentrified neighborhood losing its charm? That said, the show has the best penultimate episode of any series this year.
The Boys (TV Series, Prime Video)
The Boys, Prime Video’s gritty and antihero-filled take on the superhero genre, is back in town for the third season (and will be back for an eventual fourth season on the streamer). People really seem to dig it, and it holds a 97 percent Critic Score paired with an 87 percent Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes. (The disparity between the two numbers comes from a slew of outraged viewers who gave one-star ratings because of male nudity, which to be honest is pretty funny). Not only do these superheroes get naked, but they also curse, host orgies, and get into pretty gruesome fights with each other. Pretty edgy stuff.
Cha Cha Real Smooth (Film, Apple TV+)
Every summer deserves a good coming-of-age film with unlikely but still-potent chemistry between its two leads. Director Cooper Raiff, who is amazingly 25 years old and on his second full-length film, also stars as the lead in this movie alongside Dakota Johnson. Raiff plays an aimless recently single and recently graduated young man named Andrew who moves back home. He meets Domino (Johnson) and her autistic daughter Lola and there’s an instant connection. Andrew is clearly infatuated with Domino despite the age difference and the fact that she’s engaged but their friendship serves as a vessel for Andrew’s personal growth. Some critics found it too earnest and overwrought but sometimes you need a little cheese to prove a point.
Flatbush Misdemeanors (TV Series, Showtime Anytime)
One of the most criminally underrated series on television is Showtime’s Flatbush Misdemeanors. Helmed by comedians Dan Perlman and Kevin Iso who also star as fictionalized versions of themselves, the show follows two best friends who struggle to thrive in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Dan’s an anxious teacher who wants what’s best for his students but is a pushover and also addicted to prescription drugs while Kevin is a struggling artist who’s prone to giving up and self-sabotage. It’s a brutal combination for these two characters (think a version of How To Make It In America where its heroes only exclusively have bad luck), there’s enough heart and humor in this show to keep people hooked while hoping these characters can rise above their pretty obvious faults. It’s definitely one of the better New York-based series, one that feels grounded and finely attuned to its under-represented neighborhood.
The NBA has a very rich history in film. Kareem Abdul Jabbar in Airplane. Ray Allen in He Got Game. John Salley in Eddie. Shaquille O’Neal in Kazaam. And obviously Michael Jordan in Space Jam and LeBron James in Space Jam 2. In this well-reviewed and well-liked Netflix Original starring Adam Sandler and Queen Latifah, a whopping 64 NBA stars either cameo or co-star alongside these legends. It boasts Juancho Hernangomez, Anthony Edwards, Tobias Harris, Kenny “The Jet” Smith, Kyle Lowry, Matisse Thybulle, Trae Young, Seth Curry, Tyrese Maxey, Aaron Gordon, Luka Dončić, Boban Marjanović, and many more.
Critics aren’t quite sure what to make of Apple TV+’s new workplace comedy Loot, which stars Maya Rudolph. Rudolph plays a bumbling recent billionaire who inherits $87 billion through a divorce and tries to dive into the world of philanthropy through her charitable trusts like Melinda Gates, Laurene Powell Jobs, or Mackenzie Scott. Some writers like The Ringer’s Allison Herman, persuasively argue the show from 30 Rock alum Matt Hubbard and Master of None showrunner Alan Yang squanders its strong premise in favor of generic storytelling, writing, “Loot tries to eschew any hint of ideology in favor of a character study, refusing to recognize the two are inherently linked.” Along with Rudolph, the show stars Rudolph, Adam Scott, Nat Faxon, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, and Ron Funches.
Ms. Marvel (TV Series, Disney+)
The latest installment in the glut of Disney+ series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most well-reviewed of all time in Ms. Marvel. Though the critics are raving about it, viewers haven’t been as enthusiastic. The show somehow has the lowest viewership of any Marvel Disney+ show where just 775,000 households watched the premiere episode. Despite it being Marvel and Disney and universally well-received, it’s even found its way out of the Reelgood Top 10. Something just isn’t clicking with audiences but this is the best series Disney+ and Marvel have had to offer yet. It stars newcomer Iman Vellani in the titular role.
Listen, movies set in the middle ages with knights, swordfights, and monarchical are catnip for a certain kind of film fan. There’s been no shortage of these kinds of flicks with The Green Knight and The Last Duel winning fans and critics alike. This full-length feature from Robert Eggers (The VVitch, The Lighthouse) brings a ton of star-power: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Ethan Hawke, Björk, and Anya Taylor-Joy
Only Murders In the Building (TV Series, Hulu)
Selena Gomez joins an established comedic pairing in Steve Martin and Martin Short for one of Hulu’s best success stories so far. The show was a smash-hit in 2021: its pilot broke the record for most-watched comedy premiere in the streamer’s history (beating out Seinfeld, no joke). Alongside the true-crime-obsessed trio in Martin, Short, and Gomez, Season 2 will feature a chaotic mix of new series regulars like Cara Delevigne, who is so unhinged here you might think she’s playing herself, Michael Rappaport, Amy Schumer, and Shirley McClaine. While that cast feels like a delirious Twitter-based game of Mad Libs, it’s been fascinating to binge-watch.
Back in 2010, novelist George Saunders debuted his short story “Escape From Spiderhead” in the New Yorker. The dystopian tale dealt with a group of prisoners who were forced to undergo experiments where pharmaceutical injections dictated their moods and behaviors. Saunders’ work brought up dark and probing questions about biology, free will, and the prison industrial complex with an almost overwhelmingly bleak ending. The Netflix adaptation of his writing stars Miles Teller and Jurnee Smollett as prisoners in this gross experiment and Hollywood hunk Chris Hemsworth plays the conniving and unsettlingly charming mastermind behind it all. The film adaptation ends the story on a more hopeful note and extra details from the book like an eerie disco soundtrack
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