Regardless of their quality, summer movies are always good for one thing: keeping you out of the heat. If the crisp theater air calls to you, embrace the freedom of simpler times and enjoy the satisfaction of emerging into the summer night after a evening showing and buying ice cream cones to eat on the walk home. Of course, if that isn’t exactly your cup of tea, Netflix streaming is always a click away. In celebration of sunny days and free time, here are five summer releases to catch, and five Netflix alternatives to keep you cool post–finals.
Release Date: May 24
Netflix Alternative: Sex Education
In the age of Riverdale, it feels like young adult entertainment has found itself in a serious rut, but the occasional cinematic gem (I’m looking at you, Lady Bird) serves as a glimmer of hope for the coming–of–age genre. A feature directorial debut from the actress Olivia Wilde, Booksmart has been heralded as the second coming of Superbad. If you aren’t keen on hitting the theater but want to have your faith in teen storylines restored, Netflix’s Sex Education is everything you need and more.
Release Date: May 31
Netflix Alternative: Super Dark Times
There's no bad time for a guilty–pleasure thriller. This summer, there's Ma, a film about a woman who befriends a group of teenagers and allows them to use her house for parties, but, surprise surprise, things are not all that they seem. If you’re looking for a creepy, small–town thriller laden with hidden dark intentions, Super Dark Times will surely do the trick if you aren’t keen on leaving the couch.
Release Date: June 14
Netflix Alternative: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Summer is the season for sequels, and when it comes to new installments of extraterrestrial action–comedy that nobody asked for, the Men in Black franchise takes the cake. If the absence of Will Smith gets you down on this sci–fi meets spy movie blockbuster, you need look no further than Netflix for a 2000s alien–fueled comedy in the form of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Release Date: July 26
Netflix Alternative: Pulp Fiction
This summer, the Oscar–winning writer/director Quentin Tarantino is releasing Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, and set in 1969, at the tail–end of Hollywood’s golden age. The film, which follows the antics of a fading TV actor and his stunt double, is what Tarantino claims is his closest to the 1994 cult classic Pulp Fiction. Thankfully the latter, arguably Tarantino’s most famous film, is available to stream on Netflix if you’re in the mood to brush up on the ‘90s staple.
Release Date: August 9
Netflix Alternative: Boyhood
If you’re a sucker for a good family drama, Where’d You Go, Bernadette seems to have it all. From the always heartfelt writer/director Richard Linklater, and starring Cate Blanchett, this movie about the disappearance of a Seattle woman and her family’s quest to find her is bound to be a crowd–pleaser. If you’re seeking the careful storytelling and innovative filmmaking of one of the most notable Linklater films to date, Netflix has long had Boyhood on its roster. While you’re keeping cool this summer, and possibly catching up with your folks at home, this humble epic may just remind you how much you value your family.
Summertime is full of opportunities to do all that you couldn’t while cramming away in the basement of Van Pelt. So, if that part–time internship ends up landing you with way too much free time on your hands, hit the theater or grab your laptop and post up in front of the AC to enjoy some indoor entertainment while the world outside bakes in the sunshine.