The major online streaming platforms know they’ve got to haul out the big guns when those lovely summer days try to tempt viewers outside, i.e. that place with sunshine and fresh air. (Nice try, summer!) This month, Hulu revives David Lynch’s crowning achievement; Amazon’s adding two of 2016’s best films not named Moonlight; Netflix trots a recent Cannes smash involving Tilda Swinton and a superpig; and even minor-leaguer Acorn gets in the game with a handsome crime procedural to fill that Borgen-shaped hole in your heart. And of course, no true deadhead would miss out on the four-hour Grateful Dead documentary. Here’s what you’ll be streaming in June.
Blue Velvet (Amazon and Hulu, June 1st)
With Twin Peaks making its triumphant return to the airwaves and Lynchmania at an all-time high, there’s no better time to revisit the film most commonly cited as his masterpiece. Everyone’s playing a classic type in this slice of rotted-through Americana: Kyle MacLachan is the boy next door with a perverse fascination, Isabella Rosselini is the sad-eyed femme fatale; and Dennis Hopper gave evil a corporeal form as your typical oxygen-huffing, PBR-swilling town sadist. This was the moment that the director did the impossible, i.e. make a critical and commercial hit without sacrificing one molecule of his inimitable Lynchness. Welcome to Lumberton. We hope you like kink and severed ears.
Dumb (Hulu, June 3rd)
Whether you thank or blame Big Brother Magazine for the birth of the irreverent, willfully stoopid skater subculture is a matter of opinion. But there’s no denying that the long-defunct publication had an impact, and without its stunts and provocations (features included a guide on how to manufacture fake IDs and step-by-step suicide instructions), there would be no Jackass, no Spike Jonze — indeed, YouTube as we know it today would be a different and far less painful place. This documentary retells the story of the magazine’s founding, as well as the physical injuries, the obscenity trials and the legacy of teenage dickheadedness that it left behind. Crank a Mountain Dew and vodka, cover your nuts and drop in.
GLOW (Netflix, June 23rd)
During the Eighties, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling offered a distaff alternative to the WWF, showing that women were just as capable of slapping on singlets and pretending to beat each other to a pulp as men. This new comedy goes behind the neon lycra and big hair to profile the stars of this flashy charade, with Alison Brie as a frustrated actress who prefers this unlikely new gig to an unending parade of bit parts. Part examination of a pop-culture footnote, part overt statement on the gender disparity in the entertainment industry, it’s the fusion of feminist ethics and top-rope pile drivers that we’ve been waiting for.
I Am Not Your Negro (Amazon, June 8th)
Back in the mid-20th century – when being a public intellectual was still a thing – novelist and essayist James Baldwin made a second career of dropping truth-bombs on roundtable race dialogues. Raoul Peck’s worshipful bio-doc shows the iconic author/raconteur in his natural state: witty, prickly, righteous and staunchly refusing to suffer fools. Baldwin was woke before “woke” was woke – he had just as much contempt for the milquetoast progressives patting themselves on the back as the out-and-out racists — and this incredible portrait emphasizes how his insights cut through the BS of both his era and ours.
Loch Ness (Acorn, June 19th)
Another month, another painterly crime drama from across the Atlantic. The latest international serial killer thriller comes to us courtesy of the rolling greens of Scotland, where detective Annie Redford (Laura Fraser of Breaking Bad) will get to the bottom of things. But will she be able to salvage this small community’s shared sense of public innocence? The blinders will be violently drawn back from the townspeople as they learn that Nessie’s not even close to the most dangerous monster in their midst. For fans of The Killing, The Bridge or Borgen, this chilly, accented procedural will hit your Europhile sweet spot.
Long Strange Trip (Amazon, June 2nd)
Yes, this comprehensive documentary about the rise and inextinguishable following of jam-band granddaddies the Grateful Dead is four hours long. But that might be exactly how long Amir Bar-Lev’s film needs to be, as it chronicles not just the trajectory of the band, but the genesis of Sixties American counterculture and how it left such a monumental impact long after its Haight-Ashbury heyday. Much like last year’s marathon-length O.J.: Made in America, this film uses its engrossing topic as a point of entry for a larger, more expansive conversation on everything from celebrity to our national character. Though to be fair, this one will most likely pair better with that tab of acid you’ve been saving in the freezer.
Oh, Hello on Broadway (Netflix, June 13th)
After taking the Great White Way by storm, cantankerous oldsters George St. Geegland and Gil Faizon (John Mulaney and Nick Kroll) will bring their act online. The sweater-clad chatterboxes have lots and lots of opinions, holding court on topics from the Occupy Walgreens movement to the virtues of a good tuna sandwich; no show is complete without the appearance of a delighted, slightly baffled celebrity guest. Now everyone will get a chance to get up close and personal with the terrors of the Upper West Side. Remember, the Netflix special is BYOT (Bring Your Own Turtleneck).
Okja (Netflix, June 28th)
As if responding to a challenge to make an even weirder, more implicitly anti-authoritarian movie than his 2014 soft-Marxist smash Snowpiercer, South Korea’s Bong Joon-ho has returned with a bizarre, pointed new fable about a young girl (Ahn Seo-hyun) and her pet superpig named Okja. Her bestie beast looks like it’s a cross between a swine and a hippopotamus, and names the lovable freak of nature Okja; the trouble is, a b;each-blonde Tilda Swinton and her corporation would like very much to turn the creature into delicious, nutritious pork-based products. Critics out of Cannes hailed as hilarious, odd, political and intimately sentimental all at once. It’s genuinely unclassifiable.
Orange Is the New Black: Season 5 (Netflix, June 9th)
There’s a riot goin’ on at Litchfield, following the shocking death of Poussey (you had a year, it’s not a spoiler anymore!) at the close of last season. Netflix’s hit series will try something a little different this time around, structuring its entire new 13-episode arc over the course of one long night. The heat of conflict allows Red to snoop in the administration files; Piper to scheme how she can come out on top of this new-world-order craziness; and Taystee to wrestle with the decision to either execute the dog who killed her best friend or allow him to live. The dramedy looks like it’s determined to prove it’s still a lean, mean, hegemony-criticizing machine.
Paterson (Amazon, June 22nd)
Every morning, Paterson wakes up without an alarm, goes to work driving his bus around his hometown of Paterson, New Jersey, walks his dog, gets a beer at a local watering hole, and returns home to his loving wife. In this quotidian life, director Jim Jarmusch and star Adam Driver conjure infinite profundity, warm pathos and a sense of humors o dry you could sand a table with it. The indie legend’s latest film is arguably his most soothing, a work of Zen minimalism informed by great writers, philosophers and the glory that is Method Man.