What’s New on Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Amazon in May: A Streaming Guide for Coronavirus Quarantine

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Laura Bradley
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Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty

Everything might be unspeakably terrible, but at least there’s one good thing coming on the horizon: Uncut Gems will be on Netflix before the end of May.

If you’ve found yourself endlessly scrolling through your streaming apps lately, May will bring a fresh batch of options—including Crazy Rich Asians, Rocketman, The Graduate, Jaws, and new comedy specials from Jerry Seinfeld and Hannah Gadsby. New series including Steve Carell vehicle Space Force and Ryan Murphy’s Hollywood are set to premiere this month as well, along with new seasons of critically-acclaimed shows like Ramy and Homecoming. Hopefully, these will keep you busy enough to avoid doomscrolling for at least a couple hours.

NETFLIX

Back to the Future

Great Scott!!! I’m going to assume we’ve all seen Robert Zemeckis’s sci-fi classic at least once before—but why not hop back in the DeLorean and crank that sucker up to 1.21 gigawatts at 88 miles per hour one more time? And if that’s not enough, you can watch Part II afterward. (Available May 1)

Hollywood

Ryan Murphy’s second Netflix series, after The Politician, is set in the 1940s and asks, essentially, “What if a band of outsiders were given a chance to tell their own story?” When asked if he would recommend the series, The Daily Beast’s TV critic Kevin Fallon replied via Slack that it might be a little messy, but it’s definitely worth watching “for Patti LuPone alone.” His review is here. (Available May 1)

Sinister

Just a straightforward horror flick about snuff films and a house with a bunch of child ghosts in the attic—and Ethan Hawke! And Vincent D’Onofrio! If you’re a horror fan and you missed this one when it came out in 2012, it’s worth the time. (Available May 1)

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Is there any better place to escape to right now than a world of pure imagination? (Available May 1)

Underworld

As someone who spent most of her high school years wearing black, bathing in eyeliner, and avoiding the sun, I might have been squarely in the middle of Underworld’s target demo when these films came out. That said, the Kate Beckinsale-in-leather vehicle Underworld and its second sequel, Rise of the Lycans—starring an insanely committed Michael Sheen—are both pure popcorn fun. Evolution, the first sequel in the series, will be available as well, but you can and should just skip it. (Available May 1.)

Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill

If comedy specials are more your speed, Jerry Seinfeld has a new one on the way—and it’s already got a shiny new trailer! (Available May 5)

Dead to Me Season 2

More Christina Applegate angrily listening to metal! More artsy Linda Cardellini in ruffly, floral printed dresses! More maniacal, soapy drama! More, more, more! (Available May 8)

The Eddy

Damien Chazelle will also debut a new series all about jazz—just in case La La Land wasn’t enough. This time around, however, he’s got André Holland on board as a star—and wherever André Holland goes, all of our eyes should follow. (Available May 8)

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend

For those who want a little more time with Kimmy, Titus Andromedon, and the gang, this interactive special is just for you. Bonus: Daniel Radcliffe plays a prince! (Available May 12)

Uncut Gems

What is there to say? Adam Sandler gives the performance of his career in a sea of diamond-encrusted Furbies. And also Idina Menzel models an ’80s bat mitzvah dress. If that doesn’t sell you, you’re beyond help. (Available May 25)

Douglas

Hannah Gadsby’s last comedy special, Nanette, broke the internet—or at least Comedy Twitter—for what felt like months after its release in 2018. Whether or not its follow-up will have a similar effect on the discourse remains to be seen, but given how skillful Gadsby’s writing was the first time around, it seems well worth checking this one out either way. (Available May 26)

Space Force

Steve Carell returns to the workplace comedy—but this time, instead of Dunder Mifflin, he’s helping establish the United States Space Force. Even beyond Carell, the cast for this series is stacked—and includes John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz, and Lisa Kudrow, just to name a few. (Available May 29)

HULU

Batman Begins/The Dark Knight

By now, I’m pretty sure we all know how the Joker got those scars—but if you want to revisit the first two entries in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, now’s your chance. (Available May 1)

Goodfellas

I’m just gonna drop some names here and let you do the math: Martin Scorsese. Robert DeNiro. Ray Liotta. Joe Pesci. Lorraine Bracco. (Available May 1)

Megamind

This adorable animated comedy—starring Will Ferrell as the titular dome-skulled supervillain and Brad Pitt as his arch nemesis, a hero named Metro Man—never quite got its due when it debuted back in 2010. Instead, it languished in the shadow of Despicable Me. Now, however, is our chance to right that wrong and give this winning movie the respect it always deserved. (Available May 1)

The Conjuring

There’s no time like the present to check out (or re-watch, for the umpteenth time) the James Wan film that sprouted into a horror cinematic universe. Come for Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, and stay for the impeccable replication of 1970s horror aesthetics. Also, you know, the creepy doll. (Available May 1)

The Graduate

I’ll just leave this here as I walk off into the distance, humming “Scarborough Fair/Canticle.” (Available May 1)

The Lodge

If you loved 2014’s haunting Goodnight Mommy, this bleak psychological horror film could be a good way to kill an hour and a half. Like Goodnight Mommy, The Lodge centers on a maternal figure—this time a soon-to-be stepmother—confronting some serious tension with two children. (In Goodnight Mommy, it was twin sons; here, it’s a pair of grieving children who are angry their father is replacing their late mother so quickly.) While the narrative leaves something to be desired, The Lodge is an undeniably tense ride from its very first scene—and well worth checking out for any horror fan. (Available May 5)

Ramy Season 2

There’s a reason this series, from Egyptian-American comedian Ramy Youssef, was on our list of quarantine watches: it’s just really that good. And while you eagerly await Season 2, you can always check out Youssef’s Last Laugh conversation with our very own Matt Wilstein. (Available May 29)

AMAZON

Escape from Alcatraz

A can’t-miss from the jailbreak genre, Escape from Alcatraz—from Dirty Harry director Don Siegel—remains a classic Clint Eastwood pick. This one’s a bit long, at nearly two hours, but unlike certain overlong prison pics—*cough* Green Mile *cough*—it’s compelling enough to justify the length. (Available May 1 on both Amazon and Hulu)

Gloria

When Gloria Bell hit theaters in 2018, some critics fairly asked whether the (great!) Julianne Moore film needed to exist. After all, Chilean director Sebastián Lelio was basically just remaking his own triumphant 2014 film, the critically beloved Gloria, in English. Now you can watch the original, starring Paulina García, and answer that question for yourself. It’s hard to imagine a better time to check out a movie all about embracing life. (Available May 1 on Amazon and Hulu)

Jimmy O. Yang: Good Deal

If you loved Jimmy O. Yang in Silicon Valley and Crazy Rich Asians, and are looking forward to seeing him in Space Force, you’re in luck! He also has a stand-up special on the way. (Available May 8)

Alias

Finally, Jennifer Garner and her pink wig get the respect they deserve! The series has bounced around on Netflix and Hulu, and now all five seasons of J.J. Abrams’ killer action series will once again be streamable. (Available May 11)

Homecoming Season 2

Julia Roberts’ wig in this psychological thriller series was borderline criminal, but the Tampa-set series did feature killer performances from both Roberts and her co-star Stephan James. An added bonus for this new season? Janelle Monae has joined the cast. (Available May 22)

Rocketman

Excellent news for all of us who spent months after this movie’s release listening to Elton John’s discography on a loop. (Available May 22 on Amazon and Hulu)

Come to Daddy

A delightfully bonkers Elijah Wood vehicle about an extremely dysfunctional father-son relationship? Why not! (Available May 23)

HBO

BlacKkKlansman

This one got a 10-minute ovation at Cannes, and it’s not hard to see why. John David Washington crushes his role as Ron Stallworth, a black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan, in Spike Lee’s dark 2018 comedy—as do Adam Driver, Laura Harrier, and Topher Grace. (Available May 1)

Cast Away

The quarantine/talking-to-inanimate-objects jokes practically write themselves at this point. (Available May 1)

Cinema Paradiso director’s cut

If you loved the original 1988 version of Giuseppe Tornatore’s Cinema Paradiso enough to re-watch it—plus an extra 51 minutes of additional film—it’s well worth revisiting this Italian classic’s director’s cut, released in 2002. As Roger Ebert put it in his review of the release, “The 170-minute cut overstays its welcome, and continues after its natural climax. Still, I'm happy to have seen it—not as an alternate version, but as the ultimate exercise in viewing deleted scenes. Anyone who loves the film will indeed be curious about ‘what really happened to the love of a lifetime,’ and it is good to know.” (Available May 1)

Contagion

Again. The jokes write themselves. (Available May 1)

Crazy Rich Asians

Ah, yes—the movie that sent Henry Golding straight to the top of every sane person’s eye candy rankings. It’s hard to imagine a better time to revisit this impeccably made rom-com and its gorgeous production design. Even as I’m typing this, I am remembering the wedding scene and getting misty. Please excuse me as I grab a tissue. (Available May 1)

Death at a Funeral (2007)

In case you really just need a laugh, enjoy this black comedy from Frank Oz—featuring Matthew Macfadyen, Alan Tudyk, Peter Dinklage, and several stiff upper lips. (Available May 1)

How Stella Got Her Groove Back

You owe it to yourself to watch Angela Bassett hook up with young, hunky Taye Diggs—with a healthy serving of Whoopi Goldberg and Regina King on the side. It’s escapist, it’s aspirational, and it’s what we all need right now. (Available May 1)

In Bruges

Writer-director Martin McDonagh’s first feature remains his best—and right now, it’s hard to go wrong with a black comedy starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes. (Available May 1)

Jaws

Ahem.

(Available May 1)

John Tucker Must Die

Two words: Underrated classic. No, it was no Mean Girls, but this teen comedy starring Jesse Metcalfe as a philandering high school playboy and Arielle Kebbel, Sophia Bush, and Ashanti—Ashanti!—as the women he’s scorned deserved better than it got. Brittany Snow also stars as the outsider John Tucker’s exes recruit to help them hatch their revenge plot. Now feels like the perfect time to rectify that. (Available May 1)

Little Shop of Horrors director’s cut

More Frank Oz! The main feature of this director’s cut is that famously nihilistic alternate ending—which might land a little strangely right now, given, well, everything. But if that’s your fancy, it’ll be available May 1.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

From Meryl Streep singing “Super Trouper” covered in feathers, to Stellan Skarsgård embracing Colin Firth on a yacht, to Cher serenading Andy García with “Fernando,” it’s hard to think of another movie that captures pure, unfiltered joy quite so splendidly. (Available May 1)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Nothing has ever quite been able to replicate the magic of this endlessly quotable indie rom-com. Nia Vardalos brought the snark, John Corbett brought the gentle dreaminess, and the supporting cast—including Lainie Kazan, Andrea Martin, and, yes, Joey Fatone—brought the buoyant energy that made everything sing. In other words, as its millions of fans already know, it’s the ultimate comfort movie. (Available May 1)

School of Rock

Because we could all probably use a little Jack Black right now. (Available May 1)

This Means War

Look, this one was never going to win any Oscars—but there are far worse uses of your time than watching Chris Pine and Tom Hardy duke it out for Reese Witherspoon’s love. (Even if her final pick was absolutely the wrong choice!) (Available May 1)

Betty

A new series coming to HBO, Betty is a teen skateboarder comedy based on 2018’s Skate Kitchen. Most of the original cast is returning, and the six-episode series will focus on a diverse group of young women as they make their way through the male-dominated skateboarding world. (Premieres May 1)

I Know This Much Is True

Are two Mark Ruffalos better than one? We’ll soon find out when HBO premieres this limited series that follows the parallel lives of identical twins—with supporting turns from big names including Rosie O’Donnell, Melissa Leo, Kathryn Hahn, and Juliette Lewis. (Premieres May 10)

Ready or Not

This 2019 horror movie about a deranged rich family’s dark tradition was a wicked delight. Samara Weaving’s lead performance was a tenacious marvel—bolstered by killer supporting performances from Andie MacDowell, Adam Brody, and a glaring Nicky Guadagni. (Available May 23)

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