It’s the last month of summer as well as back-to-school time, so Netflix is here to help make the transition easier. While you wait for Barbie to stream, check out a pre-Barbie Margot Robbie wearing lots of pink in The Wolf Of Wall Street. Also on deck is Robert Rodriguez’s reboot of the Spy Kids series titled Spy Kids: Armageddon, starring Gina Rodriguez and Zachary Levi. Other new additions this September include Eminem in 8 Mile, Jaws 2, Field Of Dreams, Hacksaw Ridge, The Deer Hunter, Crank, Arrival, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, and more.
8 Mile (2002, available September 1)
In the semiautobiographical 8 Mile, directed by Curtis Hanson, Eminem plays up-and-coming Detroit rapper B-Rabbit, who struggles with problems at home and with being taken seriously in a music genre dominated by African Americans. The A.V. Club’s Nathan Rabin writes, “Since his ascension to pop-culture royalty, Eminem has transformed the messy emotions of his life into musical black comedy. In 8 Mile, that life becomes an equally riveting drama.” 8 Mile also stars Kim Basinger, Brittany Murphy, and Mekhi Phifer.
Arrival (2016, available September 1)
In director Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi drama Arrival, Amy Adams plays a linguist recruited by the military to help communicate with strange alien beings after 12 of their spacecraft appear around the globe. It looks like we’ll have to wait until 2024 to see Villeneuve’s Dune: Part Two, so in the meantime, check out this Oscar-winning movie (for those keeping score, it won for Best Sound Editing) that convincingly imagines how a first encounter with extraterrestrials might go down. Arrival also stars Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker.
Field Of Dreams (1989, available September 1)
Field Of Dreams is every dude’s favorite sports fantasy about an Iowa farmer (Kevin Costner) compelled to build a baseball field in his cornfield that draws in the ghosts of baseball legends such as Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) and other members of the Chicago Black Sox. The A.V. Club’s Sam Barsanti writes, “Field Of Dreams is a movie about Kevin Costner reconnecting with his father, and most people with a father will become a blubbering mess by the time Costner is playing catch with his ghost dad at the end.”
Hacksaw Ridge (2016, available September 1)
Director Mel Gibson’s biographical war drama Hacksaw Ridge stars Andrew Garfield as World War II American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, the first man in U.S. history to receive a Medal of Honor without ever firing his gun. Like pretty much every Gibson movie, Hacksaw Ridge fetishizes extreme violence. The A.V. Club’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky writes, “The long, infernal second part of Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge takes the audience into the anatomy theater of war, where disembowelments, dismemberments, and partial decapitations are framed by parting curtains of smoke. It’s sick and gruesome, like an old Italian zombie or cannibal movie.”
Jaws 2 (1978, available September 1)
Yes, Shark Week is over and so are beach vacations, but for those who can’t let summer go just yet Jaws 2 is the only sequel to Steven Spielberg’s seminal shark thriller worth seeing. Roy Scheider returns as Chief Brody, who faces another monstrous great white shark terrorizing both his sons and the other denizens of Amity Island. The movie, directed by Jeannot Szwarc, doesn’t have the bite of the classic 1975 film, and the mechanical great white is only a marginal improvement, but there are some tense scenes as the shark attacks a group of teens adrift at sea. Original Jaws actors Lorraine Gary and Murray Hamilton reprise their roles as Ellen Brody and Mayor Vaughn, respectively.
Stand By Me (1986, available September 1)
Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me is a coming-of-age drama based on Stephen King’s 1982 novella The Body. Set in a fictional small town in Oregon in 1959, Stand By Me follows four boys (Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O’Connell) who embark on a journey to find the body of a missing boy. The Oscar-nominated movie received glowing reviews and is considered one of the most influential films of the 1980s.
The Deer Hunter (1978, available September 1)
Director Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter, starring Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, Meryl Streep, John Cazale, and John Savage, explores how the Vietnam War impacts a small steel town in Pennsylvania. It won five Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor for Walken, Best Sound, and Best Film Editing. Although some critics derided The Deer Hunter’s depictions of the Viet Cong, the American Film Institute still lists the movie as one of the greatest American films in history.
Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982, available September 1)
Director Amy Heckerling’s coming-of-age comedy Fast Times At Ridgemont High helped define 1980s youth culture. Actors such as Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, and Eric Stoltz became household names after this movie about rule-breaking Southern California high school students connected with theatrical audiences and, later, home viewers. The A.V. Club’s Tasha Robinson writes, “As a superior teen sex comedy, one whose characters actually vaguely resemble teenagers as seen in real life, [Fast Times At Ridgemont High] stood out amid other films of its type and its era. Its hellish quotability ensures that it still comes up often, more than 25 years after it was made.”
Crank (2006, available September 3)
If this summer’s Meg 2: The Trench didn’t satisfy your Jason Statham needs, check him out in the action-thriller Crank, co-starring Amy Smart, Carlos Sanz, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Efren Ramirez, and Dwight Yoakam. Statham plays professional hit man Chev Chelios, whose rival injects him with a toxin that will kill him if his heart rate drops below a certain level. If Crank doesn’t give you enough of a Statham fix, the 2002 sequel, Crank: High Voltage, is also available on Netflix on September 3.
The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013, available September 12)
Ten years before she dominated the summer box office as the star of Barbie, Margot Robbie appeared alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, and Matthew McConaughey in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street. Based on the true story of corrupt stockbroker Jordan Belfort, the Oscar-nominated biographical black comedy set a Guinness World Record for the most cursing in a movie. Robbie has a standout role as Naomi Lapaglia, Belfort’s trophy wife.
Spy Kids: Armageddon (2023, available September 22)
One of the only new English-language features debuting on Netflix this September is Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids: Armageddon. This reboot of the Spy Kids franchise is about the children of the world’s top secret agents who unwittingly help a game developer unleash a computer virus that allows him to control all technology. The kids have to become spies themselves to help their parents and save the world. The cast includes Zachary Levi, Gina Rodriguez, Billy Magnussen, and D.J. Cotrona, the latter of whom starred on Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn TV series.