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With the best movies on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, who needs fireworks?

Jeffrey M. Anderson | July 6, 2015
Just as certain books get categorized as "beach reading," there's a special kind of movie that's best described as "summer streaming."

To commemorate the recent landmark decision by the Supreme Court, stream the vibrant, positive portrayal of LGBT life from Australia. Stephan Elliott's The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994) tells the story of a transsexual woman (Terence Stamp) and two drag queens (Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce) who set out on a four-week road trip across the outback to perform their flamboyant lip-sync show in a casino.

As with any road trip movie, they encounter both friendly faces and not-so-friendly ones, though the latter--packed with homophobic hatred--has an extra-hard sting. Nevertheless, the movie is deeply-felt, earnest, colorful, and joyous, and filled with kitschy pop music; it's a kind of cinematic Pride parade all its own. Though it was released in art houses in the U.S., it was a huge hit in its home country. It was Pearce's debut for U.S. audiences; he next appeared in a completely different role, as Ed Exley in L.A. Confidential.

Red (Hulu)  

The final film of the great Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski, Red (1994) is also the third part of the "Three Colors" trilogy. It deepens the experience to see the films in order, starting with Blue (1993) and White (1994), but Red can certainly be enjoyed on its own, and is generally considered the best of the three. It earned three Oscar nominations, for Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Director.

The gorgeous Irene Jacob stars as a model who accidentally runs over a dog with her car. She discovers that the dog belongs to a judge (Jean-Louis Trintignant), who spends his time eavesdropping on others. As the two become unlikely friends, some of the overheard conversations eventually affect their lives directly. Kieslowski made many movies about the way events unfold over a specific amount of time in specific places, but Red is the most powerful and affecting.

Bottle Rocket (Crackle) 

Wes Anderson's debut feature, based on his own short film, could have been lumped in with a whole slew of mid-1990s crime films that tried to ride the wave of success created by Pulp Fiction. It was quirky and funny, centered around a heist, and featured a tough 1970s movie star (James Caan) in a supporting role. But looking at Bottle Rocket (1996) today, and especially in light of Anderson's subsequent films, it couldn't be further away. In fact, it has its own special place among the decade's most influential films.

Brothers Owen and Luke Wilson also make their acting debuts--with Owen co-writing the screenplay with Anderson--telling the story of three friends (Owen, Luke, and Robert Musgrave) who decide to embark on a life of crime. Despite some bungling, they rob a bookstore, and then hide out for a while at a hotel, where Anthony (Luke) falls in love with housekeeper Inez (Lumi Cavazos). The final heist seems to lack Anderson's later rigorous compositions, but it works, given the hilariously tentative nature of the crime itself. The movie is incredibly low key, but certain line readings have their own potent humor. Bottle Rocket has become a cult favorite.

 

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