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Welcome to Boston.com’s weekly streaming guide. Each week, we recommend five must-watch movies and TV shows available on streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max, and more.
Many recommendations are for new shows, while others are for under-the-radar releases you might have missed or classics that are about to depart a streaming service at the end of the month.
Have a new favorite movie or show you think we should know about? Let us know in the comments, or email [email protected]. Looking for even more great streaming options? Check out previous editions of our must-see list here.
Elvis Presley remains one of the most fascinating figures in American pop culture. The country’s first full-blown pop star, his career is now far enough in the rearview mirror that easily half of Americans (if not more) were never alive at the same time as The King. Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” is no history lesson, choosing to skip over critical junctures in the singer’s life story. But Luhrmann, like Presley, is a master of showmanship, and watching Austin Butler as Presley will give contemporary audiences a keen sense of the singer’s incredible hold on America in the ’50s and ’60s. Throw in a prosthetics-laden Tom Hanks as Presley’s leech-like manager Colonel Tom Parker, and you’ll be hard-pressed not to have a blast watching “Elvis.”
How to watch: “Elvis” is streaming on HBO Max.
A recent oral history commemorating the 15-year anniversary of beloved teen comedy “Superbad” noted its ability to realistically portray the unglamorous, awkward way in which millennial high schoolers talked about, thought about, and sloppily engaged in sexual relations. Exactly 25 years before the release of “Superbad,” another landmark teen comedy, 1982’s “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” did the same thing for early members of Generation X. Director Amy Heckerling (“Clueless”) assembled a formidable group of young talent and let them loose, giving early star turns to future Oscar nominees and winners like Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sean Penn, Forest Whitaker, and (in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo) Nicolas Cage. Nothing much of consequence happens in “Fast Times”: Kids have crushes, have sex, get in fights, get high, and generally fret about their teenage existence. But every line of dialogue, every feathered hairdo, and every unbuttoned collared shirt is note-perfect.
How to watch: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” is streaming on Paramount+.
The title of “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul” tells you exactly what type of movie you’re going to get from first-time director Adamma Ebo: A biting satire of the capitalism-infected version of Christianity endemic to America. Megachurch Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs (Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”) and his wife, Trinitie (Regina Hall), have decided to hire a documentary crew to help film their comeback after Lee-Curtis is beset by a sex scandal. Camera crews are hired so that Lee-Curtis can fully document his triumphant return to the church (on Easter Sunday, of course). Instead, viewers are treated to every indignity the couple faces on their bumpy road back. Brown is funny in his lead role. But it’s Hall, always terrific in even the worst movies (see last week’s “Me Time” for proof), who steals the show.
How to watch: “Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul” is streaming on Peacock.
Ask your average viewer which streaming company has the strongest programming, and almost no one would say Amazon Prime Video. While the Bezos-built platform may lack the sheer breadth of original programming of Netflix, it has committed to a gargantuan swing for the fences with “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” the most expensive TV series ever made. Only the show’s first two episodes were made available for critics to review, but the grand scale of the series is immediately evident, even if the extensive world-building means that the first episode is a little slow. Taking place 3,000 years before the events of the Peter Jackson films, “The Rings of Power” will tell the story of how Sauron rose to dominate Middle Earth, while following a number of other storylines along the way. Listing any of them in a capsule-sized review is a fool’s errand, so you’ll have to trust us that “The Rings of Power” is worth a look.
How to watch: “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is streaming on Amazon Prime Video, with new episodes debuting on Fridays.
It’s somewhat striking that with the exceptions of the “Despicable Me” series and the below-average Netflix series “Space Force,” Steve Carell hasn’t made a comedy in almost a decade now. The Acton native has instead played prickly, spiky roles, and does so again as a troubled therapist in “The Patient,” a new limited series on FX and Hulu. Carell has enough troubles in his personal life that when he becomes fed up with a difficult patient (Domhnall Gleeson, “Ex Machina”), he tells him not to come back. Gleeson, troubled patient that he is, responds by kidnapping Carell’s character, chaining him up in his basement, and revealing that he’s a serial killer. The series bears more than a passing resemblance to the adaptation of Stephen King’s “Misery,” but it delves deeper into the psychology of each of its protagonists, all while building a throughline of darkly comic dialogue that tempers some of the more dramatic plot twists. Like any productive therapy session, you’ll be shocked by how quickly a 30-minute session of “The Patient” flies by.
How to watch: “The Patient” is streaming on Hulu.
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