All year we dream of the luxury of summer nights: bonfires, pool parties, long sunset walks, barbecues, baseball games. Summer is also the season of movies—nights out for the newest blockbuster (and tubs of popcorn), nights in with Netflix and a cozy blanket in the A/C. This year, we've compiled five of the best new releases and new streaming options for your summer viewing pleasure.
1. Friday Night Lights (full series streaming on Netflix)
If you're looking for a TV series to binge-watch on a rainy day, look no further than Friday Night Lights. If you've held out this long because "it's a football show," be assured: this is not a show about football. It's about family, and marriage, and love, and growing up, and life in a small town that, yes, happens to be obsessed with high school football. I have never met anyone who regretted jumping in to this five-season series—or anyone who didn't plow through the entire thing in surprisingly short order. Bonus: Connie Britton's Tami Taylor is one of the most complete female characters of the past decade, and her marriage with Kyle Chandler's Coach Eric Taylor is one of the best ever captured on screen.
2. 20 Feet from Stardom (streaming on Netflix)
This documentary, which won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, tells the story of the backup singers of the 1950s and '60s and the legends they support. You may remember the rousing impromptu performance of "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" by Darlene Love during the acceptance speech for that award, and the standing ovation it elicited from the A-list crowd; that was a small glimpse of the world the film explores. Gospel music and church plays a large role in the lives and careers of these women who made significant contributions to many of the great rock and roll hits, and their Christian faith is a common source of hope and inspiration as they process their pasts and move forward with their futures.
3. Maleficent (wide release May 30th)
In the absence of a Pixar or animated Disney release, Maleficent is the big family movie of the summer. Angelina Jolie (with the help of prosthetic cheekbones) plays the title character in this "untold" origin story of the iconic Sleeping Beauty villain—the "Wicked" of the Disney universe. If Lana Del Rey's haunting version of "Once Upon a Dream" that plays over the trailer is any indication, this one will be a haunting spin on a beloved fairy tale.
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