With the latest announcement that our stay-at-home days have been extended once again, we decided to take a more determined look at available streaming content, since we’ve already caught up on all of our DVR’d content. In addition to new content on Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video, consider checking out some older material you may have missed, or loved so much you would want to enjoy them again.
We did a little digging, and here’s a list of movies that should keep you busily quarantined until fall – even though we hope this at-home-all-the-time life doesn’t last quite that long.
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (2018) A 1990s pop culture icon whose personal background has been little known until recently, Grace Jones’ story provides an up-close look at the larger-than-life model and dancer.
Lemon (2017) Janicza Bravo’s first feature film was one of the most talked-about films at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. It’s a dark comedy about a man’s troubling unraveling. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you want something original and daring, this has both.
Brian Banks (2018) Based on a true story. With an offer to play for USC in hand, Banks’ life is derailed when he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. With a solid cast including Aldis Hodge and Greg Kinnear, it’s a heart-wrenching look at the need for criminal justice reform in America.
Whitney (2018) This look at the life of Whitney Houston delves into her complicated life and career, and takes the viewer on a musical journey. It is also sobering to hear about her struggles with trauma and addiction.
If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) Oscar-winning “Moonlight” writer-director Barry Jenkins makes a classic love story meets crime drama. Gorgeous and moving, it is based on the novel by James Baldwin.
Amazing Grace (2018) This soul-stirring concert doc follows Aretha Franklin as she records her best-selling gospel album in front of a Los Angeles church congregation in 1972. It’s thrilling to watch this diva at the height of her powers.
ALSO ON HULU
For Colored Girls
If Beale Street Could Talk
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Miss Evers’ Boys
Sorry to Bother You
Waiting to Exhale
What Men Want
Amazing Grace: Aretha Franklin
Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean Michel Basquiat
Grace Jones: Bloodlight #Bami
Standing in the Shadows of Motown
20 Feet From Stardom (2013) This surprise hit spotlights the most successful backup singers in the world, who have toured with everyone from Luther Vandross to Michael Jackson.
What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015) Made with the consent of her daughter, this doc attempts to make sense of singer-pianist Nina Simone’s rise in the jazz world alongside domestic abuse by her husband and the unraveling of her mental health as she grew older.
Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary (2016) Jazz legend John Coltrane is brought down to earth in this look at his genius and the making of his masterpiece “A Love Supreme.”
Jewel’s Catch One (2016) This Ava DuVernay-backed documentary looks at Los Angeles’ once uber-popular dance club Catch One, known as the “Studio 54 of the West” in the 1980s and 1990s.
Mudbound (2017) Singer-actress Mary J. Blige flexes her Academy Award-nominated dramatic acting chops as a wife and mother in this World War II-era epic.
Quincy (2018) A joyride through producer Quincy Jones’ long and successful career.
The Two Killings of Sam Cooke (2019) A true-crime look at the life, career and murder of soul singer Sam Cooke, who wrote and performed the classic tune “A Change is Gonna Come.” A Netflix original, the film brings to light little known information about Cooke’s 1964 LA shooting death at age 33.
The Black Godfather (2019) Clarence Avant is a dealmaker, mentor and successful Hollywood businessman who, until this documentary, gladly operated behind the scenes. With interviews from Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hank Aaron and Snoop Dog.
ALSO ON NETFLIX
Bad Boys II
Dolemite is My Name
Eddie Murphy: Delirious
Kings of Comedy
Martin: Run Tell That
Paid in Full
She’s Gotta Have It
The Black Godfather
The Two Killings Sam Cooke
What Happened, Miss Simone?
20 Feet From Stardom
Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool
When They See Us
Paris is Burning
I Called Him Morgan
The Negro Soldier (1944)
Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker
The Watermelon Woman (1997) This comedy tells the story of a Black lesbian looking for love and fodder for her next film. Creative, funny, and historically informed, it paved the way for Black LGBTQ visibility in cinema.
Trouble the Water (2008) A look at the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward, this documentary is shot mostly with smartphone footage.
An American Girl Story: Melody 1963 Love Has to Win (2016) This two-part series stars Marsai Martin (“Black-ish”) as a girl who is forced to reckon with the events of the Civil Rights Movement in her day-to-day life. It’s an inspiring, well-made and kid-friendly watch for the whole family.
I Am Not Your Negro (2016) This documentary weighs the relevance and significance of writer James Baldwin, author of “If Beale Street Could Talk.”
Crown Heights (2017)
This 1980-set crime drama details an 18-year-old’s wrongful conviction (and eventual exoneration) for a murder he didn’t commit. Written and directed by Matt Ruskin, the film stars Lakeith Stanfield and Kerry Washington’s adorable real-life hubby, Nnamdi Asomugha.
Basquiat: Rags to Riches (2018) This PBS doc tells the story of famed New York City street artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose paintings now appear in museum collections all around the world.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) The Sundance jury award-winning feature is a moving look at how gentrification affects a city, a neighborhood and best friends Jimmie and Mont.
Night Comes On (2018) Co-written by a former foster care kid, this film follows an older sister as she tries to get her younger sister out of a sketchy group home. It’s a coming-of-age tale with a strong performance from young star Dominique Fishback.
ALSO ON AMAZON PRIME
The Best Man
Don’t Be a Menace
The Five Heartbeats
I’m Gonna Get You Sucka
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Mo Betta Blues
“When The Levees Broke”
I Am Not Your Negro
Hale Country, This Morning This Evening
No No: A Dockumentary
Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities
4 Little Girls
– Contributing: RollingOut.com & Parade.com