Watching: The Best Movies and Shows

On Netflix, Amazon and Disney+

By The Watching Team

The weekend is here. It’s here! Take a break from watching the news. Regardless of what streaming service you subscribe to, we want to help. We’ve gone through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ to find the best titles on each service.

Here’s one of the 50 best movies on Netflix

Malcolm McDowell (center) and his droogies in Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film “A Clockwork Orange.”Photofest/Museum of the Moving Image

‘A Clockwork Orange’

Stanley Kubrick’s most controversial film, and perhaps his most disturbing (neither a small claim), was this 1971 adaptation of the cult novel by Anthony Burgess. Tracking the various misdeeds and attempted rehabilitation of a certified sociopath (Malcolm McDowell), this is Kubrick at his most stylized, with the narrative’s hyperviolence cushioned by the striking cinematography, futuristic production design and jet-black humor. Our critic wrote that it “dazzles the senses and mind.”

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Here is one of the best TV shows on Netflix

Alex Trebek in his first appearance on “Jeopardy!” in 1984.Jeopardy! Productions

‘Jeopardy!’

The longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek died in November 2020 and his final episodes aired this past week. The praise for Trebek and the fascination with some of the brilliant and eccentric recent “Jeopardy!” winners has been a reassuring reminder that there is value in being curious and studious. Writing in The New York Times Magazine about the game’s enduring appeal, Sam Anderson called it “a hushed, calm, serious space in which knowledge was celebrated and rewarded.” The handful of episodes on Netflix change regularly, and often feature either old tournaments or fan-favorite champions.

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Have a Hulu subscription? It’s a lot to wade through. We can help!

Lakeith Stanfield, left, and Donald Glover in “Atlanta.”Guy D’Alema/FX

‘Atlanta’

In a scant two seasons, Donald Glover’s FX comedy/drama has established itself as a true force in modern television — thoughtful, peculiar, cinematic, relentlessly entertaining. Glover (who also created the show, and frequently writes and directs) stars as Earn, a small-timer with big dreams who takes the reins of his cousin’s burgeoning hip-hop career, with mixed results. The supporting cast is top-notch, with Brian Tyree Henry, Lakeith Stanfield and Zazie Beetz as nuanced characters interpreted with fierce precision, but the show is most dazzling for its tonal improvisations; it feels like Glover and company can go anywhere, at any time, and the results are exhilarating.

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Amazon Prime Video doesn’t make it easy to find stuff. Luckily, we have done the work for you.

A scene from “Ernest & Celestine.”Gkids

‘Ernest and Celestine’

This animated French charmer (revoiced for English audiences with an all-star cast) has the look and feel of a lovingly illustrated old children’s book and serves as a reminder, in a landscape of glistening, spit-shined computer-generated animation, of the joys of the handmade form. The watercolor-infused style is appropriate to this odd little story of two outcasts who bond and help each other in spite of the disapproval of their respective species — “an ode,” our critic wrote, “to the happiness that comes from being with those different from us.”

Disney+ is full of older classics. But there are a lot of newer things to watch as well.

A scene from “Ratatouille.”Disney/Pixar

‘Ratatouille’

This film has been in the conversation lately after TikTok users collaborated to make a musical theater version of the tale. Riding high off a nonstop run of hits after “Toy Story,” Pixar gambled on the almost perversely unappealing premise of a Parisian rat with a passion for finessing haute cuisine. But “Ratatouille” pays off in the fast-paced kitchen slapstick of a rodent on the loose, a sensual appreciation for food and a rousing message about pursuing your dreams, no matter your seeming limitations. A.O. Scott called it “a nearly flawless piece of popular art.”

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