Watching: The Best Things to Stream

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

From left, Christopher Rivera, Brooklynn Prince and Valeria Cotto in “The Florida Project.”A24

‘The Florida Project’

The director of “Tangerine,” Sean Baker, returns with another warm and funny portrait of life on the fringes, melding a cast of nonactors and newcomers with an Oscar-nominated Willem Dafoe as the manager of a cheap Orlando motel populated by confused tourists and barely-managing families. The script (by Baker and Chris Bergoch) captures, with startling verisimilitude, the anxieties of living paycheck-to-paycheck (particularly when the next paycheck’s very existence is uncertain) while also borrowing the devil-may-care playfulness of the children at the story’s center. Our critic called it “risky and revelatory.”

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Here is one of the best TV shows on Netflix

Dominique Jackson, center, in “Pose.”Macall Polay/FX

‘Pose’

Set amid the New York City “drag ball” scene of the late ’80s and early ’90s, the exuberant drama “Pose” is groundbreaking for the way it employs a large cast of transgender women playing transgender women. The series deals with serious issues — including the devastation of AIDS and the way the city’s economic boom of the ’80s bypassed the marginalized — but it is surprisingly optimistic, emphasizing the community fostered by these underground fashion and dance competitions (hosted by the acid-tongued Pray Tell, played by Billy Porter). Our critic wrote that “Pose” “stands, bold and plumed, and demands attention.”

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

Mary Kay Place in “Diane.”Tribeca Film Festival, via Associated Press

‘Diane’

Mary Kay Place has carved out a remarkable career as a valuable supporting player (including memorable turns in “The Big Chill,” “Being John Malkovich” and “Girl, Interrupted”), but she was rarely given the opportunity to show what she could do in a leading role. The writer and director Kent Jones changed that with this acclaimed independent drama, featuring Place as a prototypical good citizen who spends her days volunteering in her small town, supporting friends and family in various states of duress and contemplating her own mortality. Jones makes this woman seem familiar and knowable, but his subtle screenplay (and Place’s powerful performance) slowly peels away those layers, revealing unexpected regrets and complexities. Our critic called it “a rich and tender study of a woman hollowed out by remorse.”

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

William Holden and Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard.”Paramount Pictures

‘Sunset Boulevard’

Billy Wilder’s poison-penned love letter to Hollywood is often remembered more as a series of moments (particularly its closing line) than for its overwhelming whole: a sometimes tragic, sometimes comic, always riveting story about a faded silent movie queen (an unforgettable Gloria Swanson) and the opportunistic young man who tries to take advantage of her (a prickly William Holden). Our critic wrote that it “quickly casts a spell over an audience and holds it enthralled to a shattering climax.”

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

Lin-Manuel Miranda, left, as Alexander Hamilton and Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr in the filmed version of the show.Disney

‘Hamilton’

The original production of this audacious pop musical from Lin-Manuel Miranda was a near-impossible ticket on Broadway, but now it comes to streaming as a vital and stubbornly optimistic ode to the American experiment. Leading a cast of mostly Black and Latino actors, Miranda plays Alexander Hamilton as an immigrant made good, a “young, scrappy and hungry” embodiment of an emerging nation. “Hamilton” has been described as a hip-hop history, but the music is as varied as the history is idealized and thorny. A.O. Scott wrote that the film is “motivated, above all, by a faith in the self-correcting potential of the American experiment.

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