By Jesse Rice
July is here and that means new movies streaming on Netflix. This month has a little bit of everything, but here are five picks from your childhood that you can now revisit, or, if you never had a chance to catch them before, visit for the first time.
E.T. the Extra Terrestrial
“ET” is a 1982 science fiction film from Steven Spielberg. “ET” is one of the original ‘boy-and-his-not-a-dog’ type films (other examples being “The Iron Giant” and “Pete’s Dragon”). The plot is simple: A young boy named Elliot finds a stranded alien and must help him find his way home. Hijinks ensue. If you are like me and haven’t seen “ET” in a long time, now is the perfect time to catch up with it.
Before “Blackfish,” there was “Free Willy.” When orphan Jesse is caught vandalizing a theme park, he is forced to work at the park in repayment. While there, he befriends an orca named “Willy” who is also alone. With the help of some friends, Jesse hatches a plot to return Willy to his family in the ocean, simultaneously saving him from the evil park owner.
“Free Willy” is not a perfect movie, but it is still fun and enjoyable. I jokingly related “Free Willy” to the “Blackfish” documentary, but this movie does not focus on the treatment of the whales as much as the relationship developing between Jesse and Willy. Throw into the mix a little bit of symbolism about finding family and about hope during loneliness and you are in for a good time.
Disney’s The Mighty Ducks
For some people it was “Rocky,” but my first sports movie was “The Mighty Ducks” (or “The Sandlot” but that is irrelevant). “The Mighty Ducks” follows bigshot lawyer Gordon Bombay who is forced to do community service for a group of terrible, teenage hockey players. However, as with all classic sports movies, with a little bit of outside thinking and team work, the Ducks band together to fight toward the finals. With a good soundtrack, this feel good movie will affect you even if you don’t know the first thing about hockey.
Land Before Time
A Spielberg dinosaur film, but not the one you are thinking of (though not directing, Spielberg produced the film along with George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy). Directed by Don Bluth, “Land Before Time” birthed a long series of animated movies that had their ups and downs, but the original still holds up. The film follows the adventures of Littlefoot, a brontosaurus whose parents die. Thus, Littlefoot teams up with a bunch of other dinosaurs to find the Great Valley, the land of plenty where Littlefoot’s grandparents reside. This is a great film for animation and dinosaur fans alike. Don’t worry, even though this isn’t “Jurassic Park,” a T-Rex still manages to sneak its way in.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Though not old enough to be nostalgic on its own, “Rogue One” brings fans back into the world of “Star Wars.” “Rogue One” gives lots of little nods to the previous films in both the visuals, music, and even the side characters. The plot centers around a group of rebels who must work together to steal the plans for the Death Star. While the story sometimes overindulges on nostalgia, it still has some bright moments. If you want to know what those moments are, check it out on Netflix streaming.