Watch ‘Em While You Can: Must-See Movies Leaving Streaming Platforms in May
As April comes to a close, some notable films and shows are leaving both Netflix and Hulu. In the wake of social distancing and shelter-in-place directives, streaming platforms have certainly seen an uptick in the amount of time subscribers are spending with their programming. Even though many of us have more time to marathon a few movies or seasons of TV, it’s still downright impossible to consume all the entertainment we want to, thanks to the near-unlimited offerings.
However, if you’ve been putting off watching some classic films from the ‘80s, ‘90s and early 2000s, our list might have you second-guessing your watchlist, especially since these bonafide classics will be leaving popular streaming services in May. Grab some popcorn and get ready to watch while you can!
My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997)
When Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) discovers that her best friend, Michael (Dermot Mulroney), with whom she had a backup marriage pact, is on track to marry another woman (Cameron Diaz), she decides to break up the wedding and win over her pal. But things take an uncomfortable turn in this rom-com as old as time when Julianne’s actions become more and more heinous.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Based on Stephen King’s classic novel of the same name, The Shawshank Redemption chronicles the experiences of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a successful banker who is wrongfully imprisoned in Shawshank after being charged with a crime he didn’t commit. While there, he befriends his fellow inmates, namely Red (Morgan Freeman), and curries favor with the prison’s dastardly guards — all of which adds to Andy’s slow-burn, long-game plan to leave Shawshank behind.
28 Days Later (2003)
Directed by Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and Trainspotting’s (1996) Danny Boyle, the post-apocalyptic 28 Days Later depicts the breakdown of society following the accidental release of a highly contagious virus. Four survivors — played by Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Megan Burns and Brendan Gleeson — try to cope with the downfall of literally everything and evade the virus and the zombie-like victims in this blockbuster.
Blade Runner: The Final Cut (1982)
Feeling supremely let down by Amazon’s finale to The Man in the High Castle? Check out some classic Philip K. Dick fare instead. Based on Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Blade Runner is set in a dystopian Los Angeles — what filmmakers imagined 2019 would look like — in which synthetic humans, or replicants, are created by the shady Tyrell Corporation to work on off-world colonies. At the film’s onset, we meet Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a cop/"blade runner" whose job is to track and "retire" rogue replicants. After some light blackmail, a reluctant Deckard is brought back into the fold to retire fugitive replicants who have illegally returned to Earth.
The Craft (1996)
Troubled teen Sarah Bailey (Robin Tunney) moves from San Francisco to Los Angeles and strikes up a quick friendship with a group of outcast girls — Bonnie Harper (Neve Campbell), Rochelle Zimmerman (Rachel True) and Nancy Downs (Fairuza Balk). The rest of the school deems the young women "witches," mostly because the other students are bullies — though it’s also true that Bonnie, Rochelle and Nancy worship a deity named Manon. Sarah falls for the popular boy, but that typical teen storyline is thrown off course when she and her new pals dabble in witchcraft for their own gain, only to discover some…negative repercussions.
The West Wing (1999-2006)
President Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) isn’t afraid to speak his mind — and his cutthroat advisors aren’t afraid to mix their personal and professional lives. This Aaron Sorkin classic may feel too politics-heavy for some right now, but it’s also TV comfort food at its best. Apart from Sheen, the ensemble cast included a staggering number of acting greats like Allison Janney, John Spencer, Rob Lowe, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff, Janel Moloney and Stockard Channing.
Strictly Ballroom (1992)
Scott Hastings, the frustrated son in a family of ballroom dancers, struggles to establish his own style of dance when his steps are deemed not "strictly ballroom." (Yup, we said the thing.) After losing a competition due to his originality, Scott finds himself without a dance partner — well, that is until Fran, an overlooked beginner at Scott’s mom’s studio, approaches him, intrigued by his inventive steps.
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
Eager to spend more time with his family, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) plots a cross-country expedition from their home in Chicago’s suburbs to a So-Cal amusement park known as Walley World — "America’s Favorite Family Fun Park." Although Clark’s wife, Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), wants to fly, Clark insists that the trip is about bonding with her and their kids, Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) and Audrey (Dana Barron). Needless to say, hilarious road trip antics (and spits of bad luck) ensue.
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Based on the masterful Patricia Highsmith novel of the same name, The Talented Mr. Ripley stars Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, a man who plays the piano at fancy parties and, in a twist of fate, is approached by a shipping magnate who swears Ripley attended Princeton with his son, Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law) — probably because Ripley is wearing a borrowed Princeton jacket. The magnate enlists Ripley to travel to Italy and persuade Dickie to return home, but once abroad, Ripley finds himself so drawn to Dickie’s extravagant lifestyle that he becomes obsessed with the man — so much so that he even dresses as Dickie in private — only to find himself replaced as Dickie’s go-to best pal.
Space Jam (1996)
"Here’s your chance, do your dance at the Space Jam — " well, for a limited time only. Soon enough, this ‘90s hit will be dribbling right off Netflix’s servers. Co-starring Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny, the film showcases a fictionalized account (we hope) of what happened between Jordan’s initial NBA retirement in ‘93 and his legendary ‘95 comeback. According to Space Jam, he was drafted by the Looney Tunes characters to help them win their freedom from a ruthless amusement park owner, Mr. Swackhammer, by beating the magnate’s Monstars — a villainous group of toons who stole the talent of other real-life NBA players — in a basketball match.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Directed by Ang Lee, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is set during China’s Qing Dynasty. At the film’s onset, accomplished Wudang swordsman Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-Fat) decides to give up his legendary sword, Green Destiny, due to the fact that it holds too many memories of a past he would rather forget. He entrusts fellow warrior (and would-be-lover) Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) with the sword, so that she can present it as a gift to benefactor Sir Te (Sihung Lung). When a masked thief sneaks into Sir Te’s estate and steals the Green Destiny, Shu Lien teams up with Master Bo (Xian Gao), who serves Sir Te, to retrieve the fabled sword.
Other Noteworthy Departures
Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly popcorn movie or a comedy that will take your mind off things, these soon-to-be-gone titles shouldn’t be missed either.