3 underrated Netflix movies you should watch this weekend (June 14-16)

Three people stand and laugh in Wanderlust.

The Bad Boys have saved summer. Last weekend, Bad Boys: Ride or Die topped the box office by earning a healthy $56 million, which exceeded the disappointing openings of The Fall Guy and Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga. Reports of cinema’s demise have been greatly exaggerated it seems, and this weekend’s Inside Out 2 is poised to make even more summer cash.

For Netflix, it’s business as usual. The Richard Linklater action-comedy Hit Man is deservedly finding its audience, while the schlocky sci-fi movie Atlas continues to attract both the curious and masochists. The streamer also has an extensive library of hidden gems that are still worth watching. This weekend, check out these three underrated movies that should keep you away from the beach or the sun for awhile.

Need more recommendations? Read our guides to the best movies on Hulu, the best movies on Amazon Prime Video, and the best movies on HBO

Wanderlust (2012)

A man sleeps on top of a woman in Wanderlust.

There’s nothing more universal than the feeling that there is something better out there. For George and Linda Gergenblatt, the central characters in David Wain’s 2012 comedy Wanderlust, there has to be because their present situation is pretty dire. They just purchased an expensive apartment in New York City, but George gets laid off from his job right after, and Linda’s documentary for HBO is rejected. Cash poor and out of luck, the couple sell their place and head south to Atlanta to stay with George’s obnoxious brother and his wife.

Along the way, George and Linda get sidetracked by Elysium, a hippie commune that quickly wins over the exhausted duo. Who wouldn’t be attracted to the promise of free love, a disregard for material wealth, and a generous supply of mind-altering, er, substances? It’s here that Wanderlust truly shines as a fish-out-of-water comedy, with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston turning in some very funny work as the radicalized couple. If the ending seems obvious, well, that’s not really an issue, as Wanderlust‘s main contention is that it’s the journey that matters, not the destination.

Wanderlust is streaming on Netflix.

Places in the Heart (1984)

A family looks at the sun on a farm in Places in the Heart.
TriStar Pictures

The year 1984 featured not one not, two, but three movies focused on farm life in America’s Heartland: Country with Jessica Lange, The River with Sissy Spacek and Mel Gibson, and Places in the Heart with Sally Field, which is ses during the Great Depression. The best of the bunch is the Sally Field drama, which was nominated for Best Picture and won Field her second Oscar. But since then, it hasn’t had much of a cultural footprint and is one those “critically praised for its time” movies that remains underrated today.

Field stars as Edna Spalding, a recent widow who must raise her two children and tend to her Texas farm. She gradually attracts help in the form of Moses Hadner (Danny Glover), a drifter who advises Edna on how to make the most out of her land, and Mr. Will (John Malkovich), a blind WWI vet who befriends her children. Together, they form a found family that tries to survive various dangers, including a terrible storm, a plummeting economy, and the Ku Klux Klan. Places in the Heart is an effective piece of Americana that generally eschews sentimentality until its transcendent ending, which I wouldn’t dream of spoiling.

Places in the Heart is streaming on Netflix.

The Legend of Zorro (2005)

A man and a woman look at each other in The Legend of Zorro.

“They don’t make them like they used to” is a bit of an overused phrase, but it’s fitting to use it when describing The Legend of Zorro. Critics said that about the 2005 movie when it was first released nearly 20 years ago, and it remains true today. After all, how many action movies focused on swordplay (well, that aren’t lightsabers) have you watched lately?

A sequel to 1998’s minor hit The Mask of Zorro, The Legend of Zorro sees our masked hero (Antonio Banderas) struggling to save his marriage to the beautiful and dangerous Elena (Catherine Zeta-Jones) while also foiling a plot to manufacture weapons to use on a planned assault on Washington D.C. What’s an expert swordsman with a penchant for riding horses and stabbing to do? The action is pretty much expected, but in a good way. The film, like its predecessor, has a pleasant old-fashioned appeal, and both Banderas and Zeta-Jones still retain the cheeky chemistry that made the original a box office success.

The Legend of Zorro is streaming on Netflix.