3 underrated Netflix movies you should watch this weekend (June 21-23)

A man holds a flashlight in Operation Hyacinth.

Step aside, Bad Boys, Disney is here to save the day. After a ho-hum May, the box office roared to life last weekend with the monstrous debut of Inside Out 2, which grossed $154 million dollars in just three days. That’s a lot of money, especially when compared to Pixar’s most recent outings, Lightyear, Elemental, and the Disney+ exclusives Soul, Luca, and Turning Red.

At home, it’s almost as hot as Richard Linklater’s action-comedy Hit Man quickly became the most popular movie on Netflix. If you’ve already watched it — and if you haven’t, please do so now — then there’s thousands of other movies to choose from on the platform. This weekend, we’ve picked three underrated gems from the 1980s and the 2020s that deserve some love, attention, and eyeballs.

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

The Miracle Club (2023)

Four women stand in front of a man in The Miracle Club.

Calendar Girls. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. These movies all belong to a subgenre once known as “women’s pictures,” but that is now referred to as “Oscar-bait” or “chick flicks.” These films aren’t particularly great, but they do their job. They give older actresses decent roles, provide a scenic tour to some faraway place, and provide a moderate amount of amusement for a good 90 minutes or so. The Miracle Club is the latest movie in this genre, and it’s no better or worse than the rest.

The film is set in 1967 Ireland and follows four women as they journey to Lourdes, France, to find their own unique fulfillment. Lily (Maggie Smith) wants to get out of Ireland, Eileen (Kathy Bates) thinks the trip will cure the lump in her breast, Dolly (Agnes O’ Casey) believes it will inspire her mute son to speak, and Chrissie (Laura Linney) hopes to bond with Lily by sharing news that she’s pregnant with Lily’s deceased son’s child. Yeah, that’s a lot, but The Miracle Club is a breeze to watch, and it’s always a pleasure to see Smith and Bates sink their teeth into nice, juicy roles.

The Miracle Club is streaming on Netflix.

Operation Hyacinth (2021)

Three men talk in Operation Hyacinth.

I love watching movies that reveal something to me I didn’t previously know, and that do so under the cover of being an incredibly engrossing genre picture. That’s what Operation Hyacinth is, and why it’s so special. The film takes place in 1980s Poland, and tells a fictional story about the real-life Operation Hyacinth project, which the Polish government initiated by creating a national database of the country’s homosexuals so they could spy on them.

One officer working in Operation Hyacinth is Robert, a straight twentysomething working-class dude who wants to prove his worth to his stem father, who also works for the government. But as Robert goes undercover as a gay man cruising Poland’s nightclubs, he realizes that who he works for doesn’t have the best intentions, and a web of lies, betrayal, and murder is gradually uncovered. Piotr Domalewski’s film is never less than engrossing, and it gets things just right: the ’80s period detail. the rising feeling of paranoia and fear as Robert’s masquerade threatens to be discovered. and the gradual realization that everything Robert has worked for is wrong. It’s a cracking good thriller, and one with a voice and a conscience that’s now rare in the genre.

Operation Hyacinth is streaming on Netflix.

Firstborn (1984)

Two boys talk at a table in Firstborn.

What if I told you there was a movie starring Robert Downey Jr. (The Sympathizer) and Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City) on Netflix you’ve probably never seen and that it’s been almost forgotten about? That’s the case with Firstborn, a 1984 movie that features Downey Jr. and Parker in supporting roles, but stars 1980s actors Teri Garr, Peter Weller, and Christopher Collet as a family torn apart by divorce and drug abuse.

If that sounds serious, well, that’s because it sort of is. But it’s also not that deep either, as the film tends to veer into thriller territory, and that’s why most critics at the time didn’t like it. The plot is fairly straightforward: teenage Jake and his younger brother. Brian. witness their mother Wendy (Garr) quickly falling in love with Sam (Weller) following her divorce. It starts off well, with Sam giving the boys dirt bikes and Wendy some much-needed attention, but things go south quickly once Sam’s past — and penchant for drugs — catches up with him. It’s not great cinema, but there’s some quality acting here, particularly from Collet and Garr, and it’s fun to see Tony Stark and Carrie Bradshaw as awkward teen actors early in their careers.

Firstborn is streaming on Netflix.