Brow Beat

The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Netflix in May

Inglourious Basterds is just one of the great movies coming to Netflix Instant in May.

© The Weinstein Company

Every month, a number of movies and TV series leave Netflix streaming, sometimes only temporarily, usually because licensing deals have expired. Several new titles arrive in their place. So what’s coming next month, and which of these new arrivals should you watch? Below, we’ve chosen the best new movies and TV shows coming to Netflix Instant streaming in May 2015. Plan your weekend marathons accordingly.

The Last Waltz
May 1

Often described as one of the greatest concert documentaries of all time, and legendary for the dangling cocaine rock that Scorsese had to digitally erase from Neil Young’s left nostril, The Last Waltz is a sweaty tour de force. The Scorcese-directed 1978 movie of The Band’s farewell concert is scattered and not exactly propulsive, but it’s an unbelievable slice of music history. The first frame announces “This film should be played loud,” and it’s this wild-eyed spirit that rules the film. Frequent frontman Robbie Robertson is the documentary’s protagonist (a feature of the film that not all bandmates appreciated), but drummer Levon Helm steals scenes with his folksy intensity. And needless to say, there’s the murderer’s row of cameos: Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Muddy Waters, Joni Mitchell, and Van Morrison, to name a few. When they all take the stage together, it’s the best closing number you’ve ever seen. —Laura Bennett, senior editor

Legally Blonde
May 1

Reese Witherspoon delivers one of her most memorable performances as Elle Woods, a seemingly silly sorority girl navigating the stodgy halls of Harvard Law School in pursuit of love—namely, with her caddish ex-boyfriend, Warner Huntington III. Whether you keep coming back for the hilarious writing, the even more hilarious early-millennium wardrobe choices, or to brush up on your bend-and-snap technique, this instant girl-power classic never disappoints. —Laura Bradley, editorial assistant

Jimi: All Is by My Side

May 1

For better and for worse, Jimi: All Is by My Side is not your typical biopic. There are no nightmarish rehab montages. No recurring flashbacks to childhood traumas. And none of, well, any of the other clichés spoofed in the underrated Walk Hard, which seems to grow more relevant by the day. Instead, the movie focuses in on Hendrix’s life on the eve of his breakout performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. As Hendrix, André Benjamin (best known as Outkast’s André 3000) is uncanny, and to his credit, writer-director John Ridley (the screenwriter of 12 Years a Slave) doesn’t avoid the tricky racial politics the “Wild Man” Hendrix walked into. If you’re looking for a hagiographic monument to Hendrix the Guitar God, this isn’t it. (The filmmakers couldn’t even get permission to use Hendrix’s original songs.) But it’s appropriate that, like Hendrix himself, All Is by My Side doesn’t fit neatly into any boxes. —Forrest Wickman, senior editor

Longmire, Season 3
May 1

Longmire is set in the wilds of Wyoming’s (fictional) Absaroka County, and if that sounds idyllic, you’ve clearly never seen the show. So many terrible things happen in those wide open spaces, and only Sheriff Walt Longmire—a man so good, loyal, and brave it hurts the soul—can bring justice, or at least MacGyver a person out of immediate danger. The cast—Aussie Robert Taylor as Longmire; BSG’s Katee Sackhoff as a deputy seeking refuge from her old life as a Philadelphia cop; Lou Diamond Phillips as Henry Standing Bear, Walt’s Cheyenne best friend who eschews contractions; and a slew of great supporting actors—is outstanding. It has to be said that Season 3 was a bit of a bummer—a deputy lost his mind (maybe), a marriage broke up (possibly), and a good man spent an unpleasant stint in jail—and it ended without a clear resolution, so it was a real downer when A&E announced that it had canceled the show. Fortunately, Netflix picked it up for a fourth season, so maybe we’ll finally learn who got shot in the season’s final scene. —June Thomas, culture critic and Outward editor

Fruitvale Station
May 12

First-time director Ryan Coogler makes an impressive debut with his portrait of Oscar Grant on the last day of his life, before he was killed by a police officer early on New Year’s Day in 2009. With a beautiful, thoughtful performance by Michael B. Jordan (who continues to get better with each successive movie) in the lead role, Coogler successfully humanizes Grant, painting him as neither a saint nor as an irredeemable criminal. A couple of hours after the last time I watched this, Michael Brown’s killing in Ferguson was, coincidentally, just becoming national news, and since then, more similar cases have arisen—proof that, sadly, the ending of Fruitvale Station may never not be relevant. Have your tissues ready. — Aisha Harris, staff writer

Inglourious Basterds
May 22

Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 revisionist World War II caper careens through Europe, powered by Tarantino’s inspired dialogue and the late Sally Menke’s tense, perfect editing. It offers some of the finest screen acting of Tarantino’s oeuvre, especially from Mélanie Laurent and Oscar winner Christoph Waltz. And then there’s that explosive, madcap, bloody, horrifying, exultant climax, which views history itself as just another genre to be bent. —Dan Kois, culture editor

Also arriving

May 1
Beyond Clueless
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde
No No: A Dockumentary
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
Shameless: Series 10
Witnesses: Season 1

May 2
Lalaloopsy: Festival of Sugary Sweets
LeapFrog Letter Factory Adventures: Amazing Word Explorers

May 3
D.L. Hughley: Clear
Royal Pains: Season 6

May 5
A Few Best Men

May 6
The Longest Week

May 8
Grace & Frankie
The Adventures of Puss in Boots: Season 1
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas

May 9
The Liberator

May 12
Magical Universe

May 13
The Identical

May 14
American Restoration
Counting Cars
Dance Moms
Duck Dynasty
Modern Marvels
The Universe

May 15
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: Season 4
Cyber Seniors
Dawg Fight
Give Me Shelter
Granite Flats: Seasons 1-3

May 16
First Period

May 17
Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast

May 19
Before I Disappear

May 21
Between: Season 1
(Six episodes, airing every Thursday at 8:30 p.m. PT, starting May 21.)

May 22
H20 Mermaid Adventures
Jen Kirkman: I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine)
The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir
Richie Rich: Season 2
Transporter: The Series: Season 1

May 23
Antarctica: A Year on Ice
The Boxtrolls

May 24
Love and Honor
Welcome to the Punch

May 26
Graceland: Seasons 1-2

May 27
Before I Go to Sleep

May 29
Hot Girls Wanted
Mako Mermaids: Season 3