Shelter in place has been going on for over a month now. Are you running out of ideas of what to watch during this pandemic? You’ve checked out a few things your friends have suggested, but now you’re ready to discover shows and movies that under normal circumstances might have never been on your radar. The New York Times recently published an article “What to Watch During Your Coronavirus Self-Quarantine” with extensive lists of binge-worthy streaming content. Checkexpress is here to break down the top streaming services, prices, and content!
Top 5 Streaming Platforms and Pricing:
Netflix: $8.99-$15.99 monthly depending on your tier
Hulu: $5.99/monthly, or commercial free plan $11.99 monthly
Prime Video: $8.99/monthly , free with Amazon Prime
Disney+: $69.99 year or $6.99 /month (if you bundle Disney+ with, Hulu and ESPN all 3 comes out to only $12.99/monthly)
Here’s how we can help you pay the monthly bills connected to your streaming services…
- Pay your WiFi /cable bill on time with auto bill payment plans at Checkexpress. Never forget to pay on time!
- Deposit your stimulus checks, connect to your bank account, and start enjoying all of these services ASAP!
- Set up streaming and much more for your elderly loved ones. This will be a good way for them to pass the time while watching nostalgic movies from their past!
What Streaming Platform Should I Choose? NYT has several lists of the best things to stream that are updated every month with the newest titles. Subscribe to the New York Times Watching Newsletter to receive the latest TV and movie recommendations several times a week.
Like many of the heroes in our favorite movies, we’ve recently been given a super power! Granted ours isn’t the most flashy or exciting, but it’s saving lives nonetheless. Our super power is staying home! As we shelter in place, we continue to protect our loved ones and the entire community. Checkexpress is here to give your powers a little boost! Contact us with any questions you may have.
Scroll down to see our top 5 lists for each streaming service..
Top 5 Best TV Shows on Netflix (For more TV shows on Netflix)
‘The Twilight Zone’ (1959-64)
The Emmy-winning television writer and producer Rod Serling said he created this creepy science-fiction anthology series in part because he was tired of having TV executives nix the social commentary in his scripts. With “The Twilight Zone,” Serling and a handful of top fantasy writers riffed on paranoia, prejudice, greed and alienation in twisty stories about inexplicable supernatural phenomena. Some of the best episodes have stuck with viewers for decades, coloring the way they see the world. In a Times appreciation, the writer Brian Tallerico called the show, “an indelible part of the cultural lexicon.” (For a 21st century spin on “The Twilight Zone,” watch “Black Mirror.”)
‘Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness’ (2020)
There’s a reason seemingly everybody on the internet started talking about this docu-series within a few days of its debut. Co-directed by Rebecca Chaiklin and Eric Goode, the seven-part “Tiger King” is ostensibly about the strange subculture of folks who keep and display big cats: sometimes for crassly commercial private zoos, and sometimes for ostensibly more humane nature reserves. An unusual number of these people seem to have disturbing personal histories, involving criminal syndicates, unsolved murders and sex cults — all of which get touched on in this fascinating and often shocking story of eccentric, self-made American entrepreneurs. (For another gripping, surprising docu-series, stream “Wild Wild Country.”)
Netflix ‘Unorthodox’ (2020)
Based on the Deborah Feldman memoir about life in a strict Hasidic Jewish community, this nerve-racking mini-series has Shira Haas playing Esty, a teenage bride who flees her husband in Brooklyn to move to Berlin, where she studies music. The plot in “Unorthodox” is split between the furor back home over Esty’s departure and her tentative steps abroad toward living freely and thinking for herself. As the two narrative strands come together, the story becomes increasingly tense. Our critic called the show, “a thrilling and probing story of one woman’s personal defection.” (For another well-written show about a person trying to renter mainstream society, stream “Rectify,” about an ex-convict who comes home after having spent most of his youth behind bars.)
‘Night on Earth’ (2020)
Special low-light cameras give this six-part nature documentary a look and feel unlike that of any other show of its kind. “Night on Earth” features footage from around the world, shot under the cover of darkness, during times of day when some animals mate and hunt. The series’s muted music and its soft Samira Wiley narration — paired with the ghostly images of creatures moving stealthily through the night — give it a uniquely otherworldly affect. The unusual style makes the wilderness seem all the more magical and precious. (For another perspective on the natural world, watch the docu-series “Our Planet,” which emphasizes the effects of human progress and climate change on the animal kingdom.)
‘The Office’ (2005-13)
The American version of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s satirical mockumentary series “The Office” softens some of the original’s bite, but is still a funny and at-times harrowing look at the everyday miseries of white-collar work. When it debuted, our critic called it “the kind of seditious, unconventional comedy that viewers say they want and that television executives insist could never draw a broad enough audience to be a network success.” Viewers proved those execs wrong, though; the American remake ran for nine seasons. (Netflix doesn’t currently carry the British “Office,” but it does have Gervais’s and Merchant’s very funny follow-up, “Extras.”)
Top 5 Best Movies on Netflix (Find more movies on Netflix here)
‘The Social Network’ (2010)
The rise (and rise and rise) of the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is loosely dramatized in this “fleet, weirdly funny, exhilarating, alarming and fictionalized”drama from the director David Fincher and the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. Jettisoning the conventions of bio-drama and tech exposé, Fincher and Sorkin construct something akin to a 21st-century “Citizen Kane”: the haunting story of a media mogul who finds that all his riches and all his power cannot fill the hole in his soul. (Another Sorkin-penned story of a Silicon Valley giant, “Steve Jobs,” is also available on Netflix.)
‘Marriage Story’ (2019)
Noah Baumbach’s searing, Bergman-esque drama is the story not of a marriage, but of its end — of a loving couple who just, as they say, grew apart, but whose uncoupling is nowhere near that organic. Their shifting of priorities and geographic preferences prompts the hiring of lawyers, the spending of savings, and the stating of old resentments and regrets better left unsaid. Baumbach’s screenplay is full of tiny, human touches and graceful tonal shifts; he can move from screwball comedy to open-wound drama in the blink of an eye. “It’s funny and sad, sometimes within a single scene,” writes A.O. Scott, “and it weaves a plot out of the messy collapse of a shared reality, trying to make music out of disharmony.” (If you like this prickly comedy/drama, queue up the Oscar-winning “As Good As It Gets.”)
Malcolm X’ (1992)
Denzel Washington turns in one of his finest, fiercest performances in this thrilling, powerful biopic from the director Spike Lee, who tells the story of the civil rights icon on an epic, “Lawrence of Arabia”-sized scale. It’s a story of evolution, following Malcom X’s progression from petty thief to religious leader to international figure, refusing to reduce his theology and philosophy into easy catchphrases or simple explanations. Our critic called it “an ambitious, tough, seriously considered biographical film that, with honor, eludes easy characterization.”
This vivid, evocative memory play from Alfonso Cuarón is a story of two Mexican women in the early 1970s: Sofía (Marina de Tavira), a mother of four whose husband (and provider) is on his way out the door, and Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), the family’s nanny, maid and support system. The scenes are occasionally stressful, often heart-wrenching, and they unfailingly burst with life and emotion. Our critic called it “an expansive, emotional portrait of life buffeted by violent forces, and a masterpiece.”
‘The Matrix’ (1999)
This series-spawning smash is a gloriously inventive stew of dystopian future sci-fi, Hong Kong-style “gun fu,” turn-of-the-century paranoia and jaw-dropping special effects. Its big action set pieces have been imitated to death, but rarely with the visceral energy and giddy enthusiasm brought by the Wachowskis, two independent filmmakers who were given the tools and budget of a big studio picture and had an absolute blast. Our critic called it “a furious special-effects tornado.” (Fans of the film’s wuxia-style action will also want to stream “Shadow.”)
Top 5 Best Movies and TV Shows on Disney Plus (For more awesome movies and TV shows on Disney Plus)
‘The Mandalorian’ (2019-present)
Created by Jon Favreau, who kicked off the Marvel Cinematic Universe with “Iron Man,” “The Mandalorian” is by far the biggest production in Disney Plus’s launch slate. It’s an eight-episode “Star Wars” series that strikes out to a galaxy far, far away from the movies. Opening five years after the events of “Return of the Jedi” and 25 years before the emergence of a new generation of heroes in “The Force Awakens,” the show is a space western that focuses on a Clint Eastwood-like bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal) with no clear allegiances. Screeners weren’t made available to journalists in advance, but the details alone make the series well worth checking out. Werner Herzog, Nick Nolte, Gina Carano and Giancarlo Esposito are among the eclectic cast.
In 1925, a dog sled relay successfully transported diphtheria serum 674 miles to the small town of Nome, Alaska, in the Arctic Circle, preventing an epidemic from ravaging the community. The handsome and hugely affecting “Togo” filters this true story through an old-fashioned boy-and-his-dog formula, with Willem Dafoe as a hard-shelled, soft-hearted musher who bonds with the most loyal and talented pup in the territory. Our critic regretted that it didn’t get a theatrical run, where audience could have better appreciated its “imposing pictures of snow-capped mountains and rolling vistas.”
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ (2017)
The first two “Thor” movies rank among the worst of the Marvel cinematic series, but one solid takeaway is that Chris Hemsworth’s hammer-wielding alien stud-muffin thrives as the dopey center of a fish-out-of-water comedy. Taika Waititi’s “Thor: Ragnarok” offers just that, exploiting its hero’s good humor to maximum effect while offering a vamped-up Cate Blanchett as an all-powerful villain who plots to destroy his home planet, Asgard. Manohla Dargis admired how the film “humanizes” Thor, but still thinks “what he needs is a myth as mighty as his shtick.”
‘Toy Story’ (1995)
The first feature-length Pixar movie was also the first entirely computer-animated feature, representing an evolutionary leap for Disney on par with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” The sequels would add a more emotional component, but the original “Toy Story” may be the funniest and most fast-paced, scoring jokes off the interplay and adventures of Woody, Buzz and other toys that come to life when they’re not being watched. Our critic called it “the sweetest and savviest film” of 1995.
‘The Muppet Movie’ (1979)
In the first of what turned out to be many big-screen adventures, Jim Henson’s beloved puppet creations are showcased in a cheerfully ramshackle road movie that doubles as an origin story. Starting in a Florida swamp, where Kermit the Frog sings “Rainbow Connection,” and ending in Hollywood, the film picks up key members of its supporting cast along the way, including Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and other favorites. Our critic believed the film “demonstrates once again that there’s always room in movies for unbridled amiability when it’s governed by intelligence and wit.”
Top 5 Best Movies and TV Shows on Hulu (For more great movies and shows from Hulu)
When it began in 2009, this “outrageously entertaining” animated FX comedy from Adam Reed sounded like a one-joke premise, and not exactly a fresh one either: an extended spoof on James Bond-style spy stories, set at a secret intelligence agency during an indeterminate and anachronistic pseudo-Cold War period. And yet it took flight (11 seasons and counting) thanks to the show’s frisky writing, winking self-awareness, willingness to reboot itself entirely, and the skills of the uproarious voice cast, including Jessica Walters of “Arrested Development” as another unstable mother and the “Bob’s Burgers” star H. Jon Benjamin as the boozing, womanizing title character. (Fans of this absurd comedy may also enjoy “Absolutely Fabulous.”)
‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’ (2013-2018)
This CNN series from the late, great celebrity chef, author and raconteur is a globe-trotting celebration of the cultures and cuisines of the world, a well-balanced mixture of destinations close (Detroit, the Mississippi Delta, Koreatown in Los Angeles) and far (Vietnam, Okinawa, Rome, Tanzania), which Bourdain explores with both curiosity and bravado. He combines history, political commentary, observation and (of course) food appreciation into an undeniably appealing mix, often propelled by the sheer force of Bourdain’s personality. He’s game to go wherever the journey takes him, which gives his show an inspired unpredictability and infectious energy.
‘I Love Lucy’ (1951-1957)
When writing about the virtues of the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz family sitcom, it’s tempting to just jot down a list of its classic moments: the chocolate conveyor belt, stomping the grapes, mirroring Harpo Marx, “Vitameatavegamin.” That impulse is understandable; the series has been so fully consumed by popular culture that those moments are still immediately recognizable, well over half a century after they aired. In those years, the rules of television comedy were still being written, and “I Love Lucy” wrote plenty of them (its three-camera, shot-on-film, “live in front of a studio audience” set-up was the go-to process for television comedy for decades). But beyond its considerable influence is an inarguable truth: It perseveres because, as our critic noted in 2001, “it’s fantastically, timelessly funny.” (For more classic comedy, check out “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”)
One of modern television’s most discussed and dissected, analyzed and agonized, loved and loathed programs is this six-season story of a group of plane-crash survivors, trapped on a mysterious and (presumably?) deserted island. This simple setup proved fertile soil for shocking twists and copious fan theories, as well as for an admirably all-rules-are-off sense of storytelling, regularly veering off into extended flashbacks, flash-forwards and even the occasional flash-sideways. Some of its loose ends are frustrating, and some of the answers are unsatisfying. But it’s nonetheless a bold experiment in longform storytelling, and one whose “Wait, WHAT?” cliffhangers make for essential binge-watching. (For another unpredictable adventure, add “Killing Eve” to your queue.)
‘Good Will Hunting’ (1997)
Robin Williams won the Academy Award for his supporting work in this, the breakthrough film for co-writer/co-stars Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (who also picked up Oscars for their original screenplay). Damon stars as Will Hunting, a Boston janitor whose secret gift for advanced mathematics puts him on a fast track out of the working class — a journey he’s not quite sure he’s ready to make. Williams shines as the psychologist who tries to steer him right, and Affleck is superb in the relatively unshowy role of Will’s supportive best friend; Gus Van Sant’s direction is similarly modest but affecting. “The script’s bare bones are familiar,” Janet Maslin wrote, “yet the film also has fine acting, steady momentum, a sharp eye and a very warm heart.” (Similar warm-hearted vibes are found in “Hearts Beat Loud” and “Bend It Like Beckham,” also on Hulu.)
Top 5 Best Movies on Amazon Prime (Watch more amazing movies on Amazon Prime)
This unapologetically dark comedy changed the high-school movie forever, from the heartfelt and ultimately sunny chronicles of John Hughes to something with a bit more bite. Winona Ryder is tart and charming as Veronica, a popular teen who has come to hate the clique she runs with. Then she meets J.D. (Christian Slater), a Jack Nicholson clone who suggests bumping off their less tolerable classmates. Nearly 30 years on, the sheer riskiness and take-no-prisoners attitude of this delightfully demented picture still shocks; our critic called it “as snappy and assured as it is mean-spirited.”
‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (1946)
The director Frank Capra and the actor Jimmy Stewart took a marvelously simple premise — a suicidal man is given the opportunity to see what his world would have been like without him — and turned it into a holiday perennial. But “It’s a Wonderful Life” is too rich and complex to brand with a label as simple as “Christmas movie”; it is ultimately a story about overcoming darkness and finding light around you, a tricky transition achieved primarily through the peerless work of Stewart as a good man with big dreams who can’t walk away from the place where he’s needed most. Our critic dubbed it a “quaint and engaging modern parable.”
‘Fast Color’ (2019)
Most superhero movies clobber the viewer with special effects, smirking quips, and strained world-building; Julia Hart’s indie drama is barely a superhero movie at all, but a rich, tender character study of three women who just so happen to move objects with their minds. Gugu Mbatha-Raw is remarkable as Ruth, who has smothered her “abilities” in addiction and irresponsibility, returning home to join her mother (Lorraine Toussaint) and daughter (Saniyya Sidney) in an attempt to, well, save the world. Hart’s rich screenplay (written with Jordan Horowitz) vibrates with small-town authenticity and hard-earned emotion; our critic called it “a small, intimate story that hints at much bigger things.” (In a similar vein, Steven Spielberg’s futuristic familial drama “AI: Artificial Intelligence” is also on Prime.)
‘Lady Bird’ (2017)
Greta Gerwig made her solo feature directorial debut with this funny and piercing coming-of-age story, set in her hometown, Sacramento, Calif. Saoirse Ronan dazzles in the titular role as a quietly rebellious high-school senior whose quests for love and popularity bring her long-simmering resentments toward her mother (Laurie Metcalf, magnificent) to a boil. Parent-child conflicts are nothing new in teen stories, but Gerwig’s perceptive screenplay slashes through the familiar types and tropes, daring to create characters that are complicated and flawed, yet deeply sympathetic. A.O. Scott praised the film’s “freshness and surprise.” (“Eighth Grade” is a similarly complicated coming-of-age story streaming on Prime.)
‘Magic Mike’ (2012)
Channing Tatum stars in this “funny, enjoyable romp” (per our Manohla Dargis), based on his own early-career exploits as a stripper — or, as the film puts it, a “male entertainer.” The director Steven Soderbergh offers a fairly traditional story about a young performer who must learn the ropes of show business, but he adds a few twists: a preoccupation with economic systems, for one, and a convincing portrayal of feminine lust — rare for a mainstream movie, particularly one directed by a man. Matthew McConaughey is hilarious as the ringleader of his bump-and-grind roadshow.