Being active and exploring nature are key parts of any well-rounded summer. But, somehow, electing to lay around — being purposefully lazy — feels almost more faithful to the spirit of the season. So just turn on the AC, if you're lucky enough to have one that works, and ignore the barrage of texts begging you to come drink on some rooftop where all the cocktails probably taste like sunscreen anyway, and pick something from this all-over-the-place list of streamable, summer-y content. Anything can happen during summer. Sometimes, though, it's nice when literally nothing does.
This 2015 French indie — the directorial debut by Melanie "Au revoir, Shoshanna!" Luarent — has nothing particularly sunny about it: skies are overcast; conversations are fraught with unsaid things; the ending will make you not want to speak to anyone for roughly 24 to 36 hours. But the remarkable intensity of its central relationship — between a quiet, pretty girl and the enigmatic stranger that comes to town — contains the exact kind of thing we always look to summer for: a definitive moment after which things are never the same. Watch on Netflix.
2. The first seven episodes of The O.C.
The O.C.’s first season was a cultural moonshot — a faultless, sprawling odyssey of Death Cab-soundtracked drama that hasn't been matched by a teen TV show since. The first seven episodes — which started airing in August 2003, hooking viewers weeks before the rest of the fall shows started up — are like a perfect mini-season in and of themselves. It opens with a stolen car, and ends with a now-classic cliffhanger, in which Marissa clumsily swallows a handful of Summer’s stepmom’s painkillers in Tijuana. Ryan finds her unconscious in an alley, a Mazzy Star song plays, and summer television was never the same. Watch on Hulu.
3. Roseanne, Season 6 Episode 19, “Labor Day”
Summer is a time for adventure — for that fizzing excitement that comes from stepping outside what is expected of you. If you need a nudge, let someone who’s mastered the art of sticking one finger up at preconceptions do the honors: Roseanne. There’s a scene in this classic 1994 episode in which Roseanne and her heavily pregnant sister Jackie gleefully discuss — in public — some of the more delicate aspects of birth. It makes us give less of a shit about everything, and that feels like a summer mindset for sure. Watch on Netflix.
4. Ali Wong: Baby Cobra
In her new special, a very pregnant Ali Wong does comedic bits about butt sex with her ex-boyfriends, paying off her husband's student loan debt (with the money she's earned as a TV writer for Fresh Off The Boat), and the hazard's of feminism. She's dirty, blunt, and hilarious. It's a perfect watch for the laziest days of summer because it'll make you laugh your head off, and because productivity is the last thing Ali Wong is interested in. Watch on Netflix.
Michael Fassbender is a damaged art-pop genius who never removes his bewitching giant puppet mask — and it's all (kind of) true! There's a lot going on here, including a particularly floppy Domhnall Gleeson, a nicely lax Scoot McNairy, and the exact kind of commitment we've come to expect from the extended Gyllenhaal clan. But above all, what's here — a real joy toward music and the weirdos that make it. Watch on Netflix.
6. F For Fake
Orson Welles’s final film, a buoyant documentary about professional fakers and the people they con, is lighter than some of the films it sits alongside on the Criterion Collection's shelves. One section in particular, that traces a beautiful woman’s walk down a bustling street in Italy in order to document the practice of “girl-watching,” feels hinged on the particular kind of nerve-wracking erotic suspense that, for some reason, seems to pair well with warmer weather. Watch on Hulu.
7. Everything Must Go
2010’s film festival sleeper Everything Must Go — based on Raymond Carver’s “Why Don’t You Dance?” short, from his seminal collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love — follows Nick Halsey (Will Ferrell) as a down-on-his-luck salesman who loses, well, everything: his job (where he’s worked for 16 years), his wife, his house, and his dignity. A string of ill-timed decisions push the bullheaded and booze-loving Halsey to reconsider the choices he’s made thus far. It’s the sort of languid film that explores prickly questions of addiction and self-discovery, and ultimately asks: what happens when you let go of the possessions that have held you back from becoming the person you’re meant to be? The answer will surprise you. Watch on Netflix.
8. The Little Rascals
The Little Rascals is a classic ‘90s kids movie that’s so good some uninspired Hollywood exec greenlit a remake of it a couple years ago. But the original, itself a take on Hal Roach’s Our Gang TV show, has everything you could possibly want in a family-friendly summer flick: a boneheaded, cowlick-sporting protagonist, an adorable band of scrappy, snotty children, and an important moral lesson delivered at the expense of a rich, arrogant jerk. You'll be a better person for watching it. Watch on Netflix.
9. Being Mary Jane, "Pilot"
After reading the Q&A with Mara Brock-Akil from The FADER's Producer's Issue, I knew that Being Mary Jane would be next on my list of Netflix binge-watches. The show, starring Gabrielle Union as an ambitious news anchor who is devoted to her family, hasn't just filled a void for realistic, boss-bitch dramas in the wake of The Good Wife's series finale, it's also got tons of super sexy scenes that have reactivated my lust-meter — just in time for summer. Watch on Netflix.
10. Mind Of A Chef, Season 1 Episode 4
Now four seasons in, Mind Of A Chef has featured a rotating cast of cooks as hosts/protagonists, including The Spotted Pig's April Bloomfield, Prune's Gabrielle Hamilton, and Fäviken's Magnus Nilsson (Anthony Bourdain exec produces and narrates). But the debut season — in which Momofoku's David Chang delightfully, excitably justifies his ubiquity — is still the one. In episode four, in San Sebastian, Chang hangs with the Spanish legend Juan Mari Arzak and crushes an ungodly amount of pintxos. A healthy reminder that, this time of year, overeating is encouraged. Watch on Netflix.