Bring on the fireworks, the nice weather and all the festivities during the Fourth of July weekend. Some may be planning to be outside all day, while others plan to sit at home and watch movies and television, but ABS has you covered with plenty of options.
This week’s What to Watch list features new, nostalgic and patriotic award-winning films and series. Whether you’re looking for a light series, like “I’m a Virgo,” or “Independence Day,” something to laugh at like the “Rush Hour” franchise or a historical drama like “Judas and the Black Messiah,” you’re sure to find something here.
Here’s a list of new and classic television shows and movies hitting streaming services this weekend.
- Hijack (2023) Idris Elba stars in this action-packed thriller series as Sam Nelson, a business negotiator on a hijacked plane traveling from Dubai to his native hometown in London. The plane is taken over by a group of mysterious assailants, who ultimately gain control of the cockpit. Two new episodes were released on Wednesday, June 28, with more to come.
- Poetic Justice (1993) The late John Singleton did his thing with this 1993 cult classic, starring two of the culture’s most influential people: Janet Jackson and the late Tupac Shakur. The late rapper played, Lucky, a post office worker simply trying to make ends meet for himself and his daughter. He by chance ends up meeting Jackson’s character, Justice, who writes poetry about pain and loss stemming from the murder of her previous boyfriend. The two start off at odds, but love creeps its way into both of their hearts.
- I’m a Virgo (2023) The seven-episode series stars Emmy-winning actor Jharrel Jerome from “When They See Us” and Brett Gray from Netflix’s “On My Block.” The absurdist comedy follows Jerome’s character Cootie, a 13-foot-tall teenager, who escapes from home to enjoy the simple pleasures of the real world, such as making friends, dating women and living life on his own terms.
- ATL (2006) Four high schoolers live in the Mechanicsville are of Atlanta Georgia, where music and skating are the backbone of the city. T.I. portrayed Rashad, the ring leader of their roller skating team and the big brother of Ant, played by Evan Ross. The drama unfolds at Cascade, their local skating ring, and even more drama spills into Rashad and Ant’s personal home life. The film also stars Jason Weaver, Lauren London, Big Boi, Jackie Long and more.
- Average Joe (2023) Deon Cole brings the drama and the funny in his new 10-episode series inspired by his life. It follows Cole as Joe Washington, a plumber who learns a secret about his father who recently died. He allegedly stole millions of dollars from some dangerous people just before he passed away. His very normal and average life turns upside down after a violent confrontation with those same people, which triggers a chain of more concerning events.
- Hidden Figures (2016) Based on a true story, Janelle Monáe, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer play black mathematicians who helped NASA send John Glenn into space in the 1960s. The science film is based on the true stories of three female, African-American NASA mathematicians who successfully aided the U.S. space program amid racial tensions. It won an award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Motion Picture at the Screen Actor’s Guild Award the year after its release.
- Judas and The Black Messiah (2021) This biographical crime drama is about the life of Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party. The film is hard to watch due to the dramatic nature of how he was killed and other actions, but it’s necessary for all to see. British actor Daniel Kaluuya plays Hampton while LaKeith Standfield plays Bill O’Neal, who became an FBI informant after being arrested for stealing cars and impersonating an FBI agent.
- Girls Trip (2017) During the Fourth of July weekend, four friends, Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish and Queen Latifah, link up to attend the annual Essence Festival. From beginning to end, the movie is filled with jokes, laughs, drama and tidbits of self-reflection about women’s friendships. Fans have been waiting patiently for the sequel to the Will Packer-produced film from director Malcom D. Lee.
- Independence Day (1996) In this epic sci-fi/action film, a lot takes place over the Fourth of July weekend. Vivica A. Fox played the love interest of Will Smith’s character, Captain Steven Hiller, who battles an alien invasion after the landing of a massive spaceship on Earth. Smith sat out for the film’s sequel, but Fox returned to reprise her role as Jasmine Dubrow.
- Mudbound (2017) Mary J. Blige earned two Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song for “Might River,” making her the first Black woman to earn multiple nominations in the same year. She played Florence, the matriarch of a poor Black farming family in the rural Mississippi Delta in the 1940s.
- Selma (2014) David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding Jr., Lorraine Toussaint, Common and many other notable celebs lent their efforts to this impactful and historical drama written by Ava DuVernay. It chronicles Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s fight to secure equal voting rights with a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, during the Civil Rights Movement.
- Rush Hour Trilogy (1998-2007) Another set of cult classic films was created for the “Rush Hour” movie franchise. Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan star as two detectives from separate parts of the world that end up working together on a big case in Los Angeles in the first film. In “Rush Hour 2,” the duo goes all the way to Hong Kong after two customs agents are killed during an explosion at the U.S. Embassy. They head to Paris for “Rush Hour 3,” to track down the identity of a powerful crime lord.
- Run the World (Season 2) Single ladies Whitney, Renee and Sondi meet up with their friend Hope, who reveals that she’s getting married to someone she met four months ago. Each is still battling with their own relationship or situationship issues in addition to their hectic work lives. But they put their fears and concerns aside to support their friend on her big wedding day. In the end, one realizes she is still in love with the ex she willingly pushed away.