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Stuck streaming: Here's 20 great 2019 movies you probably missed

Beyond the blockbusters, a list of last year's best movies that are now available on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and more

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

You probably saw "Joker." You made a point to see "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood." You may have even seen last year's Best Picture winner, "Parasite." 

But there are scores of excellent films from 2019 that flew under the radar, which are available to watch right now, at home, via streaming services. 

As our quaranstream series continues, here is a list of 20 great streaming films from 2019 that you probably missed. These are just the movies included on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and HBO Go; films such as "Queen and Slim," "Jojo Rabbit" and "Waves," all very much worth your time, are available for rental on platforms such as Amazon, Apple and YouTube.

Stay indoors, keep streaming.

20 Great 2019 Movies You Probably Missed now streaming

"The Last Black Man in San Francisco" (Amazon Prime) — Director Joe Talbot takes a hard look at gentrification and what it means to the soul of a city and its residents in his gorgeous debut feature, the lessons from which can be applied to any big city facing similar identity issues. (R, 121 mins) 

Jimmie Fails and Jonathan Majors in "The Last Black Man In San Francisco."

"The Farewell" (Amazon Prime) — Writer-director Lulu Wang's comic-drama about a Chinese family's way of dealing with the pending death of their grandmother is funny, warm and relatable, since no matter what culture you're from, everybody knows what it's like to have a crazy family. (PG, 100 mins) 

Awkwafina, center, in "The Farewell."

"Apollo 11" (Hulu) — No talking heads. No re-creations. Just the footage. Director Todd Douglas Miller's documentary about the 1969 moon landing is a pulse-racing celebration of the triumph of human ingenuity, toasting one of mankind's greatest accomplishments in as unobtrusive a way as possible. (G, 93 mins) 

Neil Armstrong in "Apollo 11."

"Amazing Grace" (Hulu) — Aretha Franklin sings from on high in this stirring concert film about her pair of performances at L.A.'s New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in 1972, which were recorded for her "Amazing Grace" album. At one point Mick Jagger is seen in a pew dancing; it's how we all feel watching this magnificent artifact. (G, 120 mins)

Aretha Franklin in "Amazing Grace."

"American Factory" (Netflix) — The Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature is a stark look at the American workforce, our place in the world and frankly, our entire way of life. When a Chinese company brings work to a shuttered Ohio plant, prosperity is promised for all. That's not quite what happens. (not rated, 115 mins)  

A scene from "American Factory."

"Booksmart" (Hulu) — Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever graduate with honors in this spirited romp, a 'Clueless' for the Gen-Z set or a female-led "Superbad," depending on your point of reference. (Note: This hilarious and heartfelt high school comedy story also made our roundup of the best comedies that are currently streaming.) (R, 105 mins) 

Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever in "Booksmart."

"Midsommar" (Amazon Prime) — In this very twisted horror tale, Dani Ardor's (Florence Pugh) summer vacation to Sweden becomes a hellish daylit nightmare when she finds herself in the middle of an ancient pagan ritual where she and her friends are the unwilling special guests. Maybe staying indoors isn't so bad. (R, 138 mins) 

Jack Reynor and Florence Pugh in "Midsommar."

"The Beach Bum" (Hulu) — Matthew McConaughey is bananas in this comedy about an idiot (that's McConaughey) whose personal philosophies on drugs, sex and boozing have him in a perpetual state of moronic bliss. Jonah Hill, Snoop Dogg, Martin Lawrence and Jimmy Buffett round out the gleefully random cast. (R, 96 mins) 

Matthew McConaughey and Snoop Dogg in "The Beach Bum."

"Honey Boy" (Amazon Prime) — Shia LaBeouf's difficult-to-watch look at a child star's relationship with his troubled father is a deeply cathartic work; LaBeouf writes and stars in this house of mirrors, portraying a version of his dad, while Noah Jupe stars as a version of his younger self. Talk about art as therapy. (R, 94 mins) 

Noah Jupe in "Honey Boy."

"The Perfection" (Netflix) — Allison Williams plays a former cello prodigy in this devilish little thriller, which is full of twists, turns and surprises. The less known going in the better, but know that co-writer and director Richard Shepard is having fun playing with genre possibilities and expectations and most of all, the audience. (not rated, 90 mins) 

Logan Browning and Allison Williams in "The Perfection."

"Honeyland" (Hulu) — This story of a beekeeper in North Macedonia is so rife with insights about life and human nature that it feels as if it's been passed down through generations like a sacred text, and it's told by directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanovis with a keen sense of visual poetry. (not rated, 87 mins) 

Hatidze Muratova in "Honeyland."

"Diane" (Hulu) — First things first: It's about death, not the cheeriest of subjects as we're secluded indoors dealing with a global pandemic. That said, Mary Kay Place is outstanding as the title character, who is dealing death's inevitability as she watches those around her succumb to the great beyond. Stark, but real. (not rated, 95 mins) 

Mary Kay Place in "Diane."

"Her Smell" (HBO Go) — Elisabeth Moss is a force of nature in this story of an unglued '90s rocker (think Courtney Love) wrestling with her demons, both on-stage and off. It's exhausting to watch and you'll find yourself hating Moss' character, which is exactly the point. Someone's gotta be Miss World. (R, 135 mins) 

Elisabeth Moss in "Her Smell."

"In the Shadow of the Moon" (Netflix) — Boyd Holbrook stars as a young Philadelphia cop with a kid on the way in this police thriller which somewhere along the way turns into a time-bending sci-fi adventure. You're never quite sure where Jim Mickle's tale is headed, and that's one of its strengths. Just go with it. (TV-MA, 115 mins) 

Boyd Holbrook and Michael C. Hall in "In the Shadow of the Moon."

"Wild Rose" (Hulu) — The great Jessie Buckley is every inch a star in this story about an aspiring country singer from Glasgow who can't seem to get out of her own way. Director Tom Harper's drama does anything but play things according to Hollywood, instead sticking to the country music ethos of three chords and the truth. (R, 101 mins) 

Jessie Buckley in "Wild Rose."

"The Nightingale" (Hulu) — A warning: This intense, violent, disturbing revenge tale is not for the squeamish or faint of heart. Writer-director Jennifer Kent cuts to the bone in this story of an Irish convict (the remarkable Aisling Franciosi) who is seeking vengeance against the British soldiers who took everything from her. (R, 136 mins) 

Aisling Franciosi in "The Nightingale."

"Luce" (Hulu) — Kelvin Harrison Jr. ("Waves") is magnificent in this simmering psychological thriller about power, lies and the expectations of race and identity in America. Luce (Harrison) is a star athlete whose spotless scholastic record is threatened by a clash with a teacher (Octavia Spencer); then things get interesting. (R, 109 mins) 

Octavia Spencer, Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Naomi Watts in "Luce."

"Lords of Chaos" (Hulu) — Followers of True Norwegian Black Metal know Øystein "Euronymous" Aarseth (Rory Culkin), who skirted the line between authenticity and hype. The darkly comic and repulsively gruesome "Lords of Chaos" tells the caustic story of his life, metal's myths and the dangers of living your gimmick. (R, 118 mins)

Rory Culkin and Anthony De La Torre in "Lords of Chaos."

"High Flying Bird" (Netflix) — Steven Soderbergh examines the game of basketball not from the court but from the high rise offices where decisions about what happens on the court are made, "the game on top of the game," as one character puts it. It's a slick, fast-talking story that doesn't wait for the viewer to play catch up. (not rated, 91 mins) 

Andre Holland in "High Flying Bird."

"Screwball" (Netflix) — To underscore the insanity of Major League Baseball's doping scandal, director Billy Corben has children in wigs playing the athletes and doctors in this playful look at the big money, conflicting interests, crack doctors, bootleg criminals and Florida ridiculousness at the heart of this truly American story. (not rated, 105 mins) 

Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez is played by a child, Blake McCall, in "Screwball."

Previously: 20 Comedies to Brighten Your DayThe 20 Best Movies Streaming Right Now on Netflix, 10 TV series to help quell the panic

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama