Stuck streaming: Here's 20 movies with Michigan ties you can watch now

A list of movies with home state ties now streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and more

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

You can't go many places in Michigan right now, so let Michigan come to you. 

As we continue our quaranstream series, we turn our attention toward our home state of Michigan, and our contributions to the film world.

We've rounded up 20 films with Michigan ties that are now streaming. Some are Michigan stories, some are set in Michigan, some star or were made by talents from Michigan, but this diverse list — which is music-heavy, of course — shows the depth and breadth of Michigan's impact on the movies. 

Stay indoors, keep streaming, and enjoy a little piece of Michigan from the comfort of your living room. 


"Searching for Sugar Man" (Netflix) — The unbelievable Oscar-winning true story of a superstar musician who lived his life in the shadows because he had no idea he was a superstar tells the stunning tale of Detroit's Rodriguez, a singer-songwriter in the early '70s who never made it — or at least thought he never did — before finding out he was a folk hero halfway around the world. (PG-13, 2012, 86 mins) 

Rodriguez in "Searching for Sugar Man."

"I, Tonya" (Hulu) — It's the messy, sad story of Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie), the bad girl of the ice skating world, and the plot that undid her career and helped create the modern tabloid scandal. The Michigan connection is two-fold: one, the attack on Nancy Kerrigan took place in Detroit, and two, this film was the breakthrough for Saginaw's Paul Walter Hauser, who plays screwball Shawn Eckardt. (R, 2017, 121 mins) 

Margot Robbie in "I, Tonya."

"Framing John DeLorean" (Hulu) — Larger-than-life automobile icon John DeLoreon was too atypical for a straightforward biopic, so here we get an insightful documentary, a film within-a-film and a behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of that film within-a-film. Somehow it all works, and DeLoreon himself — the Detroit car superstar played here by Alec Baldwin — would be proud. (not rated, 2019, 109 mins)

Actor Alec Baldwin plays John DeLorean in the critically-accliamed documentary, "Framing John Delorean."

"The Myth of the American Sleepover" (Hulu) — In the debut film from Clawson's David Robert Mitchell, not much happens, yet everything happens. That's how it is for a group of Metro Detroiters heading into high school, hanging out for one last summer night, hooking up, being awkward and pretending they have it figured out. They don't, of course, and that's the beauty of this unassuming sleepover. (not rated, 2010, 97 mins) 

Madi Ortiz and Marlon Morton in "The Myth of the American Sleepover."

"Detroit" (Hulu) — Kathryn Bigelow's searing drama throws viewers inside Detroit's Algiers Motel on a summer night in July 1967, locks the door, and doesn't let them out. That's the notorious incident during the the city's riots, of course, and Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker," "Zero Dark Thirty") brings an unwavering intensity that's hard to take and even harder to shake. It ain't pretty, but it's effective. (R, 2017, 144 mins) 

A scene from "Detroit."

"Standing in the Shadows of Motown" (Hulu) — The story of the Funk Brothers is the story of Motown, and this feel-good doc is an unabashed celebration of the Motown sound. The tale of the heretofore unheralded Funks is told through interviews, photos, re-creations and most importantly music, as the sounds they helped make famous are brought to life by Chaka Khan, Joan Osborne and more. (PG, 2002, 116 mins) 

Joe Hunter, Eddie Willis, and Joe Messina in "Standing in the Shadows of Motown."

"Gimme Danger: The Story of the Stooges" (Amazon Prime) — The story of the Stooges is a peanut butter-smearing, stage-diving ride to the bottom, and eventually to the top. Filmmaker Jim Jarmusch treats the Stooges like the greatest rock and roll band ever, which is the kind of passion you want from a project like this. Iggy Pop was always going to be a star, and "Gimme Danger" shows how it happened. (R, 2016, 108 mins) 

The Stooges in "Gimme Danger: The Story of the Stooges."

"Amazing Grace" (Hulu) — This doc on Aretha Franklin's legendary performances at Los Angeles' New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in January 1972 stayed buried for almost 50 years, and was long considered a holy grail by fans. It was finally released just months after the Queen of Soul's death in 2018, and now forever stands as a towering testament to her extraordinary gifts. Amazing, indeed. (G, 2018, 120 mins) 

Aretha Franklin in "Amazing Grace."

"Up in the Air" (Hulu) — An off-beat rom-com that unfolded during America's last financial crisis, "Up in the Air" is suddenly relevant again. George Clooney stars as Ryan Bingham, a corporate mercenary of sorts who is hired to fire people. Local filming was done here in the stark Detroit winter, and the film is interspersed with interviews with real-life Detroiters and their tales of hardship. Worth revisiting. (R, 2009, 109 mins) 

Anna Kendrick and George Clooney in "Up in the Air."

"The Standoff at Sparrow Creek" (Hulu) — A Michigan militia group turns on itself in this sharp debut from Birmingham-bred filmmaker Henry Dunham. There's an element of "Reservoir Dogs" here, with the movie's sparse locale and its group of men pointing fingers in the aftermath of a crime, and the cast is led by James Badge Dale, who helps add to its tense, taut mood of uneasiness. (not rated, 2018, 89 mins) 

James Badge Dale in "The Standoff at Sparrow Creek."

"Burn" (Hulu) — Directors Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez embedded themselves for a year with a group of firefighters on Detroit's east side for this doc, which looks at the frightening, dangerous and often thankless world of fighting fires. Putnam and Sanchez also show the heroism of their subjects, as well as the excitement of taking on a blaze by setting the action to Stooges songs. It's a hot one. (not rated, 2012, 86 mins)  

A Detroit firefighter in "Burn."

"Tough Guy: The Bob Probert Story" (Amazon Prime) — A hockey movie for hockey fans, "Tough Guy" is like the junior league cousin of "The Russian Five": not as slick, not as well-produced, but happy to fight you to the ground just for looking at it funny. In that way it's a fitting tribute to Probert, the Detroit Red Wing bruiser whose fighting career was only occasionally interrupted by the game of hockey. (not rated, 2018, 94 mins)

Bob Probert in "Tough Guy: The Bob Probert Story."

"Out of Sight" (HBO Go) — It made Clooney a movie star, gave J. Lo her best role ever and kicked off an incredible run for director Steven Soderbergh. But for Detroiters, it put the city on screen and made its bleakness look beautiful; the hard cut from the lush Miami setting to the harsh Detroit winter hits like a punch to the face, just as Elmore Leonard, who wrote the source material, intended. (R, 1998, 123 mins)  

George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames and Steve Zahn in "Out of Sight."

"8 Mile" (Starz) — "And there's no movie, there's no Mekhi Phifer." Except there was a movie, and Curtis Hanson's semi-biography of Eminem is full of Detroit grit and attitude, and it's set to a killer hip-hop soundtrack. (Mobb Deep's "Shook Ones, Pt. II" perfectly sets the scene for the 1995 timeline.) Eminem was never this good on screen again; in fact, he was never on screen again. Why is that? Come back, Em! (R, 2002, 118 mins) 

Eminem in "8 Mile."

"Drag Me to Hell" (Starz) — We couldn't do a Michigan list without Sam Raimi, the Royal Oaker who gave the world the "Evil Dead" movies, the original "Spider-Man" trilogy and the under-heralded drama "A Simple Plan." But we're giving the nod here to "Drag Me to Hell," Raimi's completely bonkers funhouse horror show about a bank teller trying to shake off a deadly curse. Strap in and take the ride. (PG-13, 2009, 99 mins) 

Alison Lohman in "Drag Me to Hell."

"The End of the Tour" (Netflix) — The touching Grand Rapids-shot drama sees Jason Segel playing David Foster Wallace, the "Infinite Jest" author who hanged himself in 2008. Jesse Eisenberg plays a journalist who spends several days interviewing Wallace, and most of the movie is just the two of them talking. But there's magic in their words, and comfort in the film's exploration of Wallace's conflicted mind. (R, 2015, 106 mins) 

Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg in "The End of the Tour."

"Cedar Rapids" (HBO Go) — A better title would be Ann Arbor, since that's the city that stands in for the title locale in this comedy about an insurance salesman (Ed Helms) who lets it rip at a weekend sales conference. Anne Heche is the best she's been in years as a fellow agent, and John C. Reilly is at his goofball hammiest as a party animal for whom the night's not over until someone crashes the pool. (R, 2011, 87 mins) 

John C. Reilly, Ed Helms and Isiah Whitlock Jr. in "Cedar Rapids."

"Burning" (Hulu) — Troy-raised Steven Yeun ("The Walking Dead") is mesmerizing in director Lee Chang-dong's low-simmer South Korean thriller, and his performance as a well-to-do, Porsche-driving playboy-type with a secret will leave you breathless. "Burning" invokes politics, class strife and human connection, and its mysteries are so layered the movie is constantly revealing new trails. (not rated, 2018, 148 mins) 

Ah-In Yoo, Jong-seo Jun and Steven Yeun in "Burning."

"The Female Brain" (Hulu) — It's not a great movie; it's barely a good one. But Detroit Piston Blake Griffin shows sharp comic timing and an easygoing charisma in director Whitney Cummings' scattershot rom-com, enough where you want to see more of him. His role's not a stretch — he plays a professional basketball player nursing an injury, which, hello — but it's enough that he easily steals the show. (not rated, 2017, 99 mins) 

Cecily Strong and Blake Griffin in "The Female Brain."

"Escanaba in da Moonlight" (Amazon Prime) — Writer-director-star Jeff Daniels' ode to deer huntin' in da U.P. is easily the best ode to deer huntin' in da U.P. ever committed to film. It's colorful and weird and full of references unique to the Superior State, specifically the U.P. — or, as the narrator calls it, "north of the Mackinac Bridge and just south of heaven, for those of you that don't know nothin." (PG-13, 2001, 92 mins) 

Jeff Daniels in "Escanaba in da Moonlight."

PREVIOUSLY: The 20 Best Movies Now on Netflix, 20 Comedies to Brighten Your Day, 20 Great 2019 Movies You Probably Missed, 10 TV Shows to Help Quell the Panic