5 Netflix movies leaving in August you have to watch now

A woman looks at a TV in The Ring.

Like clockwork, a plethora of movies and TV shows are added to and taken away from almost all streaming platforms each month. With Barbenheimer pulling everyone to movie theaters, those streaming queues have quickly piled up, and some selections may disappear as the end of August brings about changes in streamers’ content libraries.

For Netflix viewers, these five movies will be leaving the popular streamer at the end of August. From an effective American remake of a Japanese horror classic to one of the best action movies of the 2000s, these movies are worth a watch before they leave your Netflix queue for good.

If Beale Street Could Talk (2018)

A man and a woman gaze at each other in a subway car in If Beale Street Could Talk.
Annapurna Pictures

Some movies are so singular and different, it’s hard to categorize them. It would be wrong to define If Beale Street Could Talk as simply a romance, even though it contains one of the swooniest on-screen courtships in the last 10 years. It would also be wrong to label it as a socially conscious drama, yet it deals honestly with the harsh realities of being Black in early 1970s New York City.

That the movie is both of these things, and also a mesmerizing family drama and a deeply felt literary adaptation, is why it should be watched in the first place. The cast, led by Surface‘s Stephan James and Kiki Layne, is stellar, but it’s the quiet supporting performances by Regina King (who won an Oscar for her terrific work) and Brian Tyree Henry (who should’ve been nominated) that linger in the memory. Director Barry Jenkins proved that his Oscar-winning film Moonlight was no fluke; he’s one of the best directors working today, and If Beale Street Could Talk may just be his masterpiece.

If Beale Street Could Talk leaves Netflix on August 31.

Mean Girls (2004)

Four girls stand in a school in Mean Girls.
Paramount / Paramount

What more needs to be said about Mean Girls? It’s so ingrained in popular culture that if you haven’t watched it already, nothing I can write will convince you to watch it now. To those who don’t know, here’s the plot in a nutshell: Teenager Cady begins her senior year at a new high school. At the urging of her new outcast friends, Cady makes it her mission to take down the school’s top clique, the Plastics: Regina George, Gretchen Wieners, and Karen Smith. Cady soon becomes a member, and likes the power popularity brings her a little too much.

The movie is best known as Lindsay Lohan’s breakout hit, but Mean Girls excels because of its great supporting cast. Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried deliver great comedic turns as members of the Plastics, and Amy Poehler makes the most of every bit of screen time she has as Regina George’s desperately-trying-to-be-cool mother. Ignore the syrupy ending (a game of trust? Really, Tina Fey?) and enjoy the high school cattiness and endlessly quotable dialogue that made Mean Girls millennials’ answer to Heathers.

Mean Girls leaves Netflix on August 31.

The Italian Job (2003)

Four people stand around a car in The Italian Job.

The Italian Job is the rare modern Mark Wahlberg movie you don’t have to be embarrassed to like. That’s largely due to the surprisingly stacked supporting cast, who run laps (excuse the pun) around the monosyllabic star. Wahlberg stars as Charlie Croker, the leader of a team of thieves who pull off a daring, and certainly improbable, gold heist. One of Charlie’s teammates, Steve Frazelli (Ed Norton), betrays his friends and takes the gold for himself. A year later, Charlie reassembles Handsome Rob (Jason Statham), Lyle (Seth Green), Stella Bridger (Charlize Theron), and Gilligan (Mos Def) to steal the gold back from Steve.

A remake of the Michael Caine 1969 movie of the same name, The Italian Job has everything you want from an action movie: great chase scenes (those Mini Cooper racing segments still hold up), a truly vile villain (Norton knows how to get nasty), and a great sense of camaraderie from Charlie’s merry band of renegades. The Italian Job is slick, stylish, and efficient, and you can’t ask for a better way to spend two hours.

The Italian Job leaves Netflix on August 31.

The Ring (2002)

A woman holds a floating child in The Ring.

Horror remakes are often terrible to watch. Take 2009’s Friday the 13th2010’s A Nightmare on Elm Streetand David Gordon Green’s recent Halloween trilogy as just some of the many examples of a depressing trend in recent times of rebooting/remaking a beloved horror movie with a vastly inferior interpretation. One of the few exceptions was 2002’s The Ringwhich somehow pulled off the impossible feat of being both superior to its original source material (1998’s ring) and a truly scary PG-13 horror movie.

Naomi Watts stars as Rachel Keller, a journalist who stumbles upon a cursed video that kills whoever watches it in seven days. Racing against time, she must find a way to avoid the video’s wrath, which threatens both her and her son. Director Gore Verbinski elevates the material with surprisingly moody visuals that effectively create a sinister and foreboding atmosphere. Halloween is a few months away, but The Ring is still worth watching for a late summer scare.

The Ring leaves Netflix on August 31.

Sleepless in Seattle (1993)

A man and a woman look at each other in Sleepless in Seattle.
Paramount Pictures

There are rom-coms, and there is Sleepless in Seattle. You know the story: a woman hears a lonely widower talk about his feelings one Christmas night over the radio, falls in love, and conspires to meet him even though she herself is engaged and lives on the other side of the country.

The popularity of the movie is justified; it’s a legit charmer, with almost zero of the usual saccharine that usually saturates movies in this genre. That’s thanks to writer/director Nora Ephron, who was nominated for an Oscar that year for her witty and whimsical screenplay, and the stellar cast, which includes Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Rosie O’Donnell, Rob Reiner, Bill Pullman, David Hyde Pierce, Gaby Hoffman, Rita Wilson, Victor Garber, Frances Conroy, and many more. Although set between Christmas Eve and Valentine’s Day, Sleepless in Seattle is great viewing at any time of the year, and an ideal way to wave goodbye to the dreamy days of summertime.

Sleepless in Seattle leaves Netflix on August 31.

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