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9 new movies and shows to watch this weekend on Netflix, Hulu and more (July 1-4)

Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield in STRANGER THINGS 4
(Image credit: Netflix)

Fourth of July is bringing fireworks to the sky and to streaming services, with spectacular new movies and shows to watch this weekend on Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video and more.

The lineup is led by Stranger Things 4 volume 2, (one of the best shows to watch in July) which picks up where the first part left off with two movie-length episodes. Vecna is on the prowl for more victims, and Eleven is still trying to gather the force of her still-returning powers to prevent more death and destruction.

Another fan-favorite series makes its return, as Only Murders in the Building season 2 sees the trio of sleuthing true crime podcasters trying to clear their name of yet another killing in the Arconia. 

New series The Terminal List and Baymax! are premiering, as are new movies Beauty and The Princess.

Here’s our guide on what to watch this long Fourth of July holiday weekend. Plus, check out what to watch in July for the rest of the month.

Stranger Things season 4 volume 2 (Netflix)

The Upside Down is more dangerous than ever in the second part of Stranger Things part 4, which consists of just two episodes. But those two installments are movie-length: episode 408 has a run time of one hour, 25 minutes and episode 409 is almost two and a half hours! 

The first volume of season 4 ended on several cliffhangers. Eleven realized she unwittingly created Vecna by banishing Henry Creel (aka 001) to the Upside Down after he committed mass murder in the Hawkins Lab. Some of her powers (it's not clear that she's at full-force) have returned, fortunately, since her friends desperately need help. Vecna is tormenting Nancy by using her guilt over Barb’s death (#JusticeForBarb!). Steve will have to figure out her version of “Running Up That Hill,” and we hope that Eddie can play it on his guitar. Meanwhile, Joyce has finally tracked down Hopper and they’re certain to rush back home to save their kids.

Streaming now on Netflix (opens in new tab)

Only Murders in the Building season 2 (Hulu)

One of the best shows of 2021 is back with more murder, mystery and mayhem. The comedy delightfully sends up the large and passionate true crime cult fandom (which includes myself), while still functioning as an absorbing whodunnit. Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez star as an unlikely trio of amateur sleuths who first come together to investigate the suspicious death of their neighbor, Tim Kono — all while recording their own podcast about their findings.

In season 2, the trio finds themselves framed for another murder in the Arconia, that of co-op board president Bunny Folger. They’re even the subjects of a competing true crime podcast, Only Murderers in the Building. Now considered persons of interest by the police, they start digging into Bunny’s life to clear their names and find the real killer. 

Streaming now on Hulu (opens in new tab)

The Terminal List (Prime Video)

Last summer, Chris Pratt starred in the dad movie Tomorrow War as a former Green Beret who fights a time war against aliens. This summer, he’s headlining the dad show Terminal List as a Navy SEAL who seeks revenge for the death of his platoon (shades of another dad movie, Taken). Basically, is it even summer if Pratt isn’t playing some military guy in a project targeted at dads who’ve already watched Reacher and Jack Ryan?

After SEAL commander James Reece’s platoon is ambushed and wiped out, he returns home vowing to track down the terrorist leader he believes is responsible. As the military investigates what happened, Reece finds that his hazy memories don’t match their evidence. With the help of an old friend and CIA agent (Taylor Kitsch) and a journalist (Constance Wu), he begins to unravel a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top.

Streaming now on Prime Video (opens in new tab)

Beauty (Netflix)

Beauty is not a biopic about Whitney Houston, but is clearly inspired by the late music icon’s life. From director Andrew Dosunmu and writer Lena Waithe, the film follows a young  Black singer in the ‘80s named Beauty (Gracie Marie Bradley) who is offered a lucrative deal by a major label. She must decide how to balance her artistic aspirations with family pressures. Fame could destroy her life as she knows it. 

Her mother (Niecy Nash) is a failed singer who wants to protect Beauty, while her father (Giancarlo Esposito) only sees dollar signs. The person Beauty trusts the most is her girlfriend Jasmine (Aleyse Shannon), though their relationship must be hidden or come to an end if the deal is signed. 

Streaming now on Netflix (opens in new tab)

The Princess (Hulu)

The Kissing Booth’s Joey King stars in an entirely different kind of fairy tale. The fantasy action movie follows a strong-willed princess who refuses to marry the cruel sociopath to whom her father has betrothed her. As payback, the scorned suitor (Dominic Cooper) kidnaps and locks her up in a remote tower in the castle, then attempts to take over her father’s throne.

But this princess is no damsel in distress! She is capable of wielding a sword and kicking ass. The villain and his henchmen have ““f***ed with the wrong princess!” With the help of feisty servant (Veronica Ngo), the royal embarks on a brutal and violent campaign to protect her family and save the kingdom. 

Streaming now on Hulu (opens in new tab) 

The Upshaws season 2 part 1 (Netflix)

Multi-camera sitcoms almost feel quaint now. The nostalgia-inducing familiarity feels like the TV version of comfort food. In that way, The Upshaws is like a blast from the past that’s set in the modern day. The first part of season 2 (consisting of eight episodes) brings back all the major players, led by Mike Epps as Bennie, a mechanic and patriarch of a Black working class family in Indianapolis. 

Bennie is still a bit of a mess and constantly trying to get on the good side of his on-again, off-again wife Regina (Kim Fields). His efforts are given major side-eye and outright hostility by Regina’s sister, Lucretia (Wanda Sykes). Bennie scrambles to be there for Regina and his kids, while dealing with problems at the shop. And things get even more complicated when a surprise visitor knocks at the door. 

Streaming now on Netflix (opens in new tab) 

Baymax! (Disney Plus)

The 2014 animated movie Big Hero 6 (adapted from Marvel comics) was a critical and commercial hit, winning an Oscar and earning over $657 million worldwide. It spawned one spinoff series which ran on the Disney Channel. Now, another one comes to Disney Plus, with a complete focus on the adorable nurse robot Baymax. 

Baymax patrols the streets of San Francisco on a mission to help others, like the anti-Terminator. It comes to the aid of a variety of characters, including a girl who gets her first period and an older woman who is afraid of water. And when the gentle robot runs into trouble, its patients band together to help it in return.

Streaming now on Disney Plus (opens in new tab)

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Kelly is a senior writer covering streaming media for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.