Netflix giveth and it taketh away. But at least it does both at the same time. There’s a lot departing Netflix in May: the first three “Jurassic Park”s, Oliver Stone’s “The Doors,” “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.” They will be missed. But as always, there’s plenty more to take their place. Here’s the best films you’ll be able to stream in the early days of the summer movie season:
‘Forrest Gump’ (May 1)
We’re in the minority about this one: We find Robert Zemeckis’ Oscar-gobbling paean to stupidity kind of stupid, as well as retrograde. At heart, it’s a conservative diss on all things progressive and ’60s. Hippies, yippies, Black Panthers, the SDS — all are depicted as cruel and scary, especially in the face of sweet and dumb Tom Hanks. But again, we know we’re in the minority.
‘Happy Feet’ (May 1)
Here’s a weird fact: That dancing, singing penguin movie — and its less-loved 2011 sequel — was made by the guy who made all the “Mad Max” films. You can thank the mega-success of this kiddie film for ensuring director George Miller could go make the brilliant two-hour car chase that was “Fury Road.” And weirder still: It’s actually pretty good.
‘Love’ (May 1)
Once the kids are tucked away after “Happy Feet,” feel free to switch gears. And how: Gaspar Noe’s French bonk-fest features real stumping, with actual Ps going in actual Vs. (In theaters it was even shown in 3-D, which was something.) But “Love” has more going for it than real sex: It’s a deeply sad relationship movie, about a guy — a seriously dumb guy, whose dopey narration is near-Forrest Gump-level — mulling over the girl that got away. If this sounds gooey, then remember that Noe is the brute responsible for “Irreversible” and “Enter the Void.”
‘Anvil: The Story of Anvil’ (May 1)
A real-life Spinal Tap, this 2008 doc catches up with Anvil, a metal band that never got big, and carried on with their endearingly pretentious (and pretty rockin’) music well past the genre’s sell-by date. We watch the now-middle-aged band cruising around their latest nothing of a tour, banging out non-hits, chasing foolish dreams against all odds — all the while perhaps forcing you to reflect on the fact that you never made it either.
‘Don’t Think Twice’ (May 1)
One of last year’s better indies, Mike Birbiglia’s look at a floundering NYC improv troupe — whose ranks include Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci and Chris Gethard — is, like “Anvil,” a devastating (but funny!) look at those who never made it. Meanwhile, Keegan-Michael Key nearly steals the show as the one who does, scoring a minor slot on an “SNL”-style show but only finding loneliness and frustration at the near-top.
‘All We Had’ (May 9)
Katie Holmes directed a movie! And it’s not bad! It’s not great either, but her drama about a wayward mother (played by herself) who struggles to support her young daughter shows a lot of promise. She may even make a terrific film one day. This isn’t it, but it has plenty to recommend, including a fearlessly combustible turn from Holmes herself. Check it out now and tell people you knew Katie Holmes the director had it before anyone else did.
‘The Break-Up’ (May 16)
The best part of this 2006 comedy is that they really break up. Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn — who enjoyed their time playing a split-up couple so much that they briefly became one in real life — duke it out as successful New Yorkers who duel over which one should take their swanky apartment. And remember when Vaughn still made good comedies? This will make you wish he had yet another comeback.
‘Inglourious Basterds’ (May 22)
Quentin Tarantino’s epic slab of revisionist World War II history ends with Brad Pitt carving a swastika into a Nazi’s head, then proclaiming, “This might be my masterpiece.” We’d argue this is Tarantino’s masterpiece — a fragmented and compulsively gripping war romp with untold killer scenes, all building to a part where Jewish soldiers get to shoot the dead Hitler in the face. If dreams don’t come true in real life, they always can in the movies.
‘Southpaw’ (May 24)
Jake Gyllenhaal got super-ripped to play an eternally anguished boxer who literally fights to reclaim custody of his daughter. But you should really watch this for the predictably fine work from Forest Whitaker, as his grizzled trainer, and for recent Oscar-nominee Naomie Harris, oozing bottomless decency as the social worker sympathetic to our hero’s plight.