Your All-Longhorn Streaming Queue for Social Distancing

You know the drill: we are all stuck inside for the foreseeable future, and we all need to fill our extra hours home with … something. Have y’all heard of moving pictures? Turns out there are about infinity of them to watch, and my back-of-the-disinfected-envelope math tells me that a large percentage are directed, written by, or starring an alumnus (or three!) of UT Austin. In no particular order, here’s what to watch from your favorite Longhorns in Hollywood, and where to watch them.

Everybody Wants Some!!

With live sports a distant memory, this baseball flick is a no-brainer. Filmed all around Central Texas, this is the story of a college baseball team pulling pranks, drinking beer, and, (very) occasionally, playing baseball. A spiritual successor to Dazed and Confused, it shares a similar freewheeling, episodic vibe, where traditional plot takes a backseat to pure feeling and fun. Glen Powell, ’11, stars as team member Finnegan. Shot in 2014, the the movie is filled with Longhorns who stood in as extras.

Stream on Amazon Prime.

The League

Again, sports. Sort of. Mark Duplass, BA ’98, plays the straight man in this ensemble comedy about a group of goofball friends who jockey for the ultimate bragging rights: winning their fantasy football league. Based in Chicago, The League is chock full of guest stars from the comedy world—Seth Rogen, J.B. Smoove, and Bob Odenkirk all make appearances—plus an array of actual NFL players drop in to get their shots in at the gang. Since we may not be seeing guys like J.J. Watt or Mike Evans suit up for a while, this is your chance.

Stream on Hulu.

The Royal Tenenbaums

Borrowing equally from Orson Welles’ other masterpiece, The Magnificent Ambersons, and from the novels and short stories of J.D. Salinger, The Royal Tenenbaums is probably the finest example of Wes Anderson’s, BA ’90, baroque style of filmmaking. Featuring stellar performances from Gene Hackman (in one of his final roles before retiring from acting), Anjelica Huston, and Owen Wilson, ’91, Anderson’s film is pure escapism, perfect for right now.

Stream on Amazon Prime.

Lonesome Dove

Based on Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1985 Western novel, this miniseries is required viewing for any Texan. It stars  Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall as two former Texas Rangers running a livery on the Rio Grande near the Texas/Mexico border. The late Bill Wittliff, BJ ’63, Life Member, served as executive producer and wrote the teleplay for this four-part epic, for which he won the Writer’s Guild of America Award for Adapted Long Form in 1990.

Stream on Amazon Prime.


Another one from Wilson. Listen to your friend Billy Zane and watch this absolutely absurd tete-a-tete between Wilson and Ben Stiller. Just imagine getting this dressed up for [gestures wildly] anything right now! And beware of the (much inferior) sequel, 2016’s Zoolander 2, which fails to capture the spirit of the original.

Stream on Amazon Prime.


Sure, junk food tastes good, but you need some nutrition, too. Check out Moonlight, winner of Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards in a highly publicized mix-up with La La Land (remember when this was the news? But I digress). Trevante Rhodes, BS ’12, stars in this coming-of-age drama as the adult version of Chiron in Barry Jenkins’ masterpiece film. It’s beautiful, poignant, and showcases a newcomer in Rhodes in his breakout role.

Stream on Netflix.


Let’s keep it highbrow for a few more moments, shall we? Released in 2000 to critical fanfare, this biopic of midcentury abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock (played by Ed Harris, who also directed) earned an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Marcia Gay Harden, BA ’80, Life Member, Distinguished Alumna. Harden plays artist Lee Krasner, who was married to Pollock until his death from a drunk driving accident in 1956. The film examines Pollock’s working life and the troubled marriage between the two artists that ended in disaster.

Stream on Amazon Prime.


Don’t fret, I didn’t forget about the other Duplass brother! Jay Duplass, BA ’96, Life Member, is also an actor, like his younger brother Mark, but both Duplasses are prolific writers and directors to boot. The two join forces in this dramedy about the arrested development and disturbing behavior of the titular 21-year-old Cyrus, played by Jonah Hill. John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei also star as a new couple who are sabotaged by Hill, playing Tomei’s son who can’t seem to let go.

Stream on Amazon Prime.

The Magnificent Seven

There’s nothing like a sweeping Western caper film to remind you that … you can’t go outside. Nonetheless! Eli Wallach, BA ’36, Distinguished Alumnus, leads this ensemble cast—Charles Bronson, Yul Brynner, and Steve McQueen also star—as a ruthless bandit in this adaptation of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.

Stream on Amazon Prime.

Mr. Roosevelt

Radio-television-film alumna Noel Wells, BA, BS ’10, makes her directorial debut in this quirky indie comedy shot in Austin. Wells also stars as Emily, a woman who returns to her hometown and winds up staying with her ex and his current girlfriend. Sounds like a nightmare quarantine situation! Read our interview with Wells from 2016, where she discusses making the film.

Stream on Netflix.

True Detective Season 1

Goodness gracious, I could have chosen 20 different McConaughey performances to get you through [gestures wildly again] whatever this is. Most streaming platforms have at least one film from UT’s most famous alumnus, but I’ll direct you to an underrated performance from McConaughey, BS ’93, Life Member, Distinguished Alumnus. I re-watched the first True Detective season in preparation for my profile of McConaughey from last year, and I was blown away by how great he is as Rust Cohle. Take a gander, and BYO Lone Star tallboys.

Stream on HBO.

Logan’s Run

Did somebody say dystopia? Distance yourself from our current one with a depiction of a much bleaker universe. Hey, at least we aren’t all being ritually killed on our 30th birthdays, right? Farrah Fawcett, ’68, plays Holly 13 in Michael Anderson’s sci-fi film, her final role before she broke out later that year in Charlie’s Angels.

Stream on Amazon Prime.

From Dusk Till Dawn

Take your pick with streaming flicks from Robert Rodriguez, BS ’08, Life Member, Distinguished Alumnus. But since this is my blog, I’m picking! I choose the cult vampire movie From Dust Till Dawn, starring George Clooney, then still known mostly for his television work, notably his star turn on ER. It took until he was 35, but the movie proved to the world that Clooney was a bonafide movie star. You’ll see why, as the charming antihero of Rodriguez’s film slays the undead. For further reading, check out our 2014 feature on Rodriguez.

Stream on Showtime.

Empire Records

This 1995 comedy doesn’t break any new ground in the way of plot—a scrappy group of young dreamers must ban together to save their record store from being sold to a major corporation—it’s a sort of cinematic comfort food, filled with memorable scenes and performances. Renée Zellweger, BA ’92, broke into the mainstream after her turn as Gina, a wild employee who gives an impromptu concert on the store’s rooftop in the climactic ending. Aspects of the film feel dated now—a physical store in which to buy compact discs?—but perhaps the fashion won’t anymore. The ’90s are back, baby!

Stream on Amazon Prime.


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