Nine Great Movies and a TV Show Leaving Netflix Instant at the End of September

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If you like sports movies, I hope you’re not too busy over the next six days. Netflix is saying goodbye to three of our favorites at the end of this month. Four if you count the National Spelling Bee as a sport (I mean, it’s televised by ESPN…) and five if you include The Hunger Games, which admittedly is a kind of a sadistic way of looking at that one. The following nine films and one exceptional TV show are departing from Netflix’s streaming service at 3am PST on October 1. Watch them while you can.

akeelah-and-the-bee.jpg 10. Akeelah and the Bee
Year: 2006
Director: Doug Atchison
Akeelah and the Bee is the kind of movie you want to recommend to every 11-year-old you know. Akeelah has brains but little motivation until her teachers urge her to participate in a spelling bee. Especially rewarding is the way Akeelah draws inspiration not only from one attentive teacher, but also from her community, family, peers and competitors. The film is certainly fantastical in the way it uses winning a contest as a symbol of success, but it’s honest about inner-city life even when it simplifies. For example, the subtle implication that one guy in the neighborhood is a drug dealer probably flies past many young viewers. And the mildly salty language seems realistic, even though it’s atypical for a family movie.—Robert Davis

A League of Their Own.jpeg 9. A League of Their Own
Year: 1992
Director: Penny Marshall
Although a film about women’s baseball during WWII, the real star of the feature is not one of the girls; it’s Tom Hanks. His portrayal of a fallen baseball great trying to regain respect (and kick the bottle) is one of the actor’s finer moments. Who can ever get tired of that famous quip, “There’s no crying in baseball!” a staple that baseball commentators throw out like it’s their fastball? It’s still a great line mulled over to this day. That’s when you know a movie has weight. Geena Davis and Lori Petty’s sibling relationship is swell, too.—Joe Shearer

mean-girls.jpg 8. Mean Girls
Year: 2004
Director: Mark Waters
Tina Fey adapted the script from Rosalind Wiseman’s book Queen Bees and Wannabes, amassing a cult following. Lindsay Lohan stars as Cady Heron, the new girl at school who is easily adopted into the popular clique because she’s both pretty and exotic (she comes from Africa!). The Plastics do their best to mold Cady into one of them — beautiful, gossipy, and petulant—and for a moment, we’re concerned that Cady actually takes these lessons to heart. That timeless high school drama—whether to sacrifice your virtues to fit in—are put to the test in a wonderfully quotable teen comedy.—Stephanie Fang

eight-men-out.jpg 7. Eight Men Out
Year: 1988
Director: John Sayles
Try to imagine for a second a world in which baseball players didn’t get paid millions and millions of dollars. Back in 1919, the members of the Chicago White Sox had problems paying their bills just like the rest of us, and so they decided to throw the World Series in exchange for some gambling winnings. Unlike most sports movies, Eight Men Out isn’t a glorious tale of victory or redemption; it’s a sad story about desperate men who are forced to live with the dishonor of their actions for the rest of their lives. Say it ain’t so, Joe.—Bonnie Stiernberg

breaking-away.jpg 6. Breaking Away
Year: 1979
Director: Peter Yates
Breaking Away is less about cycling than it is about a 19-year-old boy (Dennis Christopher) wanting to break away from his small town, but not knowing what to do with himself now that high school has finished. He and his friends are the poor kids that live in the world of the working-class stonecutters, and their inferiority complex around the nearby Indiana University students drives the film. None of them are in college, and they look on the entitled kids across at the school with envy and resentment. The annual Little 500 bike race (a real event, held in Bloomington, IN) becomes a symbol for them, a chance to prove something against the darkness shrouding the rest of their lives.—Shane Ryan

african-queen.jpg 5. The African Queen
Year: 1951
Director: John Huston
The madcap, screwball comedies of the ‘30s and ‘40s helped set the template for the battle-of-the-sexes comedies that would populate American cinemas for years to come (and still do, to some extent). Writer/director John Huston’s genius in making The African Queen was taking the feuding couple out of the metropolitan areas for which they’d often been associated with and instead placing them square in the middle of an inhospitable jungle. With the added element of survival driving their journey, the flirtatious banter between classy widow Rose Sayer (Katherine Hepburn) and crass boatman Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart) crackles all the more, making for a rom-com as vicious as it is sweet.—Mark Rozeman

Ghostbusters.jpeg 4. Ghostbusters
Year: 1984
Director: Ivan Reitman
As the slew of ‘80s merchandise and a cartoon series would prove, Ghostbusters had mass-appeal with kids. The film followed a team of parapsychologists—played by Dan Aykroyd, the late Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and Bill Murray—who tackle big-ghost issues in New York City. Sure some of the effects are dated, but this one has staying power. And although the bad guys come from beyond the grave, they’re also kid-friendly, with the begging-to-be-a-plush-toy Slimer and a giant Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Pass this classic comedy along to the next generation.—Tyler Kane

hunger-games.jpg 3. The Hunger Games
Year: 2012
Director: Gary Ross
Suzanne Collins’ futuristic dystopian society comes to life in the long-awaited debut of The Hunger Games. But it’s Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Katniss Everdeen, the 16-year-old protagonist who unapologetically puts her life on the line to save her sister and challenge the twisted logic of the government, that has singlehandedly launched the inescapable book-turned-movie franchise. Fans of the books won’t be disappointed. With few exceptions, director Gary Ross doesn’t veer too far from Collins’ novel. It’s rare that a film based on a Young Adult novel is able to juggle so many powerful issues so profoundly, but Ross finds a way to translate Collins’ imaginative plots into a visually triumphant, emotional roller coaster of economic struggle, class warfare, politics, sacrifice, independent thinking and rebellion without compromising too much of the original manuscript.—Maggie Coughlan

dead-man-walking.jpg 2. Dead Man Walking
Year: 1995
Director: Tim Robbins 
Any film that addresses one of the big, divisive issues of our day (abortion, immigration, homosexuality, etc.) runs the risk of being preachy. But the subject of this death-penalty film isn’t some wrongly accused saint. Sean Penn’s Matthew Poncelet is a murderer and the point of view of the victims’ family isn’t belittled. Still, the story’s heroine, the nun played by Susan Sarandon, finds empathy for all involved, and seeing that play out in all its cosmic difficulty is wonderfully redemptive.—Josh Jackson

battlestar-galactica.jpg 1. Battlestar Galactica
Years: 2003-2009
Creators: Glen A. Larson (original), Ronald D. Moore, David Eick
Stars: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Michael Hogan, Aaron Douglas, Tricia Heifer, Grace Park, Tahmoh Penikett
Original Network: Sci-Fi (SyFy)
Ronald D. Moore turned a cheesy ’70s show into a gritty, unflinching look at what it means to be human, and ended up with one of the best sci-fi series of all time. With the crew of Galactica encountering no aliens during its exodus, the show was free to pit religion against science, freedom against security and family against conscience—tensions with no easy answers. It’s an epic tale with few villains and fewer heroes—just flawed people fighting for survival.—Josh Jackson

Other Movies Leaving Netflix on October 1
28 Days (2000)
Barefoot in the Park (1967)
Beyond Borders (2003)
Blue Chips (1994)
Body of Evidence (1993)
Blood and Wine (1996)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
The Cape (2011)
Center Stage (2000)
China Girl (1987)
Code Monkeys (2007)
Crimson Tide (1995)
The Dark Half (1993)
Death Wish (1974)
The Delta Force (1986)
Don’t Look Now (1973)
Eden of the East (2009)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
The Ghastly Love of Johnny X (2012)
Ghost (1990)
 Ghostbusters 2 (1989)
Girl in Progress (2012)
Golden Chicken (2002)
Heavy Metal (1981)
The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant (1971)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
The Keep (1983)
King of New York (1990)
Law & Order (1990-1997)
Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2006-2011)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2006-2010)
Legends of the Fall (1994)
Little Birds (2011)
Major League (1989)
Meet Wally Sparks (1997)
Patriot Games (1992)
Primal Fear (1996)
Pumpkin (2002)
The Sand Pebbles (1966)
Safe (2012)
The Skeleton Key (2005)
Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997)
Sugar Hill (1974)
This Must Be the Place (2011)
The Thomas Crowne Affair (1999)
Two Family House (2000)
Uncommon Valor (1983)

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