I’m leaving tomorrow to go to camping in Maryland for 2.5 weeks, and even though I know no one really relies on my content here or is even expecting it, I felt like I had to make up for that absence of articles in some way. What I’m leaving you with is 10 movies on Netflix that if you haven’t seen, you definitely should consider watching them. I’m not going to say you definitely haven’t seen these movies, and some of these are considerably more popular/famous than others, but I can guarantee there’s very few people who have seen each one of these. You’re also not going to like them all, so if you read this list and hate one of them, don’t let that discourage you from checking out the rest, because I’m recommending them all for different reasons and they’re definitely not for everyone.
This is probably the best film on this list if we’re looking at it strictly from a cinematic point of view. From Christopher Nolan (director of The Dark Knight, Interstellar, and Inception), we get a story about a man with memory loss trying to put together the pieces to solve the murder of his wife. Nolan’s innovative storytelling is on full display, and while the non-linear timeline may be a bit confusing at first, you’ll definitely be able to keep up and be glad you tried.
The Big Short
“Oh, isn’t this that movie that won a bunch of awards a couple of years ago?” Yes, and it deserved all of them. “Wait, its about the 2008 housing crisis? Pass.” Yes, but it’s directed by the guy who did Anchorman and Step Brothers, who I’m now convinced is a genius. “Yeah but like, its just about a bunch of big stock brokers and bankers and I won’t even understand.” The beauty of this movie is that even though you don’t really know what’s going on, you can still enjoy every second of it. “I’m still not sold.” Well it has Ryan Gosling in it. Any movie with Ryan Gosling is a must-see.
Burn After Reading
One of my absolute favorite movie genres is the dark comedy. Even though what’s going on on the screen should horrify you, something about it is just hilarious. That’s the case here as the characters make a series of incredibly stupid decisions that threaten not only their own lives, but the lives of everyone on the planet and somehow it’s one of the funniest things you’ve ever seen. Think of it this way: take the stupidest guy you’ve ever seen at the gym, and give him nuclear launch codes. Scary right? But also definitely hilarious. This is one of the best written movies I’ve seen in my opinion. Oh and it has Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, George Clooney, Frances McDormand, and John Malkovich. All gems. I’ll stop recommending movies because of their cast now.
Sticking with dark comedies for a quick sec (I told you I loved them), this one is a little more scary and a little less funny. Basically some crazy stuff is going on with this lady’s house and her daughter (there on house arrest) wants to know what it is. I don’t want to share much more because not knowing is part of loving this movie, but do know it’s okay to laugh during this one, even when it doesn’t really feel like it. Also, one of the characters looks suspiciously like Ted Cruz, which made my viewing just a bit more funny.
If you love music, it’s hard to see you not loving this movie. Well except for like those hardcore hip-hop people who only like hip-hop.
But at that point can you really say you love music? Anyways, this Irish kid going to an all-boys Catholic school in the 70s embraces punk-rock and starts a band in order to impress a girl. If you’re not sold after that sentence, I really don’t know what to tell you. Equal parts Moonrise Kingdom and Once, there’s very little not to love about this movie. It’s an absolute crime it received no Oscar nominations.
Let’s get weird. Michael Fassbender plays a musician that never takes off his giant papier-mâché head. Never. Sleeping, showering, and eating included. His music is heavily experimental, and he needs a new member for his band. Enter the main character. We spend the rest of the movie trying to figure out who the hell this weird giant head guy is, but somehow it ends up being a pretty thoughtful and emotional ride. Oh, and it’s based on a true story.
The most obscure movie on this list is also the most divisive one. Even though I love it, critics do not seem to agree with me. I still say give it a shot. 50 people are abducted by aliens and put in a small room. They can’t move, and one by one they have to decide who dies. Only one can live. It’s pretty bananas, and I don’t use that term lightly. Among the 50 are an army veteran, a little girl, several elderly people, an atheist, a cancer survivor, a lawyer and people of all ethnicities. So it gets political. Ultimately, I love it for how human it is. A very “what would you do” kind of movie. Give it a shot and let me know what you think. Oh, and it’s not that Tom Hanks and Emma Watson movie that came out this year.
This is just an incredibly underseen movie for it’s quality. It might be the second best movie on this list but only the 7th or 8th in terms of popularity. It chronicles a family’s last several months with their dying mother (played by the always fantastic Molly Shannon). It’s an incredibly sad movie, but it’s also pretty damn funny at times. It covers sexuality, grief, family, and life as an aging twentysomething who still doesn’t have their life figured out. Tragicomedies (to use the Shakespearean term) are a fantastic group of movies and this one probably comes second on my list to Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Boom. Mini-Rec.).
Exit Through the Gift Shop
This one’s for my documentary people. Directed by the enigmatic street artist Banksy, this film tells the story of a wannabe street artist who doesn’t really understand the medium. It’s fun, interesting, and a look into the lives of street artists, who just may be one of the most fascinating groups of people out there. This is worth the watch for the rare Banksy interviews that are in it, and because there’s some small amount of controversy about whether the whole thing is staged or not. Its only about an hour and a half, so its a good quick watch for a do-nothing Saturday afternoon/evening.
Note: Okay so this one isn’t on Netflix at the time of writing or posting, but is due up in a couple days on July 1, so I’m including it. My favorite Adam Sandler role is one of his most serious ones. This movie is funny, but won’t give you too many more laughs than your average rom-com. Director Paul Thomas Anderson is more well-known for his more serious films like There Will Be Blood or Boogie Nights, but this lighter film suits him well as he explores the love life of the socially inept Barry, who also struggles from anger management issues, played by Adam Sandler. This film is captivating and really just one of the more purely enjoyable movies I’ve seen, which is impressive considering its more outside of the box for both its director and lead actor. Side film nerd note: the color usage in this film is phenomenal.
BONUS!! Neal Brennan: 3 Mics
Okay so this one breaks two rules by being the 11th on my list of 10 as well as not being a movie, but this comedy special is one of the better and least known on Netflix. As the name suggests, there are 3 microphones on stage. One is for traditional stand-up, one is for one-liners, and the third, and the one that makes this really special, is for personal and emotional storytelling. Brennan opens up his life for us and speaks on a life spent among celebrities, his troubles with his father, and his own depression. This sounds like it would be a strange departure from the comedy, and to a degree it is, but it also complements it in the best way, making it more personal and artistic instead of just cookie-cutter funny. Even if his jokes don’t do it for you (and some of them certainly fall just a bit flat), this one is worth the watch for its innovation and emotion.
So there’s enough to keep you busy for at least a little while. But since Netflix has a habit of getting rid of all my favorite movies without me even knowing until I want to re-watch, I’m sure I’ll have to present an updated list in the future. Don’t be afraid to venture into some of the more unknown titles on the streaming service, because there’s hundreds of hidden gems on there.