Note: while some of these titles are still available for streaming, not all are – lucky for you, there is an updated list!
I’ve seen a lot of these lists floating around the interwebs lately, and I feel the need to contribute, seeing as all of them are wrong. Obviously there is an overwhelming number of movies on Netflix and I have not seen every title, but trust me when I say I sit around and browse enough to know what I’m talking about. I like movies. Oh, you do too? Let me make some suggestions:
1. Safety Not Guaranteed
Quick Summary: A guy in a thrifted denim jacket builds a time machine and puts a wanted ad in the classifieds requesting a time traveling partner. This catches the attention of a cocky Seattle journalist and his two awkward interns, and then lasers are stolen and homemade pies are devoured and yeah.
I watched this with a couple friends last night, expecting it to be a raunchy and distasteful, albeit enjoyable, comedy. I was very wrong, very wrong indeed. It was legitimately one of the sweetest, most genuine movies I have seen in a long time, and I will even go so far to say it warmed my heart. After the last credits rolled, we breathed a happy, collective sigh. I think you will too.
Quick Summary: A young woman spills tea on the town matchmaker and then cuts her hair, joins the army, and kills a bunch of Huns.
I know, everyone has seen Mulan. But it is one of the best Disney movies ever and I’m so happy about it being on Netflix.
3. Rain Man
Quick Summary: Charlie, a self-absorbed jerk, gets the short end of the stick when his father dies, finding out his estate in its entirety was left to Raymond, the autistic savant brother he never even knew existed.
This movie… it’s just so good. We all know Tom Cruise is the man to call when you have a character who is a dangerous mixture of heartthrob and asshole, but Dustin Hoffman just blows everything ever out of the water with this one. The guy is incredible. And I think this story is an important one to tell, since I don’t think many people understand what it means to be autistic, or have any other disorder for that matter. It’s not a fun, lighthearted watch, but it is definitely worth a couple hours of your time.
Quick Summary: Leonardo DiCaprio is beautiful and charming, Kate Winslet is an American ginger, and a big boat hits an iceberg.
This will always and forever be one of my favorite movies. It’s big, it’s romantic, it’s tragic. It’s everything you could ever want in a movie; there’s even an action-esque scene, where Rose’s fiance with overplucked eyebrows whips out a gun and tries to shoot people. So if you like that, cool. There you go.
5. Lost In Translation
Quick Summary: A jaded actor shows up in Tokyo to film a commercial and meets a wistful but spunky newlywed. Sometimes she wears a pink wig.
I think I like this film so much because the atmosphere is pretty much tangible. It evokes such a familiar feeling; it’s like being wrapped in warm, hazy neon lights (I promise I’m not on drugs). And it’s a sweet story too, one about friendship and finding someone who’s just as lost as you are. I guess it’s a comforting movie. That’s how I would describe it. Although it is not without the occasional racial stereotype, which I’m not so much a fan of.
6. Pretty In Pink
Quick Summary: Duckie has great hair and great dance moves, but Andie falls for Blane, who doesn’t have either of those things. He has a good heart and a fat pile of cash, though.
Classic 80’s movie, you have to see it at least once. It’s cute and it’s simple, and nothing beats Young Jon Cryer twirling around to “Try a Little Tenderness.”
Quick Summary: Two estranged brothers enter the same MMA tournament and are forced to deal with their less-than-perfect relationships with each other and with their father.
I’ll admit this is sort of a wildcard for me. I’m not an MMA kind of girl, but my dad made me watch this with him anyway (thanks, dad). I wasn’t expecting something so emotionally intense, and I especially wasn’t expecting to tear up because I was so touched. But it happened, and I’m happy it did. It portrayed the brokenness of a family so perfectly, and it was beautiful.
8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Quick Summary: Jim Carrey isn’t obnoxious; people erase their memories; Kate Winslet makes daring hair choices.
This is one of those quirky and endearing indie dramedies that you can’t not love. Really though, it says a lot that I like this movie because I usually give Jim Carrey films a very wide berth.
9. Big Fish
Quick Summary: Will, a hotshot with no imagination, listens to his elderly father tell all of the bizarre and fantastic stories of his youth.
Big Fish is a sweet and whimsical tale of father and son, and who doesn’t love that? Nobody. Who doesn’t love Ewan McGregor? Nobody. Glad that’s settled. Watch this movie. It is great.
10. Blue Valentine
Quick Summary: Michelle Williams falls out of love with Ryan Gosling, which is totally impossible, so basically this is sci-fi or something.
I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced so many ups and downs in a movie before; they made me somehow like the emotional roller coaster of true, hard life. I think what I liked about it so much was that it went way beyond the fairytale ending, it was real and it showed the unbearable grittiness that comes with the disintegration of something that was once magical. This movie will depress the hell out of you, no question. But the end credits are pretty cool, so there’s at least that. (if you are below the age of 17, I’m going to be that annoyingly modest person and ban you from watching this, #sorrynotsorry)
11. The Prince of EFFIN’ EGYPT
Quick Summary: Moses has a weird variation of a flapper bob and runs around singing really good songs.
You may think I’m kidding, but I am not. The Prince of Egypt is such a good movie. I feel like even people who dismiss the Bible as a load of crap can appreciate how good this movie is – the story is compelling, the music is fantastic, and Jeff Goldblum voices Aaron (I have an inexplicable love for Jeff Goldblum, don’t ask). I think this will forever be remembered as “that one time Dreamworks actually made a quality movie.”
There you go. Ought to keep everyone occupied for a solid week!