By Jack Rico
01.7.2014 | By Jack Rico |
*Updated: June, 2016
How many times have you decided to stay at home and watch a movie with your other half, your buddies or even some acquaintances and have had no clue of what to pick? There are so many films to choose from that the selection process can become overwhelming. If you are not an avid movie watcher and you pick a favorite go-to of yours, you run the risk of the #epicfail choice and they’ll never trust your judgement again. This is why I am going to be your best friend in this cinematic adventure by giving you the Best Netflix Streaming Movies To Watch Right Now. I have taken the onerous task to go through as many films as my eyes could withstand to narrow down these selections by genre and perfect for any mood.
With the limited amount of movies in Netflix’s streaming service, (4,622 films from what I last saw), one’s options to choose great films over the mundane is a rarity… but not impossible. For example, I pay $7.99 a month and I’m more than satisfied with what it offers. Why? Because I’ve plowed through their vast archives and have discovered a plethora of masterpiece classics and contemporary Oscar winning films that you can view this instant. To facilitate the process, I’ve categorized the films into a variety of genres: Family, Thrillers, Action, Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi/Adventure, Romance, Drama, Classics. I’ve also highlighted my top personal choices per genre and have given you an extra quality amount of “winning” options you should be more than satisfied with. If you don’t see a genre you’re particularly fond of, leave your comment below and I’ll go ahead and add it. Enjoy… seriously. You need a break!
Nightcrawler (2014, 1hr 57m, Director: Dan Gilroy / Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo)
Dan Gilroy’s dark and twisted crime journalism film, Nightcrawler, is a creepy, uncomfortable watch, but one that sees Jake Gyllenhaal not only give us the best performance of his career, but he embarks us on an extraordinary and morbid story that is both warped and mesmerizing. A young hustler gets sucked into the sordid but lucrative business of trolling the streets of Los Angeles to film fires, car crashes — and murder. Gilroy’s filmmaking skills are to be admired. He produces a well paced, efficient film where no scenes are really wasted. Every sequence pushes the story forward leading to a final third act which might be one of the best third act sequences of 2014. If you’re looking for a dose of the unexpected, you’re in for a treat!
Other Thriller suggestions: The Usual Suspects, Cape Fear, Eyes Wide Shut, Inside Man, Primal Fear, The Da Vinci Code, Headhunters,Victoria, The Machinist, The Bank Job, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Following, Killing Them Softly, A Hijacking, Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct, Vanilla Sky, I Saw The Devil, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy, Grand Piano, Passion, All Good Things, Exam, The Crying Game, Oldboy, Witness, The Guest, Sin City, The Two Faces of January
Shaolin Soccer (PG-13, 2004, 87m, Director Stephen Chow / Stephen Chow, Man Tat Ng, Wei Zhao)
In terms of pure blitzkrieg fun, Shaolin Soccer is by far the best investment in the streaming library. It is so silly, so absurd, so visually entertaining and so funny that this is one film you won’t believe you haven’t seen already. With the World Cup coming to Brazil this year and martial art films making a strong comeback, this is a movie that should get a re-release in theaters. A down-on-his-luck ex-soccer player, injured during a rigged match, joins forces with a former monk to assemble an unlikely team of players — the monk’s awkward Shaolin brothers — harnessing the discipline and power of kung fu. It really is one of the most inane, pleasing movies of the last decade. You wont be able to keep the smile off your face.
Other Comedy suggestions broken down by subgenres:
Action Comedies: The Interview, Hot Fuzz, Adventures in Babysitting
Smart Comedies: The Princess Bride, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Best in Show, Groundhog Day, Buffalo Soldiers, Beginners, Frances Ha, Brassed Off, Clerks, Extract
LOL Comedies: Meet the Parents, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Kingpin, Legally Blonde, Wayne’s World, Team America: World Police, Eddie Murphy Raw, Eddie Murphy: Delirious, Zoolander, The Nutty Professor, The Sandlot, Scary Movie, Major League, Private Parts, Bowfinger
Dark Comedies: American Beauty, The Overnight, The Truman Show, Moonrise Kingdom, The Double, Heathers, Bernie, Waking Ned Devine, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Trainspotting, Reservoir Dogs, Flirting with Disaster
Point Blank (2011, R, 1hr 24m, Director Fred Cavayé / Gilles Lellouche, Gérard Lanvin, Roschdy Zem, Elena Anaya)
In regards to action movies, French cinema doesn’t really register with many Americans. They usually think the French are only limited to new wave movies from Godard, Truffaut, Malle, Rohmer, Chabrol and Rivette amongst others. But films with fantastic action thriller themes such as Le Samourai, Le Cercle Rouge, Les Diaboliques, Tell No One and the great heist movie Rififi, have proved people otherwise. Point Blank is one of the best contemporary action thrillers that has come out of France. It’s a non stop action film very similar to the Harrison Ford films of the 90’s. If you like frenetically fast-paced movies full of grit, violence, and exciting chase sequences, you’re REALLY going to enjoy this one. It packs a punch!
Other Action suggestions: Jurassic Park 1-3, V for Vendetta, The Mummy, Batman, Mission: Impossible III, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Sabotage, Underworld, Underworld: Evolution, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Journey to the West, Ong-Bak 2, The Legend of Drunken Master, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2, Hellboy, Big Boss, Four Brothers, We Were Soldiers, The Warriors, Days of Thunder, Charlie’s Angels, The Crow, The Running Man
Management (R, 2008, 1hr 34m, Director Stephen Belber / Jennifer Aniston, Steve Zahn, Woody Harrelson)
Simple people with simple emotions. That is the basis of this sweet, minimalistic film whose theme of unrequited love is the driving force behind its script. Aniston plays a traveling saleswoman who sells cheap art to small companies in motels. She has a fling with an aimless, underachieving assistant motel manager (Zahn) at one of her stops, and he ends falling in love with her pursuing her all across the U.S. The most memorable and moving moments of the film are found in the acting of Steve Zahn. His unconditional love towards Aniston was so touching and quirky, that I must’ve choked up at least 5 times. I think the beauty of this project lies in its simplicity and humility. All the characters were honest and sincere and it is those elements that resulted in a wonderfully, charming movie experience. Director and screenwriter Stephen Belber never complicated the dialogue nor the message. Management has its flaws, but it means so well that if you have no game and are in love with a beautiful woman, this small gem of a film will make all the sense to you.
Other Romance suggestions: Beyond the Lights, She’s So Lovely, Shall We Dance? (Original & remake), Ghost, Shakespeare in Love, Comet, Adore (a bit twisted), Stuck in Love, Take This Waltz, Dear Frankie
Romantic Comedies: Sixteen Candles, Pleasantville, Man Up, Next Stop Wonderland, Must Love Dogs, While You Were Sleeping, Liberal Arts, Serendipity, The Switch, Notting Hill, Can’t Buy Me Love, The One I Love, Bridget Jones Diary, Chasing Amy, Jersey Girl, Maid in Manhattan, Grease, Clueless, Populaire, Drinking Buddies, Tadpole, An Ideal Husband, The Taste of Others, Love Serenade, Walking and Talking, The Pill
Devil (PG-13, 2010, 1hr 20m, Director John Erick Dowdle / Chris Messina, Caroline Dhavernas, Bokeem Woodbine)
I know you might be skeptical, but believe us, Devil is the real deal. Think if Hitchcock were alive or if the Twilight Zone had a feature-length movie episode – Devil is what it would feel like. It’s a straightforward plot with an intriguing premise, very well acted and delivers high tension in very creative ways. The simple premise, conceived by horror director M. Night Shyamalan, but directed by unknown John Erick Dowdle, has a group of people trapped in an elevator and the Devil mysteriously appear as one of them, but who? The result is a surprising gem of a film that will have your friends thanking you for sharing it with them. It doesn’t disappoint and trust us, it will get the scares out of you. This is a movie that will make you think twice before getting in an elevator at night again.
Other Horror suggestions: The Exorcist, The Others, The Host, Re-Animator, Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, The Human Centipede, Hush, The Babadook, Starry Eyes, Devil, Scream 2, We Are What We Are, V/H/S 1, 2, 3, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Awakening, Oculus, The Den, Hellraiser, Circle
SCIENCE FICTION / ADVENTURE
2001: A Space Odyssey (G, 1968, 2hrs 29m, Director Stanley Kubrick / Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester)
Talk about a seminal masterwork of cinema. Stanley Kubrick, regarded as the most gifted and skilled director of his generation, amassed what seemed a masterpiece with everyone of his film releases. But apart from Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, perhaps no other film has been revered, acclaimed and downright worshipped as his magnum opus – 2001: A Space Odyssey. While investigating the appearance of mysterious monoliths throughout the universe, two astronauts battle their ship’s intelligent computer system HAL. The film’s triumph lies in its evocative artistic images, thought-provoking metaphors and the deep sense of the spiritual that one attains after its final scene. 2001 moves at a slow glacier pace with barely any dialogue and for that, first timers will have a hard time adjusting if all they’ve watched are Hollywood action movies. Nevertheless, once experienced, the taste of the moviegoer will be enhanced and their demand for more artistic cinema will begin.
Other Sci-Fi suggestions: Blade Runner: Theatrical Cut, Clockwork Orange, Existenz, Melancholia, These Final Hours, Stake Land
The Immigrant (R, 2 hr, 2014, Director James Gray / Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner)
I can’t believe that this top-flight drama didn’t get the attention it deserves. Blame ‘The Weinstein Company’ for the bad marketing. Showcasing an Oscar cast, The Immigrant is another fantastic film from the adroit director James Gray. His natural skill to delve deep into a story and provide beautiful visuals and powerful performances from his actors makes this movie a richly rewarding period drama. A Polish immigrant in New York who must provide for her ill sister soon falls under the thumb of a charming thug who forces her into prostitution. The cinematography is absolutely stunning, a sublime old-fashioned melodrama played with superb naturalistic emotion. It is complex and nuanced and a deeply affecting tale of morality and survival in 1920’s New York. You’ll be impressed that it is streaming on Netflix!
Other Drama suggestions: Traffic, The Shawshank Redemption, Contact, The Right Stuff, Saturday Night Fever, Two Days, One Night, The Butler, The Aviator, Sling Blade, Scarface, Ida, Good Will Hunting, Breathe In, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, There Will Be Blood, A Single Man, Rounders, Lawless, The Master, Black Hawk Down, Heavenly Creatures, Forrest Gump, The English Patient, Jobs, City of Men, Everybody’s Fine, The Iceman, The Cider House Rules, On Golden Pond, Alive, Urban Cowboy, Finding Neverland, Braveheart, Great Expectations, Lucky Them, Experimenter, The Perfect Storm, Changeling, Mystic River, Promised Land, Erin Brockovich, Cruel Intentions, Hoffa, Fruitvale Station, Diplomacy, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Bronson, Somewhere, Elizabeth, Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Dramedies: Amadeus, Chef, Begin Again, Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook, The Joneses, The Kids Are All Right, Beautiful Girls, Bulworth, The Station Agent, Faults, Your Sister’s Sister
Charlotte’s Web (2006, 1hr 37m, Director Gary Winick / Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey)
When I first saw this movie, it was very difficult to keep the tears of joy from rolling down my eyes. The personification of animals has always been a source of happiness, adorability, delight and massive appeal irresistible to anyone who watches it. Based on the children’s novel by American author E. B. White, Wilbur the pig is scared of the end of the season, because he knows that come that time, he will end up on the dinner table. He hatches a plan with Charlotte, a spider that lives in his pen, to ensure that this will never happen. Easily the best family movie of 2006 and led by an all-star voice cast which includes Julia Roberts, Robert Redford and Oprah Winfrey, I fell upon the spell of its unparalleled cuteness. But more than that, it was the vulnerability that inhabited our baby pig and his friends from inevitable death that pierces through the story. An immediate feeling of protection surfaces in you and the magnificent special effects allow for that affectation to take hold. Apart from the humorous dialogue, the message of friendship, sacrifice, death and hope permeate the films innocence and sparkle. You think it might be just for kids, but when you start crying you’ll know this film is so much more than that.
Other Family suggestions: Goosebumps, Batteries Not Included, Chicken Run, Mr. Peabody & Sherman,The Boxtrolls, Fantasia 2000, Nanny McPhee,The Emperor’s New Groove, Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around the World, Minions, Home, Corpse Bride, Scrooged, Antz, Holes, Hotel Transylvania 2, Explorers, Spy Kids
Sunset Boulevard (1950, 1hr 50m, Directors Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder / William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim)
Whenever you see a list of the best movies ever made, most likely Sunset Boulevard will be in that list. Winner of 3 Academy Awards, legendary director Billy Wilder gave us the definitive look at the dark side of Hollywood. The disturbing portrayal of Gloria Swanson, as Norma Desmond, an aging silent-film queen is almost unrivaled. The use of the word classic is for movies like this. A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former Hollywood silent-film star who has become delusional. There are masterful performances here to enjoy, the script is intense, absorbing and full of intrigue. If you’ve never seen this movie, you’re in for one hell of a treat.
Other Classic suggestions: Cinema Paradiso,The Seven Year Itch, Laura, Metropolis, The Fly, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Barbarella, A Trip to the Moon, How to Steal a Million, To Catch a Thief, To Kill a Mockingbird
Do you think we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below.