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45 Hidden Gems on Netflix You Should Watch Immediately

At this point in the pandemic, we’ve probably all exhausted our Netflix watch lists a few times over.  It gets dark early, nights are long, and there’s nothing to do but be bored in the house. How many rewatches of Stranger Things can one person truly handle?

Luckily, Netflix’s expansive offerings go beyond reruns of mediocre sitcoms: the streaming service actually seems to have a near-endless amount of content despite much of it being hidden by the company’s algorithm.

We’ve picked out 40 films and TV shows that might not pop up on your “Recommended” list if you haven’t been searching specifically for them. From unexpected reality competitions to obscure anime to underground LGBTQ+ cinema, here’s our (unranked!) list of Netflix’s best-hidden gems.

1. ‘Ip Man’ (2008)

An impeccably-choreographed martial arts tetralogy that traces the legendary career of Bruce Lee’s master as he defeats Westerners and Japanese foes alike. Sure, the whole series is not-so-subtle Chinese propaganda, but it’s worth watching for the exciting action sequences.

Who’s in It: Donnie Yen, Lynn Hung, Dennis To

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/70118799
2. ‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’ (2019)

Forget Game of Thrones. Dark Crystal is the high fantasy series worth watching. The Jim Henson Company’s high-concept puppet show is a dazzling example of a dying medium. The content is more adult than you’d expect from literal muppets, and the Tolkienesque world’s lore is both dense and allegorical.

Who’s in It: Taron Egerton, Mark Hamill, Lena Headey, Nathalie Emmanuel, Sigourney Weaver, Anya Taylor-Joy

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80148535
3. ‘Love, Death + Robots’ (2019)

Black Mirror became a viral hit with its prescient predictions about the panoptic power of social media. The short animated film collection Love, Death + Robots covers a lot of the same territory as Charlie Booker’s infamous sci-fi series, but with a bit more humor. Although it’s occasionally juvenile and sometimes overtly sexist, each episode takes on a different aspect of our nightmarish future with a totally different visual aesthetic.

Who’s in It: Madeleine Knight, Topher Grace, Emily O’Brien

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80174608
4. ‘Lady Dynamite’ (2016)

Comedian Maria Bamford uses surreal humor to explore a recent nervous breakdown in this honest, creative, and self-reflexive series about living with bipolar disorder. Your average comedy aficionado might find Bamford’s aesthetic too off-beat, but there’s a lot of smart commentaries and earnest emotionality in this show.

Who’s in It: Maria Bamford, Fred Melamed, Mary Kay Place, Ana Gasteyer

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80046193
5. ‘Cuties’ (2020)

Cuties faced a bizarre media cycle after receiving backlash from American conservative critics who objected to the sexual content of the film, and then it faded into semi-obscurity. That being said, it’s easily one of the best films of 2020—dealing with the complex emotional lives of teenage girls navigating a deeply misogynistic world.

Who’s in It: Fathia Youssouf, Médina El Aidi-Azouni, Maïmouna Gueye

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81111198
6. ‘Little Miss Sumo’ (2018)

A beautifully shot short documentary film about female Sumo wrestlers and their commitment to their sport. It’s only about 20 minutes long, but it’s impossible not to form an immediate attachment to the impossibly strong and impossibly adorable protagonist.

Who’s in It: Hiyori Kon

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81110394
7. ‘Shot in the Dark’ (2017)

Although the content is extremely disturbing, Shot in the Dark is a fascinating delve into the lives of stringers: videographers who capture footage of car crashes and violent crimes to sell to news stations at frighteningly high prices. The rogues gallery of people featured are patently deplorable, yet absurdly compelling.

Who’s in It: Zak Holman, Howard Raishbrook, Austin Raishbrook

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80171561
8. ‘Disclosure’ (2020)

Laverne Cox is a heavily featured talking head in this exhaustive and insightful exploration of the history of transgender people in Western cinema. The movie traces specific tropes of anti-trans violence and how they developed within a culture that is largely intolerant of sexual difference—but it also shows how there’s hope for the future as more trans people take to the big screen.

Who’s in It: Laverne Cox, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Jamie Clayton, Chaz Bono

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81284247
9. ‘The Platform’ (2019)

This ultra-violent, dystopian thriller serves as a poignant metaphor for the inhumanity of capitalism. A student voluntarily enters a near-future disciplinary complex, but it seems likely he won’t survive the impossible cruelty of this system. It’s a frightening allegory and a warning about the power of unchecked greed.

Who’s in It: Iván Massagué, Zorion Eguileor, Antonia San Juan, Emilio Buale

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81128579
10. ‘Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold’

Directed by her nephew, Griffin Dunne, Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold focuses on the eponymous journalist and author in her decades-long career in writing. It weaves together her early days in Sacramento with her ultimate breakthrough in journalism at Vogue, while also having Didion candidly speak about specific moments and read through passages of her work.

Who’s in It: Joan Didion, Griffin Dunne

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80117454
11. ‘Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado’ (2020)

The ebullient and colorful Walter Mercado was the most beloved astrologer in Latin America before disappearing from the public eye. This earnest documentary traces his career with deep love and respect, positioning the fortune-teller as a queer legend and a beacon of kindness.

Who’s in It: Walter Mercado

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81200204
12. ‘Circus of Books’ (2019)

How, exactly, did a married heterosexual couple come to own one of the most infamous gay porn shops in the entire United States? Circus of Books tells the story of unlikely homosexual icons, Barry and Karen Mason, at the final moments of the eponymous adult shop’s closing. The story shows the conflicted morality of the Masons and is directed by the duo’s daughter as she explores the psychology of her parents who stunningly rejected their own gay child before seeing the error of their ways.

Who’s in It: Jeff Stryker, Larry Flynt

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81011569
13. ‘Blown Away’ (2019)

It would be easy to dismiss glass sculpture as a kind of decorative kitsch but Blown Away, a competition reality show about glass blowing, showcases the artistry, talent, and intellectual thought put into this misunderstood art form.

Who’s in It: Katherine Gray, Nick Uhas

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80215147
14. ‘Friends From College’

While it only ended up getting two seasons, Friends From College might be one of the most slept-on series to ever hit Netflix. The show tracks a friend group who reunites in New York City after having been apart for many years after graduating from Harvard.

Who’s in It: Keegan-Michael Key, Fred Savage, Cobie Smulders, Annie Parisse, Billy Eichner, Jae Suh Park, Nat Faxon

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80117485
15. ‘What Did Jack Do?’ (2017)

David Lynch interviews a very creepy monkey in this 17 minute, black and white, non-narrative short. It’s exactly what you’d expect from the beloved auteur, whose noir-influenced surreal works have spawned a cult following amongst arthouse cinephiles. Don’t expect a coherent story, just spooky vibes.

Who’s in It: David Lynch

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81226955
16. ‘The Perfection’ (2018)

A twist-filled horror-thriller, The Perfection is a very strange revenge story filled with deeply unexpected moments and extremely bizarre celebrations of bloodshed. It somehow feels like eight movies are packed tightly into this 90-minute nightmare, and the ending is sure to leave you both nauseated and satisfied.

Who’s in It: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven Weber, Alaina Huffman

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80211638
17. ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ (2019)

What begins as an extremely caustic critique of the high art world devolves into an unsettling supernatural thriller. Starring an inexplicably buff Jake Gyllenhaal as a bisexual art dealer haunted by murderous painting, Velvet Buzzsaw combines smart satire with campy thrills.

Who’s in It: Jake Gyllenhaal, Toni Collette, Natalia Dyer, Rene Russo

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80199689
18. ‘Hollywood’

Tracking the nature of show business from quite a few different angles in the late 1940s, Hollywood is a limited series that ended up flying a bit under the radar when it first premiered in 2020. In one sense, we’re following an aspiring actor, Jack Castello (Corenswet), an aspiring Black screenwriter, Archie Coleman (Pope), and a veteran studio executive, Ellen Kincaid (Taylor). On top of that, we see the more gritty side of things and how actors have to both support themselves and hide who they really are.

Who’s in It: David Corenswet, Darren Criss, Dylan McDermott, Holland Taylor, Jeremy Pope, Jim Parsons, Laura Harrier, Rob Reiner, Maude Apatow

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81088617
19. ‘Food Wars!’ (2015)

Shonen anime (Japanese cartoons meant for teenage boys about plucky fighters learning new skills to defeat outsized foes) can be somewhat predictable — Food Wars! switches up the formula by using cooking battles instead of samurai sword fights as its main set piece. Many scenes are absurdly sexual (sometimes misogynistically so) but the culinary combat is both exciting and mouth-watering.

Who’s in It: Risa Taneda, Shizuka Ishigami

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80182054
20. ‘A Secret Love’

Directed by Chris Bolan and produced by Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum, A Secret Love is an in-depth documentary about Terry Donahue, who was a player in the All-American Girls Professional League, and her relationship with Pat Henschel that she was forced to keep a secret from their families and friends.

Who’s in It: Terry Donahue, Pat Henschel

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80209024
21. ‘Cam’ (2018)

A young sex worker’s life begins to unravel when she spots her doppelganger gaining popularity on cam shows. Is she losing or mind, or is someone trying to destroy her life? Both erotic and extremely frightening, Cam is intelligent feminist horror for the 21st century.

Who’s in It: Madeline Brewer, Melora Walters

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80177400
22. ‘Derry Girls’

Derry Girls has been a bit of a sleeper hit among fans, following a group teenage girls in Derry, Ireland during the Troubles in the mid-late 1990s. The show plays into the overall political conflict while mixing in absolutely hilarious dialogue and situations for the group of girls attending Catholic school.

Who’s in It: Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland, Nicola Coughlan, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80238565
23. ‘Ares’ (2020)

When a struggling student accidentally finds herself accepted into a secret society, she begins unfurling a series of mysteries about the cult’s practices and her own lineage. This Dutch horror series is masterfully suspenseful and beautifully shot. You don’t need to pick up on the social criticism pertaining to the villainies of colonialism to be enthralled by the show’s dark story.

Who’s in It: Jade Olieberg, Tobias Kersloot, Lisa Smit and Robin Boissevain

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80995039
24. ‘The Politician’

The Politician takes big stakes to the small stage of an affluent high school in California as Payton Hobart (Platt) is running for class president against the more popular favorite, River Barkley. However, the running mates they choose end up becoming major conflicts of the entire story.

Who’s in It: Jessica Lange, Ben Platt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Judith Light, Theo Germaine, Zoey Deutch, David Corenswet, Julia Schlaepfer, Rahne Jones

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80241248
25. ‘The Big Flower Fight’ (2020)

It’s hard to imagine that the frivolous world of flower arranging could be even remotely exciting, but The Big Flower Fight uses the formula of The Great British Baking Show to display the immense skills and aesthetic power of landscaping and floristry. The diverse cast are imminently lovable and you’ll absolutely have a favorite by the finale—even if you don’t care about plants at all.

Who’s in It: Natasia Demetriou, Vic Reeves, Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81046153
26. ‘Gerald’s Game’ (2017)

One of Stephen King’s lesser-known works was transformed into a deeply eerie horror movie by director Mike Flanagan in 2017. In it, a married couple’s experiments in BDSM are interrupted when the husband suddenly dies, leaving the wife handcuffed to her bed. As she struggles to escape, she is visited in the night by wolves and giants: Is she going insane or is she being stalked?

Who’s in It: Carla Gugino, Chiara Aurelia, Bruce Greenwood, Carel Struycken

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80128722
27. ‘The Great British Baking Show: Holidays’ (2018)

The Great British Baking Show became a viral sensation in the USA: the kind and gentle approach to reality competition was so starkly different from the bitchy, drama-filled spectacles we have on this side of the pond. Beloved contestants return for one-off Holiday-themed episodes in this spinoff showcase. Even viewers who vehemently oppose Christmas cheer can’t help but be charmed.

Who’s in It: Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, Matt Lucas, Noel Fielding

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81013505
28. ‘Casting JonBenet’ (2017)

The true crime genre is often mind-numbingly violent and thoughtlessly sensationalist, but Casting JonBenet provides a sensitive and intelligent, postmodern twist on the standard formula. This documentary about the actors who play victims and murderers in true crime reenactments hits on the human element of crime stories in ways few other movies really can manage.

Who’s in It: John and Patsy Ramsey, Burke Ramsey, John Mark Karr

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80142316
29. ‘Pee-wee’s Big Holiday’ (2016)

We all remember the cultural shunning of Paul Reubens following a series of overblown non-scandals, but Pee-Wee gets the last laugh with this triumphant return. The wacky world of perpetual childhood remains heartwarmingly innocent even decades after the eponymous hero’s Big Adventure.

Who’s in It: Paul Reubens

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80031800
30. ‘I Am Not Okay With This’

Blending supernatural themes, comedy, and coming-of-age, I Am Not Okay With This follows Sydney Novak (Lillis), who has started to notice something a little different about herself: she has telekinetic powers. Equally weighing on her brain is the confusing relationships she has with her neighbor, Stan (Oleff), and her best friend, Dina (Bryant).

Who’s in It: Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Sofia Bryant, Richard Ellis

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80244781
31. ‘Pretend It’s a City’

Basically, the entire premise of Pretend It’s a City is just listening to Fran Lebowitz go off on anything and everything that she perceives is wrong with the world and New York City. We follow alongside her as she struts around the city, answers audience questions at live events, and is interviewed by people including Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, and Olivia Wilde.

Who’s in It: Fran Lebowitz, Martin Scorsese

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81078137
32. ‘Tallulah’

Starring Elliot Page in the namesake role of Tallulah, the film revolves around Tallulah as she finds herself as a slightly-accidental mother when she takes the child of a random woman, Carolyn, from a local hotel as she had irresponsibly passed out. The rest of the film follows Tallulah and the child as they head over to Margo, Tallulah’s mother’s, place.

Who’s in It: Elliot Page, Allison Janney, Uzo Aduba, Tammy Blanchard

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80093198
33. ‘The River Runner’

In Tibet’s Mount Kailash, Scott Lindgren kayaks away in the hopes of becoming the first person to make it through the four major rivers that flow from the mountain. The River Runner is not only a profile of the man behind this massive mission, but always shines a spotlight on the trials and tribulations that come along with the sport.

Who’s in It: Scott Lindgren

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81457001
34. ‘The Chair’

In The Chair, Ji-Yoon Kim (Oh) portrays a younger professor who has just been promoted to chair of the English Department at a fairly prestigious fictionalized college, Pembroke University. While there, she faces a slew of ups-and-downs stemming from a publicized scandal involving one of the professors at the college.

Who’s in It: Sandra Oh, Holland Taylor, Jay Duplass, Bob Balaban

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81206259
35. ‘The Babysitter’ (2017)

In this wild horror-comedy, a sexy babysitter is revealed as the leader of a Satan-worshipping crew of ghouls. The only hope for their defeat is a pre-teen boy who must outsmart the demonic gang — but can he overcome his crush on his governess to thwart the devil? Director McG’s penchant for eye-popping visuals and Tarantino-esque hyper-stylization help uplift the movie’s extremely silly story.

Who’s in It: Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Hana Mae Lee, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80164456
36. ‘Ainori: Love Wagon’ (2017)

Japanese reality dating shows are far quirkier than the endless slog of Western romantic travesties like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. In Love Wagon, singles have their phones taken away during weeks of international travel. The socially awkward men and women navigate competing crushes while visiting tourist attractions, complete with over-the-top narration and absurd commentary.

Who’s in It: Becky, Mayuko Kawakita, Toshiaki Kasuga

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80174280
37. ‘Fantastic Fungi’

This documentary is probably exactly what it sounds like in your head: it’s about fantastic fungi. Zooming in close to various mushrooms and other types of fungi, Fantastic Fungi paints an extraordinary picture of a fairly overlooked eukaryotic organism.

Who’s in It: Brie Larson, Andrew Weil, Giuliana Furci

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81183477
38. ‘The Alpinist’

We’ve all heard of climbers like Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell, but the more introverted Canadian climber and alpinist, Marc-André Leclerc, made incredible first ascents and solos without practically anyone realizing it. The Alpinist is the first (and last) time we get to see Leclerc up close, often times not letting producers and directors know what he has planned until the climb is over, taking a more purist approach to the sport.

Who’s in It: Marc-André Leclerc, Brette Harrington

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81500204
39. ‘Dorohedoro’ (2020)

Anime purists might balk at the 3D CG animation of this science fantasy series but the fight scenes and endearing characters make a few questionable stylistic decisions forgivable. It’d be impossible to explain the show’s absurd and whimsical story in this summary. Suffice it to say, the main plot point is a magical battle between high-class sorcerers and the slums.

Who’s in It: Wataru Takagi, Reina Kondou

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80991903#:~:text=2020%20%7C%20TV%2DMA%20%7C%201,Takagi%2C%20Reina%20Kondo%2C%20Kenyu%20Horiuchi
40. ‘The Speed Cubers’

These guys can beat a Rubik’s Cube—and fast. The Speed Cubers documents the people behind the cube who make the sport what it is, from deep rivalries and complicated friendships to the championships in Australia.

Who’s in It: Max Park, Feliks Zemdegs, Schwan Park, Philipp Weyer

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81092143
41. ‘Chasing Coral’

Documenting the beauty and sadness that comes with coral reefs, Chasing Coral is raw look into the real dangers that our coral reefs face due to climate change. We track a large group of scientists, photographers, and divers whose goal is to both shed a light on what’s happening and deliver a breathtaking snapshot of coral reefs.

Who’s in It: Andrew Ackerman, Neal Cantin, Pim Bongaerts

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80168188
42. ‘GLOW’

Having had a nice three-season run, GLOW is a dramedy that is a fictionalized take on women’s professional wrestling in the 1980s. Specifically, we hone in on the Goregous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW), and the various tactics used in the promotion of the wrestling circuit.

Who’s in It: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Sydelle Noel, Britney Young

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80114988
43. ‘Oprah + Viola: A Netflix Special Event’

In classic Oprah-sit-down-interview-fashion, Oprah Winfrey interviews Viola Davis about her memoir, Finding Me. Davis talks in depth about her childhood and growing up, the trauma she went through and the shame that has still stuck with her today.

Who’s in It: Oprah Winfrey, Viola Davis

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/81592429
44. ‘The Kominsky Method’

With three seasons under its belt, The Kominsky Method pairs up Michael Douglas with Alan Arkin as two aging best friends; Douglas is Sandy Kominsky, a semi-successful actor who owns and teaches at his own acting school, and Arkin plays Norman Newlander, who serves as Kominsky’s agent. The two get into various conflicts and antics both between one another and separately with their respective family and friends.

Who’s in It: Michael Douglas, Alan Arkin, Sarah Baker, Paul Reiser, Lisa Edelstein

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80201680
45. ‘Keith Richards: Under the Influence’

Mick Jagger might be the frontman of The Rolling Stones, but Keith Richards is not to be forgotten. Getting into the psyche of Richards, Keith Richards: Under the Influence unveils a much-different man than the one we’ve heard about and seen on stage. Sure, he’s got all the grittiness that we’ve seen, but there’s a much softer side to him than he leads on.

Who’s in It: Keith Richards

Watch on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80066798
Categories
Popular Culture

The 21 Best Shows Like ‘Ozark’

With Ozark coming to an end after an incredible few years on our screens, fans of the series will undoubtedly feel a little empty without the Byrdes in their lives. With the end of any great show comes people that immediately want to rewatch it, but also people that want other shows of the same ilk i.e. shows with similar storylines, characters, or attacking the same topics. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of shows that are similar to Ozark in one way or another. You can check out the list below of the very best shows like Ozark.

Shows Like ‘Ozark’
Netflix

1. ‘Arrested Development’

Admittedly, this is probably the show on this list that’s the least like Ozark because it’s an all-out comedy, but that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it as an Ozark fan. That’s because Jason Bateman plays Michael Bluth, the main character here too. Michael is surrounded by a lot of big personalities played by the likes of Will Arnett, David Cross, and more. The contrast between him and them makes for some hilarious moments.

Watch Now on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/series/arrested-development-92c225ee-2d39-4cb3-a43b-fbcffbefeeb4
2. ‘Barry’

Ozark, boiled down, is about a man who lives two lives at once, and essentially, Barry is about the same thing. With Bill Hader at the helm though, there’s of course a much more comedic edge to it. The story here is that a hitman goes to L.A. for some work, but finds himself in an acting class, where he kind of falls in love with the idea of that career path and doesn’t want to be a hitman anymore. Of course, people in his line of work aren’t as onboard. Barry’s themes of living a double life go hand in hand with its placing here as one of the preferred shows like Ozark.

Watch Now on HBO
https://www.hbo.com/barry
3. ‘Better Call Saul’

If along with Ozark you’re also a fan of Breaking Bad (which also appears on this list), then there’s a decent chance you’re at least somewhat familiar with Better Call Saul. It started out as a spin-off and prequel of the popular series and sort of an origin story for Saul Goodman, but it has since become so much more than that and an eventual sequel. The final episodes will air in the summer. The dark themes present in Better Call Saul and the many surly personalities within it provide it with everything it needs to be seen as one of the best shows like Ozark.

Watch now on AMC
https://www.amc.com/shows/better-call-saul–1002228
4. ‘Bloodline’

While the focus of Ozark is often the Byrdes, in Netflix’s original series Bloodline, the Rayburns are in the spotlight. When Danny Rayburn, the black sheep of the family comes home for a particular celebration, there’s debate about whether he should stay, and a shocking event forces some of the family’s darkest secrets to unfold throughout the first season. There are three seasons in total.

Watch Now on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/movie/bloodline-60815cce-88e2-4d68-9143-a9f6b0c3b2ad
5. ‘Breaking Bad’

Breaking Bad is widely considered one of the best TV series of all time but if for some reason you’ve never given it a try, there’s no better time than now, especially with the aforementioned Better Call Saul coming to an end soon. It’s about Walter White, a family man who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, which leads him to begin producing and selling crystal meth to provide for his family and give them a better life after he’s gone.

Watch Now on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/70143836
6. ‘Dexter’

Dexter is similar to Ozark in that the main character is someone who on one hand would seem like your standard citizen but on the other, has a much darker backstory that hangs over him like a dark cloud. Money laundering isn’t the focus here though. Instead, Dexter is a serial killer who targets other murderers, creating an immediate conflict for viewers.

Watch Now on Showtime
https://www.showtime.com/?s_cid=pse-dexter-21150&gclid=Cj0KCQjwyMiTBhDKARIsAAJ-9VtZfMsbyx-KQHzf6w2kEtgyoDSCe3vlP30Jedt99HoNVEh8he2gjjcaAjksEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
7. ‘Fargo’

Fargo is a show inspired by the 1996 movie of the same name. Set in Minnesota, it’s an anthology series with the first season being the most critically acclaimed and loved by fans. It sees Martin Freeman playing Lester Nygaard, an unassuming man who finds himself in dark circumstances surrounded by Lorne Malvo, played incredibly by Billy Bob Thornton.

Watch Now on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/series/fargo-203cda1b-7919-40fb-ab36-1e45b3ed2a50?&cmp=12772&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=BM_Search_FXonHulu_Google&utm_term=%2Bfargo%20%2Bstream&gclid=Cj0KCQjwyMiTBhDKARIsAAJ-9Vu-72w66KbJuZxOp4nYw5aeZfcqi7JZJqAgoJKTEP_kC2qwin9IUW8aAmnIEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
8. ‘Mad Men’

If what you loved about Ozark was the relationship and dynamic between characters, then there’s a good chance you’ll also enjoy Mad Men. It’s set in the 60s and also features somewhat of an anti-hero in Jon Hamm’s Don Draper. He’s an extremely memorable character with a dark past that often comes back around.

Watch Now on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Mad-Men-Season-1/dp/B001A5HBAG
9. ‘Mindhunter’

Agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) operate the FBI’s Behavioural Science Unit and they launch a project which will see them interviewing imprisoned serial killers with the hopes of getting an understanding of their psychology. The show is set in the 70s, around when this became a thing in real life. 

Watch Now on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80114855
10. ‘Narcos’

Narcos is an intense series set in Colombia in the 1970s, telling the unbelievable story of Pablo Escobar. The show is intense and the drama of it will certainly appeal to fans of Ozark, but more specifically here as a similarity is the appearance of a cartel that of course brings with it action and ruthless violence at a non-stop pace. If you’re into this, check out Narcos: Mexico too.

Watch Now on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80025172
11. ‘Peaky Blinders’

Created by Steven Knight, this show is set in Birmingham and follows the gang of the same name and their exploits following the first World War. Cillian Murphy plays the lead role here and does, as usual, an exceptional job. The show has had a big cultural impact in the UK and for good reason. This is one definitely worth trying, even if it doesn’t sound much like Ozark from the pitch.

Watch Now on Netflix
https://www.netflix.com/title/80002479
12. ‘Queen Of The South’

A Mexican woman named Teresa is in a relationship with a higher-up in the drug cartel – or at least she was until he was murdered. As a result, she finds herself in Dallas where she eventually works her way up to a much more fortunate situation with her own drug enterprise. The rise of course doesn’t sit well with everyone and with that kind of money and power also comes problems. Of course, she wants to get the cartel back too, which is where the Ozark similarity is. Which gives it that essential element to be classified as one of the best shows like Ozark.

Watch Now on USA Network
https://www.usanetwork.com/queen-of-the-south
13. ‘Sharp Objects’

Camille Preaker is a reporter who is sent back to her hometown to cover the murder of two teenage girls but while she’s there, some of her own past comes back to haunt her a little bit. Amy Adams takes on the lead role here and does a great job in the murder mystery.

Watch Now on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/series/sharp-objects-db4f098d-3ecd-43da-b51f-f3e76691eef9
14. ‘Snowfall’

You might have started hearing about Snowfall a lot in more recent times, but it’s actually been around for about five years now. It recently got renewed for its sixth and final season. It explores the crack epidemic in Los Angeles in 1983 through the lens of a few interesting characters, including Mexican crime bosses and the CIA. The tone of this show can be very similar to Ozark, especially in its darker moments.

Watch Now on FX
https://fxnow.fxnetworks.com/shows/snowfall
15. ‘The Americans’

The Jennings family is living in the Cold War and while they seem like a married American couple to friends and even their own children, they’re actually two Soviet KBG intelligence officers posing as such, which inevitably boils over when they can’t control the balance and one life seeps into another. This is of course a similar dynamic to that of Marty Byrde.

Watch Now on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/The-Americans-Season-1/dp/B00B8P8O9K
16. ‘The Mosquito Coast’

The Mosquito Coast might be the show on this list that actually feels the most like Ozark in terms of plot and characters. It features a family on the run that’s desperately hiding from their past – a lot of their confrontations with anyone they run into feel similar to those of the Byrdes. Their run to Mexico is tense and will have you on the edge of your seat. The Mosquito Coast is as close to possible to what you’re looking for when it comes to the best shows like Ozark.

Watch now on Prime Video
https://www.amazon.com/Mosquito-Coast-Zaentz-Harrison-Ford/dp/B003Y5KJOK
17. ‘The Outsider’

Like Arrested Development, The Outsider is an especially good pick on this list because it features Jason Bateman, who plays Marty Byrde, not only in a big acting role but also as a director on some episodes. The plot is as follows. The mutilated corpse of a young boy is found and the main suspect is his little league coach. The only problem is that he has an alibi.

Watch Now on Hulu
https://www.hulu.com/series/the-outsider-c4b17c85-cfe1-4ddb-b92b-97c9889b9cde
18. ‘The Sopranos’

If you’ve seen and enjoyed a show like Ozark enough to seek out shows that are like it, then you’ve probably already heard of The Sopranos. Tony Soprano is the head of a mob family and the show follows the difficulty of balancing his trying to raise a family alongside his life of crime. 

Watch Now on HBO Max
https://www.hbomax.com/a/grw-sopr?utm_id=sa%7C71700000067030819%7C58700007096555565%7Cp66964081722&gclid=Cj0KCQjwyMiTBhDKARIsAAJ-9VuL9l8iu7xAbHS6bihj03qXnkF3SwSgy6E0PGy1V0A4UmMKxmKtZa8aAncJEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
19. ‘The Wire’

To call this a ‘show like Ozark’ would be considered very disrespectful to fans of The Wire who will argue until the end that it’s the greatest show of all time. Even if you don’t exactly agree, it’s hard to debate. The show is set in a gritty Baltimore where corruption, drug deals, and murder are par for the course. Both shows consist of incredibly layered characters who it’s a joy to watch interact with each other and grow.

Watch Now on HBO
https://www.hbo.com/the-wire
20. ‘Yellowjackets’

While Yellowjackets is a newer show on the list, premiering just a few months ago, it’s also shot up in popularity quite quickly. Created by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson, it follows a plane that houses a 1996 New Jersey high school soccer team and crashes while flying over Canada. The show plays out with the surviving members and goes back and forth between their lives in the current day.

Watch Now on Showtime
https://www.showtime.com/?s_cid=pse-YELLOWJACKETS-21150&gclid=Cj0KCQjwyMiTBhDKARIsAAJ-9VvufEH4wbJ-fEM1jEekJxeqKDhY2GoSOfiHtyyLJuEWyrHT4Y5nXNsaAhhcEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
21. Y’ellowstone’

Last but not least is Yellowstone, a drama starring Kevin Costner, Wes Bentley, and more. The premise of the show is unique. It tells the story of the Dutton family who own the largest ranch in Montana. The drama between the family plus the Indian reservation, national park, and land developers nearby sits at the center of this tumultuous show. The show crosses over into a few different genres and can be messy at times, but for many, it could replicate the chaos of Ozark.

Watch now on Peacock
https://www.peacocktv.com/dr/yellowstone?cid=2202brndylwstpkpdsearch8351&utm_campaign=2202brndylwst&utm_source=pk_ggl_gglsa&utm_medium=pd_search_nonbr_srcpy&utm_term=71700000073828270&utm_content=58700007749290873_44700041748282575&gclid=Cj0KCQjwyMiTBhDKARIsAAJ-9Vssk6ZLAu61S9iQj3HG4LhYZwN2uOIs8XNspiH6YxK0lhFKzQHnea0aAjWbEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
Categories
Culture Movies/TV

Catching You Up On jeen-yuhs Ahead Of Episode 3

As Kanye West preps the release of his eleventh studio album DONDA 2, fans are not only looking forward to the new music ahead of them, but they’re also getting a look back at the life and career of the Chicago legend. Kanye’s jeen-yuhs documentary is releasing weekly and in the first two episodes, fans have three hours of nearly all brand new footage of Ye on the come up. The third and final episode drops on March 2nd but before that, we’re getting you up to speed on what’s been happening.

When does jeen-yuhs episode 3 release?

The third and final episode drops on March 2nd but before that, we’re getting you up to speed on what’s been happening.

What Is jeen-yuhs?

jeen-yuhs, pronounced “genius” by the way, is Kanye West’s documentary which has been in the works for over twenty years, shot by Coodie and Chike. The way it’s spelt is truly fitting because while many of us would agree that Kanye is a genius in some form or fashion, he’s certainly an unorthodox one.

While we’ve seen footage in bits and pieces from the documentary over the years, the announcement of the full doc only came in May of last year. Netflix reportedly acquired it for $30 million, which seems fair since the footage is so highly valued.

jeen-yuhs act i: VISION (Episode 1)

The first episode of jeen-yuhs, titled VISION, shows just that. Kanye is young and getting beat placements for big artists, but struggling to get people to believe in and take him seriously as a rapper. We see how his and Coodie’s relationship formed and some of the behind the scenes struggles of even a somewhat successful artist with big dreams.

One of the more memorable scenes sees Kanye at the Roc-A-Fella office in New York City. At this point, he had already laid down the blueprint for The Blueprint, but as far as he was concerned, producing was only him getting his foot in the door and to really set things off, he needed a record deal.

He walks through the office, playing ‘All Falls Down’ for a couple of execs. They seem mostly uninterested and are easily distracted. To hear a GRAMMY nominated song that hit #7 on the charts get an extremely flat reaction from those in the music industry is a truly unique experience. It’s hard not to feel sorry for Ye as you see him disheartened by the response, or lack thereof.

This is a theme throughout the first episode; Ye trying to get people to believe in him. It really feels like it’s him against the world. His name gets spelt wrong on big platforms, friends are dissing him on the radio and even when someone does believe he’s the future, there’s little that they can do to support him.

Of course, knowing who Kanye West is now, whether you like him or not, it’s hard not to be incredibly inspired seeing his humble beginnings. It’ll make you feel that no matter how hard a journey is for you, the destination can always be reached.

The episode ends with Ye getting signed to Roc-A-Fella, but of course, the hard work is really yet to begin.

jeen-yuhs act ii: PURPOSE (Episode 2)

PURPOSE opens on a high note, amidst the chaos of signing a deal. Ye is asked what’s next for him with the Roc, he buys a new car and his beats are in even higher demand. He finds himself in the studio with Young Guru and JAY-Z, where Hov is working on The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse. Kanye raps what ended up being his verse on ‘The Bounce’, his first real collaboration with JAY despite him not even being credited on the original version of the album.

He gets coached by Jigga in the booth and when he’s done recording his verse, JAY says “a closed mouth don’t get fed, you wouldn’t have said nothing, you wouldn’t have been on that”. It’s a testament to the Chicagoan’s perseverance.

This episode also covers the near-fatal car crash that Kanye was in in 2003. As well as being a life-altering experience for him as it would be for anybody, it really put a pause on things with his career, killing his momentum. It meant that Roc-A-Fella’s focus shifted to other artists who fit their image a little more and now Ye was left trying to once again prove himself to a label, albeit this time one that he was signed to.

Not getting studio time of his own, Kanye has to find time in other artists’ studios when he can. Here, we see a lot of The College Dropout get recorded, including ‘Slow Jamz’, ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’ and ‘We Don’t Care’. Seeing classic moments like DeRay Davis’ hilarious skits or Jamie Foxx’s intro on ‘Slow Jamz’ get recorded is mind-blowing and makes you wonder how footage like this was left vaulted for so long.

In the end, the video for ‘Through The Wire’ gets a great response and helps put Roc-A-Fella’s attention back on Kanye. He gets to release his debut album to worldwide success. The change feels almost overnight for Kanye, even though we’ve seen first-hand that it clearly wasn’t. The episode ends with Ye’s famous GRAMMY speech.

What To Expect From jeen-yuhs act ii: AWAKENING (Episode 3)

The preview that we get for AWAKENING at the end of episode two is interesting. Some of the more infamous moments of Ye’s life and career get shown in a montage; him saying George Bush doesn’t care about black people, his mother’s death, the Taylor Swift incident at the VMAs, his support of Trump, his Presidential election.

It’s tough to say how much of this we’ll really see behind the scenes footage of and how much will be covered somewhat from afar. The episode should be somewhere between 90 minutes and two hours long, so the potential for coverage is great, but we’ll find out when it airs on Wednesday.

Either way, the episode should be a treat for Kanye fans and will likely help you feel like you know the man behind the mask a little more.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 15 Best Spy Movies on Netflix (And A Few TV Shows As Well)

In a secret-filled world, spies can be hiding in every shadow. Whether secret agents are working for governments or acting as solo agents with their own positive or negative agendas, spies have become a backbone in both modern society and cinema. The Cold War in particular, with Americans constantly afraid of Communist agents hiding and operating in the United States, brought the world of espionage to the forefront of people’s minds and has become a go-to topic for filmmakers wanting to explore the world of undercover agents with hidden agendas. 

If your hobbies include spying on your passersby with binoculars or sticking your ear up against a wall to eavesdrop on your roommates, spy movies are right up your alley. I know from personal experience that being a secret agent for the government can be difficult (crap, did I just say that out loud?), and these movies and television shows elucidate different aspects of that tricky world. Read on to discover the 15 best Spy movies (and a few TV series) currently on Netflix!

1. ‘Casino Royale’ (2006)

Of course, the most iconic fictional spy of all time was going to kick off this list of spy films and television shows. In the 2006 remake of Casino Royale, Daniel Craig donned a tuxedo and drank shaken martinis for the first time as James Bond.

In this film, Bond is still closer to the beginning of his storied career, and he is assigned with learning more about the financial exploits of terrorist financier Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). With his newly assigned license to kill, Bond has to learn more about Chiffre’s organization and enter a high-stakes poker game to hopefully thwart their newest attempts to bring in massive amounts of money.

https://www.netflix.com/title/70044604
2. ‘The Coldest Game’ (2019)

Like I mentioned in the intro, The Cold War is where the world of espionage and secret agents first entered the mainstream imagination. The 2019 film The Coldest Game follows Joshua Mansky (Bill Pullman), an American mathematician who is forced to become a spy for the government during one of the Cold War’s most dangerous eras.

Set during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the movie follows the alcoholic Mansky as he prepares and competes in a chess tournament in Warsaw while simultaneously trying to discreetly take in as much information about the Soviets as possible.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/81221170#:~:text=2019%7CTV%2DMA%20%7C1h,a%20deadly%20game%20of%20espionage.
3. ‘The Spy’ (2019)

Sacha Baron Cohen is best known for outrageous comedic roles like Borat and Bruno, but in The Spy, a miniseries co-produced by Netflix, Cohen’s dramatic abilities are on full display.

In The Spy, Cohen plays Eli Cohen (no relation), a Mossad agent who was tasked with carrying out important tasks for the Israeli government in the buildup to the Six-Day War between Israel and Syria in 1967. Based on real-life events, the crux of the story follows Cohen as he disguises himself as a man named Kamel Amin Thaabet and integrates himself into Syrian society, eventually gaining the title of Deputy Defense Minister, in the hopes that the knowledge he gains and actions he takes will all benefit Israel in the long run. 

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80178151
4. ‘Red Notice’ (2021)

One of Netflix’s biggest and most expensive productions ever (I mean, look at this cast!) Red Notice is an action-packed thrill ride, in which an FBI profiler (Dwayne Johnson) must work together with an art thief (Ryan Reynolds) to track down another criminal (Gal Gadot.)

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/watch/81161626?trackId=13752289&tctx=0%2C0%2Cadb63887689bfe469d02e98cf7252d020e0a1145%3A92cbbc05e47311d20a34ef4d1712d1ddc2e4a584%2Cadb63887689bfe469d02e98cf7252d020e0a1145%3A92cbbc05e47311d20a34ef4d1712d1ddc2e4a584%2Cunknown%2C%2C%2CtitlesResults
5. ‘Munich: The Edge of War’ (2022)

Based on an international bestselling novel, Munich: The Edge of War follows two diplomats, one British and one German, as they attempt to unravel a conspiracy that will unravel and spill over into World War II.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/81144852
6. ‘Quantum of Solace’ (2008)

There are literally dozens of James Bond films out there, but Netflix only has Daniel Craig’s first two outings available for U.S. customers. Picking up literally an hour after Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace sees Bond seek revenge for the loss of a loved one. While on the trail of the killer, 007 discovers a shadowy organization called Quantum. It falls to Bond to diffuse Quantum and Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), one of its shadow members, from plotting a coup in Bolivia in order to gain control over its water supply.  Keeping with the gritty spirit of Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace is an action-packed, bloody film that shows James Bond going MUCH further in fight scenes than he had in the past as he embarks on a personal rather than fully professional mission. 

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/70099117
7. ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ (2011)

After the success of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo book series and subsequent Swedish film adaptation, David Fincher released an American adaptation of the series first chapter in 2011. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is investigating the mysterious disappearance of a teenage girl 40 years earlier. To help him get to the bottom of things, Blomkvist turns to the complex yet matter-of-fact hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). Together, the two of them embark on a dark journey to discover the truth that ends up nearly contradicting everything they first assumed about the situation when they started their mission. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a slick, incredibly well-acted film that will leave audiences both intrigued and entertained from start to finish.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/70207663
8. ‘The Angel’ (2018)

The Angel, distributed by Netflix in 2018, tells the story of Ashraf Marwan (Marwan Kenzari), an Egyptian diplomat who was married to Egyptian President Nasser’s daughter and ended up working as a secret agent for the Israeli Mossad. Based on Israeli professor Url Bar-Joseph’s book The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel, The Angel, explores Marwan’s time working as a spy for Israel and the emotional struggles he went through in an effort to maintain peace between the two countries. Set in the aftermath of the Six-Day War between the two countries in 1967, the film is full of double-crossings, and loose ends that make it clear just how logistically and morally complicated being a spy can be.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80188120
9. ‘Operation Finale’ (2018)

Inspired by a true story, Operation Finale stars Oscar Isaac as Peter Malkin, a Polish-born Israeli spy who is given a top-secret mission: Capture Adolf Eichmann the Nazi war criminal and mastermind of the Holocaust.

At the end of World War II, Eichmann escaped to Argentina and has been living in hiding ever since. Upon his discovery, Malkin and his team make it their mission to bring him to justice.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80986885
10. ‘Body of Lies’ (2008)

An action-packed spy thriller from Ridley Scott that stars two Oscar winners. Need I say more?

Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe star as a CIA agent and his boss, respectively as they attempt to track a terrorist operating in the Middle East.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/watch/70101694
11. ‘Spycraft’ (2021)

Based on the book Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda, Spycraft is a Netflix original docu-series that takes viewers through different key components of espionage and how they have evolved over the years. Released in late January 2021 to limited fanfare (potentially because the powers at be don’t want individuals to know the truth about American spycraft), the eight-episode series has entries on everything from the power of “sexpionage” to how agencies go about recruiting the individuals to become spies.  

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/81014547
12. ‘A Very Secret Service’ (2015)

The final television series on this list, A Very Secret Service, looks at the world of espionage through a more satirical, comedic lens. A French production, A Very Secret Service, follows André Merlaux (Hugo Becker) after he is called in to be a trainee with the French Secret Services. Set in 1960 during the early days of the Cold War, the French are dealing with calls for independence in their then African colonies, especially Algeria, and a domestic populace growing more liberal every day that makes the government increasingly worried about Communist interference.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80097771
13. ‘The Sum of All Fears’ (2002)

When it comes to spy novels, there is perhaps no one better than Tom Clancy and the movies that are based on his books are among the best there are. In The Sum of All Fears, Jack Ryan (Ben Affleck) uncovers a conspiracy by neo-Nazis to spark a nuclear war between the United States and Russia.

Along with the CIA Director (Morgan Freeman) and black ops agent John Clark (Liev Schreiber), Ryan works to stop the terrorists before it’s too late.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/watch/60022974
14. ‘The Red Sea Diving Resort’ (2019)

Another spy film that is loosely based on actual events, The Red Sea Diving Resort stars Chris Evans as an Israeli Mossad agent named Ari Levinson who works with Kabede Bimro (Michael K. Williams), an Ethiopian Jew, to evacuate Jewish refugees from persecution.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/watch/80240537
15. ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ (2016)

Based on a true-story, Smoke & Mirrors follows the exploits of Francisco Pasea (Eduard Fernández), a Spanish agent who assisted the government fight a Basque separatist organization before ultimately being framed and exiled by the Spanish government. Years later, Pasea is allowed back in the country to assist Luis Roldán (Carlos Santos), the former Police commissioner, with a massive cash cover-up scheme. Still bitter about his past betrayal, Pasea plots how to take the money for himself in a manner that will hopefully leave him free from blame and flush with cash. Directed by Alberto Rodriguez, Smoke & Mirrors is incredibly entertaining as well as illuminating expose on how corrupt governmental institutions can be.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80121843
Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 10 Best British Shows On Netflix

The United States creates some pretty amazing shows, but let’s face it, it doesn’t have a monopoly on quality TV. Some of the best television shows from across the pond, with the best minds in Great Britain backing them, and thankfully, some of these are available to binge-watch on Netflix right now. 

From gritty crime dramas to romantic comedies, the Brits sure know how to make a great TV show. Peaky Blinders will take you back in time to an era where crime ruled the streets of Birmingham, while The Crown peels back the layers of the British royal family. Whatever type of show is your “cup of tea”, Netflix certainly has you covered. 

Check out our list of the 10 best British shows on Netflix right now.

1. ‘Peaky Blinders’

Watch this show, by order of the Peaky Blinders.

Telling the story of the infamous “Peaky Blinders” street gang in Birmingham, England, the first season is set in the late 1910s and early 1920s. The main character is the gang leader and World War I veteran, Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy), who attempts to establish himself as both a feared criminal as well as a businessman.

This requires some crafty planning on his part, but when a police investigator from Northern Ireland, as well as a spy that embeds herself within Tommy’s life, show up on the scene, all bets are off. 

Featuring a cast that includes Murphy, Sam Neill, Sophie Rundle, Tom Hardy, and more, Peaky Blinders is a show you don’t want to miss a second of.

watch now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80002479
2. ‘The Crown’

A show that history buffs and Royal enthusiasts alike have lauded, The Crown has become a smash hit since its premiere. It documents the Briitish Royal family’s story with a focus on the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her coronation to the modern-day. She deals with the difficulties of her marriage to Prince Phillip, the responsibilities of her role as the Queen, and more. It isn’t the most historically accurate show out there, but then again, no one ever said this was a documentary.

Since the story takes place over the course of Elizabeth’s life, the show uses different actresses for not just the Queen, but the other characters as well. In the first two seasons, Claire Foy portrayed Elizabeth and was followed by Olivia Colman for seasons three and four. In the upcoming season five, Imelda Staunton will take over the role.

watch now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80025678
3. ‘Bodyguard’

In one of his first major roles following his exit from Game of Thrones, Richard Madden portrays David Budd, the titular bodyguard for the British Home Secretary, who is in the process of introducing a controversial bill that would limit freedoms in the name of national security. 

The series progresses as Budd, a war veteran, not only deals with the increasing threat on the life of the Home Secretary but also his struggles with PTSD, a deteriorating marriage, as well as threats to his own children. 

It’s a tense thriller that is well worth a six-episode investment.

watch now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80235864
4. ‘The Great British Baking Show’

Like British TV? Like cooking shows? Love watching people make food that you would never actually make yourself? 

Allow me to “introduce” you to The Great British Baking Show. I say “introduce” because chances are you’ve already heard about or seen this show, but trust me when I say that you’re going to want to check this out if you haven’t already. 

This show is the television equivalent of walking into your grandma’s house after she has pulled a fresh batch of cookies right out of the oven.

Quick tip, though: Don’t watch this show when you’re hungry because you’re going to want to eat literally everything in sight.

watch now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80063224
5. ‘Derry Girls’

Growing up is hard. Growing up in a city that is under military occupation and where the threat of terrorist attacks is ever-present is even harder.

Set in Derry (or Londonderry, depending on your political, national, and religious affiliation), Northern Ireland in the 1990s, Derry Girls is based around a group of friends dealing with high school drama, Catholic school, not to mention the aforementioned military occupation. 

It’s hilarious from start to finish, and, considering the setting, it’s a delicate balancing act that the show must navigate throughout, but it manages to do so masterfully.

watch now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80238565
6. ‘Sherlock’

Taking the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ mythos and placing it in a modern-day setting, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman star as the famous detective and his friend, Dr. John Watson, a war veteran struggling with PTSD.

For fans of the Holmes novels (or any other show/movie/book/etc.) that has featured the characters, this show is a must-watch, with fantastic performances, storylines lifted from the books themselves, and a great script.

watch now
https://www.netflix.com/title/70202589
7. ‘Top Boy’

Do you enjoy crime drama series? How about hip-hop? Do you like Drake?

If your answer to these questions is ‘Yes’, then we’re sure that you’ll love Top Boy. Set in a fictional estate in Hackney, Top Boy originally follows the character Ra’Nell as he looks to adapt and survive in his crime-filled neighborhood. Other characters, including Ra’Nell’s best friend Gem, struggle to get by as well, with many living under the thumb of a ruthless drug dealer named Dushane. 

Although it was canceled after two seasons, rapper Drake loved the show and, along with Maverick Carter, signed on as executive producers and teamed up with Netflix to make another slate of episodes happen.

watch now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80217669
8. ‘Bridgerton’

One of the newer releases on this list, you can think of Bridgerton as a mashup of Pride & Prejudice and Gossip Girl

Bridgerton takes place in 19th-century Great Britain centered around the Bridgerton family as they navigate the aristocracy of the era with all sorts of romantic drama and intrigue. The show also features a racially-diverse cast, with people of color being featured in not just prominent roles in the aristocracy but as full-fledged members of it. 

Bridgerton is not for a, let’s say, conservative audience, as it features many sexually charged scenes, and when we say many, we mean many. Those aspects are an integral part of the show, and the discussion around them has proven to be one of the things the show has been most lauded for.

watch now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80232398
9. ‘Black Mirror’

The show that seems to dominate Social Media and the cultural zeitgeist whenever new episodes are dropped, Black Mirror has been likened to a modern-day Twilight Zone. Black Mirror takes a look at modern society through the lens of new technologies, albeit with a horror and dystopian twist. 

It is an anthology series with new characters and new stories being featured in every episode, which has allowed for big name stars such as Jon Hamm, Anthony Mackie, and Bryce Dallas-Howard to star in some of the episodes. 

Black Mirror is not for the faint of heart, but it is more than worth a watch and will leave you thinking and your mind racing.

watch now
https://www.netflix.com/title/70264888
10. ‘Crashing’

Crashing is one part romantic comedy and one part drama, and comes from the brilliant mind of Fleabag creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Crashing follows a group of twenty-somethings as they decide to live in an abandoned hospital since, well, the rent is super cheap. 

Something we can all relate to. 

While it never garnered a major audience and was canceled after just one season, Crashing is a funny, yet serious at times, show that deserves more recognition. Not to mention, the writing from Waller-Bridge, who was as sharp as ever in her first foray into television.

watch now
https://www.netflix.com/title/80133117
Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 15 Best Spy Movies on Netflix (And A Few TV Shows As Well)

In a secret-filled world, spies can be hiding in every shadow. Whether secret agents are working for governments or acting as solo agents with their own positive or negative agendas, spies have become a backbone in both modern society and cinema. The Cold War in particular, with Americans constantly afraid of Communist agents hiding and operating in the United States, brought the world of espionage to the forefront of people’s minds and has become a go-to topic for filmmakers wanting to explore the world of undercover agents with hidden agendas. 

If your hobbies include spying on your passersby with binoculars or sticking your ear up against a wall to eavesdrop on your roommates, spy movies are right up your alley. I know from personal experience that being a secret agent for the government can be difficult (crap, did I just say that out loud?), and these movies and television shows elucidate different aspects of that tricky world. Read on to discover the 15 best Spy movies (and a few TV series) currently on Netflix!

1. ‘Casino Royale’ (2006)

Of course, the most iconic fictional spy of all time was going to kick off this list of spy films and television shows. In the 2006 remake of Casino Royale, Daniel Craig donned a tuxedo and drank shaken martinis for the first time as James Bond.

In this film, Bond is still closer to the beginning of his storied career, and he is assigned with learning more about the financial exploits of terrorist financier Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). With his newly assigned license to kill, Bond has to learn more about Chiffre’s organization and enter a high-stakes poker game to hopefully thwart their newest attempts to bring in massive amounts of money.

https://www.netflix.com/title/70044604
2. ‘The Coldest Game’ (2019)

Like I mentioned in the intro, The Cold War is where the world of espionage and secret agents first entered the mainstream imagination. The 2019 film The Coldest Game follows Joshua Mansky (Bill Pullman), an American mathematician who is forced to become a spy for the government during one of the Cold War’s most dangerous eras.

Set during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the movie follows the alcoholic Mansky as he prepares and competes in a chess tournament in Warsaw while simultaneously trying to discreetly take in as much information about the Soviets as possible.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/81221170#:~:text=2019%7CTV%2DMA%20%7C1h,a%20deadly%20game%20of%20espionage.
3. ‘The Spy’ (2019)

Sacha Baron Cohen is best known for outrageous comedic roles like Borat and Bruno, but in The Spy, a miniseries co-produced by Netflix, Cohen’s dramatic abilities are on full display.

In The Spy, Cohen plays Eli Cohen (no relation), a Mossad agent who was tasked with carrying out important tasks for the Israeli government in the buildup to the Six-Day War between Israel and Syria in 1967. Based on real-life events, the crux of the story follows Cohen as he disguises himself as a man named Kamel Amin Thaabet and integrates himself into Syrian society, eventually gaining the title of Deputy Defense Minister, in the hopes that the knowledge he gains and actions he takes will all benefit Israel in the long run. 

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80178151
4. ‘Inception’ (2010)

Director Christopher Nolan is known for larger-than-life film concepts, and films don’t get much bigger than Inception. The film follows a team of individuals, led by Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), as they embark on a mission inside a businessman’s mind to implant (incept) an idea in his head.

As the squad goes deeper in Robert Fischer’s (Cillian Murphy) subconscious, the settings continually evolve and get more dangerous, forcing the dream team to adapt and constantly tweak their plans to get to the next level unnoticed.

An action-packed film, Inception is emotionally charged and ambiguous as hell, meaning audiences will have to pay attention if they want to pick up on everything Nolan is trying to throw at them.  

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/70131314
5. ‘The Departed’ (2005)

Martin Scorsese focuses on a different kind of gangster in The Departed: Corrupt police officers and federal agents. Starring a who’s who of Hollywood A-listers like Jack Nicholson and Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed follows certain individuals who work as moles within the Massachusetts state police as well as the Irish mob in Boston. Without spoiling the numerous twists, I’ll say that this Best Picture Oscar-winning film is incredibly tense and makes the audience question every individual and their true intentions at all times.

Not only does it have a lot of iconic dramatic moments, but The Departed also has some incredible action to keep viewers hooked throughout the two-and-a-half-hour film.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/70044689
6. ‘Quantum of Solace’ (2008)

There are literally dozens of James Bond films out there, but Netflix only has Daniel Craig’s first two outings available for U.S. customers. Picking up literally an hour after Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace sees Bond seek revenge for the loss of a loved one. While on the trail of the killer, 007 discovers a shadowy organization called Quantum. It falls to Bond to diffuse Quantum and Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), one of its shadow members, from plotting a coup in Bolivia in order to gain control over its water supply.  Keeping with the gritty spirit of Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace is an action-packed, bloody film that shows James Bond going MUCH further in fight scenes than he had in the past as he embarks on a personal rather than fully professional mission. 

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/70099117
7. ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ (2011)

After the success of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo book series and subsequent Swedish film adaptation, David Fincher released an American adaptation of the series first chapter in 2011. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is investigating the mysterious disappearance of a teenage girl 40 years earlier. To help him get to the bottom of things, Blomkvist turns to the complex yet matter-of-fact hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). Together, the two of them embark on a dark journey to discover the truth that ends up nearly contradicting everything they first assumed about the situation when they started their mission. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a slick, incredibly well-acted film that will leave audiences both intrigued and entertained from start to finish.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/70207663
8. ‘The Angel’ (2018)

The Angel, distributed by Netflix in 2018, tells the story of Ashraf Marwan (Marwan Kenzari), an Egyptian diplomat who was married to Egyptian President Nasser’s daughter and ended up working as a secret agent for the Israeli Mossad. Based on Israeli professor Url Bar-Joseph’s book The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel, The Angel, explores Marwan’s time working as a spy for Israel and the emotional struggles he went through in an effort to maintain peace between the two countries. Set in the aftermath of the Six-Day War between the two countries in 1967, the film is full of double-crossings, and loose ends that make it clear just how logistically and morally complicated being a spy can be.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80188120
9. ‘The Spy Next Door’ (2010)

Bob Ho (Jackie Chan) is affiliated with the CIA and used to taking down terrorists and saving the day, but now he has a dangerous mission he may not be qualified for: babysitting his neighbor’s kids. The Spy Next Door follows Ho as he deals with the trouble-making kids, but his old job quickly rears its ugly head as he has to reveal his identity to the kids and work with them to take down a group of bad guys threatening the world’s oil supply. Directed by Brian Levant, the director who brought family-friendly films like Beethoven and Jingle All The Way to the big-screen, The Spy Next Door is a silly, action-packed film perfect for everyone in the fam.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/70116682
10. ‘The Spy Who Fell to Earth’ (2019)

Directed by Thomas Meadmore, The Spy Who Fell to Earth is a documentary all about Ashraf Marwan (the subject of the previously mentioned The Angel), an Egyptian billionaire who worked as a secret agent for the Israeli government. Based on a book with the same name, the film tracks Marwan’s life, touching on everything from his life in the UK before becoming a full-fledged spy to his mysterious death. Including archival footage of everyone from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to Nikita Khrushchev, a former Premier of the Soviet Union, The Spy Who Fell to Earth is an interesting, time-spanning story that shows the importance and historical context of Marwan’s time as a spy.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80224218#:~:text=Based%20on%20Dr.,Egyptian%20billionaire%20and%20Israeli%20spy.
11. ‘Spycraft’ (2021)

Based on the book Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA’s Spytechs, from Communism to Al-Qaeda, Spycraft is a Netflix original docu-series that takes viewers through different key components of espionage and how they have evolved over the years. Released in late January 2021 to limited fanfare (potentially because the powers at be don’t want individuals to know the truth about American spycraft), the eight-episode series has entries on everything from the power of “sexpionage” to how agencies go about recruiting the individuals to become spies.  

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/81014547
12. ‘A Very Secret Service’ (2015)

The final television series on this list, A Very Secret Service, looks at the world of espionage through a more satirical, comedic lens. A French production, A Very Secret Service, follows André Merlaux (Hugo Becker) after he is called in to be a trainee with the French Secret Services. Set in 1960 during the early days of the Cold War, the French are dealing with calls for independence in their then African colonies, especially Algeria, and a domestic populace growing more liberal every day that makes the government increasingly worried about Communist interference.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80097771
13. ‘Snowden’ (2016)

Few recent American figures are as divisive as Edward Snowden, and that’s exactly why the overtly political director Oliver Stone decided to make Snowden. The film explores Edward Snowden’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) life preceding his time as a subcontractor with the National Security Agency and, most importantly, his decision to leak classified documents that revealed espionage and data tracking operations carried out by the American government on its own citizens to a team of journalists. Even though the movie is based on two Snowden-focused books, Stone met with the real Snowden multiple times in an attempt to better understand him as well as a pick-up on some personality traits he could incorporate into the movie. 

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80064514#:~:text=2016%7CR%20%7C2h%2014m%7C,exposing%20vast%20U.S.%20surveillance%20programs.
14. ‘All The Devil’s Men’ (2018)

Jack Collins (Milo Gibson) is a former Navy SEAL and bounty hunter who is sent off to London to assist the CIA on a critical mission. All the Devil’s Men, written and directed by Matthew Hope, follows Jack as he becomes a part of a small team of operatives tasked with hunting down a former CIA agent intent on buying a nuclear warhead from Russian gangsters. Full of action and double-crossings, All The Devil’s Men will keep viewers on the edge of their seats as they try to put all the pieces together and watch Jack try to save the day and spare the world from a nuclear conflict. 

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80220311
15. ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ (2016)

Based on a true-story, Smoke & Mirrors follows the exploits of Francisco Pasea (Eduard Fernández), a Spanish agent who assisted the government fight a Basque separatist organization before ultimately being framed and exiled by the Spanish government. Years later, Pasea is allowed back in the country to assist Luis Roldán (Carlos Santos), the former Police commissioner, with a massive cash cover-up scheme. Still bitter about his past betrayal, Pasea plots how to take the money for himself in a manner that will hopefully leave him free from blame and flush with cash. Directed by Alberto Rodriguez, Smoke & Mirrors is incredibly entertaining as well as illuminating expose on how corrupt governmental institutions can be.

watch here
https://www.netflix.com/title/80121843
Categories
Culture Movies/TV

30 Feel-Good Movies On Netflix To Watch When You Need A Pick Me Up

Whether you’re stuck sitting inside a home office all day or dealing with bumper-to-bumper traffic on a commute to work, everyone could use a feel good movie right about now. From fairytales to grounded family dramas, anything can be a feel good movie as long as it makes the audience smile and feel some kind of joy as the credits start rolling.

Everything from animated adventures to touching documentaries appears on this list, but it’s up to you to decide which movie you want to watch first when you need a good pick me up. Whenever you’re feeling down, check out one of these fantastic 30 Feel-Good Movies on Netflix!

1. ‘Hook’

Peter Pan, the boy who never ages, finally grows up in Hook. Peter (Robin Williams), now a workaholic who ends up being too busy for his own kids most of the time, is thrust back into Neverland when the dastardly Captain Hook kidnaps his kids. An overwhelmingly silly and heartwarming flick, Hook reminds its viewers to never stray too far from the innocent joy of childhood. With an amazing ensemble- Dustin Hoffman hams it up as Captain Hook- and a touching story, Hook is a must-watch for anyone who needs a dose of wonder.

2. ‘Okja’

Before Bong Joon-ho swept the Oscars for his capitalist-skewering Parasite, he released Okja, a fairy tale-esque story that also slams the modern capitalist consumer culture. A Netflix original, the story follows Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun), a young woman who has an intense bond with a genetically modified super-pig called Okja. When Okja is recalled by the multinational corporation that first created it, Mija is thrust into a world-wide journey to reunite with her friend that sees her teaming up with an animal rights organization. Full of satire, Okja is incredibly charming and will make you smile long after you finish it.

3. ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’

In 2009, writer-director duo Chris Lord and Phil Miller burst onto the scene with the release of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Loosely adapted from a children’s book with the same name, the film sees scientist Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) create a device that turns water into food. Unfortunately, Lockwood quickly loses control as tumultuous food weather (think spaghetti and meatball tornadoes) poses a huge risk to the city of Swallow Falls and its inhabitants. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is an entertaining film full of puns and heart that also has a poignant message for its viewers: don’t mess with the climate! 

4. ‘Lady Bird’

Growing up in a small-ish city and arguing with your parents can be tough. Still, Christine, a.k.a. Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan), isn’t willing to let her current situation define her existence or what is possible in the future. A comedic coming-of-age story that sees Lady Bird try to discover what she wants from life; this Greta Gerwig helmed movie perfectly balances its charming and heartbreaking moments. Like any family drama (or real family squabble), there are moments that lower the characters and make them question their world views. However, Lady Bird still excels at making its audience feel good and empowered in their own decisions as things progress.

5. ‘Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget For the Rest of Your Life’

When old friends Steve Martin and Martin Short are together, it’s impossible for viewers not to smile. These two titans of comedy join each other on-stage for a comedy-palooza filled with personal stories, banjo music, and contagiously big smiles. The only comedy special on the list, An Evening You Will Forget, feels like you’re spending some time with old friends who are razor-focused on making you laugh and feel good.

6. ‘Hugo’

Director Martin Scorsese is best known for gritty gangster films, but his adaptation of Hugo proves the maestro can excel in any genre.  Set in 1931 Paris, Hugo follows a young boy named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) who goes to great lengths to unlock a mysterious automated toy after his father passes away. A story about the power of family and friendship, Hugo is a lovely journey about both self-discovery and understanding/empathizing with those around you.

7. ‘Crimp Camp: A Disability Revolution’

A Netflix documentary produced by the Obamas’ new production company, Crimp Camp: A Disability Revolution, is a story about the power of grassroots activism during the disability rights movement. The film opens on Camp Jened, an alternative summer camp that was designed to uplift and care for teenagers who felt ostracized from daily life due to their disabilities. Focusing on the journey of certain individuals who attended the camp, Crimp Camp tracks how they outgrew the ostracization society placed on them and became key activists in the fight for new legislation. A touching and motivating film, Crimp Camp reminds us that everyone is worthy of respect and that anyone is capable of creating real change in the world.

8. ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’

Whether he’s creating films about Norse gods or reformed Hitler youth, writer-director Taika Waititi has an incredible knack for bringing delightful stories to the big screen. Hunt for the Wilderpeople, adapted from a book called Wild Pork and Watercress, sees an unlikely duo—a 13-year-old named Ricky (Julian Dennison) and a grizzled, older man named Hec (Sam Neill)—bond and hide out in the middle of the New Zealand wilderness while Ricky is being searched for by child services. A film chopped full of laughs and misunderstandings, Hunt for the Wilder People will leave you feeling happy to be alive and extra appreciative of the people who bring love into your life.

9. ‘Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey’

Christmas might have been a few months ago, but that doesn’t mean Netflix’s new original holiday film Jingle Jangle isn’t worth watching any time of year. Written and directed by David E. Talbert, Jingle Jangle was originally designated to be a stage production. Still, Talbert’s vision jumps off the screen thanks to an amazing ensemble and wonderful choreography from Ashley Wallen. Without spoiling too much, the film follows Journey (Madalen Mills) as she tries to help her grandfather Jeronicus Jangle (played by Forest Whitaker for most of the film) preserve his toy factory and protect his newest invention. A fantastical journey full of whimsy and wonder, Jingle Jangle is a new Christmas classic that will leave you wishing it was already December.

10. ‘Miracle’

Few sports stories are as inspirational as Miracle, a 2004 movie about the U.S. Olympic men’s ice hockey team that competed in the 1980 games. Under the leadership of coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), a group of collegiate athletes came together and did the impossible—defeated the most dominant hockey team in the world: the Soviet Olympic team. A touching and thoroughly entertaining film all about pushing oneself to the limit and not letting other people’s opinions impact one’s abilities, Miracle will leave you feeling inspired and ready to take on the world.

11. ‘The Naked Gun’

Unfortunately, Hollywood doesn’t make comedy movies like The Naked Gun anymore. Starring Leslie Nielson as Detective Frank Drebin, The Naked Gun parodies police films with both massive gags and smaller jokes that may fly right over the audience’s head. In this film, the first of a trilogy, Frank is tasked with defending Queen Elizabeth II from a hypnosis-related assassination attempt. The film isn’t overwhelmingly emotional, but it’s hard to walk away from The Naked Gun feeling anything but overjoyed due to how silly it is.

12. ‘Always Be My Maybe’

Romantic comedies can be a bit of a mixed bag, but the Netflix original Always Be My Maybe is incredibly charming and silly in all the best ways. Sasha (Ali Wong) and Marcus (Randall Park) are old friends who grew distant from each other after one intimate night together as teenagers. Years later, the two bump into each other as Sasha returns to San Francisco to open a new restaurant, and the two become friends once again. Park and Wong, who both have writing and producing credits on the film, have fantastic chemistry together and do a wonderful job of grounding this touching story all about escaping your comfort zone and pursuing life (and love) to the fullest.

13. ‘Chef’

After directing massive blockbusters like Iron Man and Cowboys & Aliens, writer-director Jon Favreau was ready to ground his filmmaking in smaller, more intimate stories again. In 2014, Favreau released (and starred in) Chef, a story about a Los Angeles chef who loses his job after a public argument with a food critic and decides to operate his own food truck where he can let his own cooking style shine through. A story about defining your own path, Chef is the perfect film for anyone hungry to take control of their own life.

14. ‘Wine Country’

A group of old friends decides to embark on a weekend getaway in Napa Valley to celebrate Rebecca’s (Rachel Dratch) birthday. A Netflix original directed by Amy Poehler, who is also a member of the film’s ensemble, Wine Country is a funny, sweet film all about rekindling the important relationships in your life and learning to go with the flow. With lockdowns still ongoing, Wine Country is a sweet distraction that reminds viewers how important friendship is in all of our lives.

15. ‘The Muppets’

Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy are two of the most iconic characters of all time, and the 2011 film The Muppets, fortunately, put the two of them and all their puppet friends back in the spotlight where they deserve. Co-written by Jason Segel, whose love of puppet musicals is evident for anyone who has seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, the film sees The Muppets reunite in order to save the Muppet Theater from an evil businessman. Stacked with a great ensemble and some of the best working puppeteers, The Muppets is the joyous, goof-filled movie everyone needs about now. As a bonus, if anyone is a fan of Flight of the Conchords, series co-creator James Bobin directs the film, while Bret McKenzie served as the music supervisor and even wrote four of the original songs in the movie.

16. ‘Stranger Than Fiction’

Will Ferrell movies are normally full of over-the-top humor, but Marc Forster’s Stranger Than Fiction is markedly different. When Harold Crick (Ferrell) suddenly hears a narrator guiding him through his life like a character in a novel, he starts to panic. Things only worsen for Harold when he discovers that the narrator is apparently aware of how Harold will die and guide him right to his end. A story that deals with heavy themes like fate and the inevitability of death, Stranger Than Fiction is an incredibly powerful story that reminds us all to take charge of our own lives and not allow other individuals or institutions to dictate how we should perceive our own existence.

17. ‘Julie and Julia’

If overwhelming amounts of butter and baked goods make you happy, then Julie & Julia will leave you feeling full and delighted. Based on the real-life exploits of food blogger Julie Powell, played by Amy Adams, the film follows Powell as she endeavors to cook every recipe from Julia Child’s cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year as a distraction from her own angst living in post-9/11 New York City. At the same time, the film is interwoven with flashbacks that showcase the iconic Child (Meryl Streep) as she attends a French culinary institute and tries to publish her iconic cookbook.

18. ‘Yes, God, Yes’

Normally, stories set in a Catholic school aren’t all about sex, but Yes, God, Yes is a clever, comedic look at how the religion’s strict rules impact the sexual development of its young adherents. It is written and directed by Karen Maine, who makes her feature directorial debut here with a story loosely based on her own experiences as a teenager. Yes, God, Yes is an extremely charming film about self-discovery. Alice (Natalia Dyer) has to maneuver her own sexual appetites, something she is constantly told to feel ashamed about, and survive a stuffy school retreat in this swift and funny tale.

19. ‘Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday’

Few live-action characters are as iconic as Paul Reuben’s Pee-Wee Herman, so when the Netflix original Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday hit in 2016, there was a reason to celebrate. Pee Wee is happy with his life in the town of Fairville, but when actor Joe Manganiello pops up in town and convinces Pee Wee that he should come to New York for his birthday party, Pee Wee sets off on a wacky road trip full of twists and turns to attend the celebration. Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday isn’t the character’s first (nor most iconic) film, but it’s incredibly satisfying and will leave you grinning from ear-to-ear.

20. ‘Saving Mr. Banks’

Mary Poppins is one of the most iconic characters ever put on the silver screen, but before Julie Andrews brought her to life, she existed only in the pages of P.L. Travers’ children’s books. Saving Mr. Banks, directed by John Lee Hancock, tells the silly, stressful and emotional story of how the notorious Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) persuaded Travers (Emma Thompson) to adapt her work. A Disney movie about an older Disney movie, Saving Mr. Banks, is a must-see for any fans of Hollywood history that leaves audiences appreciative of the things that made their own childhoods so special.

21. ‘Ocean’s Eleven’

In 2001, director Steven Soderbergh released a remake of the 1960s classic Ocean’s Eleven. Stacked with one of the best ensembles ever assembled—including icons like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Bernie Mac—Ocean’s Eleven sees a crew of thieves come together to pull off a massive heist in Las Vegas worth $160 million. Danny Ocean (Clooney) gets out of prison and decides to assemble a crew for one more heist, a decision that leads Danny to come in contact with numerous eccentric and entertaining individuals who all have a particular set of skills. An entertaining and sharp story, Ocean’s Eleven is both hilarious and bewildering as audience members have to pay attention to all the wonderful activity taking place on the screen to grasp the full picture.

22. ‘The Half of It’

Another Netflix original, writer-director Alice Wu’s The Half of It, is a cheeky coming of age story that focuses on two introverted friends falling for the same girl. Ellie (Leah Lewis) is a shy high school student who makes a bit of money by helping her peers write essays, but after Paul (Daniel Diemer) asks her to help him write letters to his crush Aster (Alexxis Lemire), everything changes. Not only do Ellie and Aster develop a close friendship, something that helps the two nervous individuals feel more comfortable in their own skin, but they end up both developing feelings for the same girl. A sweet film about accepting yourself and others, this is the perfect film for anyone ready for some sweet laughs and motivation to start a new chapter in their life.

23. ’17 Again’

I personally NEVER want to go back to high school, but for those who sometimes pine after a second chance at their younger days, 17 Again is the perfect movie to watch. When Mike O’Donnel (played by both Matthew Perry and Zac Efron depending on his age) magically transforms into a 17-year-old after hitting a rough patch with his professional and personal life, he decides to make the best of it and go back to high school for a second chance at greatness. Directed by Burr Steers, 17 Again is an incredibly funny story that reminds audiences not to take their life and loved ones for granted even when they may be feeling unworthy of love or success.

24. ‘Into the Wild’

Written and directed by Sean Penn, Into the Wild is an emotionally charged film about self-discovery and determining one’s own path in life. Adapted from Jon Krakauer’s book about the life of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), Into the Wild sees the recent college graduate walk away from the life he thought he would embark on in favor of a solo cross-country trip to Alaska. As he journeys across the country, he meets new people and pushes through both his physical and emotional limits in order to reach his destination. The film certainly has darker moments as McCandless’s journey becomes more harrowing, but the film’s positive, adventurous spirit is infectious from start to finish.

25. ‘Four Christmases’

The holiday season is the gift that keeps on giving on this list, and Seth Gordon’s Four Christmases is one of the funniest, most delightful Christmas movies I’ve ever seen. Brad (Vince Vaughn) and Kate (Reese Witherspoon) are a couple who try to avoid their families on the holidays, but after their travel plans are canceled, they give-in and decide to visit their families. Brad and Kate both come from divorced households, making the idea of marriage and kids harder for them to swallow. That also means they have four very separate and very different holiday gatherings to attend. Family drama and crude humor aside, Four Christmases is a love-filled movie that leaves the viewer with a big smile on their face.

26. ‘Silver Linings Playbook’

A movie about mental illness may not be the first thing someone thinks about when they want to find a feel-good flick, but David O Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook is full of joy. The film follows Patrick (Bradley Cooper), a bipolar individual after he is released from a psychiatric hospital and readjusting to life with his parents. As Patrick fixates on regaining his old life by hopefully winning back his old wife, he gets closer to another mentally distinguished individual named Tiffany (Jennifer Lawerence). A touching yet smile-filled film about vulnerability and letting new relationships blossom, Silver Linings Playbook is a must-watch for anyone struggling to accept the wrinkles in their own life.

27. ’50 First Dates’

Many Happy Madison films are actually rather mean-spirited, but 50 First Dates strikes a different tone entirely. After Henry (Adam Sandler) meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore), he’s immediately smitten. Unfortunately, Henry doesn’t realize that Lucy has a rare form of amnesia that resets her memory back to right before she was in a bad car accident a few years prior. Although Lucy’s family warns Henry to stay away from her, he commits himself to making her fall in love with him every day so they could have some type of relationship. There are definitely some creepy elements to their relationship, but if viewers can put those things aside and just enjoy the romantic ride, they are in for a treat.

28. ‘Paul Blart Mall Cop’

Starring and co-written by Kevin James, Paul Blart Mall Cop is a heartwarmingly silly movie about a schlubby mall security guard who takes his job – and responsibilities as a single father- incredibly seriously. When a group of criminals infiltrates the mall on Black Friday, Paul has to think creatively and save the day. Paul Blart is big on slapstick comedy, but more importantly, for the sake of this list, it’s a heartfelt movie that shows anyone is capable of accomplishing great things.

29. ‘Tall Girl’

No one makes it through high school without being made fun of a few times, but Jody (Ava Michelle) unfortunately deals with more bullies than most. A 6.5 foot tall junior, Jody has always been taller than her peers- something that has unfortunately made her self-conscious and desperate to blend in. The film has some cute high school romantic elements as Jody juggles her feelings for a tall foreign exchange student and her short best friend, but at its core, Tall Girl is all about accepting yourself no matter how other people perceive you, and nothing makes an audience feel better than watching a movie’s protagonist finally learn to love themself.

30. ‘Death to 2020’

2020 was a challenging year for everyone, but we can all breathe a sigh of relief and say that 2020 is OVER! This Netflix original mockumentary, written by Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, sees stacked ensemble parodies and breaks down the tumultuous year’s biggest stories. If saying goodbye to 2020 (and watching Samuel Jackson) doesn’t make you feel good, nothing will.

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 16 Best 80s Movies to Stream on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Beyond

I’ve always been a little jealous that I didn’t grow up in the 80s.  It might have been the oversized sweatshirts and leg warmers, Rob Lowe in everything, MTV being the premiere channel for music videos or those cool transparent telephones with the color inside.  Or it could be that my parents always made it seem like such a cool decade with classics that we still watch today. 

With a million different streaming services to choose from, there are endless 80’s movies you can watch, but here are 16 gems to get you started. 

Warning: there’s going to be a lot of John Hughes.

1. ‘Big’

Think of this movie as the original 13 Going on 30. When 12-year-old Josh wishes that he was no longer a kid and finally “big,” he wakes the next day to find his wish has come true.  He gets an apartment, finds success at his job, and even holds down a romance before he finds himself longing to be a kid again. As someone who has been a full-fledged adult for a while, let me say: I feel you, Tom Hanks. I feel you.

watch now
https://www.amazon.com/Big-Tom-Hanks/dp/B00519YOY8
2. ‘Dirty Dancing’

I sing “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” at least once a week, and this movie is the reason.  Taking place in a resort in the Catskills, young Frances “Baby” Houseman, and her family vacation during the summer as she learns how to dance by a super cool Patrick Swayze. This movie is the classic of all classics, and while the budget was only $5M, it made a cool $215M at the box office. It also led to a prequel and a made-for-TV remake in 2017 (which my boyfriend was in, so check it out), but the original is such a joy and full of lines you’re still quoting in 2021. 

watch now
https://www.amazon.com/Dirty-Dancing-Jennifer-Grey/dp/B000IDEORY
3. ‘The Breakfast Club’

Often referred to as the blueprint of the coming-of-age movie, John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club introduced the world to the Brat Pack, a group of good-looking young actors who played in a series of similar movies in the ’80s. Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, and Ally Sheedy comprised the core of the group, with The Breakfast Club being one of two movies this five actors starred in together. The movie takes course over an afternoon when five very different students are forced to spend Saturday detention together. As they share stories and bond, they discover that “a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal” have more in common than they initially thought. 

watch now
https://www.amazon.com/Breakfast-Club-Molly-Ringwald/dp/B001BR3P0S
4. ‘Risky Business’

The movie that launched thousands of college girls wearing button-up shirts and long socks as a Halloween costume! When rich kid Joel’s parents go away for the weekend, he treats himself to a prostitute who ends up robbing him.  Hilarity ensues! Okay, maybe not hilarity but shenanigans that involve a pimp, a Porsche that sinks into a lake, Tom Cruise turning his parents’ home into a brothel, and displays of white privilege at every turn! Risky Business is considered one of the best films of the 80s and holds a 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

watch now
https://www.hbomax.com/feature/urn:hbo:feature:GX5Nucwl0Hp7CDwEAAACh
5. ‘Beetlejuiice’

A fantastical cult favorite, Beetlejuice’s cast is full of stars you’ll recognize… but 33 years younger. Alec Baldwin (you might know him as Former Spanish Person Hilaria Baldin’s husband) and Geena Davis play a deceased couple who find themselves haunting their house after the Deetz family (Winona Ryder, Jeffrey Jones, and Catherine O’Hara) move in. In an attempt to get them out, they summon Beetlejuice, a sneaky poltergeist who has a different idea of what help looks like. 

watch now
https://www.peacocktv.com/watch-online/movies/comedy/beetlejuice/1f836b88-48c5-311d-9cff-5c6a7ec5cd2b
6. ‘Stand By Me’

Arguably the quintessential kids-going-on-a-quest movie, this Stephen King film revolves around four young boys looking for the body of a recently deceased child somewhere in town. Yeah, that’s kind of a gruesome plot, but what else could you expect from Stephen King? What makes this movie unique is how it goes one step further into each of the boys’ traumas, grappling with some pretty heavy adult stuff, but always comes back to the strong friendship that carries the story. 

watch now
https://www.amazon.com/Stand-Me-Wil-Wheaton/dp/B000I9YV30
7. ‘St. Elmo’s Fire’

Another classic starring a different configuration of the Brat Pack (take out Ringwald and Hall, add dreamboat Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Andrew McCarthy, and Mare Winningham), we meet a  group of recent college grads figuring out adulthood. Yeah, this is a pretty common trope, but did I mention a super attractive Rob Lowe is in it?

My parents love St.Elmo’s Fire. Ask your parents. They probably love it, too.

watch now
https://www.amazon.com/St-Elmos-Fire-Rob-Lowe/dp/B0019TVYNS
8. ‘Footloose’

Sometimes you’ve got this feeling that time’s just been holding you down. You’ll hit the ceiling or else you’ll tear up this town. Now you gotta cut loose.

No movie from the 80s used music quite so efficiently as Footloose.  Kenny Loggin’s “Footloose”, Deniece William’s “Let’s Hear It For the Boy”, Foreign’s “Waiting for a Girl Like You”, Moving Picture’s “Never” and Mike Reno and Ann Wilson’s “Almost Paradise’” (you know the song from Bachelor in Paradise, and I’m embarrassed for you.) 

The premise: Ren, a teenager from the big city, moves to a small town where dancing and rock music have been banned. Watch to see how he turns things around.

watch now
https://www.hulu.com/movie/footloose-304811f3-c4be-4a32-8729-6ca6ed6213e3
9. ‘Eddie Murphy: Raw’

My dad hates watching movies with me that include any raunchy behavior or language. He still views me as his little girl, and I can feel his body cringe when there’s even something SLIGHTLY uncomfortable on the screen. However, my father made an exception for Eddie Murphy’s Raw because it’s that good. This 1987 blockbuster shows Murphy at his best, nailing impression after impression and securing his place in comedy history.

watch now
https://www.netflix.com/title/70002522
10. ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’

A whole generation was reintroduced to Fast Times at Ridgemont High last year when Dane Cook pulled together an impressive amount of stars to do a table reading for COVID relief efforts. The actual movie is a coming-of-age (I know, I know, another one) film about a group of high schoolers in Southern California and is probably best remembered for Sean Penn’s performance. 

watch now
https://www.amazon.com/Fast-Times-at-Ridgemont-High/dp/B003PUOTKE
11. ‘Heathers’

Heathers, like many other movies of this era, is about high schoolers and their daily lives, but that’s where the similarities end.  Intended to be the antithesis of the popular John Hughes coming-of-age films, this movie centers around a popular clique of girls who attend a school where people start dying.  

watch now
https://www.hulu.com/movie/heathers-358a31d7-a435-403a-8f38-1d02caed3608
12. ‘School Daze’

One of the most iconic movies to shed light on Greek life in historically black colleges, Spike Lee based some of this movie on his own collegiate days at Morehouse University. Featuring a very young Lawrence Fishburne and Tisha Campbell, School Daze grappled with race, colorism, college politics, beauty standards, and identity (to name a few.) Even in 2020, this movie doesn’t feel dated. 

watch now
https://www.netflix.com/title/60004109
13. ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’

Another John Hughes classic, Matthew Broderick plays an unmotivated high schooler Ferris who skips school one day by playing sick. The Vice-President of his school does not believe him and spends the majority of the movie trying to catch him, which in hindsight, seems like a lot of effort to bust one kid. The movie’s charm comes from the unique breaking of the 4th wall to hear Ferris’ thoughts; it went on to be one of the top-grossing movies of the year.

watch now
https://www.amazon.com/Ferris-Buellers-Day-John-Hughes/dp/B001D0DQUC
14. ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’

The movie that launched a thousand sequels (okay, it was just a few) is one of those sweet and warm films that you watch years later, and somehow, it still manages to hold up. When an inventor shrinks his kids, as well as the neighbor’s kids, they have to navigate the much larger world in hopes of getting back to normal size.

watch now
https://www.amazon.com/Honey-Shrunk-Kids-Rick-Moranis/dp/B00787IR2Q
15. ‘The Goonies’

Something about the ’80s bred groups of misfit kids going on adventures. The children in The Goonies find themselves in possession of an old map that leads to a treasure hunt, complete with pirates, caves, monsters, and skeletons. 

watch now
https://www.amazon.com/Goonies-Sean-Astin/dp/B004ADB17Y
16. ‘Princess Bride’

If you like fairy tales (especially modern takes), The Princess Bride will quickly be a favorite. The story is told through the narrative stylings of a grandfather telling his grandson a bedtime story; the bedtime story revolves around a farmhand and the hurdles he must go through to be with the one he loves

watch now
https://www.hulu.com/movie/the-princess-bride-101b3fed-3125-4009-91e8-40ca97f1229c
Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 8 Best Marvel Movies and Shows Still on Netflix

Netflix subscribers who are fans of Marvel’s television series and movies may feel a bit left out in the cold since the launch of the ever-popular Disney+ streaming service back in November of 2019. But fear not, we come bearing good news! What if we told you that you could scratch your Marvel itch without adding another subscription service to your seemingly never-ending list of monthly expenses? That’s right! There are still plenty of ways for you to tap into the Marvel Universe without the need for a Disney+ membership.

Netflix continues to feature a variety of original shows and movies for viewers of all ages to enjoy. In this article, we will explore all that remains of Marvel on Netflix so that you don’t have to go another day without some serious superhero satisfaction in your life. So, let’s put on our masks and capes and figure out which kick-butt shows you’ll be adding to your Netflix “My List” today!

1. ‘Ghost Rider’ (2007)

We’ll be honest with you; this is the only Marvel movie that remains on Netflix after the recent migration of all their movies to Disney+. While that may not be the news you were hoping to hear, it gets better as we go down the list, we promise!

Ghost Rider follows Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage), who is a daredevil biker and stuntman by day, and a walking, talking, motorcycle riding, flaming-skulled bounty hunter of the damned by night. How did he get into this mess, you may ask? Good question! In exchange for his soul, a demon named Mephistopheles promises to cure Johnny’s father of cancer. Well, he ends up dying due to significant burns all over his body, but the demon considers his end of the bargain upheld and now has Johnny’s soul and services forever. What a rip-off!

Johnny, aka Ghost Rider, is then called upon by Mephistopheles to defeat his demon son Blackheart. If he does this, Johnny gets his soul back. I won’t spoil it for you, but it has a crazy plot twist in the end and is worth at least one watch if you haven’t seen it yet. As the only Marvel movie on the board, you’re not left with many options, so do what must be done and give it a chance if you’re a fan of action, adventure, sci-fi, or fantasy. Plus, it’s Nick Cage! You know you’re tempted…

2. ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ (2013-2020)

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is, by far, the Marvel television series with the most episodes on Netflix. Spanning seven seasons, the show is based on the Marvel Comics organization S.H.I.E.L.D., which stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division.

That’s a mouthful! Thank goodness for acronyms, huh? Basically, this group is a spy agency that was put together to keep the peace in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The series was the first-ever in the MCU and is considered canon, meaning that it is officially a part of the MCU you know and love from the movies and other media. So, if you enjoyed the Avengers movies, this ties right in and helps to broaden and expand that world. We would say it’s worth checking out if you’re ready to commit to seven seasons of superhero fun!

3. ‘Daredevil’ (2015-2018)

Continuing the chronological timeline of Marvel movies and shows on Netflix, our next stop is the series Daredevil. This show is certainly more on the dark and gritty side, as is indicated by its rating of TV-MA. If you’re looking for more of a mature Marvel experience, look no further.

For three seasons, we follow Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), aka Daredevil, a blind lawyer from 9-5, but a masked, crime-fighting vigilante at night. Daredevil possesses heightened senses due to being blinded as a young boy and combines this with extensive martial arts training to take down New York City’s worst of the worst. This is the first in a series of shows that tie into The Defenders miniseries, but more on that later!

4. ‘Jessica Jones’ (2015-2019)

Another Marvel Netflix series to take the dark and gritty approach, Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), is a private eye with a haunting, traumatic past. The show touches on topics such as rape, assault, and PTSD, to name a few, so this one is definitely intended for an older audience. Jones is a former superhero who uses her superhuman strength, healing factor, and flight powers to aid her in her everyday work as a detective. She gave up her life as a superhero after an incident where a villain named Killgrave caused her to kill someone against her will. Let’s say that Killgrave is back, and Jessica Jones will have to stop him. Start with Daredevil, then watch this, as this show is the second of four that tie into The Defenders miniseries. This brings us to the next show…

5. ‘Luke Cage’ (2016-2018)

As part of the Netflix Black Lives Matter Collection, Luke Cage tells the story of an ex-con who is fighting to clear his name while saving his neighborhood in Harlem, New York. Luke Cage (Mike Colter) has some badass abilities to back up his 6’6 hulking physique as well. Among them are bulletproof skin, damage immunity, superdense body mass, healing factor, superhuman strength, hand-to-hand combat skills, and superhuman durability! Whew, what a list! Good luck stopping this guy!

Will Luke Cage get the redemption story that he seeks? Does he use his powers for good to save Harlem from the crime and corruption that’s been plaguing it? Well, you know I can’t tell you all that, so you’re going to have to tune in to find out! Luke Cage is the third series in the lead-up to The Defenders, so make sure to watch them in order. You’ll thank us later.

6. ‘Iron Fist’ (2017-2018)

Can you imagine being presumed dead for 15 years, only to resurface with incredible powers? That’s exactly what happens to Danny Rand (Finn Jones) in the Marvel series Iron Fist. It took us a minute to place Finn Jones, but we finally figured it out. You may know him from Game of Thrones, where he played Loras Tyrell, brother of Margaery. Anyway, he’s a great actor and doesn’t disappoint in this role either.

Rand shows up out of nowhere like Schwarzenneger in The Terminator-looking to reclaim the family business from Harold Meachum and his kids. But as always, a threat emerges, and Rand is torn between securing the family legacy and his duties as the Iron Fist. I have a funny feeling that he’ll be using his martial arts training, pyrokinesis, healing factor, and ability to harness spiritual energy in this two-season series. If you watch the three shows before this one, well, you had better watch this one too. It all leads to the crossover show we’ll be talking about next.

7. ‘The Defenders’ (2017)

Finally! The moment you’ve all been waiting for. The hype is real, folks, but when Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist squad up, how can you not get excited? The events of this miniseries are set a few months after Daredevil season two and a month after the first season of Iron Fist. The group of superhero vigilantes team up in New York City to fight the Hand. That’s right, the antagonist’s name is the Hand. We know what our heroes can do, but what about the Hand? It turns out that the Hand isn’t just a singular person or thing; it’s an order of evil mystical ninjas involved in organized crime and assassination plots. *Gulp* Business is about to pick up y’all! 

It’s a shame we may never see another season of The Defenders, but as I mentioned before, if you’re planning on taking the journey through Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, you better add this on to your Netflix “My List” as well.

8. ‘The Punisher’ (2017-2019)

And last, but by no means least, we have everyone’s favorite ex-Marine turned arbiter of pain, Frank Castle. Yes, the man better known as The Punisher has been a favorite amongst Marvel fans for quite some time now due to his creative techniques to get people to spill the beans among other things. He doesn’t have glowing fists, the power of flight, or the ability to heal himself, but he does possess peak strength for a human, skills in unarmed combat, superior marksmanship, and immunity to pain.

This two-season series follows the tortured soul that is Mr. Castle as he seeks revenge against those who killed his family. He quickly earns the moniker “The Punisher” in the city of New York while uncovering a larger conspiracy in motion. It’s a wild and violent ride showcasing a man on a mission who takes on the criminal underworld by any means necessary, with no regard for human life. If you like the John Wick movies, then this should be right up your alley. The Punisher and popcorn: it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

The 20 Best Anime Films on Netflix

Demon Slayer just became the highest-grossing film of all time in Japan, surpassing the previous record-holder, Spirited Away. Anime movies are only getting bigger and bigger. With that in mind, we compiled a list of the best anime movies on Netflix for you to watch right now. Although Spirited Away isn’t in the catalog, there are some great options for everyone out there, from Hayao Miyazaki diehards to people looking to dip their toes in the genre. Without further ado, these are the 20 best anime movies on Netflix right now. 

1. The Castle of Cagliostro

While movies like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke have firmly found their footing as some of the greatest animated movies of all time, some older movies of Hayao Miyazaki’s go overlooked. The Castle of Cagliostro was the legendary director’s feature film debut, and it tells the tale of master thief Arsène Lupin III. The movie is thematically different from many of Miyazaki’s later entries, but still features his telltale beautiful portrait shots and witty characters. The Castle of Cagliostro is a must-watch for Studio Ghibli fans, as it provides amazing insight into the genesis of Miyazaki as a filmmaker. 

2. A Whisker Away

This is one of the most recent entries on the list; A Whisker Away released in English on Netflix this past June. The film depicts the story of Miya Sasaki, an unhappy middle school girl who receives a magical Noh mask from a mysterious seller, which grants her the miraculous ability to transform into a cat. As she spends more and more time as Tarō the cat, Miyo has to face numerous questions regarding the self and who she truly is. The animation is beautiful and the film poses questions about what makes us who we are. It’s introspective, colorful and adorable; you’ll come away from the movie with a totally new perspective on relationships and the self. The film was directed by Sailor Moon director Junichi Satoh and written by Anohana writer Mari Okada.

3. Flavors of Youth

Flavors of Youth is an anthology film, so it actually covers three seemingly disparate stories: “The Rice Noodles”, “A Little Fashion Show”, and “Love in Shanghai”. All of the segments of the film, which was a Japanese-Chinese co-production between CoMix Wave Films and members of Haoliners Animation League, take place in China, beautifully highlighting the country’s distinct cityscapes. Flavors of Youth is only 75 minutes long, with each segment making up roughly a third of the runtime. But directors Li Haoling, Jiaoshou Yi Xiaoxing and Yoshitaka Takeuchi manage to pack in tons of sentiment and commentary on family dynamics in the film’s short runtime.

4. A Silent Voice

A Silent Voice, which is based on the manga of the same name, is an incredibly heartfelt teen drama from 2016. The film investigates the horrors of teen bullying, invoking characters who have been both the perpetrators and victims of harassment. In this way, director Naoko Yamada (and original manga writer Yoshitoki Ōima) provides a less black and white narrative of teenage trauma. It’s a thematically dark film, rendered beautifully by Kyoto Animation. This movie is truly a must-watch; you will come away from it a different person than when you began.

5. Okko’s Inn

The 2018 film Okko’s Inn is based on the series of children’s novels of the same name, released between 2003 and 2013. The film tells the tale of young Okko and her grandmother Mineko (and a ghost or two) as they manage the Hananoyu Inn. It’s a beautiful movie, which includes scenes of cutting sadness peppered in amongst moments of pure joy. Unlike some of the other options on this list, Okko’s Inn is a great choice for children and adults alike. 

6. Expelled from Paradise

Expelled from Paradise is another great entry for fans of science fiction. The film, directed by Seiji Mizushima and written by Gen Urobuchi, tells the story of agent Angela Balzac, who works on the space station DEVA. The inhabitants of the station have no physical bodies; their minds have been inputted into a virtual reality environment. This is a super cool movie for fans of science-fiction world-building and post-apocalyptic/dystopian futures. The animation, from Toei Animation and Graphinica has a cool, paler color palette, but the complicated sci-fi narrative is what makes this 2014 film really stand out. 

7. Children of the Sea

Children of the Sea is a 2019 film from director Ayumu Watanabe and producer Eiko Tanaka (of Studio 4 °C). Like many of the entries on the list, this movie is also based on a manga of the same name, written by Daisuke Igarashi—who also wrote the screenplay. As the title suggests, the movie is set near the ocean and uses the backdrop to interrogate numerous questions regarding the relationships between humans and nature. The film follows the relationship between junior high student Ruka—and her two new friends, brothers Umi and Sora—and a series of aquatic supernatural phenomena. 

8. Mary and the Witch’s Flower

Mary and the Witch’s Flower was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, a former animator for Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli. That much is clear when you watch his 2017 film. Yonebayashi certainly takes cues from legendary Miyazaki in its tale of young Mary Smith, who discovers “fly-by-night”, a curious flower which grants her the ability to become a witch for one night. This film is incredibly cute, and a great option not only for scratching your Miyazaki itch, but for anyone interested in discovering an up-and-coming auteur in the anime genre. 

9. Mirai

Mirai is an extremely cute movie that finds its biggest strengths in its simplicity. From legendary writer/director Mamoru Hosoda and Studio Chizu, the critically acclaimed anime (it was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 91st Academy Awards, among numerous other accolades) tells the story of young Kun Ota as he adjusts to having a newborn sister. The screenplay was inspired by Hosoda’s own experience with his three year old son and explores family dynamics and coming-of-age, told through numerous invocations of fantasy and time travel. 

10. The End of Evangelion

Neon Genesis Evangelion is widely considered to be one of greatest anime television series of all time. The television show tells the tale of Shinji Akari as he pilots the massive humanoid mecha Evangelion Unit 101 in a series of battles against the hostile alien race, the Angels. The End of Evangelion serves as a parallel ending to the TV show; it picks up where the 24th episode of the show ended and answers some of the questions posed in the series’ 25th and 26th episodes. You honestly can’t consider yourself a diehard anime fan if you haven’t seen this landmark film. 

11. MFKZ

MFKZ (Mutafukaz) is a French-Japanese co-production between Ankama Animations and Studio 4°C from 2017, directed by Shōjirō Nishimi and Guillaume “Run” Renard. MFKZ is a deeply chaotic and turbulent science fiction movie, which takes cues from many great films of the sci-fi canon. The English dub cast also includes some bigtime names, from legendary actor Giancarlo Esposito to Long Beach rapper Vince Staples. The film features a super unique animation style reminiscent of sketched-out video games like Borderlands. It’s truly worth a watch just for a glimpse of the unique animation style. 

12. Naruto Blood Prison

Naruto requires no introduction. Although this movie was met with semi-mixed reviews upon its 2011 release (2014 for North America), Naruto diehards are desperate for any content we can get with our favorite nine-tailed demon fox Naruto Uzumaki. Blood Prison depicts the story of iconic protagonist Naruto after he is wrongly arrested and sent to prison for attacking the Fourth Raikage. 

13. Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You

Unfortunately there aren’t a ton of Pokemon movies available on Netflix right now, but of the limited selection, I Choose You is certainly a cute entry to the franchise. Released as part of a 20th anniversary celebration of the anime series’ initial release, the film (based loosely off of the anime’s pilot) tells the story Pokémon Trainer Ash Ketchum and his pals, Pikachu, Verity, and Sorrel, on their quest to meet the Legendary Pokémon Ho-Oh. It’s not exactly a cinematic masterpiece, but certainly a fun watch for any big time fans of the franchise. It’s also exactly 1 hour and 37 minutes long, so we had to include it. 

14. The Garden of Words

The Garden of Words is only 46 minutes long, but manages to pack in a lot of narrative and themes of maturity and loneliness. The film was written, directed and edited by Makoto Shinkai and animated by the studio CoMix Wave Films. The narrative focuses on Takao Akizuki, a 15-year-old aspiring shoemaker, and Yukari Yukino, a 27-year-old woman, as they keep bumping into each other at the Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Rain, poetry and the Japanese garden are motifs throughout the film, contributing to the film’s overall aesthetic which highlights the beauty in traditionally gloomy spaces.

15. Lu Over the Wall

Lu Over the Wall, directed by Masaaki Yuasa (of studio Science Saru) and written by Yuasa and Reiko Yoshida, is a really cute entry on the list. The film tells the tale of Kai Ashimoto and his burgeoning friendship with ningyo (a fish creature from Japanese folklore) Lu. It’s a beautifully eye-catching and colorful film with a fairly simple narrative, making it an easy and fun watch for any fans of the genre.

16. NiNoKuni

NiNoKuni is a film adaptation of the renowned video game series of the same name. The games, which have been released since 2010, include animated sequences produced by legendary Studio Ghibli, and most of the games’ music was composed by Joe Hisaishi, the composer for all of Miyazaki’s films. The magic-filled adventure that is the 2019 film may not be a masterpiece, but it’s certainly a solid watch for any fans of the franchise.

17. Evangelion Death (True)

This film is another followup to the legendary anime series, Neon Genesis Evangelion. This iteration is an edit of the film Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth, which was released as the first installment of the film series following the anime. The film consists of a recap of the series’ first 24 episodes as well as a substantial amount of new animation, setting up the events of The End of Evangelion, mentioned above. You could hypothetically watch this movie as your first entry into the franchise, as it explains many of the events of the series. However, the anime series is truly a masterpiece, so there’s good reason to binge it before diving into the films. 

18. Sol Levante

Sol Levante is only 4 minutes long, but it’s still technically a film, albeit short. It is the first hand-drawn anime using 4K HDR technology, which allowed the artists to provide even more detail than traditionally permitted, giving the film an entirely fresh visual style. The film tells the story of a young warrior on a quest for a place said to grant wishes. The narrative aside, Sol Levante is an immensely innovative film for anime as a whole and the technological capabilities opening up to the genre.

19. Fireworks

Fireworks is a 2017 anime based on the 1993 live-action Japanese film, Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom? It tells the story of a romance between Norimichi Shimada and Nazuna Oikawa. Although the film doesn’t break any barriers from a narrative perspective, the gorgeous music (composed by Satoru Kōsaki) and beautiful animation (who doesn’t love animated fireworks?) make it a great choice for fans of romance movies looking to get into anime. 

20. Berserk: Golden Age Arc I – The Egg of the King

The first entry from the Berserk: Golden Age Arc is such a banger. Based on the Berserk manga series, the first film tells the story of mercenary Guts in the war against Midland’s rival kingdom. The series is set in medieval pseudo-Europe dark fantasy world, and follows the tale of Guts and Griffith, the leader of the mercenary band called the “Band of the Hawk”. All three movies (released between 2012 and 2013) from the series are available to stream on Netflix, so this trilogy is a great option if you’re looking to binge.