What To Watch (Instantly)
How can I put this delicately? Netflix sucks balls.
Sophie, Jash, and I don’t have cable, (not because we are making some sort of statement, being frugal, or because we like to read, but because all of us are too lazy to walk one block to the Comcast store and pick up a free remote) so we rely on Netflix’s watch instantly, which we stream through the Nintendo Wii that Jash stole from a blind deaf homeless twelve-year-old, for cinematic entertainment.
Like everyone with Netflix, the three of us have come to the conclusion that the movie selection available for instant viewing is about as strong as Mitt Romney’s principles/diverse as Boulder, Colorado/good as the Mets. To their credit, Netflix has a good library of TV series…es (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Louie, all your NBC favorites, and a longtime obsession of mine – The Twilight Zone), even if it’s sometimes frustrating to be paralyzed two years behind current episodes.
But the movies suck. Here are some things I’d like to get off my chest with regard to that:
If there is a mediocre Chinese remake of the straight-to-DVD sequel of a crappy American horror movie, Netflix has it…and the Korean prequel made with the younger siblings of the original cast.
Ever wanted to see a fictionalized film about a real-life crime? Netflix has it! If it sucks.
Remember that tragedy at a prison/sanitarium/death camp you once saw referenced in a New York Times article? Netflix does. And they have thirteen documentaries on it.
Ancient Aliens? Yup.
Side question: What the fuck is with these categories? Ok, so they nailed it when they gave me a laundry list of “Feel Good Romantic Comedies Starring Ashton Kutcher”, but tell me, Netflix, what the fuck is a “Sentimental Thriller”? Also, Fun fact: The average budget of a Netflix title is three thousand twenty-five dollars.
But along with all of this crap, comes an opportunity for true satisfaction. There are few better feelings than discovering value in something that has been undervalued, and every title on Netflix is undervalued due to the extremely poor quality of its peers. So, when you do find that hidden decent movie diamond gem needle in the rough haystack, it is a truly awesome experience.
Below, in no particular order, are ten worthwhile titles that I discovered. Bigger titles that I enjoyed (No Strings attached, The Big Lebowski, Sphere) have been excluded from the list because a lot of you have seen them, and because their popularity earns them prominence on suggestion lists, so you’re likely to encounter them without my help. Here goes:
Independent rom-dramedy with a sci-fi twist. An implanted device counts down to the moment people meet their soul mate. Some people get them, some people don’t. Hilarity and heartbreak ensues. Not as sci-fi or sexy as JT’s In Time, but refreshingly quirky and enjoyable.
Couldn’t believe my Sunday evening eyes when I this little guy hiding in the rubble. One of two 2011 movies about other planets colliding with ours (basically). In this, we have a bunch of characters trying to put on a brave face in the face of the earth’s imminent demise. Don’t let the lengthy opening sequence scare you away.
This has everything a sports documentary should: Old pro vs. Young gun; Down home country boy v. Foreign (Soviet) Superhuman; slow build to inevitable tournament meetings; plus, it’s an introduction to the totally zany world of (semi?) professional(?) arm wrestling. Jash and I watched and then immediately did serious irreparable damage to ligaments in our inner-forearms.
This movie was underrated by everyone and if you don’t think it’s one of the greatest comedies of all time you are a fucking moron. Joaquin Phoenix KILLS IT, in a role that was part acting and part performance art. Do it.
I risk exposing bias with this one, but Joaquin is also awesome in Two Lovers, in which he plays a depressed Brooklyn boy choosing (or hoping to choose) between two hot chicks. It’s dark and it’s good.
“Come in my ass, man!” (Best Jimmy Carrey line ever?) Awesome, disturbing, heavy on gay sex. In other words, everything that I look for in a movie. Inspired by the true story of Steven Russel, one of the greatest con artists of all time.
Tarantino before he became obsessed with “Tarantino”. De Niro, Jackson, Forster, Keaton, are you kidding me??? Best line: After murdering SLJ’s slam piece, De Niro explains he did it because she wouldn’t shut up. Jackson’s response: “Well if you had to do it, you had to do it.”
Zack Galifianakilpuss in a dystopic comedy where people are exploding out of depression and stress. ‘Nuff said?
Chris Evans (man crush) plays a lawyer with a heart of gold…and veins of pure Mexican Brown! Dude is an everything addict. Becomes obsessed with a lawsuit that is intended to promote the use of safety needles, on the behalf of a woman who was infected with AIDs by an accidental stick. Based on a true story. Inspiring and depressing at once, as all true stories are.
Pure fun. Nic Cage is awesome; Chloe Moretz plays a pre-teen super hero who kills more people than your average James Bond, and does it in style. Every part of this movie is sweet.
5 Titles I haven’t watch yet but vow to:
Broken Flowers – Billy Murray!
The Way of the Gun – Opening scene involved a girl getting punched in the face, so it’s gotta be good.
Calvin Marshall – The tagline is: “Though he has no athletic ability whatsoever, college student Calvin Marshall is blindly single-minded about making the school baseball team.” Remind you of anyone? That is literally all I know about this film.
Harry Brown – “Michael Caine. She was only 16 years old.” Google that and enjoy.
Mississippi Burning – Gene Hackman, racism, Willem Dafoe, America. Embarrassed to say I haven’t seen it. This will most likely change tonight.