Table of Contents
The Best Movies
on Netflix is a really tasking survey to know about, trying to find out what movie to watch on Netflix can be challenging. We’ve all been there. You’ve decided you’re going to watch something. You have the entirety of Netflix at your disposal, including even a pared down list of films you’ve already bookmarked to watch at a future date. But then there’s the choosing. You’ve gotta find something that fits your mood, or something you and your friend/significant other/couch companion can agree on. You spend hours browsing, and by the time you stumble on something you think maybe is the one, it’s too late, you’re too tired, and indecision has won out.
This list of the best movies on Netflix is updated weekly with all-new choices, so be sure to return the next time you’re looking for something great to watch.
Image via Sony
Director: Ruben Flesicher
Writers: Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin
Long before Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s Deadpool script got made into a movie, they burst onto the scene with the 2009 comedy Zombieland. Directed by Ruben Fleischer with an exaggerated style that underlines the comedy and singles out the many, many ways to kill a zombie, the film follows four strangers who meet during the zombie apocalypse and agree to travel the country together. Hilarity, romance, and a surprising amount of heart ensues, but it’s really the sharp style and tone that make Zombieland stand out among the glut of zombie films. And an all-timer Bill Murray cameo, of course.
Image via PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
Director: David Fincher
Writers: John Brancato and Michael Ferris
Cast: Michael Douglas, Deborah Kara Unger, Sean Penn, James Rebhorn
The Game is a very weird movie, but if you’ve never seen it, it’s a fun ride. The 1997 film marked director David Fincher’s follow-up to Se7en, and he decided to tell a mystery that’s all about leading your audience along. Michael Douglas plays a wealthy investment banker who is given a gift for his birthday from his brother: a real-world “game” that offers the experience of a lifetime. As the story unfolds, the audience (and Douglas’s character) is unsure as to whether what’s happening is part of the game, or actually real. Your repeat viewing mileage may vary as it’s a film that you can only be surprised by once, but there’s some great filmmaking on display from Fincher and Douglas gives a swell performance. This one’s fun.
Image via Drafthouse Films
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writers: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman, and John Carroll Lynch
If you’re in the mood for a horror movie that will really mess you up, but not in a super graphic way, then The Invitation is the film for you. The story begins simple enough: a man (Logan Marshall-Green) brings his girlfriend to a dinner party arranged by his ex-wife, which reunites a group of old friends. But soon things turn a bit… strange when the host (Tammy Blanchard) starts espousing about a group she and her new beau (Haunting of Hill House’s Michiel Huisman) have joined. This is a contained horror film that plays heavily on psychological and emotional trauma as opposed to jump scares or blood spurts, and it’s all the better for it. Director Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body) shows a masterful handle on tone and tension, and the story will keep you guessing right up until the jaw-dropping final shot. – Adam Chitwood
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: William Nicholson
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Anthony Anderson, Alec Baldwin, and James Badge Dale
Filmmaker Martin Scorsese’s 2006 crime drama The Departed is the film that finally won him the Best Director Oscar, but he was simply trying to have a good time. After serious epics like The Aviator and Gangs of New York, Scorsese admitted he opted to make a commercial film, choosing to remake the Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs with an all-star cast. The result is a tremendously entertaining crime drama packed with stellar performances, and led by one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s best turns ever. The film not only won the Oscar for Best Director, but also Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.
Image via Miramax
Director/Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Robert Forster, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, and Chris Tucker
Jackie Brown is the closest Quentin Tarantino has ever come to making a straight “Oscar movie,” and even then it’s very specifically a Tarantino film. Adapting Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch was a surprising choice for Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction follow-up, but Jackie Brown is one of the most character-rich films QT has ever made. Pam Grier stars as a flight attendant who gets wrapped up in a money smuggling scheme, tangling with gangsters, the ATF, and the FBI alike. But at heart, Jackie Brown is a love story between Grier and Robert Forster, and the film shows a refreshingly softer side to Tarantino. There’s violence to be sure, but Jackie Brown remains one of Tarantino’s best—and slightly underrated—films.
image via Columbia
Director: Greg Mottola
Writers: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg
Cast: Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Emma Stone, Seth Rogen, and Bill Hader
Superbad was pretty much a coming-of-age classic as soon as it hit theaters in 2007, as writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, director Greg Mottola, and producer Judd Apatow crafted a high school comedy that was equal parts heart and humor. While the comedy is indeed R-rated, there’s a sweetness to the friendship between Michael Cera and Jonah Hill’s characters that elevates this above your average raunchy comedy. It’s as much a story about a kid being afraid he’s gonna lose his friend at college as it is a story about trying to score alcohol for a high school party, and the surprising twists and turns make it all that much more memorable.
Image via The Weinstein Company
Director/Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Laurent, Daniel Brül, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, Til Schweiger, B.J. Novak, and Mike Myers
When Quentin Tarantino tackled the “World War II” movie for his 2009 epic Inglourious Basterds, he unsurprisingly did it his way. This is a “Men on a Mission” movie by way of Tarantino, and while the film took some by surprise given that basically only 1/3 of it is in English and Brad Pitt—the leader of the titular Basterds—is one of several lead characters in a true ensemble, it is a thrilling, unique entry to the genre all the same. Every single scene grabs your attention, and the film contains two of the greatest sequences of Tarantino’s career—the opening interrogation and the basement bar scene. As with many of Tarantino’s movies this film is a passionate ode to cinema itself, but Christoph Waltz’s breakout performance is downright delectable, with Pitt clearly having a blast as the unforgettable Aldo Raine and Mélanie Laurent turning in a stirring performance as the film’s true heroine. Bloody, hilarious, shocking, and innovative, Inglourious Basterds is one of Tarantino’s absolute best and most watchable films.
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, and Michael B. Gordon
Cast: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West, and Rodrigo Santoro
Before Man of Steel or Justice League or the “Snyder Cut,” filmmaker Zack Snyder made a huge impression on the world at large with his 2007 action film 300. Based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel of the same name, the film recounts the legendary Battle of Thermopylae during the Persian Wars, during which 300 Spartan soldiers stood tall against over 300,000 invading Persian army. While the film came in the wake of Sin City, Snyder put his own stamp on faithful comic book adaptations with an inventive use of slow motion and high-speed cameras, combined with stylized imagery aided by CG technology. The result is a thrilling, visually gorgeous action film the likes of which we’d never seen before. Say what you will about Snyder’s movies, but the guy is a brilliant visual artist.
Image via A24
Director: Barry Jenkins
Writers: Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney
Cast: Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Naomie Harries, Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monae, and Andre Holland
The 2017 winner of the Best Picture Oscar, Moonlight is a stunning cinematic achievement that is equal parts coming-of-age story and coming-out story. A triptych in structure, the film is told in three sections each focusing on a different stage of the life of a young black man named Chiron. We see how the events of his life shaped him into the man he became, from his drug-addicted mother to his benevolent but criminal father figure to his first experiences coming to terms with his sexuality. Barry Jenkins’ direction is masterful and the performances astound, as you feel the three different actors who play Chiron all inhabit the same character—no easy feat. This is a phenomenal achievement from start to finish, and an incredibly moving story that is ultimately universal in nature: how do the experiences of our lives shape us into the adults we become? In addition to Best Picture, the film also won the Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali.
Image via Universal Pictures
Director/Writer: Richard Curtis
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lindsay Duncan, Tom Hollander, and Margot Robbie
The 2013 film About Time is not just an absolute gem of a romantic comedy, it’s also one of the best time travel movies ever made. Oh yeah, and it’s a total tearjerker. Written and directed by Love, Actually filmmaker Richard Curtis, the film stars Domhnall Gleeson as a young man who learns from his father (Bill Nighy) that the men in their family have the ability to time travel. This comes in handy when he misses his chance with a charismatic American girl (Rachel McAdams) and goes back to the night they first met to start their relationship off right. But what begins as a delightful, grounded, and romantic romp soon turns emotional, as About Time slowly reveals itself to be a gut-wrenching father-son story at heart.
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Image via Disney Animation
Directors: Rich Moore and Phil Johnston
Writers: Phil Johnston and Pamela Ribbon
Cast: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina, Ed O’Neill, and Bill Hader
While Wreck-It Ralph delved into the world of arcade and classic gaming to tremendous results, the sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet turns its focus to an entirely different kind of beast: the internet. In the mold of successful Disney sequels, this film maintains the core characters that mean so much to audiences while evolving and challenging them to compelling results. Here, we see Ralph and Vanellope potentially going separate ways as they enter the massive world of the internet, and the film explores themes of toxic masculinity and online culture—though never in a preach-y manner. There’s plenty of time for fun as well, and while one could see the Star Wars and Disney Princess references as shameless cross-promotion, that doesn’t mean they aren’t wonderfully delightful. Thankfully, this is a sequel with a story worth telling.
Short Term 12
image via Cinedigm
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Writer: Destin Daniel Cretton
Cast: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, LaKeith Stanfield
Brie Larson’s performance in Short Term 12 was more than enough reason to see this indie in 2013, before she was a literal superhero and Oscar-winning actress. Made years before Room or Captain Marvel, the film follows a supervisor at a group home for troubled kids, but she’s dealing with her own baggage as well, which comes to the surface when a new arrival (played by Kaitlyn Dever in a tremendous supporting role) comes to stay. A film that could have easily descended into mawkishness instead comes off as a bracingly honesty thanks to the excellent cast (who are all now super famous) and writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton’s perfect sense of humor and pathos in a film that will make you a Brie Larson fan for life.
Image via Netflix
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Steven Zaillian
Cast: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci
Don’t be daunted by the 3.5-hour runtime on The Irishman. Martin Scorsese’s epic about the life of Teamster and hitman Frank Sheeran flies by as it morphs from entertaining mob story to a powerful mediation on life, age, and regret. Sheeran (Robert De Niro) tells us his life story of being friends with mobster Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) and how these friendships converged into deadly consequences with Frank stuck in the middle. The movie discards the glamour of films like Goodfellas and Casino and instead focuses on the slow decay of a man who has always seen himself as a good soldier when really all he has to offer is violence and selfishness. Far from “just another mob movie” from Scorsese, The Irishman is a powerful look at your twilight years and reflecting on the choices you’ve made in life. It’s among Scorsese’s best.
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