Staying at home? Sure, you could try to convince yourself that you're going to spend that time getting around to those cleaning projects you've been putting off or learning a new skill, but let's be honest: The reality is you're going to sit on the couch, snack away and stream something hopefully good. I'm not judging; I'm doing the same thing as we speak.
So, to help make your nights in go as outstanding as possible, here's a list of 100 good movies – from awesome action flicks to cool choices for children to stellar sports stories and Will Ferrell singing to honor the great country of Iceland – you can currently find on Netflix. Go and stream away – you can get around to that to-do list tomorrow. Or the day after that. Or maybe next week.
"Captain Phillips": Paul Greengrass ("United 93," the latter Bourne movies) sets his masterfully jittery docu-drama lens on this pulse-racing true-story thriller about a boat captain attempting to get himself and his crew out of a hostage situation on the high seas. Watch it, sweat out an ocean from all the tension, marvel at Tom Hanks' performance – especially the final moments – and then write the Academy an angry letter for somehow not nominating him.
"Dredd": A Judge Dredd movie? In 2012? Well that can't be a good idea – but it turns out "Dredd" rules, a gorgeously stylish brutal action blast following the famed helmet-wearing future judge as he tries to escape an apartment complex filled with bad guys. Don't dread popping on "Dredd" for a fun weekend watch.
"The Harder They Fall": Super stylish and slick, this all-Black Netflix Original Western is a good wild ride following outlaw leader Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) as he seeks out revenge against the sadistic gang leader Rufus Buck (Idris Elba) who murdered his family. It's lot of old classic genre fun mixed with new style and verve.
"Heat": Al Pacino and Robert De Niro shared the screen for the first time together in this vigorous crime classic directed by Michael Mann, following a gaggle of cops (led by Pacino) attempting to take down an elite gang of bank robbers (led by De Niro). Firecracker action scenes, Mann's visceral thrills and a fully loaded cast from the stars to the supporting players make "Heat" a fire selection for your next stream.
"Mission Impossible": Before the series became a thrilling stunt-a-palooza, the first "Mission Impossible" movie was an equally thrilling spy adventure, featuring Tom Cruise sneaking around high-security compounds to save the day. It may not be as blockbuster-y compared to where the series has gone, but it's still a terrifically tense and stylishly crafted (thanks Brian De Palma!) Hollywood creation.
"Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol": As I was saying. The "Mission Impossible" franchise is one of the best big-screen blockbusters we've got, with "Fallout" delivering as one of the best movies of its year, period. But what movie brought Tom Cruise and his star vehicle back to life? That'd be Brad Bird's "Ghost Protocol," full of insane stunts, visually mesmerizing setpieces and a fun spy caper. It's the awesome launch pad with which the franchise truly blasted off.
"The Night Comes For Us": Do you like violent action movies? No, I mean VIOLENT action movies – violent enough that even the guy from the "Saw" films would be like, "Please, have you no decency?" Well, if you're a fan of stuff like "The Raid" movies, you'll love this viciously brutal actioner starring martial arts superstars Iwo Uwais and Joe Taslim – directed by Timo Tjahjanto, who'll helm the upcoming "Train to Busan" remake, so get pumped for that!
"The Raid 2": Speaking of "The Raid" movies! Marvel at the merciless martial arts mayhem of this sequel, following the cop from the original film (which is also on Netflix and should be watched as well – in fact first!) as he faces the consequences from their original raid. And by "the consequences," I mean room after room of insane assassins waiting to be battled and henchmen waiting to get dispatched in viciously violent ways. Not for the faint of heart – but for hardcore action fans, not to be missed either.
"The Suicide Squad": DC superheroes have invaded the Big Red Streaming Monolith ... and so have DC's dirtbags: the Suicide Squad. No, not the original bunch featuring Jared Leto and Will Smith that's very quite bad (that one's on Netflix too ... but hard pass) but the very fun 2021 re-imagining that brings James Gunn's now-signature dark oddball humor, poppy action and surprising commitment to character and heart to the DC universe as opposed to Marvel's corner of the galaxy.
"Time to Hunt": Part heist movie, part futuristic dystopian sci-fi, part action thriller, part "Terminator" and all tensely entertaining, it's definitely time to check out this Korean Netflix original hidden gem, following a group of down-on-their-luck young adults who rob the wrong place.
"The Woman King": The Academy may have overlooked this rousing period action melodrama – but you shouldn't make the same mistake. With its fierce action, compelling historical story and terrific performances (from Viola Davis, of course, but also Thuso Mbedu and Lashana Lynch), director Gina Prince-Bythewood's latest is a quality old-school blockbuste for a new time.
"Bad Trip": Cheap hidden camera comedy makes a welcome return with this bite-sized blast tracing the misadventures of Eric Andre and Lil Rel Howery as they travel across the country and get into all sorts of inappropriate and awkward trouble. It's bawdy – but "Bad Trip" also packs a surprisingly big heart, showing people oddly at their best when confronted with the worst. It's easily the most strangely sweet film involving a prolonged sexual encounter with a gorilla.
"The Big Lebowski": The ultimate cult classic, the Coen Brothers' beloved dark comedy about crime, mistaken identities and bowling is now on the Big Red Streaming Monolith – and it really ties the room together.
"Dolemite Is My Name": Watch this jubilant tribute to the movies – and this wild yet heartwarming tribute to an under-appreciated mad genius movie-making mind in Rudy Ray Moore (an awards-worthy Eddie Murphy), who brought the blaxploitation character Dolemite to overlooked audiences across the country.
"Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga": Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams star in this Netflix Original about a duo of goofy Swedes attempting to take the globe by storm with their charmingly kitschy pop music in this toe-tapping and charming comedy. And seriously, Hollywood, cast Rachel McAdams in every comedy from here on out.
"Forgetting Sarah Marshall": I'm pretty sure this is the only movie on this lists to feature full frontal male nudity (well, this and "Paddington"), but that's not what makes this rom-com special. That would be the disarmingly hilarious performances, sweet love story and painfully human characters – all set in Hawaii, the perfect escape when the weather outside is weather.
"Frances Ha": Love the wit and wisdom of writer-director Noah Baumbach's movies ("Marriage Story," "Squid and the Whale") but struggling with the brutal honesty and barbed vinegar? Try out this delightful coming-of-age story starring Greta Gerwig as a young woman trying to figure out her life. It's delightful – and also features the most accurate scene involving a tax refund ever.
"Hubie Halloween": Listen, I'm just as shocked to see this Adam Sandler holiday comedy here as you are – but here's something horrifying: It's actually quite funny and charming! Sandler's character is on the right side of annoying, there are more comedic hits than misses, and there's an odd goofy innocent sweetness to the film. Maybe it was just low expectations and pandemic brain, but "Hubie Halloween" is worth scaring up for spooky season.
"Hunt for the Wilderpeople": A fan of Taika Waititi's "Thor Ragnarok" and "Jojo Rabbit"? Then don't miss this wildly charming wildlife tale about a young rebel who runs off into the New Zealand woods and befriends a gruff loner played by Dr. Grant himself, Sam Neill.
"Jackass 4.5": Their pain is your pleasure in this bonus compilation of comedic bits, behind-the-scenes interviews and even more body-pounding pranks from their latest batch of big-screen hijinks. There's something oddly endearing and comforting about this friendly crew's profoundly uncomfortable shenanigans – VERY odd but also very entertaining. Also: Don't watch while eating.
"Monty Python and the Holy Grail": You've almost certainly quoted this comedy classic in the last few days – but have you actually watched this medieval lark recently? Remedy that; you'll certainly have the time.
"The Nice Guys": The writer behind "Lethal Weapon" comes up with another hilariously high-powered big-screen duo with Russell Crowe and a brilliant Ryan Gosling as two schmucky '70s L.A. detectives trying to solve a sprawling crime saga in the worlds of politics and porn. There's plenty of laughs and scuzz and stuff. (Don't say "and stuff"; just say laughs and scuzz.)
"The Prom": This star-studded musical brings together Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, James Corden, Andrew Rannells and more as egotistical Broadway stars who invade a small Indiana town in the hopes of helping a gay teen go to prom (and giving themselves some much needed good publicity). It's relentlessly big, bright, colorful and sweet – aka much better than real prom.
"Scott Pilgrim vs. the World": Need a jolt of energy? Edgar Wright's electric rom-com will give you the cinematic power-up you need, a blissful blitz of music, action and laughs as Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) attempts to defeat his new girlfriend's seven evil execs – a quest that includes bass battles, Chris Evans, vegan police and much more.
"This Is the End": Who would've expected the end of the world to be this hilarious? This star-studded ridiculous rapture comedy – about Seth Rogan, Danny McBride, Jonah Hill and more getting their sweet house party rudely interrupted by the end of days – is an apocalyptic amount of laughs and even a little smarter than you might expect. (But mostly it's an apocalyptic amount of laughs.)
"The Battered Bastards of Baseball": It may have been minor league baseball, but the Portland Mavericks of the '70s – owned and created by Kurt Russell's dad – were major league fun in this sports documentary about these oddball outlaws who were juuuuuust a bit outside the norm.
"Coded Bias": "Black Mirror" not freaky enough for you? Watch this riveting documentary about the future of facial recognition software, its hidden biases and the tech heroes fighting against them. It's so effective, you might just chuck your laptop in the bin right after watching it.
"Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution": Learn about the history of the long hard fight for equal rights for Americans with disabilities – and the '70s New York State summer camp where several of its leaders met one another and grew in their strength and confidence in this powerful and educational Oscar-nominated 2020 documentary.
"Fantastic Fungi": How interesting can mushrooms be? Pretty darn interesting, as it turns out! At least that's the case with this documentary, which uses gorgeous and mesmerizing nature footage and Oscar winner Brie Larson's voiceover to tell the story of fungi's incredible abilities both in the wild and in the hands of science.
"Icarus": This Oscar-winning Netflix Original documentary starts as a look into the Olympics doping scandal – but ends up taking its director deep into the dangerous world of Russian politics that definitely isn't just a game.
"Misha and the Wolves": A wild twisty ride of a documentary, "Misha and the Wolves" tells the story of a Holocaust survivor who, as a child on the run from Nazis, befriended a pack of wolves in a forest to stay alive. It's a story so incredible it must be true – but as the story becomes a global sensation decades later, many start to wonder if that's exactly the case. A fascinating and compelling story about stories and what people – the tellers and the listetners – use them for.
"The Pez Outlaw": There are a lot of true crime documentaries out there – but there's only one involving Pez dispensers. Indeed, this charming true-story caper tracks the story of a Pez lover who smuggles in rare collectible dispensers – and, in the process, makes some high-up enemies who aren't so sugary sweet. It's a snappy and warm winner – so much so Milwaukee Film selected it as its 2022 festival's opening night pick.
"Procession": One of the best documentaries – and films, period – of 2021, this Netflix Original follows six men using art therapy to come to terms with the sexual abuse they survived from Catholic priests. Some of them are surreal, some are simple, but all are bracingly raw, incredibly cathartic and moving as the men find friends and potentially a way forward.
"The Tinder Swindler": A modern cautionary "Catfish" tale for the world of dating apps, this propulsive, tense and twisty true-crime doc follows several women as they fall for a handsome and wealthy man over Tinder ... only to discover that he's nothing as he seems.
"Trust No One: The Hunt for the Crypto King": Sure, I get it: There's been a lot of true-crime scammer docs and miniseries out there. (See above!) But this one is one of the better options, telling the strange saga of an up-and-coming crypto star who mysterious disappears and dies ... with millions in purloined internet money. A fascinating saga that also dives into the dark corners of internet obsession.
"Won't You Be My Neighbor": Looking for a nice movie to watch? How about a documentary about the world's nicest man! That's what you'll find with "Won't You Be My Neighbor," a gentle and thoughtful tour through the life of Fred Rogers, the mellow man who made childhood adventurous and taught essential life lessons for generations, as well as the legacy he left behind.
"A Walk Among the Tombstones": Liam Neeson's last decade or so of movies hasn't been great – but amongst all the B-level action movies and "Taken" rip-offs, there's this tense, grim detective story about a broken man (Neeson) trying to solve the murder of a drug dealer's wife. Written and directed by crime movie expert Scott Frank ("Logan," "Out of Sight"), it's a gritty and terse little gem among the Netflix maw.
"Arctic": Not exactly the kind of movie that'll warm up a Wisconsin winter night – but this indie survivalist gem is quite good, starring the always-captivating Mads Mikkelsen as a crash survivor trying to make it through the arctic wilderness back to society. A compelling drama – just maybe prepare to bust out all the blankets while watching.
"Athena": A marvel of craft and direction, this intense 2022 indie gem follows several brothers on multiple sides of an escalating urban war between police and citizens – mostly captured in mesmerizing, city-sprawling one-shots that could impress even the most skeptical long-take truther.
"Beasts of No Nation": One of Netflix's first big original films is also still one of its best, as Cary Joji Fukunaga's intense and mesmerizing drama follows a young child soldier as he atttempts to survive both physically and mentally getting dragged first-hand through a brutal civil war in his country. Not a fun watch but it is a memorably vivid one.
"Call Me By Your Name": 2017 was a pretty brilliant year for movies, with "Get Out," "Dunkirk," "The Shape of Water," "John Wick: Chapter 2" and this coming-of-age romantic drama about a young man (internet sensation Timothee Chalamet, in his breakout role) who forms a connection with an older man while vacationing in Italy. Sumptuously photographed and deeply felt until its literal final frame, call on "Call Me By Your Name" for a night of excellent cinema. (Unless you can't stand to see Armie Hammer's face anymore, which fair.)
"Catch Me If You Can": It's not very often you get to use the word "underrated" around the name "Steven Spielberg," but that's exactly the case with this oddly forgotten comedy-tinged throwback drama about famed imposter Frank Abagnale Jr. fraud-ing his way around the country while America's dad Tom Hanks tries to track him down. It's a fun, snappy and sometimes even heartbreaking saga that's worth watching just for the opening credits sequence alone.
"Da 5 Bloods": Spike Lee takes on Vietnam in his pained and passionate follow-up to the Oscar-winning "BlacKkKlansman," following four veterans (headlined by an award-worthy Delroy Lindo) as they return to the country they fought across to recover their fallen comrade – and recover a trunk of gold bars that they vowed to return for back in the day.
"Emily the Criminal": Aubrey Plaza's terrific 2022, headlined by "The White Locus" season two, wouldn't be complete however without this tense crackerjack hidden gem about a desperate gig economy worker who falls in with some scam artists and gets in too deep. A smart and searingly intense indie treat that'll make you want to see more from everyone involved.
"Gladiator": ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!? Well, if you're not, pop on Ridley Scott's iconic rousing Best Picture-winning spectacle about a left-for-dead Roman general (Russell Crowe) hacking and slashing his way to vengeance against Joaquin Phoenix's wormy emperor. We give it a thumbs up!
"Glass Onion": This star-studded murder mystery sequel might actually be a cut above "Knives Out," having a hoot roasting a bunch of rich "disruptors" – played by Edward Norton, Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, Kate Hudson and more – while Daniel Craig's detective extraordinaire Benoit Blanc gets to the bottom of the twisty mystery on their fancy private island. With this, Rian Johnson's mystery franchise truly claims its title as the Agatha Christie of the 21st century.
"Holy Spider": "Zodiac" unfortunately isn't on Netflix anymore – but this 2022 intense Iranian serial killer drama, similarly based on a true story of a murderer stalking the streets and killing sex workers in plain sight, is the next best thing. A close contender for the Oscars' Best International Film category, it's terrifically performed, chillingly crafted and startling in its portrayal of how deadly misogyny can infect a society.
"I Lost My Body": Animated movies don't come much stranger – but also much better – than this Oscar-nominated hand-drawn bittersweet and bizarre beauty about a sentient severed hand crawling its way back across the city to its rightful owner.
"The Irishman": Listen, you've finally got a lot of time on your hands. So now there's no excuse for not checking out Martin Scorsese's excellent gangster epic. It's a gripping gut punch of a movie, immaculately performed, but it's also not without its entertainment value. (Give me EVERY Al Pacino line-reading, please.) It's a powerful (seemingly) final statement from Scorsese.
"Lady Bird": Greta Gerwig's breakthrough directorial effort is one of the most effortlessly charming and wise coming-of-age stories you'll see, following a young snobbish high schooler (Saoirse Ronan) as she both bonds and battles with her weary hard-working mother (Laurie Metcalf). There's bound to be at least one moment you'll feel like was ripped out of your own high school or family's experience.
"Ma Rainey's Black Bottom": The late great Chadwick Boseman left us far too soon, but at least he left behind this final monumental, vibrant and volatile performance as hot-shot trumpet player Levee in Netflix's August Wilson play adaptation about a Black blues band and their testy singing star (an also terrific Viola Davis) battling through a heated – literally and emotionally – day of recording.
"Marriage Story": One of the best movies of last year is at your fingertips thanks to Netflix with this biting drama about a husband and wife (Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, never better) trying to survive a cross-country divorce.
"Passing": Much more personal and psychological, complex and complicated, than the Social Issue Film it may appear to be on the surface, Rebecca Hall's directorial debut is a gorgeous black-and-white film about the gray areas between two intertwined Black women in the 1920s: one (a stellar Ruth Negga) passing as a white woman, the other (an equally magnetic Tessa Thompson) finding her life rattled by this new arrival.
"Phantom Thread": If this Oscar-winning romantic drama is Daniel Day-Lewis' final bow, what a note to end on: a sumptuously crafted (those clothes! that score!) picture about a tempestuous fashion designer and his muse (Vicky Krieps, who should've become a star immediately after this) trickily finding how they fit into their relationship and their lives. Don't pass this unique portrait up (but maybe pass up eating any mushroom dishes on the night).
"The Power of the Dog": A front runner for the upcoming Academy Awards, Jane Campion's return to the big screen tells the story of a rough and tough rancher (an almost surely Oscar-nominated Benedict Cumberbatch) and the brutal impact he has on those around him, including his quiet brother (Jesse Plemons), his weighed-down wife (Kirsten Dunst) and her awkward son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) in this beautifully captured Western about masculinity and loneliness, blending equal parts tenderness and slow-burning tension.
"Roma": Alfonso Cuaron's Oscar-winning character study is a gorgeous black-and-white slow burn, following a maid as her life changes along with the rich family she works for. It's mesmerizing work.
"Saving Private Ryan": One of the greatest war movies ever made, Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning and star-studded WWII epic is thrilling and terrifying in equal measure, capturing the soul-gouging horror of war like no other film before and inspiring all war movies that came after.
"The Social Network": A movie about Facebook sounds terrible. (Movies about computers, in general, are terrible.) But the combined forces of David Fincher's shadowy and ominous direction, Aaron Sorkin's whip-snap script, and pitch-perfect performances from the likes of Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Rooney Mara and even Justin Timberlake turned a bad idea into the best movie of the last decade.
"The Squid and the Whale": If you enjoyed "Marriage Story" – OK, maybe "enjoyed" is a strange word to use – be sure to check out writer-director Noah Baumbach's breakout indie hit "The Squid and the Whale," which tells the story of a bitter divorce instead from the viewpoint of a teenager caught in the crossfire.
"Stand By Me": You guys wanna see a good movie? Check out this '80s classic, adapted from the Stephen King story, about four young boys bonding – and escaping some evil bullies – on an adventure to see a dead body. Funny and heartfelt, "Stand By Me" is a must-see retro favorite ... unless you plan on swimming in a creek anytime soon.
"State of Play": This 2009 political conspiracy drama doesn't quite live up to its sterling resume – based on a great British miniseries, written by Tony Gilroy and Billy Ray, and starring Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams and Helen Mirren – but it's still a solid, tense and entertaining thriller about a journalist investigating a political aide's death and falling down a rabbit hole.
"Tick, Tick ... Boom!": Lin-Manuel Miranda sure had a busy 2021 ("In the Heights," "Vivo," "Encanto") with this biopic musical about "Rent" creator Jonathan Larson perhaps serving as the best of the bunch thanks to a marvelous lead performance from Andrew Garfield, a bunch of catchy tunes courtesy of the late great Larson and some charmingly enthusiastic theater kid energy.
"Tully": Charlize Theron stars in this thoughtful and sharply written (by Oscar-winner Diablo Cody!) dramedy about an exasperated mother who finds relief in the form of a new nanny, played by rising star Mackenzie Davis. Just do yourself a favor and turn the movie off with about 15 minutes left to go.
"Uncorked": Barbecue and wine make a perfect comfort food pairing on a plate – and on your screen with this heart-and-soulwarming family drama about a young man trying to decide between taking over his parents' (scene-stealers Courtney B. Vance and Niecy Nash) beloved neighborhood barbecue shop and pursuing his own dream of becoming a sommelier. Watch it with plenty of food, drink and Kleenex on standby.
"Uncut Gems": We live in stressful times – so not watch a movie that'll make you EVEN MORE STRESSED! This scintillatingly scuzzy New York gambling drama is a unstoppable 150-minute panic attack you can't turn away from as Adam Sandler's Howard Ratner ruins his life in pursuit of a crazy sports bet. Watch it, then take a nice soothing bath afterward. You'll have earned it.
"Whiplash": One of the best movies this side of the millennium, this Best Picture-nominated music drama is like a Frankenstein movie – but instead of mad science fueling the obsession, it's mad musical talent as a young drummer (Miles Teller) desperately tries to impress his volcanic teacher (J.K. Simmons, in his Oscar-winning turn). Vibing with tension at every turn, "Whiplash" should be everyone's tempo.
"The Boxtrolls": Laika makes some of the most imaginative and beautiful animated movies out there – including this creative claymation winner, a saga about a bunch of box-based gremlins attempting to escape an exterminator and the rich crusty upper crust trying to wipe them out. Charming, with more than a bit of Roald Dahl-like macabre, box out some time to watch "The Boxtrolls."
"Chicken Run": A claymation classic, this "Great Escape" riff features a band of British chickens plotting their escape from the coop before they become pie filler. Between the sharp jokes and the remarkable visuals, run to revisit "Chicken Run" while it's still on the streamer.
"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2": This animated sequel about an island of food monsters and the scientists sent to save it is cleverly creative, packed with funny jokes and beautifully crafted ... but the most important thing to know is that there's an adorable sentient strawberry named Barry who giggles and wants hugs. Four stars. Also: THERE'S A LEEK IN THE BOAT! AHHH!
"Kung Fu Panda": A goofball kids romp that takes its kung fu action seriously, DreamWorks' animated hit is a gorgeous good time, following a plump panda (voiced by Jack Black) as he trains to become a martial arts master much to the eye-rolling displeasure of his unimpressed trainers. One of its year's best animated films AND one of its best action films – all in one!
"The Mitchells vs. the Machines": Yet another outstandingly funny, energetic and smart project courtesy of producers Lord and Miller (the guys behind "21 Jump Street" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"), this giddily animated adventure follows a family road trip that goes slightly off the rails when they accidentally find themselves in the middle of the robot apocalypse.
"Paddington": A movie as warm and cuddly as the famed teddy bear it's based upon, "Paddington" follows a polite little bear as it tries to navigate the world of British society with his adopted family's help. The sequel is somehow even better, but the original charmer is still as sweet and comforting as some marmalade.
"Pinocchio": No, not the terrible Disney live-action remake. Instead watch Guillermo del Toro's mesmerizing, emotional, dark and delightful stop-motion take on the iconic tale, following an energetic young wooden doll's dream of being a real boy amongst the backdrop of a world at war.
"Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon": I watched this animated kids charmer when it came out near the beginning of the pandemic, and for 80 lovely, witty and wonderful minutes, I forgot the world was imploding. So I guess what I'm saying is that I highly recommend "Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon," a movie about a nice but mischievous sheep trying to help a little lost alien get home. I want to hug this movie.
"Storks": Where do babies come from? If your kid needs an answer, try popping on this manically entertaining animated movie about a bunch of business-minded storks who've given up their days of delivering babies – until one shows up unexpectedly and there's only one doofy stork up for the task. A silly sugar rush of an animated adventure, "Storks" is a wild winged ride.
"The Willoughbys": The concept – four siblings concoct a scheme to kill their uncaring bougie parents – may not the most exciting one for parents, but this Netflix Original is both somehow charming and macabre, gorgeously animated with jokes delivered at blazing speed and a sour-yet-sweet story about sticking together as an unconventional family.
"Get Out": Jordan Peele's smash horror hit, about a Black man visiting his white girlfriend's family, is one of the rare horror movies to get recognized by the Oscars – and deservedly so, combining perfectly calculated thrills with smart, cutting social commentary but without getting in the way of a great creepy time at the movies. (A hard trick to pull with many of these modern horror movies!) There's a reason why Peele's debut became instantly iconic.
"His House": Quietly one of the best movies of the past year, "His House" is both an incredibly powerful and twisty story about immigrant refugees trying to start a new life in England after the terrors of their journey as well as just a really, really impressively crafted and super scary horror movie about something that's living in their new apartment's walls. Get director Remi Weekes a new movie now please!
"Insidious": The latest sequel is also available on Netflix – but feel free to astral project yourself away from "The Red Door" and stick with haunting James Wan's original movie. Years later, it's still an outstanding take on the haunted house flick that satisfyingly rekindled the old-school "bumps in the night" scary movie – complete with one of the best jump scares of the 21st century.
"It Follows": Another modern horror gem, this terrifying thriller follows a teenager and her friends as they're haunted by a slowly walking, shape-shifting horror that isn't zombies. Moody and menacing, "It Follows" will get under your skin.
"Jaws": The summer is (almost) over, so you can probably comfortably watch this horror icon without worrying about ruining your upcoming trip to the beach or pool – though "Jaws" is so brilliantly performed and impeccably crafted (this Spielberg guy? Going places!) that you could be scared by a bathtub after watching this shark-infested classic. And if you want some REAL chills? All the subpar sequels are on Netflix too.
"Missing": An amateur detective thriller following a teen girl trying to discover what happened to her vanished mother, all entirely set on her computers and cellular devices, "Missing" is a techno thrill as both a unique cinematic conceptual experience and a digital whodunnit.
"Ouija: Origin of Evil": There's no reason why the sequel to a very bad horror movie based on the silly party game should've been tolerable, much less good. But that's the power of director Mike Flanagan, the guy behind the "Midnight Mass" and "The Haunting of Hill House," who gives this premise a thoughtful story, some interesting characters and – of course – a bunch of nightmare-inducingly scares.
"The Platform": If you've been enjoying the cruel economic games of the Korean import "Squid Game," you'll want to dig into this bluntly brutal dark Spanish allegorical thriller about a man trapped in a strange vertical prison where a platform of food makes its way down level to level – with the lowest level stuck with the scraps.
"The Strangers": A low-key home invasion horror hit, this unbearably tense 2008 thriller follows a regular couple (Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) whose quiet night at home gets interrupted by a trio of masked visitors with ominous intentions. Haunting and shiver-inducing without having to resort to cheap jumps, shocks or gore, "The Strangers" is a modern classic.
"Under the Shadow": If you're a fan of the latest wave of eerie indie horror films, you owe it to yourself to check out this grounded but ghoulish Iranian horror hidden gem about a mother, already having a stressful night taking care of her daughter alone during war, starting to believe there's an angry spirit in their apartment as well.
"La La Land": This modern musical may have gotten the closest that any movie has gotten to winning Best Picture without actually winning Best Picture – but it's still a bittersweet, technicolor charmer, filled with truly star performances from Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and memorable moments of old-school big screen musical spectacle. It was the runner-up on Oscar night, but it's a first place choice for a movie night on the couch.
"Silver Linings Playbook": Looking for a silver lining right now? How about "Silver Linings Playbook," the Oscar-winning crowd-pleaser about two struggling Philadelphians (Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence) who help each other get by with dancing ... and maybe fall in love in the process.
"Straight Up": An smartly snappy and unconventional modern rom-com, "Straight Up" follows Rory and Todd, two young Angelenos who start a relationship – despite the fact that she's straight and he's gay ... though, since he doesn't like any of the men he's met, he's wanting to try out being straight. A "Will & Grace" set-up combines with "Gilmore Girls"-esque whiplash-inducing dialogue and a thoughtful exploration of the fluid, undefinable nature of sexuality and relationships to make a lightly lovely indie gem.
"To All the Boys I've Loved Before": The rom-com isn't dead yet thanks to Netflix – and thanks to this charming teenage romance about a high schooler whose secret letters to her crushes get sent to them. The sequel, while not as fun, is worthwhile too. Hopefully the final chapter, "To All the Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean," keeps things cute.
"White Christmas": 'Tis always the season when you pop in this iconic holiday musical starring Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye and a number of classic standards – including, of course, the titular tune that'll make even the hottest July afternoon feel like a snowy December 25th.
"Dune": We may have to wait another half-year for the second installment – but in the meantime, you can revisit Villeneuve's mesmerizingly massive, star-studded 2021 sci-fi adaptation, chronicling all the political machinations of its rival space societies and royalties, battling for control of the universe's most valued resources.
"Okja": Need another Bong hit after "Parasite" knocked your socks off? Luckily, Netflix has your back with his 2017 adventure "Okja," another undefinable feature about a young girl trying to protect an adorable giant pig from a factory wanting to turn it into meat.
"Prometheus": Sure, it doesn't make sense in some parts, and it can't compete with the first two pinacles of cinema that are the first two "Alien" film. But Ridley Scott's long-anticipated return to this horrific universe still has some gorgeous sci-fi design, intriguing performances and ideas, and some great horror sequences. The surgery scene! Not a fan! (Which is to say: a big fan!)
"Snowpiercer": Another Bong hit! This one might actually be my favorite from the "Parasite" Oscar-winner, as he follows a train containing the last surviving members of humanity after a global freeze. But things aren't peaceful amongst the remaining few, as the poor (including Chris Evans, Octavia Spencer and more) are stuck in the back cars in terrible conditions while the rich control their ecosystem comfortably at the front.
"The Wandering Earth": As far as concepts go, this Chinese blockbuster (truly, it made more money overseas than "Toy Story 4" and "The Rise of Skywalker" in 2019) has one of the more delightfully strange ones: The sun is dying so the globe plugs rocket boosters across the planet and slowly shifts the Earth to a new solar system. With a plan that normal, who could expect that things might go wrong!?
"Field of Dreams": Men, get ready to have a catch and have a cry with this sentimental sports classic about a Iowa farmer (Kevin Costner, because who else in a baseball movie) who believes he must build a baseball diamond in his cornfield. Sappy as all heck, but also lovely, nostalgic, charmingly performed and wondrously warm, "Field of Dreams" is a gauzy home run. Listen to the voice, though: If you watch it, you will cry.
"Hustle": Adam Sandler keeps his late career renaissance going with this inspirational sports drama about a sports scout trying to make it to the Sixers coaching staff – and a stellar but raw Spanish center (real-life hooper Juancho Hernangomez) might get him there. Filled with an all-star game level of NBA cameos – including the Bucks' own Khris Middleton – and solid sports montages, "Hustle" is worth hustling to see. As long as you have a decent stomach for Philadelphia sports success.
"The Karate Kid": Most of the retro classics (as well as the 2010 remake) are on Netflix now, but you can just stick with the original saga of "Daniel-san" and his fight with some brutal '80s bullies that escalates into a rumble in the ring. Crane kick it with this favorite tonight – and then, if you're still feeling nostalgic, start bingeing all five seasons of its modern day sequel series "Cobra Kai."
"Rush": Speed your way over to this beautifully directed and impressively performed sports drama about two rival racecar drivers – pretty boy star James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and the uber-motivated Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl – battling to be the fastest. One of director Ron Howard's better and more visually adventurous projects, it's thrilling off the track and on.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.