We Curate Movies
on Netflix Streaming
We love Netflix, but sometimes it’s hard to find the gems on Netflix Streaming—so we put together a foolproof list for when the time comes to step away from all the holiday madness and curl up in front of the TV. (And since it’s not officially a movie, it doesn’t qualify for the list below, but we’d be remiss without mentioning that you should absolutely use your extended break to marathon watch House of Cards.
Gone, But Never Forgotten
In 2014, the world lost three true geniuses: Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Mike Nichols.
Punch Drunk Love
While Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a minor role in this film, his performance as Dean Trumbell, the sleazy mattress salesman, leaves an indelible mark. As a sidenote, this is one of many Paul Thomas Anderson films he appeared in, including The Master—also streamable—where he does have a lead part.
Lest we forget Mike Nichols was once part of the pace-setting comedic duo “Nichols and May,” his venture into directing a comedy was no misstep, featuring some of Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, and Hank Azaria’s best comedic—and dramatic—performances. At once hilarious and poignant, it delves into what it is to be a family.
In this Mike Nichols film, Anne Bancroft, a.k.a. Mrs. Robinson, attempts to seduce Dustin Hoffman, a young college graduate. The famous Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack is as iconic as the film and its actors.
On Family & Friendship
Tearjerkers, essentially. We can relate.
Like Father, Like Son
A young, successful Japanese family discovers their son was switched at birth, and they are forced to question the ties that bind, whether by nature or nurture.
Though a comedy, and a hilarious one at that, Toni Colette’s breakout film touches chords we can all relate to in some way—leaving home, establishing enduring friendships, not to mention, relationships.
This is a Lars Von Trier film, so expect serious tension and general weirdness. It’s also completely beautiful, with luscious cinematography, Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde throughout, and the waif-like Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg as sisters, facing the end of times.
Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age film documents a young Rolling Stone writer on his first assignment with a touring band. Along with one of the best soundtracks ever made, we watch as he falls in love with the groupie Penny (Kate Hudson), learns what a lasting friendship is, and gets his hopes and ambitions crushed by the band that took him in.
If you’re in search of a little perspective, there’s nothing like the stories of other people’s incredible journeys and accomplishments.
Nerd out along with the scientists at CERN in Switzerland who built the largest, most expensive, and potentially most revolutionary scientific experiment in history: The Large Hadron Collider. As the biggest particle accelerator ever built, it may just hold the answer to all our Big Bang questions.
Beautifully edited—using footage from the last century—this film documents the blossoming and evolution of the “teenager” as a concept. It’s crazy to think that just a few years before Elvis and The Beatles came on the scene there were either Children or Adults.
7 Plus Seven
Starting in 1964, filmmaker Michael Apted interviewed a group of 14 students every 7 years starting at the age of 7. In this segment of the series, they’re now 14. It’s fascinating to watch just how engrained social class is in these diverse young adult’s personalities.
The late photojournalist Tim Hetherington and writer Sebastian Junger are embedded with an American troop in Afghanistan. Their film is gut-wrenching through and through, and one of the best portrayals of horrible realities of war.
Paris is Burning
Fact: The dance moves in Madonna’s Vogue were plucked from the underground NYC drag community of the 1970’s and 80’s. In this documentary, we get to know some of the fixtures of the gay clubbing scene and experience the “Balls”—a safe haven from the AIDS epidemic, hate crimes, and homophobia. The dance moves are pretty much unsurpassed.
The darkest side of keeping animals in captivity is exposed in this film about the orca, Tilikum, who has been involved in the deaths of three people over the span of 20 years. He currently lives in SeaWorld, Orlando.
Feel Good Films
These are films that you can, for the most part, watch with the whole family (and walk away smiling).
Greta Gerwig is hilarious and poignant as a clumsy, out-of-work, twenty-something, We’ve all been there: At certain points the movie makes us cringe with embarrassment for her, and in the end we’re all the more overjoyed when things finally start working out.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Matthew Broderick plays a ridiculously charming teenager playing hookie in the 1980’s. He borrows his best friend’s dad’s red convertible and takes his girlfriend on a whirl through Chicago, where, among other things, he ends up leading a parade to “Twist & Shout,” and gets home, unscathed, in time for dinner.
A Muppet Christmas Carol
Starring Michael Caine as Scrooge and Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, it pretty much doesn’t get any better for a nostalgic: Dickens, The Muppets, and Michael Caine.
The 1999 remake of the 1970’s film stars Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn as a couple of out-of-towners on a trip through New York City. They’re amazing on screen together (i.e. hilarious), and John Cleese as their chauffeur makes the whole film.
Mel Brooks practically invented the spoof as a genre. In this Star Wars satire only the power of “The Schwartz” can save Princess Vespa.
Troop Beverly Hills
In the middle of a divorce, a Beverly Hills housewife played by Shelley Long (where did she go?) takes over her daughter’s Wilderness Girls troop and trades the mall for the wilderness, saving her marriage in the process. The 80’s LA scenes are worth it alone.
We kinda had to include this one: It’s a rom-com featuring Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, their British accents, and a happy ending —what’s more to want?
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Directed by Henry Selick of Coraline fame and not-surprisingly produced by Tim Burton, this 90’s claymation film is the next generation’s response to The Grinch, touching lightly upon the dark side and melancholy that comes with Christmas time.
Offering an escape to distant lands, the extra effort made to read subtitles pays off with this list.
Blue is the Warmest Color
Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos captures the drama and intensity of teenage drama. In the film, we watch Adele and Lea both as teenagers and then as adults, experimenting with and discovering their sexuality.
Like Water for Chocolate
This film was made for foodies. A prime example of Latin American Magical Realism, the story is of heartbreak, but the reason to watch is for the cooking scenes, in a traditional Mexican kitchen: Pretty mouthwatering.
Y Tu Mama Tambien
Starring Mexico’s main heart throbs, Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, this film describes the bittersweet end of adolescence through an unforgettable road trip down the Pacific coast. Romantic shenanigans ensue.
Let the Right One In
This wintry Nordic tale tells the story of a romance between a bullied adolescent teenager and a vampire girl: It’s bloody, dark, and yet incredibly sweet, making it somehow just right for the holidays.
Life is Beautiful
The expression “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry,” is so true for this film about the Holocaust directed by and starring Italian comedian, Robert Benigni. It’s his masterpiece, by far.