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.
"A Knight's Tale": The late great Heath Ledger became a superstar with this odd blend of medieval action, swooning romance and modern flourishes. (Call it the Baz Luhrmann approach.) Somehow, it all comes together in awfully entertaining fashion – plus how many knight movies do we get anymore these days? It's a rarity, done in rowdy fashion.
"Bad Boys": Michael Bay's feature debut is a slick and solid action movie with two infamously charismatic leads and some cool action set pieces. And if you want all the style and bombast of this actioner with none of the conscience, morality or sense of decency, "Bad Boys II" is also on Netflix and is an inglorious cavalcade of bad taste and flipping cars.
"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.
"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.
"The Italian Job": Put this zippy early-2000s remake in the driver's seat some night soon, a very entertaining heist picture featuring an all-star cast – Mark Wahlberg, a pre-Oscar Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Edward Norton, Mos Def and even Donald Sutherland – a snappy script and a fleet of flashy Mini Coopers.
"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!) 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.
"Skyfall": After the middling "Quantum of Solace," "Skyfall" brought Bond back into critics' good graces with this thrilling saga – complete with a fun villain performance, a smart story, great action and most notably some absolutely gorgeous cinematography from D.P. dynamo Roger Deakins. Plus it's got the Adele theme song – that's worth four stars alone right there.
"Spider-Man 2": There have been a lot of great comic book movies – and this is one of the best, with Sam Raimi's superhero sequel improving in almost every way while truly capturing the Spider-Man emotional struggle, bringing in a terrific villain in Dr. Ock and crafting some spellbinding action sequences.
"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.
"Animal House": One of the most iconic comedies ever made, "Animal House" is on Netflix for another semester of hijinks and bad behavior. Fat, drunk and stupid may be no way to go through life ... but it's a great way to make a very funny movie that lives on for decades upon decades. And now, for a toga party!
"Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery": The entire trilogy of Mike Myers' goofball comedy spoofs are now available on the Big Red Streaming Monolith – but if you're going to start somewhere, of course begin with the first Austin Powers movie, about a devilishly caddish and slightly dim-witted British spy from the '60s waking up in three decades later to stop his nemesis, Dr. Evil.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"Groundhog Day": Stuck inside doing the same routine every day? Watch somebody do it the right way with this classic existential Bill Murray comedy about a grumpy weatherman who gets trapped in a time loop and has to live the same day over and over and over and over ...
"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.
"Magic Mike XXL": "Last Dance" didn't satisfy in the way you hoped? Thankfully, Netflix is here to provide the best of the Magic Mike trilogy, a delightful and joy-filled hangout road trip movie with Channing Tatum and the fellas, running into friends old and new, and bust out their best dance moves to make audiences go wild – both in the movie and on the couch at home. A guaranteed great night awaits with this one.
"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.
"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.)
"Bathtubs Over Broadway": Lavish musical numbers about bathroom fixtures? Heartfelt ballads about the power of silicone products? They're somehow all real – and all in Steve Young's wildly unpredictable record collection of original corporate stage productions that were Broadway-ready but at the time only for businessmen's eyes and ears. Now, however, they take the spotlight.
"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.
"American Gangster": A sprawling Ridley Scott crime saga featuring knockout performances by Denzel Washington as the famed Harlem drug kingpin Frank Lucas and Russell Crowe as the cop tasked with trying to take him down – and potentially work with him to bring down others.
"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.)
"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.
"The Departed": Let's be honest: This wasn't the movie Martin Scorsese should've won his Oscars for. But it's still a damn fine, energetically crafted crime thriller about men (Matt Damon and Leo DiCaprio) on the opposite sides of the law in Bawston. Scorsese's so good that even his lesser efforts are a thrill.
"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.
"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.
"If Beale Street Could Talk": How do you follow up a critically acclaimed Best Picture winner? How about something equally as good? That's basically what Barry Jenkins did with this beautiful, bittersweet James Baldwin adaptation about a young black couple in the '70s trying to hold together after the man goes to prison for a crime he didn't commit. It may have earned significantly less Oscar love than "Moonlight," but it's just as painfully tender, lusciously scored and shot, and mesmerizingly human.
"Inside Man": Spike Lee's made some of the most incisive American movies about race, America and society in the medium's history ... but he also can make a simply damn entertaining Hollywood heist movie in the case of this twisty 2006 masterpiece, following two detectives (Denzel Washington and Chiwetel Ejiofor) trying to negotiate a Downtown NYC bank robbery gone wrong. Or exactly right? Full of charismatic performances, surprising turns, thrilling filmmaking, lived-in NYC texture and a smart screenplay with a little more on its mind than thieving money, steal some time to watch "Inside Man."
"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.
"Jerry Maguire": SHOW ME THE FAMOUS '90s ROMANTIC DRAMA ABOUT A COCKY SPORTS AGENT CHANGING HIS LIFE AROUND! Wow, timely reference; excellent work, me. But anyways, watch "Jerry Maguire." It's still good!
"Julie & Julia": Sure, the Amy Adams half of this movie isn't great, but the Meryl Streep/Stanley Tucci half about Julia Child and her husband in the past is so charming and heart-filled that it makes this movie – Nora Ephron's final film – a lovely watch. And even in the lesser sequences with Adams' modern day food blogger, worse comes to worst, you get to typically watch some really good French food get made.
"Leave No Trace": A quiet gem from 2018, Debra Granik's thoughtful family drama follows a young girl (Thomasin McKenzie, "Jojo Rabbit") whose seemingly comfortable life living isolated in the forest with her PTSD-suffering father (Ben Foster, "3:10 to Yuma") gets uprooted.
"Loving": Quietly one of the best movies of 2016, "Loving" follows the groundbreaking Supreme Court case surrounding Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple arrested in 1960s Virginia – all presented less as a typical prestige legal drama and more as the intimate story of two normal people suddenly finding themeslves in history's path.
"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.
"Reservoir Dogs": Friends, lend me your ear: Quentin Tarantino's debut feature is still quite the firecracker, following a gang of snappy thieves who find themselves far less quippy when their big job goes terribly wrong – and they all start wondering who they can actually trust.
"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.
"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.
"The Bad Guys": They may be bad guys – a wolf, a snake, a shark, a spider and a piranha – but their movie is quite good, an entertaining and snappily animated heist caper with enough clever zip for all ages.
"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.
"How to Train Your Dragon": This Oscar-nominee, about a young viking boy bonding with a rascally dragon despite his family's hatred of the scaly sky beasts, is a high-flying choice for the whole family, with gorgeous animation (those flying sequences are spectacular), colorful characters and a moving story for any age.
"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.
"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.
"The Birds": What's this? A movie made before 1985 on Netflix? Is that even allowed?! When you're one of the most iconic horror movies, crafted by one of the most iconic directors in film history, I guess so! That must be how we've got "The Birds," Alfred Hitchcock's feather-ruffling horror classic about a small town menaced by little flying beaked murderers, satisfyingly on the streamer.
"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!
"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.
"The Mist": Stephen King's novella about a town suddenly imprisoned by a thick mysterious fog – and the vicious creatures hiding within – comes to life in this 2007 Frank Darabont thriller, complete with a savage finale that'll haunt you even more than the mist monsters. (Though they're really freaky and unsettling as well.)
"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.
"Paranormal Activity": One of the signiture movies of the recent found footage craze, the original "Paranormal Activity" is still a smart and well-crafted slow burn of a horror film that simply but suspensefully builds tension each night that passes with just a bedroom, some shadows and some creaky doors.
"Psycho": Another Hitchcock horror classic – arguably THE Hitchcock horror classic – managed to find its way onto the Big Red Streaming Monolith. And get your showering done before watching, because this chiller – about a killer stalking around a small motel and its patrons – can still startle and scare more than 50 years later.
"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 Ring": Gore Verbinski's chilling 2002 remake was the scariest thing to happen to VHS tapes since Blockbuster late fees. Often parodied and regularly imitated, "The Ring" still spooks and shivers thanks Verbinski's haunting sense of mood and dread dripping into every frame. And few scenes can knock an audience back in their seats like that surprise closet shot near the beginning ...
"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.
"Unfriended": I know you've had enough of looking at Zoom screens and virtual meet-ups, but make an exception for this viciously mean, darkly funny and cleverly executed horror flick about a group of teens menaced by an odd visitor to their group chat – all told via computer screens.
"Zombieland": Hey, just because it's a zombie apocalypse doesn't mean you can't have a little fun! Do some cardio, pack the Twinkies and hop aboard this star-studded (Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin) road trip through the end of days as a dweeby survivor tries to bond with his new post-apocalypse compatriots. And not get eaten too.
"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.
"Sleepless in Seattle": The rom-com has struggled in recent years – so just go back to a classic with this Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan icon from Nora Ephron, about a widower who might've met the new love in his life via a radio show confessional. Just one problem: He's never actually met her. Sweet and snappy, there's a reason why this one's still a Valentine's Day tradition decades later.
"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.
"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.
"Starship Troopers": Paul Verhoeven's action-packed war satire about a bunch of young future fascists (including Neil Patrick Harris) battling space bugs. Would you like to know more?
"Terminator 2: Judgment Day": One of the all-time great blockbuster sequels and one of the all-time great action movies, period, James Cameron's bombastic sci-fi sequel turns its bad guy good as he protects John Connor from a liquid future assassin trying to stop the humans' future rebellion. Filled with massive action, still-incredible effects and perfect performances – special cheers to Linda Hamilton – "Terminator 2" still merits its iconic status.
"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!?
"Friday Night Lights": The hit TV show adaptation is on Netflix as well – but if you're looking for a real entertainment touchdown, revisit this 2004 football movie, capturing the heart and heartbreak of high-stakes high school sports, rendered with vivid intensity and immediacy by director Peter Berg.
"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.
"Rocky": All five of the original "Rocky" movies are on Netflix now, and while the fourth installment is a goofy good time – Ivan Drago! Mountain montage! Robots? – if you're going to watch just one of them, you might as well make it the Best Picture-winning original, an underdog boxer's tale that still hits the feels like a knockout.
"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.