And lo from on high came the plaintive cry: THERE’S NOTHING GOOD ON NETFLIX!
You’ve probably said it yourself. Be honest. You thought of a movie you hadn’t seen in years. You fired up your laptop or your PS3. And it wasn’t there. You were disappointed. You joined the chorus.
I wish I’d been there for you. I would’ve pointed out 20 movies just on the Recently Added queue you’ve probably never seen or even heard of that were worth watching. You would’ve laughed or cried or been thrilled. We would’ve become great friends. Perhaps if you were the fairer of the sexes, we would’ve fallen in love. We’d have kids by now. If it was a girl, we would’ve named her after your mom. If it was a boy, my dad.
But I digress.
Every May, I push my stacks of neglected Blu-rays and DVDs to the side and attack my ever-growing Netflix queue. It’s filled with movies I’d never heard of that looked interesting. Some are classics I’m dying to see again. Others are festival films that never got a wide release that I’ve always wanted to check out. There are more good movies out there than you or I will ever be able to see in our lifetimes. And a bunch of them are just sitting there, waiting for us.
I watched 20 films on the service over the last 31 days. I saw everything from an evangelical kidnapping drama to a parkour version of Step Up to a post-apocalyptic teen romance. Not all of them were winners but some of them were great.
These are my favorites:
A match carelessly tossed can start a fire that consumes an entire forest. A child’s lie, born of petulance, can ruin a man’s life and scar a community. Such is the dark truth revealed in this haunting and disturbing film. A teacher is falsely accused of molesting a student. Mania and fear grip concerned parents. The charges are proven false and dropped. And yet, all trust has been lost. Just as the charred and blackened trees give grim evidence of the fire, the doubting glances prove that the innocent man will always be guilty in the eyes of some. Frustrating, sad and brutally honest, this film will stay with you long after it’s done.
This is a fascinating and engaging documentary about a filmmaker who was born of one of the most exciting periods of creativity in cinema history. He ran with Spielberg, Lucas and Coppola. His words were made famous in iconic scenes. And he was a fine director as well. John Milius is a legend to his friends and enemies alike. The film isn’t afraid to put a spotlight on his shortcomings but for the most part is a piece by obvious fans of the man and his body of work. I know I have a new-found appreciation for him. Here’s hoping we get to see that Genghis Khan movie.
Part documentary footage, part recreation the film recounts a disastrous day in which 11 people died in an attempt to climb K2. It’s pretty gripping stuff. It makes you wonder why anyone would want to risk their lives in such an endeavor, one that statistically claims 1 out of every 4 people who attempt it. The film then takes on an almost Rashomon feel as the survivors’ accounts of the events surrounding the tragedy begin to differ and no one seems to know the whole truth.
It’s like While You Were Sleeping. Except there’s nudity and guns and murder. And no Sandy. This Danish noir takes a while to get rolling as Jonas, a crime scene photographer, is involved in a car accident. He goes to the hospital to check on the other driver, a young woman named Julia who now has amnesia as a result of the accident. Her family mistakes him for Sebastian, her fiance they’ve never met. He does not correct them. His life begins a downward spiral as the two grow closer. It all leads to a tension filled final act as the consequences of a myriad of bad choices come crashing down on him. Good and twisty stuff.
This is a fun doc about a stage show in which volunteers go up and read amusing and often embarrassing entries from the journals or diaries they wrote when they were kids. There’s nothing too substantial here but it does serve as a nice reminder of the universal aspects of growing up. We were all little freaks who took life too seriously and who were just trying to figure out how to make it to the next level with some sanity intact. The one thing I kept thinking is that, if I could, I’d love to go back to 11-year-old me, shove a journal in his hand, and tell him to just write. Every night or as often as you can. Put it on paper, I don’t want to forget.
Well acted, well-directed and definitely thought-provoking. It attempts to illustrate how an otherwise seemingly normal kid could end up walking down the halls of his high school and start killing people. It focuses on bullying as a possible source. It allows for the fact that the kid might just be sick. Never too preachy and often funny, it leaves the viewer not so much with an indictment of the situation but a stark picture of the reality behind it.
There you have it. That’s 6 movies. Six of thousands waiting to be found. Waiting for you.
So quit whining already…and go find one.