As great as Netflix is, finding good movies you haven't yet seen can be a chore. You may have even started believing that you've already seen them all. Rest assured, there is very little chance you have.
A Good Movie to Watch suggests movies you haven’t seen, but you should. To do this, we only recommend movies that have received at least a 7 rating on IMDb and a 70% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes. This means that these movies have been appreciated by both critics and viewers, so you can trust that they’re awesome. We also try to specialize in movies that didn’t make a huge splash at the box office or which didn’t get the attention they deserved, so there is little chance you have already seen them.
Below we count down our most favorite movies among those available to stream on Netflix Instant USA. For all the little-known, highly-rated movies ready to stream on Netflix, click here.
Goon is funny, violent, and sweet as hell. You’ll be surprised by how nasty it is but you will not care. What you will want to do, on the other hand, is rip through the screen, hug the main character and smack all the other ones. It is also a great example of a feel-good movie that isn’t solely focused on being a feel-good movie, as well as a great love story, with all its absurdities and high emotional load. The story shines a light on the players who join hockey teams not for the game but for the fights that may erupt. They are called goons. Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) is a new goon and this movie is his journey towards success both on the ice and off.
In Rounders, Matt Damon plays a law student and reformed poker player who is forced back into the game in order to help his newly-paroled best friend (Edward Norton) pay off overwhelming gambling debts. It’s an enjoyable insider’s look into the world of high stakes gambling and of Poker specifically, giving the viewer compelling insights into Poker in terms of strategy as well as human psychology. Damon and Norton are well-cast in their roles — Norton particularly great as the sleazy and manipulative “Worm”. Not-overly-surprising in its storytelling, yet highly enjoyable from beginning to end, this one will appeal to fans of gambling and sports films, as well as those who enjoy modern film noir and pseudo-noir films with a nice dramatic edge.
Frances (Greta Gerwig) lives in New York – but not the glamorous NYC of Woody Allen movies. Taking place primarily in gritty and rapidly gentrifying North Brooklyn, the black and white film paints a picture of an extended adolescence. Focusing on the goofy and carefree Frances, who rapidly loses her boyfriend, her best friend and her dream of being a dancer. She moves in with two guys, both of whom are more successful than her, and becomes even more determined to fulfill her goals, impractical as they may be. Fans of HBO’s Girls and other odes to not being a “real person” yet will love this film.
Remember the name Rufus Norris. “Broken” is his directorial debut and he handles it like a seasoned pro. Also keep an eye out in the future for its young star, Eloise Laurence, who shows all the natural ability of a young Natalie Portman or Jodie Foster. Laurence plays “Skunk”, a twelve year old trying to make sense of life – and whose task isn’t made any easier by her own family’s internal struggles, or the other families living in the peaceful-looking cul-de-sac where much of the action takes place. We’re informed from the get-go that some sort of tragedy will befall the girl, but we don’t know what shape it will take, or what the outcome of it will be. The tension builds from there, with a little relief along the way, thanks to her often-amusing performance as she witnesses the confusing actions of her elders. Tim Roth and Cillian Murphy are also in good form, both of whom seem happy to complement Laurence’s presence rather than try to upstage her. “Broken” is equal parts cute, frightening, and brutally tense. It’s well worth checking out.
«When comedians get a bit older they do a movie with “emotions” in it. Here’s mine.» Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement on Twitter. People Places Things is exactly that, a funny yet heartfelt comedy. Will Henry, A New York City graphic novelist walks on his girlfriend cheating on him at their kids’ birthday party. A year later, Will is struggling to define his new life as a single parent while still getting over his breakup. Smart, honest, and charmingly led by Jemaine Clement, this film will strike you in its simplicity.
I Saw the Devil is a South Korean psychological thriller/horror film. IT IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!!! It has a lot of blood and gore that could make even the strongest stomachs turn. A young woman is kidnapped from her car while waiting for a tow truck and the kidnapper murders her far from her car and scatters her body parts around. Her fiancé, a secret service agent of the National Intelligence Service, sets out to track down her murders and extract his revenge. If you’re looking for a thrill ride, look no further- but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
In the grand tradition of the ethnographic world tours like Mondo Cane, Samsara hits you in the face with the diversity and wonder of human life on earth. Unlike many of its predecessors, which often descended into colonialist gawping, Samara maintains a non judgmental gaze. This film uses no words or narration to travel the world showing you the breathtaking beauty of various countries, cultures, religions, cities, industries and nature. Shot on 70mm film, the definition and clarity has to be seen to be believed.
Take this Waltz is a movie that wants you to have a problem with it. It’s about a woman (Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine) torn between her husband (played by Seth Rogan) and a new man who entered her life. It’s an emotional and honest account as well as a mature slice-of-life film that you will appreciate either if you are familiar with a similar situation in real life, or if you give the film a chance, which I recommend you do.
Boy is the highest-grossing New Zealand film of all time, and a masterpiece of compassion and good humor. Set in New Zealand’s rural East Coast in 1984, the film’s protagonist, Boy, imagines a world outside, dreaming of meeting Michael Jackson and having adventures. These fantasies serve to distract him from the sad circumstances of his life, living with his grandmother while his father serves out a prison sentence. However, adventure comes to Boy suddenly when his ex-convict father returns to find a long hidden bag of money. Written, directed, and starring Taika Waitit and featuring the new comer James Rolleston as Boy, it’s a hilarious and heartwarming tale.
A fantastic return to form for disgraced actor Mel Gibson, Get the Gringo is proof that you can have all the controversy you want off-screen, and come back to make a great piece of film. Fast, entertaining and crazy, Get the Gringo is a wild tale of a crime gone bad and eventually, becomes a fish out of water story of the lone ‘gringo’ in a Mexican prison. Perhaps most unbelievably, the film even makes you go “ahh Mel Gibson”, and reminds you of his charm and talent. Nice comeback Mel.
A striking and revelatory documentary focused on captive Killer Whales and their treatment and behavior within SeaWorld and other theme parks around the world. At the center of the story is Tilikum, a bull orca whale that has been responsible for the death of three individuals, and the legal and ethical challenges that have arisen from apparent cover-ups by officials. What happened to Tilikum to make him adopt such behavior, and more simply, what are Killer Whales? First-hand accounts by former whale trainers and experts deliver fascinating truths about Tilikum and the species as whole, with particular attention on their remarkable intelligence and advanced social behaviors. Blackfish will undoubtedly change your perspective on whale captivity indefinitely. It’s certainly not to be missed by anyone who appreciates top-notch documentary film-making as honest historical record.
A nasty little chase film with dark humor and balls to the walls action sequences. It is slightly insane, has some brutal fights in it and is completely beyond belief. The thing that keeps it going is its sheer pace; often circumstances shift so quickly the whole film seems a little surreal, which is part of its charm. The only point at which the film does slow down is when it hits incredibly suspenseful moments, which are stretched to near infinity. As it’s from the continental tradition, expect all the raw colors, emotion and slightly off kilter characters reminiscent of a violent Lars Von Trier.
Death is a weird and scary concept. Ironically, however, the only way movies have been successful in covering it was through humor (Sunshine Cleaning and Beginners are other great examples). Departures gives this trend a new home, Japan. By doing so it almost never saw the light of day, since at first many distributors refused to release it given the taboos against people who deal with death. Eventually however it received so many accolades, including an Academy Award, that well-deserved attention was directed towards it. It’s one of those rare movies that will take you through all emotions: it will move from making you laugh, to making you cry, then happy, and finally highly interested in its subject matter. It’s a beautiful, funny, and compelling movie.
Ask yourself how many Palestinian movies you have seen before. You will want to give this smart and twisty Academy Award nominee by Golden Globe winning director Hany Abu-Assad a chance to change your answer. Omar, a Palestinian baker, climbs the West Bank Wall to see his lover, Nadia, whom he wants to marry. When Israeli soldiers catch and humiliate him, he gets involved in the shooting of an Israeli soldier, and eventually gets arrested facing an extremely lengthy sentence. Later, his captors’ motives and his own get tangled up in politics, friendship, trust, and love. Omar is a highly realistic, compelling crime drama you don’t want to miss.
The Station Agent is about loneliness, change and friendship. Sounds corny right? It’s not. The characters are developed, they have their own reasons for the choices they make and nothing feels forced, neither actions or conversations. It’s a small and wonderful movie about a little man that moves out of the city and his comfort zone when his only friend dies, moves to said friend’s old train station and sets his life there. From there on it follows his social interactions with a slew of people, the relationships he forms with them. Oh, and the little man? Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), who pulls off a great performance, albeit a quiet one.
Get ready for one hell of a journey. From the writer of City of God, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within is a poignant and powerful action-packed movie. Set in Brazil, the film follows two seemingly opposed characters (one a police officer, one a professor) as they both work to treat the systemic social ills that corrupt the country. As much a social commentary as it is an action-packed drama (think The Departed and The Wire), Elite Squad will take you on a whirlwind journey that will leave you considering the larger issues of poverty, crime, and “doing good” in the world.
Once again, Mads Mikkelsen gives us an unforgettable performance in this Danish thriller. Lucas is a new teacher in a small town. He is just starting a new life after a divorce and the loss of his last job. One day, a child from the class he is teaching accuses him of an unforgivable act. The lie will spread throughout the small community and will tear Lucas’ life apart. The Hunt, or “Jagten” in its original version, is one of those rare thrillers that will haunt you for days, and make you question everything in its aftermath. Extraordinary!
Short Term 12 is exactly like being injured in a part of your body where you didn’t think it was possible to get injured before. It will hurt but it will make you care.
Natural and understated by budget and by purpose, it is powered by perfect performances that will take you on an emotional roller coaster ride you will never forget. It is at times sweet, at times depressing and at times hilarious.
The thing is, without even taking into consideration its small budget or the importance of the issues it talks about – we would still consider Short Term 12 as one of the best movies of the past 20 years.