10 Unique Netflix Movies to Watch Right Now

10 Unique Netflix Movies to Watch Right Now

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People say that the demand to fill streaming services with new content can spell the death of originality. And while there’s definitely a debate to be had there, one can’t deny that every once in a while something truly one-of-a-kind slips through the cracks. And between the films dubbed Netflix Originals only by name, we at agoodmovietowatch have narrowed down some under-appreciated, high-quality movies that we think really carry the torch for originality on the streaming giant. They might not be the most popular titles, but the risks they’re willing to take teach us new ways of expression and help push the art form forward.

10. Classmates Minus (2021)

7.1

Country

Taiwan

Director

Huang Hsin-Yao

Actors

Ada Pan, Chen Yi-wen, Chen Yiwen, Cheng Jen-shuo

Moods

Character-driven, Grown-up Comedy, Original

It’s slower and stranger than most comedies you may be used to, but there’s still lots of heart to be found in the way Classmates Minus follows the lapsed hopes and wishes of its core characters. Beneath all its stereotypically male yearnings for control and romantic wish fulfillment, there are potent ideas here about how a tired economy and jaded political culture can turn those in their middle age into completely different people. Writer/director Huang Hsin-yao provides narration for his own film, but rather than being distracting or conceited, his words add a level of needed sympathy to everything we see on screen.

9. Entergalactic (2022)

7.1

Country

United States of America

Director

Fletcher Moules

Actors

Arturo Castro, Christopher Abbott, Francesca Reale, Jaden Smith

Moods

Easy, Feel-Good, Grown-up Comedy

Entergalactic, a vibrant animated romcom from the mind of musician Kid Cudi, follows new neighbors Jabari (Cudi) and Meadow (Jessica Williams) as they navigate their way through the ups and downs of modern love. They’re both established artists at the height of their careers, but when it comes to romance, they’re still scraping for lessons, which they mostly get from equally clueless but funny friends.

Featuring songs from Cudi’s latest record of the same name, Entergalactic doubles as a visual album that comes to life with every beat and movement. It also stars many familiar names, among them Timothée Chalamet, Vanessa Hudgens, Ty Dolla $ign, Jaden Smith, and Macaulay Culkin.

8. A Cop Movie (2021)

7.5

Country

Mexico

Director

Alonso Ruizpalacios

Actors

Leonardo Alonso, Mónica Del Carmen, Raúl Briones

Moods

Challenging, Character-driven, Discussion-sparking

In the Mexican film A Cop Movie, director Alonso Ruizpalacios mixes fact and fiction, documentary and narrative, to tell the tale of Teresa and Montoya, two police officers whose dreams are dashed by the corruption of their trade and who, eventually, find love and comfort in each other.

Ruizpalacios takes thrilling risks in structuring this genre-bending story—cutting stories into parts, jumping back and forth between the harrowingly real and captivatingly non-real. For all the experimental maneuvers he makes, however, the through-line is always Teresa and Montoya: particularly, their love for each other and for an institution that should have, in an ideal world, supported them and the people they vowed to protect. 

To its credit, instead of merely humanizing the controversial police force, A Cop Movie adds some much-needed nuance to the big picture. At the end of the day, they’re no different than any other underpaid laborers working desperately to make end meets. A Cop Movie doesn’t gloss over the fact that the police, like so many other workers, are stuck in a rotten system that’s long overdue for a major overhauling. 

7. Stutz (2022)

7.8

Country

United States of America

Director

Jonah Hill

Actors

Jonah Hill

Moods

Challenging, Discussion-sparking, Feel-Good

Stutz is Jonah Hill’s loving tribute to his therapist Phil Stutz, a smart and empathetic man who’s dedicated his entire life to helping people. The conversations between them, deeply personal and vulnerable, are meaningful in themselves, but Stutz also works as a helpful instruction on how to be your best self and as a metanarrative on telling honest stories on a medium as seemingly artificial as film (it is similar to Bo Burnham’s Inside in that way).

Stutz is at once experimental and comforting, a real gem especially for people with an interest in psychoanalysis and alternative psychiatry. It’s at its best when the two men deal with uncomfortable truths in the kindest of ways, and it’s sure to be something people will return to often for advice and solace. Fun fact: the documentary was co-produced by Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara.

6. Shirkers (2018)

7.8

Country

Singapore, UK, United Kingdom

Director

Female director, Sandi Tan

Actors

Georges Cardona, Jasmine Ng, Sandi Tan, Sophia Siddique Harvey

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Original

In the early 1990s, Singaporean teens Sandi, Jasmine, and Sophie set out to make the country’s first indie movie. Incredibly, in between college, day jobs, and very limited funding, they manage to do just that with the help of their wise but mysterious mentor, Georges. Shirkers, as the project came to be called, seemed primed to revolutionize the burgeoning Singaporean film industry. It was ambitious and bonkers, unlike anything the country has seen before, and it lovingly contained tributes to the makers’ cinematic heroes (among them Wim Wenders and David Lynch). But before it could see the light of the day, before it could even be viewed and edited by the girls who conceptualized it, Shirkers’ raw footage was whisked away by Georges, who fled the country without a trace. 

The potentially pioneering film was never to be seen again—that is, until 20 years later when it resurfaces in near-mint condition (sadly, the audio could not be recovered). Fascinated by the journey of the lost film and mystified by Georges’ motives, Sandi decides to remake Shirkers as a documentary. The result is an artistic and personal interrogation into what made their small beloved film possible, how its loss affected the people behind it, and how this all led to Shirkers, the documentary, which is a testament to how art always prevails in the end. 

5. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)

7.8

Country

United States of America

Director

Macon Blair

Actors

Asha Sawyer, Audrey Walker, Chris Doubek, Christine Woods

Moods

Character-driven, Dark, Funny

This is the first film directed by actor Macon Blair (so good in both Blue Ruin and Green Room), and while it is shaggy and tonally all over the place, there is a lot to recommend here. First off, I’m a huge fan of the (underrated) Melanie Lynskey, so I was primed to like this movie from the get-go. After Ruth’s (Lynskey) home is broken into, she seeks revenge against the perpetrators with help from her martial arts obsessed neighbor Tony (Elijah Wood, sporting an impressive rat-tail). What starts out as an empowering journey for Ruth & Tony quickly teeters into dangerous and increasingly violent territory. This movie is probably not for everyone, but if you’re a fan of 90s indie films and don’t mind some violence mixed in with your dark humor, then you will enjoy this small, well-acted film.

4. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)

7.8

Country

United States of America

Director

Colin Trevorrow

Actors

Aubrey Plaza, Basil Harris, Colin Trevorrow, Eli Borozan

Moods

Emotional, Funny, Original

A quirky little movie about a reporter trying to get a story about a man who posted an ad looking for someone to travel in time with. The movie’s main strength is the fantastic casting of talents that usually live in the series world (Jake M. Johnson from New Girl, Aubery Plaza from Parcs and Recreation, Mark Duplass), and although it might seem a little bit slow at the beginning, it is worth every second spent watching it.

3. Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020)

7.9

Country

United States of America

Director

Female director, Kirsten Johnson

Actors

Ira Sachs, Kirsten Johnson, Mary Page Nance, Michael Hilow

Moods

Funny, Grown-up Comedy, Mind-blowing

Dick Johnson Is Dead is a heartfelt and unconventional portrait of how one can live life to the fullest even in their darkest days. Kristen Johnson’s follow-up to the highly acclaimed documentary Cameraperson, Johnson shows that her skills are no fluke as she crafts a witty film where she masterfully balances surreal tonal shifts to create a compelling experience. While it does have a repetitive nature, the final thirty minutes are heartbreakingly comedic, and make this one worth a watch!

2. Song of the Sea (2014)

7.9

Country

Belgium, Denmark, France

Director

Tomm Moore

Actors

Brendan Gleeson, Colm ÓSnodaigh, Colm O'Snodaigh, David Rawle

Moods

Heart-warming, Original, Uplifting

This animated movie is absolutely wonderful. It’s an Irish production, and the drawings/graphics are so beautiful and different from what you usually see in this genre. This alone, along with the music, would be good reasons to watch this.

But what really makes this worth your time is the story – it’s about a boy dealing with the loss of his mother. He embarks on an adventure into a parallel world of feelings to save his sister.

I found it to be refreshingly original, sometimes quite intense (I cried, but I easily cry), and heartwarming. The details are great. And I love the way the story was interwoven with Irish mythology, making it magical.

1. Procession (2021)

best

8.9

Country

United States of America

Director

Robert Greene

Moods

Challenging, Depressing, Discussion-sparking

Difficult but essential viewing, Procession tracks the progress of six men undergoing art therapy—specifically, by creating short filmed scenes to process their trauma from being sexually abused by Catholic priests. The resulting films we get to see are wildly varied in the emotions they express, forming a rich and powerful tapestry of the effects abuse can leave on individuals. And to see these men confront the worst events of their lives through filmmaking begins to feel like validation for filmmaking itself, that it can truly be an art form that changes and saves lives. But even more striking, somehow, is the unbreakable bond that forms among these survivors throughout this entire process, captured with reverence and overflowing compassion by director Robert Greene.

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