This list is updated monthly to showcase films currently streaming on Netflix, whether we’re talking classics or modern gems.
Netflix offers roughly a gazillion different movies available through its streaming platform. While the landmark service might become surprisingly accurate with its suggestions once you’ve been using it for a while, it’s still often tough to find something worth watching amid the trove of terrible choices. Such being the case, we’ve taken the time to wade through the ridiculous amount of content in order to bring you a list of some of the best movies currently available on the platform, whether you’re into found-footage films or those that explore Chicago during the fabled Jazz Age. Planning your weekend has never been easier.
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One of the rare musicals to win an Academy Award for Best Picture, this 2002 adaptation of the classic stage show is the story of two women in 1920s Chicago, Roxie Hart (Renee Zellweger) and Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Velma is a vaudeville star; Roxie is a fan, and an aspiring singer herself. After both women end up in prison for murdering their lovers, they both enlist the aid of lawyer Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), who turns each of them into celebrities to gin up public sympathy. Chicago is a funny — though somewhat dark — satire of celebrity culture. Of course, musicals live or die by the quality of the music, and Chicago’s soundtrack is full of big, brassy jazz numbers that are as superb as the acting.
Christopher Nolan has become so famous for directing grand, mind-bending action movies, it is hard to remember that he started with small-scale films like Memento. The film follows an amnesiac named Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce), who is looking for one of the men who murdered his wife and clubbed him over the head. Because he cannot store short term memories, however, he must conduct his investigation using notes he doesn’t remember writing — many of which are tattooed on his body — and photos he doesn’t remember taking. Memento is told through two sequences –one running backward, one forward — as Leonard tries to piece together the events of the film. Although it lacks the scope of his more recent works, Memento is as thought-provoking as any of Nolan’s films, a taut thriller built around a unique premise.
Midnight in Paris
Many people find Paris to be a magical city — metaphorically, of course. For screenwriter Gil Pence (Owen Wilson), however, the magic might just be real. On vacation with his wife (Rachel McAdams), who prefers California to rainy Paris, Gil slips off at night to wander the city, and somehow stumbles back in time to the 1920s. He soon meets idols like Hemingway (Corey Stoll) and Gertrude Stein (Kathy Bates), and after spending time with them and an enigmatic woman named Adriana, Gil starts to feel more at home in the past than the present. Directed by Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris is full of witty dialogue and wry reflections on the nature of nostalgia. Wilson slides perfectly into the role of Allen’s avatar, channeling the comedian’s self-deprecation and vulnerability, as well as a hint of arrogance.
A Western parody that puts six rounds in the notion of political correctness, Blazing Saddles showcases Mel Brook’s satire at its finest. In an effort to drive townsfolk off a valuable plot of land, a greedy industrialist hires a black man named Bart (Cleavon Little) to be the new sheriff, in the hopes that the white citizens will leave the town in disgust. Together with gunslinger/wino Jim (Gene Wilder), Bart cleans up the town, gaining the admiration of the townspeople. All throughout, the film mercilessly skewers racism in America and the Western genre as a whole. Although some of the humor might go over the heads of modern audiences — there is a running gag involving a man whose name is confused with Hedy Lamarr — Blazing Saddles is still very bold in its tackling of race. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a movie being made today that bucks political correctness so blatantly.
Just like the Michael Crichton novel of the same name, Jurassic Park takes place on a remote island owned by businessman John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), where a group of scientists have used cloning and genetic manipulation to bring several species of dinosaur back from extinction in attempt to create a safari-like theme park. Hammond invites his grandchildren, and a trio of scientists — paleontologist Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and eccentric mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) — to visit the park and witness the biological marvels up close. What begins as an awe-inspiring tour through history suddenly becomes a struggle for survival, however, when one mischievous employee releases the carnivorous dinosaurs. Spielberg’s landmark film remains a beloved classic, with captivating special effects that look just as good today as they did in 1993.
This is Spinal Tap
Christopher Guest’s mockumentary parodies the “hair metal” scene in riotous fashion. The film follows fictional British rock band Spinal Tap as they tour the United States in an effort to promote their upcoming album, Smell the Glove. Director Rob Reiner also appears in the film as the director of the documentary, with Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer playing the primary band members. From on-stage wackiness to behind-the-scenes trouble, Spinal Tap makes light of every facet of the music industry — and does it well. Cameos from several famous celebrities — Billy Crystal, Fred Willard, Anjelica Huston, etc. — also help sell the shtick, ensuring the film’s hilarity is never cranked shy of 11.