For as many streaming services as there is currently are, Netflix remains possibly the premiere platform to watch movies and television shows. The first mainstream streaming service there was, it’s a platform that continues to boast some of the finest and most noteworthy movies you’ll find anywhere.
With a streaming catalog mixed between Netflix original movies and endless amounts of well-known movies like Rocky II, Fletch, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, there’s no shortage of potential viewing options when it comes to Netflix’s impressive lineup of movies.
Here are some of the movies you can currently find streaming on Netflix that we’d recommend checking out.
Updated: January 25.
In a bizarro world where he wasn’t a complete jerk in his private life, Chevy Chase would be a star on par with Bill Murray, enjoying career success beyond his wildest dreams. Sadly, that’s not a reality we live in, but at the very least we’re able to make due with the handful of great movies Chase appeared in throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s — Fletch being foremost among them.
Irwin “Fletch” Fletcher (Chase) is an undercover reporter in Los Angeles. Approached by an enigmatic millionaire with an apparent death wish (Tim Matheson), Fletch uses a variety of disguises to investigate the case.
Like his later role in Community, Fletch was a film that demonstrated all of Chase’s strengths as a performer. In the movie, he cycles through so many different personas and characters, it almost seems like watching a best-of compilation from his SNL years. It may not be as popular or widely-watched a movie as Caddyshack or National Lampoon’s Vacation, but it’s every bit as good, if not better.
Sports: Rocky II
Sylvester Stallone struck gold with Rocky, the movie going on to become an instant critical and financial success, quickly securing numerous prizes in the 1976 award season. When it came time to craft a sequel, Stallone managed to once again catch lightning in a bottle, creating a movie that was a memorably great follow-up to his career-making masterpiece.
Feeling that he didn’t truly beat him in their previous match together, world champion boxer Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) challenges Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) to a rematch, forcing Rocky to come out of retirement.
Before the utter cartoonishness of Rocky III onwards, Rocky was still considered a viable sports series, mixing the action in the ring with Rocky’s hard-hitting emotional story at home. Viewers might best remember the climactic second bout between Apollo and Rocky in this film, but it’s Rocky’s attempts to settle down with his newlywed wife (Talia Shire) that gives this movie its heart and soul.
Crime: Road to Perdition
Years before he gained international fame with his work on James Bond and 1917, director Sam Mendes was churning out several critically acclaimed films early on in his career, the most celebrated of which include American Beauty and this 2002 crime epic.
When a young boy (Tyler Hoechlin) witnesses his hitman father (Tom Hanks) kill someone, the two go on the lam to avoid the mob in 1930s Illinois.
Road to Perdition is a lesson in style, the movie combining the hard-boiled narrative of classic ‘30s gangster films with the gritty aesthetic of a Frank Miller comic book. The results make for a surprisingly effective film, one that has very few weaknesses and an abundance of strengths (namely the setting, cinematography, and cast [Hanks, Daniel Craig, Paul Newman, and Jude Law]).
Drama: Leave No Trace
The most incredible thing about Leave No Trace is that it’s based on an unbelievable true story. Tackling themes like PTSD, mental trauma, and societal alienation, it’s a tense but emotional story about connection and family, as well as how we each deal with certain life-altering experiences.
For years, Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) have successfully lived off the land in the forests of Portland, Oregon. After their peaceful life comes to an end, both are forcefully placed back in civilization, handling their respective societal returns very differently.
The most reviewed movie to have a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Leave No Trace’s standout trait is its two marvelous lead performances. As Will, Foster demonstrates a profound vulnerability, illustrating his character’s difficulty living side by side with normal people once again. Opposite Foster, McKenzie brings a notable naivety and youthfulness to her character, encountering the real world like a startled zoo animal stepping out of its enclosure for the first time in its life.
Western: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Split into a total of six stories, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs follows several people and the misadventures they endure while roaming the Wild West, ranging from a sociopathic singing cowboy (Tim Blake Nelson) and his date with destiny to a solitary prospector’s (Tom Waits) search for gold.
The Coen brothers specialize in two kinds of movies. First, there’s the outwardly silly romps that are heavy on humor and wacky in their plotlines. Then, there’s the more sobering tone of their other films, many of which are told in a straightforward manner, abandoning the trademark humor the siblings had built up their entire career.
Mixing in elements of both these movies is Buster Scruggs, an ambitious and original film that marks the Coens’ first outing in the anthology genre. Like any anthology film or TV series, viewers are likely to walk away from the movie favoring one story over another. Regardless, there’s no questioning that each tale fits neatly into the overall Western universe the Coens present in the movie.
Biopic: The Aviator
Any movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese is bound to be good. As is the case with the duo’s collaborations on Gangs of New York, The Departed, Shutter Island, and The Wolf of Wall Street, DiCaprio and Scorsese’s second outing is a bold and visionary, serving as treasured entries in both men’s individual careers.
Howard Hughes (DiCaprio) is a brilliant but idiosyncratic millionaire who uses his vast wealth to pursue his two greatest passions: filmmaking and the design and construction of experimental aircraft.
With a story spanning the better part of three decades, The Aviator provides a harrowing snapshot at the life and times of Howard Hughes, one of the most enigmatic geniuses of the 20th century. Portraying every facet of Hughes’ character, DiCaprio effectively brings out all the conflicting areas of Hughes’ personality, from his crippling OCD to his immense confidence.
Family: Finding ‘Ohana
Far and away one of the most grossly overlooked movies on Netflix, Finding ‘Ohana is a wondrous family-friendly movie that returns to a breezy adventurous narrative not seen since the days of Indiana Jones and The Goonies.
On vacation in Oahu, two New York-raised siblings (Kea Peahu and Alex Aiono) uncover a map leading to buried treasure somewhere on the island.
Rather than being a blatant Goonies pastiche, Finding ‘Ohana sets itself apart by tackling some meaningful and equally warm themes. From having the characters embrace their cultural background to meeting new friends, it’s a movie filled with joviality, emotion, and action galore.
Documentary: The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker
In 2013, the eccentric Kai went from a free-spirited hitchhiker to viral Internet sensation. After apparently saving a young woman’s life in Fresno by forcefully using a hatchet as a self-defense weapon, Kai quickly gained recognition as a hero, his likeness serving as the basis for a popular online meme.
Within the span of a few short months, though, Kai became embroiled in an intense murder investigation. Accused of murdering an elderly man in his New Jersey home, the Internet star became the subject of legal scrutiny, concluding with him receiving a 60-year prison sentence for first-degree murder.
Kai’s rapid rise and fall has long since faded from the public spotlight, but Netflix’s newest documentary, The Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker, again unearths the complex and disturbing case surrounding the one-time meme star.
Anime: Junji Ito Maniac: Japanese Tales of the Macabre
What One-Punch Man’s creator Yusuke Murata is to comedy and superheroes, Junji Ito is to horror. With such critically favored works like Tomie, Uzumaki, and Gyo behind him, Ito has gained a massive cult following for his many manga series, many readers openly acknowledging Ito’s significance in manga horror.
With Junji Ito Maniac, Netflix spins several anime yarns straight from Ito himself. A lovingly-made anthology series, the stories are all self-contained horror shorts adapted from Ito’s most famous stories — from massive heads floating in the sky to strange sea creatures beached onshore.
Similar to how appreciative fans of Guillermo del Toro were with the release of Cabinet of Curiosities, Junji Ito Maniac might endear itself more fully to fans of Ito’s body of work. But even those new to Ito’s writing may find themselves enamored with Junji Ito Maniac, each story presenting terrifying and disturbing tales of the unknown.
Underrated: This Is 40
Judd Apatow’s success as a filmmaker has been gradually waning since his glory days in the early 2000s. However, that doesn't necessarily diminish any one of Apatow’s lesser-known films in his career, a primary example being his 2012 romantic comedy, This Is 40.
As they approach their fortieth birthdays, married couple Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) experience separate midlife crises, owing to their faltering careers, their problematic daughters, and their fading romantic feelings for one another.
A loosely connected sequel/spin-off to Apatow’s previous Knocked Up, This Is 40 may be one of Apatow’s weakest films to date. Still, the movie does boast its own individual strengths, stemming from Rudd and Mann’s chemistry and the movie’s more underlying, serious themes (such as the inevitability of aging).
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.