With award season officially over, you’re probably done binge watching the nominees and are completely over all the buzz the films have created. If you’re like me, you’re already excited for what 2016 is bringing for next award season, but need something to fill in the gaps. Instead of trying to illegally download all the movies in theaters and instead of flipping through channels endlessly only to be disappointed, Netflix is a better option than you might realize. And I can understand why you might not realize it– I usually search through Netflix trying to find something and just get frustrated and give up. Netflix has so many movies and TV shows to offer, but the majority just aren’t any good. But I’ve done the legwork for you. I’ve searched through every genre and sub-genre to compile a top 10 list that I can recommend to all the restless movie buffs out there. Check these out!
American Beauty (1999)
Scoring the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2000, American Beauty is truly a masterpiece. It tells the desperate story of all the secrets a typical suburban family has to live with. This movie is so real and so honest. If you haven’t heard of it, I’m sure you’ve heard of the plastic bag scene. You know, that Katy Perry song “Firework” where she sings, “Do you ever feel like a plastic bag drifting through the wind wanting to start again?” Yeah, that’s where she got it from. But don’t hold the film accountable for the rest of the cliché lyrics. I’m just saying. The movie is iconic.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Anyone who is a Quentin Tarantino fan, or just a movie fan in general, has got to see this one. This film is also a classic, a complete mind fuck, and extremely hilarious. There had never been a movie like this before it came out, and Tarantino picked up an Academy Award in 1995 for Best Original Screenplay. The level of intensity and originality in every single scene will blow you away. Expect gun fights, stake-outs, an overdose, and scandal upon scandal. Overall, it’s an action movie that is brilliant, not cheesy or overdone.
The Shining (1980)
I don’t care what anyone says, The Shining is the scariest movie ever made. Thanks to Stephen King, who wrote the novel, and Stanley Kubrick, who directed the film and ended up changing most of it, you won’t be able to get this story out of your mind. When horrifying author Jack Torrance decides to move his family to an abandoned hotel for some solace to write, things get a little weird. And terrifying. I won’t give any spoilers away, but his son is a psychic and sees people who used to live in the hotel. It’s worth watching the movie to see Nicholson’s iconic “Here’s Johnny!” scream. This film is just timeless.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
LEONARDO DICAPRIO’S BEST ROLE! I will always stick to that statement. Anyway, this movie is beautiful. Johnny Depp plays a caretaker for his handicapped little brother, his obese mother, and his clueless sisters. It seems like he’ll never catch a break, until he does. The acting in this movie is absolutely superb. The story is simple, but it stays with you for a while. It teaches you about self-awareness and what’s worth what in life. It’s a must see for anyone at any age.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Okay, first of all, if you watch this movie and you love it, read the book! I read the book after watching the movie and I absolutely adored it. For anyone who has had any type of mental problem, whether it be bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, anything: this hits the nail on the head. This movie tells the story of a man who just got out of a mental institution and has to restart his life without his ex-wife. It’s hilarious, heartfelt, and will ring true for anyone who just feels messed up. Jennifer Lawrence took him the Academy Award in 2013 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. She and Bradley Cooper have the best chemistry.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Just for starters, this movie stars Matt Damon, Robin Williams, and Ben Affleck. It was also written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Need I say more? Probably not, but I will. Damon plays a young man who is struggling with being in trouble with the law and hiding his gift for mathematics, when a prestigious professor discovers him. This movie is a truly coming of age story, even if the protagonist is already an adult. It proves that you can be anyone you want to be, no matter where you come from. It’s truly inspiring. In 1998, Robin Williams took home the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and Matt Damon and Ben Affleck scored the award for Best Original Screenplay. They killed it.
Inglorious Bastards (2009)
Quentin Tarantino again! This movie is so complex and twisted, I’d say save it for a rainy day when you’re procrastinating, rather than with a group of friends drinking. Tarantino takes a historical story of Nazi-occupied France and puts his own twist on what happened. Many criticized this movie when it was released for not staying true to history, but it’s just a movie. It’s more fun this way, so who really cares? The action is fast, the dialogue is smart, and intertwining stories will have your mind completely stimulated. In 2010, Christoph Waltz took the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. It’s a fun, surprising movie you must see at least once.
Remember Me (2010)
Yay, the first chick flick on the list! I have no shame in saying this is a great movie. This is because it’s not cliché and you haven’t seen this story a thousand times before. At least I haven’t. Although, yes, the main character is a handsome, dark, and brooding man who has issues with his parents and won’t admit he needs love, the rest is totally original, I promise. After suffering a traumatic loss, the main character meets a girl who knows how to survive a loss that huge. They both teach each other things vital to moving on, and there are some truly tragic parts you won’t see coming. It will make you laugh, and cry, just like a good romance should. This is 100% my favorite love movie.
Meet the Parents (2000)
Sure, sure, this movie is a little cheesy. But it’s a classic! This was when Ben Stiller was actually hilarious and wasn’t making Night at the Museum movies over and over again. This movie was the first time I saw Robert De Niro in a comedy, and he really does know how to be funny. Stiller plays a lovestruck man looking to propose to his girlfriend and De Niro plays her strict, old fashioned father. Oh yeah, he was also in the CIA. The dynamic between the two is undeniably hilarious, and everything that could possibly go wrong, of course, does. If you’re looking for something light, and for a big laugh, look no further. I’ve seen this, like, a hundred times.
Stuck in Love (2012)
Second chick flick! But this one isn’t really all lovey-dovey. I swear, my boyfriend loves this movie. It isn’t very sad either, but true and honest about life and relationships. When acclaimed author is no longer inspired after his wife leaves him, his two kids try to get him back on track, all dealing with their own complicated love lives. His daughter is a pessimistic, cynical romantic who has had her share of meaningless hookups. His son is a naive, lovesick kid who doesn’t know how to take chances in life. Throughout the year this film, all characters learn what it’s like to find love and heartache. It’s smart and the soundtrack is awesome.
I hope you find happiness in any or all of these movies. I surely do. It’s about that awkward time in between winter and spring, when one day it’s 65 degrees and the outdoors is your friend, and the next day is flurrying and you want to stay in bed for eternity. For either of these days, Netflix actually has some really good options. So, stop frustrating yourself trying to find a movie you haven’t seen two hundred times and check these out! You won’t be disappointed.