Netflix offers a plethora of movies to watch, but let’s face it, not all of them are good. Sometimes, finding the right movie at the right time can seem like an impossible task. But fret not, because we’re here to help. Below, we present you with a list of some of our favorite movies currently available on the streaming service.
The Boys in the Band
Set in New York City in 1968, The Boys in the Band is a snapshot of gay life one year before Stonewall brought LGBTQ+ rights to public attention. When Michael (played by Jim Parsons, fresh off The Big Bang Theory) throws a birthday party for his best frenemy Harold (Zachary Quinto), he expects an evening of drinks, dancing, and gossip with his intimate circle. But everything changes when Alan, Michael’s straight college friend, shows up desperate to share something. As the night progresses, personalities clash, tensions rise, and secrets threaten to come to light in this tense character study directed by Joe Mantello. Adapted for the screen by Mart Crowley, the original play’s author, this period piece manages to be both a poignant exploration of queer relationships and identities.
Aardman Animation’s stop-motion masterpiece, the studio’s first feature film, became an instant classic when it was released in 2000 and has stood the test of time. Chicken Run follows rebellious hen Ginger as she tries to lead her fellow egg layers to freedom from an English farm before they end up in pies. When a cocky American rooster named Rocky crash-lands in the yard, seemingly capable of flight, Ginger convinces him to help them escape. But Rocky’s tall tales may spell doom for them all. This anthropomorphic parody of The Great Escape, with its clever script, sharp comedy, and surprisingly emotional moments, is a winner for both kids and adults. With the highly anticipated sequel, The Origin of the Nuggets, coming to Netflix in 2023, this is the perfect time to (re)discover this gem.
The Trial of the Chicago 7
If you’re not an American boomer, the juxtaposition of the city of Chicago and the number seven may mean little to you, but it represents one of the causes célèbres of the 1960s. As hippie activists, anti-war protesters, and advocates for civil rights involved in the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention protests, the Seven (theoretically eight) were chosen as convenient scapegoats after the riots were quelled on the orders of Mayor Richard Daley. The trial took place at the end of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s term when the United States was reeling from the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., Vietnam continued to claim the lives of thousands of young people, and it encapsulated the tensions tearing the country apart. Director Aaron Sorkin takes many liberties with historical accuracy and omits some hilarious parts, such as Allen Ginsberg’s testimony, which would have been spectacular, but The Trial of the Chicago 7 largely succeeds in capturing the sense of generational reckoning that the legal battle came to represent.
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
You either “get” Eurovision Song Contest or you don’t, and if you’re outside of Europe, chances are you don’t. However, whether you can recite all the winners since 1956 or have only vaguely heard of ABBA, Will Ferrell’s passion project (his Swedish wife, actress Viveca Paulin, got him hooked on the contest) will entertain you. The story follows Fire Saga, the Icelandic singer-songwriter duo, with Ferrell playing Lars Erickssong and Rachel McAdams as Sigrit Ericksdóttir, his bandmate and secret crush. It has something for everyone. For Eurovision devotees, it’s a loving nod to the long-running music competition, filled with campy jokes and scene-stealing Eurovision royalty cameos. For the uninitiated, it’s a wacky and delightful comedy, with hilariously absurd twists and enough catchy tunes to turn newcomers into Eurovision acolytes. Bonus: you’ll finally understand the meme of “Shut up and play Ja Ja Ding Dong!”
Zombie movies often take themselves too seriously, but that can’t be said of the Zombieland franchise. Released in 2009, Zombieland revitalized the horror comedy genre with a ragtag group of survivors: college student Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), zombie-killing expert Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), and the resourceful sisters Wichita and Little Rock (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin), who are trying to find sanctuary from the undead. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s sarcastic and self-aware screenplay joyfully plays with the limitations of the zombie apocalypse, whether it’s Columbus narrating survival rules or Tallahassee’s obsession with Twinkies. But it’s Bill Murray’s incredible cameo as himself that elevates the whole movie. Smart, funny, and with just the right amount of gore, Zombieland is a blast.
The Two Popes
At first glance, The Two Popes might not seem like an appealing proposition: a movie in which two elderly men in robes talk a lot, walk a little, and then talk some more. But Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins deliver top-notch performances, aided by Anthony McCarten’s exceptional screenplay, which turns this prosaic premise into a worthwhile watch. Loosely inspired by true events, the film follows Cardinal Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) as he tries to convince Pope Benedict XVI to accept his resignation. The two men couldn’t be more different: Benedict is an arch-conservative desperate to hold onto tradition, while Bergoglio is seen as a dangerous liberal who could undermine the authority of the Church. As the two men grapple with their differences, the future of Catholicism hangs in the balance.
These are just a few of the great movies you can find on Netflix right now. No matter your taste, there’s something for everyone. So grab your popcorn, settle in, and enjoy the show! And remember, for more recommendations and reviews, visit Ratingperson!