Study Break: 10 New Netflix Movies to Devour During Your Next Binge-Watching Spree
Godspeed to you if your New Year’s resolution includes “watch less Netflix”— the home entertainment juggernaut recently added dozens of films to its already massive trove of streamable titles, from big-budget blockbusters to campy cult classics.
Once you recover from the rude awakening that is week one of spring semester, you owe it to yourself to round up some friends and throw together a movie night. Here are the best new Netflix movies from the company’s new and improved lineup:
Upon delivering a stash of lost toys to an elated next-door neighbor, quirky waitress Amélie (Audrey Tautou) climbs out of her introverted shell to embark on a pay-it-forward journey toward her fellow Parisians. Unless you’re a French major, you’ll have to put up with 122 minutes of subtitle-reading, but it’s well worth it for this offbeat treat.
“So terrific it might single-handedly rescue the ‘feel-good movie’ from the garbage heap of overused and discredited phrases.” ― Houston Chronicle
American Psycho (2000)
Wall Street investment banker by day, pathological serial killer by night, sadistic yuppie Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) conspicuously consumes on the streets of 1980s Manhattan as quietly as he slashes unsuspecting victims behind the windows of his posh brownstone apartment.
“Funny-one-minute, horrifying-the-next film. ― San Francisco Chronicle
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Kurt Russell plays big rig trucker Jack Burton, who ventures down the rabbit hole of a supernatural Chinatown to save his friend’s fiancée from the demonic clutches of Lo Pan and his otherworldly henchmen.
“A big-budget, high-tech Hollywood action picture that takes all the clichés of kung fu, Fu Manchu and Charlie Chan, and does them right.” ― Roger Ebert
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Clint Eastwood headlines this San Francisco-set film not as crime-fighting Dirty Harry, but career criminal Frank Morris, whose resolve to flee the grim confines of Alcatraz Island is strengthened by the prospect of being the first one to successfully escape The Rock. Based on a true story, so they say.
“A first-rate action movie that is about the need and the decision to take action, as well as the action itself.” ― The New York Times
Good Burger (1997)
90s kids, unite! Relive your childhood by rewatching Good Burger, where legendary All That cast members Kenan and Kel (“Who loves orange soda!”) play two high school-aged fast food workers who wage a David-versus-Goliath battle against the rival Mondo Burger empire that threatens to put their beloved burger joint out of business.
“Anyone who doesn’t smile is probably either too adult to count or too dead to care.” ― The Washington Post
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Don Cheadle portrays Rwandan hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, who leveraged political influence in the name of the greater good, and risked everything to shelter and ultimately save the lives of hundreds of displaced Tutsi refugees during the Rwandan Genocide of 1994.
“A political thriller based on fact that hammers every button on the emotional console.” ― The New York Times
Disgraced ex-cop Nick Tellis (Jason Patric) emerges from suspension to join forces with heavy-handed detective Henry Oak (Ray Liotta) as they resume a convoluted narcotics investigation after an informant with the Detroit PD turns up dead.
“A no-bull throwback to 1970s action films. It zips along with B-movie verve while adding the rich details and go-for-broke acting that heralds something special.” ― Rolling Stone
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1986)
Flight delays and hapless fate derail the holiday travel plans of uppity business executive Neal Page (Steve Martin) when he crosses paths with the infectiously kindhearted shower curtain ring salesman Del Griffith (John Candy), who teaches him the true meaning of family in this timeless treat of a travelogue.
“The movies that last, the ones we return to, don’t always have lofty themes or Byzantine complexities. Sometimes they last because they are arrows straight to the heart.” ― Roger Ebert
Mel Brooks’ classic Star Wars send-up sees Rick Moranis masquerade as a bumbling Darth Vader doppelganger named Lord Dark Helmet, whose only obstacle to plundering Planet Druidia’s rich air supply is the ragtag gang of rebels led by intergalactic aviator Lone Star (Bill Pullman) and his half-man, half-dog Barf (John Candy) aboard their Winnebago starship.
“Spaceballs has the happy air of a comic enterprise that knows it’s going right.” ― The Boston Globe
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) puts on a balancing act as the primary breadwinner for his fatherless, poverty-stricken family in small-town Iowa as he singlehandedly looks after his mentally-challenged little brother (Leonardo DiCaprio), before the new girl in town changes everything.
“Suggests that the true heroes are those people who day by day must tend to misfits, and do so with love, tenacity and a determination not to go terminally sour in the process.” ― TIME
Image: Brian Cantoni