There's a lot of stinkers on Netflix. There's so much there that. There's nothing there, you know, I mean. But not to worry I'm here to help you wade through all that stuff and find the diamond in the rough. So I thought I'll put together a more focused list of 10 films that you absolutely need to see. They're available on Netflix at the time.
We've all got those films that we know we should have seen that we haven't seen. But anyway, the Silence of the Lambs is just a smart gripping, thrilling, scary as it's ever been. It won Best Picture back in the early 90s. None of the first time I watched it was with my mum just one night. So now because of that memory, the film holds a bit of a comforting place in my mind. it's really not a comforting watch at all, but for me it just makes me feel very like home.
I doubt that that can be an objective thing, but I'm sure that some people get what I mean about it. even though it has. It thrills in its moments, there's something about it, there's a consistent tone to it. I love the directing in it. I love the choice to keep loads of things in close up and have the characters lock down the lens. It's a technique that isn't used very much, especially in modern cinema. It's really effective, it's really eerie and unsettling. So if you haven't seen Silence of the Lambs now's the time to Watch it!
Number 9: The Breakfast Club. I'm a huge John Hughes fan. This film is maybe the most John Hughes it can get. It's very 80s. It's teen. It's funny. It's angsty. It's about five teenagers with five different teenage stereotypes from very different backgrounds spending a Saturday in detention together. Some of the stuff in it might be a little cheesy by today's standards, but it kind of created a whole genre.
Number eight Ocean's eleven. I think it's quite easy to dismiss Ocean's eleven as just a throwaway movie because it's such a household name of a film. It's the one like George Clooney and Brad Pitt and Matt Damon like rubber casino. So I believe it is a truly brilliant original film. One that's hard to replicate and people have tried like there's a magician. You can feel those films trying so hard to be slick and cool like Ocean's Eleven, but Ocean's Eleven doesn't feel like it's trying at all and that's what makes it cool.
Not a single frame of this film feels generic. It is both a huge amount of fun, it's big sexy stylish popcorn entertainment, and it's helmed by Steven Soderbergh, who carefully crafts subtle and nuanced storytelling. Throughout the entire film, it's very hard to do both the only other people I can think of who can do it or Spielberg and Nolan. I get very excited about this stuff because I believe that movies can be these big, exciting fun things to watch and they can be brilliantly told.
We meet Daniel ocean for the first time he's being interviewed. He's in prison, we can tell that just from the visuals. And Soderbergh does something very interesting here, something he does a lot with classic him.
95% of the scene is played out on one loose mid shot, he never cuts to the several people who are interviewing him.
And if you look at the script, it will tell you that you were supposed to see them, but Soderbergh chooses to keep us with Danny because then we're completely sided we're empathizing with him.
It draws you into Clooney's performance, makes you focus on his eyes. His eyes are telling you so much. You can see when he's choosing to hold someone's gaze when he's looking at who's talking to him and maybe more importantly when he isn't.
Soderbergh cuts once in the scene to a close up of Danny ocean emphasizing his point of view and we already know what he's thinking in the first minute of the film.
Soderbergh got us inside the protagonist's head. That blows my mind. That is amazing filmmaking. There is storytelling as delicate as that scattered throughout the entire movie, but it's also a big, fun, silly heist film when they steal the money.
I now think it's absolutely brilliant. I totally get the people that don't like it until a few weeks ago, but then I got it. I was like, oh, it's not a serious sequel, it's kind of like a really fourth-wall-breaking comedy starring Hollywood. A-listers. But it's still directed by Steven Soderbergh, so it's got this real confidence and style to it. it's directed like a 60s spy thriller, but it's really funny and silly and taking the piss out of itself. there's a bit in it where Matt. Damon asks Brad Pitt for a bigger role. I just love that sort of humor, give it another chat. Give Ocean's Twelve a chance, okay?
Number seven, Three Identical Strangers. The story for this documentary is absolutely insane and totally true. I don't want to say too much about this one because the joy of it was discovering what it was about as I was watching it.
But the basic premise identical triplets who had never met before, meet each other for the first time when they're adults.
They don't know why they were separated and the further into the story we go further down the rabbit hole, we go the more, it feels like a bizarre sci-fi X-men movie, but it really happened. I wholeheartedly recommend it, it is amazing.
Number six, Boyhood. This story follows one boy's journey through adolescence. He goes from childhood through his teen years. He learns to grow up. He sees his parents go through a divorce. He goes through heartbreak. So it's a coming-of-age movie except it was filmed over 12 years. I'll say that for you one more time it was filmed over 12 years. I'm sure a lot of people knew that, but I'm still baffled by it, not because it was done, but because it was done and it's great. It does clock in at nearly three hours, I think it's important to say that but trust me, it's great. There was no solid script for it. They developed it year by year and sort of used the real things that happened in those people's lives as inspiration for the characters. I've watched it several times. It puts a huge smile on my face. There's a tragedy in it, but it's a real feel-good film.
Number five: Tully. This film reunites the screenwriter Diablo Kody with director Jason Reitman together star Charlize Throng goes without saying because she's always excellent. This is a wonderful little hidden gem if it was like nobody had seen it. It takes a brutally honest, look at motherhood not that I would know, but you know it seems pretty honest. You know the dialogue is very sharp and dry and witty. But there's a tremendous amount of heart to it and it's a story that for me felt like it was about self-love and shed a little tear at the end toxic masculinity be damned.
Number four: American Beauty. This is one of my absolute favorite films. I think it's a masterpiece, so unfortunately I can't talk about it now without mentioning the me to the elephant in the room which is that Kevin Spacey's in it. The movie came out in 1999 way before we know anything about any of that stuff. And there's definitely a description to be had about whether or not we can still enjoy stuff that was made by or features, people that we now have a different context for. And I do understand if that's enough for you to not want to watch this film, but I can't help but feel that is a shame. So many people make a film I can't change the effect and the influence that this film has had on me. It's a threat to my son Mendes and this was his feature film debut which isn't fair, how do you just do that. It's a tragic, funny dark occasionally dreamlike film that explores masculinity, sexuality, American Rubio repression. There Thomas Neuman kind of shot himself in the foot with that score, Cuz, it's so iconic, but now whenever he tries to do anything that's remotely similar like arts American Beauty. It's a very rare case of a film where everything is working in harmony with each other, the writing the directing, the acting, the music. everything feels like it was created immediately and some sort of cinematic Big Bang. it just feels like. It's always existed exactly as it was.
Number three, ex Machina. I just re-watch this for the first time in ages, and remember just how good it is. In terms of modern sci-fi, I think that Alex Garland changed the game with this one. It's doing the thing that I think sci-fi should always strive for which is playing with huge ideas but exploring in a small, intimate human way. it's. A film about many things, and I think you'll want to discuss this with people afterward, definitely want to watch with more not with people now because you're not allowed. The store is always one step ahead of you, the moment you think you figured out what it's doing.
Number two, You Were Never Really Here. It still feels like not enough people have seen it and if I can make even a small dent in that I'll take it.
It's directed by Lynn Ramsay, who directed We Need to Talk About Kevin and it stars Joaquin Phoenix as Joe, who is a hired gun who specializes in finding lost children. It's a film about trauma which obviously doesn't lend itself to an easy watch. It's certainly a brutal and occasionally violent film, but it's all very tastefully handled and it's not all blood and gore. In fact, the film will frequently and purposefully sometimes remove those moments, which obviously allows you to fill in the blank in your head, but also tells you this is not what the film is about, we're not making an action movie. Instead, the focus is on walking in Phoenix's character, Joe, and his inner psyche and his torment. He is somebody who was traumatized and hurt so badly as a child that he's chosen to spend his life trying to save the next child. and I think it's beautiful, I think it's my favorite Joaquin Phoenix Performance, it was my favorite film of 2018. Please watch it.
And finally number one: When Harry Met Sally. I wanted to end with this one because I truly believe that everybody will like this film. It's not the original romantic comedy, but it's certainly the gold standard. It's the undefeated champion no one's even come close.
The characters are charming and funny, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan are amazing together like you just want to watch them talk. the whole film is so quotable I find myself doing it almost daily. And because it is such an easy thing to watch not unlike Ocean's Eleven, you forget how brilliant it is. It spans so many years and you totally believe that these characters are getting older and growing together.
Also structurally the film does something really weird. It's got interviews with random old couples telling the story of how they fall in love spruced throughout the film. it works but it's weird. And the fact that it is a weird thing to do, but you're not thinking about it shows you how great it is.