Crap to Watch on Netflix | Variety is the Spice of Life!
Five handpicked, A-class movies for you to stream on Netflix
Many have tried debating with me on this, but I still hold firm that, aside from antiseptics, online movie streaming is by far the greatest invention that our measly little species has ever came up with. It's fast, easy to use, and if you have a subscription to a service such as Netflix, you literally have access to thousands of movies and TV shows, available for you to watch at anytime, anywhere. All for less than 10 bucks a month! I mean, c'mon. How cool is that? The only thing with Netflix, though, is that with so many choices to chose from, it can often become hard to pick just one thing to watch. This is our precious time we're talking about here, ya know? We can't spend it watching just anything.
This is why The Gutter Monkey is here to help! Putting all of my cinephilia into play, I've gone through and narrowed down your endless choices to only a small handful of 5 top-notch films that I'm sure you'll love (well, I think you will, at least). And since I know you've probably already seen Forrest Gump and The Avengers, or at least you already know they're there, I'm also going to try to stick only to the lesser known gems that you may more easily overlook when scouring the depths of the Flix.
So enjoy and be sure to let me know what you think of the list in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Only if you feel like it, of course. No pressure.
Don't like reading? Watch this list in video form! (Now in Technicolor!)
A DOCUMENTARY | Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010)
I gotta start off by letting you know I'm no huge horror movie fanatic. I like a lot of them, sure, but to me they're just another genre. So I'm telling you right off the bat: This was not chosen because of some personal passion for scary movies or all the behind the scenes shenanigans that go along with them. With all that being said though, I did grow up watching the Freddy Kruger movies and they did contribute to a fair share of my more imaginative childhood nightmares. So, yeah, it's possible some nostalgic bias could be involved with this pick. But honestly, this documentary is much better than the movies it's covering. So I think you'll dig it even if you aren't into Nightmare on Elm Street.
Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy is a documentary that thoroughly covers each and every film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series (that's even including the terrible Tales from the Crypt forerunner TV series, Freddy's Nightmares). By using tons of behind the scenes footage and photographs and an unbelievable amount of frank, uncensored interviews with each movies key cast and crew (the only ones really missing appeared to be Johnny Depp and Patricia Arquette), the film doesn't only come packed with trivia and insight, but it's also pretty damn funny most of the time. Which is in no small part due to all of the movies' surprisingly good humored actors and crew who genuinely appear happy and enthusiastic to be talking about how much fun they had making the series. All the while, giving us a very raw look into what made the Nightmare franchise into the pop-culture juggernaut it was and still remains to be to this day.
The only problem you may have with the movie is that at nearly 4 hours in length, it's definitely a lot to swallow. But don't worry, there's no reason to have to watch it all in one sitting. Each movie talked about is basically its own "episode" so just look at it as a series that you can have a little bit of each day.
A FOREIGN FILM | Big Bad Wolves (2013)
Big Bad Wolves is a 2013 Israeli film primarily about three men: A determined (and suspended) police officer open to bending the rules a little if it helps him make a bust; a father who's left a tad angry after his missing daughters corpse is found mangled and sexually assaulted in the woods (her decapitated head nowhere to be seen); and the meek school teacher who they're both convinced committed that crime and several other child murders and disappearances in the area. Kidnapping the teacher and doing such gruesome acts to him as bashing in his fingers with a hammer and burning holes in him with a blowtorch are just a few of their methods of acquiring a confession from him. Suffice it to say, they're a little less than subtle.
At first glance, Big Bad Wolves appears to be too similar to 2013's Prisoners, which is an American movie about two men taking it upon themselves to squeeze out confessions from a suspected child predator. But other than that in-a-nutshell plot synopsis, the two films are really complete opposites. Where Prisoners is an emotionally fueled, gut wrenching story dealing with a very gritty and serious subject matter, Big Bad Wolves is more of an exaggerated, stylized grind house-type of story that's meant to be more fun and satirical with its gritty tale (yes, I think the torture is fun -- sue me). This isn't to say that Wolves is a comedy (although it does have plenty of comedic elements) but it's certainly less heavy of a picture.
In many ways, Big Bad Wolves is reminiscent of a Quentin Tarantino movie or -- to a lesser extent -- even a Cohen brothers movie in the quirky way its odd situations and dialogue progress its story. Tarantino, in fact, even went as far as to call it the best film of 2013. And what better promotion can you get than that? Eh?
A CLASSIC | The Apartment (1960)
My second favorite film by revered director Billy Wilder (sorry, but Sunset Boulevard is way to awesome to be anything but my number one), The Apartment is a romantic comedy about a lonely, timid office worker named Calvin Clifford (C. C.) "Bud" Baxter (Jack Lemmon) who is determined to climb the corporate latter by any means necessary. So determined in fact, that he's totally cool (well, almost totally cool) with letting all of his married bosses party and carry on their extramarital affairs at his apartment.
This has been Baxters life for a while now and it's all gone relatively okay (considering, at least) until one day when he finds out that the woman he has a crush on (Shirley MacLaine) happens to be one of the flings that one of his bosses (Fred MacMurray) has been bringing to his apartment. Devastated, Baxter goes to a bar to drink away his sorrows only to get home later and find the woman passed out on his bed from an intentional overdose on sleeping pills. Apparently she didn't take very well to news that Baxters boss had been carrying on affairs with several other girls at work, as well as her, and also hasn't been planning on leaving his wife like he told her he would. Bad news for her.
Being the light-hearted 60's rom-com it is, though, the girl obviously doesn't die. Instead, Baxter ends up saving her life and nursing her into recovery. All the while getting to know her better and reluctantly becoming a middleman in her and his bosses relationship in the process (eek! awkward).
Yeah, you guessed it, a love-triangle inevitably begins to unfold. But as cliché as it sounds, The Apartment isn't just a stale old romantic comedy. It's not hokey, it's not predictable (well, not too predictable), and it's not overly gushy. Billy Wilder is considered one of the greatest directors for a reason and if you've seen any of his films, you know why. This is a clever, funny and gorgeous looking picture that stands out as not only one of the greatest comedies ever made, but one of the greatest movies in general.
SOMETHING OBSCURE | Another Day In Paradise (1998)
Another Day In Paradise is one of those movies that I accidentally came across years ago and ever since haven't been able to get it out of my head. Not because of it being particularly shocking or especially different, but just on the merit of how unbelievably good it was and how astounded I was that I'd never heard of it before. As usual, those are always the ones you want to tell everyone about. So, uh... here's what it's about.
Starring Melanie Griffith, Natasha Gregson Wagner, James Woods, and a pre-Mad Men Vincent Kartheiser (in what I still maintain was his best role ever), the film tells the story of a young couple of love bird heroin addicts (Kartheiser and Wagner) who end up getting in over their head after a crime they commit. Having no parental guidance or anyone to turn to, the two soon meet an older, more experienced couple of junky love birds (Woods and Griffith) who agree to take them under their wing. Together, the four team up to become a great big mess of druggies, conning and robbing their way through their awful lives.
Directed by Larry Clarke, the guy who brought us the unnervingly realistic movies Kids and Bully, Another Day In Paradise is another film that's seeped in realism. In a way it's very similar to 1989's Drugstore Cowboy (if you didn't know any better, you'd swear it was by the same director). But while the world and style are the same, the story is its own. Like Drugstore Cowboy you know the characters in Another Day In Paradise are destined for nothing but heartache. But we root for them anyway and continue to hope they'll be okay because as flawed and amoral as they often come off, we grow to care about them because they seem so real. The unfortunate truth about reality is, though, that junkies and criminals rarely ever have a happy ending.
IT'S BEEN A GUILTY PLEASURE | Re-Animator (1985)
What do ya get when you combine Frankenstein with the original Dawn of the Dead, and then toss in a little Evil Dead to give the finished product a nice quirky vibe? Why, Re-Animator of course!
This is a gore-filled H.P. Lovecraft adaptation about a semi-mad scientist who is absolutely obsessed with bringing the dead back to life. It's a difficult task to achieve, but he seems to be up to the task. His only fallback is that once he re-animates his corpses they tend to become a slightly scarier and more hellbent on destruction than they were in life. Ah, well. Nothing's perfect.
There's not really much to say about this movies plot other than that. Some may mistake Re-Animator as being just another cheesy, trashy, exploitative B-horror film that failed to be as scary as it was meant to be. But for those who think that, they're missing the point. This isn't a movie that's so-bad-it's-good. It's a film that achieved what it was trying to be. The trashy parts were meant to be trashy, the exploitative parts were meant to be exploitative, and the funny parts were meant to make you laugh. And there are a lot of laughs.
Above all else, Re-animator is just a very fun comedy with a unique style and some very memorable characters and actors (most notably Jeffery Combs). So if scares is what you're looking for, you're in the wrong place. Otherwise, for what it is, this is a perfect film entirely deserving of its long-held cult-classic status.
© 2014 The Gutter Monkey